Monday, December 9, 2019

The Wrong Next War

There’s an old saying that Generals are always preparing to fight the last war.  Well, there’s a related and previously unknown phenomenon developing within the US military which is that the Generals are preparing to fight the wrong next war.

To give some credit where credit is due, the US military is devoting a fair amount of effort to preparing to fight the next war.  The problem is that the next war that our military envisions is one entirely of their own creation rather than one defined by consideration of the enemy’s capabilities and intent.  We’re not preparing to fight the war that China and Russia are going to deliver;  we’re preparing to fight the war that we want to see:  a war of high technology, with lots of cross-domain buzzwords, artificial intelligence assisted joint battle command, with dispersed, small, flexible, light units creating havoc deep within enemy territory, tiny unmanned vehicles roving the air, land, and sea and applying nearly magical capabilities, all supported by an exquisite, ephemeral network providing perfect situational awareness.

What kind of war are the Russians and Chinese preparing to deliver?  They’re building heavier and heavier armored units with more, bigger, and far more lethal conventional explosives delivered by massed artillery and ballistic missiles.  The Chinese are building for a war of attrition and are on a quick path to outnumbering us in every category of military capability.  The Russians are telling us exactly what kind of war they’ll deliver with their semi-proxy invasion of Ukraine.  It’s a war of unimaginable destruction delivered by artillery supported by electronic warfare and UAVs, all backed by heavy armored units.  Entire mechanized units are wiped out in seconds.  Our enemies are preparing to employ lethal battlefield unmanned vehicles without a care for unintended casualties.

In short, our enemies are preparing to deliver a war with massive firepower, heavy armored units, widespread and effective electronic warfare, and Terminator style unmanned killing machines.

Now look at the kind of war games we’re conducting.

We’re preparing to conduct the first multi-domain command and control exercise, Cross Domain One.

The Air Force will lead the first experiment of Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) capabilities in two weeks, tying fighter jets to Army ground systems and Navy ships in a real-world example of Multi-Domain Operations.

Preston Dunlap, Air Force chief architect for acquisition, told Breaking D that the exercise in Florida will “be powered by” the service’s nascent Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). (1)

We’re preparing to fight a war of neat columns of data, sophisticated user interfaces, systems of systems, and cross-domain synergistic spreadsheets all backed up by dispersed light infantry and distributed logistics ships with a few anti-ship missiles.  Our idea of heavy firepower is the 30 mm machine gun that we’ve so proudly stuck on the Strykers and dubbed ‘Dragoon’.  The Russians in their heavily armored, T-90 or T-14 Armata tanks with 125 mm guns must be quaking in their boots over the prospect of facing unarmored Strykers with machine guns for main weapons.

Stryker Dragoon - Wrong For The Next War

While Russia is developing improved cluster munitions and China is mass producing conventional ballistic missiles, we’ve established a Department of Defense, Non-Lethal Weapons Program (2).

Where’s our war game that examines the devastating effects of pure firepower?  Where’s our wargame that tries to figure out how to defeat an armored division?  Where’s our wargame that looks at how to deal with massive artillery barrages?  Where’s our exercise that forces units to operate with jammed communications, no GPS, jammed radar, and constant cyber attack?  Where’s our wargame that looks at trying to operate under enemy controlled skies?

Our [badly] misguided military leadership has created a fantasy vision of what a future war will look like – a war that doesn’t match the predictable reality - and are now contentedly ‘validating’ our weapons and systems against that unrealistic fantasy war.   Our Generals and Admirals are busy congratulating themselves for the rosy results of these fantasy wargames that are concocted from wishful thinking rather than the enemy’s demonstrated capabilities and plans. 

We’ve left firepower far behind in the rear view mirror in our pursuit of perfect data awareness.  We’ve forgotten that even perfect awareness is useless without the means to destroy what we see.  We’ve forgotten that firepower trumps awareness – you don’t need to know exactly where that enemy unit is if you’ve got the firepower and are willing to wipe out a grid square (and all the collateral damage that might go with it) to destroy it.  An unstoppable barrage of artillery fire doesn’t require precision guidance – close counts in horseshoes and artillery.

