Armed Forces Journal, Lt Col Paul Yingling

He said in an article in Armed Forces Journal:

“America’s generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy. The argument that follows consists of three elements. First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America’s generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.”

The first failure: America’s military and its strategy are based on wildly expensive solutions to non threats. The generals have fostered the growth of investment in ill designed technical solutions to any threats with an order of battle like the one that defeated the Axis powers, while this enemy is not an industrialized country.

The generals have allowed our security to be measured in dollars spent. They fail to recognize that money and security are not the same. But the money is good once they retire and get on the boards of directors.

The second failing was not recognizing the fact that the structure the generals built and grew up in was not suited to the challenge. They fought the Vietnamese nationalists as if they were Nazi or Japanese regular formations. They took and gave up ground as if it mattered. They continued to spend our precious resource, our young soldiers in a tactical process with no means to deliver an acceptable outcome. Their failing was staying with the hammer they had when a new tool box was needed.

Their failing was living in the past, building strategy on the wrong enemies and then wishing they would get away with it.

Here is one issue I disagree with Lt Col Yingling:

“Congress must ask for a candid assessment of the money and manpower required over the next generation to prevail in the Long War.”

No general should advocate “long war”. Here is a basic problem with the US in Asian wars. The US military clings to Clauswitz, who advocated land war early industrial age war. Clauswitz is not useful in Asia where war existed before the Industrial Age before even the Roman republic.

Long war is no good. In Asia long is measured in centuries.

This is truth: “America’s generals have been checked by a form of war that they did not prepare for and do not understand.”