Sunday, October 17, 2004

Zen and the Art of Convoy Security 
"It is a doctrine of war not to assume the enemy will not come, but rather to rely on one's readiness to meet him; not to presume that he will not attack, but rather to make one's self invincible."
-Sun Tzu

A soldier writing in from Iraq is nervous that I might be giving too much away - though I won't mention exactly why.

I'll use the loose analogy of a chess game here:

You don't play winning chess by hoping the opponent doesn't see the best move. You play winning chess by assuming your opponent DOES see the most dangerous move on the board, and playing accordingly.

The fact that drivers drive rather than shoot, and that the steering wheel is on the left, is hardly a state secret. And the fact that fuel trucks aren't normally equipped with vehicle mounted radios is fully apparent by the absence of antennas.

I think you have to assume that the enemy is already fully aware of all these things, and operate with that assumption in mind.

The enemy already knows. He can see what kind of convoy security you provide with his own eyes. If you don't have crew-served weapons--if you don't have port-side security - if you don't have front or rear security, you can be assured he can already figure that out.

The solution is not to practice poor force protection, fail to provide for 360 degree security, and hope that the enemy hasn't figured out the obvious. The solution is to practice sound 360 security, and be ready no matter what the enemy decides to do.

In other words, first make yourself invincible.

To cite Sun Tzu again:

In ancient times, those skilled in warfare make themselves invincible and then wait for the enemy to become vulnerable.

Being invincible depends on oneself, but the enemy becoming vulnerable depends on himself.

Therefore, those skilled in warfare can make themselves invincible, but cannot necessarily cause the enemy to be vulnerable.

Splash, out


I just stumbled on your page and I want you to know that you and your guys are in our thoughts and prayers each day. I have a family member in Ramadi and I really enjoy the opportunity to hear updates from there. Your thoughts and intelligence provide a much needed insight that is severely lacking in the info that most Americans receive from the media. Please check six and stay safe. Most of all, keep up the flow of information...it's keeping this Marine family informed and hopeful. KC
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