View Full Version : COIN training

10-08-2005, 07:19 PM
Imagine if each USMC, USA, or NG company could be sent to a major urban center in the US for training before entering into Afghanistan or Iraq. What if units that were to be sent to patrol the Iraqi border were first sent to the US-Mexico border for practice. Each unit could practice using soft power and influence in order to develop sources, maintain a positive presence, and learn community policing skills. In addition, each area selected would have the added benefit of the extra security provided through each training cycle. If we have no reasonable expectation of US troops successfully operating within environments of a shared culture, then why should be expect them to be successful overseas? This would not violate Posse Comitatus anymore or less than the old JTF 6 counter drug missions along the border.

Steve Blair
10-09-2005, 03:21 AM
If nothing else, I strongly suspect that this sort of environment could be gamed (see my posts in other areas of the MB) in a way that would allow both free-play and a great deal in the way of lessons learned before a unit ever deployed. The "school solution" goes out the window in this sort of multi-spectrum warfare.

10-11-2005, 02:44 AM
The concept has much merit and there are units "gaming" it before they go over.

Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice is a good place to start. We have had some experience with the gaming as opposed to real world with Robin Sage and later deployments. While one does what one can, there is a huge difference.

I doubt we will see mil units working major urban centers in the US. There is no up side for the civil authorities and the risks are significant. As for JTF 6 missions, I personally wouldn't catagorize them as successful - but that is not really relevant to the discussion at hand.

What I would like to see along this line is perhaps something in a lower risk environment, but in theater. Kuwait, perhaps Djibouti, those kinds of places.

Another thing I think should be considered is the formation of "hand-over" units. These would be units that would do precisely what you suggest - soft power, mentoring formation of civil government, policing - while monitoring leading indicators of insurgent resurgence. This as opposed to tasking a rifle company to do both missions. The new units would consist of maore mature troops, trained in psy ops and ca, etc. They would go in when an area has been nominally cleared by the more combat oriented units.

The key element in the hand-over units would be patience.

The CIDG and CAP programs from Vietnam are good examples.

Of course the hard corps line units would have to be available to quash any sudden flare-ups. One AO over run would be disasterous for any such program.

I didn't see any place for introductions. I am a former 18D with 7th SFG(A). I spent all my time area-focused on LATAM and I am currently a USG contractor with focus on COIN and CT. DDilegge knows me from another board. I would just like to say "Thanks" to those responsible for this site. I am a devoted student of Small War and I look forward to many interesting discussion here on the new board.

10-20-2005, 11:05 PM
Strickland's idea is right on the money. A serious program that cross-trains infantry with border-patrol and SWAT/tactical/hihg-risk warrant service elements is about the best idea I've heard in a long time. And I'm not talking about gaming it. I'm talking about puting 11-B's inside tactical and HTR units with the LAPD or the Waterloo PD (Iowa. Believe it or not, they've got a huge gang problem there). Think of it like a JTTF excercise.

Strickland is echoing what a lot of leading thinkers are saying right now, particularly William Lind's militia ideas if you follow his "On War" columns in DNI. Max Manwaring's article published by SSI on Gangs and the New Urban Insurgency is another one that hits this. Also check out the powerpoint slides from "4GW and OODA Loop Implications of the Iraqi Insurgency," presented at the Panel on Conceptual Frontiers by COL G.I. Wilson (USMC), LTC (ret.) Greg Wilcox, USA and COL (ret.) Chet Richards, USAF. Apr. 2004. They're talking more about blending the roles of analysts and operators, but that blurring of work specializations is exactly what's needed now. The enemy is blended so smoothly we can't see the peas from the carrots, and we need to be the same.

Riflemen who understand community policing, urban ops and are comfortable with the tools of the trade (CS, sting grenades, flashbangs, breaching tools, less lethal ammunition, etc. . . ) would make a huge difference in the kinds of conflicts we're faced with today and are likely to be faced with in the future.

