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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:51 am 
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On 2/06/07, rickusn posted the following:

Were/are Van Riper and his proponents correct?

How come I find few references after early 2003 and those more vague and cursory rather than illuminating?

My memory for some odd reason fails to register much of what I thought about it at the time. If in fact I did think much about it at all.

And rereading what little I could refind has been of small help.

The reason I bring it up now is that the USN appears, by all accounts, to be moving alot of assets in to Harms Way.

Is this a reasonable, calculated risk or folly?

Thanks in advance for any info and/or thoughts.

Sea Skimmer wrote:
Stuart that Van Riper actually rigged the exercise himself, by materializing forces out of thin air to make attacks, then claimed he was being unfairly bashed by the higher ups because he hadnt followed the script.

Also what I understand from reading some more level headed articles on the matter, in many ways the exercise wasnt even meant to be a real simulation of war. Instead it was a series of experiments each designed to test a specific new concept or tactic of combination thereof. In some cases tests were being conducted for the purpose of creating better simulations in future exercises. Two forces didnt simple stand up and slug it out, so declaring a winner and loser isnt even relevant.

Edit: I found one of the articles for you; well actually its an interview
Link


Stuart wrote:
Were/are Van Riper and his proponents correct?

In a word, no.

Anybody can "achieve success" in an exercise by arbitrarily creating forces that were not on the original manifest, simply refusing to accept that assets had been destroyed and continuing to use them and by reading through the scenario rules and manifests and saying "aha It doesn't say I can't do thus and so".

It's rather like playing a chess game in which one player ignores any of his pieces taken by his opponent, assumes all of his own pieces are queens and then adds extra pieces every time he feels like it. Then stands up, beats his chest and claims loudly that's he's won.

The problem is that doing all that means the exercise is worthless, nobody learns anything of value from it and the time and resources invested in that exercise are wasted. The only thing Van Riper's actions achieved was to boost his own ego and already excessive self-esteem. In terms of military planning and threat analysis, his contributions were worth far less than nothing.

How come I find few references after early 2003 and those more vague and cursory rather than illuminating?

I think that, after the initial surge of attention, level-headed people sat down, looked at what really happened and realized what a total ass Riper had been and how worthless his "contributions" really were. I think also people realized that his sole motivation had been to feed his own ego and there was an unspoken consensus that the best way to show their contempt for him was to ignore him.

Contempt really is all that Van Riper deserves.


Tony Evans wrote:
But the episode as a whole, when taken in the context of what happened during the initial stages of OIF, does generate this interesting observation: The enemy can't materialize forces out of thin air, but what you account a marginal or non-capability the enemy may be able to put to effective use in a way you don't expect. The Saddam Fedayeen are a classical example of this phenomenon. Future simulations and exercises need to allow the side with a potential guerilla complement the freest hand in utilizing that force.


Stuart wrote:
The enemy can't materialize forces out of thin air, but what you account a marginal or non-capability the enemy may be able to put to effective use in a way you don't expect.

That is indeed so, however that doesn't really touch on what Riper was doing. As an example, one of the actions carried out by the "American" forces was a series of pre-emptive strikes on missile batteries along the coast in question followed by surveillance of those sites to make sure they had been destroyed. Riper simply ignored that and carried on using the batteries as if nothing had happened. Another example is that he "created" a fleet of mosquito missile craft by fitting P-15 Styx missiles onto Boston Whalers and then using them over a hundred miles from the coast (he wasn't even transiting them from coastal harbors and anchorages - he just positioned them in an ideal spot and stated they were opening fire. Using our chess analogy, he wasn't just putting a queen on the board every time he felt like it, he was putting that queen straight into a checkmate position).

Future simulations and exercises need to allow the side with a potential guerilla complement the freest hand in utilizing that force.

They will; the current ones do and the previous ones did. The way these things are handled was that every one of the exercises is preceeded by a lengthy Red Team session in which crazy and/or unconventional ideas were put forward. The ones that survived the peer review session were then incorporated into a game/exercise for evaluation to determine their effects and tactical utility. For example, the "Boston Whaler with a P-15" idea would have been tossed out because a Boston Whaler is too small (both in dimensions and weight) and lacks the seakeeping ability. However, the discussion might well have lead to the idea of using fishing boats as missile carriers and the tactical implications that would lead to. (For example, what would such craft need to carry out their missions).

However, exercises/games aren't slugging matches, they're designed to teach and educate. The opposition in those games do have a free (ish) hand; however each game is set within a series of specific scenarios so that the appropriate lessons can be absorbed, the lessons learned and then incorporated into future game/exercises so that they can be tested out. Going back to our fishing boat idea, it may well have been decided that the fishing craft would have to get in reasonably close because they wouldn't have the search radar for long-range fire. This would create a need for combatants to shadow such craft and hose them down (with something more lethal than water) if they tried to unmaskweapons. Dare one say LCS?

