Lessons Learned from Custer's Last Stand for Developing Acquisition Scouts
LAWRENCE TECHNOLOGICAL UNIV SOUTHFIELD MI SOUTHFIELD United States
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Armies have been using scouts since their inception to be the eyes and ears for the commander, and to obtain, distribute and share vital combat and battlefield information on the enemy and on combat FM 3-20.98, 2009. Scouts have made the difference between winning and losing many battles, but have also made important differences in the acquisition environment, albeit, in a different information-gathering capacity. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer understood the need to gather information before his final battle at Little Bighorn where his forces were decimated by the combined forces of the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in the plains of Montana. Unfortunately, Custer had a history of discounting the information provided by his scouts if it conflicted with what he wanted to hear. The results in this case were disastrous for Custer and the 7th Calvary. Custer ignored the reports his scouts provided him, split his limited forces into four groups, and was annihilated by an overwhelming number of prepared enemy forces in just a few hours later that same afternoon, 25 June, 1876. Acquisition leaders also must gather information from many sources prior to making decisions. While they do not risk the death of their command, identifying the information to gather, how to gather and use it, and with whom to share it are critically important to effective acquisition and sustainment of equipment for the Army.
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