View Full Version : Request information, studies, and thoughts on PRC

02-27-2006, 07:00 AM
Edit: Well, I seem to have canked this one up. The intent was to move this short (4 post) thread from Feb into Bill's RFI thread on the same topic. However, I forgot that thread-merges always place posts into chronological order...

Lesson Learned: Next time I'll just hot-link the threads.

Apologies for the screw-up - Bill's RFI is now post 5 in this thread....


From the Spring 06 issue of Parameters:

Draining the Swamp: The British Strategy of Population Control (http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/06spring/markel.pdf)

...the evidence suggests that the main lesson to be drawn from the British practice of counterinsurgency is that physical control of the contested segment of the population is essential. Further, that control is greatly facilitated when the insurgency’s support is concentrated among a small and relatively unpopular minority of the population. When that condition obtains, as it did in Malaya and Kenya, a strategy of population control can succeed. When conditions are different, as they were in Vietnam, this strategy will fail. In Iraq today, the situation resembles that which obtained in Malaya and Kenya more than it resembles conditions in Vietnam. A strategy of population control could therefore be applied, provided it was modified to account for local circumstances and the evolution in international mores....

02-28-2006, 02:40 PM
I am not sure that I would characterize British COIN operations in Malaya or Kenya as using the minimum force necessary. I believe that they used forced detention - concentration, food deprivation programs, and aerial bombardments to break the Malayan and Mau Mau insurgencies. This does not seem congruent to minimum force necessary in my opinion.

I agree that we should all study Thompson and Kitson, but each insurgency has its own characteristics which require specific solutions, which may or may not have been used in the past. I believe that the Brits provide us with numerous examples of correct COIN campaign guidance that is more useful for planning than tactical application.

Mike in Hilo
03-24-2006, 02:21 AM
To resuscitate a dormant thread, if groundrules permit.........

Within the Middle East context, a question that may be worth asking is whether the Israelis tried a variant of this in S. Lebanon, and if they did, what were salient lessons learned. (I cannot recall their having tried anything of the sort in WB/Gaza, perhaps daunted by the burden over time that such an operation would entail.)

Re: the posted paper: Perhaps it's a function of my age (doctrine changes over time?)...I found surprising the author's reluctance in his advocacy of a methodology that, some years ago, was taught as virtually a COIN sine qua non. Concomitantly, Strategic Hamlets may have had more to offer than he suggests. Enemy documents bemoan the Party's losses resulting from the program's success in inhibiting contacts with the population. And anecdotally, US military officers who had been assigned as advisers in the Delta in 1963, with whom I served much later, expressed chagrin to me over the untimely curtailment, following Diem's death, of a program that they saw as effective despite notable failings in its implementation.

Population relocation/control were, of course, widespread beyond the British sphere, with local adaptations. "Regroupement" was critical to the largely successful French effort to destroy the FLN in rural Algeria; and likewise in Rios Montt's Guatemala. And in Vietnam, whereas one of the problems with Strategic Hamlets was that the program may not have lent itself readily to mass production, a later relocation did affect millions. In 1960, estimated percentage of the RVN population in urban areas was 15 percent. By 1970, this had increased to 40 percent. Reasons were mainly voluntary flight from bombing, ground warfare, or VC control; as well as forcible relocation by the Allies explicitly to deny the enemy access to the population. Millions of refugees were generated in the mid- to late '60s. Tellingly, the squalid refugee camps did not become fertile grounds for VC recruitment. And again, enemy documents decry the deliterious effect on the Party of the evaporation of its tax and recruitment base in many rural areas. This massive relocation may be shown to have supported the major Allied efforts resulting in the significantly improved security situation that was achieved in the countryside by 1970-71.

Other elements of a "standard" population control program were also in place in RVN, viz., ID cards and "family books," issued in villages as well as urban areas; and central gov't cadre tasked with special surveillance of VC relatives in the villages, and with ensuring the doubtful loyalty of village officials in tenuously secure areas. The mechanisms were there, question was extent to which the GVN would use (or not use) them.

Tom Odom
03-24-2006, 02:57 PM
In a way, yes the Israelis did practice population control through the creation of the SLA security zone; and no, it did not completely stop infiltration or local support to various factions. The IDF also did "informal" population control through intimidation; I have personnaly seen them fire Heavy MG and tank main gun rounds through villages to persuade the villagers to leave.

Ultimately the SLA leadership and troops paid a heavy price for signing their Faustian deal with the Israelis for the latter essentiall sold them out and left.

