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Steve Blair
10-03-2005, 09:21 PM
One of the aspects of Small Wars that I find especially interesting are the way they tend to link back through history. For example, you had the Cuban revolutionaries in the early 1890s using the Western press to make their case for support in their fight against the Spanish - something that we see appear again later in the 1960s and of course today. While each war or conflict is clearly different in many ways from what came before, it's also important to be able to recognize those similarities that do exist and learn what we can about what did (or didn't) work.

Perhaps this is simply stating the obvious, but it's a way to get some discussion started.:)

DDilegge
10-03-2005, 09:55 PM
We talk a lot about Information Operations but seem to lag in executing the same successfully. Many believe that IO equates to influence and that in the case of Small Wars it is tactical in nature. Grand IO campaigns have a place, but only if they enable boots on the ground - those that come into daily contact with the local population. The USMC / JFCOM Joint Urban Warrior war game in 2004 called this "IO ON POINT".

That said, there are some now who call for an IO component command at the operational level. I remain skeptical until this is thought out fully and adequately experimented with prior to implementation.

One could argue we hold too many capabilities and responsibilities at too high a level and might be better off "pushing" them down to the tactical. In the case of urban operations tactical may be the "strategic corporal"...

Steve Blair
10-04-2005, 01:04 AM
As far as I'm concerned, it's the "boots on the ground" that end up making the most difference. There's also a pronounced tendency in American military thought on the whole to "drag" capabilities up in the chain of command instead of leaving them at lower levels where they would be most useful. One need only look at the changes in intelligence gathering and desimination to see the reality of this. All too often the "need to know" of higher command levels gets in the way of those who really NEED to know the information.

Bill Moore
10-04-2005, 03:11 PM
I join the growing crowd of skeptics concerning information operations. I think they tried to embrace too much, and should have restricted their focus to technical targeting and exploitation of enemy C4I systems and protecting ours. Psychological operations needs to be removed from the IO umbrella and further matured. While PSYOP has had some limited success in the past, real influence generally takes place between individuals on the ground (read soldiers, marines, etc.) talking to local decision makers or key speakers. The radio broadcasts, speaker teams, leafet drops have their purpose, but until we somehow grasp that we're all responsible for influence operations, then we'll continue to execute disjointed attempts of getting our message across.

Consider our PSYOP/influence objectives being briefed as part of every OPORD down to squad level. I'm not sure how to get there, but the intent is to convey to every soldier that your words and behavior are absolutely critical to winning this war, as critical as your fighting skills. In a perfect world (always a goal, never reality) every leafet, radio broadcast, tactical operation, every conversation, all personal behavior etc. should convey a consistent theme to our audience. Of course there is a training/education piece associated with this, and not just for the troops, but for the senior leaders to ensure that their statements are in synch with what is really happening on the ground, and that their stated goals are obtainable. We can't afford to lose our credability, because it is extremely tough to regain. Food for thought.

Merv Benson
10-04-2005, 07:31 PM
Combined arms operations have usually resulted in the quickest least costly victories because they cause the enemy several dilemmas at once, which tends to overwhelm them. For example strategic bombing is rarely deceisive. At best it is a set up for future attacks. However tactical air attacks combined with ground forces that include armor and infantry "fix" the enemy and are usually devastating. Psyops I think fall into the setup category, although there were some examples during the major combat operations phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom where psyops caused the enemy to make irrational attacks on tanks and other weapons systems that destroyed them.

Bill Moore
10-05-2005, 01:31 AM
Merv,

I don't disagree with your statement, but I think if we only use PSYOP as a line of operation to acheive limited tactical operations, then we're under utilizing a tool. Your example of using PSYOP will always remain a viable use, but staying course on Small Wars where political actions trump military actions, our PSYOP activities must effectively influence the target audience to support our political objectives. Obviously we're not going to convince a thinking man that it is in his interest to support U.S. economic or strategic interests, so we need to tailor our approach to find a win-win theme that convinces the target audience this is the direction they want to go. Then all our actions and words must support that theme if we want it to be credible. Perhaps using the term PSYOP is the wrong approach because it is already hamstrung by existing definitions and perceptions. I like term someone used earlier in this thread "Influence Operations". The objective for our GWOT wars are not geographical, but the space between the ears. Bill

Steve Blair
10-05-2005, 01:01 PM
It's also possible that Psyops as a whole have gotten an undeserved bad reputation due to some of the operations that have been conducted under that title.

Historically, the SW campaigns that have been successful have always included an innovative (or at least active) psyops component. The key is that this component was always integrated with the entire campaign. Looking at it in isolation tends to lead to some incorrect assumptions, IMO.

DDilegge
10-05-2005, 05:18 PM
We had several Army PSYOP teams attached to us (1st MARDIV) during Desert Storm. They were quite effective. That said, they were targeting conventional forces in open terrain with little to no noncombatants (excepting Kuwait City which just rolled over).

Things are different in the situation we now face in Iraq and I have to agree with those that advocate pushing influence capabilites down to the lowest tactical levels. Every level must understand the "influence plan" and be culturally savvy enough to ensure actions do not sink this plan. That said, there are times when the velvet glove must be pushed aside and a hammer used. In those cases the influence plan must be able to "explain" the why.

Moreover, the influence " plan" must be consistent and reinforced with ALL actions. There must also be a mechanism to respond to rumor (rampant in the areas we now operate in) and in doing rapid "damage control' when an event or action detracts from the mission / achieving our goals (endstate if defined).

Hansmeister
10-06-2005, 08:19 AM
Let me comment as a PSYOPer.

Overall, our PSYOP capabilities are quite limited for three reasons.

1. The training our PSYOPers receive is quite pathetic. It amounts to little more than an entry-level college marketing course, wholly inadequate for the mission.

2. Our focus is too tactical and towards WWII media. We still focus mainly on loudspeakers/leaflets/radio, while having only limited competence in modern media.

3. Legal constraints make it impossible to operate at a truly global scale and to influence independent media, which is what is necessary today to win IO.

Strickland
10-08-2005, 06:28 PM
While I agree that we have limited dedicated PsyOps assets, this does not mean that we have limited capabilities overall. PsyOps are about influence and assisting and enabling the commander to influence people. ANY competent infantry officer can develop effective influence programs as part of overall operations. These become extremely difficult when commanders are required to seek the approval of HHQ, both in and out of country, for the authorization to distribute fliers, play radio messages, etc.

zenpundit
10-09-2005, 10:27 PM
Re: Cuban revolutionaries in 1890's

To go back to the original premise, there's another factor to consider in such revolutionary situations - the gap between the local elite who are connected and adept at influencing the outside world in enlisting ( or resisting) American intervention and the general populace. The latter may not speak English, be familiar with mordern media, be literate or have experienced much beyond the horizon of their own village, yet their attitude may be determinative to the outcome of any American mission.

In the case of Cuba, the light skinned, well-educated economic elite in contact with Pulitzer and Hearst reporters who struggling against Spanish rule had different objectives from the mostly black Cuban agricultural laborers in revolt in the interior. Guess which group gave the USMC the most problems after the Spanish-American War and which one misled American authorities in the first place as to the nature of peasant grievances ?

We have to be very careful not to be snookered by the friendly, smiling locals who speak excellent English. They have invaluable local knowedge but usually came by that information by running the system prior to our arrival and they intend to run things again after we leave. We need to be plugged in to the non-elite as well simply to keep our own frame of reference in reality rather than in some fantasy zone our " friends" wish us to be.

