View Full Version : Spilling Soup on Myself in Al Anbar

01-26-2007, 06:10 AM
Spilling Soup on Myself in Al Anbar (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/01/spilling-soup-on-myself-in-al/) - John Nagl, Small Wars Journal.

I thought I understood something about counterinsurgency until I started doing it. In this interview (http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/p4013coll13&CISOPTR=331) conducted by the Army's Combat Studies Institute, I discuss what I learned the first time I practiced counterinsurgency, in Al Anbar province from 2003-2004. I'd be happy to discuss the interview, the new Army/Marine Corps "Counterinsurgency" Field Manual (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf), or other topics of interest via this blog when my day job commanding the 1st Battalion 34th Armor allows. Duty First!

01-26-2007, 08:41 AM
Hello SWJED !
To say the least, a very interesting interview filled with a wealth of information for anybody that would have to replace you and your team.

By December, we were thinking hard about how, where and to whom to allocate CERP funds to rebuild schools, create health clinics and kick start the local economy. Our civil affairs team helped manage that process, but we really didn’t have the deep understanding of the local economy or full knowledge of tribal affiliations and contractor management skills to be as effective as we could have been. This is an area where State Department augmentation down to the battalion staff level would be immensely useful, although State isn’t manned to support such a requirement at present.

I relate especially well to your comments regarding the use of CERP and the unfortunate inability to fully employ it without sufficient "outside the batallion" civilian assistance. Typically, the embassy's various elelments would have made your life a little easier, but this also comes with a price tag, as my former Colonel told me, pick-up basketball teams have some weeding out to do and rarely does anyone give you the best of their staff, you have to steal it, and that's where a good NCO takes over :rolleyes:

The embassy's other-than-State assets in most cases should have tons of material and a little experience with the host country's customs, affiliations, etc.
They also should have been there for contractual support, the GSO is indeed a defacto Contracting Officer, and in addition to using your MIRPs and funds cites, can even pay in cash.
Finally, most embassies routinely deal with translators and translation support. They are however in most cases local hires. My 8 consecutive overseas tours (6 in the embassy world) taught me to be suspicious about local translators. The context of most conversations is twisted to meet and greet the local climate, and may not always come out the way in which it was originally conveyed.

Good Luck Colonel !
Regards, Stan

01-26-2007, 01:32 PM
This reminds me of a USAID story from VN.

USAID went to a village near Saigon. AID built a nice outhouse with tin roof. Two weeks later return to see how the villager's were using the new outhouse. AID rep coldnn't fiind the new outhouse, but did notice the tin was being used for home's and the lumber were needed.
AID rep ask village chief why the outhouse was destoryed? Village chief basically said" we don't go indoors and sit down to take a dump."
I guess AID forgot to see or study how the local villagers lived.


Tom Odom
01-26-2007, 02:49 PM
The key to success in a counterinsurgency environment is not to create more insurgents than you capture or kill. A stray tank round that kills a family could create dozens of insurgents for a generation. Thus, it is essential to use force as carefully and with as much discrimination as is possible. This is especially important at situations like checkpoints when soldiers must be given the non-lethal tools to protect themselves from possible car bombers without relying upon deadly force. Always consider the long-term effects of operations in a counterinsurgency environment. Killing an insurgent today may be satisfying, but if in doing so you convince all the members of his clan to fight you to the death, you’ve actually taken three steps backwards.

Just finished a paper on this issue and I expect some push back on here.



01-26-2007, 04:14 PM
Please continue the discussion there (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/01/spilling-soup-on-myself-in-al/).

01-26-2007, 07:16 PM
Please continue the discussion there (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/01/spilling-soup-on-myself-in-al/).

I second that - please comment directly on the blog also - especially now as we are getting this thing in motion - we could use Council members support here. Many entering the SWJ for the first time do not know about the Council - comments on the blog aid in getting first time visitors to stick around.

Also, as I did with Dave Killcullen's last post we could use your assistance here:

We could use a bit of help here from Council members. As many of you know we recently launched the Small Wars Journal blog and have lined-up some first rate bloggers. I am in the process of “spreading the word” in order to bring attention to this newest addition to the Small Wars Journal and Small Wars Council family.

In order to give the blog more exposure I have been posting some of our blog entries to the Real Clear Politics Reader’s Articles page. Submissions that receive a certain number of votes get kicked up to RCP’s main page and the rest is history as far as exposure.

Here’s the deal – I am a firm believer in not trying to skew online votes for any purpose what so ever. What I am asking is for you to go to RCP – look at all the articles submitted by readers and if you believe one or both of the SWJ blog entries should be bumped to the front then please vote.

To get to the article submission page go here – Real Clear Politics (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/). Scroll down towards the bottom and click on view all submissions under the Reader’s Articles section. Then scroll to Spilling Soup... – but before voting be sure to survey the other articles and weigh ours vs. the alternatives.

RCP requires registration to vote or submit – but that is painless. Thanks much – and please – only vote if you sincerely believe the posts I submitted are more worthy than the other articles up for consideration...

Thanks - Dave

01-26-2008, 04:07 AM
There is a handbook called MAAWS (money as a weapon system) floating around that goes into detail on all the colors of money (including CERP) which outlines the process for the unit or user. Also I've done some training for PPOs in Iraq on this subject also. If your looking for related information let me know.

John Nagl
01-26-2008, 12:33 PM

Could you post "Money as a Weapons System" on this thread or send it to me via AKO? We're not teaching this subject as well as we could be at Fort Riley to our Transition Team members en route to Afghanistan and Iraq, and I'd appreciate the chance to take a look at this product.

Thanks and Duty First!

John Nagl

01-26-2008, 01:09 PM
There is a handbook called MAAWS (money as a weapon system) floating around that goes into detail on all the colors of money (including CERP) which outlines the process for the unit or user. Also I've done some training for PPOs in Iraq on this subject also. If your looking for related information let me know.
AKO Log-In Required

MAAWS MNC-I CJ8 SOP (https://www.us.army.mil/suite/doc/7449326)

Edit to add: Alternate Download Location (https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/GetAttachment.aspx?id=496844&pname=file&lang=en-US&aid=34888) (BCKS COIN Forum - Still Requires AKO Log-In)

01-30-2008, 04:09 PM
This report may also be useful.

JANUARY 25, 2008

Available at http://www.sigir.mil/reports/pdf/audits/08-006.pdf (http://www.sigir.mil/reports/pdf/audits/08-006.pdf)

01-30-2008, 09:20 PM
Thanks. That handbook is pure gold...literally.