The decades of low intensity, low threat conflict have led our military leaders who have grown up in that environment to believe that war with Russia/China/Iran/NKorea will be more of the same and that the war can be won with data and networks.  These ignorant leaders have now concocted fantasy wargames because they simply can’t grasp the horror, devastation, and barbarity that will be a modern peer war.


(1)Breaking Defense website, “First Multi Domain C2 Exercise Planned: Cross Domain One ”, Theresa Hitchens, 6-Dec-2019,


  1. For Russia, at least, there is a bit of paper tiger to these new capabilities. It's unclear how many Armata vehicles they will actually get, due to budget constraints. They continue to build T-90s and still have thousands of T-72s in service. Armata may be as much about export as it is about equipping Russian forces.

    Remember, Russia's GDP is only a bit higher than Spain's, and less than the GDP of Texas.

    China is another story.

    1. "bit of paper tiger to these new capabilities."

      The same could be said of the US. Our 32-ship Zumwalt buy was reduced to 3 ships without their main weapon. We bought 30+ LCS that have no combat capability. Our air wings are shrinking and barely have enough flight hours for the pilots to remain flight qualified. Despite decades of attempts at replacing them, we still have thousands of Bradleys in service. And so on.

      I get your general point about Russia and it's valid to an extent, as it is with the US, however, Russia has some impressive capabilities (nuclear, EW, artillery, cluster munitions, etc.) and potential capabilities.

      The point of the post is not what specific equipment Russia has but that our military leaders are preparing to fight a war that they have created in their own minds rather than from our enemy's actual capabilities and demonstrated intent.

    2. I wouldn't call Russia a "peer" when compared to the USA, but they're doing fairly well with their limited budget while America is busy burning untold billions like it was nothing.

      Having ten times your (potential) enemy's money isn't really an advantage as long as you waste said money on gender training and Zumwalts.

    3. "Having ten times your (potential) enemy's money isn't really an advantage as long as you waste said money on gender training and Zumwalts."

      Well said!

    4. "Russia ... they're doing fairly well with their limited budget"

      Agreed. Their monetary constraints seem to have forced them to sharpen their thinking and ruthlessly prioritize real combat capabilities over techno-glitz. One trend I see is that they seem to be emphasizing land combat over sea - understandable given their land contact with the rest of Europe and China.

    5. Well, Russia being Russia "land over sea" is the natural choice for them anyway.
      (And capital ships can be very expensive.)

      Besides, I wonder whether really massive budget cuts would help the US military lose their "platinum bullet" wonder-weapon mentality, but since they've got no skin in the game I frankly doubt it.

    6. In whatever form America would not start a war against the Russian Federation the Americans must understand that they will be guaranteed to be destroyed and America will turn into a radioactive desert. The system "Dead hand", which is owned by the Russian Federation will not leave the United States any chance.

  2. The work of Colonel Douglas A. MacGregor (ret) is worth examining in this context. It's definitely a step in the right direction.

    1. He's promoted lots of ideas. Which one(s), in particular, do you find most worthy of attention and why?

    2. One analysis I've read of his ground force ideas said that they could work but their design leaves no margin of error. The forces are designed for maneuver and hit & run battles. If they got stuck in a stand up fight, if the enemy does the unexpected, if the intell is wrong, if Murphy raises its head there could be a debacle. His forces might be a little too lightweight.

      In a little way, it reminds me of the the original 'street fighter' doctrine of the LCS's.

  3. I stayed quiet on the Distributed Lethality conversation despite the fact it makes me see red every time it comes up. I sound like a broken record.

    Before the advent of sat comms, it was incredibly difficult to coordinate a battlespace. If we lose sat comms, particularly sat data comms, distributed lethality is going to fall apart.

    So to contribute to the "wrong next war", here is some fresh info that illustrates how badly the whole distributed lethality and networked combat systems myths are going to crash and burn.

