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Dale Brown’s Ops Report
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HAMMERHEADS: Responses to messages to

10 February 2005


First of all thanks for taking the time to read this email. I believe that one of the reason the Americans are failing in Iraq is because the most important aspect of warfare Has been forgotten PEOPLE. This can be viewed in three ways.

1.. In terms of technology the US military is the most advance force in the world. However the US military has fallen into the trap of believing that technology wins wars by itself. Technology is useless without people this can be seen in the fact that Humvees in Iraq lack amour to protect the troops. Lets assume that the Humvees have latest senses to find insurgents the technology is useless unless the vehicle is equipped with amour. The union of technology-people wins wars.

2.. Hearts and minds is the most important aspect of guerrilla warfare in effect you have to convince the local population that you have there best interests at heart. Despite the memories of Vietnam the hearts and minds battle can be won. I don’t want to compare Iraq directly to East Timor, Borneo and Malaysia however in all the campaigns the SAS and other forces interacted with the local population. In Iraq we see American forces behind walls of barbwire this alienates the local population and creates divisions. If the Americans were to “interact” with the local population (that means anything from repairing schools to just getting to know people) then the insurgents would lose the hearts and minds battle. You only have to win over the general population rather then defeat the insurgents in “conventional” battles.

3.. My Dad was a Digger in Vietnam yet with in a generation the principals of guerrilla warfare have been forgotten. Why aren’t the lessons past onto future generations? Why go thou the process of relearning lessons?

Thanks for your e-mail. Let me respond to some of the points you made in your excellent e-mail:

I don't believe America has failed in Iraq. As I said in my earlier newsletters, I don't think a democratically-elected government in Iraq will work because the Shiites refuse to fight back against the mostly Sunni Muslim insurgents, and that's why I think we should withdraw from Baghdad now and move into the Iraqi frontier.

I believe based on my research and talks with military and government officials that the American political objective in Iraq was to demonstrate to the world that, post-9/11, the United States will do anything and go anywhere to protect its national interests, including taking down an unfriendly regime. The secondary politico-military reason for the invasion was to position a large number of heavy forces in the midst of the Middle East to threaten other unfriendly regimes and demonstrate our commitment to maintaining American influence in the region.

Weapons of mass destruction and human rights may have been a tertiary reason, but I doubt it. Those excuses were brought forth simply for the mass media. In the Clinton era, I might have believed such reasoning, because Pres. Clinton thought of the military more as stabilizing and peacekeeping forces (MOOW, or "military operations other than war," was the buzzword in the '90s) rather than pure offensive forces.

The way to win a guerrilla war is NEVER TO ENGAGE in a guerrilla war. I believe the U.S. Army truly expected to roll into Baghdad and be greeted with throngs of children waving flowers and palm fronds, and when the statue of Saddam came down everyone thought it was going to be a cakewalk after that. When the insurgency arose, the Army simply didn't respond fast enough, because it didn't recognize it quickly enough, didn't believe it was sustainable, and didn't have the right mix of forces in-country to do anything about it.

Frankly I never expected the U.S. to race into Baghdad and park tanks in the streets. I expected "Gulf War II," more "shock and awe," with most of the fighting being done from the sky. At the very most, I expected us to take Baghdad Airport so we could launch helicopter gunship assaults in the center of Iraq. Instead, we drove right into the middle of the hornet's nest. As I've said many times in my newsletters, a foreign invading army can never "win the hearts and minds" of the people, no matter how noble and forthright their intentions, because they will always be a foreign invading army.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was right: you can up-armor vehicles all you want, but it still won't stop men and women from being killed or wounded in combat. Every soldier in the U.S. military is a volunteer. Unfortunately, a lot of them forgot that by accepting all the benefits of government service, they also pledged to put on a uniform, grab a gun, and go out and do as you're ordered, whether it be drive a fuel convoy across the "Highway Of Death" or drop bombs from a B-52.

I agree that SOME aspects of war revolves around people--you can't lead soldiers into battle without learning how to motivate, threaten, convince, or inspire your troops to fight, and you can't win the battle unless you understand why the enemy fights and what the enemy wishes to defend. But in the twenty-first century, a great deal of warfare has nothing to do with people and everything to do with technology.

True, guerrilla war is hard to fight with satellite-guided bombs and sixty-ton tanks, but the things that sustain and motivate a guerrilla force can be fought with technology. Guerrillas need two things to win: plentiful targets and lots of support. Utilizing a force that can't be struck by low-tech guerrillas takes away their targets, or forces them to make targets out of the local population. Striking the sources of their support--supply lines, training camps, headquarters, banks, communications networks, etc.--drives guerrilla forces deeper underground. It may not kill them, but it forces them to run, hide, regroup, and replan.

