Army Chief of Staff: "Prevent, Shape, Win."

Marauder06

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http://www.army.mil/article/71030/CSA_Editorial__Prevent__shape__win/

WASHINGTON (Dec. 16, 2011) -- There is much discussion in the halls of the Pentagon these days about the role of the Army, and I'd like to share with you my thoughts on the issue.

Without question, 10 years of war and today's austere economic environment will have a profound impact on our Army. But to put it simply: in these uncertain times -- perhaps especially in these uncertain times -- the Army is central to our nation's defense.

Specifically, the Army has three roles to play.

First, our Army must prevent conflict. Prevention requires a credible force with sufficient capacity, readiness and modernization. Our ability and will to win any fight cannot be open to challenge. As part of a joint force, we must be clear that we can fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict. That means realistic training, expert leaders, modern equipment, and quality Soldiers.

Prevention is achieved by convincing your potential opponents that armed conflict with your force would be extremely unwise. Our land forces must continue to be a credible force around the globe.

Second, our Army must help shape the international environment so our friends are enabled and our enemies contained. We do that by engaging with our partners, fostering mutual understanding through military-to-military contacts, and helping partners build the capacity to defend themselves. This is an investment in the future, and an investment we cannot afford to forego. It is cultivating friends before you need them, being a reliable, consistent, and respectful partner.

Finally, we must be ready to win decisively and dominantly. If we do not, we pay the price in American lives. When MacArthur said, "In war there is no substitute for victory," he was making a plain statement of fact. Nothing else can approach what is achieved by winning, and the consequences of losing at war are usually catastrophic. With so much at stake, the American people will expect what they have always expected of us: to never lightly enter into such a terrible endeavor, but once there to win and win decisively.

This "prevent, shape, win" construct captures the Army's unique role as part of the joint force, and rests upon the capabilities, depth, and vast experience resident within our Army. When combined with the capabilities of the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marines, the United States remains -- and will remain -- a force to be reckoned with. As we, the Army, continue to adapt to future strategic challenges, including resource constraints, we must ensure sufficient attention to each role.
 

Viper1

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"Shape" - Did he just give Big Army the FID mission?
At initial glance, I don't think so. When I read his words I immediately thought of more exercises like Cobra Gold, Balikatan, foreign school exchanges at the officer and NCO ranks, etc.
 

AWP

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At initial glance, I don't think so. When I read his words I immediately thought of more exercises like Cobra Gold, Balikatan, foreign school exchanges at the officer and NCO ranks, etc.

I hope so. I hope all of the DA work done by ODAs over the last 10 years and the ETT mission performed by conventional units hasn't "muddied the waters" with regard to who does what.
 

LimaOscarSierraTango

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While I believe these are the same three roles that have been mentioned for years, it would be nice if the higher ups realized it's not just the economic issues impacting the Army in modern times. Two major issues that keep the Army from fulfilling their roles as well as they can are politics and propaganda.

Politics/politicians (especially those without any time in uniform) have been making/forcing bad decisions for a long time. I believe it is an issue with civilians running the military in general. Most politicians these days don't believe in annihilating the enemy. That's really the only way to get them to surrender or obtain a complete victory (see the third role, which is the most important because it helps lay the foundation for "prevent" and "shape").

As for propaganda... we suck at it. We, as a nation, don't understand how to be proactive with it or how to react to propaganda attacks against us. I think we need to take more focus away from social networking and put it into Psyops. Losing a propaganda war takes away from our credibility, which in turn makes each of the three roles that much more difficult to accomplish.

I agree with the three roles, but there are more factors than just the economic conditions and a battle weary military that affect the Army's ability to fulfill their roles. Just my thoughts on the subject.

FF - I believe "shape" in this sense refers to joint training exercises, working together on multinational bases, and possibly allied weapons & technology buying/selling/trading. I am sure FID also plays a role here, especially since that is an SF mission and SF is part of the Army, but I agree with others that it is meant in more general terms here.
 

TLDR20

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I hope so. I hope all of the DA work done by ODAs over the last 10 years and the ETT mission performed by conventional units hasn't "muddied the waters" with regard to who does what.

All the DA was done by with and through PN forces. Last time I checked there were not a whole lot of ODAs doing unilateral ops.
 

AWP

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helping partners build the capacity to defend themselves

The above is part of the "Shape" portion of his statement.

I could be wrong, probably am, I probably read too much into it.
 

moobob

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Big Army thinks it can do everything SF can do. If that wasn't the case, they'd be out of a job in places like Afghanistan.
 

surgicalcric

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Big Army thinks it can do everything SF can do. If that wasn't the case, they'd be out of a job in places like Afghanistan.

