And You Are? How to Recognize and Remedy Unrecognized Frictions

Published by War on the Rocks


British military exercise, Salisbury Plain Training Area, England, 2016: Our convoy set off from its departure point in the dead of night. The six vehicles, carrying soldiers and air defense missile launchers, made their way slowly through wooded areas, across fields, and down rural tracks, looking to avoid detection by the enemy. Progress was slow. Vehicles got bogged down on more than one occasion, and we struggled to navigate using night vision equipment whilst trying to relate paper maps to the silhouettes of hills and trees. After several hours, we arrived at the battlegroup headquarters to which we were assigned. I headed into the building that had been requisitioned as the operations room. I approached the battle captain and introduced myself, but it quickly became apparent that we were not expected nor were we particularly welcome. There ensued an uphill battle for our capability to be understood, protected, and deployed appropriately in order to prevent the position being destroyed by enemy aircraft. Relationships had to be built, favors pulled, and compromises reached to make any progress....