Ground Forces Best: Mattis

Ground Forces Best: Mattis

Some people are willing to forgive the defense establishment for its zeal in pursuing high-tech solutions. Gen. James Mattis, commander of Joint Forces Command, is most definitely not one.

In a wide ranging critique of defense planning over the past decade, Mattis blasted the “wrongheaded thinking” of recent years that led military planners to seek technological solutions to solve war’s fundamental challenges and naively dismiss war’s unchanging reality. “We embraced some wishful thinking, we espoused some untested concepts and we ignored history,” he said yesterday at CSIS in Washington.

Mattis didn’t mention the previous Pentagon leadership by name. But it was former SecDef Rumsfeld who turned “transformation” into the catch-all buzzword signaling the military’s embrace of a Toefler-certified digital future. Phrases such as “information dominance” and “Effects Based Operations” filtered into doctrine manuals. In the new American way of war, near-perfect intelligence gathered from unblinking electronic eyes would replace the fog of war that causes confusion, casualties and uncertain outcomes with predictability in American military operations.

Mattis is determined to bury that notion. “Defense planners will not be allowed to adopt a single preclusive view of war,” he said. ”War cannot be precisely orchestrated. By its nature it is unpredictable. You cannot change the fundamental nature of war.”

The military has swung too far in its embrace of high-technology, Mattis said, using as an example what he called “over-centralized” command and control. That over-centralization can create a “single point” of failure, he warned. “The U.S. military is the single most vulnerable military in the world if we overly rely on technical C2 systems.” In future wars, technical systems will be under attack and will go down, he said, so forces must disaggregate authority and decision-making to much lower levels. “We’re going to have to restore initiative” among small units and individual leaders.

Tasked with crafting a force for the “combatant commander after next,” Mattis is striving to prevent the military from repeating past mistakes such as “grabbing concepts that are defined in three letters, and then wondering why the enemy dances nimbly around you.” He recently decreed that EBO be dropped from the American military lexicon. The rhetorical battle over EBO was largely between those who see troops on the ground as the linchpin of future conflicts, versus airpower enthusiasts, who believe just the right amount of precision weaponry applied at just the right point can produce, well, most any desired effect.

In future wars, ground forces — supported by aviation and naval forces — will be the linchpin, Mattis said. It is on the ground, in complex terrain, mixed in with the civilian population, where today and tomorrow’s enemy will confront U.S. forces. “These wars will be fought among the people… we’re going to have to deal on human levels with human beings and not think that technology or tactics by targetry will solve war.” The likelihood that most wars will be of the irregular variety (I’ve noticed Mattis tends to avoid using the descriptive term “counterinsurgency” when discussing current and future wars) will demand troops with “cultural savvy” who know when to shift gears from one form of war to another. War is a human endeavor and so defense planning must focus on the human factors, he said.

The “advise and assist” capability of ground forces will be key, requiring that regular forces achieve a “seamless” integration with special operations forces. “High performing small units are now a national imperative,” Mattis said, “capable of operating independently at increasingly lower echelons.” The effort he envisions is not designed to turn regular forces into special forces, rather, it recognizes that the individual and the small unit are the key players on a decentralized battlefield. Fundamentally, quality becomes much more important than quantity. The vulnerable gaps JFCOM is seeking to plug are those at the small unit level, where guerrilla fighters have targeted U.S. forces over the past eight years.

Future enemies will avoid U.S. technological strengths in sensing and targeting, which is the whole idea behind hybrid threats: an enemy that will rapidly shift its posture and adapt its operations and tactics to keep U.S. forces off balance. “Hybrid means you’re going to see a mix of conventional and unconventional… it’s not going to be in four quadrants of a DOD chart with disruptive, catastrophic, traditional and non-traditional war,” Mattis said.

While the fundamental nature of war is not changing, what is, Mattis said, is how the military will fight future wars. To get the “how” part right, JFCOM is in the midst of a wide-ranging war game that is putting to the test its new warfighting concepts, embodied in the “Capstone Concept for Joint Operations.” The war game’s scenarios are threat based and include fighting a near-peer competitor from a distance, engaging in an irregular campaign in a fragile or failing state and combating a globally networked terrorist enemy.

