...,1st Draft

Chapter 1 – 3d Generation and 4th Generation War05 Feb

Writing a book about a Marine Rifle Company in Iraq is like representing a client in a criminal case, presumed guilty by the jury of murder. The majority of the press coverage of Iraq focused on Haditha, with assistance by one of the Marine’s own, Congressman Jack Murtha (D – Pa). There is a presumption that the Marines are involved in these types of atrocities in the media, which our book would become a part of.

Yet, in the course of this representation of the Marine Rifle Company, we instead found that the unit collectively, and the Marines individually, were corporate actors who managed mergers and partnerships with skill usually found in men with decades more business experience; that they were not-for-profit, pro bono corporate actors who gave charitably at almost every opportunity, including from their own family’s experience; that they were civic officials in the failed states that Iraq had become for several years, in effect, the only municipal authorities for at least several quarters, while native political leaders emerged. By in large, these were Marines in their early 20s, with the eldest in the group in their 30s. Far from being the murderers of the most widely disseminated portrayals following Haditha, what we found, when preparing the case on behalf of our corporate client, Lima Company, 3d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, is that the Company and its Marines represented a hybrid corporate entity of unusual flexibility, purpose, and vision together with a civic leadership team that turned one of many failed states into part of a larger country which has a chance again to at least survive.

Our client, in effect, had been slandered in a way that a legally sophisticated person in the United States would almost certainly respond to with purposeful litigation. A Marine Rifle Company with service in Iraq had been prejudged in such a way that a defendant in a criminal murder case might rightly ask for a change of venue due to the likelihood that the jury pool had been irrevocably tainted. Yet, our client, if you will, a Marine Rifle Company, has no such dignitary or procedural rights, as it is but a Federal Government entity, governed by the Constitution, and the laws thereunder. It is rightly, a humble servant, which takes these slights in stride. But, it should be able to make its case on its own behalf.

Unlike the Easy Company of Band of Brothers, the Lima Company of Desert Mech is not part of a “good war,” according to popular perception. Indeed, one of the defining characteristics of a “Small War” as opposed to a “Big War” is the inherent ambiguity of the purpose, and the likely lack of full public support for the mission. According to the Marine Corps Small Wars manual, a Small War is defined as, “operations taken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation.” This definition, based upon the experience of the Small Wars of the 1920s and 1930s, still serves as a useful point of departure for discussing Small Wars and Big Wars. In effect, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the United States fought a Big War which lasted for at least 3 weeks, followed by possibly 3 to 5 Small Wars which were divided by both geography and time over the course of the subsequent 4 years.

Since the 1920s and 1930s, of course, technology has advanced and the changes in communications especially have caused important shifts in the dynamics of warfare. The Marines who fought the Small Wars in the jungles of Nicaragua were generally isolated with reports of their activities born out by message traffic over periods of weeks and months. The Marines who fought their Small War in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from 2004 to 2007 and beyond, were reported on by news agencies with the ability to instantly transmit a story to millions of people.

Lima 3/7 was one of dozens of Marine Rifle Companies that participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom from start to finish between 2003 and 2007 — though the term, “finish” has a much different meaning, if any, in a Small War. The unit was trained to fight a 3d Generation, manuever war. 3d Generation is a term of art that represents a type of warfare first used by the Germans at the end of World War I and perfected by both sides — including notably the Marines in the Pacific Island Hopping campaigns — during World War II. The purpose of manuever warfare is to find an opponent’s weakest spots — so-called gaps — and to penetrate and exploit those gaps, thus leading to a more rapid victory than destroying all of the opponents forces, which is known as attrition.

The Marine Corps officially adopted Manuever Warfare in 1989 with the publication of the manual, Warfighting, under Commandant Alfred Gray. But, even as the Marine Corps was adopting Manuever Warfare, there were indications that the next generation of warfare was emerging. The Marine Corps participated in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in 1990 – 1991 in Kuwait in a campaign that was, perhaps, the pinnacle of 3d Generation Warfare. All of the principles of Manuever Warfare were used in that campaign. But, in 1989, a series of prescient Marine Corps Gazette articles predicted a new generation of warfare, a 4th Generation. 4th Generation Warfare is advanced counter-insurgency warfare in which ideology, religion, and other traditionally non-military factors come to the forefront. The so-called 4 generations of warfare co-exist and overlap. While the culture, courtesies, and traditions of the US Military has been said to be of the 2nd Generation, the most recent operations such as Desert Shield/ Storm can be described as belonging to the 3d Generation, and the Iraq War might be described as a 3d Generation, Big War, lasting a month in 2003, followed by several 4th Generation, Small Wars, lasting several years from 2003 to 2007 and beyond. Whereas Big Wars use both Hard and Soft Power (terms defined by Joseph Nye), Small Wars emphasize Soft Power in particular.

