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March 2017

— This Month —

Concurrent Incident Response Warfare

Part I Strategy

Concurrent Incident Response Warfare

Part II Tactics  

- - - - -



Our Association is a not-for-profit fraternal organization. Its purpose is a) to foster camaraderie among the graduates of Signal Corps Officer Candidate School classes of the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War eras, b) to organize and offer scholarships and other assistance for the families of Officer and Enlisted OCS cadre who are in need, and c) to archive for posterity the stories and history of all of the Signal Corps OCS Officers who served this great country. We are open to ALL former Army Signal Corps OCS graduates, their families and friends, as well as other officers, enlisted men, those interested in military history, and the general public. Please, come join us. For more information about our Association, to see a list of our Officers and Directors, or for contact details, click on the OCS Association link at left.

Please note: The views and opinions expressed on this website are offered in order to stimulate interest in those who visit it. They are solely the views and expressions of the authors and/or contributors to this website and do not necessarily represent the views of the Army Signal Corps Officer Candidate School Association, its Officers, Directors, members, volunteers, staff, or any other party associated with the Association. If you have any suggestions for improvements to this site, please send them to We are here to serve you.



ArmySignalOCS Editor

The World It Is A Changin'

It used to be that after we elected a new President we let him get on about his job before we judged him. At the least, we gave him his first 100 days to get his footing before we started throwing brickbats at him. Not with this President... with Donald Trump the world was at his throat even before he was inaugurated.

And yes, we mean the world. With President Trump it seems to matter not if it is the people within our own country... the Hillary Malefactors, left wing snowflakes and media pundits... or outsiders, in the form of Enrique Peña Nieto, China's Xi Jing Ping, the Russian Mafia, the tubby guy from North Korea, the heads of the EU, NATO, or any of the others. All seem hell bent on testing Trump's mettle, sticking a finger in his eye, or otherwise trying to show the world that they are not afraid of either America or its new President.

It makes one wonder: why have we been giving all of our good will to the world for the past 200 years if this is the kind of response we get when all we are doing is trying to right our own nation? That is, after all, all that the man is trying to do... fix a sick country. Sometimes healing requires an enema, not a band aid. Give him time, and let him get on about his business, and he may succeed.

At any rate, all this anti-Americanism, coming from everyone from left wing Americans to international bad apples, has made us stop and think as to how we should respond to this hatred. In particular, how should we respond when, say, some reprobate world leader decides to polish his credentials with his people by spitting in America's eye... by creating a provocative incident for no other purpose than to show the world that he is not afraid of Donald Trump?

How should America respond to such an occurrence... or more accurately, how should our new President, Mr. Donald J. Trump, respond?

In our two articles this month you will find our thoughts on this issue. Read them, we think you’ll find them interesting.


Concurrent Incident Response Warfare

Concurrent Incident Response Warfare

Part I Strategy

For America, there is always the possibility of armed conflict with any one of its “enemies.” For Donald Trump, enjoying his first few months in office, the odds of such a conflict igniting without warning seem higher than usual.

A pillar of certitude in his own right, convinced beyond all reason that everything he thinks, says and does is both HUGE and indubitably right, his at times oafish actions and proclamations are sure to be pissing off a world leader or two somewhere on this planet. An unbridled man-boy in the highest office of our land, someone who thrives on lashing out at any criticism, Donald Trump’s statements must be getting under the skin of one of America’s enemies by now… don’t you think? What then will push one of these world leaders to act… act against America… militarily? What will draw our Army into war again, and what—if anything—can the military do to help prevent such a war?

In our view, his feeling that he can blithely attack any party in any way is going to get him into trouble—trouble with one of the numerous petulant, querulous dictators that salve their sad life with hyperbole and threats against America.

Will it be Iran? Or North Korea? Yemen, or maybe even Russia itself? Surely one of these, or another, is going to get sick and tired of reading Donald Trump’s stream of consciousness tweets about their country, leaders or religion, and decide to take action against America. Provocative action… as in some form of military slap-down intended to insult—or at least challenge—Donald Trump on a personal basis.

