Friday, May 16, 2008

McMaster Promoted

Abu Muqawama says it finally happened:

Yes, Abu Muqawama has heard McMaster is off to TRADOC. Probably not what he would have wanted, but it might be the best thing for the Army as an institution. McMaster has written what might as well be the motto of this blog: "Beyond highlighting the limits of so-called transformational technologies, the principal lesson of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and southern Lebanon might be that military campaigns must be subordinate to a larger strategy that integrates political, military, diplomatic, economic and strategic communication efforts."

The Washington Post has more:

Army Secretary Pete Geren asked Petraeus to head the board, which convened in late 2007, and instructed it to stress innovation in selecting a new generation of one-star generals, the officers said. Several of the colonels widely expected to appear on the resulting promotion list, which has not yet been released, are considered unconventional thinkers who were effective in the Iraq campaign, in many cases because they embraced a counterinsurgency doctrine that Petraeus helped craft, the officials said.

They include Special Forces Col. Ken Tovo, a veteran of multiple Iraq tours who recently led a Special Operations task force there; Col. H.R. McMaster, a senior Petraeus adviser known for leading a successful counterinsurgency effort in the Iraqi city of Tall Afar, and Col. Sean MacFarland, who created a network of patrol bases in Ramadi that helped curb violence in the capital of Anbar Province, according to the officers.

In an article published this year on the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan, McMaster challenged what he called the military's preoccupation in the 1990s with technology, to the neglect of the political and cultural dimensions of war. Military leaders must end the "self-delusion" that high-tech weapons and a "minimalist" commitment of forces can solve conflicts, he wrote.

The promotion list has attracted keen attention from younger Army officers who are weary from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. "This sends a signal to the junior officers who are laboring in the trenches, literally, that the Army is trying to cast itself in a new mold," said retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales Jr., a defense consultant and former head of the Army War College. "The quickest way to change the Army is at the brigadier general level. That is the surest way to turn the ship, because those names are how those young officers intuit where the Army is going," he said.

The one-star-general list, which requires congressional approval, was expected to be released months ago but has been delayed, partly due to a requirement that to qualify for promotion Army colonels must attend a course designed to improve their understanding of other military services. Several colonels who served under Petraeus -- including some said to be on the list -- are currently attending or are scheduled to attend the 10-week course, called Joint Professional Military Education Phase II in Norfolk.

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