Beginning in Chapter 6, and then continued in Chapters 12, 17, and 22, we present The War According to Rory Quinn — a series of observations on the phases of the Iraq War from the perspective of a 3-tour Marine Officer. Quinn identifies 6 phases from his perspective at the end of the period we cover, 2003 to 2007, with clarity that would be impossible to achieve during the process. Quinn’s phases are very much a 4th Generation War view of the situation, as it progressed — the 3d Generation Warfare phase is really dismissed quickly. Quinn’s phases are a Marine Grunt’s view of the Small War that was fought in Al Anbar Province, with only minimal regard to the other Small Wars being fought at the same time in other parts of Iraq, not to mention Afghanistan.

* * *

Sometimes, the answer to a problem sits down right next to you. On a cross country flight, I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller, The Tipping Point. I had just written certain sections of this book, “The War According to Rory Quinn,” in which I compared stages in the counterinsurgency the Marines fought in Anbar from 2003 to 2007 to various tipping points. My problem, though, was how to write a Band of Brothers type of narrative about a single Rifle Company for a popular audience when the population of the United States had changed from one where military service was the norm to one where it was the exception. In particular, I wanted to write a book about a shift from 3d to 4th Generation Warfare — a shift in thinking that was of vital importance in national security, yet, one that would be hard to portray in an interesting way to a popular audience. Put another way, 10 classmates from my Harvard Class of 1991 had gone into the Marine Corps, and maybe 2 of my classmates from my Stanford Law class of 2000 had served in the US Military. That left 1590 Harvard 1991 classmates and 177 Stanford Law 2000 classmates who had very little point of reference for a book about a Marine Rifle Company going from desert mech to Ramadi SWAT.

“I am the subject of that book your holding,” said my seat mate on the flight. He paged forward to the chapter on the Lambesis advertising agency of San Diego. “Gladwell wrote a New Yorker chapter about Airwalk before he wrote the book. Here, I’ll send you the article by email,” Nick Lambesis said as he sent the article on his Macbook Pro.

I explained to Nick that I was reading The Tipping Point mainly for my business as an investment adviser, looking for ideas about how to market my firm. But, I was also working on a book about a Marine Rifle Company — a Band of Brothers for the Iraq War. I told Lambesis that I had struck by the comparison of the counterinsurgency phases of the Iraq War to the tipping points described by Gladwell.

“Really?” replied Nick. “I have a son who is a Army officer with several tours in Iraq. He was always saying, ‘Dad, you and Malcolm Gladwell should come to Iraq because this idea of tipping points applies to the war we are fighting.’” When I was back in San Diego, I forwarded a draft of the chapters where I drew comparisons between the tipping point and counterinsurgency to Lambesis. He enthusiastically responded.

As I continued to draft the book in the Spring of 2009 — after two of the worst quarters in the stock market since the 1930s — I continued to think about my basic problem of how to write a book about a Marine Rifle Company for a popular audience. One of the Company Commanders that we will meet, Rory Quinn, is the author of an op-ed in which he compares the current generation of Marines to the Greatest Generation of World War II Veterans. In some objective respects, this is certainly true. The length of service, the rigor of combat, all have some similarities to the experience of Americans who served from 1941 to 1945. Yet, the truth is that the All Volunteer Force is more like the volunteer fire department — it is a self-selecting minority of the American population, rather than the “Citizen Soldiers” from Stephen Ambrose books about that period. I didn’t want to write another book about Marines in combat for Marines. I didn’t want to write a book for the 10 Harvard classmates who had gone into the Marine Corps — they already followed the events in Anbar closely enough (in fact, one of those classmates, Owen West, had left a lucrative spot on the trading desk at Goldman Sachs to serve as a Marine in Iraq, twice). I wanted to write a book for the other 1590 Harvard graduates who were doctors, lawyers, investment managers, and other professionals.

