Saturday, May 22, 2010
Eeben Barlow founded the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes (EO) in 1989. The company trained SADF Special Forces in intelligence skills. Operating primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West, EO served such corporate clients as De Beers (diamonds) and Ranger Oil in Northern Angola. EO later operated in Sierra Leone against the rebel movement RUF in that country and assisted Indonesian Special Forces in the hostage-release operation in Irian Jaya in 1996.
EO also operated in South America and the Far East. Nowadays Eeben Barlow lectures to military colleges and universities on defense, intelligence and security issues.
Eeben Barlow is currently an independent consultant. Eeben Barlow's Military and Security Blog is a serious look at military and security matters.
From Eeben Barlow's blog:
STRATEGY AND TACTICS OF WAR
When a nation’s armed forces are committed to war, the war is fought at three distinct yet inter-related levels. These three levels are:
1. Strategic Level
2. Operational Level
3. Tactical Level
Warfare at the strategic level can be broken down into four distinctive types of strategic warfare. These four types are:
1. Offensive Warfare
2. Defensive Warfare
3. Attrition Warfare
4. Revolutionary Warfare.
Each type of Strategic Warfare can be further broken down into different sub-types of warfare. As an example, Offensive Warfare can be subdivided into either a Distant Strategic Offensive or a Close Strategic Offensive – the type being determined by the proximity of the offensive.
At the Operational Level, usually confined to a specific theatre of operations, the military strategy is accomplished by the setting of operational objectives, within that specific theatre, to meet the military strategy’s goals. Poor planning, non-compliance to doctrine and inadequate tactics can result in failure, thus impacting negatively on the overall military strategy.
The Tactical level is that level where the techniques to attain the strategy are implemented by various unit levels such as a division, a brigade, a company or even a section. It is, therefore, at the Tactical level that tactics come into play. The tactics employed will be dependent on numerous factors such as the phase of war, the enemy, the terrain, the weather, own forces capabilities, the local population and so forth.
Eeben Barlow's autobiography: Executive Outcomes: Against All Odds
Whereas the principle aim of war is to always achieve victory over the enemy, regardless of the type of warfare, the modern-day war can be viewed as having five main strategic goals:
1. To repulse an aggressive act by the enemy, contain and destroy it.
2. To invade, conquer and destroy an enemy.
3. To seize and exploit the resources of an enemy.
4. To energise foreign policy by means other than diplomacy.
5. To gain favourable public opinion and strengthen national resolve and will.
To achieve these strategic goals, the military will adopt a specific posture in order to accomplish its allocated mission. The posture will thus be determined by the perceived enemy threat and will therefore determine the military’s doctrine and tactics.
The tactics, in turn, are related to the specific phase of warfare that is being implemented. These phases - excluding the intermediate or transitional phases - are:
1. The advance
2. The attack
3. The withdrawal
4. The defence
Sound military strategies will lead to well-developed doctrines, good planning based on sound intelligence and correct application of tactics. It is, however, at the tactical level that the war can be either won or lost.
This is where I disagree - the United States was never defeated on the tactical level in Vietnam; there was never a decisive Communist victory against United States Forces on the battlefield.
Perhaps this was because while we were engaged in a distant, strategic war; the Viet Communists were fighting Revolutionary Warfare, and were willing to adopt attrition tactics to achieve their Strategic aims.
The American defeat in the Vietnam Conflict was STRATEGIC in nature, and it occurred at Berkeley, Kent State, Columbia, and a hundred other college campuses, where the few of the anti-war movement held the many of the entire country hostage - Sean Linnane