Major Strickland is absolutely corect about British methods not always being as "light handed" as most folks assume. But one needs to look a little farther back to the Boer War; that is where the term concentration camp was born.


Bill Moore
12-12-2006, 03:38 PM
Please post or send any information you have on population and resource control (PRC) measures. PRC is absolutely essential for the conduct of COIN, but I have found very little on it, perhaps an annex here and there emphasizing its importance, but I need how to information. Ideally, task, condition, and standard formats for training soldiers.

Additionally, as a BDE or BN level planner (perhaps higher), are there any MDMP products on PRC? Is PRC considered a mission within itself, or a line of operation supporting the overall mission? Is it a strategy, for example one strategy is the raiding strategy (commonly practiced in OIF), while another one is secure and control the population?

I understand that PRC is critical, but I having difficultly conceptualizing where it fits in the big picture and how to train soldiers on these critical tasks.

I would suggest that PRC is so critical to small wars that we might want a separate section for it, thoughts?

Thanks for you help in advance. Bill

Tom Odom
12-12-2006, 04:31 PM

I would say that it is a line of operation versus a specific mission set in most cases. The exception is always possible; 3ACR approach to Tal Afar with a berm and other areas gave high priority to PC; Fallujah 2 in encouraging "civilians" to leave was a reverse PC operation.



12-12-2006, 05:35 PM
Bill, a good place to start would be FM3-19.30 Physical Security. I have never understood why these practices were not implemented all over Iraq. This manual should be part of the new COIN manual in my opinion. In my humble opinion this is a war winning manual if it was done right, just my opinion.It would also tie into the Army training system somehow with tasks,conditions and standards. I am at work know so I will add more later. Can you PM me with an address, I have some stuff I can send you. Later.

12-12-2006, 06:16 PM





12-13-2006, 12:16 AM
Bill, here is old paper on this subject from 1972. Deals with disarming and people control . It appears the British were a little more aggressive in COIN ops then they admit to, read the death penalty section.


PS-SWJED - Dave, I know you like the old stuff, you may find this interesting.

Bill Moore
12-13-2006, 02:51 AM
Gents, I am book marking websites and downloading documents, please keep it coming. I'll try to respond intelligently this weekend. Bill

Tom Odom
12-13-2006, 01:14 PM
Bill, here is old paper on this subject from 1972. Deals with disarming and people control . It appears the British were a little more aggressive in COIN ops then they admit to, read the death penalty section.

Absolutely, the Brits coined the phrase "concentration camp" in the Boer War when they rounded up Boer families to cut the Boer commandos support network. What hurt them in doing so was basic medical and sanitation planning and the resultant epidemics inside those camps.



12-18-2006, 01:40 AM
Bill, here is another report that I posted awhile back, it was written by an army major. You might be able to contact him for current information.


12-22-2006, 04:10 PM
Bill, go to SWJ reference library, go to Urban Operations, and read the paper on "Urban Population Control In A Counterinsurgency" (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/documents/urbanpopulationcontrol.pdf) It starts with an historical back round and goes all the way to current Ops in Iraq. This is probably a must read document for somebody in your position. Bunch of good TTP's.
Now help me find a coach for The University of Alabama, we still ain't got one yet!!

Bill Moore
12-27-2006, 11:51 PM

If this link works, it will take you to the combat studies institute (may require AKO account), and the paper on the U.S. Army's Constabulary in Germany post WWII.

12-28-2006, 01:16 AM
Mobility, Vigilance, and Justice: The US Army Constabulary in Germany, 1946-1953 (http://cgsc.leavenworth.army.mil/carl/download/csipubs/gott_mobility.pdf)

If this link works, it will take you to the combat studies institute (may require AKO account), and the paper on the U.S. Army's Constabulary in Germany post WWII.
Good link, Bill. No AKO account required.

12-28-2006, 01:21 AM
Bill, I posted this paper a while back and then Tom Odom posted the link to the actual Trooper's handbook they used. Then Jed posted a follow up paper from a Rand study about using the US Marshal Service. If Tom or Jed read this maybe they can repost the links. If not I will look back at some of my old posts and see if I can find them, there was some good discussion about this concept as I remember. Later

Bill Moore
12-28-2006, 04:03 AM
I'll try doing a search, but if you have it handy please repost the paper on using Marshalls.

I suspect over time we're going to see repeated posts, and circular reporting. In a way that is a sign of success.


12-28-2006, 01:25 PM
Bill, here is the link. credit to Jedburgh as usual for finding good stuff!


It compares several options with The US Marshal's being the top option.
Yes, reposts are good especially when you get older like me and miss it the first time.