JD Johannes
10-27-2005, 01:01 AM
I was embedded with a TOW Missile Platoon reorganized in the distributed ops fashion and they were very effective in Karmah and Amariyah.

Their training cycle prepared them for the battle of Stalingrad...which was good, because when it came time to engage, they were ready, but they could have used more preparation for the intelligence gathering aspect.

Cross training Platoon commanders and Staff NCOs with Law Enforcement, particularly anti-gang, or warrants divisions would be very useful.

When I have filmed pieces on murder cases and investigations, the police made use of phone books, voting records, reverse directories, vehicle registration, credit reports...anything they could access to find people.

Few of those exist in Iraq and I would like to see them developed, at least as much as practical.

Bill Moore
11-12-2005, 01:25 AM
The proposal to integrate counter gang law enforcement techniques and tactics into our pre-mission train up has merit (if done right with select personnel). I recall reading a Newsweek article years ago where the CIA was recruiting top notch detectives from NYC and other locations, because they had an effective approach (not to mention experience) to finding terrorists, which their case officers didnít. Robert Kaplan in latest book ďImperial GruntsĒ mentioned that a couple of National Guard Special Forces Teams in Afghanistan were very effective because a lot of the team members were cops back on the block, and they knew how to work the kids who were insurgent age.

Cops and soldiers for the most part view the world differently, and in many cases a copís viewpoint is more applicable in addressing many of our challenges in GWOT. I think the rotations with the border patrol and SWAT teams would have much less value than simply integrating our personnel with a good beat cop or with an anti-gang task force. We already have units that advanced SWAT team skills, and the legal complications to actually integrating a regular soldier (minus special ops) with a SWAT team would be insurmountable considering the potential liability.

A cop brings intuition based on intimate knowledge of the local areaís geography, people, culture, and history. If he is truly integrated in the community, heíll know where the problem areas are based on his sources and his sixth sense (which can only be developed over time). My observations about police work are strictly based on limited reading and watching the news, but it appears that in communities or neighborhoods where the police are an integral part of that communityís fabric they are effective. The opposite side of the coin, is that neighborhoods that only see the police in body armor and in convoy (two car rule) when there is a 911 call are much less effective (much like many of our unitís clumsy attempts to provide security), because theyíre blind to a problem until it surfaces, and if it goes subsurface before they arrive they wonít be able to solve it. Perhaps that is part of the problem in France currently with the riots, whose genius was in isolated and segregated communities that probably were not well policed, leaving the officials blind to the emerging problem, and limited options for dealing with it, vice targeting the key speakers/instigators, assuming those social centers of gravity exist. Probably the only effective police officers would have been from the neighborhood, who spoke Arabic or local North African dialects and understood the culture, which sag ways into the next point.

The value of training a soldier in these methods isnít so much to enable him to be a police officer during a stability operation, but rather to integrate with and assist the local law enforcement officers. Only locals that are resident for extended periods will have the depth of local knowledge to effectively apply this advanced form of intuition. We have examples in our history where we conducted similar operations, but big Army doesnít seem comfortable with these nuanced operations that return so much over time, but so little between the 12 hour battle update briefs, so maybe we need to go back to robust military advisory groups filled with senior NCOs and officers that we can integrate with the host nation for extended periods, these would be the ideal candidates to receive this training in my opinion. They would be a great source of HUMINT and be able to give the regular green suitors a street perspective of whatís really happening.

Iíll readily admit there are some cases where we will have to be that police force until a host nation force is established, but hopefully that wonít be the norm in the future.

11-27-2005, 11:26 PM
I remember being surprised in the early 90s with the lack of MOUT training in the US Army. We tried to do MOUT training at our Company at my suggestion that it is unlikely that we'd be broadcasting on loudspeakers in the middle of a swamp as we mostly did during training. When we went to the Fort Bragg MOUT site we discovered a completely decrepit and unusable site: buildings were arranged in the style of a US city block with conveniently broad roads and we were prohibited from entering most buildings due to safety concerns.