    Its going to be back to WWII and Korea communications again in next to no time, like maybe first day even.

    Which reinforces your view; "because they simply can’t grasp the horror, devastation, and barbarity that will be a modern peer war."

    1. "I stayed quiet on the Distributed Lethality ... I sound like a broken record."

      Hey, I do an entire blog with recurring (broken record) themes! Don't let repetition stop you! Sometimes repetition is needed to beat ideas into stubborn heads.

      Okay, so you don't like DL. Neither do I. The Navy seems to want to base much of their warfighting doctrine on DL. What doctrinal level approach would you suggest as an alternative?

    2. Lets go back to a little history and then expand on that. Historically, comms were visual if radio couldn't be used. Blinker lights and flags. Worked pretty well, if very slow.

      Originally radio was continuous wave Morse code down around 500MHz in the MF band. Also worked pretty reliably, but slow. Submerged subs use VLF/ELF frequencies that are also pretty reliable, but one-way and extremely slow.

      HF bounce of the ionosphere gets you long range comms, but fairly slow and quite easy to jam. Its somewhat unreliable even with no jamming as atmospheric conditions have a huge impact.

      If you have no comm relays (comm sats) available your next best choice is probably TropoScatter. It will get you up to about 1000km, is fairly low probability of intercept and is reasonably hard to jam. Its also a half decent data rate. The problem is its quite directional and the dishes will have to be well stabilized on a warship. Not sure if AESA could be used to beamform, I haven't seen any papers on it. I've used TropoScatter on offshore oil platforms in the North Sea and it works well.

      Once you get the stabilization working, you also have very high data-rate lasers as a comm medium. This gives you speeds way above what you can get with sat comms, and its effectively un-jammable which is nice. The problem is line of sight only. I've used them in last mile point to point applications and they are amazing. The problem is aiming and heavy fog.

      So what this is telling me is that DL is going to be limited to line of sight again, just like the old days, and that sensor platforms are going to have to be fairly close to the shooters in order to communicate. So spreading a CBG over a 200M radius is not going to work well in a hostile EW environment such as a Chinese A2/AD zone unless we have modern TropoScatter installed and working reliably.

      As far as the really spectacularly dumb ideas like having LCSs lurking behind an island just waiting for targeting information, good luck with that.

      There is an excellent paper on the comms problem (including TropoScatter) in an A2/AD environment that can be found here:

      And an interesting discussion on how to employ high-powered lasers for ultra-high-speed comms that are capable of burning a path through cloud/fog here:

      My interests and background are comms and EW, so I obviously don't have all the answers. I do have a reasonable grasp of some of the issues with reliability of a networked battlespace, issues which are going to ring the death-knell of DL.

    3. I am not a comms expert, by any means, so I happily welcome and defer to you. My conclusions are drawn from reports of actual experience and what they show is that communications are ALWAYS a problem in a combat setting. Ukraine is a good test bed and clearly demonstrates both the difficulty and danger of communications although, admittedly, the Ukrainians don't have access to US communications capabilities which might or might not make a difference.

    4. My thoughts were based on getting data comms to work reliably in a heavy jamming environment.

      Once you have weapons flying around, your high precision antenna and laser stabilization systems may well be among the first casualties!!

    5. (Don McCollor) My concern is the current heavy dependence on satellite communications and GPS...if they can be jammed by a high-tech nation (Russia, China) or simply disrupted by an edge-of-atmosphere nuclear weapon by a "wild card" nation (like North Korea, Iran), the playing field is leveled. Especially if they either have trained for the loss or do not depend on all the fancy gadgets. This is especially applicable to the latter nations (in a bar fight at night, the best thing a blind man can do is to turn off the lights).

  4. Déjà vu. It will be the modern equivalent of the German blitzkrieg at the beginning of ww2.will we ever learn!

    1. Blitzkrieg was less a tactic and more of a lot of good luck. Had the Brits and French been positioned or reacted differently the panzers could have been cut off and chopped up.

