16 March 2010

The value of good "Red-Teaming"

Today, On Violence tackled the "canned" training scenarios we seem to always find ourselves partaking in. Training xercises are usually scripted to a certain degree, typically resulting in a resounding American victory. (Although, in fairness, training exercises have to be heavily planned and scripted so as to allow all participating units--be they infantry, artillery or aviation--to accomplish all of their training objectives.)

I have participated in countless training exercises, and every time the US plays the offense. And we always have three times as many troops as the enemy. Always. It's a guideline for high-intensity warfare, but now it is law. It doesn't make sense that we will always have three times as many Soldiers as our enemy, but somehow in training, we always do.

This “guideline” is so rigorously embedded in the Army's consciousness, we still use it when we plan counter-insurgency operations. Whenever my battalion conducted Company-sized operations, (or CONOPs,
see the post here) during the brief our S2 always briefed the number of enemy he expected on an objective. I would listen in as the S2 briefed his portion, and as I calculated it, we had exactly three times as many troops. Either we could perfectly predict the enemy's size, or we jerryrigged our slides to meet an arbitrary guideline.
Come on, I'm certain there are plenty of good reasons for not properly red-teaming your scenario...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do people realize that the Soviet Union was defeated a long time ago and now we are fighting insugents in cramped alleyways?
Which century do the planners of the training scenerios live in? The days of massive battles are sooo mid-20th century. Are they expecting us to fight the Chinese Army? They're probably more interested in destabilizing our financial infrastructure than fighting us on the battlefield.