Four months later we were in Somalia without ever having undergone effective MOUT training.

The Army has gotten better but we were still completely unprepared for Iraq, despite having learned exactly the the same lessons in Somalia that we were forced to painstakenly relearn in Iraq.

02-14-2006, 01:07 AM
...I think the rotations with the border patrol and SWAT teams would have much less value than simply integrating our personnel with a good beat cop or with an anti-gang task force...

...A cop brings intuition based on intimate knowledge of the local area’s geography, people, culture, and history. If he is truly integrated in the community, he’ll know where the problem areas are based on his sources and his sixth sense (which can only be developed over time)...
I used to believe that way as well. Now that I have been working for a while with a county-wide Joint Gang Task Force in central CA, I have changed my mind.

All of the individuals on the TF (with the sole exception of myself) have lived and worked in the area most, if not all, of their lives. They certainly have an intimate knowledge of much of the area - yet still have a surprising degree of ignorance regarding large chunks of the county, despite having lived here so long.

"Sources" are a serious problem. Good sources within the communities where the Hispanic street gangs thrive are almost non-existent. And I found the way in which the TF handled CIs (confidential informants) amateurish at best, and the manner in which they conduct surveillance even worse. The repercussions of compromise are far less serious than in the COIN environment, and they take it that much less seriously.

Field Interviews, which I see as having great potential for both info-gathering and a step in the process of recruiting CIs, are done in a perfunctory fashion, not going any further than filling out the boxes on an FI Card. The numbers of those are reported on daily stats, and that seems to be the only real purpose - a measure of activity. Interviewing techniques as a whole, in the context of professional methodology, are crude to non-existent.

The execution of parole/probation searches, which do result in a number of arrests for various violations, are done in a overly harsh manner which tends to alienate the other members of the household. A slightly softer approach can accomplish the same thing, but provides a better environment for conducting interviews of family members/associates - not to mention the all-important spotting potential CIs. They have yet to learn similar lessons to what we've learned the hard way in-theater - again, because the repercussions of the mistakes are much less severe.

I could go on. All in all, I now feel that having soldiers spend time with a unit like this would be counter-productive, and undo the few good TTPs in which we are already training them. I would perhaps make an exception for unique anti-gang units, with a long history and broad, in-depth intel support - such as those in LA or NY. But the extremely limited number of such units even more severely restricts the ability to provide such an opportunity to any potentially effective number of soldiers.

Bill Moore
02-14-2006, 09:38 PM
Jedburgh thanks for your detailed and valuable response. I hate to admit it, but I have watched a couple of episodes of Cops with my son, and their actions in front of the camera are frequently counter productive, so I can imagine what they're like when they don't think they're being watched. This may very well explain why sophisticated gangs (or even simple gangs) are able to run circles around our layers of law enforcement. From a national security stand point I would hope that the U.S. government would intervene at some level (not sure where they can legally) and attempt to transform our police culture. I think we're engaged in our own multi-front COIN within the States against various hate groups, criminal enterprises (drugs, guns, human smuggling), and anarchists among others, so as you may have intended to allude to, law enforcement could definitely take some lessons from our books and experiences.

On a side note, I wonder if their focus on force protection/safety is excessive and has changed the way they conduct operations to the point that policy drives overwhelming force whenever they go to arrest a suspect? I'm making reference to your point where they alienate the family when they do the hard knock and throw everyone on the floor. This is the same problem that plagued the U.S. Army for so many years under the Clinton Era, and it still plagues some units. While the safety intent may have been noble, the unintended consequences of these actions are setting us back considerably in many ways and perhaps creating more danger for those the police are supposed to protecting in the long run. Of course what supervisor is prepared to take the heat for an accident because he or she assumed risk? Always a Catch 22.

