Friday, February 13, 2009

Living Up to Expectations

Anyone following the “Effects-Based Operations” dust-up over the past few months (see, for example, “Improvisation Won’t Do It” in AIR FORCE Magazine) had to be interested in yesterday’s remarks by Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, commander of Joint Forces Command. According to the Daily Report in, Mattis called EBO “a bastardization” of what the Air Force does, to wit:

Mattis said EBO is a “sound approach” against “closed” systems, such as taking down a power grid, but has no place in “real war.” Where EBO “went wrong,” he said, is that it assumed war is predictable. However, human beings are unpredictable, some things are “not quantifiable,” and wars are simply a series of “muddling,” improvised responses to constantly changing conditions, he continued. The “American desire for certainty” must be resisted in combat, he said. Responding to a question from an Air Force officer, he called EBO “a bastardization” of what the Air Force does.

So, Mattis lived up to our expectations—unfortunately. He can’t get over his belief, also stated yesterday, that EBO has no place in “real war,” you know, the kind with cool swords and stuff. We should all be grateful he was not in charge of military operations for the past 20 years

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