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Old 10-26-2006, 19:52   #1
Thomas Calko
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SF, terrorism, & politics

I fully 100% support President Bush's vision regarding the war on
terror - stay on the offensive and defeat the enemy. I understand that
a Special Forces enlistment is 5 years long and President Bush will
only be in office for 2 more years. I believe that selection and
training in the Special Forces takes at least 2 years. My point is
this, if the next US president is weak on national security and does
not support a strong military, esp. special operations, or if he lacks
an aggressive solution to terrorism, how does that affect the missions
and recruitment of Special Forces?

How does your role as elite warriors change depending on politics and
White House administration? What are your thoughts on the future of
special ops and terrorism? Does it really hinge on presidential
policy? What would happen if an anti-military president and congress
were elected? What do you guys think?
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Old 10-26-2006, 19:58   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Calko
I fully 100% support President Bush's vision regarding the war on
terror - stay on the offensive and defeat the enemy. I understand that
a Special Forces enlistment is 5 years long and President Bush will
only be in office for 2 more years. I believe that selection and
training in the Special Forces takes at least 2 years. My point is
this, if the next US president is weak on national security and does
not support a strong military, esp. special operations, or if he lacks
an aggressive solution to terrorism, how does that affect the missions
and recruitment of Special Forces?

How does your role as elite warriors change depending on politics and
White House administration? What are your thoughts on the future of
special ops and terrorism? Does it really hinge on presidential
policy? What would happen if an anti-military president and congress
were elected? What do you guys think?
the question is this...are you motivated to serve? the oath you take is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States...you do not lose your right to vote after enlistment...but you have to live with the President the people elected...the question isn't whether or not a President affects life in SF...you are waaaay too early to be worrying about that...you need to decide to serve in the Armed Forces or not...then you need to decide if you want to volunteer for SF or not...then, you have to work your ass off to get a shot at serving in SF, then you have to make it through the training, then you have to get integrated on a team, then you have to survive a deployment or six...then, maybe, you'll have time to worry about politics...

but that's only my $0.02...
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Old 10-26-2006, 20:07   #3
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I think that you should do some research and reading and come back with your own hypothesis to offer.

Bluntly, you are too far from being in the Army, much less SF for it to be a problem for you. The odds of you becoming an SF soldier are not something I would care to wager on in Vegas.

These questions seem to me to be irrelevant at this point in time due to the unknowns you are offering.

As for my opinion, I think that we are in a very long fight against terrorism that will outlast many careers here, and that SF will continue to be the weapon of choice for dealing with them overseas. If we fail in our mission, due to lack of support or our own failure, we will then have to fight them here in our country, with our friends, neighbors, and families paying the butcher's bill that Iraqi citizens are currently suffering.

Think about a 9/11 for every month here, or one really spectacular one from WMD. I believe that sums up our mission, motivation, and employment probabilities.

Good luck.

TR
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:52   #4
airbornediver
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there might be validity to the questions

I know people want to say "hey you're not SF focus on that before focusing on other things". And in part, I have to agree with that. However, I think that knowing (or at least intelligently) discussing the potential ramifications of a change in presidential and congressiona administrations on teams deployed and teams gearing for deployment to OIF/OEF is essential SA.

Without violating OPSEC, I can say that over here, the beauracracy that limits us is definately a pain in the arse. I know that we are wondering what's going to happen in the nov. elections, and are going to be watching it as closely as we would anything else. The effects of having too many "lets pull out in 6 months or less" people in charge would seriously screw some stuff up here.

Voting is being stressed throughout higher, as it should be in all of the Army, SOF and CF; and we are all watching to see what changes will be made and if there will be more restrictions put upon us.