They would never have had a job (Command) had they (CF) a clue about their capabilities, and/or lack thereof. Fact is they wanted to be relevant and get their guys into the war and did what they had to to do so. Now they cant get themselves out without saying they were wrong...
 

moobob

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Square peg, round hole. We already had a round peg in place.

I hate seeing young Americans dying doing what amounts to needlessly trolling for IEDs. Or, seeing Big Army pay $3K for a well project that you or I know costs maybe $600. All due to ignorance of their environment and being totally out of their element.

Outside of aviation assets, there was never a need for conventional units in any significant numbers, and they honestly do more harm than good. It goes beyond the inability to admit they were wrong. They are so clueless that they do not realize they are wrong.
 

Mac_NZ

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OK, I'm seeing it a lot different to some of you guys then.

I see a lot of that shape taking place via joint exercises with AUSCANZUKUS nations and the others to help develop the capacity to work together well in peacetime so we can then do that in the next war. You guys do some weird shit and knowing it before we get boots on the ground with you is a hell of a lot less painless then finding it out the hard way.

I understand what SF does but to be honest if I was for example Australia, just brought a Regiment of M1A1 Abrams and you sent an A Team over to train me how to use them I'd be pretty pissed. However if you sent over a Maj and a couple of SNCOs from 1st Armd I'd then be pretty stoked. I already know the TTPs for employment of armour (please note correct spelling of the word) and I'm looking for are guys that have crewed them to help me with the idiosyncrasies of the vehicle.

Isn't that shaping?
 

DA SWO

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I thought SF was part of big Army, so the shaping (FID, et al) performed by SF was still part of the Army Mission. I also know there is a lot of FID that can be done by non-SF units. Logistics, IPB, Staffing etc.
 

AWP

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OK, I'm seeing it a lot different to some of you guys then.

I see a lot of that shape taking place via joint exercises with AUSCANZUKUS nations and the others to help develop the capacity to work together well in peacetime so we can then do that in the next war. You guys do some weird shit and knowing it before we get boots on the ground with you is a hell of a lot less painless then finding it out the hard way.

I understand what SF does but to be honest if I was for example Australia, just brought a Regiment of M1A1 Abrams and you sent an A Team over to train me how to use them I'd be pretty pissed. However if you sent over a Maj and a couple of SNCOs from 1st Armd I'd then be pretty stoked. I already know the TTPs for employment of armour (please note correct spelling of the word) and I'm looking for are guys that have crewed them to help me with the idiosyncrasies of the vehicle.

Isn't that shaping?

This example I agree with, however I've watched Big Army in Afghanistan jump into training Afghans on many levels. The Air force has a dedicated FID/ UW squadron, but I doubt they are the only ones training the Afghan Air Force. The conventional side has muscled into roles it isn't prepared (read: trained) for.

Now, I understand the scope of the missions are much greater than what our 7 Groups and one AF squadron can perform and I understand the expediency of placing conventional forces into selected roles. In many cases however, they receive little to no training and we aren't putting seasoned E-6's and E-7's with them, I've seen SPC 4's training Afghans. We aren't even providing our trainers with the benefit of a mini Q Course as far as some of the blocks of instruction, we're grabbing guys, maybe giving them a few classes and some pointee-talkee cards, and putting them on a plane.

I've overheard numerous officers and NCOs make light of the fact that they are doing SF's mission so SF can't be that hard. "If I can train Afghans then what is SF doing?"

Given the thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who have trained Afghan and Iraqi forces, I don't think it unreasonable to believe that a "What does SF do for me?" bias is creeping into the upper ranks, or at least it will over time.

I tend to see the worst in people, I understand that, so maybe I'm wrong regarding the CSA's intent. I'd like to think that common sense and reason will prevail and commanders won't find themselves encroaching upon one of SF's core tasks, but I'm not optimistic. I know we can "What if" ourselves to death, but I don't think the massive amount of troops seen in Afghanistan would be necessary had we allowed this to be a SOF environment. We spread ourselves very thin and then used the maxim that quantity has a quality all its own when it came to Afghanistan and my concern is that Big Army's takeaway from the GWOT is "We can train armies, that's what we do."
 

surgicalcric

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CF, when tasked, deploys to train HN personnel, period. SF, when tasked, deploys to do X through FID. There are more differences than similarities in the two but we cannot delve into them without violating aspects of mission security.

