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Death Of Synchronization


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Critique of current Marine Corps Planning Processes when applied to planning during execution; case based on Operation IRAQI FREEDOM I.

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Death Of Synchronization

  1. 1. The Death of Synchronization? Command and Control, Planning, and Lessons Learned from OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM I Colonel Eric M. Walters MA MSSI Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence) III Marine Expeditionary Force E-mail: [email_address]
  2. 2. This presentation is UNCLASSIFIED Selected unclassified source material listed in handout
  3. 3. 1994 Prediction: “The Death of Mission Tactics” <ul><li>“ The U.S. Army has finally adopted mission tactics—just in time for it to become irrelevant to modern warfare.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mission tactics is a philosophy concerning command and control. It…describes a concept in which decision-making authority is delegated to subordinate levels of command.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Robert R. Leonhard, author of The Art of Maneuver </li></ul></ul></ul>Source: Robert R. Leonhard, Fighting By Minutes: Time and the Art of War . (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1994, p. 112.
  4. 4. Obligatory Dead German Quote <ul><li>“ The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish by that test the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature.” </li></ul><ul><li>-- Karl von Clausewitz </li></ul>Source: Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Michael Howard and Peter Paret, editors and translators. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976, p. 88
  5. 5. Agenda <ul><li>What’s the Problem? </li></ul><ul><li>Definitions, Implications, and Examples </li></ul><ul><li>OIF I Diagnoses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deliberate Planning Prior to Hostilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercising Prior to Deployment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deliberate Planning During Hostilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prescription: Adaptation, Coordination, and Cooperation during Execution </li></ul><ul><li>Critique of Current Warfighting TTP </li></ul><ul><li>Some Recommendations </li></ul>
  6. 6. What Is the Problem? <ul><li>Take a look at our TTP on Planning! </li></ul><ul><li>Strong emphasis on deliberate staff planning, less on staff planning during execution of the operation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MSTP and MCWP 5-1 Marine Corps Planning Process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>R2P2 for MEU CE and subordinate element HQs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Execution: MEFEX and SOCEX </li></ul></ul>These are good for the situations these references and processes are designed to solve—but what about anything else?
  7. 7. What is the Problem? <ul><li>Deliberate Planning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Operations Order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decision Support Template and Matrix </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Synchronization Matrix and Annex X: Execution Checklist </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rapid Planning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Fill in the blank” formats and playbook </li></ul></ul>TTP are necessarily focused on product and process—but do these cover all potential situations/requirements?
  8. 8. What Is the Problem? <ul><li>MAGTF C2 “Parts and Pieces”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MCWP 3-40.1 MAGTF Command and Control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MCWP 3-40.2 Information Management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MCWP 3-40.3 Communications and Information Systems (to be reissued as MCWP 6-22) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bringing it all together? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MCDP 6 Command and Control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing in the MCWP 6-# “Command Series” </li></ul></ul>There is very little in Marine Corps Warfighting Publications and/or Marine Corps Reference Publications that detail how the C2 “parts and pieces” are integrated to execute the plan.
  9. 9. What Worked in OIF I? <ul><li>Adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Coordination and cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>High tempo ops </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralization </li></ul><ul><li>Implicit Communications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commander’s Intent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cohesion </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Definitions <ul><li>DoD: “Synchronization: The arrangement of military actions in time, space, and purpose to produce maximum relative combat power at a decisive place and time..” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Joint Publication 1 DoD Dictionary of Military Terms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>U.S. Marine Corps: “…synchronize the course of action (COA) across time, space, and purpose….” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MCWP 5-1 Marine Corps Planning Process </li></ul></ul>What are the implications of arranging military actions to achieve“maximum” vice “sufficient” relative combat power?
