by SWJ Editors
The U.S. Army General Staff
Where Is It in the Twenty-first Century?
by Lieutenant Colonel Louis A. DiMarco, Small Wars Journal
A Myriad of problems plagued the U.S. army in the first few years of operations in Iraq. At the eleventh hour General Petraeus led a new counterinsurgency doctrine inspired "surge" campaign that may have saved the entire war effort. However, the question must be asked --why did the war effort of the most sophisticated army in the world come down to a final moment "Hail Mary" pass that was reliant on the genius of an individual commander for victory? The answer is that the U.S. army experienced a crisis of command. Pundits gradually came to the conclusion that the performance of U.S. generalship and senior leadership had been mediocre at best and at worst largely responsible for the problems associated with prosecuting the war in its initial years. Army Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling wrote: "These debacles are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America's general officer corps." Yingling's analysis was echoed by military affairs analysts such as Ralph Peters and Douglas McGregor. Even Chief of Staff of the Army, General George Casey allowed that "we don't do as good a job as we need to training our senior leaders to operate at the national level." However, mediocre generalship alone does not account for the initial uninspired reactive prosecution of the war. Also contributing to the inconsistent and ineffectual prosecution of the war was the absence of a professional corps of general staff officers operating in support of the senior leadership.