Steve Blair
10-10-2005, 12:47 AM
This is where the cultural intelligence aspect comes in. There needs to be a more unified recognition of the value of this kind of intelligence. Right now I'm not sure if that exists.

DDilegge
10-10-2005, 04:03 PM
... we find ourselves in. I am a big fan of cultural intel - General Zinni sold me on this, but how much can we absorb? What do we give up in exchange, combat and SASO training?

With global deployments and sub-cultures in each AO we operate in - what is the breaking point? Moreover, there are those who subscribe to the school of thought that no matter how much cultural awareness training we receive we will always be subject to trying to mirror-image cultural nuances to fit with the cultural values we are ingrained with.

Don't get me wrong - we need a certain level of cultural awareness and training but I think we need cultural advisors attached from the culture we are operating in - and trusted agents.

That is what I think was the most important aspect of the CAP in Vietnam.

Steve Blair
10-10-2005, 04:17 PM
This could be seen also as a blending of local trusted agents/liaison types and U.S. area specialists. I agree that you always need to involve the locals, and work with them as closely as possible, but Vietnam also showed (as did other LIC operations) that you need an outside specialist viewpoint as well. For example, the Vietnamese would at times only tell their US counterparts what they thought the US officers wanted to hear. Without an 'organic' area specialist (who granted may have some of the mirror-image issues you mentioned but is still valuable), new arrivals may not be aware of this habit.

This also leads into the practice of short deployment tours. While this does have its pros, there is also a downside to it. Compare, for example, the Vietnam CAP/CAC program and the efforts in Haiti and elsewhere during the 1920s (or the Philippenes before that). Troops are often not in an area long enough to begin to understand the culture they're operating in. This makes them more susceptable to manipulatin by local interests, a sense of disengagement, and other problems. Having area specialists as a part of the chain of command (each command staff level, perhaps) would help to offset this to some degree, but longer tours might be a better long-term answer (or a combination of both). This might hamper ticket-punching activities (a reference to Vietnam, not any current situation), and would I think make for stronger, more adapted teams on the ground.

DDilegge
10-10-2005, 04:34 PM
FAOs (and they do not have to be officers) would be a great asset down to the lowest tactical level. Too bad FAOs have historically not done well in the promotion arena - I believe that is true in most services and hopefully that has changed or is now changing.

Still, we need to be integrated with the locals - and CAP did that. No FAO can come close to the cultural nuances and "rhythm of the streets" as a local trusted agent - in the case I present - military and civil service locals integrated with US / coalition military and interagency personnel.

One thing you brought up and is very, very valid is the length of tours - we do learn by living in a culture - learn many valuable lessons that only come after time "in country". That said, how to you tell a hard-charging Cpl, Sgt or Lt that his tour is extended because he is too valuable to be sent back home. We have Marines and Soldiers on their 3rd tour in Iraq - there has to be a trade-off somewhere.

Steve Blair
10-10-2005, 04:41 PM
The key with tours may be to extend the basic tour by a set amount of time...say two years instead of one (and that's just a discussion example, by the way). Another way to look at things is to rotate units and not individuals. Vietnam should have shown us the folly of the individual rotation system. Units would come in for X amount of time and then be replaced by a unit that has had Y amount of lead-in training. Complex, to be sure, but it may provide a better way to manage things. This is being done already in varying degrees, I believe.

I agree that one of CAP's greatest strengths was the integration with the population. I also tend to view the ideal solution as a combination: a CAP-type effort with an attached FAO-type (officer or enlisted; either way an area specialist) to provide counsel as needed.

DDilegge
10-10-2005, 04:54 PM
Have to run some errands - but your comment on individual replacements vs unit rotation is spot on. Then LTC Hal Moore saw that early on in Vietnam... We Were Soldiers Once...and Young (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060082569/smallwarsjour-20/102-3333615-9790519?creative=327641&camp=14573&link_code=as1).

Steve Blair
10-10-2005, 05:29 PM
This was also noticed in the early advisory effort (pre-1965), but little was really done. That and the six month field command tour did great harm to unit stability. Hopefully we've learned since then.

Martin
10-10-2005, 06:54 PM
Personally, I'd find an SF opinion on this very interesting, considering their missions and history with the subject.

Martin

Jedburgh
10-10-2005, 09:43 PM
I agree that one of CAP's greatest strengths was the integration with the population. I also tend to view the ideal solution as a combination: a CAP-type effort with an attached FAO-type (officer or enlisted; either way an area specialist) to provide counsel as needed.
I'm surprised no one has brought up the Army SF Civilian Irregular Defense Group program in this context. Like the Marine CAP, the SF Team on CIDG duty was integrated with the locals, but they also had a small slice of Intel, CA and PSYOP support in a structure that almost brings to mind the intended structure of the PRTs in Afghanistan. (I say "intended" because, too often, they don't have full manning or key personnel do not possess the regional expertise and/or language ability required) The linchpin with the CIDG program was cultural understanding and the ability to communicate in the local language. Although you certainly can't paste the concept on top of current ops, there are many valuable lessons to be learned from the program.

The Vietnam Studies texts are available on-line at the Center for Military History, this one talks a bit about the CIDG program: US Army Special Forces 1961 - 1971 (http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/BOOKS/Vietnam/90-23/90-23C.htm)

The Virtual Vietnam Archive (http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/index.htm) at Texas Tech University is a tremendous resource for pulling up a number of primary documents on the topic at hand.

Steve Blair
10-11-2005, 12:20 AM
The problem with CIDG is that the main line army began using the CIDG strikers as deployable light infantry instead of leaving them in their home regions where they could secure their own villages. Shelby Stanton talks about this in his "Green Berets at War," as do other personal memiors. CIDG if memory serves originally started as a CIA/SF project and reverted to main Army control during Operation Switchback. There were also issues because CIDG was aimed mainly at the Montegnard population, who had little love for the Vietnamese due to years of poor treatment.

It was a good program that was later misused, much to the detriment of pacification operations.

Strickland
10-11-2005, 12:43 AM
Can someone define this term for me? Does cultural intelligence equal processed data and information on language, religion, and social networks?

NDD
10-11-2005, 02:57 AM
Merv,

I don't disagree with your statement, but I think if we only use PSYOP as a line of operation to acheive limited tactical operations, then we're under utilizing a tool. Your example of using PSYOP will always remain a viable use, but staying course on Small Wars where political actions trump military actions, our PSYOP activities must effectively influence the target audience to support our political objectives. Obviously we're not going to convince a thinking man that it is in his interest to support U.S. economic or strategic interests, so we need to tailor our approach to find a win-win theme that convinces the target audience this is the direction they want to go. Then all our actions and words must support that theme if we want it to be credible. Perhaps using the term PSYOP is the wrong approach because it is already hamstrung by existing definitions and perceptions. I like term someone used earlier in this thread "Influence Operations". The objective for our GWOT wars are not geographical, but the space between the ears. Bill


Excellent post. We are of one mind.

NDD
10-11-2005, 03:23 AM
There is a program ongoing in Colombia somewhat similar to CIDG - it is called Soldado Campesino or Peasant Soldier (peasant doesn't hold a negative connotation in this context). The soldiers are locally recruited, given basic training and operate in their native areas. They are led by professional officers and NCOs. When it first started, I thought it would be a disaster, but I was wrong. As for how effective they will be, that remains to be seen. It is difficult to measure the contribution of specific programs, as the admin has done a good job of integrating them seamlessly (or as closely as possible.)

