Mark Hertling

Mark Hertling



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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