  5. I've little doubt that US admirals and generals sincerely believe that they're preparing for the war of the future. However, they're taking their ideas of such a war from the wrong places.

    Specifically, from the most visible manifestations of high technology in US society, the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Uber and so on. The future those companies portray is one of great individual freedom and power, provided you keep on using the network and their services. They have a strong interest in getting people to regard the network as a vital and omnipresent utility, because that relieves them from paying for it.They also want to downplay the power they gain from it.

    The combination of these messages is making people want to be dependent on the network. It's hardly surprising that this is affecting military planning.

  6. "What kind of war are the Russians and Chinese preparing to deliver?"

    For the near future, they are clearly planning on an overland war, because they don't have anything remotely approaching the phib lift capability to haul that kind of force very far overseas. For Russia, there are two places they can attack overland--China or Europe. For China, there are similarly two places they can attack--Russia or the other countries around the China Sea, albeit the latter would require somewhat upgraded phib lift capability (which they are working on).

    If Russia and China go to war against each other, my suggestion would be to pop some corn and watch. Until then, a reasonable foreign relations strategy might be to triangulate them against each other in some things.

    So we are down to worrying about Eastern Europe or the China Sea. I would add any would-be hegemon in the Middle East, but that is probably a lesser concern.

    Comparing us to them, it's kind of been high tech versus heavy metal for 3 or 4 decades, at least. The question I have is how much of this really snazzy tech stuff is going to work in combat? And if it doesn't, what then?

    I think we tell the Army, "Your job is to figure out how we win in Europe." And you tell the Navy and Marines, "Your job is to figure out how we win in the China Sea."

  7. The Russian and Chinese emphasis (as far as Americans are concerned) seems to be on long range and hyper-sonic missile strike, not armor and firepower.

    I don't see how a round lands near Russian soil without Andrews AFB blowing up with conventional warheads. Nevermind whether aegis is actually up to the job of modern missile defense.

  8. "real combat capabilities"

    Have they though? Yes yes everyone is all look their massed artillery. Nifty anyone can do that if nobody is shooting back. I believe the US managed the same effect in Iraq when they were sitting ducks.

    Russia is ready for peer war - have thay fought one? Ukraine, Georgia and a couple decades in Chechnya don't a peer war make.

    I suppose China is trying to get there at least to make the case that can take Taiwan and push around India if they want. But I think China is more risk avers that you think. Yes China defiantly wants to alter the US designed post WW2 economic order. It cares not about human rights and elections nor even wastes time pretending it does. It certainly does want Taiwan back. But it leaders are not zealots and very much want to die happy and wealthy in bed and their bargain for being a oligarchy is making everyone in China a bit better off than they were (unless you are an annoying minority or trouble maker). I'm not sure they really have the will to accept the economic disruption that real peer war would require.


    Well I would hope A-stan and Iraq would convince US leaders that invading Iran would beyond silly and pointless so at best we talking control of the Gulf and surrounding seas. More ugly than back in the 80s but probably doable.

    North Korea has bet everything on nukes, its conventional military is ossified and out of date. It can still of course bring the horror of war to Seoul (before it is defeated and of course China would likely stop the ROK from rolling up to the Yalu)and one would assume chemical warfare to bog the US/ROK down.

    However I take the point that the US military has been shaped by the not cold war and endless global war on terror. But how could it not be it does actually have to fight the wars its asked to fight and also have to say not spend endlessly when their was no peer rival to envision fighting (90s-earyl 2000s).

    " Where’s our war game ... Where’s our wargame that looks at trying to operate under enemy controlled skies?"

    All good points. And with the biggest budget on the planet it inexplicable we are not spending on that. However I don't agree the implication that anyone else is either. Or perhaps I missed China testing its CV killing missiles in a contested environment in the Pacific against a moving target? Or when has Russia demonstrated 'steel rain' while its artillery units had to shoot and scoot. Let's not forget the same Russia that looks fearsome in its near about is the same Russia that sent its last CV laboriously to Syria with a tug and lost what 3 planes off it via accident, so that it could toil home and die in a accident itself.