I am a huge proponent of these types of programs, however it requires a different mindset and not every soldier will be able to function in this type of environment. And it is risky - against a dedicated enemy, you will likely lose a couple.

A-Teams tend to do this very well, if they are mature Teams. It is basically what an A-Team was deisgned to do. Unfortunately, it takes a decade to develop a Team to this level. Not collectively, but individually. Most young guys want to kick doors and that is as it should be.

As for cultural intelligence - it is one thing to be told or even know. It is quite another to apply. It would be nearly impossible to area orient the force structure - and that is what it takes. We spend years and millions doing it in SF, and the results still vary. I am also not sure it is even possible in the case of the ME. The differences are much greater than in LATAM and other places. The really successful operator will have an affinity for the AO. He will learn and adapt because he likes it, not just because it is his job. In SF, it is quite common to marry inot the culture, speak the language and pick up the mannerisms. One sort of morphs - not really from the target country but not the same old person either.

My thinking is, if we can do it, we need to develop FID units. Hand-over units, whatever you want to call them. Trainers capable of leading indig against low level insurgent problems, but primarily focused on rapport, nation-building, local government etc. More mature individuals, well grounded in such things as local government administration, civic action, psyops, etc. And they need to have organic language capabilities - at least until they can trust their trusted agents.

The SF FID or USMC CAP programs are good models, but they don't have the scope we need now. It is not a task for the infantry battalion.

zenpundit
10-11-2005, 04:12 AM
Can someone define this term for me? Does cultural intelligence equal processed data and information on language, religion, and social networks?

Excellent question. I think there are multiple definitions.

CI can refer to specific intelligence products prepared by analysts to give new field people or other intel consumers a crash course.

A classic example would be the WWII _Chrysanthemum and the Sword_ by Ruth Benedict. Another example from that era, though to a much lesser extent would by the OSS psychological profiles of Hitler and other Nazi leaders. Even though Freudianism was a dominant perspective the analysts did draw on cultural information to explain Hitler's worldview. The OSS profile is available online BTW.

CI can also, in sort of a Howard Gardner multiple intelligences way, refer to a competency in mastering the nuances of foreign cultures and interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds. a certain intuitive sensitivity of perception is probably in play. Think Rudyard Kipling's _Kim_ as a literary example.

Intense language mastery programs - like DLI - are often followed by immersion in order to pick up cultural nuances - inflection, gesture, body language -that would normally accompany colloquial speech. The student would really have to be alert and ideally the natives around him/her unaware they were objects of study. Can everyone do this well ? Probably not.

The military and the IC have CI programs - how good they are is best left for area specialists to assess.

Jedburgh
10-11-2005, 04:48 AM
Intense language mastery programs - like DLI - are often followed by immersion in order to pick up cultural nuances...
Unfortunately, immersion is not an automatic follow-on to language training at DLI. Most FAOs will end up in a country speaking their target language. But many other soldiers graduate and then do not use their language again until its time to take their next DLPT. For a long time, outside of the SOF community, most conventional units did not have regular deployments into locations where their assigned language-capable personnel could have a chance to operate. Korean linguists used to be an obvious exception, with the regular tours in-country keeping them solid. Also pre-9/11 most units had programs in place where they would send their linguists TDY for in-country immersion programs of varying length and quality. The current optempo has really cut into that, but it still goes on. For those learning Arabic at least, now damn near everyone who completes the course can expect a tour in Iraq. But the Arabic program is MSA, not Iraqi dialect, so the soldier has another learning curve to drive through when he arrives in-country.

...inflection, gesture, body language -that would normally accompany colloquial speech. The student would really have to be alert and ideally the natives around him/her unaware they were objects of study. Can everyone do this well ? Probably not.
So true. HUMINTers especially need to develop that type of kinesic and cognitive awareness. Unfortunately, the schoolhouse barely mentions that at any phase of training. And even among those who are formally trained in that type of neuro-linguistic situational awareness, not all can apply it in practice.

Strickland
10-11-2005, 11:40 AM
Are you implying that we need additional troops, or is this a task that is going to fall on existing units? If the Army has had to expand its recruting efforts to include 37 year olds, and bribe young men with $10K plus to join,and still cant find enough to join, who do we think is going to do this other than infantry battalions that are already over-tasked?

NDD
10-12-2005, 12:01 AM
I think part of it can be done with reorganization. And I think developing this capability would attract candidates from a pool we don't always access. The "On the verge of Peace Corps but looking for more of a challenge" maybe. I also see a large role for the reserves - I think they would do this better than perhaps the hard infantry role. Unfortunately, it would require long tours. Rapport isn't developed over night.

I obviously don't have all the answers or even all the questions. But I do know it is very difficult to win hearts & minds from the closed hatch of a tank. And I know that every mission doesn't require an infantry battalion. I think it is unjust to task young infantry soldiers with this mission, especially given that they aren't trained for it.

It could probably be done for the price of the next aircraft carrier or AF developmental aircraft.

Steve Blair
10-12-2005, 01:01 PM
For the price of a B-2 I'm sure you could at least spin up part of a program...;)

But I think the real question we should be asking ourselves isn't "can we afford it?", but rather "can we afford NOT to do it?" Small wars/4GW/insert your favorite LIC-type term here are not going to go away. Unit stability, cultural awareness, and the ability to provide precise firepower when needed are all vital factors.

Strickland
10-12-2005, 01:42 PM
I would agree that most tasks cannot be accomplished from the closed hatch of a tank or IFV; however the Army thinks differently. Speaking as a Marine who has daily contact with Army Officers, they too are embarrassed at the Army's continued philosophy of "death before dismount," however, no one seems to want to do anything about it. Thus, I have to conclude that they think that this is a good idea.

I believe that hand over units already exist in the Marine Corps, and that they are called Infantry Battalions. Many battalions have utilized an officer such as the Weapons Company XO to lead a combination of weapons company and weapons platoon Marines in this task. These Marines are regularly tasked with presenting periods of instruction to other Marines on complicated weapons systems, thus are comfortable in the role of mentor and instructor.

What we cannot continue to do is throw together ad hoc units of personnel from the IRR, SMCR, and NG, give them 30 days of training, and then send them off to do God's work. If you send in the B team, you get B results.

While the "just beyond the Peace Corps crowd" may not be appropriate, the idea is sound. The French Gendermarie (sp?) units are excellent at this type of work.

Martin
10-12-2005, 01:50 PM
How about standing up something similar to a foreign legion?

Require service for naturalization (i.e. to acquire citizenship), allow non Legal Permanent Residents to serve? If they serve in this force, they could receive LPR status and either live with that or join the regular Armed Forces. Those who are anything other than honorably discharged are barred from future entry into the USA.

That way you might also be able to aid with the cultural adaption process, in both directions.

Martin

zenpundit
10-12-2005, 03:10 PM
Around the time when some in Congress were raising the specter of the draft, I wrote an article for HNN that suggested among a number of other possibilities, a " foreign legion" recruitment option. My focus at the time was having the U.S. pick up highly trained SOF vets from NATO and other allied armies with various inducements to expand our SOCOM forces rapidly without diluting quality nearly so much.

If CI is the primary goal, the inducements could be more modest. The Indian and Israeli Armies alone could provide us with far greater linguistic resources. So for that matter, could the French with their operational experience in the Mahgreb

NDD
10-12-2005, 08:10 PM
I would agree that most tasks cannot be accomplished from the closed hatch of a tank or IFV; however the Army thinks differently. Speaking as a Marine who has daily contact with Army Officers, they too are embarrassed at the Army's continued philosophy of "death before dismount," however, no one seems to want to do anything about it. Thus, I have to conclude that they think that this is a good idea.

