General Robert Scales about the high price that American infantry pays.
Junior Corporal Zach King (left) and Corporal Derrick Sammonek firing an 60-mm mortar during the 15 exercise in May of 2016
Filmed by Sergeant Paris Kuipers for the US Marine Corps
Retired American Major General Robert Scales, known in our country for his call to kill as many Russians as possible, gave an interview to the veteran resource Task & Purpose on the state of affairs in the army and, in particular, shared his vision of the problems of the infantry.
Robert Scales, a retired major general, talks about what happens when infantry needs don't come first
Since the Second World War, most American deaths in combat have been in infantry. These brothers, and now the sisters arms make up a small part of the armed forces, but bear the brunt of the battles and deaths.
These are the warriors of the nation. Their work requires daily leave the location in order to find the enemy, come together with him and kill. They are fighting close, at the division level. Such collisions should be asymmetrical, with a large margin in favor of the American infantry and special forces. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
In his forthcoming book, Scales on War: The Future of the Armed Forces of America at Risk, Army Major General (Ret.) Robert H. Scales Jr. claims that if ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan had better weapons, equipment and support, they would not have required outstanding feats in battles, and the losses could have been significantly lower.
Army Major General (Ret.) Robert H. Scales Jr. speaks at a US Navy Institute event 17 June 2008
Over the 35 years of service, Scales led two divisions in the Vietnam War as an officer of field artillery and received a Silver Star for acting in a battle for the height of the Hamburger. He was in a management position on the other side of the globe from the States, in South Korea, and, having completed his career as the commandant of the Military College of the US Army, resigned at 2001. After retiring from the army, 14 worked for years as a senior military analyst at Fox News, as well as a commentator on NPR and BBC, wrote countless articles and many books about stories and the future of American wars.
Skales spoke with Task & Purpose about prioritizing large-scale programs over small ones, focused on combining ground support assets, fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and the state of affairs in the army.
What is the strength of our military? In technology? What should be the power?
I think the greatest strength of our military is not in technology. I think she is in two things. The first is the quality of people: if you look at the armies of the world and try to find the one that is comparable to ours today, you will not find it. Second, I think, culture. Our armed forces have a culture of decentralized leadership that other armies cannot reproduce. Often, we have sergeants doing what in other armies lieutenant colonels. Such an army is more viable, more reliable, more flexible.
Your book, Scales on War, begins with a discussion of "unnecessary heroes" and the need for "dishonest battles." Can you deploy?
I have always been convinced that America’s vulnerable center of resilience is dead Americans, and our enemies have long been using a strategy based on killing Americans, and relying on it. Even without humanitarian aspects, I have always argued that the success of a country at a strategic level, especially in long wars, is associated with fighting the least human cost of life, and most deaths - 81%, four out of five deaths in war - from World War II the infantry. And my position has always been this: if the enemy is trying to win by killing our ground fighters, that is, infantry, then we should not allow infantry to melee at all in a fair fight. It’s bad that we allow it, it’s bad that it happens at all, but taking into account the strategic situation, strategic necessity, changes everything in general.
So if the target of the enemy is dead Americans, and if the majority of combat deaths are in the infantry, why do we allow, and too often, unit-level battles to be fair? I do not see any logic in this, and therefore I wrote this book.
What does an ideal dishonest fight look like for US ground forces?
The technology of miniaturization, the Internet, the development of new tools for combat units are already sitting on the cutting edge of the technological revolution, you just have to spend money.
First, and most importantly, Drones. Secondly, the application robots or ground drones. Thirdly, the communications of soldiers, and fourthly, a new set of wearable weapons capable of destroying Tanksshoot down planes and shoot bad guys far beyond the reach of their weapons.
Again, this is not a fighter, where the main thing is invisibility, as they say, at least. It is a combination of means that provides dominance. The difficulty for the army and marines is that each of the items I have listed falls on a separate bosses. By the time you pass them all, there is no longer a person who is specifically responsible for ensuring domination at the division level. Something quite similar, in my opinion, is in the SKSO (Joint Command of Special Operations). The SKSO succeeded, and therefore the SKSO is so efficient - everything is literally under one roof.
If we want the next president to achieve a decisive advantage in the wars that we are actually going to lead - and not those that the Navy wants to carry on with China - this is what you have to spend money on, and the growth of opportunities for every dollar spent will be beyond Unlike, I do not know the next aircraft carrier.
Established M-16A4 rifles are displayed along the wall after an urban exercise at a remote marines airfield in Atlantic, North Carolina, February 18 2016
Filmed Corporal Joodson B. Graves for the US Marine Corps
Why the improvement of armor, small arms, rescue technologies, surveillance equipment - everything that is extremely important for ground troops, fighters, special forces, etc.? - no more emphasis?
