2014 is NOT 2003: Information War Informed Combat Capability


2014-08-11 By Ed Timperlake

The Honorable Mike Wynne 21st USAF Secretary expressed what is now known as The Wynne Doctrine: “If you are in a fair fight someone failed in planning.”

Many successful battlefield commanders in history practiced the Wynne Doctrine.

In fact, General Sherman “Uncle Billy” to his soldiers like Secretary Wynne was a West Point educated military genius from the American Civil War who characterized perfectly that Centuries version of the Wynne Doctrine when he warned the South against going to war;

“You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail.”

After much effort and criticism the USMC has successfully pioneered an ingenious Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU) to engage in Iraq — the tilt rotor enabled assault force. 

History has also shown that the 20th Century American way of war is to quest for Air Dominance, with USAF, USN and USMC airpower forces on station.

This has been significantly updated with the addition of the tilt-rotor enabled assault force.

In the US WWII , “Crusade in Europe,” General Patton actually got it right with US Army Air Corps anchoring his flank as he raced across Europe. He successfully advanced with an entire Army.

In the Korean War the Marines got it right with the 1st Marine Division advance to the “Frozen Chosen” Reservoir.

This particular tweet photo has been bandied about by ISIS members all over Twitter so it’s difficult to find the original source. There are also many who believe the White House photo is a fake due to the low quality and the lack of an obvious fence line. But the photo is certainly part of the information war.
This particular tweet photo has been bandied about by ISIS members all over Twitter so it’s difficult to find the original source. There are also many who believe the White House photo is a fake due to the low quality and the lack of an obvious fence line. But the photo is certainly part of the information war.

The Marine advance went cautiously, even though the Army Commander was yelling at them to move faster, but they always secured their flanks and anchored the effort with an air field. Consequently with a significant Intelligence failure the 1st Division found themselves facing the entire PLA 9th Army,

The Marines made their famous retrograde in sub-zero conditions to the Sea: “Retreat,hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction.”

1st Marine Division CG, MG O.P Smith. ” The Marines relied on airpower to keep the CHICOMs from massing against their flanks.

Today in the evolving 2014 Battle of Iraq the US has a totally different innovative and unique combat capability the USMC ARG/MEU afloat, an MV-22 tilt-rotor enabled force.

The Navy/Marine team can execute The Wynne Doctrine.

Day or night, from the sea to the sea the Marines can reach any part of Iraq with up to a battalion of infantry.

Like Patton in WWII and Smith in Korea Air Dominance of USAF/USN/USMC on over watch, launching “death from above,” can decimate ISIS.

The MV-22 force will also limit threats from IEDs which marching infantry can face on the roads of Iraq.

Insertion of an offshore MEU to defend a village or evacuate threatened allies to safe havens is a lasting debt to those who have worked with us in trying to shape a more secure Iraq.

And this obligation becomes part of our staying power in a region, which will remain central to the U.S. even after significant removal of ground forces.

The MEU allows us to have available a combat blocking force on the ground as an enemy begins to mass and concentrate forces and have a lift as necessary to relocate them to safe havens.

The USMC with their unique hybrid air ground combat team can come and go as they need using airpower assets to engage with carrier or land-based air as a rapid augmentation capability.

There are no lingering boots staying on the ground.

USMC MV-22 combat forces can flank any fixed position of ISIS or isolate one of their base camps or logistical stockpile, the Marines can take any high ground, or seize open terrain hoping to set up  “set piece” battles against ISIS.

Whatever the Marines do, ISIS will either have to engage or runaway if so they will have to mass to attack and then die in large numbers.

Major Cuomo, commanding the USMC Infantry course at Quantico explained all this a few weeks ago, especially his combat guidance to his 388 Marine infantry unit in Helmand Province Afghanistan when he was a Captain. He told his command move to engage and get in a fight every day.