I'm not trying to piss anyone off or tell others how to think, just offering up the suggestion that knowing how a potential change in leadership at the excutive and congressional level would effect operations on the ground is something very important, and should be watched closely.
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Old 10-28-2006, 12:12   #5
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There is way too much involved in this to provide a simple answer, however SF missions have been SF missions ever since the beginning of SF-only the names have changed and the functions more defined to enable folks to properly train and equip for those missions. The fact is that many of us trained and prepared for many missions for which we were either never called upon to execute or were called upon to execute in short order. SF teams prepare for missions based on the theater mission profiles and OPLANS that support whatever the civilian leadership deems to be important. Political will and national interests, whether properly defined or not, will determine if and when anyone is deployed/employed. Throughout our history we have been abused, improperly deployed/employed and have still been able to pull off what was expected and then some due to the professionalism of the SF soldier, common sense, and a level of expertise uncommon to most. I am sure that will not change but the one constant that will never change is the caliber, professionalism, and expertise of the SF soldier. I say that because I have seen it over a career in bad times and in good. As far as you are concerned, you train to ensure that when someone says its time for you to go that you are ready to do so. You will get only one chance and those with whom you serve will depend on you being able to do your job. It is as simple as that.
While you can worry all you want to about who will be sitting in the hallowed halls of Congress and the White House it doesn't change a thing as far as your personal focus in concerned-you are either ready to do their bidding or you will die or get someone else killed. You are the instrument that all the politicians will look to that will be used to either shore up well thought out strategies in support of our national interests or be a pawn that will pay for bad decisions that support personal political agendas and egos. If you are charged with being a leader for any of these folks, your job is to support the chain of command, get the mission done, take care of your troops and make sure that you have done everything you can do to make sure that they will be capable of executing the tasks assigned.
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Old 10-28-2006, 12:28   #6
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I served under

Quote:
Originally Posted by airbornediver
..... I think that knowing (or at least intelligently) discussing the potential ramifications of a change in presidential and congressiona administrations on teams deployed and teams gearing for deployment to OIF/OEF is essential SA....

I served under Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1 and Clinton. I did crappy things under all of them and I did good things under all of them. No administration has a lock on stupidity or bright ideas. Big government changes slowly, you'll be able to see the train coming down the tracks before it hits you.

Dragging "essential SA" into just who is president is a bit of a stretch. Now, you may need SA in order to see the train coming.

Pete
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Old 10-29-2006, 08:56   #7
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
I served under Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1 and Clinton. I did crappy things under all of them and I did good things under all of them. No administration has a lock on stupidity or bright ideas. Big government changes slowly, you'll be able to see the train coming down the tracks before it hits you.
Succinctly put Pete!
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Old 10-29-2006, 08:57   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airbornediver
I know people want to say "hey you're not SF focus on that before focusing on other things". And in part, I have to agree with that. However, I think that knowing (or at least intelligently) discussing the potential ramifications of a change in presidential and congressiona administrations on teams deployed and teams gearing for deployment to OIF/OEF is essential SA.

Without violating OPSEC, I can say that over here, the beauracracy that limits us is definately a pain in the arse. I know that we are wondering what's going to happen in the nov. elections, and are going to be watching it as closely as we would anything else. The effects of having too many "lets pull out in 6 months or less" people in charge would seriously screw some stuff up here.

Voting is being stressed throughout higher, as it should be in all of the Army, SOF and CF; and we are all watching to see what changes will be made and if there will be more restrictions put upon us.

I'm not trying to piss anyone off or tell others how to think, just offering up the suggestion that knowing how a potential change in leadership at the excutive and congressional level would effect operations on the ground is something very important, and should be watched closely.
I disagree.

You need to understand the political environment as it pertains to your mission and follow all lawful orders given you by the chain of command. Period.

I only served in SF in three decades, but IMHO, if you work to the best of your abilities to accomplish your assigned mission, perform your duties to the best of your abilities, and take care of your people as well as you can, you have done all that can be asked of you, regardless of who is in Congress or the White House. As noted above, SF has good years and bad years. Right now, everybody wants to be SF. If you are not willing to be here and to do your best when the bloom is off the rose and Groups are being stood down, I do not want you in my force. We survived Carter and Clinton, and they employed SF as much or more than the more military oriented presidents.

The original question strikes me as a bit of trolling for a political food fight, or an attempt to find something to start a thread about.

If you want to be SF, that decision should not be affected by who is in the White House or Congress. If it is, you probably do not have what we are looking for. That is the long and short of it.

If you do not like your civilian leadership, you may do two things about it. Vote against them in the next election, or resign/ETS/retire at your next opportunity. You do not have a choice beyond that. You sign the contract and suborn yourself to the desires of the Army and the needs of the nation, under whatever elected and appointed leadership our people choose.

We have civilian leadership of the military in this country, that is good and is the way the Fathers intended it. If you only want to serve under a specific party, you need to try another country which has a dictatorship, a military government, or a single party system.

Good luck.

