Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Modern Military Leadership - The requirement of leadership of modern high-tech armed forces

by Adnan Gill

In an ideal world, there is no need to raise and sustain an outrageously expensive military.
In this particular world, military has become an indispensable tool to cover up colossal failures of political and diplomatic machinery. That is why we pick the best of the best for our military and sacrifice our share of bread and butter to equip our military with the best tools available, so they could meet the ends that we had failed to meet politically and/or diplomatically.

Why do politicians and diplomats historically and consistently fail? That is a debate outside the scope of this topic.

Whether we like it or not, the fact is that we cannot afford to live in a fantasy world where we do not need a highly trained, motivated, disciplined and best equipped military. Therefore, the question cannot be whether we need a military? The question should be how good is Pakistani military? A simple answer is very good (under the given circumstances).

The next question should be, is that good enough? A simple answer is NO!

In terms of technology, the Third World militaries (including Pakistani and Indian) are at least 25-50 years behind the leader, the U.S. Currently the US spends well over $550 billion per year on its military, while respectively Pakistani and Indian militaries spend close to $2.5 billion and $13 billion annually.

Both India and Pakistan are still using obsolete weapons such as WWII howitzers, and communications equipment. Most of their ammo storage are from the days of British. With few exceptions, their military aircraft are from the Vietnam era. Almost all of their naval ships are the discarded or retired ships of other advanced nations. All of their S2S missiles are derived from the designs of 50s and 60s. Their logistics are still tracked on paper. Half of the time, they even do not realize what is in the depots; whether the shelf lives of ammo and weapons have expired some 20 years ago or not. In such antiquated militaries, sure the soldiers desperately need the leadership throughout the chain of command. Actually, all the way up to the chiefs. But can we afford such a structure in the future too? Absolutely not.

The most advanced and most powerful military of the world, the US military is moving leaps and bounds towards "Network Centric Warfare". Currently, the US commanders don't even have to be in the theatre. Sometime they are sitting in Florida command center while running a war in Afghanistan. They are not only able to view the theatre action in real-time, but sometimes they are actually controlling Unmanned Aircraft (UAV) from thousands of miles away too. Every moment the US commanders are aware of missions, locations, and status of each aircraft, each tank, each artillery gun, each ship, and each special operations company on the ground. Soon the commanders will not only be able to task, track, execute, and re-task each UAV, but they will also be able to track and communicate with each soldier on the ground, while viewing what the soldiers view in real-time. If the commander chooses, he/she will able to even check their soldier's heart and breathing rate, while sitting thousands of miles away.

In such an advanced military, seeking leadership all the way up from the military chiefs is not only rendered redundant, but somewhat useless too. Increasingly each US military unit and sub- units are specializing in their own missions. They don't have time nor they can be concerned who are above their immediate commanders. For all they care a monkey could be their chief of staff, as long as the monkey can convince the civilian leaders in Pentagon and the White House for additional funding. They no longer seek a General who would inspire his/her troops with motivational speeches and leading the attack with a sword in his/her hand.

Increasingly, the US military is automating and inducting unmanned/automatic equipment. Its human force is training day in and day out, as they say, "we train like we fight and we fight like
we train".

The modern militaries will no longer require inspirational leaders with the hearts of lion to lead and execute their missions, but they will certainly need politically savvy thinkers with the ability to comprehend and digest high doses of information.

Any military which will fail to embrace the ever-evolving military technologies will be in for a rude awakening. In order to embrace new technologies and understand the fluid dynamics of the future warfare, they will need not only brave and highly motivated leaders, but also highly educated thinkers too.

The Pakistani military doesn't have enough time to even catch-up with new warfare technologies and tactics, not to talk about running a country.

Every time Pakistani military is needed for internal matters (because the civilians can't get their act together), they should swiftly move in, fix the source of problem, and leave immediately. They do not, and cannot afford to waste their precious time on running inefficient civilian sector.

Once Pakistani military will reach close to the required levels of maturity, the fruits of modernization are bound to trickle down into the civilian sectors. Historically, it's the modern military which acts as a catalyst to kick start and sustain a healthy economy.

Till our military will reach the required levels of sophistication, soldiers will still look for and require outstanding leaders to lead them to the victory, as politicians and diplomats almost always fail to do their job.

Note: No matter how sophisticated, automated and technological savvy a military will become they will still need boots on the ground to stake their claim. Therefore, the soldiers will always need leadership at least from its immediate leaders.

More article by Adnan Gill


Anonymous Faraz said...

The article is well written but driven by writer's exposure to technology. It must be borne in mind that the US military is built, equipped and trained to fight globally, in all environments and against all kinds of threats. The type of armies built and sustained by India and Pakistan are in response to the threat in sub-continent only. You prepare or train to fight the war according to the enemy you have. Both these countries have no global aims to be carved through the use of military. Yes! India has some regional aims that can be very well achieved through a Blue Water Navy and effective Air force. They are definitely behind US but the there approach is right. Also the economies driving the two armies are smaller than that of California - on state of US. Under the circumstances of War both a high tech and conventional force will need command and leadership at all levels. The highest tier of military leadership provides the aim and defines the objectives to achieve the aim and the command structure down below is to decide the means (war plan) to achieve those. The lower cadres of leadership lead their soldiers to execute there bit of the plan. The higher level sitting thousands of miles away has nnothing to do with the position of a soldier, rather the local commander in war at the Brigade level needs to know what is the position of his units.And so on the picture continues to become larger as the tier increases.

Remember, US is planning different kinds of WAR, with softening of the armies before the ground forces even step out. Therefore, the use of Lower cost UAVs in combat role specially Attack (UCAVs)is viable and cost effective for USAF. In Indo-pak scenario such a luxury is not possible so far and also for some forseeable future.

We must also remeber that the First Gulf War was planned on the lines provided by Colonel John Warden. Whereas Collin Powell provided the military aim to be achieved. The political Aim was provided by the Defense secretary and US president.

I dont agree that the future top level military command will be more politically orientated. Yes they should have the vision to understand the political aim well so that the militaryaim can be drawn out of it clearly, because it is this military aim that will determine the outcome of war and achievement of politica goal.



10:33 PM  

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