Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Army History in the making?

Seems that someone in The Army’s center for Military History is unhappy with the receipt of military reports, files and misc stuff that makes up an operational history of events for units in OIF/OEF.

In fact I remember being required to complete a unit historical report for my Battalion's actions in Iraq that took a couple of days to prepare and probably went into some dust bin somewhere – apparently the files did not make it to CMH . Wonder who has them….

Army historian says war records 'just not kept'
An Army historian today told a government declassification group that the Army is not enforcing its record-keeping policies and that it is not receiving adequate records from military units in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Records are just not kept," Dr. Richard Davis of the U.S. Army Center of Military History told the Public Interest Declassification Board at its third open meeting of the year. "As of October 2005, not one Army unit returned one record."
Davis said the units often "wipe" their hard drives when they return to the U.S. leaving little to no record of what occurred and making it difficult and sometimes impossible to write an operational history of events. He said the Army needs to stop relying on the units to provide the records and must instead go and pull records -- he said they have deployed records collectors to Iraq and Afghanistan to begin gathering records.

So it sounds like the problem isn't that the Army needs better record-keeping rules, it's that it needs to bother enforcing them. To give unit leaders carte blanche to simply erase entire histories of their tours without consequence or recourse -- as Davis suggested -- is mind boggling. How will Americans ever know what has occurred during this time of war? Is that the point? Somebody upstairs needs to take a look at this.

It sounds like a pretty lame solution “Somebody upstairs needs to take a look at this.” It will never be fixed with that dynamic offer… I’d suggest you let warfighters do their thing and some staff weenie for the center for Military history deploy forward to collect the pertinent materials they seek… get exactly what they need rather than rely upon hard working soldiers to support the CMH mission.

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