Article: Behavioural Conflict by Andrew Mackay & Steve Tatham

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by untallguy, Jan 1, 2012.

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. untallguy

    untallguy Old-Salt Reviewer Book Reviewer

  2. right, now that it's working.....

    I've been to a lecture by Cdr Tatham; though provoking, and whilst probably associated with the COIN end of the spectrum, has some interesting implications for Defence Diplomacy and the Attache system. I've just brought it!
  3. I read Smith's Utility of Force a few years ago, and found it disappointing, in the sense that while he clearly had some interesting and potentially valuable ideas, it didn't read like a book that would enable the average Brit General or Staff Officer to translate theory into a set of practical plans for action in an unfamiliar setting (I'd make the same observation about Clausewitz, as it happens, but he was writing over 200 yrs ago. Rupert was the D Comdt at Camberley when I was there, and had a bloody good run in GW1 and the Balkans - that ought to have equipped him to communicate more effectively with a modern audience)

    I hope that in this book, the co-authors may have managed collectively to get a bit closer to producing something that actually does engage the necessary audience, and provoke thought.
  4. Well, it's a book, not a Doctrine Pamphlet, nor is it something that lends itself to "do A, add B, bask in glory of success". Indeed, that attitude to Influence might well stop you from achieving anything. I'm a little disappointed that you think that way; surely books like this are to provoke thought in a Professional Officer and then allow them to apply some, all or none of the principles to the situation they find themselves in.
  5. I haven't been able to get a copy of it yet, but there is also an article "Military strategy, ethics and influence a response to Mackay and Tatham" by Mike Rennie and Tephen Deakin (RMAS), which from the title might just be relevant.
  6. It isn't that I think like that, at all. Point is that that is the way that many (most?) Army officers seem to function, and (therefore) any individual who is trying to engender change in their habits of thought has to find ways to lead such an audience quite a way down a mental path that leads from 'pure theory' to 'practical solutions'

    I base the assessment on the fact that by the end of 30yrs soldiering, I could count on the fingers of one hand all of the other Brit Officers I ever met who were prepared to admit they had actually read Clausewitz's On War

    For the remainder On War was not a book to be studied in hopes of developing deeper insight into how best to discharge their chosen professional responsibilities in war, but something to be sampled (usually from secondary sources) only for the purpose of passing written tests.

    That inclination toward the pragmatic and tangible (a matter of innate individual temperament, but reinforced by custom and practice) presents a significant barrier to operational innovation.
  7. Hmm, I'll let you off ;)

    Is 'On War' actually worth reading? Having read a fair few summaries of it, it seems to be a sprawling mass of at-times contradictory ruminations, some (most) of which have little application to a modern war-fighter.....
  8. In a word - Yes.

    Take care to get the right version, (Michael Howard and Geoffrey Paret's would be my recommendation), and attack it with an open mind, remembering that i you are not reading the original language, and that some of his concepts not only failt to translate well into English, but may even be quite alien to Brit culture.

    The parts that have not stood the test of time relate, IMHO, to the detail of military techniques (e.g fortification) of Charlie's day and can indeed be skipped.

    'Sprawling'? Hmm: not how I would class it, but it is imperfect, since he died before he had finished editing, and his SheWhoMustBe made the final editing decisions.

    Mebbe it's just me, but I found it very helpful in the run-up to the first NATO Balkan Op in B-H, because it set outs a conceptual framework for "What War Is" (and therefore "What A Peace Support Op Is Not") and the corollary "What Can Be Achieved By Brute Force" (and therefore "What Cannot") which was very, very important, given that in them days Unca Sam was very big on 'Peace Thru Superior Firepower' and needed to be weaned off it in time to go 'softly softly' in the FY.

    "Phase 4" ops in Eye-Rack seem to suggest that nobody (Brit or Septic) went through that kind of thought process again, ahead of the 2003 invasion . . . .
  9. I've read Howard's "A Very Short Introduction" to it all, I'll try and find a copy of the full book on Amazon....
  10. It occurs to me that B-h was prolly a fair example of the kind of 'influence' ops Rupes & Co are talking about: I rememebr him (as COMD UNPROFOR)briefing ARRC, and taling about how the simple act of establishing an Arty FOB, in range of the Srbjans, without it ever needing to fire a shot, caused them to moderate their actions. Likewise, since (for IFOR) Overwhelming Force (the Septic panacea of the day, courtesy of Co-Lin Powell) was the option of last resort, it was self-evidently necessary to find a wide range of ways to influence a wide range of actors to ensure that those in-country complied peacefully with the Dayton peace plan, while those outside encouraged them to continue doing so (if they had that kind of influence), and did not withdraw from the international consensus of support for NATO's actions.

    Interesting times, were those.
  11. If you get soft copy, and can share it - I'd like to know.

    Many tanks in advance.
  12. And this call sign
  13. Same here
  14. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    Just had this in by email:

  15. Ask him (in your reply) what is his Arrse username.

    If he hasnae got one - enthuse him with the idea :-D

    Sounds like a good sorta Matelot to have posting on Arrse.

    P.S. Ask him if (like Meridian) in addition to his professional interest in doctrine/operational analysis, he is drawn to the smut, porn and/or nekkid laydeez.

    Then he reeaally would deffo be a kindred spirit . . .