TITLE

There Are Other Lessons from Iraqi Freedom

AUTHOR(S)
Vandroff, Mark
PUB. DATE
August 2003
SOURCE
U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings;Aug2003, Vol. 129 Issue 8, p71
SOURCE TYPE
Conference Proceeding
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Operation Iraqi Freedom likely will be remembered as one of the most successful military engagements in U.S. history. A potentially powerful foe was devastated in less than a month, with minimal coalition fatalities. Operational planners will study Iraqi Freedom to learn its lessons and apply them to future conflicts. There are others who could benefit as well. In particular, the acquisition community could learn that having a backup plan is not wasteful duplication. Early in the war, Army General Tommy Franks took criticism from the press that the "shock and awe" air campaign had not produced a swift surrender. The ground campaign that commenced alongside it, however, eventually achieved coalition goals. By prematurely removing the close-in weapon systems, the U.S. Navy bet on the "shock and awe" of the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile without having the tried-and-true "ground war" of the Phalanx system as a backup. Just because one does not see movement where one is, one should not assume nothing useful is happening. Today, some who do not see steel being fabricated into ships or aircraft assume the process is broken and in need of drastic intervention. Just as aerial preparation and logistics are hidden yet vital pieces of maneuver warfare, so are design, manufacturing development, contracting, and program management vital pieces of successful acquisition. It took six months of military build up and diplomatic pressure to position forces to be ready to strike Iraq. Once ready, combat operations were conducted with near blinding speed. Acquisition should work the same way.
ACCESSION #
10494786

 

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