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SWJED
06-23-2008, 08:43 PM
Recently post to the M-NF - I Web Page - Multi-National Force-Iraq Commander’s Counterinsurgency Guidance (http://www.mnf-iraq.com/images/CGs_Messages/080621_coin_%20guidance.pdf).

- Secure and serve the population. The Iraqi people are the decisive “terrain.” Together with our Iraqi partners, work to provide the people security, to give them respect, to gain their support, and to facilitate establishment of local governance, restoration of basic services, and revival of local economies.

- Live among the people. You can’t commute to this fight. Position Joint Security Stations, Combat Outposts, and Patrol Bases in the neighborhoods we intend to secure. Living among the people is essential to securing them and defeating the insurgents.

- Hold areas that have been secured. Once we clear an area, we must retain it. Develop the plan for holding an area before starting to clear it. The people need to know that we and our Iraqi partners will not abandon their neighborhoods. When reducing forces and presence, gradually thin the line rather than handing off or withdrawing completely. Ensure situational awareness even after transfer of responsibility to Iraqi forces.

- Pursue the enemy relentlessly. Identify and pursue AQI and other extremist elements tenaciously. Do not let them retain support areas or sanctuaries. Force the enemy to respond to us. Deny the enemy the ability to plan and conduct deliberate operations.

- Generate unity of effort. Coordinate operations and initiatives with our embassy and interagency partners, our Iraqi counterparts, local governmental leaders, and nongovernmental organizations to ensure all are working to achieve a common purpose.

- Promote reconciliation. We cannot kill our way out of this endeavor. We and our Iraqi partners must identify and separate the “reconcilables” from the “irreconcilables” through engagement, population control measures, information operations, kinetic operations, and political activities. We must strive to make the reconcilables a part of the solution, even as we identify, pursue, and kill, capture, or drive out the irreconcilables.

- Defeat the network, not just the attack. Defeat the insurgent networks to the “left” of the explosion. Focus intelligence assets to identify the network behind an attack, and go after its leaders, financiers, suppliers, and operators.

- Foster Iraqi legitimacy. Encourage Iraqi leadership and initiative; recognize that their success is our success. Partner in all that we do and support local involvement in security, governance, economic revival, and provision of basic services. Find the right balance between Coalition Forces leading and the Iraqis exercising their leadership and initiative, and encourage the latter. Legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people is essential to overall success.

- Employ all assets to isolate and defeat the terrorists and insurgents. Counter-terrorist forces alone cannot defeat Al-Qaeda and the other extremists; success requires all forces and all means at our disposal—non-kinetic as well as kinetic. Employ Coalition and Iraqi conventional and special operations forces, Sons of Iraq, and all other available multipliers. Integrate civilian and military efforts to cement security gains. Resource and fight decentralized. Push assets down to those who most need them and can actually use them.

- Employ money as a weapon system. Use a targeting board process to ensure the greatest effect for each “round” expended, and to ensure that each engagement using money contributes to the achievement of the unit’s overall objectives. Ensure contracting activities support the security effort, employing locals wherever possible. Employ a “matching fund” concept when feasible in order to ensure Iraqi involvement and commitment.

- Fight for intelligence. A nuanced understanding of the situation is everything. Analyze the intelligence that is gathered, share it, and fight for more. Every patrol should have tasks designed to augment understanding of the area of operations and the enemy. Operate on a “need to share” rather than a “need to know” basis; disseminate intelligence as soon as possible to all who can benefit from it.

- Walk. Move mounted, work dismounted. Stop by, don’t drive by. Patrol on foot and engage the population. Situational awareness can only be gained by interacting with the people face-to-face, not separated by ballistic glass.

- Understand the neighborhood. Map the human terrain and study it in detail. Understand local culture and history. Learn about the tribes, formal and informal leaders, governmental structures, and local security forces. Understand how local systems are supposed to work—including governance, basic services, maintenance of infrastructure, and the economy—and how they really work.

