14 January 2009

What's old is new and something like that

When I was a cadet, my instructors had served their entire careers in a peacetime Army.  They often related to me that everything in the military had been done before--it was merely a matter of picking up the right "continuity book" or field manual and simply doing what everyone else had done.  I really never caught on to this idea, and I'm kind of glad I didn't. 

It was great advice for a military whose greatest challenge might have been planning a ball or a change of command, but it's hardly applicable now.  In a world where our military is increasingly being pitted against threats from non-traditional enemies, I often wonder if someone is digging through John Paul Jones' "continuity book" to see how we deal with 21st Century pirates.  


Anonymous said...

I brought a very similar point up to Col. Gentile in a brief email exchange we had. The ROTC program (from what I have experienced thus far, including the knowledge gleaned from close friends who are graduates of the program) is absolutely dated. During an FTX with UC Davis and UC Berkeley cadets around 6 or so months back, I think only a handful of cadets (out of hundreds) even knew what “COIN” was. There was no mention of COIN during ROTC, and the training was not at all, in any way shape or form (aside from a traffic control point) adjusted to train cadets for Afghanistan or Iraq. Although I'm sure the training is meant largely to gauge leadership, the ability to follow orders and demonstrate adaptability, to show one is able to learn army techniques, etc. blah blah blah, why would four years of available time to train cadets for two wars we are engaged in not be taken fully advantage of? I can’t understand why so much time would be taken for establishing patrol bases, when there is so goddamned much to learn about how to fight and win in Afghanistan and Iraq.

/end nonsensical rant

Starbuck said...

It's safe to say ROTC Advanced Camp has changed little, if any, since I was there.

Starbuck said...

This might actually be a better description of how a good training exercise might take place http://smallwarsjournal.com/mag/docs-temp/162-fotenberry.pdf