United States Army Sergeants Major Academy
SGM Junella Manglona
4 September 2013
Through careful study of the military training, organization and
deliberate set of guidelines this paper seeks to explain the weaknesses
evidenced by the results of the chosen American military engagements.
This essay tackles two major examples of such engagements that
incorporate standard themes like strategic and political background of
the war. This paper reviews the preparation done by the United States
Army for their war engagements and tactical comparisons, armaments,
preparation and execution, and the lessons from each of the two chosen
Broad Topic: Effects of military readiness on combat.
Narrow Topic: The influences of military readiness on U.S. military
soldiers’ performances during the Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom
Thesis Statement: Thesis: The military strategically plans its
movements, uses the best technology, and proper training in combat, but
even so, challenges such as deplorable leadership and inadequate arms
and ammunition may hamper readiness and in turn success.
America’s First Battles: An overview of America’s first battles
Military Readiness, An overview of the concept of military readiness and
different elements that fall under the analysis of what readiness
entails in combat operations.
The Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom Operations
An overview of the two selected American military operations: Desert
Storm and Iraqi Freedom Operations. A detailed description of how combat
operations were affected by military readiness.
Factors effecting military readiness.
A description of the factors that have affected American military
readiness over time with a keen reference on the two selected
operations: Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom Operations
The role of the Non-commissioned Officer (NCO) and their contribution in
the training of the American troops.
America’s First Battles
The U.S. has been part of many wars over the centuries. While there
have been many wars with the most profound being World War I and World
War II according to Gill (2004), there have been other wars and one of
the most recent ones is the American war in Iraq. Such war may seem to
be impulsive depending on the circumstances but even so, that is not the
case because there is constant preparation for such occurrences among
military staff who serve to protect their nation. The military
strategically plans its movements, uses the best technology, and proper
training in combat, but even so, challenges such as deplorable
leadership and inadequate arms and ammunition may hamper readiness and
in turn success.
Engaging into the combat zone is the final part of the long line of
preparations that are designed to ensure that the soldier who takes that
final step is strategically ready for combat. The readiness is not only
strategic but also mental, psychological and physical readiness to
engage and endure the combat circumstances and deliver the expected
outcomes. According to Gill (2004), training of soldiers in America
intensified after World War II. Similarly, the development of arms and
other support systems also intensified (Gill, 2004). This logical and
rational approach of engaging in military operations usually determines
the progress and the outcome of the mission (Heller, Stofft, 1986). The
success of military and combat organizational strategy is determined by
several factors and considerations done apart from just recruiting a
good tactical leader.
The supreme military powerhouse in the world, the United States of
America, has been unprepared and continues to find its military not
ready for current warfare operations repetitively during the initial and
even later phases (Heller, Stofft, 1986). The Desert Storm seemed to be
a great triumph in the face of the world who did not truly know that
Soldiers were not appropriately trained nor prepared across the military
for a strained confrontation. The senior military and political leaders
knew of the situation which made them not to march into Baghdad
directly. The American technology over and above a well-planned Air
operation took the combat from the Iraqi Army that had been deployed
outside Iraqi cities.
The Operation Iraqi Freedom preliminary warfare operations were a
success on the linear battle field. However, the American unpreparedness
for a long strained out war in Iraqi cities showed that across the
American troops were not once again well trained and not well equipped
for such circumstance (Gregg, Rothstein & Arquilla, 2010). This has
presented critical military lessons for the American military in it
future operations. This may have led to the observed fact that until the
Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. has never sustained uninterrupted warfare
operations for a period longer than ninety days above the task force
Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom Operations
The Operation Desert Storm mission was a success the and proved to the
world that a few day war can be won and a country can be conquered when
the conquering country controlled the latest technology coupled with
over half a million Soldiers, Marines and Airmen. you could conquer a
nation. The Operation Iraqi Freedom engaged in early 2003, to date shows
that maintaining the ground with 142,000 soldiers in Iraq coupled with
state of the art technology cannot finish the job over a decade later
(Gregg, Rothstein & Arquilla, 2010). This situation is so because of the
effect of lack of prior preparedness and readiness to engage in the
entire mission to completion.
The fix arose due to the shortcomings of some 200,000 troops that faced
the force immediately after the Desert Storm. There military cannot
sustain over 200,000 troops in Iraq while at the same time fighting in
the Operation Enduring Freedom. The armed forces had to increase it size
to over 500,000 by the year 2012 from around 470,000 soldiers it
previously had. Time has proved to the U.S. army that after troop
numbers in Iraq reduce to as low as 108,000 the American government
should have reenergized and increased the numbers (Gregg, Rothstein &
Arquilla, 2010). For instance in Iraq only, the situation exceeded due
to the unexpected increase in violence from the Iraqi insurgency. The
practice is also coupled by the U.S. military history of dropping the
number of active duty military personnel after every conflict.