    1. "when has Russia demonstrated 'steel rain' while its artillery units had to shoot and scoot."

      I have no idea. I know they conduct lots of exercises so I would assume they conduct such training. Do you know that they don't? If not, we kind of have to assume that they do. Further, Ukraine has artillery of their own so I, again, assume that the Russian artillery is not sitting immobile. I note that much of Russia's artillery force is self-propelled so they're certainly set up for shoot and scoot.

      You should be wary of denigrating enemy capabilities just because we aren't privy to detailed descriptions of their doctrine, exercises, and actual combat practice.

      Here's a brief article comparing Russian military force to Europe/US in a no-notice war.


    2. Kath, I wouldn't get your hopes up about controlling the Gulf. If I understand correctly, the US hasn't sailed a capital ship through the Straits of Hormuz since things heated up in June of last year.

      Its considered too risky.

      I expect that threat from Iran to increase steadily, and shooting something in the Straits is a whole lot easier than going after a carrier in the open ocean.

      If I'm reading this right, Iran is going to end up as the regional hegemon in the Middle East, probably allied with Turkey, Russia and China.

    3. " the US hasn't sailed a capital ship through the Straits of Hormuz since things heated up in June of last year. "

      The USS Lincoln entered the Persian Gulf on 19-Nov-2019.

    4. Noted. I guess things have calmed down enough now. I think my point stands that the Straits are a very effective choke point.

      "Navy aircraft carriers traditionally sail through the narrow international shipping route when operating in the region, but tensions with Iran had kept the strike group away from the passage."

      The Lincoln has been in the Arabian Sea since the Suez transit in May, which makes sense operationally but limits the sortie rate if you are doing deep strike into the more populated areas of Iran or the top of the Gulf.

    5. "I think my point stands that the Straits are a very effective choke point."

      Yes and no. Yes, theoretically - if someone has the military power to use it. Iran does not. Iran does not have the navy or air force or missile capacity necessary to contest and close the strait. The only effective means - and it would be very effective! - of contesting the strait would be mines. However, if the strait is not already mined at the beginning of hostilities, Iran lacks the means to conduct an opposed mining operation. Any mine carrying/laying assets would be destroyed before it could reach the location.

      So, no, the strait is not an effective choke point for Iran because the lack the power to utilize it unless we stand off and allow it which would be foolish on our part but possibly par for the course since we're standing off and allowing them to mine ships and shoot down drones.

    6. "Any mine carrying/laying assets would be destroyed before it could reach the location."

      Submarines? US ASW is pretty limited.

    7. "Submarines? US ASW is pretty limited."

      US ASW is somewhat limited, however, this is where the chokepoint nature of the strait aids us. The area to search for subs is relatively very small and the enemy subs must come to us! We have enough Burkes and helos and P-8s that we could line them up shoulder to shoulder across the strait.

      This illustrates one of my continuing themes - that we have to think operationally and big picture instead of one sub vs one helo or one destroyer. Take into consideration the geography and the relative military strengths of the US and Iran and the outcome is an obvious, foregone conclusion.

      Also, if hostilities got to that point, presumably we'd be attacking Iranian subs in port before they could even leave as well as Iranian mine storage depots - not a 100% guaranteed end to the threat but we could put a pretty substantial dent in their mine laying capacity.

    8. I'm somewhat skeptical about shrugging off Iran's missile capabilities. Several reasons.

      Scud hunting was notoriously difficult so finding well hidden TELs may not be trivial. Patriot defense systems (maybe) didn't work particularly well against even a dim-witted Scud so defenses, particularly against saturation attacks appear to be unproven. Nobody expected the kind of damage the Abqaiq attack generated for example.

      Iran has received technology transfers from both Russia and China.

      It would seem to be the case that Iran has at least a short to medium range maneuverable anti-ship ballistic missile with a seeker head. There are claims that they have enough of them for saturation attacks.