SOWT: You are spot on about the shaping aspects of SF's mission. It is part of the Army's mission but only as it applies to SF.

FF said:
...I've overheard numerous officers and NCOs make light of the fact that they are doing SF's mission so SF can't be that hard. "If I can train Afghans then what is SF doing?"

What they dont get is what I stated above. They see that they are doing the job of a drill sergeant but dont have knowledge of everything else SF does concurrent to the training.
 

Crusader74

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Is it not a waste on resourses for an ODA to carry out FID? Should conventional forces not carry out that task or train indigenous Units to carry out said task?
 

pardus

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OK, I'm seeing it a lot different to some of you guys then.

I see a lot of that shape taking place via joint exercises with AUSCANZUKUS nations and the others to help develop the capacity to work together well in peacetime so we can then do that in the next war. You guys do some weird shit and knowing it before we get boots on the ground with you is a hell of a lot less painless then finding it out the hard way.

I understand what SF does but to be honest if I was for example Australia, just brought a Regiment of M1A1 Abrams and you sent an A Team over to train me how to use them I'd be pretty pissed. However if you sent over a Maj and a couple of SNCOs from 1st Armd I'd then be pretty stoked. I already know the TTPs for employment of armour (please note correct spelling of the word) and I'm looking for are guys that have crewed them to help me with the idiosyncrasies of the vehicle.

Isn't that shaping?

Is it not a waste on resourses for an ODA to carry out FID? Should conventional forces not carry out that task or train indigenous Units to carry out said task?

Irish, I can't speak for your training as I haven't with with your Army or your guys, but as you train with the Brits I'm going to assume you are in line with other Commonwealth Armies.
I've worked with Soldiers from the the following armies, Kiwi, Aussie, Brit, South African and American.

The conventional US Army soldier is very poorly trained compared to the Commonwealth troops, and I'm being PC.

Mac, I'll give you a specific and personal example to bring my point home.
Danny B and I meet up in Washington DC while he was attending the US Army Command Sargent Major's (RSM's) course.
We were drinking with an Aussie RSM who was being posted to the US Army CSM course as an instructor (he was pissed beyond belief over it!).
They told me the CSM course instructors were the worse they'd ever encountered. The course content was pretty pathetic. Danny told me some of the content of the course was the same material taught in the NZ Army JNCO's course!
They were honestly shocked.

They did say that the 82nd and 1o1st guys were pretty good and they were both impressed at the standard of fitness with all the US guys which honestly exceeded "ours".

Training in the US Army has been hard for me as I have to comply with a bunch of BS rules and creeds and dumb myself down to the point where I'm just a fucking monkey in a uniform.
If the US didn't have a huge, technological Military force it would have nothing.
I came to a realization during some training a while back that my skill as a soldier was now meaningless. The way the US Army conducts itself, my survival is nothing more than pure luck. Very sobering, Fucking ridiculous.
 

Crusader74

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Irish, I can't speak for your training as I haven't with with your Army or your guys, but as you train with the Brits I'm going to assume you are in line with other Commonwealth Armies.
I've worked with Soldiers from the the following armies, Kiwi, Aussie, Brit, South African and American.

The conventional US Army soldier is very poorly trained compared to the Commonwealth troops, and I'm being PC.

Mac, I'll give you a specific and personal example to bring my point home.
Danny B and I meet up in Washington DC while he was attending the US Army Command Sargent Major's (RSM's) course.
We were drinking with an Aussie RSM who was being posted to the US Army CSM course as an instructor (he was pissed beyond belief over it!).
They told me the CSM course instructors were the worse they'd ever encountered. The course content was pretty pathetic. Danny told me some of the content of the course was the same material taught in the NZ Army JNCO's course!
They were honestly shocked.

They did say that the 82nd and 1o1st guys were pretty good and they were both impressed at the standard of fitness with all the US guys which honestly exceeded "ours".

Training in the US Army has been hard for me as I have to comply with a bunch of BS rules and creeds and dumb myself down to the point where I'm just a fucking monkey in a uniform.
If the US didn't have a huge, technological Military force it would have nothing.
I came to a realization during some training a while back that my skill as a soldier was now meaningless. The way the US Army conducts itself, my survival is nothing more than pure luck. Very sobering, Fucking ridiculous.


We have to cross-train on various MOS's due to our small size...It wouldn't be uncommon for a Recce qual'd guys to be Snipers or Cooks being HGV(heavy goods vehicle) qual'd.. a Medic being a signaller and so on...

I assumed the US cross-trained with the Brits/AUS/NZ and took on TTP's that fitted into their training doctrine..
 
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