Thursday, January 31, 2008

Military Rant

Half Sigma said [1]...

I am not impressed by McCain's military experience. I worked for the army as a civilian, and it was the most poorly managed organization I ever worked for. Romney, on the other hand, has the proven capacity to run large organizations.

I think that whatever McCain's failings, earning his wings as a Naval Aviator speaks volumes about young John McCain's intelligence, adaptability and ability excel. Dummies don't fly airplanes.

Now, I'm not sure when Half Sigma worked for the Army .. but generally he's right.

The military is optimized to break things and hurt people. When it's not actually doing this - and that was most of the time before between 1973 and 2001 - it's incredibly inefficient.

The reason is that it's really tough to run a lean military optimized for peacetime and then change stuff around in the span of a few months so you can destroy Iraqi mechanized armies with minimal waste. Or at least minimal waste on our side.

Nobody wants to replay Task Force Smith.

I was in a support role in 1991 and it's amazing how many wasted cycles .. suddenly were not when we had to pack up people and gear and move them halfway around the world.

Did 3D FSSG need a whole bunch of desert camo in 1990? Going to the Middle East wasn't our mission so you might think that the cubic set aside in the warehouses were wasted space.. But when we were tasked to send people the guys who went were pretty happy to be able to draw the gear they needed.

Likewise in 1990 3D FSSG didn't need a DFASC [2] - mainframes in a trailer [3] - but when 1st and 2nd FSSG found theirs were breaking down (AC issues) we were able to ship them ours on a day's notice.

Sorry for the rant - ignorance irks me.


[1] A rant is a terrible thing to waste so I'm recycling and editing a comment from another blog into a post. Some editing for clarity, some to correct a faulty memory.

[2] Rumor had it that we were going to get rid of it someday and in the meantime we didn't use it - or at least hadn't in the year and few months I'd been assigned to that unit. After 1991 the mainframe guys routinely dragged them out and operated them on field exercises.

[3] Interesting beasts they were - two semi-trailers per DFASC, one for the mainframe, one for the operators and programmers. Since my MOS was 'programmer' if we'd had to deploy ours I would have been put to work doing 'programmer' work. Since I hadn't done that since school that would have been interesting.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.
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