Mattis said the “capabilities based” approach to defense portfolio management, an idea that gained popularity inside the Pentagon over the past decade, is fundamentally incompatible with American democracy, where the polity’s support for the military is essential. “As we divorced ourselves from a threat based approach, we also divorced ourselves from incurring the support perhaps, certainly the emotional appeal to our people of why this military exists.” If the military is unable to clearly articulate realistic threats, then it risks losing that popular support, Mattis said.

While focusing on the human context and purposefully avoiding a discussion of programs and equipment, Mattis did say he sees a shift in focus from buying big costly systems to money spent on training, particularly on simulations. Strategic lift will be required to speed troops to distant battlefields and sustain them while there without the luxury of forward bases, so “seabasing over a sustained period of time” will be needed.

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The exercise should have a neer peer competitor fighting in urban terrain, taking hostages, fighting amongst civilans and in some cases even dressed as them.

Their distinction will be their much higher tech weapons, but the difficulty in us targeting them will be they’re blending in with civilians.

Tie that in with ballistic missile attacks on seaport and aerial points of debarkation and surges of armored forces taking key terrain and strikes on our financial system via cyberwarfare and THEN you have a real opponent.

This will be the next enemy.

To answer greg’s comment about General Mattis use of “irregular warfare,” see page 7 of the “Capstone Concept for Joint Ops” that says:

“Combatants may range from the regular military forces of states to paramilitary or irregular forces. They may operate in identifiable military formations using advanced fighting
platforms — tanks, aircraft, ships, and so on — or they may be largely indistinguishable from the civil population. They may employ methods ranging from combined-arms tactics to guerrilla warfare, terrorism, sabotage, subversion, unconventional warfare, or other methods usually considered “irregular.” This full range of methods will be available to both state and
nonstate adversaries, who are likely to adopt some combination.”

Then on page 8 of the concept:

“Warfare against the regular forces of a sovereign state using orthodox means and methods can be called conventional or regular warfare, while warfare against predominantly irregular forces can be called irregular warfare. The latter tends to be protracted, favors working through partners, and revolves around the support of the population rather than solely the defeat of enemy fighting forces. These clean distinctions will rarely exist in reality; however, as often in the past, future conflicts will appear as hybrids comprising diverse, dynamic, and simultaneous combinations of organizations, technologies, and techniques that defy categorization.”

So hybrid warfare is worked in there along with regular and irregular warfare. BTW, if you google the name of the concept you can access and read it.

Didn’t see any specific basis for the 3 scenarios being wargamed this week.

He touched on something that has bothered me for a long time in our military — our dependence on centralized communications. We can develop all the technical goodies in the world — stealth bombers, stealth fighters, 20 spy-sat constellations, hypersonic spy planes, have UAVs coming out of our ass, so much technology that we are 100 years ahead of our nearest competitor. But at the end of the day, if we can’t defend our networks, it is all useless. That is a huge unknown going into a conventional war with an adversary like China or Russia who are arguably far ahead of us in cyber-warfare.

How large of a force can a seabase sustain? Obviously we can’t seabase something like Iraq? What about something Afghanistan-sized (if it wasn’t landlocked)?

How many troops on the ground can realistically be sustained through seabasing?

Here’s another Obama-certified lunatic. While technology is not the only solutions to war’s problems, neither is substituting the FBI for the 1st IA. He is very carefully couching in Obama-speak the draw down of US technological superiority. His idea of comms is probably 2 cans with string between them. Such backward ideas will get people needlessly killed.

@Alex: Absolutely on target. Unless we change our approach to comms to be completely opportunistic (we’ll leverage whatever comms we find, whether commercial, our own, or our adversary’s–and we’ll hide our commo signatures) we are going to get clobbered.

@Navybrat111: Disagree. What this guy is saying, I believe, is that our forces need to be resilient enough to plan, fight, and win, with or without all the high-tech stuff, and with or without the associated long and complicated supply chains. They need to be trained, doctrined, and equipped to prevail against adversaries that absolutely don’t respect any of the “traditional” rules of war. If our forces are going to be able to win, we are actually going to have to have even BETTER tech–tech that puts equal emphasis on resilience, capability, simplicity, and uncomplicated logistics. Our approach in the recent past has been to focus on capability rather than any of the other three. That has to change as well.

@Nick: You forgot attacks on the electric power grid. Even worse than attacking the financial system, particularly during winter in the Northern hemisphere.

@all: One thing’s for certain: The folks who used to talk about “total war” would be horrified to see what their concept is about to morph into, and it isn’t going to require nuclear weapons to bring it about.

