Friday, July 1, 2011

Why not "Momentum III"?

Does anyone know who names campaign phases? Like what actual office in DOD assigns the official names? Because I'd never seen them before yesterday, when the Pentagon announced that new campaign stars were authorized for additional phases in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's part of the press release:
The additional campaign phase and associated dates established for the [Iraq Campaign Medal] is:
                        •  New Dawn - Sept. 1, 2010 through a date to be determined.
Six other phases, previously identified, include:
                        •  Liberation of Iraq - March 19, 2003 to May 1, 2003.
                        •  Transition of Iraq - May 2, 2003 to June 28, 2004.
                        •  Iraqi Governance - June 29, 2004 to Dec. 15, 2005.
                        •  National Resolution - Dec. 16, 2005 to Jan. 9, 2007.
                        •  Iraqi Surge - Jan. 10, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2008.
                        •  Iraqi Sovereignty - Jan. 1, 2009 to August 31, 2010 
The additional campaign phase and associated dates established for the [Afghanistan Campaign Medal] is:
                        •  Consolidation III - Dec. 1, 2009 through a date to be determined.
Three other phases, previously identified, include:
                        •  Liberation of Afghanistan - Sept. 11, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2001
                        •  Consolidation I - Dec. 1, 2001 to Sept. 30, 2006
                        •  Consolidation II - Oct. 1, 2006 to Nov. 30, 2009
The Iraq phase names make some sense, though I think "National Resolution" and "Iraqi Surge" are both a bit goofy. (Are we naming them as phases of the U.S. campaign, or based on host nation political transformation, or what? Seems like both.)

But Afghanistan... seriously? Consolidation I-III? Couldn't we do a better job with this? Like, for example:
  • Bombing the Piss out of the Taliban - Sept. 11, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2001
  • Escape from Tora Bora - Dec. 1, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2001
  • General Indifference - Jan. 1, 2002 to March 18, 2003
  • Economy of Force - March 19, 2003 to Nov. 30, 2009
  • The Good War - Dec. 1, 2009 to June 21, 2011
  • The Expensive, Disappearing War - June 22, 2011 through a date to be determined


  1. I agree that these are very stupid. But they're just following on the tradition of the Vietnam ones, which start okay but get worse (these are only the Army/Marine ones):

    Advisory Campaign, 1961-65
    Defense Campaign, 1965
    Counteroffensive I, 1965-66
    Counteroffensive II, 1966-67
    Counteroffensive III, 1967-68
    Tet Counteroffensive, 1968
    Counteroffensive IV, 1968
    Counteroffensive V, 1968
    Counteroffensive VI, 1968-69
    Tet 69 Counteroffensive, 1969
    Summer-Fall 1969 (guess when)
    Winter-Spring 1970
    Sanctuary Counteroffensive, 1970
    Counteroffensive VII, 1970-71
    Consolidation I, 1971
    Consolidation II, 1971-72
    Ceasefire, 1972-73

    Your suggestions for the Afghanistan ones are good. The Iraq ones should include National Collapse 2006 and March Madness 2008.

    One thing I don't understand is why they are all defined by time - they ought to be at least partly defined by region. Like, Anbar Campaign, Baghdad Belts Counteroffensive, etc. In WW2, they were things like "Treasury-Bougainville Operations" and "Consolidation of the Southern Philippines."

  2. My first thought as well, was the similarities to Vietnam.....hmmm....

    I also love the recommended naming convention, and the two add-on's by Tintin.

  3. "The Good War"? Says who? This coming from someone who rates a "Good War" and "Economy of Force" star and was in and out of the country, but not enough to get a star in the "General Indifference" aka "Who Cares" phase.

  4. Munson: I think its as opposed to "The Stupid War" wich was Iraq.

    From a Europe point of view, we could all just lump it into:
    "Operation Hold and Bleed" 2002-date to be determined

  5. Peter -- "The Good War"? Says who?

    I was referring here to the media's frequent invocation of that label for the Afghanistan war in contrast with Iraq, qq.v. here, here, and here.

  6. I was in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The active combat phase lasted 17 January to 28 February 1991. They initially awarded us the Southwest Asia Service Medal with two bronze service stars, one for Defense of Saudi Arabia and another for Liberation of Kuwait. More than a year later, when I was a civilian, they awarded me a third campaign star, designating sitting on my ass waiting to go home as Southwest Asia Cease-Fire.

    Given that all that's being awarded are unit campaign streamers and the ability to affix stars to a ribbon: Meh.


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