Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:31:59 AM.

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daily link  Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Army Study of Iraq War Details a "Morass" of Supply Shortages: "the strategy of starting the war before all support troops were in place, in order to achieve an element of surprise, taxed the postwar resources of local commanders, who in many cases were shifting back and forth between combat operations and the task of restoring civil services.  "Local commanders were torn between their fights and providing resources — soldiers, time and logistics — to meet the civilian needs," the report concluded. "Partially due to the scarce resources as a result of the running start, there simply was not enough to do both missions."

The study's authors saved their most biting critique for the logistics operations. When the combat forces raced ahead, the supply lines — "force flow" in military jargon — could not keep pace. "As the campaign progressed, the force flow never caught up with the operational requirements," it found.  Put more bluntly elsewhere in the study, it said that "no one had anything good to say about parts delivery, from the privates at the front to the generals" at the command headquarters.

Other problems cropped up. While divisional commanders could communicate with one another, officers at lower levels often could not. Units separated by long distances in the fast-moving offensive found their radios suddenly out of range, leaving troops to improvise solutions using mobile phones or secure e-mail messaging.

The study also found that future adversaries could draw several lessons from the war: that American forces' reliance on high-tech surveillance satellites and aircraft could be countered by decoys and the imaginative disguise of weaponry; that more powerful warheads for rocket-propelled grenades, already effective against helicopters and light vehicles like Humvees, could offset American armor; that American forces could be drawn into a protracted, costly urban war, more effectively than they were by the Iraqis; and that American forces are vulnerable to classic insurgency tactics, like car bombs."

  5:32:38 AM  permalink  

 

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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:31:59 AM.