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SWJED
10-25-2008, 08:48 PM
Short and sweet last year SWJ , Abu Muqawama (http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2007/12/coin-academy-reading-list.html) and others held a book drive (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/12/coin-academy-reading-list/) for the COIN Academy in Kabul. All things considered it went rather well.

My question to the Council considering all that needs to be done in Afghanistan how can we, SWJ and the Council directly aid our efforts in that theater of operations? I think we do a fair job on the education and general lessons learned side of the house can we, and should we, be doing more? Be creative and throw out all ideas - I'd like to hear them. Maybe there is something we can do that might make some type of difference...

John T. Fishel
10-25-2008, 09:22 PM
about what is being done already? Do we have any idea what Petraeus' JSAT is looking at? What is being taught to advisors bound for Afghanistan at Fort Riley? What are the holes in the curriculum?

We know that even a smattering of language is a real force multiplier for advisors and combat (CS and CSS) units that operate in an AO. Do we know if Pashto and Dari are being taught to folk going there? Rosetta Stone has a course in Pashto. Could we do something about making it available to folk going over?

Cheers

JohnT

Rob Thornton
10-26-2008, 02:39 AM
Dave,
COL John Agoglia (formerly the director out at PKSOI at Carlisle) is now heading up the Coin Academy in Afghanistan. He came by and saw the folks and centers located at Leavenworth recently. He'd mentioned one of his big challenges was getting the enough of the right kinds of people to where they could be of use to the Academy's mission. Unfortunately, that is also everyone's challenge.
Niel and the USA/USMC COIN Center are doing their best to facilitate a multi-way COIN knowledge flow, but the COIN Center is also carrying a heavy burden on a short number of very talented folks. Others, ourselves included, are also trying to help directly, or with related issues.
SWC has a unique population, with a number of skill sets, and back grounds. It could serve as a virtual reachback for unclassified issues - or for those with SIPR access we might be able to create smaller, ad hoc work groups for sensitive projects. Part of the problem with any ad hoc effort is identifying who knows what, how they can best be leveraged, and how to communicate from disparate locations.

If you wanted to do something like this, I'd say there are some things to do first:

1) Get a list of SWC volunteers and lets find out what their talents are. I mean education, work experiences, travel, language, hobbies, clearances, accessibility (are they stationary and retired, or are they hard to reach and on the go), who do they know, etc. If its relevant, or might be relevant it'd be good to know.

2) Group them in some fashion - maybe along the lines of PMESII, maybe something else - maybe several different ways. This is so as projects come up we get a list of the right people and we can better put together ad hoc teams.

3) I think that if you contacted COL Agoglia, perhaps through Niel,perhaps through your own work channel and gave him an idea of how he could leverage these ad hoc work groups based on the nature of the issue (UNCLASS, CLASSIFIED, or some other criteria) that would be a good start. If word were to get out, and the units, teams and others started informing him on what their needs are, then he could funnel them back as RFIs, you could access the data base, and start putting a team together. Or you could identify a likely team lead, and let them go through the list of those folks not currently committed to too heavy a work load.

I think where possible we would also want to leverage the projects of other teams - both those ongoing that are related, and those that are complete for but still relevant. Good organizations talk where possible and keep the lines of communication flat. Guys will need to check in and let leads and others know what is going on in their lives that may require a work redistribution.

Some things may need individual work spaces - UNCLASS, but sensitive, or immature. Where appropriate the broader SWC and CoI could be leveraged. It could be done as a a shout out / RFI for niche expertise, or through the grapevine like you do email updates for SWJ. If team members want to remain low key I'm sure you can accommodate that as well.

If COL Agoglia is not interested, not interested yet, or just can not take advantage of it at this time you can pitch it to others. However, the ground work itself may take a little while to put together. While the many military members here (current and former) offer a great deal, I'm always humbled by the many non-military folks on SWJ and the knowledge, energy and perspectives they bring to the table. Since there is more to this than just killing folks their contributions are always greatly appreciated.

Best, Rob

SWJED
10-26-2008, 05:23 AM
Thanks much John and Rob. This is just an idea that was rattling around in the brain housing group. I'm really looking for ideas, and this is a start - something unique and helpful - nothing in the way of replicating anything being done officially. That said, let's not limit this to support to the US military. As I said - support to our efforts - this includes non-military as well as coalition and host nation... All, please keep the ideas coming. Thanks,

Dave

Entropy
10-26-2008, 06:40 PM
Rob has some great ideas (as usual).

In a more general sense, I think the best thing SMJ and the council can do is continue to educate the folks going downrange as well as policymakers the general public to the greatest extent possible. SWC/J could also be an excellent reachback source for a variety of information/expertise.

I know from my own experience in theater that the intelligence RFI process is often too slow and cumbersome, particularly for general and unclassified information. So I think Rob's idea of SMC/J as a resource for informal and unclassified RFI's and as a virtual research resource is a good one. I'm not sure we could expand this into classified work easily, but ISTM there is a wealth of gray literature and FOUO info that could be exploited in such an effort.

SWJED
10-26-2008, 07:00 PM
Thanks E. I'm leaving this thread open for several weeks so there is no rush... Chew on what we may do.

Cavguy
10-26-2008, 07:53 PM
Dave,
COL John Agoglia (formerly the director out at PKSOI at Carlisle) is now heading up the Coin Academy in Afghanistan. He came by and saw the folks and centers located at Leavenworth recently. He'd mentioned one of his big challenges was getting the enough of the right kinds of people to where they could be of use to the Academy's mission. Unfortunately, that is also everyone's challenge.
Niel and the USA/USMC COIN Center are doing their best to facilitate a multi-way COIN knowledge flow, but the COIN Center is also carrying a heavy burden on a short number of very talented folks. Others, ourselves included, are also trying to help directly, or with related issues.
SWC has a unique population, with a number of skill sets, and back grounds. It could serve as a virtual reachback for unclassified issues - or for those with SIPR access we might be able to create smaller, ad hoc work groups for sensitive projects. Part of the problem with any ad hoc effort is identifying who knows what, how they can best be leveraged, and how to communicate from disparate locations.



Rob,

Thanks for the props.

I'll think through this and perhaps work some options that the COIN Center can do next week

Will second that COL Agoglia is looking for good people (uniform types) to volunteer to work at the COIN Center in Kabul. He is working to make it useful to theater much like COIN CFE in Taji was in Iraq.

First they need the "right" sort of people - knowledgeable in COIN and willing to work. The second is our larger battle - convincing the senior leadership to resource and value such institutions.

I returned last week from a week in Poland helping train Afghan Transition Teams from 15 countries (about 150 OMLT members) - the classes JCISFA (Rob's org), Ft. Riley, and the COIN Center (me) gave really made an impact - and the sad part was that for most of the nations this was their first exposure to 'COIN 101' and 'advisory techniques 101'. Nearly everyone was stoked after our presentations about getting to Kabul for the COIN classes there. There is a lot of work to be done in syncing the multinational effort in Afghanistan to be done.

If anyone wants more info PM and I'll put you in contact.