I believe that hand over units already exist in the Marine Corps, and that they are called Infantry Battalions. Many battalions have utilized an officer such as the Weapons Company XO to lead a combination of weapons company and weapons platoon Marines in this task. These Marines are regularly tasked with presenting periods of instruction to other Marines on complicated weapons systems, thus are comfortable in the role of mentor and instructor.

What we cannot continue to do is throw together ad hoc units of personnel from the IRR, SMCR, and NG, give them 30 days of training, and then send them off to do God's work. If you send in the B team, you get B results.

While the "just beyond the Peace Corps crowd" may not be appropriate, the idea is sound. The French Gendermarie (sp?) units are excellent at this type of work.


I agree. Are the Marines assigned these tasks getting sufficient training?

I tend to favor the reserve solution because you get a wider skill set from the civilian side. There are no doubt small town mayors and city councilmen serving. It does however, bring its own set of issues to deal with.

I am not in favor of a foreign legion-type setup for this (I may be missing the point with it) for one very basic reason - we are trying to influence the target audience to come more into line with US founding values. I don't think we will get that letting a 3rd party speak on our behalf.

Very interesting discussion, thanks for taking the time all.

Steve Blair
10-12-2005, 08:39 PM
I don't think anyone's talking about ad hoc units (at least I know I'm not), but more a systematic approach to something that may have been fobbed off on infantry battalions. That isn't fair to them, and it's also not fair to the mission itself (which is growing in importance and has always been more important than the heavy unit army may want to recognize).

NDD
10-12-2005, 09:55 PM
I don't think anyone's talking about ad hoc units (at least I know I'm not), but more a systematic approach to something that may have been fobbed off on infantry battalions. That isn't fair to them, and it's also not fair to the mission itself (which is growing in importance and has always been more important than the heavy unit army may want to recognize).
Exactly. Ad hoc is part of the problem now. I am advocating dedicated units with the same level of training as the Strike/Hold units.

Martin
10-13-2005, 12:15 PM
I am not in favor of a foreign legion-type setup for this (I may be missing the point with it) for one very basic reason - we are trying to influence the target audience to come more into line with US founding values. I don't think we will get that letting a 3rd party speak on our behalf.
NDD, I was thinking that they could work in a joint fashion and would adapt to the US manners at the same time, blending. Also, I think that since they are seeking service to become accepted in the USA, they might tend to be receptive to the ideas and American ways, while offering a little different approach to the indigenous people. I respect your experience more than my theories, however.

Martin

Steve Blair
10-13-2005, 03:07 PM
There are already some foreign nationals in the US military working towards citizenship.

But to go back to the foreign legion concept, these forces have a tendency to be viewed historically as both expeditionary and imperial police forces. There's also the perception that such legions are mercenary formations and could thus be used in ways that might not be considered acceptable for 'home grown' troops.

Just some things to consider.

Hansmeister
10-13-2005, 11:25 PM
I would agree that most tasks cannot be accomplished from the closed hatch of a tank or IFV; however the Army thinks differently. Speaking as a Marine who has daily contact with Army Officers, they too are embarrassed at the Army's continued philosophy of "death before dismount," however, no one seems to want to do anything about it. Thus, I have to conclude that they think that this is a good idea.

I believe that hand over units already exist in the Marine Corps, and that they are called Infantry Battalions. Many battalions have utilized an officer such as the Weapons Company XO to lead a combination of weapons company and weapons platoon Marines in this task. These Marines are regularly tasked with presenting periods of instruction to other Marines on complicated weapons systems, thus are comfortable in the role of mentor and instructor.

What we cannot continue to do is throw together ad hoc units of personnel from the IRR, SMCR, and NG, give them 30 days of training, and then send them off to do God's work. If you send in the B team, you get B results.

While the "just beyond the Peace Corps crowd" may not be appropriate, the idea is sound. The French Gendermarie (sp?) units are excellent at this type of work.

Well, it looks like the Pentagon is already doing something in that direction as far as creating an active duty emergency relief force which I mention on my blog (http://hansmeister.blogspot.com/2005/10/active-duty-military-relief-force.html).

I've also written about our experience in Iraq and suggestions for reorganizing here (http://hansmeister.blogspot.com/2005/10/building-iraqi-security-forces-by.html).

Comments are appreciated. :)

Hansmeister
10-13-2005, 11:35 PM
Around the time when some in Congress were raising the specter of the draft, I wrote an article for HNN that suggested among a number of other possibilities, a " foreign legion" recruitment option. My focus at the time was having the U.S. pick up highly trained SOF vets from NATO and other allied armies with various inducements to expand our SOCOM forces rapidly without diluting quality nearly so much.

If CI is the primary goal, the inducements could be more modest. The Indian and Israeli Armies alone could provide us with far greater linguistic resources. So for that matter, could the French with their operational experience in the Mahgreb

I was thinking that we should create our own Ghurka Regiments. These troops would be solely trained as peacekeepers and stationed only abroad. We would use them for long-term stabilization and would operate with a much smaller logistical tail and personnel cost. The could be stationed for long periods of time under more spartan conditions than we would be willing to subject our troops to, and casualties would not have the same political impact as US casualties would have.

The last time the Brits were recruiting for a few hundred slots over 20,000 Ghurkas volunteered, so there is a great pool of willing volunteers. The Ghurkas also have a reputation as disciplined and fierce warriors.

Potential hotspots for those Ghurkas for long-term deployment beyond the obvious Afghanistan and Iraq would be Kosovo, Bosnia, Djibouti, Liberia, and Haiti. Countires that we either have long-term committments to, or had to repeatedly intervene in the recent past, only for the situation to collapse once we left.

zenpundit
10-14-2005, 03:50 AM
Currently total 30,000 from 100 countries.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/04/17/fewer_foreign_nationals_enlisting_in_us_military_s ervices/

Like the Ghurka idea - though Nepal currently needs them a lot more than we do.

Bill Moore
10-17-2005, 11:40 PM
While I agree a number of interesting ideas have been surfaced regarding the formation of peace enforcement type units, I'll argue they're not good ideas for the following reasons:

1. Our military is already time stressed as it is to simply meet our combat training needs which always must be a first priority. Not only is it a moral imperative, can you can imagine the political fall out if any of our units come up on the short end of an engagement with the enemy?

2. We're struggling to meet our manning requirements for the combat forces, so exactly where is this Army of SOSO/Peace Enforcement experts going to come from? While we may be able to form one BDE of these specialists, whatever the speciality is exactly, we won't be able to deploy them indefinitely, so who backfills them?

While the death before dismount mentality is alive and well in a few Army units, I would argue that many Army units have adapted (learned) to the current situation quite well, so I don't see a requirement for speciality SOSO units that we can't sustain. I do see a need for the new ideas to spread and for the dinasours to step aside, but that doesn't mean throwing the baby out with the bath water.

What we do need is better leader and soldier education/training preparing them to handle the current and anticipated operating environments. We definitely need better joint and interagency doctrine that is "enforced". There is a bigger onus on the Dept of State (and other agencies/departments/bureaus, etc.) to transform, than the military. The Dept of State is a non-functional bureacracy that is undermanned and underfunded, yet they have perhaps the most critical role in GWOT. And we need to figure out exactly where the contractor fits in on the battlefield/operating space. We have several Young Turks coming up through the ranks with some great ideas, so I hope they don't get disillusioned by the bureaucracy and traditionalists residing at the mid level Army management.