  11. 11. Definitions <ul><li>“ Synchronize: 1. to cause to agree in time or rate of speed; regulate (clocks, a flash gun and camera shutter, etc) so as to make synchronous 2. to assign (events) to the same date or period; represent as or show to be coincident or simultaneous 3. Film to align (the picture and soundtrack)—synchronization” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition </li></ul></ul>All English language definitions indicate that “ synchronized” things are meant to happen together as scheduled/regulated/aligned, or--to use DOD language— as “arranged” in “time, space, and purpose.”
  12. 12. Definitions <ul><li>Synchronization is more than coordinating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Coordinate: (2) To harmonize in a common effort. To work together harmoniously.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Harmonize: (1) To bring into harmony or agreement.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Harmonious: (2) Having component elements pleasingly or appropriately combined.” </li></ul></ul>By itself, however, such coordination is no guarantee of synchronization, unless the commander first visualizes the consequences to be produced and how activities must be sequenced to produce them. -- FM 100-5 Operations , 1993
  13. 13. Definitions <ul><li>Synchronization is more than planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Planning is the art and science of envisioning a desired future and laying out effective ways of bringing it about.” (MCDP 5 Planning ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Synchronization is more than just arranging/regulating/aligning/sequencing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Achieving maximum combat power is what makes it different—”good enough ain’t enough!” </li></ul></ul>In the end, the product of effective synchronization is maximum use of every resource to make the greatest contribution to success. -- FM 100-5 Operations , 1993
  14. 14. Implications <ul><li>Maximizing combat power is paramount; more is preferred over “good enough” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But fleeting “decisive times/places” could be lost waiting to optimize/maximize </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Requires a single entity—the commander—to sequence actions to achieve it in planning and/or execution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But subordinate initiative actions “outside the sequence” risks losing maximized combat power…also doesn’t account well for friction </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Implications <ul><li>Requires commander to actually know where the decisive place and time is ahead of time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But does this really happen in a reliable manner? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Implications: An Army View <ul><li>CONCENTRATION TACTICS : </li></ul><ul><li>- A synchronized combined arms force </li></ul><ul><li>- Velocity equals speed of the slowest unit </li></ul>Source: Robert R. Leonhard, Fighting By Minutes: Time and the Art of War . (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1994, p. 157
  17. 17. Implications: An Army View <ul><li>PREEMPTIVE TACTICS : </li></ul><ul><li>- Force divided along lines of mobility </li></ul><ul><li>- No longer combined arms </li></ul><ul><li>- Velocity equals speed of the fastest unit </li></ul>Source: Robert R. Leonhard, Fighting By Minutes: Time and the Art of War . (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1994, p. 157
  18. 18. Implications: A Marine Variant <ul><li>PREEMPTIVE TACTICS : </li></ul><ul><li>- Force divided along lines of mobility </li></ul><ul><li>- Combined arms at smaller unit level – MAGTF Warfare </li></ul><ul><li>- Velocity equals speed of the fastest unit </li></ul>
  19. 19. Examples of Synchronization Matrices (see handout) <ul><li>CURRENT PRODUCTS </li></ul><ul><li>MCWP 5-1 MCPP Synchronization Matrix </li></ul><ul><li>MCWP 5-1 Annex X Example </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ BACK TO THE FUTURE” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1974 Soviet Operation Network Diagram </li></ul><ul><li>LOGGY/SEAWAY application screen </li></ul>
  20. 20. Diagnosis: Deliberate Planning Prior to Hostilities <ul><li>Worked well to orient all hands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MSTP-led training in Spring 2002 prior to exercise DESERT SPEAR 02 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Long lead time (approximately one year) </li></ul><ul><li>Massive intelligence development </li></ul><ul><li>Current enemy contact: OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH (OSW)/OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH (ONW) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Diagnosis: Exercising Prior to Deployment <ul><li>MSTP-facilitated DESERT SPEAR-02 (Spring 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>MSTP-facilitated MEFEX-03 (Autumn 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Enhanced familiarization of tactical/ operational problems </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations of computer-driven CPX constrained some understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise geared to support established staff procedures </li></ul>
  22. 22. Diagnosis: What We Wanted <ul><li>“… as the 3d MAW G-3, Colonel Jonathan G. Miclot, stated on the morning of March 20, ‘We have to be very methodical with regard to what we have to target and why we have to target….It’s not a war against Iraqi forces per se; this is a war against the regime….That’s the challenge right now; who’s going to shoot, when are they going to shoot, and can we re-target them effectively, efficiently, and quickly?” </li></ul>Source: LtCol Michael D. Visconage & Maj Carroll N Harris, Third Marine Aircraft Wing: Operation Iraqi Freedom . (Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Association, 2004), p. 63.
