Mark Hertling Profile picture
Feb 25, 2022 16 tweets 3 min read Read on X
After one of my @CNN appearances, one of the anchors asked me off-air why I had confidence in Ukraine's army to push back agains the illegal Russian military onslaught.

I used a bit of "battlefield math" to explain my rationale. 1/16
Their are two major factors most military folks consider to determine combat power: the force's resources and the force's will.

There are more elements under each of these categories that contribute to military capabilities. 2/
The force's RESOURCES: that's quantity (size of the force, Number of different air, artillery, # of soldiers), quality of equipment, extent and specificity of their training, their logistics & ability to resupply, their intelligence, etc. 3/
The force's WILL: soldiers' morale, a belief in the cause for which they fight, support they receive from both their fellow citizens & their government's leadership, their unit leaders...and especially, what they get from their comrades. Values are a big piece of this. 4/
There are historical examples where a force with superior WILL can defeat a force with superior RESOURCES.

Forces with an unshakable belief in what they are fighting for - with the right support - can overcome a force that seemingly has superior resources. 5/
The Russians currently have an advantage in resources. The quantity of their force provides a quality all its own, their equipment is relatively good (not great), their artillery and long range fires are devastating, and they have air superiority.

But... 6/
Russian training sucks (I say this having seen Russians train & seeing how they conduct "exercises"). Their log & intel is clumsy. Their soldiers are mostly 1-yr conscripts, not professionals, and they have a poor NCO Corps. Their officers - for the most part - are terrible. 7/
When I first served w Ukrainian soldiers (in 2004), they were also poorly led, trained & disciplined. But they have improved, significantly, because of revamped training, more battlefield experience & good leaders.
BTW, I wrote this piece about my experience w/them in 2014: 8/
Since then, Ukraine's Army has continued to evolve...and now, they have an extremely supportive population, good officer & NCO leadership, they are a professional force w/ a good reserve ready to support, & their government is also supportive. 10/
Add to this, Ukraine now has allies...all over the world. More support.

Putin has turned the Russian effort into one receiving scorn, because of the lies and crimes HE has committed. That will worsen as RU forces continue to commit battlefield atrocities, which they will. 11/
Ukraine had a tough first day. Tomorrow will be tougher. Combined RU conventional, unconventional, cyber, air, arty & special ops tools will be tough to address.

But Russia is still on the *offensive* so they have to act, and must continue to "move." They will wear down. 12/
Though Ukraine's initial defense wasn't great today, it will improve. Whether called an "insurgency" or a "guerilla war," UKR will wear down an enemy that already has low morale & an even lower support from their population back in mother RU (see protests). 13/
Don't discount the RU Army's increasingly unwillingness to fight for Putin. They will see their *cause* as being suspect....if they don't already. And they will experience more battlefield deaths than they anticipated, which will cause even more protests at home. 14/
It will likely be a long fight.

Putin will be increasingly portrayed as a loser.

He not a risk taker, he's a gambler. You can mitigate risk, but you can't overcome a losing gamble.

Putin will go the way of Stalin,Hitler, Ceausescu, Saddam. 15/
And Ukraine will be a stronger nation...but only if we continue to stand beside. 16/end

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More from @MarkHertling

Mar 14
Woke up to several texts from journalists asking my thoughts on "West Point dropping duty, honor, country from their motto?" and one wrote "does this mean the Academy has gone 'woke'?"

My first thought: "let me get a cup of coffee before addressing this craziness."

A 🧵 1/9 Image
This week, graduates received a letter from LTG Steve Gilland -the Superintendent (the USMA college president)- of @WestPoint_USMA informing of changes in the MISSION STATEMENT (NOT the motto).

The letter specifically said the MOTTO "Duty, Honor, Country" has NOT changed. 2/ Image
Now, I know LTG Gilland well. He's a great soldier, terrific leader, and a common-sense guy.

As any leader - general or business CEO - knows, you have to continuously assess and analyze your mission statement.

