Thursday, May 26, 2005

RE:Transformation And Networked Organizations

The following is a response to the comments in the Transformation And Networked Organizations post below. The comment went too long, so I'm putting it here...

Having said that, more troops on the ground is not necessarily a panacea. Ambassador Khalilzad and LTG Barno demonstrated that with a force *one-ninth* that of OIF, in a country the *same* size and population as Iraq, they could nonetheless accomplish strategic effects that Paul Bremer and LTG Sanchez would have only dreamed about.

I'm totally in agreement here- I'm not trying to say that increasing the numbers of boots on the ground is a panacea, rather I'm trying to say that networked organizations do not necessarily decrease the amount of people you need on the ground. I also agree with you that a successful strategy (I would also add- a technological advantage) is still more important than troop #s- Barbarossa was one great example of this fact. However, I completely disagree that this wasn't one of the major strategic blunders of OIF. We absolutely needed many more civilian authorities and police in the immediate aftermath of the invasion (though maybe if we hadn't disbanded the Iraqi army and "debaathified" the Iraqi civilian authorities this may have been less severe).

And while I am a huge fan of Zinni’s, I don’t worship him like a god. Every person makes mistake- a great leader is someone who admits his mistakes and tries to prevent them from occurring again. Can you provide a link as to where you feel Zinni was wrong on OIF? He stated over and over again that the Iraqi armed forces were a joke, which could be easily smashed by our forces, which was one big reason why he stated that Iraq posed no “imminent threat” (not even a mildly upsetting threat) to the US. Zinni’s criticisms, at least as I’ve read, all had to do with things

For example, here’s Zinni’s testimony to Congress before the war on what he thought the problems would be if we invaded. I can't find anywhere where he questions the ability of U.S. forces to quickly crush the Iraqi forces:
And what I felt the first question I would ask if we went in, which was sort of addressed by Marc Grossman: what is it you envision as an end state? Is it a transitioned Iraq, a magnificent democracy? Or is it something less than that? I mean, is it truly this transformed Iraq that we've heard about or are we just going to get rid of Saddam Hussein and hope for the best with some decent law and order, territorial integrity basically put in place, maybe a federation of states that operates on their own? What is it that you want? If you don't have the vision going in, then the military and all the other agencies of government and the international agencies don't know where to go.

I saw the problem in four areas. The first area was security, and I would just give you an example of the kinds of things -- this is certainly not all inclusive -- that I saw we had to do on the ground. We had to under the security dimension maintain law and order, provide for a force protection, be prepared to do peacekeeping missions, protect threatened groups, deal with civil unrest and acts of retribution, counter external threats and develop local security capabilities, and that's just a few. I mean, this list could go on and on.

The second part was the political part, and that would require such things as establishing an interim or transitional government, laying the foundation for a final form of governance, ensuring coordination of all these activities, the political element will have to be the lead. Developing the principles and procedures for establishing civil functions, dealing with procedures for accountability and coordinating the regional and international involvement that we might have.
The third area was the economic area and here I felt this would involve dealing with issues such as energy production, employment restructuring. Just by the way, about 40 percent of the paychecks come from the government in this country and if the government goes down and sneakers up, where are the paychecks coming from? In addition to that, we saw that regional economic impacts would have to be taken into account. This isn't only going to affect Iraq, it's going to affect Jordan, it's going to affect Kuwait, it's going to affect countries around the country and in the region economically too.

We have to deal with the status of foreign debt and war reparations. Everybody is talking about pumping oil and we'll do this to reconstruct the country. What about the foreign debt and the war reparations that are still owed? There are others out there that have claims to the money and the production. Who will sort that out? We have to restructure the economic base. I think that's been addressed by the previous panel about how it is not the kind of economic base that will allow for a country that's solid in any way economically for the future. And we're going to have to solicit and manage donor contributions.

The fourth area I titled recovery and reconstruction, and this begins with the immediate and long term humanitarian needs. And, again, that's been described here and you can imagine what this could be based on what kind of catastrophe the war causes and Saddam generates. We're going to have to be involved in infrastructure repair and replacement, consequence management, WMD accountability and the reestablishment of services throughout the country.
Number one task is keeping order in this country. The tribal retributions, the revenge killings, the opposition groups and others that will be jockeying for position, opposition groups that will scream across the border. All sorts of things can disrupt this. There are things in this country that we're going to have to deal with that no one has really talked about. There's a major Iranian opposition group in here, the MEK. What do you want me to do with that if I'm the commander in chief? Do I lock them up? Do I send them back across the border to be slaughtered? Exactly what happens to them? And there are millions of little issues like this that aren't talked about, that are going to be major problems when you're on the ground and whoever goes in is going to have to have the guidance.

My eighth point is that images in this region are everything. Particularly in the early stages of the mission we're going to need intelligent and active information operations that will make or break the mission from the very beginning. What appears on Al Jazeera TV and everything else in the region is going to determine success, maybe even more so than the actions on the ground. And all the explanations afterwards won't counter those first images.
I’m curious where in this testimony you see mistakes, because all of this seems to have been proved correct...