Small Wars Journal

Trump’s Pick for Top General Could Expand Mideast Advising Role

Trump’s Pick for Top General Could Expand Mideast Advising Role by Jack Detsch - Al-Monitor

When Mark Milley first led a US training mission 14 years ago, he was ordered to school an Afghan unit on Soviet-era weapons at a military installation that was little more than dirty ground. Most of the recruits didn’t have bank accounts to cash their paychecks, and colleagues remember that Milley had to haggle with Afghan contractors just to get American troops fed.

“We went into a parking lot behind a warehouse, we looked around, and we said, ‘This looks like a pretty good place to establish a base camp,’” Milley recalled in a 2007 interview. “And there was nothing but trash, but that was what we did.”

The first Security Force Assistance Brigade, a Milley-led invention to pick US military trainers from the regular Army instead of the elite Special Forces, wrapped up its first Afghan deployment in the fall. Now, as President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Milley will take the top job in the military with a chance to expand his experiment to North Africa and the Middle East, where the US Army is focusing on training instead of combat missions to fight terrorism…

Read on.

Comments

Bill C.

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 12:22pm

From our article above:

BEGIN QUOTE 

"Where we go to do work is dependent on where we need to grow partner capacity," then-Brig. Gen. Brian Mennes, who led the development of the Security Force Assistance Brigades, said at a Washington Institute event in March. "So right now, the emphasis is on the Middle East." A US military official confirmed that the next deployments are likely to be beyond Afghanistan.

END QUOTE

Question:

If we understand the concept of "building partner capacity;" this:

a.  NOT from the (improper, incorrect, miopic and, thus, totally wrong?) "military" perspective alone.  But, rather, 

b.  More from the (proper, correct, all-encompassing and, thus, totally right?) "nation-building" (and, thus, "whole of government and the private sector initiative/effort") point-of-view,

Then:

a.  What does this tell us; this,

b.  About the suggestion -- in the title of our article above -- that "Trump's Pick for Top General Could Expand Mideast Advising Role?"

The question that would seem to need to be asked here is why, exactly -- for the first time in our history(?) -- does the U.S. need to both develop and deploy a "professional advising Army?"

Stated another way:  Why, uniquely today, does the U.S. seem to need two Armies and what is the strategic vision or requirement that "drives" this unusual such need?

In accordance with these such questions, let us consider that the answer may be:  

To help the U.S./the West deal with the problems presented by states and societies who, post-the Old Cold War, have had great difficulty in -- and/or who have simply refused to -- become organized, ordered and oriented more along modern western political, economic, social and/or value lines. 

In this regard, we now see two distinct categories or groups of these such -- shall we say -- "nonconforming" states and societies:

Group One:  The more-powerful and more-viable "nonconforming" nations, for example, China and Russia.  And

Group Two:  The less-powerful/less-viable of these such "nonconforming" states and societies (in this regard, think, for example, of the so-called "weak, failed, failing states," etc.)

Herein:

a.  The First U.S. Army (shall we call it) is made available to handle the problems presented by the more-powerful and more-viable of these such "nonconforming" entities; this,

b.  While the Second U.S. Army (the Security Force Assistance Command) is made available to deal with the problems presented by the less-powerful/less-viable group of these such "nonconforming" states ad societies.

Thus, to see the above "conflict environment" from the perspective of (a) a single conflict or war; this, against -- post-the Old Cold War -- (b) two different categories or groups of "nonconformists."

(Note that, in my discussion above, I do not use the term "separate" and distinct -- this, given that these two groups, now it would seem, may, on occasion, actually be working together.  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41842285)

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the Above:

Q:  So why, for the first time in our history(?), does the U.S. feel compelled to develop and deploy what could be described as two Armies? 

A:  Because it is only since the end of the Old Cold War, and indeed as a direct result of our having "won" same, that we now find ourselves in these unusual and unique circumstances, to wit: as having to deal with (two different categories or groups) of -- remaining -- "non-conformist" entities.

(To wit:  States and societies who are either unwilling, and/or who are simply unable, to become organized, ordered and oriented more along modern western political, economic, social and/or value lines -- the "fixing" of which problem has become the principal mission/the strategic focus of the U.S./the West post-the Old Cold War?)