In both wars, troops were trained on the old set of guidelines from the
past war familiarity while in the beginning of the two wars, the U.S.
Military had few warfare veterans. Ii is worth noting that the Desert
Storm begun almost two decades after the Vietnam War while the Iraqi
Freedom mission began slightly over a decade after the Desert Storm. War
veterans are crucial in training the army and because they truly
understand the significance of the intense and pragmatic training. The
Desert storm focused on training about the nuclear, biological as well
as chemical Battles which was the major threat for fatalities. Initial
casualties were estimated
According to Heller and Stofft (1986), the armored divisions in the
Iraqi freedom preparation were mostly trained on Iraqi tactics due to
the Russian influence and the Iraqi use of the Russian equipment
acquired during the Cold War. The training on the Gunnery and weapons as
well as first aid training were considered to be secondary due to the
nuclear, biological and chemical threat. These engagements and trainings
are described by the military historians as important in the evolution
of the military from the recruitment ground to the battleground.
Unfortunately the military forces in the Iraqi Freedom operation were
trained more on Peacekeeping experiences in Kosovo and Bosnia. The
training was hurried to get troops to the battleground because of the
short notice of deployment. Military Units that were able to go through
the American training or the Joint Readiness Training were able to get
good training. The other military units were not fortunate since there
poor training focused on the nuclear, biological and chemical threat
training in addition to weapons training (Heller, Stofft, 1986). Apart
from unpreparedness in terms of training, new equipment was introduced
which was not in great supply and formed the main tool of engagement.
The equipment was to substitute the old Mission equipment and garment
Factors Affecting the Readiness
To identify the main factors that affect the United States military
readiness to achieve its principal function in the initial stages, a
review of two US missions is imperative. An analysis of Task Force Smith
and Operation Desert Storm reveal two vulnerable reasons. First factor
is deplorable leadership and the second factor is inadequate arms and
ammunition (Gregg, Rothstein & Arquilla, 2010). In the two cases, lack
of proper training in addition to insufficient and undersupplied
ammunitions led to a scenario where the soldiers who stepped into combat
ground was aware of the situation.
Currently, there was the official declaration of the closure of the
major warfare operations in the controversial and defensive Operation
Iraqi Freedom meaning the mission was coming to a close. At the current
times, the unending U.S. military engagement in Iraq is almost to be
declared a triumph. In spite of this determination by the public as well
as efforts of the media, repeated cautions have been reported from the
government. This is because there is a lot of work still remaining to be
done in order to completely achieve the mission’s goals of Iraqi
freedom along with Iraqi regime change. Only through the remaining final
stages can the materialization of a democratic government be achieved in
Role of the NCO
The Non-commissioned Officer (NCO) contributed a great deal in the
training of the American troops. The NCO were enthusiastic but the
training was interrupted because of the speedy deployment along with the
lack of training areas caused by the large numbers of troops being
deployed simultaneously from large bases. They also lacked the
appropriate experience of warfare operations to understand and emphasize
on simple things like the pre-combat inspections (Heller, Stofft, 1986).
The American Military went on and focused training on the big fight
instead of little unit tactics.
The impact of the Desert Storm proves that better training and
equipping of troops is needed to prepare and execute successful combat
operations. Because the Desert Storm became a huge triumph in the
American military history more lessons should be drawn from it.
Technology also became the future of American military as well as an
impediment to troops leading to the problem that America has been facing
in Iraq recently. Despite the technology, the Iraqi Freedom through use
of equipment and inadequacy of troops continues to haunt America through
the numerous fatalities to American troops and injuries.
Up to date, America still continues with the impatience and to the
pressure is on the government to devise better plans for the military.
The current greatest country in the world has throughout history
portrayed its incapability to be in charge of equipping and training the
military in full preparation for future combat from lessons learnt from
previous wars. This is despite the much allocated resources on the side
of the military in the U.S. budget. Recently, the military budget is at
a record high in it operations such as the Iraqi Freedom costing
billions of dollars and equipment costing of millions of dollars in
addition to Billions on space research.
The United States government needs to learn that the military must have
a force structure that is capable to maintain a multi-continental war
super power. This will be a stronger American military that will be in a
position to appropriately be in charge of any contingency in the world
through proper military training and preparation. The United States
military continues to emphasize it training, equipment development and
personnel strength development on the previous war (Heller, Stofft,
1986). The United States Military should learn that proper training and
the use of appropriate equipment enhances the young troop’s
initiatives and willingness to engage the enemy and carry successful
combats. However, this is only achieved by the level of preparedness
that the troops have been to.
Gill, L. (2004). The school of Americas: Military training and political
violence in the Americas. Durham: Duke University Press.
Gregg, S., Rothstein S. Y. & Arquilla, J. (2010). The three circles of
war: Understanding the dynamics of conflict in Iraq. Washington:
Potomac Books Inc.
Heller E. C., Stofft W. A. (1986). America`s First Battles (PB).
University Press of Kansas
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