The Viet Cong were highly successful in Vietnam, but when we started bombing downtown Hanoi the war was over three months later. Why? The source of the guerrilla's support was cut off. The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina dragged on until we started bombing downtown Belgrade. The insurgencies in Fallujah and Najaf were successful until we started bombing cemeteries and mosques, and then quickly died down. Why? Because the insurgents had no safe havens any more.

The way to win a guerrilla war is to fight it on YOUR terms, not the enemy's, and with the U.S. military that means high-tech, high-speed, highly accurate firepower, reconnaissance, and intelligence-gathering. That was a lesson from Vietnam that we did indeed forget in Iraq. But you will never win a war as a foreign invading army by "winning hearts and minds." It can't be done. Folks will ALWAYS defend their homeland because it is their HOME, even against forces that pledge they are there to help.

If it's OK with you, I would like to post your e-mail and my response to you in my next website newsletter. No names, of course.

Thanks again for your e-mail! Cheers, Dale...

17 February 2005

thank you! you made my "sickday" much more enjoyable. i read "plan of attack" in one day!!! was looking for another one to read but i have read all the rest! (not that quickly though) please don't do a movie of anything you have already written (as the only book turned movie that i have liked has been "lord of the rings"),they are always missing what i would consider important parts and never seem to have the continuity right. if you must, please write something strictly for the screen, but either way, i would watch it! thanks again!

17 February 2004

Page 231 of Plan of Attack. Great Bear Lake is NOT in Alberta. It's in the Northwest Territories.

Yikes! I wasn't even close! Sorry about that!

18 February 2005

Hello Mr. Brown - this is a woman reader from Massachusetts. I just finished Shadows Of Steel. Just pretty good. Too much techy jargon, endless chit chat and not enough fighting action! Before I picked up the book, I was hesitant to read it because you throw in too much cursing and sex for my liking. Yeah well, maybe because I'm a woman (that's why I mentioned I was a W so you could moan 'oh no, another complainer.') Yeah, I suppose you have female fans that don't care but I'll throw in my three cents anyway. Hey, I realize your books are guy-books but how about a really clean novel? I remember "Silver Tower" as your best writing - lotsa action and no trash. Anyway, good day

Thanks for your e-mail. Unfortunately, I just don't believe in completely "clean" military narrative or dialogue--profanity sneaks in often because the stress, excitement, fear, and energy levels are always off the charts.

I make a conscious effort to cut back on the profanity, but I will probably never completely eliminate it. Hope it doesn't turn off too many readers, but I call 'em like I see 'em.

19 February 2005

After a 13-year navy career (ECMO in EA6B) and a 23-year civilian career in the Air Force (SAC & STRATCOM), I retired and took a part time contractor job with STRATCOM. One absolutely enjoyable sideline is that I now get to spend more time reading. I discovered your series about a year ago and have all your books and have thoroughly enjoyed them, even the competitive battles with the NAVY (I'm on both sides of the fence here). I'm just starting Plan of Attach now and have a couple of the Dreamland novels to go. You put "WAR" in everyday terms with the heroes sometimes dying, showing that happy endings don't always happen, but that's real life.

After reading Tin Man, I was thoroughly intrigued with the concept. But with all the Tin Man technology, why haven't you added an exoskeleton to the suit and given it to Zen to get him out of his wheel chair? Just a thought! Keep up the great work.

I've received this suggestion many times. For the time being, the "Dreamland" series and my other novels are two mostly separate universes, so Zen (an active-duty Air Force officer and test pilot confined to a wheelchair in the "Dreamland" series) probably won't get robotic legs anytime soon.

23 February 2005

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your books. I read flight of the old dog while I was in the Marine Corp. (not a pilot, RECON marine) in the early 90s. And just recently started to read your books agian. I am not much of a reader but I have to tell you these books are hard to put down and when I finish one I cain't waite to pick up a anouther one. You have a fan in me.

Thanks! Glad you're reading, and especially glad you're reading my stuff!

24 February 2005

What order should your books be read in? Should I follow the plot order on your website?

The order of my books on my Web site ( are actually in "reverse" plot order so I can have the more recent books (the ones you'll most likely find in bookstores) at the top.

If you start with "Flight of the Old Dog" and work your way up ("Hammerheads," "Sky Masters," etc.) you'll be on track.

