Friday, May 24, 2019

Douglas Macgregor Hits It Out Of The Ball Park.

Ahh, what a coincidence. The moment I write this two days ago: 
One of the very few reasons I read (as in past tense) this dumpster The National Interest was precisely for reasons that once in a while people like Douglas Macgregor or Daniel L. Davis, a cadre senior officers of the US Army, would publish their opinions. I do not always agree with them but their opinions are, which is expected from real professionals, head and shoulders above the amateur tripe the magazine's so called "military experts" (none of them military) continue to publish. Luckily, Lt. Colonel Davis' writing is beginning to appear more and more in such outlets as The American Conservative, which for all its major flaws, still tries to figure things out and still retains, despite Rod Dreher continuing to write about things he has no clue about, a degree of respectability and expertise. 
Colonel Douglas Macgregor is published in the American Conservative. And he starts with the bang:
The United States is primarily a global maritime and aerospace power, not a global land power. Washington is known for exaggerating threats, but is the notion of spending to fight a near-simultaneous war with Russia and China in 2030 a realistic goal? Wars with continental powers like Russia, China, or even Turkey or Iran, demand the persistent employment of large and powerful ground forces projected over thousands of miles. U.S. military advantages at sea and in the air are relegated to supporting roles as seen in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
It has been stated many times--American warfare is an expeditionary, or as I call it "not here", one. It is a situation which the United States must resign itself to, especially in the times of, as Macgregor quotes Under Secretary of the Navy, Robert Work:
The problem in the context of future amphibious operations: “The Navy-Marine team will never contemplate littoral maneuver until an enemy’s battle network, capable of firing dense salvos of guided weapons, is suppressed…Thus far we have only argued that some capability to conduct theater-entry operations and littoral maneuver must be retained. But it is fair to ask how much amphibious capacity is needed.”
The immediate question is--WHOSE network and suppressed how? In case, say, of Iran I can see that--eventually the pure mass of US Navy and Air Force, operating from bases near Iran may do the trick, which still doesn't mean much in case of land invasion--we can only imagine attrition rates in this case, they will be huge. Macgregor, however, uses a Chinese "scenario":
In other words, the Marine Corps’ slow, soft-skinned, virtually defenseless amphibious carriers, auxiliaries, and VTOL/STOL airlift with their fragile cargoes of Marines cannot operate against the Chinese until the U.S. Air Force and Navy eliminate China’s air and naval forces from most of the Pacific. It’s not realistic, and building more amphibious carriers won’t help. The proliferation of persistent surveillance, air defense, and precision strike technologies consign amphibious operations to the ash heap of history.
Ranges and velocities of weapons today is what drives this very real Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) sweeping away whole scores of obsolete technologies and operational concepts and the process only accelerates--it is inevitable, we are deep in the process of crossing into new combat physics reality. Macgregor was always a persistent reality-based military thinker not afraid of making his, validated not for once, views publicly known since the times of his seminal Breaking the Phalanx, which foretold many issues the United States faces today with her increasingly "top heavy" and questionably effective military power. 

I can not see as of today US forces capable of fighting a peer without sustaining catastrophic losses which may change the dynamics of the conflict dramatically and push the US  to the nuclear threshold. As I spoke for years now, the United States is nuclear-biased since roughly 2008 when the reality of a new combined arms and naval warfare started to trickle down slowly to people who actually have a clue. Not a "four-stars", as Macgregor calls them, of course. In the end, one must ask a question--what happens when the US loses a whole CBG and an amphibious group, or begins to lose 5-10 combat aircraft a day? What will be a reaction? Macgregor doesn't mince his words and is blunt and realistic as ever when concludes:
Back in Washington, deferring to the Four Stars who collectively have never fought a major battle against a capable opponent, is the wrong answer. The service bureaucracies’ insatiable appetite for money and missions to justify their structures inclines them to advocate for U.S. military engagement in lesser conflicts and regions of marginal or no strategic importance to the American people. President Donald Trump must overrule his generals and abandon the financially destructive spending strategy that Congress, industry, and the Four Stars want. If the president does not act, the dismal record of post–World War II U.S. military fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with Vietnam and Korea, will persist into the future with far more serious strategic consequences than anything seen since the first battle of Bull Run.
This is real American patriot and warfare realist speaking--but being a realist, he should understand that Trump is not going to overrule his generals, even if to assume, for a minute, an unimaginable--that Trump is not a militarist. So what is in store then. Macgregor makes one key remark:
The budget of the U.S. Army is currently larger than Russia’s entire defense budget. Yet, the Russian State extracts “more capability for less” from its army than the American taxpayer does. The reason is that Putin removed most of the senior military officers in his first term of office. Putin then demanded and eventually received new plans for the reorganization of Russia’s army into a smaller, more lethal force structure.
Russia IS driving this RMA today and will continue to do so precisely because of the United States and its current position in the larger, global that is, scheme of things. As I continuously write:
For a nation with such a military history as Russia’s the issue of military technology is an issue of survival. As such, weapons in Russia are sacralized because behind them are generations of Russians who shed blood to make those weapons what they are. They have become a part of the culture to such a degree that commercial considerations take a very distant second place to a main purpose of these weapons—to actually defend the nation. This is absolutely not the case in the United States, with some exception for its Navy, with Americans having no knowledge or recollection of what real war is and what instruments for fighting and winning it are needed. Those things cannot be paid for in money, they are paid for in blood.
I guess this also answers the questions posited in the title to Macgregor's excellent piece: Why Do We Fight? How Do We Fight?  

P.S. The conclusion of my new book answers this question too.  

No comments:

Post a Comment