Then, it hit me. I was working through an interview with another Lima Company Commanding Officer, Marcus Mainz. Mainz was narrating his philosophy of command, which we will encounter in the last quarter of this book. Mainz reduced the essential functions of a Marine to three areas, one of which was decision-making. What Mainz was describing was essentially similar to another topic covered in one of Malcolm Gladwell’s best selling books, Blink. Indeed, in Blink, Gladwell uses Paul Van Riper as an example of this type of thinking without thinking — in the military it is called, recognitional decision-making, or coup d’oeil, based on long-study of the 99% of tactics that is known and established. Further, Paul Van Riper had commanded a Marine Rifle Company in Vietnam — in fact, Mike Company, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, a sister company to Lima 3/7. “It is a series of risk-reward calculations,” Marcus Mainz was explaining. I was writing the book in the early mornings while I watched the stock market as an investment adviser. I re-read Blink, and of course, Van Riper had struck up an immediate kinship with derivative traders on one of New York’s exchanges — probably the Merc — and brought the traders down to Quantico where they interacted as brothers with Marines. The thing that they had in common was the ability to make decisions under stress — in a blink. Gladwell notes, “To Van Riper, it seemed clear that these ‘overweight, unkempt, long-haired’ guys [the traders] and the Marine Corps brass were fundamentally engaged in the same business — the only difference being that that one group bet on money, and the other bet on lives.”

So, one of my main themes in the book was right there, in the words that Mainz was using to describe his decision as to whether to break my Rifle Company — as he put it. “It’s a risk-reward calculation.” A military commander is a portfolio manager. In the America of 2008-2009, everyone can relate to a portfolio manager — possibly with feelings of hatred, loathing and contempt. But, 99% of the population knows, intimately, what a portfolio manager does. 401k’s have become 201k’s. TARP1, TARP2, TALF, Homeowner Stability, derivatives — these have become household terms. If you ask a member of the World War II Generation how many bullets are in the clip of an M-1 Rifle, most men of that era will know the answer, with a muscle memory from the sore thumb caused by feeding the clip incorrectly. If you ask a member of the current generation how many bullets are in the magazine of an M-16 Rifle, most will not know, and they will probably label you, subconsciously at least, as some dangerous gun nut. But, if you ask almost anyone the price of the Dow Jones, you get instant — if painful — recognition.

In early 2009, it has become clear that some authors had the problems which lead to the Crash right. One is Nassim Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan. Taleb, an option trader, models himself as a philosopher and “skeptical empiricist” and reserves particularly high praise for military officers in The Black Swan. Some passages from that book adroitly forewarn of the groupthink of bankers at too-big-to-fail, over-leveraged institutions that would implode spectacularly in 2008. At least two of the Tipping Points in the 6 Phases of “The War According to Rory Quinn” can also be understood to be Black Swan events — relatively fast sea changes that were not fully anticipated by the participants, but which, upon retrospect, lead to a persistent shift in the outlook. In the Crash of 2008 and the quarters following in 2009, Taleb was interviewed on the Newshour, Charlie Rose and other popular media venues as a visionary of the unexpected. Black Swan has entered the popular language. As an investment adviser, I now have sophisticated clients who come to me and say, “I want a black swan portfolio.” I reference Taleb’s book, and cook up an appropriate allocation that is 90% hyper-conservative, and 10% hyper-aggressive. But, if you listen closely to the language of Marine Commander Marcus Mainz, you find the language of a Black Swan portfolio manager too. Mainz says, “Augmentation Teams were my bid for success,” describing the decision to break up his Rifle Company into teams of 5 to 10 Marines deployed with 100 Iraqi Police amid 10,000 Iraqi citizens in the last quarter of this book. Those “A-Teams” could have been snuffed out by a hostile population, or a treacherous police force. That is the risk. Mainz, the military commander/ portfolio manager would have to weigh that risk. But, those 5 to 10 Marines, exerting a positive influence into the 10,000 citizens around them was his “bid for success.” If Mainz were a portfolio manager, those 5 to 10 Marine A-Teams would be like a derivative position that could cause profits many multiples of the original investment. But, of course, they were not securities positions, but flesh and blood Americans, whom Mainz was entrusted with using wisely. But, if you try to explain to an American that Marcus Mainz was using a CAP — a Marine concept — he will probably think you’re talking about a baseball cap, rather than a Combined Action Platoon (CAP), as had been used successfully in Vietnam in the 1960s, and in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua in the 1930s. But, if you explain that Mainz was using 5 to 10 Marines, influencing 100 Iraqi Cops, to create a leveraged option on 10,000 Iraqi people — just like an option on stock, or one of those stupid Credit Default Swaps issued by AIG — then the light bulbs may go off. At least, I am willing to bet the other 1590 Harvard 1991 classmates will keep reading if I explain that Mainz was using an option created by 5 to 10 Marines to possibly control 10,000 Iraqi people. He was using a leveraged instrument. Leverage (like tracers) works both ways. That’s a concept that all Americans in 2009 can understand.

