December 22, 2007

Weekend Reading, and a Note

There has been some discussion in the comments over officer promotions about the requirement that all officers seeking promotion to general officer serve in a joint or "purple" billet first. Abu Muqawama got some clarification on this rule from an Army O-6 a few weeks ago: Yes, the law is in place, and yes, it has held up the promotions of some good officers, H.R. McMaster among them. But there is now a system in place whereby officers can apply for a waiver, and apparently, last year most of the officers who applied for waivers received them. So we'll see what happens in the next promotion board...

Update: Charlie, here. The waivers actually aren't new (they've always been available); it's the ability to accumulate "joint points" throughout one's career without doing the 22 month purple billet that's new. As for COL McMaster, he shouldn't have to apply for a waiver as he's currently getting "joint-qualified" at IISS (unless he's still on GEN Petraeus' staff in Baghdad).

Some weekend reading for all you counterinsurgents out there:

1. Andrew Exum, on what military professionals can learn from Hizbollah. (Middle East Strategy at Harvard)

Tactically, Hezbollah’s performance throughout the 1990s and in the 2006 war raises three red flags for U.S. military professionals. Unlike most other Arab armies since 1948, Hezbollah demonstrates a high proficiency in the maintenance and employment of its weapons systems, Hezbollah performs well in small-unit light infantry operations, and Hezbollah uses a decentralized command structure that allows its subordinate leaders to exercise a high degree of initiative on the battlefield.

2. General Barry R McCaffrey, Iraq After Action Review. (Small Wars Journal) This has been up for a few days, but we have not yet linked to it. There are some good, no-nonsense observations here, and Abu Muqawama will leave it up to you the reader as to what you make of the recommendations at the end. Note you can access the entire .pdf file through a link at SWJ.

3. The Washington Post on Veterans' Care.

NOTHING WILL ever be able to absolve this country for the disgraceful way it has treated its returning war wounded. Congress, though, took a big step in making amends with final approval of legislation aimed at fixing and upgrading the military health-care system. Expected enactment of the measure, along with the installation of a new secretary of veterans affairs, are important developments in righting the wrongs against America's soldiers.