A recent reader submission by former USMC Julian McBride, correctly highlighted an important flaw in Putin’s military that is worth digging into more to help you understand why western military leadership structure has an advantage over Russia’s warfighters.
Imagine a McDonald’s restaurant where there is one big boss in charge (the manager), and everyone else underneath has to wait for permission or direction to do anything.
The employees are trained to do their basic jobs, but if something comes up out of the ordinary, they have to ask the manager for instructions and permission.
If one of the grills goes down, check with the manager for what to do. If there is an irate customer, get the manager. If the bathroom gets busted, ask the manager what to do.
This is the Russian style of military command structure, put simply.
They are masters of micro management on the battlefield. Similar to this scene from the hit show, The Office.
Note: In war, things never go as planned.
The same McDonald’s run according to western military command structure would have sub-managers under the manager to handle their areas of expertise, and they have the autonomy to make decisions without having to consult the manager every time.
These are the Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) of the US military and the main difference in the philosophy of command structure.
Only in extreme situations where the sub-manager needs to deviate from the strategy would they have to run it up the chain of command to the manager for guidance or permission.
The reason these Russian Generals are getting killed is that they are on the front lines giving direct orders! They don’t have a command structure in place for enlisted managers to make decisions and give orders.
In their absence, there is chaos and confusion, as was revealed by the New York Times intercepted and deciphered cell phone conversations from Russian troops.
Why the Russian Army is “Rotten to the core.” Video courtesy of YouTube and Times Radio
‘Putin Is a Fool’: Intercepted Calls Reveal Russian Army in Disarray
In phone calls to friends and relatives at home, Russian soldiers gave damning insider accounts of battlefield failures and civilian executions, excoriating their leaders just weeks into the campaign to take Kyiv. -Full Transcripts Here.
This is a major flaw in command and control that will contribute to more heavy losses for the Russians.
In this context, we’d ask you to read or re-read the piece that was submitted recently because it’s an excellent analysis of the comparison of Western and Russian military command and control structure.
NCOs Are the Backbone of the West, and Russia Falters Without their Expertise
One of the core aspects of small unit leadership in the US military has been the NCOs, who have learned critical decision-making abilities to save lives and continue to run the operational tempo in battalions smoothly. In Russia, the complete opposite has taken place.
With NCOs being non-existent in the Russian Armed Forces, their organization has incorporated undisciplined junior officers who are forced to recognize heavy top-down orders from senior officers with ties to the oligarchy system of government Putin’s federation has implemented.
During their ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Russian officers have made head-scratching decisions that can be correlated to the forced directives of their Ministry of Defense (MOD). World War One and Two tactics of frontal assaults have been seen on the battlefield, particularly in battles such as Soledar, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and others.
The unnecessary amount of casualties Russian Forces have taken in the past year has severely hampered their offensive capabilities. Even with the capture of strategically important cities such as Mariupol and Severodonetsk, the victories have been pyrrhic due to the need to rush timelines to capture territory at the behest of MOD. -Full Story Here on SOFREP.
Putin will not win a ground war in Ukraine for the same reasons America couldn’t win in Vietnam. Here are our top 3 reasons.
- Military Command and Control Structure is outdated and doesn’t enable enlisted troops to make their own decisions in combat based on known strategic objectives. We’d guess that most of the troops have no idea what the objectives even are. “Storm that position, and don’t ask questions!”
- Will to fight is not there the same way it wasn’t with American warfighters in Vietnam and Iraq II. “What the Hell are we doing here?”
- Outdated Defense technology. Russia is now relying on Chinese Defense technology because Ukraine (thanks to the US and UK) is driving a Tesla with autopilot and GPS technology, and Russia is driving a manual Volkswagen Beetle.
The bigger issue that most media aren’t talking about is how does this end? Because SOFREP’s analysis, and the monster in the closet, is that Putin cannot win a ground war in Ukraine without the use of tactical nukes.
What World leader will step up to start negotiating a peace deal?
Or will the World have to wait until the US election in 2024, when Biden is most liked voted out in favor of a stronger and more coherent American President that the failing duopoly of a US political system delivers?
Until that happens, more people will die in Ukraine on both sides.
An estimated 65,000 Russian lives were lost in just over a year.
Compare that to 2,402 US casualties in Afghanistan in over 20 years of war, and you see the difference empowering your lower enlisted ranks makes.
Quite sobering when you let the numbers sink in.
And what next?
It will take strong leadership (we’ve not seen this yet) and a stronger narrative to call the Russian dogs of war off. China will likely continue to put quiet pressure on Moscow to reach a solution that allows China to get out of the pickle.
Until strong State leadership steps up, the Russian meat grinder churns on in Ukraine, and more lives and dreams are lost.
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