It might be the Iranians… deciding it’s time to box Donald Trump’s ears for his provocative, inflaming social media driven attempts to stir things up with the Ayatollahs, by constantly sticking his thumb in their eyes. Maybe in return they’ll decide to fire off a few rounds at one of the U.S. Navy ships patrolling the Persian Gulf, or send one of their Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC) (speedboats, equipped with anti-ship cruise missiles) to make a run at one of our ships.

America's Enemies

Alternatively, with North Korea in the news these days, it might be the tubby tyrant Kim Jong-un that figures the best way to respond to an incite-full Trump tweet is to lob a few shells into one of the American military compounds that dot South Korea. Or better still, fire an ICBM into the Sea of Japan, one fully capable of reaching America. He did just that this past February with an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile; by now he must be itching to shoot off a fully fledged ICBM.

Whatever it is, whatever kind of provocation someone aims at our new President, we’ll bet that the White House is not ready for it, and with little to no deliberation of the consequences Trump will respond to it as he does with everything… by the seat of his pants, in a knee-jerk manner and without forethought, counsel, or guidance from any of the experts around him. After all, he’s Donald J. Trump.

If he does this—that is, stays true to form so far—whatever reaction he takes to an armed provocation against America will more likely than not constitute yet another semi-botched operation mounted by some junior level staffer based on a 3 a.m. text message from the Trump bedroom.

Yet while all of this may be true, it’s not Donald Trump that will be the cause of the problems that may arise; it’s our nation’s lack of preparedness for such an event… lack of preparedness in not providing him with viable means to answer the kind of provocative actions he is bound to have thrown at him.

Yes, it’s true, Donald Trump is a shallow thinker without preparation for the job he has been elected to do; and it is likely true too that he is destined to spend the entirety of the next four years constantly tripping over himself—but again, when it comes to the issue of dealing with recalcitrant and confrontational semi-enemies to America, it’s not his fault that he won’t have at his command workable options to apply to any incidents that arise. Instead, the fault lies with the American military… for not having developed either a fundamental strategy on how to deal with such provocations, nor tactical options that can be put into effect while the event is still underway.

Armed provocationNote here that we are talking of low level, armed provocations by third party countries, like Iran, North Korea, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, possibly Pakistan, certainly China and Russia, and of course ISIS in all of its incarnations. With each of these countries, and more, America has in place well thought out, multi-level military stratagems that state how America should respond when full scale combat and/or war arises. Do something that demands America go to war, and we know exactly what to do, how hard to do it, when to do it, and where. Put Trump in a situation where a war footing is necessary, and our military will flood him with viable, workable options from which to select in engaging combat with an enemy. But what about low level provocations; single day events that display hyperbole on the part of the enemy nation, coupled with kinetic action to make sure we get their point?

In this area, based on how past Presidents have responded when other countries used an armed and/or kinetically backed insult to step on our toes, America seems to have no plan of action. That certainly was the case when on January 12, 2016, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two United States Navy riverine command boats in the Persian Gulf. In that case, absolutely no military response was mounted by the U.S., either at the time the incident occurred or after.

As to why, we will answer that question in a moment, for now however consider that for a leader like Donald Trump incidents of this nature are sure to be plenty during his administration. It would be wise then if America’s military, rather than waiting for Donald Trump to dream up his own response to such an insult and tweet it to the world, had prepared for his consideration a whole host of kinetic responses of a type suitable for such incidents; responses he could pick from and order to be mounted with nary a thought or a moment’s notice.

As a country we have the military people needed to do what needs to be done when another country provokes us, they have the training they need to succeed, and we as a nation have the armament needed to do the job… but there is no overarching strategy that defines—for the President—how he should mount a “micro-battle response” to some country trying to slap us in the face via the use of armed or kinetic force.