NDD
10-18-2005, 12:00 AM
Would we still need the same force structure if we didn't have combat troops tied down in peace-keeping/handover duties?

Yes, these troops would have to be combat trained. If I were king, I would look to the older, more experienced troops already in the system, reserves, NG, and new recruiting specifically for these units.

With reference to the current "additional duty" assignment theory in place, is this not the reverse of your concerns regarding time stress etc.? What is the difference between being time stressed to combat train handover units and being time stressed to teach handover to combat units?

As for how well we are doing, I would offer that the "death before dismount" mentality is more pervasive than a few units. It has been a while since I was in, but the green army wasn't good at in at all in my day. i'm sure improvements have been made since I left - out of sheer necessity if nothing else.

Like I said before, I don't have all the answers. But my experience tells me that there is more to winning small wars than kicking doors and setting up roadblocks with tanks.

In my experience, most young soldiers join the military for one reason - excitement. Nation building isn't exciting and requires a different mindset than running and gunning. That mindset comes with maturity and experience. And older soldiers often look for a place with a slightly slower pace. The SF A-Teams are now being manned by 18Xs - very, very young. While they are more than capable of kicking doors, will they have the maturity and patience to replace the doors and do everything possible to ensure those doors remain open to the United States?

Bill Moore
10-19-2005, 12:53 AM
NND,

I'm confident I'm contradicting myself, thus the value of the discussion board to throw our ideas out to the murder board and see what we're left with. I'll agree with you, and if we lived in a perfect world where we didn't have human resource constraints I would be all for standing up a stability force composed of specialists.

Should it be composed of older soldiers, or better educated soldiers, or both? The numbers we're talking about for manning these speciality units are signficant, so after we rob the Army of these senior leaders, who is now leading the fighters? I don't think there is a clear demarcation where we cross from door kicking to stability operations, the reality is they're done simultaneously, and the primary effort can flow back and forth. I would add that whoever owns the ground, owns the mission, whatever that mission entails. I can't see how it would work any other way. I knew conventional officers in Iraq that sincerely believed that once the Iraqi Army conventional units capitulated that their job was done. They quickly learned that there were no replacement units to conduct stability operations, and that they had to figure it out. Some did very well, others had some significant challenges. Furthermore, with all the troops we have in Iraq now, we still don't have enough to cover the entire country. I would ask you to do some rough math, and calculate the numbers required to man (and train and support) this speciality stability force. At a minimum they should be able to cover down on Iraq and Afghanistan for the next four years, then have enough left over to support another contingency. I hate sounding like a bureaucratic nay sayer, but I don't see this option as workable, at least not in the next few years.

What might work is providing stability planners down to each BDE as force multipliers? This is more than PSYOP, Civil Affairs, etc., these are planners that understand the full spectrum and can help keep the boss on track. Does SAMS at Levanworth produce these planners already? Maybe, but there is room for improvement. The bottom line for the troops is there will be a lot of hip pocket training as the situation evolves and the missions change. This means we need smart soldiers that are capable of assessing and adapting to the environment, thus the danger of the Army recruiting more CAT 4's to man the force.

Somewhat off the subject, I would like to respond to your comments about the 18X program (for those of you not familiar with it, it is the relatively new program where we recruit soldiers off the street to join Special Forces; actually it isn't new, we had this program in place a couple of other times in our history). We were all leary about it initially, but the reality is we're getting some incredability smart kids and adults who wouldn't have joined the service if they couldn't go directly into SF. We're getting several soldiers with advanced degrees, Wall Street Brokers, and at least one PHd. This reminds me of the OSS initial manning under Wild Bill (a successful businessman, thus a proven achiever and thinker). They will be an asset to the force, and again they're only a percentage, so the old salts will still be there to mentor them along. I'm also not convinced there is necessarily a correlation between experience and effectiveness downrange. I think the correlation of whether a soldier is effective is based more on his character and intelligence, than his experience. If he has the right traits, then experience will make him better, but we all know there are several senior NCOs and officers that are stuck in ineffective operational ruts. Some of the younger guys bring some interesting perceptions to the force that can be very effective downrange. I guess we just need to provide further clarification beyond experience.

Ironhorse
10-19-2005, 01:33 AM
As I grew more aware of the T/O of the Army, I became increasingly surprised at just how few infantry there are in the Army infantry. Current situation is almost the "most dangerous" COA for the folks that came up with that org. USMC is prepared to flood the streets w/ 900+ riflemen (every Marine is one) per infantry Bn (BLT / BCT, almost all hands go out), while Army doesn't approach those numbers per unit.

Don' want to turn this in to inter-service bashing. Strong belief that the Army is playing the hand they were dealt like the warriors they are. Also concur with the "feasibility" concerns for the SASO-specialist units. But really, what is the Army doing to do about their "infantry?" Current course and speed assuming that the next war won't be the same, or is there a fundamental questioning of assumptions that goes along with the refreshing revelations / admissions that we may enter the occasional urban area rather than bypass?

I asked this question to CSA 18 months ago in a public forum. Got a slick deflect. "Aware of" and "looking at it" and "doing the best with the T/O that we LD'd with." Agree with the latter. What's really going on with the former two?

Bill Moore
10-20-2005, 08:36 PM
Your points on the Army are well taken, but I am a fan of the new direction our Chief is leading the Army in. Based on the points you mentioned above, and several other lessons learned since 9/11, we're undergoing a substantial transformation in the way we train the force. Having recently received a brief on Basic Training, those kids are receiving relevant combat scenario focused training, that is much more focused on weapons handling and field training than it was in the past. This directive is also impacting our leadership training at all levels from junior NCO academies to Officer's advance courses. We're a learning organization, albeit we're slow learners as an organization. You have every right to ask why did it take so long to implement such obvious common sense measures, but overcoming years of stagnant culture and our history is a challenge to say the least. I don't think our non-combat arms guys will be riflemen in the true meaning of the word, but they should be able to handle themselves and at least provide convoy and static security, so when you say I providing you with XX number Soldiers, then you be able to count on them being well trained in the basics.

entropico
10-21-2005, 07:51 PM
I think I understand all of the previous gentlemens points. I would say that the Army is adapting in a very real way to the changing battlefield. Scenarios no longer include simply "snatch and grab" HVT or hostage problems, but units are beginning to include working the local populace to find actionable intelligence. While Battle drills and basic soldier tasks are still most of what we do, as we move to collective training we are beginning to take more time to train company grade leaders more and more on conditional maneuver and intelligence gathering during operations. I am a very new captain in the Infantry and I am amazed at the difference in training between before I first went to Iraq and now, as my unit prepares for a second tour.

I don't think I understand what is meant by the "death before dismount" mentality that is referred to. We use our vehicles to get as close to the fight as possible and then dismount for manuever. At least in my Brigade, we still understand that our best weapon is the infantry squad/platoon on the ground. I will admit that as I deployed to Iraq I never suspected that I would be the coalition representative to city council meetings and working the military intelligence side as much as I did, but I feel like my peers and I adapted well. Special Operations is a great asset but they will never be in great enough numbers to create a huge difference in the theater you just can't train enough of them. It has to be won with the squad leader and platoon leader on the ground, and that is what the focus should be. The best way to do this is complicated scenario based training at the battalion and company levels forcing young leaders to shift from a hot objective to a cold on and back to hot.