In fact, I teach this to MBA students in leadership classes. 3/
Read 9 tweets
Mar 10
"Logistics determine the art of the possible."

Many of you have heard me say this multiple times with respect to the war in Ukraine.

Now we'll start seeing the same in Gaza with JLTOTS pronounced "Jay-Lots" for the media).

A 🧵 1/9 Image
"Logistics determine the art of the possible."

Many of you have heard me say this multiple times with respect to the war in Ukraine.

Now we'll start seeing the same in Gaza with JLTOTS pronounced "Jay-Lots" for the media).

A 🧵 1/9
Airdropped humanitarian aid is precise and speedy, but it's limited in it's capability and capacity for certain kinds and large amounts of supplies. It's also relatively expensive.After you deploy expensive parachutes and GPS devices into the area, it's hard to get them back! 3/ Image
Read 9 tweets
Feb 20
On 24 Feb 2022, I scribbled some thoughts about what I believed were Putin's strategic objectives in invading Ukraine (see chart).

In the 1st 18 months of the conflict, Ukraines' action, NATO collaboration & US support caused him to fail.

We're at an inflection point. A 🧵1/ Image
Addressing each:
1. Zelenskyy is still strong
2. Ukraine's army is still fighting
3. Ukraine's population is resilient
4. Ru does not control the Black sea ports
5. The west - especially the US - has returned to being divided, and NATO may now take fewer risks. 2/
Putin now knows that Ukraine's continued capability will - for the short term - continue to require support from the west.

So he is pulling out all stops, w/ mobilizations (over 400k new (untrained) soldiers as "meat" for attacks), a ramped up industrial base, & oppression. 3/
Read 16 tweets
Feb 8
Many US media outlets proclaiming "Zelenskyy sacks Zaluzhnyi" or "Zaluzhnyi fired!"

I don't see it that way.

Allow me to provide some context. A 🧵

GEN Zaluzhnyi is 51 y.o., extremely young for a Commander of any nation's Armed Forces. Most 4-star generals are in their 60's with much more experience.

Since Feb '22 he's been the tactical, opn'l & strategic leader of the toughest fight we've seen in the 21st century. 2/ Image
Here's what I mean by "tactical, opn'l, strategic" commander:

1. He commands the 2000+ mile tactical front
2. He coordinates each battles into an operational campaign plan
3. He "plays" in the strategic arena with his nation's leaders & over 50 supporting nations. 3/ Image
Read 9 tweets
Feb 4
Expanding on what I said on @CNN this morning.

Deterrence defined: The action or actions used to discourage an event by means of instilling doubt or fear of the consequences over time.

Many say deterrence against Iran & its proxies is failing.

It's too early to tell. 1/8
DETERRENCE is one technique that MAY contribute to national security strategy.

Some define strategy as the use of different MEANS in specific WAYS to reach on END STATE or OBJECTIVE.

I agree with that definition...and it's sorta like deterrence. 2/
In National Security Strategy, MEANS equates to difference tools at the nation's disposal (diplomancy, information, economics, military). WAYS is the approach you use to make those tools effective (think maneuver with military, economic sanctions, condemning actions, etc). 3/
Read 8 tweets
Oct 24, 2023
This afternoon I had a conversation w/ a very savvy Jewish journalist. We were talking about the films we’ve both seen of Hamas atrocities.

The horrific murders, the beheadings, child rapes, burning of bound mothers & children…all filmed on GoPro cameras & distributed. 1/11
She was shocked when I said I had seen many of these acts before. Al Qaida, ISIS & even Russian soldiers

It’s part of the playbook of intimidation w/ the message: this is our land, you don’t belong!

It’s a technique from past centuries. 2/
Many US soldiers live with these kinds of memories.

Two haunt me: the heads of a Shia Imam & his family on spikes placed as a warning. The pelvic bone of a suicide bomber remaining on a car seat.

These images appear in constant nightmares. 3/
Read 11 tweets

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