Military "swift"

James Rogers jamesr@best.com
Thu, 27 Mar 2003 17:19:04 -0800


From: JS Kelly
>=20
> Gulf War I =3D simpler, smaller objectives
> Gulf War II =3D more complex, larger objectives=20
>=20
> Gulf War I =3D 6 weeks
> Budget Appropriation requested by President Bush =3D money=20
> enough for 4 weeks


These aren't quite so easily comparable.  Bombing is a very slow way of
accomplishing large-scale military objectives, and the US spent six =
weeks on
it during the first Gulf War.  If in that campaign there was only one =
week
of bombing before the ground war, the first Gulf War could have been =
over in
two weeks total by my estimate.  In fairness, the lengthy bombing =
campaign
was done in part to kill time while we gathered up our ground forces.

To inject my own opinion: I estimated three weeks from the first bomb =
drop
until Baghdad falls for this war, based on everything I knew.  So far, I =
am
not uncomfortable with that prediction, but I could always be wrong.

I didn't know that the Bush budget allocation was for a month of combat, =
but
that seems about right.  Several billion of that will be required just =
to
cover all the fancy ordnance being expended.=20

=20
> It seems to me that if this war is more complex and has=20
> larger objectives (than the last war), then it seems to=20
> follow that it is likely to take more time (than the last war).=20


The military spent an unnecessary amount of time bombing during the =
first
Gulf War to buy time while we moved all our armor into the region.  I =
don't
think all that bombing netted the US more than a 3-4 day reduction in =
the
ground campaign versus a one week bombing campaign before the ground
campaign.  As happy as it would make the Air Force, a day of bombing is =
not
remotely equivalent to a day of armor on the ground, so you have to =
commit
your ground troops quickly if time is of the essence.

=20
> In that case, it would seem to follow that when President=20
> Bush asked for $75 billion for one month's worth of fighting=20
> (rounding that off to four weeks), there must be a reason for that.


One month's worth of combat budget seems appropriate.  This says a lot =
more
about how long CENTCOM actually thinks it will take than anything else.
When talking about this much money, they have far less leeway as far as
padding the budget with fudge factor.

Cheers,

-James Rogers
 jamesr@best.com