Also, as far as specialty SASO/SOSO units I think that is dangerous territory for an army to be in. It needs to be a secondary mission of all units to expliot the victory no matter how long it takes. SASO seems to be a leader intensive task and most Army leaders I have served with are more than up to it as long as good guidance is given to us. If we are failing to do anything, it is the dissemination of political goals to the small unit leader. The time is gone where we can rely on Brigade and battalion commanders to handle political aspects of an operation. I would say that while most Infantry Squad leaders and Platoon Leaders wouldn't like it, they would understand the political mission and curb their actions in accordance with it.

I really enjoyed reading all of your comments.

Strickland
10-22-2005, 04:12 PM
After sitting in briefings over the past several days on this subject, and how it relates to our ability to prosecute counterinsurgency campaigns, I would respectfully disagree. One need only review the latest Army field manual concerning how it is to mitigate and eliminate IEDs to see much of the same old same old. It suggests creating MECH and Armor heavy units structured around engineers that will go out and conduct counter-IED missions.

With 15 brigades currently deployed to Iraq, 7 of which are Army National Guard, one is forced to ask, where are all the rest of the soldiers. Obviously, the Army has done its part in the GWOT, but is in not unnecessarily burdened by troop deployments in South Korea and Germany? If the active duty, reserve, and national guard components of the Army total over a million men, and over 150,000 are currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, where are all the rest?

The USMC maintains 7 true RCTs (there is no true RCT 4), and has fielded 2 non-stop in Iraq for the past 2 years. I would imagine if the Army could bring 28% of its active duty combat power to bear in Iraq, things would be appreciably different.

I am in no way trying to bash another service. I just think we should not expect but so much from the National Guard and Reserve, and stop trying to kid overselves that the Army is going to have an ephiphany, and start parking Bradley IFV in favor of producing foot mobile infantry.

entropico
10-23-2005, 01:58 AM
I think you have a better view on the bigger picture, but I would say when you take the whole manpower of the Army you are not taking in the support aspect of the Army that are not necassarily boots on the ground. Marine Corps god bless them have most of their support taken care of by the Navy. Navy corpsmen attached to Marine units not Marine Medics is a great example of this. This is why the Marine Corps has a higher percentage of "boots on the ground" than the Army does. Only recently has the Army begun to streamline. An example of this is recently the Army discontinued their book-binding MOS. They are doing this by using civilian contractors more and more. However the Army is a much bigger organization than the Marine Corps and that means a huge amount of support assets that go along with it. That takes up numbers.

As for IED's I have been in a few Strykers when they "Blew up" and they seem to do fine as far as survivability. If they would except the associated risk and allow sniper teams to set up along main MSRs where IED's are a problem I think that would be more effective. We need to stop IED's from being planted not sweep through them after the fact.

Bill Moore
10-23-2005, 03:25 AM
I thought the CPT had several excellent points; especially his comments on setting up STX lanes that focused on transitioning from hostile to uncertain environments and back to hostile again right on the money. I'm not sure what those would like, so I hope he'll share some examples later.

Since we have digressed from the original topic (historical parallels), Iíll try to transition back in that direction by focusing on the IED problem discussed above.

Is there really an IED problem? In other words, is the IED any more than a tactical nuisance? I will argue that we can achieve all of our tactical and operational maneuver objectives even if the IED threat doubled.

However, the IED threat was never intended to defeat our military forces, it was intended to have its effect/affect on the home front, thus the strategic value of a tactically/ operationally insignificant weapon system. Our enemy knows they canít defeat our military, just like they knew it in the Balkans, Somalia, Vietnam, Algeria, Lebanon (both the U.S. and Israel), and assorted other small wars, so they correctly identified our center of gravity as our national will.

Our leadership having recognized this has engaged in a progression of smarter counter measures countered by smarter IEDs and firing systems (tougher to jam). Itís a classic catch 22, weíre obligated to counter the IEDs and force the enemy to counter our counters, which in effect is creating (I donít like this term, but if will suffice for now) a super terrorist armed with better technology and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) for export. Much like Maoís revolutionary tactics spread around the world (obviously adapted to local conditions), we now not only see the Islamist ideology exported at the speed of the internet, but also their associated TTP. Weíre now seeing advanced IEDs in SE Asia and it wonít be long until we see them in South and Central America.

IEDís are the tactics of the flea, but unlike the War of the Flea in Vietnam, this is the War of the Flea empowered by the internet along at least two lines of operation. First, the flea bite wounds us soldiers, but the severity of the wounds are magnified a thousand fold on our national psyche by the media and the rapid development of grass root organizations like mothers against the war, etc. While Collin Powell rightfully got us away from the enemy body count as a metric of success, our nation has somehow managed to turn our own body count into a metric of failure, and several peace organizations are just waiting until we cross the 2,000 KIA mark to attempt to aggressively spread their anti-war message, which will probably result in more emphasis from our political leaders to minimize casualties, which in turn will give our enemy freer range of movement; and force us to Iraqize the war faster than prudent. The second line I already discussed and that is the spread of effective flea technology and TTP to like minded groupsí world wide.

I realize this is no great insight to any of the readers here, but it is imperative we find ways to counter this trend. I personally think the American people are much more resilient to casualties when they believe we have the high moral ground and the war in is our national interest, thus the burden of winning the war on the home front is on our political leadership. They must clarify our purpose for being there in a way that resounds with our population, and with all due respect, our President has been unable to effectively convey that message. We canít afford to confuse support for the military as support for the war. I know the poster above me (I believe MAJ Stricklin) thinks we should put more U.S. soldiers on the ground (I agree), but that wonít be possible when our national leaders feel cornered by the flea. I think we have strong national leadership at the moment, but their weakness has been their inability to build a consensus with our countrymen. What can we do to help?

entropico
10-23-2005, 09:53 PM
Basic new STX Lane scenario we have been training with;

Respond to overwhelmed Iraqi forces, intelligence points to who may be responsible and a general location as to where they may be in the city(The army has been investing in some excellent MOUT sites in which this can be accomplished). Unit gets there and nothing happens for an hour to two hours. Unit leaders have to works COB's to find out exactly what happened and who the community leaders are. As they get closer to the real story, violence starts ramping up. Each objective leads to a new objective, it is not an all at once thing. Success depends on exploitation of each new HVT in order to get to the one big guy. Consolidation and exploitation are no longer options, they must figure out what they have before they make their next move. At the end of the scenario handover with Iraqi forces and orderly withdrawal for follow on operations.

Hansmeister
10-24-2005, 01:47 AM
Responding to Bill asking about the effectiveness of IEDs: they're not effective in a strictly military sense, ie they are merely a nuisance, but have a substantial impact in the propaganda effort.

The better question is how the presence of IEDs will impact our future tactics. How often will we invade a country which contains gigantic stockpiles of arty shells dispersed throughout thousands of ammo dumps? My guess would be very rarely if ever. Thus, most of the lessons we learn on how to deal with IEDs will unlikely have a long-term impact in our operations beyond the current conflict. Future wars will probably contain very different assymetric threats.

Bill Moore
10-25-2005, 01:33 AM
Hans, I understand what you're saying, and must admit I remain amazed to this day at the number of large (very large) ammo supply points throughout Iraq. Our unit tasked guys to tackle that problem full time, and they barely put a dent in it. Where else may we find this situation in the future? How about Syria, Iran, N. Korea, former members of the USSR, and other nations that we may at some time in the future consider potential adversaries? I wouldn't write off as a problem unique to Iraq, but agree that Iraq was/is exceptional in the volume of munitions readily available.

