A failure in generalship

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by msr, Apr 28, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. msr

    msr LE

    ARMY LT. COL. PAUL YINGLING is deputy commander, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment. He has served two tours in Iraq, another in Bosnia and a fourth in Operation Desert Storm. He holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Chicago. The views expressed here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the Army or the Defense Department.


  2. Interesting.

    A few comments and questions.

    Firstly, Lt. Col. Paul Yingling heaps most of his criticism on the Generals but He also acknowledges that it is the responsibility of the civilian government to provide adequate resources for the task at hand. He doesn't go on to talk about what happens if the generals highlight the insufficient means and are ordered to carry on regardless.

    The military is subordinate to the civilian government. If the civilian government give them orders, they have to carry them out. (or am I missing something?)

    The military have prepared for the 'worst case scenario' for the US. A full-scale invasion of either the US or one of its allies. Sorry to put it bluntly, but that is the militarys job. It would not be unreasonable to think that those resources could (relatively) quickly be adjusted to be used in other types of operation. If you only plan for counter-insurgency type conflicts, would you be able to fight a conventional war?

    my bold. The issue is whether is civilian government were told what would be required. If the civilian government ordered the military to continue regardless ("stop coming to me with F**KING problems! get on with it!" as one possible example) then the blame lies with the government not the generals. As mention previously, the Generals are subordinate to the civilian government.

    Its a fair point. Are they also to hold to account all the members of the civilian government who get it wrong?


    The spending priorities most reflect the most SERIOUS threats, not simply the most likely. This may seem like semantics but the most 'likely' threat to US interests is some poor Mexican trying to cross the border. However, the military should not have that as their priority. The priority must be the scenarios which could cause the most harm to the US. Up to the end of the cold war, and arguably beyond, the biggest threat is of a large scale invasion of the US or one of its allies - A large scale 'conventional' war. (Obviously not including nuclear war)

    In other areas the makes some very interesting points about raising up generals who are adaptable. This I'm sure would be a good thing. I do feel however that the missing criticism is that the GOVERNMENTS must also be willing and able to make the correct decisions, to be adaptable, to change plan is the situation warrants, to be willing to risk their careers to get the job done right. The Vietnam conflict was orchestrated by politicians, and GW2 was orchestrated by politicians. Orchestrated by politicians who do not understand what they are doing and who are too arrogant and stubborn to simply accept the advice of their generals.

    hmm... ok I am about to really start ranting, so I better leave it at that!!

    Ski. arrogant, stubborn civvie.