- Build relationships. Relationships are a critical component of counterinsurgency operations. Together with our Iraqi counterparts, strive to establish productive links with local leaders, tribal sheikhs, governmental officials, religious leaders, and interagency partners.

- Look for Sustainable Solutions. Build mechanisms by which the Iraqi Security Forces, Iraqi community leaders, and local Iraqis under the control of governmental institutions can continue to secure local areas and sustain governance and economic gains in their communities as the Coalition Force presence is reduced. Figure out the Iraqi systems and
help Iraqis make them work.

- Maintain continuity and tempo through transitions. Start to build the information you’ll provide to your successors on the day you take over. Allow those who will follow you to virtually “look over your shoulder” while they’re still at home station by giving them access to your daily updates and other items on SIPRNET. Encourage extra time on the ground during transition periods, and strive to maintain operational tempo and local relationships to avoid giving the enemy respite.

- Manage expectations. Be cautious and measured in announcing progress. Note what has been accomplished, but also acknowledge what still needs to be done. Avoid premature declarations of success. Ensure our troopers and our partners are aware of our assessments and recognize that any counterinsurgency operation has innumerable challenges, that enemies get a vote, and that progress is likely to be slow.

- Be first with the truth. Get accurate information of significant activities to your chain of command, to Iraqi leaders, and to the press as soon as is possible. Beat the insurgents, extremists, and criminals to the headlines, and pre-empt rumors. Integrity is critical to this fight. Don’t put lipstick on pigs. Acknowledge setbacks and failures, and then state what we’ve learned and how we’ll respond. Hold the press (and ourselves) accountable for accuracy, characterization, and context. Avoid spin and let facts speak for themselves. Challenge enemy disinformation. Turn our enemies’ bankrupt messages, extremist ideologies, oppressive practices, and indiscriminate violence against them.

- Fight the information war relentlessly. Realize that we are in a struggle for legitimacy that in the end will be won or lost in the perception of the Iraqi people. Every action taken by the enemy and United States has implications in the public arena. Develop and sustain a narrative that works and continually drive the themes home through all forms of media.

- Live our values. Do not hesitate to kill or capture the enemy, but stay true to the values we hold dear. This is what distinguishes us from our enemies. There is no tougher endeavor than the one in which we are engaged. It is often brutal, physically demanding, and frustrating. All of us experience moments of anger, but we can neither give in to dark impulses nor tolerate unacceptable actions by others.

- Exercise initiative. In the absence of guidance or orders, determine what they should be and execute aggressively. Higher level leaders will provide broad vision and paint “white lines on the road,” but it will be up to those at tactical levels to turn “big ideas” into specific actions.

- Prepare for and exploit opportunities. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” (Seneca the Younger). Develop concepts (such as that of “reconcilables” and “irreconcilables”) in anticipation of possible opportunities, and be prepared to take risk as necessary to take advantage of them.

- Learn and adapt. Continually assess the situation and adjust tactics, policies, and programs as required. Share good ideas (none of us is smarter than all of us together). Avoid mental or physical complacency. Never forget that what works in an area today may not work there tomorrow, and may or may not be transferable to another part of Iraq.

Cavguy
06-23-2008, 09:22 PM
Good stuff!

jcustis
06-23-2008, 09:40 PM
Yup...smells strangely of 28 Articles...:D

Rank amateur
06-23-2008, 11:57 PM
- Promote reconciliation.

Seems to me this is easier said than done. How do you promote reconciliation? (I'm not trying to be difficult. I think it's a useful question.)



- Secure and serve the population.

Now I am trying to be difficult :D, but I'm going to back up my point by quoting Kilcullen. He uses the term "population control," not serving the population. (Building a fence around Sadr City isn't serving the residents - it's imprisoning them - but it's effective because it controls them.)

