OODA OriginalUncategorized

Low Speed, High Drag

A classified Pentagon study analyzing the effectiveness of Special Operations forces has found that the military’s counterterrorism effort is hampered by bureaucratic duplication, officials said, citing in particular an overlap between new government centers.

The study also found evidence of broad resistance to the Special Operations Command’s new counterterrorism role, from regional military commands and from other parts of the government’s sprawling defense and intelligence apparatus.

The findings were viewed as so provocative that the classified report has not been distributed widely, even among officials with the security clearance needed to read such internal reviews, Pentagon and military officials said. The study was initially ordered by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Oh how the truth hurts.

Pentagon and military officials who have read the study say that the mission of the new Center for Special Operations, a large military headquarters created in Florida in 2003, mirrors the work of the new National Counterterrorism Center, established by executive order in 2004. The military center is intended to bring together elements of the armed services under a three-star general; the intelligence center answers to John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence.

The review, conducted by a retired four-star officer, Gen. Wayne A. Downing Jr., grew out of a budget and strategy briefing last October during which Mr. Rumsfeld expressed grave concerns over the readiness of the troops and the effectiveness of the Special Operations Command’s counterterrorist operations.

“The Rumsfeld family crest probably says something like, ‘More, and faster,’ ” said a senior Pentagon official involved in the policy debate over the role of the command, known as Socom in military circles. “So what he thinks about Socom is, ‘With all this new money and all these extra people and all this wider latitude to maneuver, why haven’t you won the war on terror for me yet?’ ” […]

I’m told that Robert Kaplan has documented at least part of the answer, but I haven’t picked up a copy yet.

According to Pentagon civilians and military officers who have read the Downing study, the review found “a tremendous duplication of effort” in the government and military that overlaps with assignments given the Special Operations Command.

More broadly, the review found that the government-wide national security bureaucracy still does not respond rapidly and effectively to the new requirements of the counterterrorism campaign. The report said more streamlining was necessary across a broad swath of the civilian bureaucracy and military, including civilians in the policy office that reports to Mr. Rumsfeld and the office of the secretary of defense, the military organization that reports to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the regional combatant commanders and even the National Security Council staff at the White House. […]

Seeking answers to his concerns, Mr. Rumsfeld asked General Downing, who is known for his blunt, independent style, to conduct the classified review. […]

If you are going to argue for breaking china, you might as well get the biggest bull you can find.

Another official who read the review said it took to task senior civilian and military leaders who demanded “responsive, flexible, agile operations around the world, yet tolerate a staff system that gives you exactly the opposite.”

Under a Unified Command Plan signed by President Bush, the Special Operations Command now “leads, plans, synchronizes, and as directed, executes global operations against terrorist networks.” But the Special Operations Command, based in Tampa, Fla., “does not have the power to do what it has been assigned,” said yet another official in paraphrasing the report. […]

The flexibility it takes to bury one’s head up one’s fourth-point-of-contact is incredible, yet these same people can be some incredibly inflexible when it comes to making the slightest change in order to satisfy customers who are in dire need of such support. Why be responsive when you can be obstructionist, do less work, and still get paid? Funny how that works. Funny and sad. Good thing most of those tools don’t have sipr connections. ;- )

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.