Discussion in 'Leadership and Professional Development' started by Marauder06, Nov 29, 2011.
Lindy is on a roll tonight.
It's par for the course down our way, although with a small Regiment, the people coming in are generally known entities. At any rate, regardless of who's running the show we have mass stability in our ORs and JNCOs and reasonable stability through our SNCO's, who are again, very well known to the other NCOs. The Battalions tend to keep their identity regardless of who is at the top of the food chain.
In a SF unit that is NCO heavy, how big an impact does an OC have? I imagine the NCO cadre is reasonably stable, are officers in SF units prone to re inventing the wheel, or are the units too stable to fuck with too much?
For everyone not in on the inside joke going on here between Lindy, xSF Med, and me: there no process for selecting, assessing, and training enablers going to SF Groups, so many unfit people manage to work there way into support jobs in SF units. And once they're in, it tends to be notoriously difficult to get them out again. If only it was as easy as pressing the "delete" key...
I was losing track of who was who so I did a little organizational chart to help me keep track . It includes the names of the current commanders and the breakdown of officer/warrant/enlisted in each unit. I color-coded it by branch- green for SF, oriental blue for MI, orange for signal, brown for multifunctional logistician, and cobalt blue for chemical corps. I edited it into the first post in this thread.
At the staff meeting, several courses of action were discussed. MAJ Ripley states that he was asked by the Group commander to move into the Group S3 position at the end of the month, which probably means he is on the upcoming lieutenant colonel promotion list (which hasn’t yet been released). CPT Criss put forth the idea of sticking around in the unit to take over for MAJ Ripley as GSC commander, but it was shot down because Criss is not SF-qualified. CPT Criss looked relieved when that decision was made, since it meant he wouldn’t have to give up his shot at the 16th SAVE. That kind of leaves you as the leading candidate for taking over after MAJ Ripley, if there are no other options forthcoming. But at over 500 people, the Group Support Company is larger than any battalion you’re likely to command when you become a lieutenant colonel many years from now. The idea of being responsible for than many personnel and that much equipment, with such a varied and complicated mission, makes you feel a bit anxious.
MAJ Ripley wants the issue of command succession to be worked out immediately. After much animated but productive discussion, MAJ Ripley makes his decision. Both you and CPT Criss have been tasked to actively recruit your own backfills, with the guidance to try to “fill from inside the community” (i.e. someone who is already in a SOF unit) first. MAJ Ripley is beating the bushes for a backfill for his own position, and will continue to push for a backfill for the vacant HQD commander. MAJ Ripley gives a suspense date of next week’s command and staff meeting for at least a slate of three possible candidates for each position.
Towards the end of the command and staff meeting, the admin clerk announces that in the next couple of days, the Group will be receiving eight MI lieutenants. This is a bit of a surprise, because there are currently no positions anywhere in the Group for MI lieutenants. Each of the three SF battalions currently has two MI captains (a battalion S2 and a battalion MID commander). The Group S2 shop has an MI major as the S2 and two MI captains as the assistant S2s. There will be a meeting in the Group Chief of Staff’s office immediately following this command and staff meeting, so you can provide recommendations as to where these new lieutenants should be assigned. Annoyed about only finding out about this now, you cast a glance over to your detachment sergeant, MSG Reynolds. He raises his eyebrows and shrugs slightly in a “this is the first I’ve heard about it, boss” gesture. You chalk it up to the ineptitude of the Group S2 office that you’re only finding out now about the new arrivals and the meeting with the Chief of Staff.
From both an administrative and command standpoint, the intel architecture within the Group is, in a word, crap. The Group S2 is responsible to the Group commander for everything intel-related within the Group, but he has no control over the assets to make the mission happen. The Group S2 shop consists of the three officers already mentioned, a couple of warrant officers, and a handful of enlisted men, most of whom perform administrative functions like inspecting arms rooms, dealing with security clearances, and handing out maps. The bulk of the Group’s intel assets belong to your MID. That is not really a problem in garrison; you do your thing and the Group S2 does his. But when you go forward to Iraq or Afghanistan, then everyone in the MID is farmed out directly in support of an SF battalion, or you’re rolled up under the Group S2. Predictably, this causes problems because the Group S2 shop and the MID personnel don’t work together in garrison and there are growing pains every time the Group deploys. In garrison, the Group S2 has absolutely no control over any of the intel assets in the Group. The battalion S2s report to their battalion XOs, and the battalion MID commanders report directly to the battalion commanders. As the MID commander you report to GSC commander. In garrison, the MID commander, battalion S2s, and battalion MID commanders can, and do, ignore the instructions from the Group S2 with impunity. The Group S2 has an awful lot of responsibility but very little authority; a recipe for disaster if ever there was one. A similar problem exists at the battalion level, for the same reasons listed above.
