20+ yr Infantry Officer.
Visit me at GRUNTSandCo.com. You'll find my commentary on SOFREP, foreignpolicy, DoDBuzz, Defensetech, KitUp, Military.com. Smallwarsjournal
Absolutely masterful effort at deception. There is so much they don't say about the survey that the deception is obvious to anyone who can read and think.
11 hours, 45 minutes ago on Iran: Negotiations, Nukes & EMP
I no longer believe there is a lack of understanding. There may be a misunderstanding. No one can be this incompetent but someone could believe this is going to turn out very differently than it is if one buys into a bankrupt anti-colonialist perspective of the world.
There are those that believe we are where we are because we have oppressed others. They see a US decline as correcting previous wrongs.
To keep seeing our foreign policy as aimless or just incompetent mistakes is to fundamentally misunderstand the problem. It risks staying on this track, keeping or letting these people become decision makers again or allowing this sort of insanity to repeat itself in the future. This is why isolationism is getting a second chance in some circles...
1 day, 17 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
I am going to start looking in more detail as to where this is going.
The framing question will be, "What will the ME look like with Iran on the verge of nuclear capability?"
The answer includes nuclear arms race, internal instability in ME nations, proxy conflict among Muslim nations with pending direct conflict and pre-emptive strikes, US forces in the middle (don't see us closing up shop in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar etc.), diminishing US international leadership role, impact on oil prices/worldwide economy which all creates more instability...
I'm AMAZED at the little commentary threatened Russian nuclear strikes get from the world.
If it were the US making these threats the world would stop spinning. It is no small matter and lowers the thresh hold for possible use.
1 day, 17 hours ago on NORDIC THUNDER: A detective story
A side benefit for sure. Just like we try and rotate troops through combat even when we don't have to but for sure Iran can't have another radical Islamic force in the ME besides itself.
2 days, 10 hours ago on Iran, Er, “Iraq” Opens Tikrit Offensive
Hve had that feeling since I was a plebe back in 1981 where we had to read and be conversational on the froint page of the paper by 0800 accountability formation.
Worst, was the mandatory subscription.
3 days, 12 hours ago on Bergdahl to be charged
NYT making the case that prosecuting Bergdahl would be bad for the Army.
"Prosecuting Bergdahl could be the worst thing
for the Army. The NYT editors argue
this morning that a trial would raise public questions about why someone like
Bowe Bergdahl was recruited in the first place. While it would be easy to
prosecute him for slipping off the base, they wrote this morning, "they
would have a tougher time explaining why it's worthwhile to prosecute a soldier
the Army recruited despite significant concerns about his psychological state
and who endured years of torture and privation during his captivity. As a
general matter, the American military has good reason to punish service members
who desert. However, it should exercise discretion in extraordinary cases.
Sergeant Bergdahl's is certainly one." (From Defense One SITREP)
They tried the same tactic to justify Bradley Manning's huge intelligence breach.
Yes, this passes for wisdom in certain circles...
4 days, 18 hours ago on Bergdahl to be charged
"First of all, it makes absolutely no sense, but even if it was true, it still wouldn't excuse his actions."
To the defense I'd say, "Yeah, you run with that."
A little more detail... http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-27/bergdahl-lawyer-says-he-was-awol-not-a-deserter
People in the wrong often reach for ridiculous reasoning to excuse their criminality. Remember that story I told about the guilty cadet who wrote his congressman about being mightly punished when the prosecution actually had the wrong date and confessed to the offenses in his letter? It was entered as evidence when the Congresman sent it to the General for an explanation. The cadet ended up as SPC in Korea.
As your initial post that's an astute observation.
4 days, 20 hours ago on Playing Lets Make a Deal with Iran…
@SEAN SPOONTS(MAFIA) @majrod @YankeePapa
They have over 200 F15's alone.
I was told a story once about an Arabic pilot student (can't confirm it or say he was Saudi). Bought a brand new RV and was driving it across the desert back to base. Wanted to get a drink or use the bathroom and set the auto pilot.
When the State Police pulled him out of the RV after it rolled on to its side they explained the difference between cruise control and an auto pilot.
5 days, 5 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
Both the US and Israel denied the claim. Funny it was reported in a Kuwait paper.
5 days, 8 hours ago on Iran: Negotiations, Nukes & EMP
I also saw this. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article16352546.html
Interesting how Pakistan promised a strong response if Saudi territory is threatened.