As the Spring wore on, I read Gladwell’s latest best seller, Outliers. Gladwell’s third best seller is an attempt to explain success through context. There is the law of 10,000 hours for mastery of a subject area, and the protocols used by KIPP to make disadvantaged kids into students as effective as upper class kids with helicopter parents who impose a culture of constant striving. And here was a third set of best selling ideas which readily relate to the story of a Marine Rifle Company from 2003 to 2008. What the Marine Corps does is to create a culture of success in combat. This is a deliberate, repeatable process. History is the religion of the Marine Corps, it has been said. Recruits at Boot Camp in San Diego learn about Chesty Puller in the Banana Wars — Small Wars — of the 1930s in Haiti, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, before he went on to further success in World War II and Korea so that they will have a point of reference. When the time comes, General Jim Mattis will write them a letter saying, this is your Small War, and they will know what this means. The Marine Corps reduces all of the protocols of combat into acronyms — for calling for mortars, for making 13 Marines shoot at the same target at once, for calling for a helicopter to evacuate your wounded. Marines carry these protocols in laminated battle books or in their heads. These protocols seek to reduce the 10,000 hours required for mastery of the subject of effectiveness in combat to a fraction of that. Brilliance in the basics is the phrase that Mattis uses to emphasize adherence to these protocols, and they are what carried the Marines through the most difficult of the phases of “The War According to Rory Quinn” that we will encounter. Through their brilliance in the basics, Marines like Bellmont, Mejia, Milinkovic, and Carpenter came to be outliers certainly in American society, but also in the Department of Defense, and even within the Marine Corps. They served 3 or 4 consecutive tours of duty ranging from high tempo combat operations to advanced counterinsurgency. All of the ideas that Gladwell uses in Outliers are present in the careers of these Marines, as we will see.

To extend the analogy about Marine Leaders to Portfolio Managers one step further, Marine Leaders are not only portfolio manager, but derivative traders. Marine leaders are not like buy and hold investors who buy an unleveraged equity and hold it forever. Rather, they are more like short term traders seeking short term profit (tours of 7 instead of 12 months). They use leverage through derivatives, financial instruments that derive their value from the price of another instrument. The Marine definition of combined arms is to use one weapon to make the enemy vulnerable to another weapon — which is the essence of a long-short hedged position created with financial derivatives. Marines have unique protocols to quickly create such leveraged, hedged battlefield positions for the purpose of creating no-win dillemmas for their opponents — in effect, to profit from a movement in either direction, just like a portfolio manager who uses a hedged position instead of a long-only position which only profits in one direction. The ideas of Marine commanders as derivative traders are found both in 3d Generation (Maneuver) and 4th Generation (advanced counterinsurgency) Warfare.

Sitting in front of 3 computer screens while running a small trading business in the Spring of 2009, I worked on drafting Desert Mech to Ramadi SWAT. Beside me, I had a stack of video taped interviews, documents, maps and other source material relating to Lima 3/7’s deployments between 2003 and 2007. I also had a stack of model books, first among them, Band of Brothers. But, American society, and my intended audience had changed since World War II. Also beside me, I had a stack of five books relevant to my business: Gladwell’s Blink, The Tipping Point, and Outliers; and Taleb, The Black Swan, and Fooled By Randomness. Gladwell and Taleb’s books were about what I did, which is make decisions in a portfolio using derivatives, and then try to market that portfolio management to the more sophisticated part of American society. A-ha!

I realized that the stack of books about trading and the books about counterinsurgency warfare were really not very different. Moreover, the majority of Americans — the 1590 Harvard 1991 Classmates out of 1600 who had not gone into the Marine Corps — would more readily relate to the Gladwell and Taleb books than they would to the other stack of books, especially in the wake of 4th Quarter, 2008. Instead of writing Band of Brothers for Operation Iraqi Freedom, my task instead was to write Band of Brothers with the language of Gladwell and Taleb. Blink should supply the language of Marine decision-making. Outliers should supply the language of Marine training for success in combat. The Tipping Point, The Black Swan, and Fooled by Randomness should describe the nature of 4th Generation Warfare.

