A Certain Trumpet - Major General Ed Scholes, USA (Ret.), Veterans of Special Forces
... If anyone or any organization/agency conducts an objective critique of this nation's military strategy, advice, influence and actions/inactions over the past five decades, this recommendation by General Taylor reference the Joint Chiefs of Staff might assume significant relevance. Let there be no confusion; in this paper I am discussing actions and organizational structure at the highest levels and not the actions of those in the field. Our troops, unit leaders, and our military families have responded, and continue to respond, to our nation's requirements with such courage, stamina, and professional abilities that have exceeded all historical standards of selfless service to this nation. Their assigned mission(s) have been accomplished beyond any measure that could reasonably be expected during this past decade of fighting a somewhat different type of warfare with difficult limitations, and against forces without nation state affiliation. Readers are advised also that the points raised and the questions poised are not done so to attack personally those in position of authority at the time but to bring to the surface issues that could possibly provide better and safer operations for the future, for the benefit of those in the field.
The operational relationships between the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and our growing organization of combatant commands, deemed necessary to carry out the operational aspects of our national strategy, needs serious study. In the implementation of our national strategy this past decade, one must ask what was the advice of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and the responsible combatant commander when it was decided to only use Special Forces and CIA teams with the warlords and tribal leaders in Afghanistan to defeat the Al Qaeda and Taliban, without the support of conventional forces to at least block the egress routes, to kill or capture the enemy irregular forces, and prevent their escape to Pakistan. The Special Forces, CIA and Afghanistan forces accomplished their missions extremely well, but one of the first principles taught irregular forces is, "when victory is not possible -- live to fight another day". They did and they are! ...
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