5 days, 9 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
@Ed A @majrod
I have. Both of them.
The second,"On the Ground the Secret War in Vietnam" was my favorite.
5 days, 9 hours ago on SFC Ricardo Gonzalez Davis: A MACV-SOG Warrior Remembered
Links would be helpful
That would be a heck of a delay but not impossible. Heck, I didn't think it would go on this long.
5 days, 9 hours ago on Bergdahl to be charged
Absolutely impossible. It was a methodically planned and executed embassy evacuation.
5 days, 14 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
@YankeePapa @majrod @Luddite4Change
"Hell, they even moved the Army/Marine tank school from Fort Knox without bothering to inform me."
Yes and my input wasn't requested either. The neighborhood has gone to hell with long haired tankers.
5 days, 18 hours ago on Bergdahl to be charged
Predictable that those inside the White House don't consider what we could do to secure our troops better in Iraq.
Well, we do have more Gitmo detainees to give them...
5 days, 18 hours ago on Iran: Negotiations, Nukes & EMP
It’s good to read different perspectives. This author makes a point of
not discussing any foreign involvement and focusing on internal Yemeni
dissent. Informative but misleading if one thinks this is purely a
Not as blatant as the press secretary sticking to the narrative that
Yemen is a counter terror success. One can walk away with a couple of
factual tidbits like, “yes, we are still trying to kill AQ in Yemen” or
understanding the machinations of the Houthis in internal Yemeni
politics. Worthless in determining future courses of action which does
support the administrations foreign policy direction.
5 days, 18 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
It certainly contributes but other channels have had some of his comrades on. I think a more powerful reason is the "poor Bowe" defenses would get SHREDDED. E.G. "What about the men that died looking for you and their families?"
I'd "L O V E" to ask him some questions like how he continued to resist as the Code of Conduct requires.
5 days, 19 hours ago on Bergdahl to be charged
Agree, an Art 15 would get a vociferous response. (That doesn't mean the powers that be don't think they can wait out the rank and file and public anger.)
It might not be the same type but I did have to prefer charges before giving a soldier an Art 15 so the option remains.
I don't ever remember thinking Art 15's were a good use of my or my troops time. You have to investigate, gather evidence. get statements, discuss with your COC, brief higher, coordinate with JAG to be sure you have a case, send the knucklehead to JAG to get counsel, schedule the hearing (usually after work hours), hold everybody over, hold the hearing, send in the finding paperwork, supervise punishment. All the time having and wanting to do other things which is the reason MANY commanders don't do what they should when it comes to disciplining troops.
The increasingly litigious environment and diminishing options to enforce discipline (almost any type of action we used to use to correct behavior is considered unprofessional, "toxic leadership" or hazing now) also add to the mix and what I see as a great detriment to the military mindset.
@toril @majrod @YankeePapa
It'll make a good story in a book someday.
6 days, 8 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
Yep. That film maker that got blamed for the Benghazi attack would also agree with you.
None-the-less, threatening someone's life gets the authorities attention and if credible will get you arrested. Shouldn't threatening an entire nation get someone's attention.
Some nut will argue this is free speech of course. Others that it's just fear mongering. I doubt they would take threats to themselves or their loved ones so casually. It's relatively easy to depersonalize a country but nations often act like humans. The threat becomes much clearer when put in personal terms one can understand.
Maybe you are looking at the wrong principles. Respecting one's right to speak vs. respecting one's right to live. Personally, the first is fine for me until you threaten the second.
6 days, 8 hours ago on Playing Lets Make a Deal with Iran…
Remember where you saw it first...
6 days, 9 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
Funny. I had a line in my initial draft warning folks to hold their noses for the predictable onslaught of poor Bowe Bergdahl stories. I doubt they'll interview the next of kin of those who died looking for him and the much larger number that were killed or wounded because of assets reassigned to help in the search.
I believe both the engagement where Dakota Meyer and Bill Swenson were awarded MOH's had aviation support issues because of aircraft being elsewhere. The Battle of Kamdesh also happened because its withdrawl was slowed down because assets were dedicated to the Bergdahl search. Eight Americans were killed, 27 wounded and two MOH's awarded (SGT Clinton Romesha,SSG Ty Carter) in that battle.
6 days, 9 hours ago on Bergdahl to be charged
A very real possibility and all too unfortunately keep my streak of accurate predictions alive and well.
