OOTW – a necessary role for the military

Operations other than war (OOTW) is the name given a mission for the military. We see this capability to perform the mission right now in the Indian Ocean. OOTW preparedness is also a factor in Iraq. Is in an important factor in restructuring our military to handle something other than a European land war. That restructuring requires change that is causing its own problems – and providing opportunity for the fifth column to misrepresent.

Details get missed. Only Fox, that I saw, mentioned that the General commanding US forces in Baghdad gave a press conference yesterday.

We have two major stories happening at the same time. The broadcast press is doing us a disservice by not adapting to that situation. They are demonstrating, right before our eyes, their unwillingness to handle two major stories at once.

Well, the world doesn’t happen in neat segments. The world doesn’t cooperate with their formatting preferences. It just so happens that sometimes two big things that we desparately need to know about might happen simultaneously.

If the issue were as simple as the press makes out, what’s with that “no use” deal?

The truth of the matter is that the reserve force is poorly structured for today’s wars.

Rumsfeld knows it. If you listen carefully to his town halls with the troops, this has been coming up for two years, and for two years he’s admitted it, and said that they’re “working the issue.”

Solving the problem for the Army reserve isn’t just a function of fixing numbers, although that matters. It’s also a function of honestly examining which kinds of soldiers get used most often, and should be primarily a part of the active duty force, backstopped by colleagues in the reserves, and which specialties are used more rarely, and can be functions prmarily fulfilled by reservists.

That’s an important debate, one the American people need to hear.
[Ranting Profs. Who goes where. 6 Ja 05]

One of the reasons why the Navy has been able to provide direct and immediate assistance in the Indian Ocean is because OOTW is a mission for which it prepares and trains. One of the functions of the National Guard has always been to stand in to assist whenever there is a domestic disaster.

While some may paint the General’s remarks as saying the GWOT is tearing the National Guard to shreds, Ranting Profs points out that there is more to the story. It is the change process of meeting a new enemy and new challenges that might be called ‘growth pains’ that is the key issue. Resistance to this change is one reason for the inane attacks on Rumsfeld and for the misinterpretation of anything that might be construed as a a problem in the military.

The comment about “no use” highlights this because it notes that some of the people in the military are under-utilized. It is a key indicator that the structure, the business model, currently defining operations isn’t quite in line with what has to be done. Yet.

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