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Re: Intelligence Evaluation and the Yalu
At 11:06 AM 12/21/02 -0600, Ed Evanhoe wrote:
>That may be the "official" line but in reality, MacArthur generally made
>his operational decisions on what his staff told him was happening, not on
>what Washington told him was happening.
I suspect we are speaking of apples and oranges here.
No US senior commander has been able since before the Second World war to
conduct ANY operation -- save for emergency ones, of course -- without
higher-headquarters approval. For instance, in 1941, MacArthur was not
able to realign his forces for the ultimately unsuccessful beach-head
defense until RAINBOW-5 had been approved by the JWPS and by the War and
Navy Departments on 20 NOV 41; another example can be found during the
Battle of the Bugle, when Patton was ready to move to relieve the 101st ABN
and the other units trapped in Bastogne but had to wait for approval from
SHAEF before he could set the troops in motion.
MacArthur had immense influence on the boys in Washington but they STILL
had to approve his operations plans before he could carry them out. J
Lawton Collins, then the Army Chief of Staff, supposedly noted in August,
1950, that, "MacArthur propses, but DoD disposes" which is a pretty fair
way of looking at it. Thus, when MacArthur proposed CHROMITE, the JCS came
quite close to forbidding the operation as being too daring. After
CHROMITE succeeded, MacArthur asked for instructions and was told to
advance northwards but was given contradictory and ambiguous orders
afterwards, orders which did not give clear guidance as to whether or not
the US forces were allowed to approach the Yalu and, if so, just how close
they were allowed to proceed.
This top-down process has been adopted to ensure that no "cowboy generals"
conduct private wars. It has many virtues but also many drawbacks,
especially the interference of Chief Executives such as Johnson in the
operation of battalions and companies in Viet-Nam.
The role of intelligence has been similarly centralized. MacArthur refused
to participate in the overall intelligence system in the Second World War,
even though the US component, the OSS, was run by his close friend and
former subordinate, "Wild Bill" Donovan. When the CIA was established,
it was given a specific authority to act as the senior compiler and
analysist of all intelligence information, and the service intelligence
agencies were quite limited for many years in just how far they could go in
disagreeing with a firm CIA decision. This was especially true during the
Korean War, when the CIA was run by Marshall's croney, Beedle Smith.
Information, from many sources, flowed up to Washington, but the
assessments made by Wzshington had to be accomodated in operational plans
produced by the Theater Commanders, be this in FEC or Europe.
The central product from the field soldier's point of view is a document
called the "Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield" This flows
downhill, not uphill. For strategic operations, this begins at the CIA, is
tweaked at DoD, then is disseminated to Theater commands, who may add to it
but who may not disregard or change it. Any operations submitted for
approval must reflect the "official" IPB. A subordinate command may
reclama a supplied IPB but must operate within its terms until the higher
headquarters revises it.
Yes, MacArthur, Willoughby, and Almond failed to properly analyze the
impending CHICOM intervention but, in this regard, they were properly
following guidance issued from their next-higher-headquarters, FEC in the
case of X Corps and DoD in the case of FEC.
(And, while Willoughby returned home with MacArthur, Almond remained as X
Corps commander durng Marshall's remaining tenure as Secretary of Defense.
It was only when Eisenhower was elected President that Marshall and Beedle
Smith went into retirement, and Almond went to Europe for a brief time. An
interesting bit of trivia is that Al Haig served as a staff officer
directly under Almond, while Wesley Clark later served as Chief of Staff
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