6 days, 13 hours ago on Bergdahl to be charged
Agree wholeheartedly with your comments but I think there's a generation gap my friend. It used to be those that did not progress very far that made the most disparaging remarks about officers.
Since I have retired I have been taken aback by the volume & vehemence of officer hating comments and the fact they come from junior and senior NCO's.
They are decidedly not the same grade of NCO I had the privilege and honor of serving with and who I credit with much of my success.
Movies like Pork Chop Hill and Patton that characterized the public's perception of officers have been replaced with Platoon and Generation X.
6 days, 13 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
Awesome and inspiring story.
6 days, 14 hours ago on SFC Ricardo Gonzalez Davis: A MACV-SOG Warrior Remembered
@Recon6 @Minou_Demimonde @infinitycactus
"I too hardly think Iran would attack the U.S. with a nuke,"
Don't be so sure... http://gruntsandco.com/sitrep/iran-negotiations-nukes-emp/
6 days, 14 hours ago on Playing Lets Make a Deal with Iran…
We put people in jail all the time for saying what they will do.
There's a bunch of ISIS wannabes getting ready to go to trial.
Try threatening the President and see what that gets you.
I know you're reaching for the moral high ground here but reacting to threats isn't always fear, it's prudent. In the case of Iran it would be stupid to ignore.
6 days, 15 hours ago on Playing Lets Make a Deal with Iran…
@LawyerHandle added this on another thread:
Saudis are getting ready to move against the Iranians in Yemen while we
are now directly and overtly helping the Iranians in Tikrit, Iraq...
The administration can no longer credibly state that we aren't working
with Iran in Iraq."
I'd add the money quote is,
"If this leads to the Iranians forced to concede defeat, that would
be a satisfactory outcome,” said an unnamed defense official in The
Daily Beast’s report.
Huh? That’s a strange statement. Precisely how would aiding the
success of an Iranian-backed advance into Tikrit resulting in that
city’s fall to Iraqi and Shiite forces precipitate Iranian contrition?
It’s rare that major tactical victories produce an overwhelming sense of
regret in the victor.
That quote sounds like a bit of wishful thinking on the part of this
unnamed defense official, and perhaps it helps for those coming to terms
with American-Iranian battlefield cooperation in Iraq. But that
cooperation is coming, and it is forcing America’s traditional Sunni
allies in Cairo and Riyadh to rethink their approaches to domestic and regional security.
Whether or not some think America’s shifting alliances in the region
are necessary, this change in U.S. grand strategy is self-evidently
I thought the same thing reading the articles I posted above. Yeah, "the Iranians feel defeated"...
6 days, 15 hours ago on Iran, Er, “Iraq” Opens Tikrit Offensive
Check out my Tikrit story.
6 days, 15 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
As to your comment on officers and NCO's being an unbeatable team. Absolutely agree.
Yes, many countries to include the Russians and most of our S. American allies just don't seem to get the value of NCO's.
On the other hand, as a nation we don't get the value of officers based on the overwhelming amount of disparaging remarks made about them across the board.
It's among the last acceptable bigotry.
US is providing drone/overhead intel to Iraqi forces in Tikrit to break the stalemate.
Iraq has asked and is receiving US airstrikes.
Some are portraying this as a defeat of Iranian influence assuming that our involvement means an Iranian withdrawal. I'd like a nugget of evidence.
This can be a turning point or it can be the US becoming the Iranian's proxy forces Air Force.
6 days, 16 hours ago on Iran, Er, “Iraq” Opens Tikrit Offensive
FWIW my perspective and why on Saudi military capability:
My interaction with SA's military is limited and based on my time in military schools with them, a month or two in the port of Dammam getting my BN unloaded from ships so we couild get in the fiedl and train a little before crossingthe berm during DS and the input from my peers who have done tours as advisory staff in the '90's and early '00's.
The Saudi's like many nations (e.g. Venezuela, Iran, Iraq), have two armies. A large one of varied quality and a small politically reliable and well equipped one. Note: I didn't say trained or capable.
The Saudi's spend a lot of money on gear. My assessment is most of it is eye candy. Their role in Desert Storm was not central operationally but important politically. They required a great degree of miliytary support and guidance to the point we had embedded officers in at least the BDE level. The Saudi National Guard are the best equipped.
My personal insight is that their leadership sucks. My earliest interaction was a Saudi nominal prince who was in my Infantry Officer Basic Course. Early in the course he showed up in a limo. That stopped quickly. On one week long field exercise in the GA summer I remember our platoon training NCO having to tell the Saudi Lieutenant to ruck up since he was dragging ass. The Saudi blew up and said, "On my country you'd be carrying my pack."