Wow navybrat, to call Mattis an “Obama-certified lunatic” takes some balls. This general is one of the finest thinkers in our DOD. Pretty sure that he rose up the GO ranks under a republican administration and got the JFCOM assignment under same. We ought to thank our stars that such a man is in charge and speaking out. Much better than generals Myers and Pace for sure.

I tend to agree with Gen. Mattis. When the “enemy” takes out the comm satellites things will have to happen much closer to the front. I suspect locally controlled UAV’s with comm transponders will be used where possible. The Generals and Lawyers in DC will have to ship out if they want to control the fight. When the Chinese took out their old satellite the game changed and even the Pentagon is not so dense that they don’t know it. The politicians? That is another question.

Mr Grant has mischaracterized the EBO debate. I wrote a rebuttal to Gen Mattis’ policy in JFQ and you won’t find me or any other individual advocating the use of EBO promising that precise weaponry “can produce most any desired effect.”

I do believe that EBO is a way to think beyond the way that many have turned select sections of Clausewitz into dogma that preaches if you want to win, “beat the army, then occupy the country.”

The modern offspring of that rule has become embodied in the 3-block war, which is now the new American Way of War. We need to be great at the 3-block war, but should not preclude other military options that include technology and standoff.


I’ll have to read your article in JFQ, but (and this comment isn’t necessarily directed at you) I never understand how some tech fans (and I’m one of them) can feel that if we are excellent at the 3 block war, we are less than excellent at the Big war with a peer competitor?

If you look at all the variables and different approaches that an enemy in a 3 block war throws at you, and you can still excel, how would you NOT excel in a conventional war that is less complex?

Look at terrain for example, big war advocates tend to use terrain models that favor long distances and easy tracking and ID’ing of targets. Try that in an urban battlefield mixed in with combatants and reduced line of sight and your precision targeting problem becomes exponentially higher.

Goshdarnit, those silly “gun” things are just too unreliable. You’re always having to clean them and reload them and aim, and they need lots of training to use.

Much better just to give everyone a knife–it’s extremely reliable, requires almost no training, and allows clear identification of targets.

We should abandon these foolish, money-wasting guns! They’re technological nightmares, wedded to an old “transformational” notion of warfare! Go back to plain, simple, honest, proven-effective KNIVES!


I’ll be interested to see how Matthis plans to fight a “globally networked terrorist enemy” without a centralised command structure.

The high tech applications we have implemented in Iraq and Afghanistan have allowed us to find and kill enemies, keep civilian casualties low, and have saved American lives. We need to keep up the high tech network that allows ground forces to provide targets for UAV’s to stalk suspected insurgents from the air, and to later provide targets for bombs, all in real time…that focuses on effects rather than the discredited Vietnam era notion that putting more US troops in a village will result in a better outcome. Returning to low tech methods might be heroic and might lead to call for more troops, but would be a very bad idea. But more important than this, we need to realize that the main reason we have a military is to deter major power opponents and their surrogates and we can only do this by out-teching potential opponents.

I think the point is being missed by some.

Tech should absolutely be used where it works, but this idea that tech “can lift the fog of war” is wrong. War is chaos. A bigger picture of chaos, is only going to show more chaos. An improperly used network can amplify garbage instead of truth.

You want real time control? Let the people on the scene make the decisions. Give your leaders the idea, and let them do it. Provide guidance and support. To the extent that networks and technology enable that, great. But if you trust your people, even if they go off the grid, they’ll still be making good decisions.

Use all those brains out there.

After reading Gen Mattis’ article, Bill’s rebuttal, and LTG Van Riper’s rebuttal-to-the rebuttal in Joint Forces Quarterly, I’m still not sure I understand effects based ops (EBO) anymore than I did before. But that was one of General Mattis points: too complex to understand/implement.

Both Generals seem to be saying EBO air attacks work fine for targeting fixed systems like power grids, road and railway networks, and airfields. But they work less well in influencing many other operational variables they claims to succeed at:

• political (you killed an opponent that I deceptively reported to be Taliban)
• military (you couldn’t kill my troops that were dispersed/hidden/intermingled with population, but you did kill my decoys)
• economic (you killed my poppies)
• social (you killed my brother)
• infrastructure (you killed my power, so now I’ll sabotage rebuilding and kill your guarding ground troops)
• information (you killed my imaginary kids)

But not sure rejecting technology, F-35 bomb trucks, or decentralization to the point of discomfort is the answer. The main opponents able to target us for talking too much on the radio are China and Russia. So are we rejecting technology designed to let us beat near peers easier and communicate with small units over much shorter distances?

