When I cracked 1776 on Wednesday to give it its long overdue read, there were two pleasant surprises. I found that it was autographed by the author…something I am appalled at myself for not remembering. And secondly, alone on the inner leaf just prior to Part One, I was greeted by a simple and profound quote from General George Washington…
“Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.”
I should grace the elegance of his words by stopping now, but I fear that my editor is expecting more, and that my semi-conceited verbosity cannot be held in check.
Developing synergy, while not one of the nine generally accepted “Principles of War,” is an essential element in warfighting. Synergy is developed by having sufficient resources available to conduct all aspects of warfighting required to complete the specific mission to an overwhelming effect.
Too few troops… and units will not be able to conduct all the necessary ops required to fight and win a counterinsurgency struggle. They will not be able to simultaneously hunt down armed and indiscriminant murderers, protect logistical lines of support, conduct aggressive patrolling operations, conduct community confidence building and infra-structure re-building efforts, and deliver the expected results to an impatient Congress in a timely manner.
Too many troops… and a discontinuity of effort between units can develop, the logistical tail can outgrow the size of the dog, and the cost to deliver the expected results to an impatient Congress can exceed their expectations and diminish their support.
Getting the proper sized force in place is critical to ensuring that a lean, aggressive force can break the enemies force and their will, ensure its own security, build confidence amongst the local populace, and do so in a timely and efficient manner.
Three years of combat operations in Iraq has greatly diminished the capabilities of the insurgents in Iraq. Yes, they have become more lethal with their explosives…this is simply an outgrowth of the ability to get their hands on better technology, but they are not becoming a better organized, or more effective combat force. Indeed, I think it is very safe to say that if we pulled out today, the insurgents would not be the winner, as they are nearly spent and exhausted, but some third party would likely step into the vacuum that their diminished ranks could not fill.