Michael McBride

I am continually amazed at how little viable analysis come out of the mouths of our “best” political pundits. Hugh Hewitt does a pretty good job of capturing the worst of last night’s inane ramblings in his postings today.

It is apparent to me that the only thing that MSM political savants myopically study is some kind of sycophantic, pundit-ly shallow version of electoral history. Worse it seems, they are only capable of talking to their patently fixed view of some previously executed strategy taken completely out of the context of the day and then they erroneously supplant it into today’s political dynamics.

That is how armies miss critical paradigm shifts in strategy and become defeated by more agile thinkers and operators. Today’s pundits are the Maginot Line designers of our day.

Some things to consider.

Tactics are the local execution of rehearsed plays. Operational tactics are developed in concert with the weapons of the day to ensure maximum effectiveness of the man-weapon unit in both the offense and defense. Changes in tactics are predominately driven by grass roots factors – maximum effective ranges and rates of fire of individual weapons, terrain, cover and concealment available, communications/command and control equipment evolution, unit composition, and weather as examples. Some tactics and weapons, such as basic infantry formations and our M-16s, may remain viable for lengthy periods. Other tactics can be rendered outmoded overnight by simple counter-measures or the development of new weapons systems.

Evolution of strategic thought is much more critical. It requires a quick recognition of and an adaptation to, paradigm shifts in the operational art as plans become plays, and the theoretical become the operational. It is not sufficient to execute old plans when new capabilities are garnered through weapons systems development or to devise new plans where weapons and logistical support limitations would render them useless.

Successful strategies are the intersection of innovative and agile thinking, tactical evolution, operational adaptation, resource utilization, and determined execution. And tactical defeats are not the harbinger of strategic failure.

What the pundits missed.

Tactical success must be exploited to truly become a “victory.” Local success must be leveraged into something more in order to turn a local victory into a strategic success. In combat, the taking of an objective must be followed by tactical pursuit with the ultimate goal being the destruction of the enemy force that you supplanted. It is the destruction of the force or the diminishment of its capability that is the victory, not the simple occupation of a piece of terrain.


Michael McBride

Michael E. McBride retired as a Major from the Marine Corps and blogs at http://www.mysandmen.blogspot.com.

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