Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Ark.), June 16, 2015, About those 450 advisers:
Here’s how to manage your administrative process.
The stories came over the wire last week saying that the president of the United States and commander-in-chief of its armed forces had decided to boost the number of boots on the ground in Iraq. Maybe he was finally listening to his military? Or maybe he was getting tired of watching city after city fall to the Islamic State, with the dead piling up on all sides. Either way, by jingo, he was going to do something about it!
In a breathless article last week, the New York Times said the bad guys had better watch out now. This new plan signaled a “major shift of focus in the fight against the Sunni militant group.”
Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, was even more breathless, saying: “These new advisers will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead and conduct operations against ISIL in eastern Anbar under the command of the prime minister.”
CNN said the president and his planners hoped to pave the way for some sort of Sunni Uprising against ISIS, or ISIL or whatever it’s called this week. ABC News reported that the next focus would to take back Anbar, then on to Mosul!
But a funny thing happened when we got away from the TV news and New York Times types and consulted folks who know what they’re talking about. The military folks who write about these things at, say, Central Command’s website, or Defense.gov or Star and Stripes, dug a little deeper into the story, and asked what exactly those 450 advisers are supposed to do once they’re in-country.
According to those dispatches, the new troops are to go to Al Taqaddum Air Base west of Baghdad to—
Help spot ISIS targets for American bombers?
Help train Iraqi officers on how to best destroy the enemy?
Help train Iraqi troops on how best use the weapons we give them?
Nope. None of that. A spokesman for the Department of Defense told the military press that the new troops would advise the Iraqis on matters such as … improving their logistic systems, increasing their intelligence capabilities and managing their administrative processes.
Managing their administrative processes. Which might mean the right way to file paperwork according to DOD Form 349-(b)800, subsection (a). Next there’ll be the Quality 6000 roll-out. And a quarterly quality control inspection.
The people in the armed forces of the United States are experts at breaking things and targeting the bad guys. But that same military has a bad reputation for being the most bureaucratic of outfits, especially when the troops put their weapons in the armory and go inside for briefings.
It’s apparent the Iraqis need American help in their fight against the terrorists. The U.S. needs to make sure we’re exporting what they need, not just more ArmySpeak.