Military reform: why it’s necessary, how to do it

Since Korea, our military has proven itself unable to win wars. We cannot win even against foes with little training and less equipment. We cannot win even when the US fields large armies fueled with almost unlimited funds against foes having neither. As we walk on the verge of war with Iran, we must ask “why?” There are a thousand and one answers. But a few provide gateways to real reform.

Military spending

About our inability to win wars.

  1. How our military reached its current state, so only desperate reform can save us” by Doug Macgregor (Colonel, US Army, retired).
  2. The battle that mattered most to America: the Pentagon vs. Military Reformers. It’s over.
  3. Are we chickenhawks and so bear the responsibility for our lost wars since 9/11? – by James Fallows.
  4. Does America have the best military in the world? – If so, why can’t we win wars?
  5. Is victory impossible in modern wars? Or just not possible for us? – by Mark Kukis.
  6. A powerful new article shows why we lose so many wars: FAILure to learn. – by Dominic Tierney.
  7. When will our military learn modern warfare, & overcome the attritionist tendency? – by Daniel R. Grazier (Captain, USMC).
  8. A voice from the past explains our broken army – by William Lind.
  9. Why does the US field the best soldiers but lose so often? – about articles by Andrew Cockburn in Harper’s and James Fallows in The Atlantic.
  10. Why the US military keeps losing wars. – Looking at the many excuses.
  11. Why America Loses Every War It Starts – an interesting book by Harlan Ullman.
  12. Another reason our military can’t win wars. – by William Lind.
  13. How the US Army decayed. Does anyone want to fix it? – by Douglas Macgregor (Colonel, US Army, retired).

About our senior officers

  1. The Core Competence of America’s Military Leaders. – It’s not what most people expect.
  2. The moral courage of our senior generals, or their lack of it.
  3. Generals read “Ender’s Game” and see their vision of the future Marine Corps – by a sergeant in the USMC.
  4. How many generals would Lincoln have fired to win in Iraq & Afghanistan?
  5. Rolling Stone releases Colonel Davis’ blockbuster report about Afghanistan – and our senior generals!
  6. Do we need so many and such well-paid generals and admirals? – by Richard A Pawloski (Captain, USMC, retired).
  7. How officers adapt to life in the Pentagon: they choose the blue pill.
  8. The cost of too many generals: paying more to get a less effective military – by Ben Freeman (Project on Government Oversight).
  9. William Lind looks at our generals, sees “rank incompetence”.
  10. Trump chooses another general best suited to lose wars. – by William Lind.
  11. Our army’s bloat of officers is one reason it can’t win wars – By Donald Vandergriff (Major, US Army, retired).
  12. Careerism and Psychopathy in the US Military leadership — by GI Wilson (Colonel, USMC, retired).
  13. About the US Army’s leadership problem – by Don Vandergriff.

About ways to reform the military.

  1. Dragging American Military Culture into the 21st Century – by Donald Vandergriff (Major, US Army, retired).
  2. Building a new generation of visionary leaders for the US military – by GI Wilson (Colonel, USMC, retired).
  3. Overhauling The Officer Corps to build a military that can win wars – by David Evans (Lieutenant Colonel, USMC, retired).
  4. Reforming the US Army: can be done, must be done. – by Don Vandergriff.
  5. America needs a smaller and more lethal Army for the 21st century – by Robert Prescott.
  6. Why we lose so many wars, and how we can win — a summary by me at Martin van Creveld’s website.
  7. A Marine Captain explains our failure in the Long War, & how to win. – by H. John Poole (Lt. Colonel, USMC, retired).
  8. Officers can reform our military and make America stronger! – Only the will to do so is lacking.
  9. Admiral Rickover’s gift to us: showing that we can reform America’s military.
  10. A Captain describes our broken military & how to fix it. – by J. L. “Bigsby” Groom (Captain, USMC, retired).
  11. We can win our wars. One of our warriors explains how. – by H. John Poole (Lt. Colonel, USMC, retired).

The Attritionist Letters

These were written by junior officers in the USMC, based on their experiences in our mad wars since 9/11. They are posted on the FM website with the generous permission of Marine Corps Gazette, where they were originally published. They are written in the spirit of The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (1942).

My introduction to the Attritionist Letters, volleys in the long war for control of US military doctrine. Here are the letters.

  1. The US Marines turn away from the future.
  2. The Marines shackling their field-grade officers & losing wars.
  3. Teaching Marine junior officers to obey, not think.
  4. Require Marine officers to do as they’re told so – we can continue losing the WOT!
  5. We prize simple concepts (even if they haven’t worked since WWII).
  6. Train our Marines like robots, to better fight our adaptive & decentralized foes.
  7. “Trust one another”.
  8. Resist the temptation to make every soldier a knower and decider.  Cherish the hierarchy!
  9. The hidden reason behind DoD’s organization (it makes sense once you understand).
  10. Commanders today are too busy to develop subordinates!.
  11. Artillery leads the way – to the past!.
  12. Succumbing to enticements (career advice for the successful).
  13. Thinkers need not apply.
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