This was the Chalet on Thursday morning, not much short of idyllic, blue skies, birds singing…what more could you want. On Friday morning, the Chalet was much the same, albeit slightly overcast. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Mountain, it was:
This got me thinking about micros…cosms, ecosystems, stuff…it’s about 70km from home to Waiouru. In that distance it’s not unusual to experience three, maybe even four, distinct microclimates ranging from blue skies through rain and sleet to a foot of snow on the ground – I almost drove Little Red on Friday, without the hard top – which, as it turned out, would have been interesting with the broken zip on the back window of the soft top…
Once upon a time, we knew when it was Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn – it was all quite logical and simple – you couldn’t set your watch by the season but not far off it – nowadays…who knows? How many of us had to repopulate our vege gardens these year after a false spring disappeared in a flurry of hail and snow not so long ago? What sort of mitigating mechanisms do we develop to get around this growing uncertainty? My point in this is that we should be getting used to complexity and uncertainty whether it’s the weather, ACC levies, mortgage rates, etc, etc; if we go back far enough (and it probably won’t be that long a trip) in talking with our parents and grandparents, we’ll probably find that this is nothing new – complexity and uncertainty and more likely constants than new phenomena. Could it be that until we got back into actual warfighting (“You’re not in peace support anymore, Dr Ropata!!”again on a large scale, the decades of the Cold War since Vietnam ahd lulled us all into a nice safe Fulda Gap sense of complacency?
If that is the case, surely the draft Capstone Concept for the US Army needs to be leading far further forward than where we are today? I’m still so disappointed in the draft – if I had the time, I would give it a crack myself – if 20-25 pages is the aim, if 2016-2028 is the game, and Interbella is the tool, then where might we be in 2028? What then will be causing us to lose sleep
The Small Wars Council is linked into my Facebook page and this article from the New York Times this morning’s post really got me going – this opinion and the subsequent comment are setting the scene for a withdrawal from Afghanistan. While I have my own concerns regarding the benefits of any troop surge (the situation is totally different from that addressed by the surge into Iraq) and the lack of detailed campaign strategy, I don’t believe that apathy is a good enough reason to just bail:
“Yep…let’s leave it all up to President Obama to decide – and then lambast him when he makes what we will consider to be the wrong decision. He is probably right to be questioning the war in Afghanistan. It has been going on for 8 years – longer than the Vietnam War (from Tonkin to withdrawal in ’73) and there is not too much that appears as visible progress. There are no clear strategic objectives i.e. why are we there? to counter AG; to introduce democracy to any nation that neither wants not cares about it; because we’ve been there so long we can’t just pull out? All those analysts, consultants and interested parties from the Don’t Care Party need to get out of the game. The one thing that WILL lose this war is apathy – if soldiers like Jim Gant (Tribal Engagement Teams) and Josh Wineera (Interbella) can get off their bums and develop and present alternatives to the current big guns and hitech strategy, why can’t others, especially among these analysts and consultants – any fool can snipe from afar; it takes some guts to get into the fight. The NYT article closes: “Gen. Stanley McChrystal has said that counterinsurgency is ‘an argument to win the support of the people.’ But it’s not an argument won through sophisticated analysis. It’s an argument won through the display of raw determination.” That is correct but the people whose support is most necessary first are those of the US and the other contributing nations.”
Ultimately, if ‘the people’ of Afghanistan are not interested in buying into this war and/or democracy – and there’s not much to suggest that they are – then we are not going to achieve much in tactical-level combat with the Taliban. Maybe we would be better off leaving the ‘government’ of Afghanistan to muddle through on its own and to direct our support to anti-Taliban (or should our focus really be on anti-AQ) elements in Afghanistan, probably at the tribal level…?
Subscribers will have noticed the lack over updates over the past two days. Partly this is due to actually having to do some work but also because I got handed a review copy of the UK’s new Joint Combat Operations Virtual Environment (JCOVE – a bit of an odd name although I have known some Joint coves in my time!)
I’ve still only scratched the surface of it but was impressed right from the outset at the standard of presentation and development of the package, especially in comparison with the ADF version I got to review a few months ago (which lost me in the first ten minutes with a clumsy interface and lack of situational awareness. JCOVE (it is only the Lite version) is very slick with a comprehensive range of training, single player and multi-player missions plus a decent mission editor. It replicates just about every bit of equipment that the UK might currently bring to a land battle and the only significant omissions so far are any maritime platforms (ships for the uninitiated!) although the promo videos included on the DVD imply a maritime capability, as does the presence of the Lynx HMA.8 above…
I’m very keen to see VBS2 (the underlying game engine) go fully joint as that will add a richness and depth to training that we only dreamed of back in the late 90s when we first started to experiment with off the shelf games to support training…possibly more to follow in a few days when I drill into it in more depth…