You also find it irksome that there is a separate MID at the battalion level. The detachment consists of ten total personnel and the commander does not have a property book, vehicles, weapons, communications gear, NBC equipment, or UCMJ authority, but the captain in charge gets “command credit,” which is a big deal in the officer community. Where you come from, they call a man in charge of 10 people a squad leader, not a commander. You feel that the MID “commander” should be an assistant S2, and that the battalion S2 should be in charge of everything intel-related at the battalion level. You also think that there should be a reorganization at the Group level, in which all of the “operational” MI assets (HUMINT, CI, SIGINT, etc.) should be with you in the MID, and all of the “administration and analysis” (terrain team, all-source analysis, etc.) should belong to the Group S2. That idea went nowhere, however, in part because no one wants to work for the Group S2.
Things can work OK under the current organization when the Group S2 and the Group MID commanders get along and are willing to cooperate, but when they hate each other, as is the case right now, everyone suffers. Actually, the “hate” only goes one way. The Group MID commander is technically slated to be a major’s position, but it has only ever been filled with a senior captain. MAJ Dudley, who has been in the Group for three years, believes you “stole” the MID commander position from him, and he has hated you for it ever since. You don’t “hate” MAJ Dudley but you do think he’s a complete idiot, and that he fully lives up to his nickname, “The Dud.”
Your stomach has been growling for the last twenty minutes, and you had been planning on getting lunch immediately after command and staff. You had to skip breakfast this morning and now because of the Group S2’s inability to make a plan, you’re going to have to skip lunch too. When your blood sugar is low, you tend to get very grumpy. Someone is going to be on the receiving end of a verbal throat chop for this. As command and staff ends and you stomp over to the Chief of Staff’s office with MSG Reynolds, you ponder three things-
-How should you go about looking for a backfill for you as the MID commander?
-Where do you recommend that the new MI lieutenants be assigned?
-Does the Group Commander’s secretary still keep that bowlful of chocolate on her desk?
You did an organizational chart yourself? You didnt delegate this task? Dont your kids have colored pens?
Well, I told someone to do it for me, that's the same as doing it myself right? ;)
Should that color have been for us? ;)
Sir, you forgot the ACT (Advanced Collection Team) led by a 35P5 and manned by three senior 35P4 (hopefully all with their V identifiers) in the GSC. I actually DO agree that the MID at the GSC level should NOT have any control of the BSC's MIDs while in garrison. They would just get in the way and the MID commander is there for a reason and the BN MID is operationally a Company asset. We need the admin & all-source guys with us vice up one echelon.
Onto the exercise: The first thing that "I" would do is look into the mirror and say "Stop being a pussy, take command, and LEAD for Christ's sake." Next "I" would pull "the Dud" aside and fix the relationship once and for all. (Explain to the shithead that it's not about us...it's about them.) After the Dud and I yelled, cried, and hugged each other, I would inform the Det SGT, the SOT-A TM SGTs, as well as the SOT-B NCOIC they will be responsible for teaching the new 1LTs about MI: if they succeed it will be because of them and same if they fail. They will be held accountable. My senior CWO would have the MID so I know it is in good hands unil Branch can perminantly fill it.
On a side note, that line and block chart sure is confusing!
At the time this story takes place, there is no ACT, all of the SOT-A types are in the Group MID. The ACT came later, about 2005, IIRC.
I'm not sure what you meant by this:
could you clarify?
The Group MID should support the Group commander with his overall big picture of what his forces are up against on the battlefield whereas the BN MID should support the Companies that make up the BN: even down to the ODA level. I would not want to work for a Group commander how was that focused so far down. If the GSC is "all up in my MI bid'nes", nothing would get done. I'm going to re-read the entire scenario to make sure I'm picking up what you're putting down.
WHOA! SOT-As at the Group level?!? :ehh:
The way 2nd Group is organized, almost all of the operational MI assets are at Group level (this is actually what was reflected on the Group MTOE when I was in Group). All of the SOT-As, most of the HUMINT collectors and CI types, a good portion of the all-source analysts, and all of the 09Ls are in the Group MID. I'm not suggesting to take operational assets away from the Battalions, at the time this scenario takes place, they're at the Group not Battalion level.