He described how as a USMC Company Commander he was given responsibility for 388 personnel, who were responsible for securing an initially very volatile, 25km by 15km area, in Helmand Province. After multiple clearing operations, he ultimately organized his unit into 12 operating areas, with young officers and NCOs in charge of each of the positions; for the last 3 months of the deployment, an extremely capable lance corporal was the senior Marine at one of the positions.

He clearly wanted to keep the forces cross-informed as well as to provide the kind of command guidance useful for a large dynamic combat area.  To that point, such interaction was being done largely by radio.

But the Major, then a Captain, was able to leverage a new technology to come up with a much more effective way to operate, namely to use what was called an ECO or Enhanced Company Operations package.

According to the ECO website:

Enhanced Company Operations (ECO) is a United States Marine Corps (USMC) effort to enhance the infantry company, platoon and squad’s Command and Control (C2) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability in order to conduct various missions in disparate locations.

ECO integrates organic tactical radios, ruggedized computers, cameras and data controllers into a rapidly deployable, man packable system for use by infantry Marines. 

On relief missions Marines can establish lines of ground communication and logistics for humanitarian relief and/or evacuation.

They just have to secure a road junction and then move innocents from there to a sanctuary area. Such a demonstrated 2014 capability will allow actual calibration of two critical factors, ISIS military capability along with the Iraq Army.

The good news is that if ISIS masses anywhere near USMC infantry they will be pulverized.

But an important caveat, no COIN, Big Army solutions or city fights.

In 2014 the US with battle tipping mobility can kill ISIS on our terms and set the combat tempo. Local Iraq units can then pick them off, but if the Iraq Army cannot effectively engage then there should never be another argument for nation building or any type of COIN in this century.

RPAs or UAVs are also an important addition to managing the effort in the Iraq engagement, but really as a complement or supplement to a USMC insertion force.

UAVs can provide enduring ISR oversight to support the security of the USMC forces and to assist in broader identification of threats and targets to be dealt with either by ground or air combat forces.

In addition, an Information war component against ISIS is crucial as well.

Too often cyber tactical maneuvers become equated with information war; they are not. It is crucial to counter, and to shape the information terrain of a 21st century battlespace. Information war (IW) means just that present who the enemy is, what they are capable of doing and what the consequences of inaction means to all Americans.

Russia and China have clients, the US has Allies which help tremendously in both combat and IW.

“Find- Fix – Finish” is usually a term used more often in the context of counterterrorism but even though ISIS is also parading conventional weapons in Iraq and declaring they are the army of a state or Caliphate, they are also vicious terrorists.

ISIS flags representing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or if one prefers ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, are beginning to be seen in Gaza, Europe, and now in front of White House.

The threat is so great that the Dutch have brilliantly acted in IW to quickly outlaw the ISIS flag.

Europe, US and Israel have to be very worried about the world-wide terrorism capability of ISIS especially if they get a nuke.

The world cannot let Iran develop a working nuclear bomb because even with a very low probability of ISIS getting one from Iran the horror is beyond comprehension.

Israeli actions against Hamas are part of the overall conflict.

Military Israel, in addition to developing the Iron Dome ultimately for proliferation to the free world, the IDF will be also be attacking ISIL in Gaza and that is a very good thing. ISIS partnering with Hamas will change the entire narrative. This is doubly true as the US military begins to attack ISIS in Iraq.

Free democratic countries willing to fight and engage in direct combat to help stop demonstrated pure evil should be honored not condemned. Eventually in these dark days the US Presidential action against ISIS in Iraq, late as it is, along with Israel taking a stand in Gaza will be seen and applauded by future historians.

US has had a late start but it is now time to put a stop to ISIS by the President using our 2014 technology and resulting combat capabilities.

It is also way past time for US to engage in IW to help Israel by throwing a significant public “penalty flag” against condemnations of Israel with no consideration for the context, and the use of Gaza citizens by Hamas terrorists as combat fodder.

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