  23. 23. Diagnosis: What We Got <ul><li>“ For Walters, the immediate challenge was to adjust the timeline of the battle damage assessment process. ‘The first two days of combat operation was really blistering fast,’ Walters said, ‘We completely outran the targeting cycle.’ As Walters had expected, the volume of intelligence information was immense. There was more information than could be processed.” </li></ul>Source: LtCol Michael D. Visconage & Maj Carroll N Harris, Third Marine Aircraft Wing: Operation Iraqi Freedom . (Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Association, 2004), p. 165.
  24. 24. Diagnosis: Friction <ul><li>“ Careful planning failed…to deliver the desired result….The Marines had anticipated trouble in Nasiriyah….Trouble came, but not of the sort anticipated. The defending division, the 11 th , deserted, as predicted….during 22-23 March, fedayeen fighters began to arrive…. Neither side was properly organized to conduct the battle that ensued. It was a recipe for confusion and confusion quickly followed ….the battle for Nasiriyah was a catalogue of errors.” </li></ul>Source: John Keegan, The Iraq War . (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), pp. 149-151.
  25. 25. Diagnosis: Deliberate Planning During Hostilities <ul><li>Despite technology, “Fog of War” still high </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information barrage at senior headquarters; dearth of gouge at lower level headquarters and combat units </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Current Plans” could not function effectively </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forecasted situations rapidly became OBE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Target nominations rapidly became OBE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subverted Air Tasking Order (ATO) process </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Diagnosis: Disorder, Complexity <ul><li>“ General Usher said it was sometimes a matter of ‘brute force logistics.’ Despite all the FSSG’s careful preparations, sometimes it came down to Marines muscling their way through a problem….the general added, ‘It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t elegant. It was just sheer adrenaline.’ This was especially true as the Marine division sprinted towards Baghdad.” </li></ul>Source: Col. Nicholas E. Reynolds, USMCR (Ret), Basrah, Baghdad, and Beyond: The U.S. Marine Corps in the Second Iraq War . (Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2005), p. 90.
  27. 27. Diagnosis: Fluidity <ul><li>“… even if a higher headquarters had good information and wanted to micromanage, it was often difficult to do so, especially if the subordinate command was moving or was at or below the digital divide….The staffs who tried to stay ahead of the curve and ‘paper the war’ often failed…. Events happened faster than anyone could write old-fashioned op orders, especially Fragmentary Orders, before they were overtaken by events.” </li></ul>Source: Col. Nicholas E. Reynolds, USMCR (Ret), Basrah, Baghdad, and Beyond: The U.S. Marine Corps in the Second Iraq War . (Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2005), p. 160.
  28. 28. Diagnosis: Deliberate Planning During Hostilities <ul><li>Inability to plan ahead into immediate future with a high degree of fidelity enough to synchronize battlefield activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tension between maneuver and fires </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tension between maneuver and logistics </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Prescription: Adaptation, Coordination, and Cooperation during Execution <ul><li>“’ Shared Understanding’ continued to make it possible to work smoothly…to rely on mission orders and the commander’s intent, and to operate with lean staffs and a ‘light’ communications suite. The intended result was speed, the mantra that permeated MEF, Division, and Wing planning….” </li></ul>Source: Col. Nicholas E. Reynolds, USMCR (Ret), Basrah, Baghdad, and Beyond: The U.S. Marine Corps in the Second Iraq War . (Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2005), p. 52.