The underlying point, is that our center of gravity is generally our national will, and for illogical reasons, the number of our KIAs appears to be the decisive point. You can't measure military success by body counts (in most cases), so the decisive point in this case doesn't impact the military directly in a decisive manner, but it does indirectly through the political system. Isn't this truly what we mean when we use the phrase asymmetrical warfare?

You're right that in future conflicts there will be other tactics to put pressue on this decisive point beyond IEDs, but the challenge remains the same, how do we win the battle of minds on the home front? While not a military role, it still needs to be addressed if the military is going to achieve success. Can you name a small war where a western nation lost when this wasn't the center of gravity? I can't recall an instance of Western forces being soundly defeated on the battlefield (with the exception of a battle lost here and there). We're once again in danger of pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory. This will be our recurring achille's heel, and we (the Unitied States and other Western Nations) have better find a find of mitigating it.

Hansmeister
10-25-2005, 10:55 PM
Bill, the problem we face is that we don't have a pro-American media. For evidence I would cite the way the media has covered the passing of the Iraqi Constitution:

The NYTimes: "Many Sunni Arabs voted against the document, but the "no" votes were not enough to defeat it."

LA Times: "Sunni Opponents Unable to Block Iraqi Constitution"

The AP needed 23 paragraphs to finally mention the overwhelming public approval for the Constitution.

How to overcome the desire of the media to see us fail? Develop a stronger voice of our own.

There are many independent journalists and bloggers that do excellent reporting from Iraq. Th Pentagon needs to create a way to collect all that information thru a website, trying to provide content to second-tier media that aren't biased against our efforts.

The Pentagon should also be much more aggressive when dealing with the hostile press. Do'nt be defensive in press conferences. Open up each press conference by pointing out misleading and false articles by the press over the previous day. Force the media into the defensive and to expose their bias. This would shake up the dynamic of the give and take between the media and the Pentagon and somewhat even the playing field.

Basically, the Pentagon has to divide the media into "friendly" and "hostile" camps and vigorously seek to discredit the latter.

The media would go all atwitter over such a policy (just remember their outrage over the "Office of Strategic Influence") and intensify their hostility. However, this would mainly serve only to discredit those media outlets that engage in that strategy since the public would discount their statements as partisan.

DDilegge
10-25-2005, 11:08 PM
The passing of the referendum headlines will be butted up against 2,000 mark in GI deaths tomorrow morning.... AP is already running stories about "Iraqi deaths more than U.S." Forget about countering foreign IO - we have our own doing the job for AJ and the BBC.

Strickland
10-27-2005, 12:01 AM
The passing of the referendum headlines will be butted up against 2,000 mark in GI deaths tomorrow morning.... AP is already running stories about "Iraqi deaths more than U.S." Forget about countering foreign IO - we have our own doing the job for AJ and the BBC.

I am amazed that we do not attempt to counter the negativity of US media sources through a campaign of context. If we put our 2,000 KIA in the context of events with similar deaths such as Pearl Harbor, D-Day, or September 11th, then maybe people would see this figure with less astonishment. If we further attempted to put this same figure of 2000 KIA in the context of the 16,000 homicides per year that we have in the US, I trust that they would look even less daunting.

Bill Moore
10-27-2005, 05:53 AM
Seems a lot of us agree on the media being a significant problem; however, they aren't our only problem. Unfortunately, the bad news they report is largely true. What isn't true is the perspective they put it in. Personally I love a media that challenges our government. Can you imagine our government if we didn't have the media as part of the check and balance system? Within reason professional members of our media are as essential to protecting our freedoms as we grunts are.

I'll jump off my soapbox now, but I wanted to set the stage for the remainder of my reply. Why does the popular media's version of the story sell, and the Pentagon's version of the story flop? We have an unsosphisticated spin machine in the Pentagon that couldn't sell bottled water to a person isolated in the desert. On the other hand we have a public media that seeks out bad news, and presents it in a very dramatic and unbalanced manner. I don't think they want to see us lose (some do, but they're out of the norm), they simply think they're doing the right thing.

Paraphrasing something I heard Mr. Rober Kaplan (author numerous articles and books, most recently Imperial Grunts), "you can't paint images of plastic saints, and expect them to be credible". I think it was an attempt at an apology perhaps because he tells his readers about our heroic exploits and about the warts on our butt. He's right! Our pentagon news services like to put out these clean, just too happy, just too feel good stories that wouldn't convince a second grader that the story was true.

I don't think we counter the bad news by ignoring it, or rushing to put it out, then hoping it will go away. We have to admit our challenges, we definitely have challenges in Iraq and elsewhere beyond the media. I guess I'm kind of weird in the fact that I believe that the American people have a good sense for the truth when they hear it.

Imagine if we had real people speaking to the press at the Pentagon and in the field, that didn't have a story to tell, but rather discussed the issues, the challenges we're facing and where we're making progress. Not some perfumed prince getting in front of the spot light to give his five minutes of sound bites, then leaving the press to analyze it. Why aren't we analyzing it with them?

The saying that the truth is the first casualty of war appears to have a long history, but what is different now (from the recent past) is the number of sources that information seekers can go to to seek the truth. We can't operate the way we used to and simply put out a simple spin message and expect it to sell. We have to get in the mud and speak from there, and tell the American people how we're transforming this mud pit we're in. Stop trying to create unrealistic expectations, stop giving time lines, and simply tell the truth (where we can). The truth sells too, not just bad news, but the truth must be perceived as the truth to sell. Sometimes I think the harder we try to counter the bad news, the worse we look. We should tell the bad news, then tell the rest of the story and put it in perspective. If we don't address it someone else will.

DDilegge
10-27-2005, 09:39 AM
I am amazed that we do not attempt to counter the negativity of US media sources through a campaign of context. If we put our 2,000 KIA in the context of events with similar deaths such as Pearl Harbor, D-Day, or September 11th, then maybe people would see this figure with less astonishment. If we further attempted to put this same figure of 2000 KIA in the context of the 16,000 homicides per year that we have in the US, I trust that they would look even less daunting.

2,000 Dead, in Context (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/27/opinion/27hanson.html) - 27 Oct. Op-Ed by Victor Davis Hanson in the NYT:


"...Comparative historical arguments, too, are not much welcome in making sense of the tragic military deaths - any more than citing the tens of thousands Americans who perish in traffic accidents each year. And few care to hear that the penultimate battles of a war are often the costliest - like the terrible summer of 1864 that nearly ruined the Army of the Potomac and almost ushered in a Copperhead government eager to stop at any cost the Civil War, without either ending slavery or restoring the Union. The battle for Okinawa was an abject bloodbath that took more than 50,000 American casualties, yet that campaign officially ended less than six weeks before Nagasaki and the Japanese surrender..."

Jedburgh
10-27-2005, 05:22 PM
Responding to Bill asking about the effectiveness of IEDs: they're not effective in a strictly military sense, ie they are merely a nuisance, but have a substantial impact in the propaganda effort.

The better question is how the presence of IEDs will impact our future tactics. How often will we invade a country which contains gigantic stockpiles of arty shells dispersed throughout thousands of ammo dumps? My guess would be very rarely if ever. Thus, most of the lessons we learn on how to deal with IEDs will unlikely have a long-term impact in our operations beyond the current conflict. Future wars will probably contain very different assymetric threats.
I would not be so dismissive of IEDs as a threat. They are the number one killer of our troops - more have been killed by IEDs than small arms fire. And that statistic only reflects IEDs - not VBIEDs (non-suicide or suicide) or suicide bombers with the device on their person. That makes them a bit more than merely a "nuisance".