There is a “Canon” relating to 4th Generation Warfare. Almost certainly, my 1590 Harvard 1991 Classmates who did not go into the Marine Corps would have no idea of what it is. I had thought about using some of those books as a framework for writing Desert Mech to Ramadi SWAT, but there would be little if any frame of reference for the majority of the American public. Here is a chart with the 7 books of the Canon (from the website, www.d-n-i.net, which is maintained by several of the acolytes of Col John Boyd, USAF, a visionary thinker who influenced much of this body of theory):

Member of The Canon Significance for 3d and 4th Generation Warfare Significance for Lima 3/7, 2003 – 2007
C.E. White, The Englightened Soldier About Scharnhorst, Prussian military educator who laid basis for development of 3d Generation Warfare in the 19th and early 20th century Some Lima Officers educated within military educational system modeled on Scharnhorst
Robert Doughty, The Seeds of Disaster Development of 2nd Generation Warfare by French during and after World War I, from which the American military learned 2nd Generation Warfare Mainly relevant in organizational structure of Marine Corps
Bruce Gudmundsson, Stormtroop Tactics Development of 3d Generation Warfare in German Army during World War I, and about retraining an Army during war. Directly relevant to the 3d Generation, Manuever Warfare taught to all Marine Leaders as Warfighting Doctrine
Martin Samuels, Command or Control? Draws distinctions between 2nd and 3d Generation Warfare by contrasting British and German tactical development from the late 19th Century through World War I Directly relevant to why 3d Generation Warfare is superior to 2nd Generation Warfare
Robert Doughty, The Breaking Point 2nd and 3d Generation Warfare clash in 1940 Battle of Sedan Same as above
Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power Compares 2nd and 3d Generation Warfare as institutions (US Army v German Army, World War II) Same as above
Martin van Creveld, The Transformation of War Basis for 4th Generation War, State’s loss of monopoly on war and social organization Directly relevant to the 4th Generation, advanced counterinsurgency which Lima Company fought for most of 2003 – 2007

But, the above table, while possibly of use to a mainly professional military audience, would probably cause a dead stop by any regular reader of the New York Times Review of Books. But, understanding counterinsurgency warfare is vitally important for the majority of Americans because we are sending our friends and family to go fight in Afghanistan. In early 2009, a new President announced a new increase of forces in Afghanistan. Journalist David Brooks commented on The Newshour that this was likely to lead to an increase in casualties in Afghanistan for years. Telling the story of Marine Rifle Company, Lima 3/7, from 2003 to 2007 carries a sense of urgency now, in the Spring of 2009, because similar stories of Marine Rifle Companies will again be lived in Afghanistan, from 2009 to 2013. It would be better for us as a Country if more Americans had a grasp of this new, 4th Generation of Warfare. But, the 7 books of the Canon, are not a useful template for informing the American public at large about this topic.

Instead, I suggest the following table, which might be more accessible to the sophisticated American who regularly reads both The New York Times Review of Books, as well as his monthly 401k statements.

Gladwell/ Taleb Topic Application to 3d and 4th Generation Warfare Thinking Significance for Lima 3/7, 2003 – 2007
Thin-slicing Relationships between cultures, US Military and Iraqi Cultural training at SASO compared to Mojave Viper
Tipping Points Phases of Counter-insurgency Warfare “The War According to Rory Quinn” — all 6 Phases
Black Swan Events The Biggest Shifts in the Phases of the Insurgency “The War According to Rory Quinn” — the 2 most important shifts
Blink Coup D’oeil — Power of the Glance, the test of Generalship, Rapid decisions based on long training Certain decisions made by Lima Commanders at all levels
10,000 Hour Rule Marine Approach to Training Training of both enlisted and officer
KIPP Marine History, Traditions and Combat Protocols
Law of Few Marine Leaders influence Iraqi Police v Al Qaeda leaders influence Iraqi insurgents Marine Leaders influence Iraqi Police v Al Qaeda leaders influence Iraqi insurgents
Power of Context
Stickiness Factor Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy adapted to Needs of Populace
The Matthew Effect – Cumulative Advantage Lessons Learned in Small Warfighting passed on to future generations Lessons from Marine Small Wars in Banana Republics and Vietnam applied
Three Lessons of Joe Flom regarding success of NYC Attorneys Three Lessons of best Marines: A) A Way Out, B) Liked Sports, C) Liked Video Games
Legacy: The Importance of Scots Irish Culture The Marine Corps Culture is Scots Irish (Webb) Schreffler, Gannon, Neal, Quinn, Mainz have elements of Scots-Irish culture
The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes (Power Distance Index) 2nd and 3d Generation Hierarchy give way to 4th Generation flat organization, distributed operations “Rank is Nothing, Talent is Everything”
Rice Paddies and Math Tests: “No one who rises before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich” Work Ethic of US Military applied to a new Generation of Warfare USMC Training Schedule, 4 AM reveille at OCS/ Bootcamp, 24 Hour Operations
Marita’s Bargain: KIPP Behavior Protocols of Military Environment cut 10,000 hours required for mastery Why Link, Mejia, Bellmont, Vegh, Neal, Gannon signed up. Training (Call for Fire Protocols). Education (CMC List, Mattis OIF Reading List)

