January 4, 2004

"The Meerkat and the Buffalo"

I'm always interested in evidence that our people can change and adapt quickly. That's what's really vital in the 4th Generation Warfare that we are now involved in. The people who obsess over whether our planning for Iraq was adequate miss what's important. Our enemies, if they are any good, will continue to throw surprises at us. And those surprises will have to be dealt with by ordinary people. We can't depend on having "masterminds" handy when we need them. But we can (and hopefully are) building organizations where change and creativity are expected and rewarded.

This is an article from Stars and Stripes on novel ways to deal with IED's.

....Equipped with South African-designed vehicles � the Meerkat and the Buffalo � the Arkansas-based Army Reserve troops have taken an Army side project [mine-detection vehicles] to the forefront in the military�s efforts to counter the threat of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs....

....But for six weeks, South African trainers taught Fletcher�s platoon about the equipment from the inside out. Then soldiers translated the schooling into Army tactics. And there were no mine-clearing missions. Meanwhile, IED attacks against U.S. troops were rising. �They had all this multimillion-dollar equipment sitting around, so we put it to use against IEDs,� Fletcher said. �It was pretty scary at first.�....

....Savre, 43, of Edina, Minn., recommended that the Army supply one system to each division in Iraq. Three weeks after filing the request, a half-dozen more sets were shipped out, Savre said. �I�ve never seen anything like this in my 19 years in the Army,� Savre said. �The senior leaders saw the threat and immediately bought more [systems].� ....

As Johnson said, there's nothing like the threat of death to concentrate the mind. It's not so different in the business world. Businesses and business divisions that can't adapt die. That tends to make people more open to new ideas.

Project the next: Applying that sort of pressure to bureaucracies. That's what the President is at least making a small start on. When you hear Teddy Kennedy yelping, you can guess that progress is being made...

Posted by John Weidner at January 4, 2004 11:39 AM
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