With Rumsfeld leaving, the Army submitted a revised budget cutting Rummy’s cool toys projects. Yesterday, Greg Jaffe of the Wall Street Journal wrote about the Army’s budget woes (see Defense Tech’s post here). Most telling is not the request for more bomb resistant vehicles, but the ignorance of preparing soldiers for the theater. This is the problem Greg led his article but Defense Tech’s post ignored:
With just six weeks before they leave for Iraq, the 3,500 soldiers from the Third Infantry Division’s First Brigade should be learning about Ramadi, the insurgent stronghold where they will spend a year.
Many of the troops don’t even know the basic ethnic makeup of the largely Sunni city. “We haven’t spent as much time as I would like on learning the local culture, language, and politics — all the stuff that takes a while to really get good at.”
We can talk about COIN, we can talk about the new Countering Irregular Threats manual jointly produced by the Army and Marines, we can even talk about the COIN centers of excellence at Fort Leavenworth and West Point, but at what point does this actually make it into the field? Dr Ahmed Hashim said on NPR and wrote in Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq that he was “surprised by how little the US military understands about the culture, or ‘human terrain’, of Iraq. That includes ‘societal networks, relations between tribes and within tribes, kinship ties…”