Why is this so? Our answer is twofold:

1. No one in the Pentagon has considered such low-level armed and/or kinetic provocations as comprising part of the genre known as warfare, and

2. They similarly have not associated the impact tactical response times have on micro level kinetically driven political incidents, as regards how these incidents can drive America to war with the provocateur.

Because of this, unlike in areas involving traditional military engagements—civil wars, guerilla wars, ethnic conflicts, wars of aggression, religiously based wars, wars of succession, preemptive wars, invasion wars, proxy wars, regional wars, asymmetric wars, world wars, et al—no one has considered the area involving low-level armed or kinetic provocations as being something that the military should be responsible for acting on and resolving. In other words, until now our government has not seen the matter of how and when to respond to a low level kinetic provocation as something the military must deal with… and so our military has never devised either an overarching strategy to cover this subject, nor prepared for the President’s consideration the kinds and types of immediate tactical responses he should contemplate for each such possible incident.

It’s because of this that so often when one of America’s semi-enemies tosses an armed insult at us our President appears so flatfooted, seemingly surprised by the event and unable to come up with a worthwhile response that a) counter’s the incident itself, and b) sends a message to the provocateur that America should not be toyed with.

Our point then is that America should come to recognize these kinds of events as a form of low level warfare, and task our military with the job of developing a full strategy as to how to handle these kinds of incidents, as well as a host of tactical response options for each possible type of incident.

As to what we might call this new kind of “warfare,” let us call it incident response warfare. Further, since as we will make the case below the best types of responses America could mount should be made concurrent with the occurrence of the incident, let us call this new kind of warfare Concurrent Incident Response Warfare.

Continued at top of page, COLUMN AT RIGHT

Military Research & Development


Vietnam Campaign Ribbons

This page last updated 1 March 2017. New content is constantly being added. Please check back frequently.

Update 4 March Received an eMail and picture from a former student of OCS Candidate James Falkenstrom, Class 07-66. It read as follows: "I ran across your site while searching for Lt. Falkenstrom and wondering what happened to him. Attached is a photograph I took of him while we were stationed at Ft. Gordon in 1966-67. He was my commander while I attended avionics school (35L20). I was an honor graduate there. We were the first group to use the newly constructed barracks and facility. After training was complete, I spent 24 months at USAAMAC aircraft repair depot at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany. SP5 Thomas Goez, St. Louis, MO — You can see the picture Tom was kind enough to send to us on the 07-66 Class Page. Click here to jump to it, and thanks Tom!    

Update 1 March It's not too early to begin planning for our Army Signal OCS Association 2017 Reunion. This year it will be held in Washington, D.C. and will celebrate the anniversaries of the WWII, Korea and Vietnam Era wars. Take the time now to pencil it into your calendar for this October... and while you are at it, check out the latest information about the Reunion by clicking on our Reunion Info link at the top of the column at left, under the heading INFO CENTER.

Update 1 February Candidate Thomas Geis, OCS Class 09-67, dropped us a note to update us on his status. His note consisted of these short words: Geis Thomas A. LTC (ret) PH, BSM"V" CIB. Thanks Tom.


Continued from left column...

Concurrent Incident Response Warfare

In developing means for addressing provocative kinetic incidents, it is important that the Pentagon recognize the key elements that must be considered in devising both the strategy and the tactics. Consider if you will this essential point: Asymmetric Warfare

The speed of a kinetic military response to a low level politically driven armed or kinetic provocation is directly proportional to the effectiveness of that response—not from the standpoint of kinetics, but from the standpoint of countering the effectiveness of the “insult" or message being hurled at us in the first place.

In other words,

…if America is to suffer political insults from rogue nations, where the insult comes in the form of a low level kinetic or armed activity, and

…if America is to respond to such an insult in an effective manner such that it parries the thrust of the insult and makes the issue moot,

…then it must have in its arsenal a whole host of kinetic responses that the President can pick from and order to action, with no further forethought or reason on his part than a desire to parry the kinetically driven political attack, while at the same time delivering a message.

Once the U.S. has responded, if the enemy wishes to escalate the matter further, then so be it.