The above table, then, provides the basic framework for my narrative. As I have gone about the task of writing the book, I have come upon a block at several junctures. But, the most basic reason for this was articulated by General Jim Mattis in a phone interview in early 2004. With limited time (because he was deploying in a matter of days), he asked, “Who are you writing this for?” That’s the most important question. In the end, I am not writing for a military audience (those accounts have already been written). Rather, I am writing for the American public at large. The concepts above are accessible to the public because they are more broadly understood. Many of these subjects are tied to economics. It is perhaps appropriate to frame much of the narrative about Lima 3/7 from 2003 to 2007 under the subject of economics for several reasons. First, the goal of Al Qaeda’s stated grand strategy is economic: to turn the US budget surplus into a deficit. Second, much of Lima Company’s efforts, especially in the 3d and 4th deployments, focus on economics.

There is a “Canon” of 4th Generation Warfare for the military community, consisting of 7 books. Then, there is a Canon of 4th Generation Warfare for the general American public, consisting of Gladwell, The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, and Taleb, The Black Swan, and Fooled By Randomness. I have selected this, second 5-book “Canon” of 4th Generation Warfare because many of these books have already been widely read and understood by the American public, especially in light of the market crash of late 2008 and early 2009. My choice of these 5 books came to me organically from having done the research — tens of hours of video taped interviews with the principal participants of the 4 Lima Company deployments from 2003 to 2007. The first clue was the master narrative of the War According to Rory Quinn, which summarizes the each deployment (Chapters 6, 12, 17, 22) — a narrative, which, quite obviously was just a series of tipping points. Not only were each of the 6 Phases that Quinn articulates tipping points, but the major topics in Gladwell, The Tipping Point — The Stickiness Factor, The Law of the Few, and The Power of Context — are useful frameworks for discussing how the tipping points were caused.

The next clue was the interview with Marcus Mainz. Mainz had in fact studied with General Paul Van Riper, who was the subject of a chapter in Blink. Indeed, Blink was first published in January 2005, at the nadir of 3d Phase in Quinn’s Six Phase master narrative of the Iraq Counterinsurgency Campaign. The Van Riper chapter in Blink may have been an implicit criticism of the net work centric warfare (NCW) thinking, with its emphasis on Effects Based Operations (EBO) that lead to many of the strategic and operational failings of the initial plan for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Van Riper, the Marine General with a lifetime of experience and 2nd floor attic-ful of military history books is cast as the leader who creates a command climate fostering fast action and who makes rapid decisions to defeat the Blue Forces of the American military in the 2002 wargame, Millenium Challenge. As I listened to Mainz’ interview again in 2009, I realized that Mainz was describing a command climate in Lima Company 3/7 identical to the command climate in Mike Company 3/7 created by Van Riper 4 decades earlier in Vietnam. Further, Mainz’ decision about how to deploy his company in Ramadi was itself a decision taken in a blink — but it was based on years of study of counterinsurgency, not just 10,000 hours of initial military training in his first year or two in the Marines, but an additional 10,000 hours of professional military education from reading, career level schools, and most importantly, perhaps, seminars with retired senior Marines like Van Riper while at Quantico.

As I looked over the evidence and considered how best to make my case — this is not, after all a court case, but a book designed to make an argument in the court of public opinion — there were more and more connections to ideas in the Gladwell and Taleb books. Most of those are suggested in the table, above. In the coming chapters, I will rely primarily on the words of the Lima Marines who made these 4 deployments — especially those of Bellmont and Mejia who made all 4 — but I will frame those descriptions in terms taken from Gladwell and Taleb to orient the story for an American public that has, perhaps, become too far removed from the experience of serving in uniform.

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This is a website for writing a book about Lima Company, 3/7, during 4 deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2007.


This is a website for writing a book about Lima Company, 3/7, during 4 deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2007.