Ron Humphrey
06-24-2008, 01:01 AM
Seems to me this is easier said than done. How do you promote reconciliation? (I'm not trying to be difficult. I think it's a useful question.)

Promotion of a given objective can take (many) forms and it is often this which those who read that particular line forget.




Now I am trying to be difficult :D, but I'm going to back up my point by quoting Kilcullen. He uses the term "population control," not serving the population. (Building a fence around Sadr City isn't serving the residents - it's imprisoning them - but it's effective because it controls them.)

The key thing you might consider is if said walls are meant to keep out unwanteds or to keep in residents

Your statement reminds me of trying to compare the Berlin Wall to the fences around our gated neighborhoods

Just a few thoughts...

jcustis
06-24-2008, 01:07 AM
Now I am trying to be difficult , but I'm going to back up my point by quoting Kilcullen. He uses the term "population control," not serving the population. (Building a fence around Sadr City isn't serving the residents - it's imprisoning them - but it's effective because it controls them.)

In order to "mobilize" them, which I think is the takeway from the 28 Articles, one cannot control the population forever, and hence we must serve them.

It's a hair-splitter for sure, but does the head of MNF-I believe we've turned that corner?

PhilR
06-24-2008, 08:10 AM
Its been over a year since Gen Petreaus implemented the Iraq Campaign Plan being executed. One of the problems of the campaign plan was that many of the basic COIN guiding feratures were lost in the mass of the document, especially as it got translated down the chain of command. This seems like an attempt to provide the "boiled down" guidance that would be applicable at the tactical level without having to wade through the operational and strategic elements of the plan. I don't see anything really new in here, but it is succinctly stated.
Gen Petreaus is also putting out this guidance just on the cusp of turning over the command to LtGen Odierno. Interesting timing.

Mark O'Neill
06-24-2008, 11:27 AM
Its been over a year since Gen Petreaus implemented the Iraq Campaign Plan being executed. One of the problems of the campaign plan was that many of the basic COIN guiding feratures were lost in the mass of the document, especially as it got translated down the chain of command. This seems like an attempt to provide the "boiled down" guidance that would be applicable at the tactical level without having to wade through the operational and strategic elements of the plan. I don't see anything really new in here, but it is succinctly stated.
Gen Petreaus is also putting out this guidance just on the cusp of turning over the command to LtGen Odierno. Interesting timing.

both Generals have been speaking to these points to troops in theatre over the last year (before Odierno handed over MNC-I and returned home). It was my observation that there was little or no practical difference between what the Force Commander and Corps Commander would speak about - and it certainly nested with the points posted above. It was a good example of displaying unity of command.

Steve Blair
06-24-2008, 02:57 PM
Seems to me this is easier said than done. How do you promote reconciliation? (I'm not trying to be difficult. I think it's a useful question.)

I think this was left open because reconciliation is going to mean different things in different locations. Those who've been to Iraq can speak to local conditions much better than I, but if you look at historical COIN cases you find different issues in different areas (or with different groups of people) within the same area of operations. I could list a number of examples from the Indian Wars, and a similar number from Vietnam.

You can promote reconciliation through local initiatives, by providing resources tooled to fit a specific community's needs and desires, and by allowing those who haven't been totally twisted a way to fit back into the community. Although never articulated (or thought of) in this way, the role of Indian scouts with the Frontier Army could be seen as a rough sort of reconciliation program. But each situation is going to need a different formula (one size fits all is especially dangerous here), so I think it was wise to spell out the general requirement and then leave it to local commanders and advisors to create the framework. The catch is to follow up and make sure that what's being done is effective.

Schmedlap
06-24-2008, 03:22 PM
Defeat the insurgent networks to the ďleftĒ of the explosion.

The is a curiously worded sentence.

Tom Odom
06-24-2008, 03:34 PM
The is a curiously worded sentence.

Pretty standard actually in the IED lingo, meaning defeat the network before it sets the IED, with left representing the start of a sequence that ends on the right with detonation.