Yes; that's one of the things we tried to get changed, pushing the majority of the assets out of the Group MID and down to the battalions (see page 25 of this article). In retrospect, I'm not so sure it was a good idea.
what the heck is all this
SF seems like a confusing world
The commander’s secretary is not at her desk when you walk in, but her candy jar is. Starbursts, yuck. You just can’t catch a break today. Reynolds happily scoops up a handful of the colorful candies and the two of you proceed down the hallway towards the Chief of Staff’s office. You hear voices as you pass the door to the Group conference room, and since it’s open, you can hear that there is a briefing going on. Standing in the hallway, you and MSG Reynolds can see into the room and hear quite clearly. You observe a middle-aged captain that you don’t recognize standing in front of a screen, onto which a PowerPoint presentation is projected. At this distance you can’t make out the name on his uniform shirt, but you can see that he is sporting the “long tab” designating him as Special Forces. You notice that all of the Group leadership and several battalion commanders are in the room to receive the briefing. Even though you’ve come in towards the tail end, you can tell that the briefing is about Pakistan.
“…despite the differences in the policies interests of the US and Pakistan, there are areas of mutual interest, and areas in where the two countries can work together. The chart below represents a few of the national interests of both the US (blue circle) and Pakistan (green circle). In some areas, such as trade and drug control, the US and Pakistan have overlapping mutual interests and cooperate relatively effectively; those areas are contained within the areas of mutual interest and are not very controversial,” the captain says, gesturing to the slide.
“Who is that? I don’t recognize him,” you whisper to MSG Reynolds. “That’s Al James, did his Team time with A/1/2,” he whispers back. “I haven’t seen him around,” you respond, “What’s his story?” “He got wounded by an errant airstrike during the uprising at Qala-i-Jangi when we captured John Walker Lindh,” replies Reynolds, “They let him go work on a master’s degree while he was recovering, I think he went to Yale or something. Dude speaks like four different languages, including Pashto and Dari. He spent some time in Pakistan before the war, and was part of the first wave in when we kicked things off, was one of the “horse soldiers” and even escorted Karzai around. Dude is a rock star inside of SF.”
Since you can see the Chief of Staff sitting in the briefing audience, you figure you might as well stick around and listen to the briefing. As you and Reynolds speak quietly in the hallway, James continues: “For example, the US is Pakistan’s largest trading partner, and the greatest source of foreign investment for Pakistan. The US benefits from imports of cheap Pakistani-made textiles and chemicals, and through outsourcing some service-based industries. Additionally, in the area of illegal narcotic control, the interests of both the US and Pakistan could also match up nicely. Afghanistan, controlled by a US-led coalition, is the largest producer of opium-based narcotics in the world and Pakistan is a major consumer. There is also some overlap when it comes to both Afghanistan and combating Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, although there are policies on the part of both nations that cause those issues to stretch outside of the area of mutual interest,” he continues.
Captain James pauses for a drink of water before continuing on. “Gentlemen, if I could refer you to the central graphic on this slide. Although the US and Pakistan can cooperate well in many areas, there are other areas in which their interests diverge. The further that the issues get from the central overlapping areas of national interest shown in the figure above, the more difficult those issues are for the two nations to resolve. For instance, the US and Pakistan are far apart when it comes to issues such as India and China. An additional sticking point is the US use of drone strikes inside Pakistan, and Pakistani support for organizations that the US considers terrorist groups, such as the Haqqani network. Nuclear proliferation continues to be a thorny issue, with Pakistan insisting that nuclear weapons are necessary for its national defense, and the US concerned about the potential of terrorists to obtain a Pakistani nuclear weapon and the export of Pakistani technological capability to countries such as North Korea. The interrelated issues of terrorism and Afghanistan are areas in which the US and Pakistan ostensibly cooperate, but conflicting national interests keep the two nations from being true partners.”
James pressed a button and another slide popped up. “In the high-stake international relations game, the US and Pakistan both have trump cards to play. Pakistan has enormous influence over the ability of the US to achieve its national interests inside Afghanistan, especially since Pakistan controls the preferred land route into Afghanistan. For its part, the US has enormous leverage with Pakistan because of the huge foreign aid the US provides. Both sides are able to use their trump cards coercively to extract concessions from or to express dissatisfaction with each other. These trump cards are key to understanding the overall relationship between the two nations; without US foreign aid, Pakistan would have little incentive to cooperate with the US, and if the US didn’t need Pakistan’s assistance to prosecute the war in Afghanistan, the US would likely be using more of a “stick” instead of a “carrot” in its relationship with Pakistan.”
