One of the items in the article that stood out for me was that the US Army still trains for the "Big Fight" that's been true for many years. If you look at Europe in WWI and WWII, it becomes evident. Same goes for the defense of Western Europe throughout the cold war. The only experience in the past 100 years or so with guerrilla type tactics was Vietnam. It's sad to see that the lessons learned (if there were any) were not applied to a new mode of training. Most people who served during that time have largely retired...except maybe some generals that have allowed themselves to forget.
It says well of the troops that they can learn to adapt. Granted, we still have a ways to go concerning 'hearts and minds', but I also contend that given the current situation, we can't expect the troops to not take measures to protect themselves.
We came across a similar mindset with US Troops in Bosnia. This, coupled with an understandable reluctance to take advice from other Nations's armed forces made for some highly amusing scenarios.
The same thing happened in Indo-China - the Frogs offered technical assistance when the US intervened but were apparently turned down. As a result they started from scratch.
I see parallels here - the Spams have an almost pathological mistrust of advice given by thier allies - they have to figure it out the hard way... Problem is you tend to lose a lot through attrition before the lessons sink in.
This is an excellent article but what is most gratifying about it is that it gives the impression that an important link in the US Army's chain of command is beginning to think for itself. Granted that the price the US has paid for this is high but it is not before time. Without wanting to swing the lantern too much I spent a lot of time working with the US before, during and after Op TELIC.
The impression I had then was that they believed their own propaganda. I can't speak for field force units but on the staff they talk a good mission command philosophy but that is as far as it goes. No action can be taken on the strength of a phone call, everything must be committed to paper and even the simplest actions are authorised by a written FRAGO. No one will take a decision unless he is a 2* that way they can't be wrong because once you are wrong kiss your career goodbye.
There are also too many reservists on the staff and desparately few properly trained staff officers and NCOs. There are some really excellent ones but not enough to overcome the inertia in the system. The arrogance of some of them is just unbelievable. It would be gratifying to think that at the battalion and brigade level of command those in authority are also willing to go out on a limb and think for themselves. Somehow I doubt it. We can only hope that the generation of US comapny commanders who have been involved in operations in Mosul; and the Sunni Triangle will stay around long enough to occupy these positions of authority themselves.