While development of these kinds of time sensitive military responses should have been defined, developed and stacked up for ready use by Presidents in the past, with our current President—Donald J. Trump—they are a practical necessity. The reason is clearly that the kind of actions and statements he has shown himself inclined to spout on his own are likely, over the next four years, to invite all manner of small scale kinetic provocations against him and/or his administration.

That being the case, our military needs to gear up to respond to such provocations, preparing and briefing the President on the options he has available to him, and guiding him as regards how to act when ordering such a response. Once again, doing this will require that the Pentagon consider this area involving low level armed or kinetic provocations one of its areas of responsibility, when it comes to developing both a strategy to deal with it, and tactical options to apply.

Note these key points then:

•  In these cases, the occurrence of a low level kinetic incident/insult by one of America’s “enemies” is driven by the need on the part of that enemy to make a political statement.

• America’s response must parry the insult by negating the political statement being made in the first place, by the enemy.

• Notwithstanding this, since the insult came in the form of a kinetic incident, America’s response must be made via kinetic action(s) too. This means that while the response must carry a political message, it must be delivered by the U.S. military, and be proportional.

Free speech, or hate speech?One can surmise then that what is not needed when such an incident occurs—where one of America’s enemies tries to box Donald Trump’s ears—is for America to send in the 101st. That would be overkill. What is needed instead is for the President to have at his ready an assemblage of well thought out and well planned micro-battle response mechanisms… each of which should be based on a kinetic plan of action that our military can take, short of an undeclared war.

To tie America’s response to the incident—and give the political element of the response as much weight as the kinetic part—while the response might be delivered by America’s military instead of its civilian leadership, the response must be timed to occur at the time of the provocation. That is, the element that makes the kinetic response political rather than military, and therein drives the point home to the enemy actor that America is fobbing off their insult, rather than going to war against them, is the fact that the military response occurs simultaneously with the initial insult/incident.

Note the two sets of italics in the above paragraph. They are important because while it is clear that America has the trained military needed to respond to kinetic provocations, and the munitions required, what it does not have is the intent to do so concurrent with the incident itself.

One need only look back at the Benghazi incident to see that while the incident was unfolding and in full display for the world to see, no American response was forthcoming. One might say this is because the President and/or his Secretary of State of the time did not want to “send in the 101st,” or that they were weak kneed or had no backbone. We think it is for another reason that they did not respond. We think it was because the President didn’t know what to do.

Was the Benghazi incident a political statement that required a political response, or a military challenge meant to draw America into yet another war? If political, what kind of political counter-response could the President make, and how would having the military deliver that response drive home the political intent of the statement? Not knowing what the situation was that was unfolding before him, the President chose to do nothing… and in the process a U.S. Ambassador was killed.



2017 Army Signal OCS Reunion


Concurrent Incident Response Warfare

Concurrent Incident Response Warfare Tactics

Part II Tactics

In Part I we identified the need for America to develop means for conducting something we called Concurrent Incident Response Warfare. As we explained, the kind of combat this form or warfare involves revolves around America developing means for carrying out low level armed and/or kinetic responses to provocative incidents that might be undertaken by rogue nations against America. To know what kind of arms our military needs in order to carry out these kind of responses, therein conducting Concurrent Incident Response Warfare, we need to know what kind of provocations rogue nations might throw at us or our President. Not surprisingly, to know this, one need only look at the recent past to get an idea of the number and type of provocations others feel free to toss our way.

Examples of the kind of provocations we have in mind include things like Russian combat jets buzzing our ships at sea, harassing actions by elements of the Chinese towards our own navy and air force, as they navigate the waters of the South China Sea, coastal missile launches against our vessels by countries like Yemen, ICBM test launches and nuclear warhead testing by North Korea, hostage taking of our sailors by countries like Iran, and more.