What we don't need is some egotistical moron screwing up the whole process by grandstanding. By suddenly inventing an entire fleet of mosquito missile craft operating in deep water, Riper prevented any reasonable evaluation of ideas that might work (again, our fishing boat misile carriers). That potentially at least, laid the fleet open to attacks that might, had Riper not messed everything up, been predicted and evaluated.


JNiemczyk wrote:
For the ignorant amongst us...what is this all about? I seem to have missed whatever this controversy is about.

From what I can surmise wouldn't trying to put a P-15 on something small like a Boston whaler create an instant submarine? Even if it didn't sink it would be reduced to its component parts if it fired one.

Such a mosquito fleet would surely be a good target for Hellfire, or Penguin armed Seahawks, or Sea Skua armed Lynx. Heck the marines' Cobras could take them out with 20mm fire!

Has this Ripper fellow adopted some of the methods that the IJN used for exercises, i.e. ignore results that go against your expectations and resurrect assets if they are destroyed?


Stuart wrote:
what is this all about? I seem to have missed whatever this controversy is about.

In a nutshell, there were a series of exercises (combination of war games and real-asset manoeuvers) to test out a whole series of operational concepts - on both sides. As with all such exercises, the idea was to take a standard situation, add a new idea to the pot and see what happens. One of the games had a twerp called Van Riper involved who "had an unconventional approach". He added assets of his own invention in, disregarded results that didn't suit him and proceeded to wreck the whole exercise. In the end, he was pretty much arrested and thrown out the facility. He that started claiming that he's won and was being thrown out as a cover-up.

From what I can surmise wouldn't trying to put a P-15 on something small like a Boston whaler create an instant submarine? Even if it didn't sink it would be reduced to its component parts if it fired one.

You know we debated that at work. The rocket scientists (we have the real thing here) claimed that the bits of the boston whaler would be blown up, the weapons people thought that the bits would be blown down into the seabed and I argued the whole thing would just roll over and go down. We never really reached a conclusion. However, we did think that if the rocket was fired and failed to release, the Boston Whaler would break the world water speed record. Whether it would do so as a unitary whole or in pieces........

Such a mosquito fleet would surely be a good target for Hellfire, or Penguin armed Seahawks, or Sea Skua armed Lynx. Heck the marines' Cobras could take them out with 20mm fire!

Or , as happened off Iraq, by an ASW helicopter using its dipping sonar as a wrecking ball. That's one of the things that the exercises were supposed to test; what sort of close-in air cover was necessary? How should it be equipped? What sort of sensors were needed? Were the helicopters the best tool for the job or would something like a Predator be better? What are the best weapons? None of those points got answered because Riper screwed up the exercise and it was too expensive to go back and do it again.

(Later we did; the best solution is helos using door guns),

Has this Ripper fellow adopted some of the methods that the IJN used for exercises, i.e. ignore results that go against your expectations and resurrect assets if they are destroyed?

That was more or less it. The criminal actions though (I have no hesitation in defining them as criminal; I said at the time he should have been prosecuted) were inserting extra forces into the scenario. That made it impossible to learn anything from that particular test run.


JNiemczyk wrote:
(Later we did; the best solution is helos using door guns)

I seem to remember that during Desert Storm door guns were used to destroy a great deal of Iraq's FACs. The Royal Navy's Lynx started off with four Sea Skuas but they seemed to very quickly to swap two missiles for a .50 cal gun pod.

A missile would certainly be overkill for a Boston whaler. Why use an expensive missile when cheap 7.62mm, or 12.7mm bullets will do the job?

One of the games had a twerp called Van Riper involved who "had an unconventional approach".

His approach seems to be acting like an idiot and behaving like a child. That's certainly unconventional, I'll give him that.

That made it impossible to learn anything from that particular test run.

Perhaps as an apt punishment he could be put on a Boston whaler fitted with a P-15 so he could personally 'prove' his concept. If he's that confident then how can he refuse?


David Newton wrote:
Was Ripper relieved of command for his actions?


Sea Skimmer wrote:
He was retired at the time

As for shooting up the Boston Whalers with doors guns, that sounds like a really good way to lose a 30 million dollar helicopter to a boat armed with its own machine guns.


Kdahm wrote:
You know we debated that at work. The rocket scientists (we have the real thing here) claimed that the bits of the boston whaler would be blown up, the weapons people thought that the bits would be blown down into the seabed and I argued the whole thing would just roll over and go down. We never really reached a conclusion. However, we did think that if the rocket was fired and failed to release, the Boston Whaler would break the world water speed record. Whether it would do so as a unitary whole or in pieces........