Their use has significantly affected the way we conduct ops in-country and has resulted in a major technological/tactical effort on our part to defeat and/or mitigate their effects. Of course, the bad guys' IED TTPs continue to evolve to meet our countermeasures. IEDs won't win battles or campaigns, yet their use is of military significance in the disproportionate amount of resources we have had to use in order to meet the threat in relation to the effort the bad guys expend to construct and emplace the devices.

The use of IEDs is not unique to this conflict - although their use in Iraq has reached unprecendented levels. The ANC used roadside bombs to effect in its campaign against the apartheid South African military, as did Hezbollah in South Lebanon against the IDF and SLA. The IRA used them, but much more sparingly than the first two examples. Today, IEDs have also become a major weapon in the arsenal of the Nepalese insurgent group the Maoist Communist Party of Nepal (http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/asia/south_asia/104_nepal_s_maoists_their_aims_structure_and_strat egy.pdf).

In future conflicts, the IED threat may not be as widespread and frequently applied as a tactic by whatever opponent we may face at that time - but you can count on their use, as they are too simple and effective a weapon to be dismissed by those overmatched by conventional US combat power.

Bill Moore
10-29-2005, 03:23 PM
I would not be so dismissive of IEDs as a threat. They are the number one killer of our troops. That makes them a bit more than merely a "nuisance".

Their use has significantly affected the way we conduct ops in-country. IEDs won't win battles or campaigns, yet their use is of military significance in the disproportionate amount of resources we have had to use in order to meet the threat. They are too simple and effective a weapon to be dismissed by those overmatched by conventional US combat power.


Jedburgh, I can't argue with your logical counter argument. I expected my post to prompt several heated replies, yet you were the only one that fired back on the IED issue. All of your points are on the money, but taking it a step further:

1. IED's can't "directly" defeat a conventional maneuver unit conducting an attack or defense operation. They sure as hell can make it painful, and they can force us to adapt to our tactics to mitigate the threat (probably true throughout the history of war, it is a constant evolution of tactics and counter-tactics).

2. IED's may defeat us indirectly, much like the Hezbollah defeated the Israelis in Lebanon using similiar tactics. Our foe's definition of success of success isn't winning the battle, but defeating us by with a thousand cuts (on our flesh and in our psychic). In my opinion we still plan military operations to achieve tactical success, which obviously must be done, but tactical victories won't win the war by themselves as some seem to think. Worse, I'm concerned that many of our military planners think our enemy plans their operations to achieve tactical success, which means we're using mirror analysis by assuming the enemy thinks like us. I don't think the enemy in Iraq cares about tactical success; they measure success on how effectively they influence their intended audiences.

For one, they have had some success targeting our national will on the homefront with their IED and other attacks.

For another their successes (by their definition of success) has given Islamists around the world a sense of hope they can defeat us, thus they're successfully able to continuely generate new recruits. This belief in the possibility of winning is strategic and we need to address it.

Another audience is Iraqi people (this group needs further defined), and I assume their intent here is to make them believe that their security forces can't protect them, so it is best to give the insurgents what they want, so they can live in some semblence of peace.

3. Assuming that even half of I wrote in para 2 is correct, then your comments about not making light of IEDs are spot on. We know that winning insurgencies isn't about winning tactical battles (although we better not lose one, the psychological repercussions on the home front would be severe), rather it is winning in the battlespace that lies between the ears.

Thanks for pushing back

Strickland
11-01-2005, 03:42 PM
After reviewing US policy towards the UN (ONUC) intervention in the Congo in 1960, I was surprised at the similarity of endstate and disparity of actions between it and the US invasion of Iraq. A review of a State Department document dated Jan 1961, provides the following guidance for policy and operations in the Congo:
1. Strengthen UN Mandate and International Cooperation
2. Undertake a retaining and/or useful employment of the Congolese military and police elements
3. Bring under control all military and police elements in the Congo
4. Prevent civil strife and give adequate protection against possible tribal attacks
5. Deter and prevent all outside intervention and assistance

If we compare this guidance with what has transpired in Iraq: little international support, dissolution of all security forces, to include the military, lack of control of influence with regional militias, inability to prevent the influx of foreigners or their influence, should we have expected things to have turned out differently?

Tom Odom
11-01-2005, 04:58 PM
Suggest you take a look at LP 14 The Dragon Operations: Hostage Rescues in the Congo, 1964-1965 at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/odom/odom.asp. I got into the early years of the UN in the Congo very heavily when writing LP 14. All that aside, the very probelms I wrote about in LP 14 and another study http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/odom2/odom2.asp on the 1978 crisis where there in Zaire when I arrived as Defense Attache in 1993. They remained operative and ultimately lead to the Rwandan conquest of the Congo in 1997.

We saw the same type problems with the UN in Rwanda (both UNAMIR 1 and 2) and all the agencies, NGOs, state players. The difference there was the Rwandan Patriotic Army, something I found unique in my African experience. The RPA had created itself in exile, won the civil war, and then became a new government.

Best
Tom

Bill Moore
11-06-2005, 05:22 AM
Tom,

I'm looking forward to finding the time to read the accounts you posted on operations in the Congo. There are some obvious parallels results with OIF, but I doubt the actual cause and effect will be the same in most cases, but I remain open minded.

KenDawe
11-28-2005, 10:03 PM
On the subjects of Information Warfare and Cultural Intelligence...
Twice in my career as a 98G I was assigned to Intelligence Battalions that had tactical deception units. They were referred to as "Operanal Detatchments", which made them sound like they were SpecOps, which they weren't, strctly speaking.
In the 109th MI, 9th ID (Mot), it was staffed by MIGs like me. They had all sorts of nifty toys, including digital recorders with which they could allegedly record a commander's tranmissions, and edit them to broadcast him giving his units the commands we wanted him to. Sounds like a great idea, if they could have made it work right...
15 years later, in the 102d MI, Cp Essayons, ROK, the 2d Infantry Division, in it's infinite wisdom, assigned Infantry and Engineer NCOs to be in charge of MI juinior enlisted. They had all sorts of mockups which looked pretty realistic, right down to heat-makers which could give the simulated Abrams the correct IR signature. (My favorite was the simulated supply depot with inflatable cartons of toilet paper.)
From what I could see, neither of these units was used very effectively, and as a result of the perennial identity crisis of tactial Intelligence in the US Army they were both deactivated. (Although the 102d continued to get the odd infantry or Combat Engineer NCO, who usually felt he was being assigned to purgatory.)
I also read an article in MI Journal talking about a similar Army-level Deception unit in WW2, which was usually ineffective, since it's actions were rarely coordinated with the local maneuver units. I think the lesson here is that you need people at the maneuver level who know to request the support from higher, and people at higher who know how to employ the assets to support the maneuver level. Does a Division-level unit have the assest to successfully simulate a division?

As for cultural intelligence, I think expecting the average MI Geek linguist to be able to handle that task in addition to his normal duties--usually operating a Signals Intelligence system--is too much. Unless things have changed drastically in the 5 years since I retired, they are to busy doing "other stuff" to even attend a decent language refresher/maintenance program, let alone become Junior FAOs.
("Other Stuff" usually=Motor Stables, Police Call, CTT, and Post Support Activities like range cleanup, Ammo Supply Point/Ammo Holding Area guard, funeral detail... No more gate guard, at least at Ft Lewis.)