Meanwhile, the Joint force seems to embrace much larger techno-targets requiring centralized technology/communications allowing us to plan/target from distant CAOCs, AWACS, JSTARS, carrier battle groups, and Marine LPDs/LHAs.

The same near peers who cause minor problem by temporarily jamming our local comms (before we target their jammers), is the near peer who may knock out the GPS needed for EBO GPS-guided bombs, attack Japan/Guam airfields and our carriers with guided missiles, or sink our carriers (and Marine ones too) with diesel-electric subs and 200 knot torpedoes.

But let’s assume we could put a squad-sized infantry element outside every Afghan or future opponent town to safeguard the village and rebuilding efforts. Wouldn’t that unit be extremely vulnerable to Taliban massing if only light infantry? It would be nice to be able to call for air support with those comms you don’t want them to use!! Wouldn’t mounted or dismounted elements be extremely vulnerable to IEDs without jammers and ambush without organic UAS? Wouldn’t distant squads be very hard to resupply and their equipment hard to fix when broken?

Wouldn’t those troops be extremely uncomfortable for a year in the boonies (forgot, its only 6 months for Marines) and more likely to leave the Army/Marines due to poor morale?

Haven’t many similar current elements received Silver Stars and Purple Hearts for being heroic out of desperation, wounded, and nearly overrun? How does this tiny 11-man unit function 24 hours a day, man a perimeter and conduct day/night operations?

While I understand mission orders and encouragement of subordinate initiative, you can only do so much of that with a squad-sized regular Army/Marine unit. So is the appropriate element to allow more initiative platoon level? Company level? Battalion level?

With each subsequent level, the experience of the leader is far greater (assumes platoon sergeant watches out for platoon leader). It’s easier to envision extensive initiative and capability for self-protection, and 24 hr operations at company and battalion level…especially if they have some well-armored, mobile, and well-armed vehicles!

Couldn’t access to techno systems like Blue Force Tracker, Land Warrior, and the COP allow subordinate leaders to take more initiative, self-synchronize, and understand better where their (and other) small subordinate units are located as they fire and move?

Wouldn’t systems like Class I UAV, Raven, unmanned ground vehicles, and unattended sensors help them find the enemy and understand the situation for themselves?

Could a box of rockets in their combat outpost target forces detected by the unmanned systems and mounted/dismounted OPs/patrols?

Wouldn’t a well-armored vehicle protect that small unit better against artillery, small arms, many IEDs, and “mm-sized” cannons. Could a hybrid-electric vehicle reduce fuel consumption and supply power needs better than a EFV’s thousand+ horsepower?

Won’t organic outstanding sensors/processors and commo equipment at lower echelons mean less reliance on higher HQ intell that is a day late/dollar short? You can cut through the fog of war and conduct day/night/all weather ops a lot easier with organic sensors and security forces.

Won’t multi-band JTRS radios allow small unit leaders to choose an alternate group of frequencies if jammed…and get the heck out of dodge in their well armored vehicle if there is inbound artillery?

Doesn’t all this require technology, and larger units able to provide sustainment and withstand massed attacks?

Cole– you write more than the people who run this site. If you kept it shorter, it would be easier to respond.

I think all Mattis et al are saying is, we can’t offload our brains into some box and expect good decisions to come out. We gotta think.

Tech can be a powerful tool, but can also get in the way of understanding what’s actually going on in the here-and-now.

He’s not talking at all about turning the whole force into foot soldiers, so I’m not sure why you’re suggesting that.

Capabilities vs Effects, simply put…

Capabilities: We can do whatever we want!

Effects: That didn’t work like we thought it would…

Seriously, we can blow away terrorists anywhere/ anytime, but if blowing away terrorists doesn’t achieve the political goal, i.e. “No more training camps”, what good is it?