(This is where the voice over says, "Oh no you didn't...")
SFC "Stud" (I forget his name from 30 years ago but NCO's selected to mentor brand new Army LT's into Infantry LT's aren't slouches) pulled up to his towering 10' hieght overlooking the Saudi Prince and said, "Well ____ you ain't in your country and maybe that's the reason the Israelis keep kicking your asses."
(and again the voice over says, "Oh no you didn't!")
The Saudi scrambled to his feet as a bunch of Lieutenants inserted themselves between the NCO and the "Prince" which had devolved into cursing in his native tongue. The parties were separated. Our company trainer CPT _____ who was waiting to go to selection (Delta) sent the Saudi back to the rear after a talking to on the side. I heard later he was talked to by quite a few officers and was almost sent back to his country which got him a lot more visibility than he likely wanted. He was sullen but behaved the rest of the course.
Anyway, the point of this enetertaining story is the type of leadership Saudi soldiers got from their leaders.
Just as insightful was that Arab students just didn't stand out on any of the professional courses I attended (e.g. basic, advanced branch courses, combined arms staff course etc.), which is unlike just about every other country that sent students to the states. Generally foreign students have not been in the upper fifth of the class in performance (with some notable exceptions) but almost to a man they were in the upper tenth in effort except for the Arab countries and some S. American nations who made partying and shopping their focus.
Most important was the feedback I got from peer field grade officers on the capability of the Saudis' armies. First, the Saudis don't do maintenance. They have American contractors and foreign workers do everything from maintain their equipment to clean it. They don't do supply well. Saudis don't do physical labor (the Kuwaitis either) and are rich enough to pay someone else to do it. Having a contractor deliver fuel, food and ammo doesn't work well in combat and not at all when you are projecting power across a border.
Other Arab countries have similar practices. None except for maybe Jordan and Egypt have "proactive" perspectives and habits. They also don't do their due diligence in the planning and logistical areas necessary for successful combat ops.
The bottom line is the Saudis have a well equipped military. The Saudi Army polices the Saudi population and does a nominal job at border security. Their capability to do force on force is a question mark, maybe a "7". Not as bad as the Iraqis in Mosul against ISIS but nit as competent as Jordanian and Egyptian units if one is a student of their performance against Israeli troops or the PLO. The Saudi National Guard is probably capable of a minimal amount of projecting military power. They are likely most effective at population control like they did in Bahrain recently than fighting an armed force.
All of this should come to mind as we consider creating local "proxy" forces. It all starts and ends with leadership. And dare I say it, leadership at the officer level because NCO Corps do not come into existence or flourish without the support and resourcing by officers, an unstated military fact. Of course, the conduct of war (strategy, planning, logistics etc.) rests firmly on the officer corps.
6 days, 16 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
Saudi Arabia moving armor and artillery to the border with Yemen.
Remember, Saudi Arabia has a Shiite minority in its east where its most wealthiest oil deposits are.
6 days, 18 hours ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
I see this as more as Saudi Arabia as Germany being forced into a two front war and us as Germany signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty with Russia played by modern Iran.
Didn't turn out too well for Germany, Poland, Eastern Europe not to mention 50 mil dead.
1 week, 2 days ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
just got a little more...
"Full strength Standard ISOF Bn is 435.
Full strength Standard IA Inf Bn is 754.
However, those numbers include the 25% that
is on leave at any given time...
I.E. ISOF bn= ~320 while IA Inf is about 500-600
FER =1000 with ~700 on hand [Field Engineer Rgt
- Const Bn]
Note that IMoD's official site, ISOF's official
site, US public reports and Iraqi press are in sync on the numbers for the most
My sources are not classified, although some
prefer not to be quoted..."
1 week, 2 days ago on The ISIS Problem Part 1: Forming a Cohesive National Strategy
@Loren Schofield @majrod
This might be helpful to you.
I got a response from DJ Elliott the source of the ISOF numbers previously cited. He's having some sever health issuesa and can't continue his analysis but he shared this with me:
"While effectively loosing 1st-4th and 12th Divs
in ISIS attack last summer, they are commisioning 15th, 16th, 18th, and 19th
New IA Bdes are graduating at about 2 per month
This means that they have 5th Mech, 6th, 7th,
8th Mech, 9th Arm, 10th Mech, 11th, 14th, and 17th Divs operational with 4 more
ISOF appears to be just 1 airmobile Bde [1st]
and the 2nd Bde [3 Regional Cdo Bns].