      The terrain around the Straits is very rugged once you get a couple of miles inland. Ideal for hiding TELs.

      Iran has effective control of both sides of a Strait that looks like an inverted "U". An attack could come from almost any direction.


    9. "Also, if hostilities got to that point, presumably we'd be attacking Iranian subs in port before they could even leave as well as Iranian mine storage depots - not a 100% guaranteed end to the threat but we could put a pretty substantial dent in their mine laying capacity."

      Mines make sense if you have already deployed one or more command-armed minefields. I do agree that Iran does not have the ability to lay such minefields under combat conditions.

      I'm more concerned about anti-ship missiles personally, but who knows?

    10. Most assume Iran would be the one to initiate hostilities. If so, there will be a period of time before an effective response can be mounted.

      They could use this time to mine the Strait, if they plan well and have good OPSEC.

    11. "I'm somewhat skeptical about shrugging off Iran's missile capabilities."

      Assuming we aren't stupid enough to sail straight (pardon the pun) into the strait with no preparation whatsoever, we'll eliminate much of their capability beforehand. Sensors are the weak link of any remote weapon and Iran's sensor options and capabilities are limited and won't stand up to a sustained assault. Having reduced their sensing and weapons capability, we can enter the strait, if we wish, and then depend on Aegis in full auto to provide protection against whatever Iranian missile capability remains. Aegis was designed to handle Soviet missile saturation attacks so I would hope it can handle a handful of odd Iranian missiles. If it can't then we've wasted untold billions of dollars.

    12. "Most assume Iran would be the one to initiate hostilities. If so, there will be a period of time before an effective response can be mounted."

      If they initiate hostilities out of the blue, yes. However, hostilities rarely commence with no notice. There is always a fairly protracted buildup. We'd have plenty of time to position forces. Remember, we have a pretty fair amount of forces in the Middle East and Mediterranean that could respond within hours. Barring utter stupidity on our part (which I don't rule out!), Iran has no hope of mounting any effective offense or defense. They are simply too overmatched.

    13. The Strait is around 30 miles wide for a big chunk of it, and the water deep enough to take a major ship is quite narrow for many miles of transit. High ground with a MK 1 eyeball will suffice for rough targeting.

      I come back to Scud hunting and how difficult that was. The terrain we are talking about here is much larger and way more rugged. Lots of radar shadows to hide in. I haven't set foot in this particular area, but I know the area farther west up around Pazanan fairly well and this seems similar.

      As you have mentioned many times, and as I've taken to heart, many systems are designed, and sometimes they work as designed. Aegis as you have pointed out is fairly fragile and never tested in a saturation attack. I hope we never have to find out, but I'm unwilling to put money on it.

      I am seriously convinced this is not an "odd handful of Iranian missiles", but I may be accepting too much propaganda as fact. The Abqaiq attack was a wake up call, as to some degree was the Global Hawk shootdown that shouldn't have happened either.

      "Aegis was designed to handle Soviet missile saturation attacks so I would hope it can handle a handful of odd Iranian missiles. If it can't then we've wasted untold billions of dollars."

      The Strait smells to me like an asymmetric nightmare waiting to happen, and I'm guessing that's why the Lincoln stayed out of the Gulf for the last five months.

    14. Just a quick follow up. The USS Mason in Yemen doesn't inspire confidence in Aegis. Do you need SM-3s for ballistic missile defense?

    15. "The USS Mason in Yemen doesn't inspire confidence in Aegis."

      Actually, it doesn't tell us anything definitive, one way or the other. You'll recall that the Vincennes failed tragically but the Aegis system collected and displayed all the correct data. It was the crew that failed, not Aegis.

      What happened in the Mason incidents? Did Aegis fail or did the crew? I suspect the crew, since no other asset 'saw' the attacks but we simply don't know.

    16. I think of Aegis Defense as a system including hardware, software and wetware. No one piece works without the rest.

      Hard to know exactly what happened without the recordings being released. But something was odd for all the reasons you have laid out.