I just get up and tell the audience: “A graduate of the Naval Academy runs between one and a half and two years of flying school, it is allowed to F-18. Then he is trained on an aircraft carrier; then he becomes a qualified pilot and flies a 75 million dollar car. Is his life for parents more valuable than the life of an eighteen-year-old boy with a secondary education who has just gotten a bullet between his eyes, because the enemy has a better weapon? ”
And I ask: "Is the life of a lieutenant more valuable than the life of a lance corporal?" And they look at you and say: "Of course not." And then I ask: “Then why do you spend 4 million dollars on this guy when he is shot down, announce to the whole country and gather journalists from all over the world to capture his experiences, and when an eighteen-year-old is shot between the eyes, it’s just a running line in the news?»
Our society values the life of a lieutenant more than the life of a junior corporal, and this is wrong. It is wrong. I believe that money should go where the greatest probability of death, and we do the opposite.
Last July, you wrote a note in The Washington Post about the state of the army. You said the army breaks down. Can you deploy? Does it still break?
When our army breaks down, at least in this century - and in my memory it happened already five times - it breaks down at the sergeant level. The army breaks down when sergeants vote with their feet, or get injured, or dead. An army characterized by decentralized leadership is both good and bad. It’s bad that you can’t replace the broken, because the fragile balance of leadership and responsibility in the army must be carefully shaped for a long time.
The role of the alarm bell in our army is played by sergeants. The army does not break because the computer operator at the Pentagon had a bad day. It breaks down at the division level. It breaks down when unfulfilled obligations and losses exhaust those who do the dirty work - they fight and die - and they break. When they break, the rest of the army collapses.
Tell me that we will wage an 15-year war with forces of less than half a million army, I would call you a liar. The fact that the army maintains a level of training is a miracle in itself, but that is how the armies break down. Break down inside; break from the bottom up, and being broken, can not be restored for more than a dozen years.
A paratrooper of the US Army from the 1 Brigade Tactical Group of the 82 Airborne Division firing a M4 rifle at the insurgents during the 30 June shootout 2012, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan
Filmed Sergeant Michael D. MacLeod for the US Army
Are there problems specific to a fully volunteer army? What are they?
I do not think that this is a problem. The only problems are, firstly, the insensitivity and indifference to the soldiers of the melee, speaking at the point of the spear of voluntary force. The threat of a completely voluntary army is that those who kill will end or are exhausted, but this is not a systemic flaw. It is a matter of priorities and relationships. In the wars of our era, professional troops have no cons.
Want to ensure the survivability of the army, ensure the survivability of melee units; glut their rank and file. Calculate as you need, and double.
What we always ends in the first place? Are the ships running out? Not. Are airplanes running out? Not. Are satellites running out? Not. Are the rocket runs out? Not. Ends 11B (military specialty code, implied gunner-infantryman - approx. Lane.). Is always. And this shortage of melee soldiers sets the strategy instead of the strategy setting the number of melee soldiers.
How do you describe the current fight against ISIS? Are we fighting with ISIS? What is required for a war with ISIS, and do our armed forces meet these requirements?
Ever heard the old saying - everyone knows how the sound of two palms sounds, but how does the sound of one palm sound?
That is the question. We listen to the clap with one hand, when, in fact, a part of the state declared war on the West, and the Holy Grail of war on the West is not France or Great Britain, but the United States. You have one side declares and leads the war, and the other is trying to get away from the problem, but this is war. People are dying. There is an old saying that America brilliantly leads short wars and badly long ones, so in itself, delaying the whole undertaking in hopes of waiting out the political situation only increases torment and ultimately causes more damage to our side, because we are very bad at long wars.
If you are not going to fight, do not fight. If you are going, apply overwhelming force, break the back of the enemy and return home.
Marines stand up "at ease" at the 9 / 11 commemoration ceremony at Heeling Field Memorial in Tempe Town Lake, Arizona, September 11 2015
He shot an ordinary 1 class Dewan Goens for the US Marine Corps
How do you feel about the idea of the introduction of ground troops in connection with the civil war in Syria and the US policy towards ISIS?
She's just crazy. First of all, we need ground troops. I don’t know what their absence is connected with, but gods of war, insidiously, are insidious, and political measures and maneuvers can only partially control the processes that set the course of war. In other words, under the leadership of Roosevelt, America beautifully shied away from the European war to Pearl Harbor, and we perfectly ignored the terrorist threat to 9 / 11, and I can continue indefinitely. At some point, the Darwinian process is already guiding the war, which no one can define or direct. There comes a psychological turning point, after which the course of the war is set by circumstances, not political desires.
And the enemy, ultimately, has a voice. If the enemy decides that he will act on earth - because there is a benefit - he will act.
Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest news and the most important events of the day.