However the Operational Commands were reporting
Cdo Bns and are starting to report Cdo Bdes indicating the expansion of ISOF to
3 Cdo Divs is continuing.
Note that these new Cdos will not be as good as
1st ISOF Bde..."
As an aside, I always found it fascinating how the Germans integrated Czech equipment and their war industry into their efforts. A lot of very sound equipment (e.g. cannon, tanks, tank chassis, machineguns) were used by Nazi troops.
I really fear the Mosaic story on the administration's vision of Iran's role in the region is absolutely correct. It explains a lot of irrational decision making and actions. http://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2015/02/obamas-secret-iran-strategy/
1 week, 3 days ago on US SOF Leaving Yemen, Unstated Ramifications…
Funny that now since his charges have been adjudicated he talks a tad more freely...
1 week, 3 days ago on Iran: Negotiations, Nukes & EMP
Or even worse if we are farming out fighting radical Islamists to the Iranians. The same guys who made agreements with AQ...
No I'm not on Instagram. Still overcoming my concern about being cyber vulnerable. The bigger digital footprint one has... I'll re-evaluate.
Informative stuff. If nothing else your thread causes us to stretch ourselves and re-evaluate what we think we know and our resulting beliefs.
1 week, 3 days ago on The ISIS Problem Part 1: Forming a Cohesive National Strategy
Yes I saw it. I wanted to reiterate it and expand upon it for the casual reader who might see that 30-40K number and run with it.
I try to craft my responses for others to understand also and not just focused on what a senior NCO knows (e.g. I used layman's terms recently vs. the more technically correct acronyms you used and my previous explanation of correlation of forces)
1 week, 4 days ago on The ISIS Problem Part 1: Forming a Cohesive National Strategy
Yeah, I came across that ion my searches and is cited in the wiki entry on ISOF. (Supports the size estimate of 10k)
I encourage you to read the whole entry. It says some disturbing things like half that 30-40k are support troops, to reach those numbers ISOF is absorbing SWAT teams and interior ministry SOF units. (As you know one of the SOF truths is you can't create SOF units quickly.)
The ISOF Commander also draws out this plan in late 2013 when his force was 10,000 strong (if half of 10K is support we start getting into that 4k number.)
In any case these are NOT the organizations trained by the US half a decade earlier. It also makes those atrocity claims more credible.
DJ Elliott is the author and cites:
as authorized to use his work. Maybe you should contact him and get a better feel for what ISOF actually is today?
I've reached out.
@dear7655 @majrod @Loren Schofield
I think you have to be comfortable with, and seek "victory" to be concerned with correlation of forces.
I'm writing something on Ukraine and if you compare what we have in the region there you'd also see no concern for a COF.
I don't see ISOF, our SF and an air campaign providing enough combat power to eject ISIS. As you know it's a big country. There's just not enough SOF to engage in a conventional conflict. We didn't take Afghanistan with indigenous SOF. We used the Northern Alliance. ISIS is much stronger than the Taliban and AQ of the time.
I point to Tikrit (who have air support) and that even with 30,000 troops, the majority of numbers coming from Shia militia and Iran, they can't finish the job. You're proposing to do it with even less. I admire your confidence. Do you know of a historic example where SOF forces took a defended city?
I don't see where you got a concern on the Iraqis part of US air support. Seems the plan is to get them trained to the point the IA can conduct offensive ops.
We can agree to disagree. II's exceedingly hard to document ISOF numbers & capability outside of a rash of atrocities. http://abcnews.go.com/International/dirty-brigades-us-trained-iraqi-forces-investigated-war/story?id=29193253
Some of this might be ISIS misinformation or confusing Shia militias with ISOF but I'm sure ISOF wasn't immune to the Shia cronyism Maliki inflicted on the Army. Maybe you can document how many ISOF forces currently exist today. There were around 4k in '09 with almost half stationed in now ISIS held territory.
As you said, "The ISOF that is there now, is not the ISOF that we left." What's there might not be what you think it is.
At least your article is causing a lot of research. Maybe more than is happening in DC?
@toril @majrod @Waterborne
Scary map. It doesn't include Tunisia musem attack, mosque bombing in Yemen or that US Air Force ISIS recruit and whatever happens tomorrow.
It's going to get a lot scarier...