[June 29, 2022] Earlier in March, after Russia invaded Ukraine, I published two articles titled “Early Lessons from the Ukraine War” (here and here). These were written less than three weeks after the invasion and were a good start. Now, with four months of study, we have learned much more, which applies to those who study leadership.
The U.S. Army came out with “5 lessons from the Ukraine conflict,” spelled out in Breaking Defense.1 Secretary of the Army Amy Christine Wormuth2 said there are five lessons we should learn from the conflict. I sincerely hope there are classified lessons that are better.
- The importance of leadership, training, and discipline.
- Logistics matters more than ever.
- We need to reduce our electronic signals.
- The requirement to defend against advanced drones.
- Keep munitions stocked.
I’ve got to agree, but these lessons are far from adequate for the future battlefield. In these very pages, I pointed this out and stand by them. But let’s not confuse them with more important lessons, the very ones that the Biden Administration is working against. Wormuth has not addressed this conflict.
Here are lessons from authors David Barno and Nora Bensahel in their work on lessons learned from the Ukraine battlefield to be prepared for that future war (which always comes unexpectedly). I’m paraphrasing a bit:
- A shift from aggressive, offensive operations as the preferred method to the prepared defense.
- The realization that the military cannot hide on the battlefield. If the enemy can see you, they can kill you, and they can see you.
- Accept the reality that our military’s dependence on helicopters and large vehicles is in question since they are not survivable with existing, advanced anti-tank, anti-air, and anti-ship missile systems.
- Figure out how to operate and fight in the face of heavy battlefield losses.
- Expand security force assistance from other countries. Allies are a pain in the butt, yet they bring considerable experience in select areas that can be leveraged to everyone’s advantage.
The point I’m making is our U.S. military is NOT prepared to take on a large trained conventional military force. Casualties would be high and the destruction unprecedented. The U.S. has not faced this level of conflict since WWII. We are not prepared, and that is the
- Note that she has no military experience but has served in senior civilian positions in the U.S. Government
Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).