02-21-2006, 11:25 PM
I guess I am giving away my age but when I was in the 82nd I used to walk courtesy patrol with Fayettville Police departement down Hay st. I also helped train some of the first SWAT teams in rappelling at Bragg. Good Law Enforcement is a lot like good Infantry patrols. This a golden opportunity for both the military and Police departments. Also most SWAT Ops orders are issued as the standard 5 paragraph Ops order used in the Military. More later just got home.

04-05-2006, 12:43 PM
I was a State Police Officer for 5 years and must agree with Jehburgh. Policing in the U.S. is so different from COIN operations that the two have almost nothing in common.

American Police primarily "control a segment of the underclass", the criminals. We weren't in the business of changing the hearts and minds of the middle-class. or even the underclass. We just frustrated the desires of the criminal few. Even in the worst neighborhoods, most people were horrified if our authority was seriously contested.

We were vehicle and roadbound almost all the time. We didn't stroll around and talk to people. Officers drive someplace, conduct their business and then drive to the next place.

Few if any officers, live in the communities where the bulk of the criminal work is conducted, the lower class communities. Like most people, officers settle their families in the best communities they can afford, which often are not the ones they work in. Officers do not really have to live with the consequences of any failures of ommision or commision.

The above facts have much to do with, not so much excessive force (I saw very little of that), as with the discourtesy sometimes shown. Disrespect alienates family members, freinds and neighbors, who are most often the information sources.

Regarding, Mr. Moore's comment about overwhelming force when effecting an arrest; overwhelming numbers is the best way to avoid a fight. Those numbers don't need to offend people.

Our department was driven by stats. Activity had to be showed. A stat was a stat, especially when viewed from two levels above. If time was taken to talk and probe, and the stats suffered; it was frowned upon.

(I am not sure, however, anybody can reliably develop good sources inside a criminal gang. The members have too much to lose and besides, you can't leave them in place when they do a crime. The FBI tried that with Whitey Bulger in Boston and it didn't work. The main way I think, is negotiating with them after they are arrested.)

Most guys try as hard as they can but American departments are structured as to preclude doing the things COIN requires.

Just as an aside, though, good corrections officers know the value of courtesy and respectfully dealing with everybody. It is the difference between the job being easy and hard.

04-05-2006, 05:40 PM
Military planners need to understand how civil authorities manage populations where physical intimidation and a lack of a law enforcing/security personnel are the norm in order to better plan and execute operations in Iraq and future contingencies.

If the presence of US military personnel will be perceived as a violation of Possee Comitatus, why not use Indian Reservations for training? Are these areas not populated by people with diverse cultures and cultural indiosyncracies that would provide excellent examples for troops preparing to deploy overseas? Wouldnt this be the ideal place for CMO and cultural training to be practiced?

04-05-2006, 08:00 PM
The British Army and others here make much of our "low intensity" operational experience, with it's historical roots, e.g. Malaya and the impact of Northern Ireland. Once the RUC (Northern Irelands police) were capable and took primacy from the army - there was a well established structure for joint operations and more. Since the army were deployed in support for so long the interaction was considerable, notably with junior officers and NCOs with their police equivalents. The need for minimum use of force, not a principle readily compatible to the military, was accepted and there is an abundance of newsreel showing a gap between the rioters and the police/army.

The interaction worked both ways, the RUC absorbed some military methods and unquantified numbers of soldiers left to join the police (often after local marriages). Tasking & Co-Ordination Groups (TCG) now so familiar to UK policing come from the military.

Soldiers, or PMC, cannot become police officers easily, but it can be done temporarily in some situations. Police officers cannot become soldiers, remember here armed police are rare and SWAT equivalents far smaller than in the USA. The gendarmerie or para-military police model, usually identified as European, maybe easier to follow. Can anyone comment on them?

04-05-2006, 09:41 PM
I dont think anyone is suggesting making our soldiers and sailors policemen; however, I fail to see how any additional training by civilian police officers who work counter-gang issues would not be a good thing.