James presses a button one more time and the screen went blank. He faces the audience and crosses his hands behind him. “Ladies and gentlemen, before I conclude my briefing I want to make one personal observation. I have lived with and among the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan for significant portions of my adult life. I studied the region extensively during my years at West Point and during my master’s degree at Yale. If I learned anything from all that, it is this: Afghanistan is not worth one more American’s blood. That region is a shithole, it has always been a shithole, and it always will be a shithole. No amount of money or effort we could ever put into it, short of bulldozing the entire country and starting over from scratch, will ever make it any better than it is right now. Any efforts we put into “democratization” will completely fail.” He paused a moment to let that sink in before he continues.
“Afghanistan is bordered by Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, and Pakistan. Not one of those countries wants to see a US-friendly democracy in their back yards. Pakistan in particular will fight us every step of the way. Oh, they’ll be happy to take our money, materiel, and political support, but they will undermine us every step of the way. Exactly the same thing that happened to the Soviets will happen to us. Pakistan, our erstwhile “ally,” is in fact not an ally. They are not our friends, they are not “on our side.” They are on their own side, and the sooner we recognize that, the better.”
“We made a huge mistake in invading Iraq. We should have invaded Pakistan instead. They’re the ones who ALREADY have nuclear weapons. They’re the ones who exported the WMD capability to rogue regimes, and THEY are the ones who already have established ties to Islamic militants who attacked the US. They will continue to support those militants, and I guarantee that Osama bin Laden is sitting in an ISI safehouse right now, sipping chai with his ISI handlers and laughing about how stupid the Americans are. In short, for all the reasons we say we invaded Iraq, we should have invaded Pakistan instead. We generated some bad karma by going into Iraq, and it’s going to bite us in the ass in the end.”
“That man is officially my new hero,” whispers Reynolds, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, as the briefing concludes and the meeting breaks up. “Yeah, that was a good briefing. I wonder what they’re going to have him do now that he’s back at Group?”
 Bast, Andrew, “Why Does Pakistan Have the World’s Fastest Growing Nuclear Program?” 17 May 2011, The Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia...ld-s-fastest-growing-nuclear-program/(page)/3 (accessed 15 November 2011).
 Borger, Julian, “Pakistan Nuclear Weapons At Risk of Theft by Terrorists, US Study Warns,” 12 April 2010, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/12/pakistan-nuclear-weapons-security-fears (accessed 3 December 2011).
 Squaasoni, Sharon, “Weapons of Mass Destruction: Trade Between North Korea and Pakistan,” 11 March 2004, Congressional Research Service, http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/30781.pdf (accessed 3 December 2011).
 Graham-Harrison, Emma, “Factbox: NATO Supply Routes Into Afghanistan,” 26 November 2011, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/26/us-afghanistan-pakistan-isaf-idUSTRE7AP0GV20111126 (accessed 4 December 2011).
 US Department of State, “Background Note: Pakistan,” 6 October 2010, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/ bgn/3453.htm (accessed 16 November 2011).
 Anonymous, “U.S., Pakistan Trade,” 16 May 2006, Voice of America editorial, http://www.voanews.com/policy/editorials/a-41-2006-05-18-voa1-83106242.html (accessed 14 November 2011).
 Economy Watch, December 2010, http://www.economywatch.com/world_economy/pakistan/export-import.html (accessed 5 December 2011).
 Adams, Jefferson, “Who Uses Most of the World’s Heroin?” 28 June 2010, The San Francisco Examiner, 28 June 2010, http://www.examiner.com/health-news-in-san-francisco/who-uses-most-of-the-world-s-heroin (accessed 10 November 2011).
Reading through the briefing, I have a semi-off topic question: Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are countries that never recieve a lot of popular attention. Do there interests overlap at all with US interests? I know that Uzbekistan was a staging area in the inital thrust into Afghanistan, but has that dynamic changed?
Personal opinion: Pretty much the only reason we care about any of those countries is because of their proximity to Afghanistan. I don't think we have much trade with any of them, politically we tend to be far apart and I think we only cooperate a little bit on the military side. I think all three are currently having problems with their own radical Islamist insurgencies; the IMU is a particuarly resilient organization.
So what's happening with Al James and the rest of the 2nd Group crew? Inquiring minds need to know.....
I've been surging on my term paper, and I noticed a couple of plot discrepancies I have to work out. Expect another iteration within the next 24-36 hours.
You know what I wish, sir? I wish you weren't a liar.
It's not that Mara is a liar, it's that the Army made him release his NCOs for leave since their accruals were getting into the 270 day territory... and Mara has to have NCOs do the work so he can take the credit.