Provocation or test?Our view on these matters is that these kinds of incidents require a new way of thinking when it comes to dealing with them, one element of which includes developing appropriate armed responses that can be delivered in real time, as the incident is occurring, rather than days or weeks later after the incident has blown over. As to why we feel that real time responses are necessary, part of the reason has to do with making it clear to the world that America is not to be toyed with. In all such incidents, both threats and accommodation have their place in successfully preventing and ending conflicts. Yet while America must accommodate many of these kinds of single day, single event provocations, not all should be allowed to pass without a shielded glove response.

Regardless of the justification, whatever type of response America may wish to issue, it should be based upon a thoroughly vetted military-political strategy, which includes predefined tactical responses that the President can pick from… of the kind and type that our military will conduct.

To clarify again, what we are talking of here are provocational incidents that involve either arms or kinetic actions on the part of an “enemy” of the U.S. With these, given the need and desire for a real time Concurrent Incident Response from America, the question arises as to what kind of reactions to these various provocations America can mount? And as important, do we have in our arsenal the kind of armament we need to mount an effective, real time, micro-battle retort?

The answer to this question, especially the latter part, is both yes and no.

“Yes” from the standpoint that America has under development and ready to bring to the field some of the world’s most leading micro-kinetic forms of response.

“No” from the standpoint that 8 years of Obama administration budget cuts have placed most of these leading edge forms of micro-kinetic armament beyond the availability of our field military. What this means is that if we are to look to them now as a means for conducting Concurrent Incident Response Warfare, President Trump is going to have to pump significantly more money into the defense budget, and do so quickly. Absent this commitment, when it comes to conducting Concurrent Incident Response Warfare, America is going to have to turn instead to traditional forms of combat warfare, something which is overkill as regards sending an appropriate message to those that would insult us.

SM-3IIA Interceptor MissileWe can see an example of this less than ideal state of affairs with the new SM-3IIA Interceptor Missile. The SM-3IIA can hit bigger targets, such as incoming enemy ballistic missileswhich makes it ideal for countering North Korean threats to the U.S. mainlandat longer distances than previous SM-3 interceptor missiles. It is the kind of armament America needs if it is to counter today’s errant countries without resorting to all out war.

Recently the Missile Defense Agency, in conjunction with Raytheon, the missile’s developer, fired a new SM-3 missile variant into space as a test of its ability to destroy an approaching enemy missile. The intent was to find a way, via this new program, to develop a new interceptor better able to detect and attack ballistic missile threats approaching the earth’s atmosphere from space… like those North Korea is trying to develop via its ICBM program.

The test was conducted from the USS John Paul Jones, a Navy destroyer. The John Paul Jones was able to detect and track the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1D(V) radar, using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. After acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, which intercepted the target. In terms then of whether America has the kind of arms needed to conduct real time Concurrent Incident Response Warfare against rogue states like North Korea… intent on tweaking America’s nose but not necessarily going to war with it, the answer is yes… provided that the military funding that was put on hold via the budget sequestration of 2013 is restored.

With this one issue then, we can see that not only is America able to develop means to respond to provocations that might fall under the term Concurrent Incident Response Warfare, but that it is able to do so on a micro-response basis. That is, with enough kinetic power to make the message clear, but not so much as to drive the two countries towards war—provided that the response America makes is done in real time, as the provocation is occurring.

As an aside, with regard to the new SM-3IIA missile, when brought to the field it is slated to be able to be fired from a land-based missile defense site, as well as at sea. In the former case, plans are currently under way to station these missiles in Poland, by 2018. Thus for our purposes, this kind of armament, so well suited to Concurrent Incident Response Warfare, could be used against adversaries like Russia and Iran, as well as North Korea.

Similarly, if they were stationed in Japan they could serve to provide the President with viable means to respond to medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats, like those North Korea enjoys tweaking Japan with on a periodic basis. For those unfamiliar with missile warfare, SM-3 missiles (e.g. the SM-3 IB) were first deployed on Navy ships as exo-atmospheric interceptor missiles, intended to destroy short and intermediate range incoming enemy ballistic missiles, above the earth’s atmosphere. This meant that the threat was destroyed during what’s described as the mid-course phase of flight.


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