That assumes the Boston Whaler makes it out of the harbor. My google-fu was strong today, so I came up with ~2300kg for a P-15. The Boston Whalers produced today range at the top end from 28 to 32 feet long and have rated load limits of 4500 lbs +/-. In addition to Achmed and Mohammed, there is the weight of the launching cradle to take up any residue of the rating's factor of safety. As a bonus, the missile weighs about what the boat does empty.

It'll be a race between the wakes of the other boats and the slightest beam sea for which causes the mosquito boat to flip over first. When it's spotted, the first thing seen is a 19' long missile, mounted centrline of the boat. A few 50 BMG rounds, and there goes a lot of fuel and explosive.

If someone manages to fire it, I'd vote for the weapons folks. The backblast will thoroughly crisp the boat and drive it to the seabed.

As a WAG, something around 60' and 15 tons would be the minimum needed to semi-safely launch the beast. Add 20% if the missile should be concealed during transport.


RickUSN wrote:
Thanks all and especially Stuart.

Skimmer I couldnt get your link to work.


Stuart wrote:
Was Ripper relieved of command for his actions?

He'd already retired (or been retired, accounts differ). His last post was a GIC Combat Systems Development and there was a lot of evidence he was going a bit strange even there. One of the ideas he came up with was to reorganize Marine Corps infantry units into sections of four Marines who would wander around the battle zone, directing artillery fire. Note, that's in place of regular units, not in addition to.

As for shooting up the Boston Whalers with doors guns, that sounds like a really good way to lose a 30 million dollar helicopter to a boat armed with its own machine guns.

Not really, fast small craft are a dreadfully bad weapons platforms - IRGC units used to operate Boston Whalers armed with 14.5mm machine guns and would miss ULCCs with them. In addition, the solution doesn't use a rifle-caliber weapon, the door gun is a 30mm version of the Bushmaster chain gun on a stabilized mounting. It fires a special deflagrating ammunition that'll set most things (or people) on fire. Firing range is around 2,000 yards which puts it well outside range of machine guns et al. Shoulder-fired missiles are a concern but the vibration amd pounding of a FSC are so bad it would be hard to use one.


Scott Brim wrote:
Anybody can "achieve success" in an exercise by arbitrarily creating forces that were not on the original manifest, simply refusing to accept that assets had been destroyed and continuing to use them and by reading through the scenario rules and manifests and saying "aha It doesn't say I can't do thus and so".

I've asked this question before about the whole episode without hearing an answer I'm satisfied with: if blatant cheating was going on, why didn't the exercise controllers and the referees put a quick stop to it as soon as they understood what was happening? They had to have realized early on what it was Van Riper was doing.


James1978 wrote:
Or , as happened off Iraq, by an ASW helicopter using its dipping sonar as a wrecking ball.

Say what? Could you elaborate on that one? It sounds like a good story.


JBG wrote:
Indeed, sounds like an expensive "wrecking ball". Can't they throw cans of coke etc if all that they have left is the dipping sonar, even roast pork sandwiches might be bettter!!


Stuart wrote:
I've asked this question before about the whole episode without hearing an answer I'm satisfied with: if blatant cheating was going on, why didn't the exercise controllers and the referees put a quick stop to it as soon as they understood what was happening? They had to have realized early on what it was Van Riper was doing.

I honestly don't know. I suspect some of it was that Van Riper was a general, the umpires were relatively junior officers and he simply used his rank to intimidate them (that's a good reason why such games should be run by outsiders, not service personnel). Its a fair bet that he answered any questions about any of his conduct with a tirade of intimidation right from the start so establishinga pattern of behavior that made people reluctant to confront him.

Another thing might well be that there was a presumption of honesty. Van Riper was a Marine General and there would have been a presumption that he was behaving honestly and honorably. The idea that he might have been engaging in wholesale abuse and cheating just to feed his own ego would be a hard one to accept.

Also, the way things are set up, very few people have full knowledge of what is going on and why, everybody just sees a part of the picture. That includes the umpires who are out on the floor (if they know too much they can let things drop). So it might well be that the umpire who saw a (for example) destroyed missile battery coming back to life assumed that he simply didn't have the full picture. When they saw unexpected forces appearing, they assumed this was something they didn't know about.


Scott Brim wrote:
Thanks Stuart. It's possible too that someone who is an expert in how such exercises are managed and conducted--- presumably Van Riper is such an expert---could use a combination of guile and knowledge-based guesswork to determine where the exercise plan was going and so be ready well ahead of time with either effective counter-moves and/or a bag of well-concealed tricks and shenanigans.

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