"Silver Tower" has a plotline and cast of characters all unto itself, which is why it was listed first. It was actually the very first novel I wrote, but with the success of novels such as Tom Clancy's "The Hunt For Red October" and "Red Storm Rising" and Stephen Coonts' "Flight of the Intruder," "Old Dog" became the first one out of the blocks.

25 February 2005

I am currently a Senior in high school, and am an avid reader of your books. I have read every book you have written at least twice. I was dissapointed that the next book "Act Of War", would not be a Patrick McLanahan novel. Although I am sure I will love it. However I was curious if the one you are writing to be released in Spring 2006 by William Morrow Publishers will be a Patrick McLanahan novel. Or is it "Classified". That would give me something to look forward to my Freshmen year of college (besides Summer). Thanks for the great books. Keep it up.

And from another reader…

Dear Mr. Brown,

With the impending release of Act Of War and it's characters, does this mean that McLanahan and Company are now "retired"? I certainly hope not. I've grown quite attached to them since I first read Flight of the Old Dog way back in 1988.

The untitled eighteenth novel will be another Jason Richter novel, not a Patrick McLanahan one. But Patrick and his crew will be back soon--promise!

27 February 2005

Dear Dale,

First just let me say as a former BUFF Crew Chief that pulled many years on Alert at Fairchild AFB, I just love your books. I have loved reading the technical aspects of the bombers as they traverse the skies over a combat zone to reach the target. having flown with some great crews in the BUFF, I have loved every minute of thoughs days…. I read the Flight of the Old Dog shortly after it came out when I was on Alert. I heard the buzz from some of the crews on alert about the book and had to read it. then in 1991 the Megafortress game for the PC hit the market, and just loved flying the USSR mission. never completed the mission, got close, but got flamed for times than I can to say.

Anyways, I was wondering if there may be any change of an OLD DOG movie, or and of your books get the big screen time. I remember how disappointed we all were on Alert with the HBO release of BY Dawn's Early Light. The aircraft had more room than a KC-135. the crew could walk upright from the pilot's section the Defense position. Why should Clancy have all the movies, you have just as many hits in your books to make for a true dynasty of movies as well. Here's hoping that Brad Elliot and MUCK hit the Silver Screen soon.

AMEN! No word on movies or TV projects yet, but STAY TUNED to this Web site and I'll pass along any news as soon as I can! My Hollywood agent, Alan Nevins of The Firm Entertainment, is in charge of marketing visual media rights for me.

Have a great March! See you next month!

GBA, Dale…

Click here for more on Act Of War

Get Act Of War At Amazon.Com!

Act Of War (June 2005)

ACT OF WAR introduces a whole new hero and a new conflict to techno-thriller fans around the world.

A series of deadly terrorist attacks in the United States and South America--including a nuclear attack near Houston, Texas--has the entire world on red alert. The attacks appear to be targeting an American energy company, but the terror group that calls itself GAMMA seems to be more than the anti-globalization, pro-environmental activists it claims to be.

Enter U.S. Army Major Jason Richter and his partner, Dr. Ariadna Vega of the Army Research Lab's Infantry Transformational BattleLab. These two young engineers have designed and built a land combat system designed to replace an entire motorized infantry squad: CID, or Cybernetic Infantry Device, a piloted robot with the speed and firepower of a weaponized Humvee, the strength of a bulldozer, and the agility of a special ops commando.

The hard-charging National Security Adviser, Robert Chamberlain, pairs Richter and Vega up with an FBI intelligence expert, Special Agent Kelsey DeLaine, and a veteran special ops expert, Command Sergeant Major Ray Jefferson, to form Task Force TALON, the first joint military-FBI unit charged with hunting down and stopping terrorists anywhere in the world. With CID's speed, power, weaponry, and amazing capabilities, combined with the talents of the U.S. Army and the investigative skills of the world's greatest detective agency, TALON is designed to put terrorists on the run around the globe.

But putting conflicting and single-minded personalities like Richter and DeLaine together is like mixing oxygen and gasoline: do it right and it produces horsepower--do it wrong, and it creates an explosion. Even the National Security Adviser can't seem to control his team. Can Task Force TALON survive long enough to hunt down GAMMA and its secret puppetmaster, the shadowy Consortium, before the next deadly attack?

"The novels of Dale Brown brim with violent action, detailed descriptions of sophisticated weaponry and political intrigue... His ability to bring technical weaponry to life is amazing."
--San Francisco Chronicle

Contact Information:

Robert Gottlieb
Trident Media Group
(212) 262-4810

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