    17. (Don McCollor) What about low tech? A minelayer is a bit about smaller craft like fishing boats towing and releasing one or two mines at a time over an extended period prior to hostilities (with a common activation delay)?...

    18. " mines … prior to hostilities"

      Certainly, this can work if Iran is willing to mine a globally important waterway without any declared hostilities. Of course, that would bring the rather of the world down on Iran and I doubt even they, as insane as they are, would want that.

      "A minelayer is a bit conspicuous"

      Not in peacetime. A minelayer, which is classified as a warship, has every right to travel shipping lanes. With the caveat discussed above, if an Iranian minelayer wanted to drop a few mines along the way, it would be impossible to stop but, as noted, it would unite the world against them.

    19. "You should be wary of denigrating enemy capabilities..."

      I don't mean to but neither do I think the borderline hysteria churned out by think tanks is necessary either.

      Re: Link. Can the Baltics be defended probably not. Or at least not with out essentially really pissing Russia off. What would Russia get out the deal people who don't want to be part of Russia and with oil not over 100 dollars a barrel not likely people Putin can afford to buy off. Realistically you could do the same study and probably show that on short notice the US and Poland could overwhelm Kaliningrad.

      I'm not sure either ideal is sound strategic policy even if it could be done.

      I be more interested what Rand analysis have to say about Poland or Romania or Finland if you think you need to worry about Putin making some major military effort. Poland at least seems to like its tanks it long range artillery (same as Russia)and its anti air.

      But force is politics by other means. What if the US say did permanently base an armored brigade or more in Poland. More Planes. And a ton of AA, Anti-missile and even things like Iron Dome or C-RAM everywhere. Putin no doubt would see a fortified bastion and respond by upping his deployments would anyone be more secure?

    20. Add: Sorry on the steel rain. I am sure I used to have a couple links from a couple years ago. The thing was Russia looked to massing artillery right inside the Russian boarder and shooting with impunity from static well defined locations with a complete edge in remote sensing. The Ukraine simply had no effective response.

    21. "What if the US say did permanently base an armored brigade or more in Poland. ... would anyone be more secure?"

      The security of NATO countries such as Poland is achieved not by how many units are stationed in the country but by the backing of NATO. Despite the myriad problems NATO faces in terms of readiness, it still can muster far, far more combat power than Russia.

    22. "Russia looked to massing artillery right inside the Russian boarder and shooting with impunity"

      What I note from the various battle reports is the very effective targeting (EW and UAV) Russia has done combined with VERY short response times. That's some incredibly effective firepower.

      I also note that they have significant self-propelled artillery which is ideal for shoot and scoot. There is no reason to believe they wouldn't do that if they had to.

      Finally, I look at the various artillery munitions they have (advanced cluster munitions, in particular) and can't help but be impressed.

      The combination of effective firepower, modern munitions, and the ability to shoot and scoot leads me to believe that they have a very good artillery base.

  9. Lots of "ifs" for all this great tech to work and succeed?, "if" something goes wrong, what's plan B? I'm being generous on the "succeed" because I've said numerous times, this is all reactive and defensive, we're playing for a tie...Plan B? There really isnt one since we're giving up heavy firepower, heavy armor, mass,no more reserves, we playing for a tie or massive defeat....nice, that's what happens when you give DoD close to a Trillion $ a year.

  10. Skipper, ever read Andrei Martyanov's stuff over at Ron Unz? Instructive. Your takes aren't far off. The comments afterwards are from a fair class of learned participants, also. I remain convinced we have to be far bigger into submarines and far smaller in surface ships including the likes of yours and my favorite platform, USS Gerald Ford Class, LCS. And I have far less confidence in the troops as constituted, but that seems to be a taboo subject in some circles, but those folks have to keep a job, too. Peace is a far better solution.

    1. "ever read Andrei Martyanov's stuff over at Ron Unz?"

      I have not. Thanks for the link.

  11. This is great. I have to read both those books too...

    I particularly like the Iran references, but its all funny, and probably too true!


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