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    05 May 2005

    "a case for change, and even urgency"

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    The RAND Corp. is Gov't supported think tank, its work is usually well done although it was originally a part of the Gov't. It's now independent. Their latest report was presented to Rummy re: the occupation of Iraq.

    The first paragraph in Knight Ridder sums it up well:
    It isn't all that often that a think tank dependent on government contracts dares tell the emperor that he is naked, and that makes a recent Rand Corp. report to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on lessons learned in Iraq all the more remarkable.

    First, they criticize the "shock and awe campaign"
    The Rand researchers found that the "shock and awe" air attacks against the enemy leadership did not achieve the advertised objectives of "decapitating, isolating or breaking the will" of that leadership. They added that future operations should not be predicated on expectations of fast regime collapse through air attacks because of a host of limitations, some self-imposed to avoid civilian casualties.

    Second, It cautioned the idea of a slimed-down military, citing the benefits to the top tears while acknowledging the pressure and danger put on the lower-level ground forces.
    The study also cautioned the Pentagon to move very carefully as it shifts the Army to a family of lightly armored fighting vehicles heavily reliant on networked systems of intelligence information until such time as those fighting the war at lower levels have the wide-band satellite communications to access the information and trained personnel to interpret the images of what's waiting up ahead for a fast-moving tank column.

    Rand said that division commanders and above were well served by the increased situational awareness provided by aerial sensor aircraft and satellite coverage in Iraq, but lower-level commanders actually fighting the battles didn't get the specific intelligence needed in time to make use of it.

    Then they go after the planning of the invasion of Iraq:
    ...the Rand study sharply criticized the Pentagon for failure to plan in detail for postwar stabilization and reconstruction "largely because of the prevailing view that the task would not be difficult."

    In fact, the study said, it is highly likely that in future operations the United States and its allies will quickly defeat outmatched opponents but then spend "months or years winning the peace." The Rand researchers recommend that the planning process for future interventions be stood on its head and the military and civilian resources needed to secure the peace and launch reconstruction be given primary focus and priority in resources.

    Next RAND begins to ask for accountability from the leadership. Rummy, et al.
    The Rand study added, with understatement, "Some process for exposing senior officials to possibilities other than those being assumed in their planning also needs to be introduced."

    In a separate section the report criticized National Security Council and Department of Defense coordination for Iraq operations. It said the NSC focused on military operations and humanitarian aid, while postwar planning was handed to Rumsfeld and the Pentagon, and this approach "worked poorly."

    The report mentions that lack of care for the citizens of Iraq.
    The report said that no one bothered to provide for the security of the Iraqi people after Baghdad fell "given the expectations that the Iraqi government would remain largely intact, the Iraqi people would welcome the American presence, and local militia, police and the regular (Iraqi) army would be capable of providing law and order."

    In fact the burden of handling law and order in Iraq fell, by default, to U.S. and coalition military forces who were ill-prepared and unavailable in the numbers required to secure so unruly a nation and people.

    The Rand researchers said in the future the U.S. military cannot assume that someone else will take that responsibility - and American soldiers need to be trained and prepared to handle law-and-order missions as soon as they have toppled the enemy regime.

    The report added that "Iraq underscores ... the overwhelming organizational tendency within the U.S. military not to absorb historical lessons when planning and conducting counterinsurgency operations."

    It recommended that in the future American forces assigned to this duty should be composed of troops with training and skills similar to special operations forces - people who know the language and culture of the country and the vital importance of political, economic, intelligence, organizational and psychological dimensions in defeating an insurgency.

    I'm sure this report will quickly be added to the collection of similar critisims in the trash can in Rummy's office.

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