05-22-2006, 12:51 AM
I think that dedicating the resourcings to learning the language and culture would be some of the most beneficial training for COIN. How best do you win the population over to your side? Be able to communicate with them in their language and be able to understand the nuances in their culture so that you can use that to your advantage. I felt that our MOUT skills were more than adequate, our battle drills are vastly superior to those demonstrated by the insurgents with few exceptions. We don't need more trigger time, but a better understanding of culture and language across all ranks.

05-22-2006, 01:28 AM
I think it would be easier to trasfer basic police skills to infantry units so they could handle the first phase of an operation, which could still envolve heavy combat, which police could not handle.
Suggested list:
gang suppersion,crowd control, heavy dose of community or problem oriented police work, physical security of critical buildings. Time 2 weeks.

maybe certain persons should attend advanced courses, plain clothes detail,undercover ops,sting ops,basic investigations. This would greatly increase your local intell.

05-22-2006, 02:32 AM
I think it would be easier to trasfer basic police skills to infantry units so they could handle the first phase of an operation, which could still envolve heavy combat, which police could not handle.
Suggested list:
gang suppersion,crowd control, heavy dose of community or problem oriented police work, physical security of critical buildings. Time 2 weeks.

maybe certain persons should attend advanced courses, plain clothes detail,undercover ops,sting ops,basic investigations. This would greatly increase your local intell.

If you can't speak the language, then your benefit is nothing. No plain clothes deatils, no undercover ops, no sting ops, no investigations. Besides, part of the job of the military is to provide an overt (but not overbearing) presence to provide a sense of security. However, how you interact with the poulace will determine if the presence is overbearing or reassuring.

I'm sure that all our guys in uniform want the best for the Iraqi people; however, it's hard to get that intent across when you have body armor and weapons creating an artificial wall between soldiers and the populace, a barrier that is only exacerbated by the lack of language skills and having to work conversations at a glacial pace through an interpreter that may or may not be able to translate and convey the meaning of conversations to their full extent. Provide language skills, and you can begin to bridge that gap.

05-22-2006, 03:41 AM
I think it would be easier to trasfer basic police skills to infantry units so they could handle the first phase of an operation, which could still envolve heavy combat, which police could not handle.
Suggested list:
gang suppersion,crowd control, heavy dose of community or problem oriented police work, physical security of critical buildings. Time 2 weeks.

maybe certain persons should attend advanced courses, plain clothes detail,undercover ops,sting ops,basic investigations. This would greatly increase your local intell.
Don't take offense, but you are mirror imaging way too much. You can't just slap a domestic US LE solution onto what is going on Iraq or onto COIN in general. Hell, it doesn't even work everywhere in the US.

I recommend you take a good read of what is currently going on, much of which does involve aspects of LE:

CSIS published a good look at Iraqi military and security forces back in March: Iraqi Force Development: A Current Status Report July 2005-February 2006 (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/060215_iraqforceupdate.pdf). You'd probably be most interested in the section on Problems and Progress in the Iraqi Special Security Forces and Police, which starts on page 71 of the pdf file.

For the PAO version of current events, The Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq publishes The Advisor (http://www.mnstci.iraq.centcom.mil/advisor.htm) weekly. You can sign up to have it sent to your e-mail address every Saturday.

These two pubs provide a good view of how the Armor and Artillery branches are trying to think, train and operate outside of their conventional mission:

Field Artillery Magazine (http://sill-www.army.mil/famag/index.asp)

Armor Magazine (http://www.knox.army.mil/center/ocoa/ArmorMag/index.htm)

05-22-2006, 06:01 AM
I thought I would chip in over here because of my rather long experience in Kashmir, in war, in the non Insurgency period (in the No War No Peace hostile and active environment) and in active Counter Insurgency .

The background is essential to be understood.