I wonder what the real agenda is here.
I don’t remember Rumsfeld or anyone else (since the Carter years) advocating cutting the training budget (although that is happening now) or deleting Joint or Service Doctrine?
According to this article, Gen Mattis advocates NOT buying “big costly systems”??? So, the US should eliminate our space assets? Aircraft Carriers? SLBM & Attack Subs? B2s? F22s? ICBMs? Smart bombs, cruise missles??.…and defend the US with what?? Light infantry (USMC) and irregular warfare assets???
The notion that our foes will adapt to our high end tech weapons and roll us up in an irregular warfare approach is an unsupported assertion…Because we blundered in Iraq and stumbled into a COIN op, we should walk away from our tech advantage? I wonder if any of our high tech is helping with IEDs??

Is Gen Mattis still reacting to JFCOM trying to field concepts without developing the technical underpending, then these remarks seem fair. However; JFCOM’s failure does not discredit the concepts.…merely the JFCOM attempt at taking a concept to a fielded capability.

Perhaps I am missreading the General…maybe he doesn’t want to go back to M1s, F86s, Fletcher Class DDs, Diesel subs and Ike jackets…these weapons are obsolete but it won’t cost us as much money when our opponents kick our butt. In days gone by, the military was always accused of “preparing to fight the last war”…transformation was nothing more than an attempt at looking forward vice being prepared to fight the last war. So, I guess the “flavor of the week” is to cast aside our primary war fighting advantage..high tech weapon systems…So, what happens if we show up to a future fight with low tech and bravado and the other guys are in Sixth Generation airplanes with directed energy weapons.…guess JFCOM will figure out how to avoid the Six Gen threat and fake out the DE with irregular warfare guile?? Wonder why we never thought of this approach before??

“The “advise and assist” capability of ground forces will be key, requiring that regular forces achieve a “seamless” integration with special operations forces. “High performing small units are now a national imperative,” Mattis said, “capable of operating independently at increasingly lower echelons.” The effort he envisions is not designed to turn regular forces into special forces, rather, it recognizes that the individual and the small unit are the key players on a decentralized battlefield. Fundamentally, quality becomes much more important than quantity. The vulnerable gaps JFCOM is seeking to plug are those at the small unit level, where guerrilla fighters have targeted U.S. forces over the past eight years. ”

Nobody in JFCOM is advocating losing a tech advantage, just being able to see clearly in
a brain rattled urban conflict. How does a squad leader approach solving a tactical advantage of the enemy with the available assets at his or her discretion, in the most effective way? Do they know all the assets available in a Joint OPS scenario?

There is a direction that is needed in what Gen. Mattis has to say. If I can take 15 troops and have a higher mission success ratio than those at battalion strength, then my 15 troops are a force multiplier and are doing something that needs to be taught to the battalion.

If my 15 troops use strategy advantages with integrated high tech weapons and subconsciously us timely movements to gain a victory, then they are more effective. Again gentlemen, speed and effectiveness.

First of all — JFCOM does not develop material solutions. It doesn’t even write requirements. By its nature, it has a current ops bias, and where you stand is based on where you sit. JFCOM wants to act like it is part of the solution, but it is really part of the problem –it helps lock us into thinking only one step ahead. General Mattis isn’t going to change this — he can’t…the only way you can change this is to do what the Europeans do and have the Joint Staff write the requirements. Ain’t happening on anybody’s watch. You’d need an act of Congress to make it happen, and those guys still believe they fixed things with Goldwater-Nichols. So you have a half dozen CINCs — screaming at the combat developers to turn this way, then that way…no, you went to far, no, you didn’t go far enough — and you end up with some poor field grade officer trying to clean up the mess. Add that onto our national proclivity to redefine our terms everytime a new rotation cycle begins — EBO is just a sympton of this disease — and you get this Tower of Babel thing going on. The PLA got us nailed. Service rivalry is our big strategic weakness, and right now, the bad guys are playing us like crazy. Stop digging the hole, people !

Our war fighting skills are too technically based. It’s no secret, command and control is target one for the enemy. Want to put the boots to shit like the Taliban? Use boots. About one week into the IED campaign in Iraq…I would have said.. FU..I’ll put on another pair of socks and walk it! I’ll put my trust in my fireteam and the eyeballs they have. Best sensory devices ever made. Iraq has proven .. can inflict damage with air and naval assets but it does not win wars. Bombardment on the beaches of D-Day, air and naval gunfire was vastly overestimated in the Pacific Theater. Ask the Troops and Marines that waded ashore in any of many amphib operations. Viet Nam, which we lost, could not be be broken with air power alone. If you are going to fight urban insurgency, ya have to take the fight to them…up close, and very personal.

to summarize: we need to fight using all assets at our disposal and allow the company, platoon, squad, and fire team levels make the necessary adjustments in the fight without fear of repercussions from the field grade and general officers. keep the frickin politics out of the fight! kill the enemy as quick as possible, clean up the mess, and get the hell out.