TR
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Old 10-29-2006, 13:39   #9
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The military is an extension of the government. SF is a fist or a glove to be called upon by whoever happens to be the Commander in Chief. It is not a soldier job to decide if orders are right or wrong. The soldier's job is to complete the mission assigned regardless of personal feelings and to bring as many of his fellow solders home as possible. To paraphrase an old saying "yours is not to reason why, yours is but to do or die". Otherwise, stay the hell away from the military.

Jim
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Old 10-29-2006, 13:49   #10
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Quote:
You need to understand the political environment as it pertains to your mission and follow all lawful orders given you by the chain of command. Period.
that I whole-heartedly agree with. That's a point I was trying to make (but evidently failed). Do I agree with every decision that the CoC makes? No, however, I just get the job done with the tools I have available.

Quote:
I only served in SF in three decades, but IMHO, if you work to the best of your abilities to accomplish your assigned mission, perform your duties to the best of your abilities, and take care of your people as well as you can, you have done all that can be asked of you, regardless of who is in Congress or the White House. As noted above, SF has good years and bad years. Right now, everybody wants to be SF. If you are not willing to be here and to do your best when the bloom is off the rose and Groups are being stood down, I do not want you in my force. We survived Carter and Clinton, and they employed SF as much or more than the more military oriented presidents.
First off, I really do appreciate and am thankful for those that came before me, that blazed the path I walk walk on, for my father and grandfathers are both in that esteemed company. Even when it sucks, I still like it here, sure sometimes things are frustrating, and maybe some of that was bleeding thru in my previous post, however, I volunteered for the job, I like it, and will keep doing it as long as I can. I wasn't trying to say that the SF decision is based (on any level) on who is in control of the White House, and I hope I didn't come across that way as it was not my intention.

Quote:
If you do not like your civilian leadership, you may do two things about it. Vote against them in the next election, or resign/ETS/retire at your next opportunity. You do not have a choice beyond that. You sign the contract and suborn yourself to the desires of the Army and the needs of the nation, under whatever elected and appointed leadership our people choose.
Again, both points that I agree on and that I also personally believe, and yes, I have ETS'd once before, though that wasn't based on who was president, it was based other options (college, etc). I do vote, and encourage others in the army to do so, for in my time I've known many who don't.


Quote:
We have civilian leadership of the military in this country, that is good and is the way the Fathers intended it. If you only want to serve under a specific party, you need to try another country which has a dictatorship, a military government, or a single party system.
Another point I agree with and do know, and there is no other country in the world that I'd rather call home. IMHO, America is the best place on earth, and I love being there.

Maybe I didn't clarify things in my previous post, while there's not much in specifics that I can say, what I can say that I know that its smart to be aware of the political climate back home and abroad. Sure there are things that comes down the CoC that seems very counterproductive at times, but that doesn't mean I don't follow orders. Sure we all get that WTF? moment when something off the wall comes down, but we all suck it up and drive on.

I"m sure everyone has had a "wtf?" moment when it comes to something asinine that the CoC has sent down, but the job still gets done. That's what I was trying to say, in part, and not trying to come across as anything but that. I realize that I probably didn't clarify my thoughts or write articulately at the point in the night, and for that, I apologize, and I hope I've made it clearer now.

Again, many thanks and tremendous respect to those who came before me.
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Old 11-05-2006, 11:32   #11
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Here is something thats been bugging me for awhile that I will try to clarify.

Ive been in group for 8 yrs now, and I feel that I can expound on something that I think makes SF the great place that it is. Of course understanding that SF used to have the SF baby program, and not taking anything away from those guys.
Todays X-Ray program, has problems, and those withstanding, I'm not sure that the guys signing up today understand, even though they have information right at their fingertips.

When I volunteered, it was a no brianer. I had started off in 2nd Ranger Bn, and then done a couple of yrs in LRRS. I was on levy orders to Drum, and there was no way that I wanted to go there. I had been kicking SF, around for awhile, my Father in law at the time was just retiring out of 1st group as an E8, who had served in every group.

Anyways, when I got to group, I was surrounded by Great Americans, True Patriots.

I'm not so sure, that the current generation signing up truly understand, that commitment. Not to downplay their commitment, especially in a time of war, of course they are welcome and they should be congratulated on their service. I think that a lot, not all, of the guys coming now think its the Cool place to be. As well as the college boys coming to punch their ticket, and get some money job when their initial enlistment is up. Now of course there are exceptions to the rule, but the more I look around, the more I see guys just filling slots, looking for cool kit and whatever else before they punch out for the next Cool thing.