The first issue that inhibits counter insurgency is political leash. Here, I should not be mistaken for advocating the the "gung ho" approach. I am taking about the faulty administration of the govt which leads to problems, unilateral political decision that impedes the work of the army (i.e. releasing terrorists for political reasons etc), the misplaced activism of NGOs and do gooders, who, without understanding issues, act as the "world conscience", and of course the Human Rights issues that are taken up by the Courts on any old trumped up case, which wastes time and effort and divert much energy to disprove the "issues" raised! I am not advocating that the Human Rights violation should go scot free. I am merely stating that there should be a fast track method to resolve the cases brought to their notice.

This is more so a problem for third world countries because, like it or not, owing to so many military coups and political skulduggery in the third world, the western world tend to club all countries of the third world as "shaky democracies" or "tinpot dictatorships" with barbaric military! Therefore, any bogus media spin with an agenda, is believed in the West to be true! And like it or not, the opinion of the West becomes the world opinion. For instance Kashmir has been festering for ages because of the cross border terrorism, but it has become "real" only after 9/11 and even UK (which allowed cross border Kashmiri terrorism to bear fruit in her wombs because all types of malcontents were allowed a free run) has started singing a different tune after terrorism struck home (July 7)!

To combat terrorism, it is essential that units being inducted are put through their paces in a "Counter Insurgency" School. This is essential because units have to "unlearn" regular military tactics and learn "counter insurgency" tactics since one is not fighting an "enemy", Any high handed action will only alienate the people and breed more terrorists instead. Thus, Minimum force with a human face is necessary.

The use of artillery or air may give quick results, but they are temporary, and they actually breed more terrorists than subduing them. That is obvious since the vast and extensive damage, apart from the terror that artillery and air can imbibe in the civilian population, is hard to beat! Counter Insurgency should be with minimum force and with minimum collateral damage.

Areas which have insurgency are generally underdeveloped. While it is advisable to shore up the economy with mega projects, but they require long gestation periods and results are too long to manifest itself on the good of the population. And when it does, these projects do not directly manifest itself on the welfare of the individual per se. Therefore, while it is necessary that one must develop the economy, what is more important is to design and ensure fructification of projects that affect the individual's well being immediately. That has be better effect to prove that there is a genuine effort to do good for the people.

The military operating in such areas of unrest are better equipped to advise as to what is the crying local requirement, better than the government and their bureaucrats, since they are usually cowering down for their own safety rather than bothering themselves with the concerns of the people! Here again, politics take over and the govt addresses issues that give them short term political gains rather than caring for the people.

05-22-2006, 01:55 PM
Jed, I have been shot, shot at,cut,stabbed, called every name in the book, in several languages, I was even ambushed in my own front yard, so don't worry about offending me. I stayed up late last night going over the web sites about disarming programs. I appreciate all the information you provide. I am at work now but I will respond tonight.

ps- The only person who upset me was 539 all i ever saw state troopers do was right tickets and take pictures of wrecks, never new they did police work.(just kidding)

05-22-2006, 10:23 PM
Jed, I just got home so here is part two of my response.

1-as usual thanks for the web sites. I was already reading FAMG old issues where they used the CARVER targeting technique in soldier delivered information operations in Kosovo, very interesting. I am still finishing the info on DIAG again very interesting.

2-I don't mean we should slap on a US style LE operation and think everything will work. I do think LE skills should be added to company commanders and below for them to use as they see fit based upon the situation.

3-Just because anti-gang units didn't work does not mean there aren't LE ops thet are very sucessfull. In fact the more successfull the less publicity they get. R.O.T.(retake our turff) was used extensively in the south, result no major gang activity, only a few so called baby gang bangers are left. later.

05-22-2006, 10:31 PM
Yes, I can see where communicating is critical. But you are exactly the kind of person who would get alot out of LE training. You showed excellant street smarts when you noticed a helmet and weapon can be non verbal barriers to communication. I had and old and wise training officer tell me to always take my hat and sunglasses off when I talk to people if the situation was non threatening. Made a big difference at times.