  30. 30. Prescription: Lateral coordination & cooperation <ul><li>Prime Example --CG 1 st MarDiv (MajGen James Mattis) and CG 3 rd MAW (MajGen James Amos): “…how much things had changed since Desert Storm, especially in terms of communications between the actuals: ‘There was the twice daily….video-teleconference. They also talked on the phone a lot. Compared to Desert Storm…they talked far more than their predecessors [in that conflict]….they were called the ‘Talking Jims’ by their staffs.’” </li></ul>Source: Col. Nicholas E. Reynolds, USMCR (Ret), Basrah, Baghdad, and Beyond: The U.S. Marine Corps in the Second Iraq War . (Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2005), p. 52.
  31. 31. Prescription: Adaptation, Coordination, and Cooperation during Execution <ul><li>Key to winning the campaign in a rapid fashion </li></ul><ul><li>Twice daily I MEF CG VTC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants: I MEF Fwd/Main, I MEF Rear, 1 st MarDiv, TF Tarawa, 1 st UK Div, 3d MAW, 1 st FSSG, MEG, MLC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared Commander’s Estimate, Commander’s Intent, Commander’s Concept </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Staffs coordinated improvisations </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralized execution on the ground AND IN THE AIR </li></ul>
  32. 32. Critique of Current Planning & C2 TTP <ul><li>MCWP 5-1 MCPP suitable regarding deliberate planning for and during set-piece battles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Little insight on planning and execution procedures for “hyper war” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Transition” between plans and operations is key MCPP weakness (Chapter 7) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Synch matrix, DST, Annex X Execution Checklist do not communicate much meaning to those not engaged in planning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>R2P2 is “MEU-centric” and very “pre-scripted” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need something that is fast but also works for larger MAGTFs and subordinate elements </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Some Recommendations <ul><li>Synchronization is not dead--just best for “set-piece battles” where: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enemy is immobile--probably in fixed fortified positions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time is not a factor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requirement for maximization of combat power paramount to reduce friendly losses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Classic” amphibious assaults against defended beach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attacking fortified zones with no effective enemy mobile reserves or reinforcements </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Some Recommendations <ul><li>Leverage information age C2 technology to enhance adaptation/cooperation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MCDP 6 Command and Control vignette, “OPERATION VERBAL IMAGE” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>COP often wrong about the terrain and enemy, but enhanced moral courage of local leaders to improvise </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Examples of successful COP use alongside examples of misuse </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>C2 style/systems should facilitate “Basketball” rather than “Football” tactics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous “swarming” instead of “plays” with pauses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Players talk to each other “across the court” </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Some Recommendations <ul><li>Training regime MUST change: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase force-on-force freeplay exercises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accelerated tempo of action leaving little time for deliberate planning during execution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Longer exercises with high possibility of unpredictable events invalidating current plans </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop ideas at lower levels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What works is floated up to senior leaders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Senior leaders enable everyone to “get the word” on what works </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Some Recommendations <ul><li>We need yet another planning process in addition to what we already have: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MCPP too deliberate and slow during execution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>R2P2 good for MEU and some unit/mission mixes, but doesn’t cover larger headquarters rapid planning needs. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Start with draft “Recognitional Planning Model Field Manual (RPM FM)” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Heavy Marine contribution (Maj John Schmitt) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modify for MEF and below use </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. RPM FM Process Schematic Situational information Guidance/Tasking from HHQ Understand Mission Conceptualize COA Test/Operationalize COA Wargame COA Develop Orders DISSEMINATE EXECUTE IMPROVISE Includes executors as well as planners Once COA satisfices in wargame and/or testing, it becomes THE PLAN. No need to compare options. The “Decision” (subject to test and evaluation)
  38. 38. QUESTIONS??
  39. 39. This presentation is UNCLASSIFIED