Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 13

WINNING WARS (Image from Islamic State Twitter site, courtesy Iraqi News website) The so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria announced the names of countries it seeks to imminently control and published a map 10 October 2014. The map includes all Arab countries, nearly half of all African and European countries, including Spain, and 25 percent of the area of ​​the continent of Asia. plaything of policy that can be deployed without considering the actual human dimension or c osts of deployments involved in war, either at home or on the battlefield. In such circumstances, decisions to order long-term deployments or endless rotations aimed at achieving limited and vague objectives that are well below what is required to achieve clear victory have become all too easy to make. Abetting such a policy mindset, over time, our entire military (especially the Army) has inflicted on itself similarly sterile and impersonal policies that don’t manage people, but rather manage systems of rotational assignments—from individual, to unit, to the worldwide augmentee system going back to the Vietnam War (a loss). The result has been entrenched and overly bureaucratic policies that stipulate repeated rotations overseas for long periods of time on missions that have no clear pathway to the terminal objective of victory. Experience has shown that these policies place an immoral burden on our soldiers—particular among the junior ranks and junior NCOs. Not surprisingly, such policies appear to be a significant factor in the greatly increased number of divorces, collapse of families, and suicides among our returning servicemembers.2 MILITARY REVIEW  March-April 2016 Additionally, such debilitating policies, incrementally developed over years, have produced a downward slope in the intellectual and attitudinal military mindset of our leaders who have now been habituated throughout their careers to accept as the new normal weak “wish-for-the-best” losing military strategies that usually aim at maintaining a status quo vis-à-vis the enemy and not the objective of victory. Concurrently, our government bureaucracy, especially inside the Pentagon, has evolved over time a similar intellectual complacency encouraged by an ineffectual and rice-bowl-centric interagency process. This bureaucracy places such a chokehold on how the military operates today that we are now incapable of envisioning a politically feasible, realistically achievable victory as the end state of the operations that the military is tasked to perform, much less planning and executing the steps necessary to develop or execute a viable strategy for attaining victory. Broad Principles for Mitigation As a first step to mitigate such a morass of contributing factors preventing our military from being able to 11