Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What a load of military gobbledegook!

I'm still shaking my head after having been referred to an article titled 'What the Army needs to do to Win'.  It's so full of jargon and political correctness that it frustrated the heck out of me.  Just consider this paragraph:

What the Army requires in its operating concept to adequately plan for success in the future is to define and instill the appropriate intangibles, in terms of qualities of effectiveness; plan and resource the right tangibles, in terms of systems and structure; develop and institutionalize, in doctrine, rational fundamental tenets; and provide a fundamental substrate upon which to build the force in terms of a quantifiable threat.

Consider that in the light of a few famous military aphorisms:

  • "Get there fustest with the mostest" - Lt-Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA (more accurately rendered as "Get there first with the most men").
  • "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his" - Gen. George S. Patton, US Army.
  • "All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time" - Lt-Gen. 'Chesty' Puller, USMC.

And particularly:

"My Lord:  If I attempted to answer the mass of futile correspondence which surrounds me, I should be debarred from the serious business of campaigning... So long as I retain an independent position, I shall see no officer under my command is debarred by attending to the futile driveling of mere quill-driving from attending to his first duty, which is and always has been to train the private men under his command that they may without question beat any force opposed to them in the field" - The Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular Campaign.

So much, from all of them, for 'tangibles' and 'intangibles' and academic jargon.



Bruce said...

Goobledygook that is supposed to cause one's eyes to glaze over so you forget to ask questions...mostly because they don't have any answers, let alone a friggin' clue.

tweell said...

(Letter from the Duke of Wellington dispatched from Spain in August 1812)


Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been complying diligently with your requests which have been sent by H.M ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters. We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for , with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are at war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an Army across these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one to the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London, or, perchance,

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven from Spain.

Your most obedient servant


Obviously, we've selected option 1.

RHT447 said...

Warrior quotes:

Anonymous said...

"I would die for my country. But I'd rather kill for it." Field Marshal Tamas, The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

Sherm said...

The fact that the guy writing that is a lieutenant colonel says more about the problems in the army than his article.

I suppose if he'd said as an alternative, "We need to feel good about killing people and breaking things," he wouldn't have been published.

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall Forrest had another one - "we fight with what we brung" but I can't find a reference right now.

Coconut said...


"Too much time on Afghanistan's plains has seen our brains melt and dribble out our ears.

We got some dudes to practice actually fighting, as opposed to stooging about and hoping someone with a Kalashnikov and too much courage will jump out of the bushes to say 'hi', and they sucked at it.

We're trying to do everything, and it's not working.

We need to rebuild a real army, planned to and capable of fighting a real enemy. Say, Russia. Or Red China.

Whatever we were doing in Desert Storm, it worked - at least as far as effortlessly beating up a mob of incompetents with Soviet equipment that was thoroughly obsolete when they got it and hadn't seen a day of maintenance since.

Back then we were training and equipping to fight Ivan, now we're training and equipping to fight no-one in particular and as a result can't fight anyone.

We need to get back to preparing to beat up Ivan.

Also we need to start looking at conscription again, because we haven't got enough lifers to have much chance against Ivan."

Anonymous said...

I shot with an 0-2 11B last weekend and he has done nothing but staff paperwork since finishing Ranger school. He will not re-enlist after his commitment. He wanted to be an infantry officer, not a clerk.


Angus McThag said...

If you can survive reading that link and make it to the comments...

W Fleetwood merely inquired if the article was a parody of something, so they decided to declare him a jerk.

Excessive moderation that makes his rather mild comment (as compared to the internet as a whole) seem far worse than it really was.

richard mcenroe said...

You call Patton and Chesty Puller soldiers? They couldn't have created a PowerPoint presentation to save their lives!

Quartermaster said...

Richard, Chesty would resent being called a soldier anyway. He was a Marine. If you want a fight, call a Marine a soldier.

Certainly, however, neither of them could be called "Chairborne."