Doubt what I'm saying? Read any obit of any soldier out there right now, 99% of the obits of any straight leg out there and you will read that he had intentions of joining SF and or escorted SF, and or worked with SF........ETC.

When I got here, SF was a place where experienced guys came to supplement with their experience, as well as to gain more. It was a place to go where you could stabilize yourself, and work with guys for years instead of months. It was a true commitment, your Team was everything, no exceptions, no questions.

Now I'm not sure that I can really fault a guy who after a 6 yr initial enlistment, whos served 4 yrs in a group, and fed up with the system, who gets out because some contractor, or other agency is gonna be throwing stacks of cash at him. I'm just not sure thats what SF really needs for the force.

And as far as being the Cool place to be, yeah we get some good gear, missions ETC. I've also done some pretty stupid stuff, as well as standing shoulder to shoulder with SGM's out cutting grass..........how cool is that? Cool that they were out there too, but a real distractor from the other stuff we had going on.

SF is a true commitment, and should be considered as such. This is a place you come to to hone your skills and apply them in real world applications. This is a place where you retire from. SF is not some place to be used as a stepping stone, or some place to "get your kill on" and then leave. We deserve more than that, and I am wondering what the force will look like in another 5 yrs of being watered down from all of the young guys.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that you have alot of other shit to worry about than what the Administration is. I worked through the whole Clinton Administration and there will Always be work. Believe me, with whatever happens on Tuesday, there will be no shortage of work for us in the future. The direction might change but we will still be on the Lead Vehicle.
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Old 11-05-2006, 12:16   #12
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Longwire:

You can not compare the "old"(for lack of a better word) SF baby program to today's 18X program. For the most part the oder version attracted those that wanted to be there, not 100%, but a large percentage of us entered after already on active duty and stayed for several years. We had a one time shot at making it, there was no train up phase. There are a bunch of retired E-9s and CWOs that were the last of the "old SF babies.

I do not know much about the 18X program but from the little I think I know I am not in favor of it. I also do not support a lot of what I am hearing about some of the things the Army and SF Training Group are doing now. It seems to me the hidden agenda in much of this is to pad statistics, ie; we graduated 95% as opposed to the 32%. Just my opinion and I think you qualified your statement reference the SF babies compared to 18X ffairly good.
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Old 11-05-2006, 12:50   #13
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bost17151:

Thanks,

I guess I was basically venting about the current state of what I've been seeing.
I know there will always be the comparison of Now VS. Then, and I hate to be one of those guys saying, "back when I came in", but age and experience are my guidelines here.
What I think we have been seeing is a shift in making a Career long choice, and just making a Job choice. I dont dislike the xray program per say, I just think that Some of the younger guys we have been getting, have been poor choices for SF.

That's not to say that they are all bad, but I would say a majority of them are guys that you can see right through.

I also failed to mention, that SF was also a place for guys who could think on their feet, and operate with little or no instructions, and were guys that you could trust to operate sometimes in very small numbers, in sensitive areas, without having to question whether they were gonna do the right thing.

I think people forget that..........I cant tell you how many times I've had cherry Captains, trying to explain that we need to watch our P's and Q's because blah, blah blah...............
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Old 11-05-2006, 13:34   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongWire
I cant tell you how many times I've had cherry Captains, trying to explain that we need to watch our P's and Q's because blah, blah blah...............
Good post, however I cannot believe that things have changed that much when it comes to training/managing your team leaders. This officer thing about tepidly walking thru a perceived minefield to keep their career from blowing up in their faces is not new. However, there were only a few cases where I had to actually get involved as a B-Team or Bn Cdr to adjust some officer's headspace and timing before the team was able to do it first.
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Old 11-05-2006, 13:48   #15
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Originally Posted by Jack Moroney
Good post, however I cannot believe that things have changed that much when it comes to training/managing your team leaders. This officer thing about tepidly walking thru a perceived minefield to keep their career from blowing up in their faces is not new. However, there were only a few cases where I had to actually get involved as a B-Team or Bn Cdr to adjust some officer's headspace and timing before the team was able to do it first.

Yes Sir,..........thats not to say that those Captains don't receive some corrective counseling from time to time..............
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