What’s wrong with this picture? It had to be the president who had the authority to order the action that saved an American from being killed by terrorist pirates. What if communications was not available? Nobody would have acted because only the president could order the action? Absolutely obscene. The decision should have been granted to the senior commander on station, not some figure thousands of miles away.


I guess that is the reason you are a Navybratt. Gen Mattis is one of the most highly respected, distinquished Warriors in the Military and Marine Corps today. He is spot on with technology cannot be the answer to every fight. Perfect example in the Marine Times recently they spoke how our younger troops are not able to Land Nav with a compass as we have become so dependent on GPS. I prefer a compass and a map as I was trained back in the day with that. I have no issue with Tech as I work in the Tech Field. I just know when are network goes down at work, we are pretty much at a standstill. We have to be able to fight in every aspect of war — conventional, irregular, gureilla, Assymetical, it doesn’t matter what you call it. You better be able to fight in it.

As far as your comments about Gen Mattis, I am sure he would very quickly put you in your place.

I am grateful and stand with my Marine General. How many battles have you fought in Navybratt or led Marines?


The General has nailed it. Too much technoligy dependence is bad, as with the troops that can no longer land navigate manualy by the sun and stars or with a map and compass (my team ran into such a unit in Afghanistan that was lost because thier squad leaders GPS died.)dependence on technoligy kills. Look at all the billions being spent on combat robots, average price is over $100,000.00 just for a bomb bug. I can blow an IED with $40.00 worth of explosives just as easy and not have to wait hours for the bug to arrive and do it, sitting around and waiting in enemy territory makes you a target. This is especialy true for a convoy, dummy IED’s are used to stop and slow convoys for RPG and sniper hits. And this centralized comms command is the worst thing they ever came up with. many times our troops have the bad guys in sight and dead to rights and then have to watch them get away while waiting for command to respond with permission to shoot. All of this technoligy stuff they are trying to put onto the individual soldier is heavy as well,all of these weapon video cammeras,lasers,coms units and such along with all their other gear is ridiculous, the more junk you add the less ammo they can carry, AND AMMO IS ALL THEY SHOULD BE CARRYING IN COMBAT. Its just as bad in the NAVY and AF as well in new systems trying to be developed. We need to get back to the the basics, when we go into an area and you want a part of it taken, deligate it to someone and stay out of his way, he is on the front line need to make split second decisions, not the guy in the bunkers. better rifles, pistols, and field gear is whats needed to knock the enemy dead, along with the training to perform this mission. The colonial ways of combat are long dead and need to be put to rest. guys in sandals carrying thier spare ammo in thier pockets are giving all of our technoligy one heck of a time. once the fight starts, technoligy is useless.

Generals are supposed to think “generally”. No matter, the US man and woman on the ground with or without strong central control will figure it out (bad connection…you are garbled…when ever the need arises. Keep the faith brothers and sisters.…

I hope the closest to the fighting gets the BIG picture of the LOCAL picture as soon as the guys in the rear with the gear. NET is so important as is realtime.

I aggree to a certine extent, net is important for calling in support if you need it, or to report job accomplishment. but not for orchastrating a fire fight. Watch BALCKHAWK down or watch the military channel story on it, centralized command control caused a lot of the issues in that operation. The area commanders need to trust in thier leaders on the front line rather than control them, video confrencing is a disgraceful way of getting your campaing candy. Get in line with the troops if you want more salad for your uniform.


Isn’t he still pushing the V-22 Osprey, and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle?

He’s right about not depending too much on C4I, but that isn;t the only way for the military to hamstring itself and swing “too far in its embrace of high-technology.”

General Mattis is a Marine, and the USMC believes that highly competent troops on the front lines are the only way to deal with unpredictable and changing circumstances. As a service, the Marines have learned to defeat every adversary they have ever faced.

General Mattis is rejecting the concept that information and precision weapons can solve all problems alone. Precise information and precision weapons are wonderful, but only in support of skilled fighters at the front, not in substitute for them.


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