14 November 2009

Unlikely sources

Adam Elkus pointed me towards some great reading on Effects Based Operations and Systemic Operational Design. (I swear that I do go out on Saturday nights) Most notably, he pointed me towards a critique of SOD written by Milan N. Vego. I will fully incorporate Mr. Vego's thoughts into a coherent essay, but it's funny how many times he brings up the fact that SOD--the military's new planning process for complex environments like Afghanistan--is based on French postmodern theory.

It's almost as if he brings this up in the same way COINtras point to FM 3-24 and note that it's based on French Captain David Galula's experiences in Algeria--as if coming from a French source discredits its military value completely (the Franco-phobia was soooo 2003...get over it).

I should also point out the fact that David Galula isn't the only one who gets heavy mention in FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency Theory and Practice. T.E. Lawrence also gets plenty of ink in the new manual. Which is certainly to be expected--Lawrence was one of the greatest writers and thinkers on the topic of insurgency in the 20th Century, (in fact, Seven Pillars of Wisdom is my favorite book of all time).

But what makes his inclusion in FM 3-24 chuckle-worthy is that that an American military manual heaps great praise upon a British officer who, according to a number of biographies, might not have been completely straight.

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