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LS
07-30-2009, 08:16 PM
I'm looking for discussion and/or guidance (to references).

I just got back from working with COM ISAF on the 60-day assessment. One of the basic theological questions that we never really discussed, but rather took as a foregone conclusion was whether we should be using the lens, vocabulary, taxonomies, and metrics of a COIN operation or a FID mission.

This is theological and existential for me because in the former paradigm "we" (the US, the international community; external interested parties) are the center-of-effort and -gravity with respect to changing the situation on the ground. It's "our" strategies, our resources, our initiatives, etc. In the latter case (FID), it's very explicitly ~not~ the externals who are on the hook to win the thing.

I do know - first hand - that COIN preaches as a central tenent the primacy of host nation interests, actors, and governance. But that's like sex ed from a priest; it's not really as believable as the 'real deal,' which I think a FID model would better emulate.

If this has been written about, I'd like to know. And if there are opinions I'd love to hear them. I've been short with text here in respect for your (and my) time. I'm happy to wax more eloquent if this is a discussion that has legs.

Cheers all and thanks,

LS

marct
07-30-2009, 09:27 PM
Hi LS,

Well, my take on it is that it is FID by stupidity using COIN tactics. I say "by stupidity", because I think that both Iraq and Afghanistan should have been occupations followed by a ground-up development of a democracy (if that was the desired end state and assuming that the wars were justified in the first place [Definitely not the place for that debate]).

The reason why I say it currently is FID is that the legitimacy of the current Iraqi and Afghan governments is dependent upon and stems from their recognition by the international community of states - it does not derive from a "home grown" movement. The elections in each, while arguably "fair", are not really perceived as being "home grown".

I would suggest that in Iraq this is moving over increasingly to become the "reality" - Tom would be in a much better position to comment on Iraq. In Afghanistan, my take, for what it's worth, is that the Karzai regime has little local legitimacy as does the entire government and its processes. It's reminding me a bit of Emperor Maximillian and Mexico (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximillian_of_Mexico).

So, on the whole, I would have to say that it is FID in general with too many of the major actors resembling the Keystone Cops.

Old Eagle
07-30-2009, 09:29 PM
I'll be back tomorrow.

Reader's Digest version.
Start by looking up the doctrinal definitions we use. I will post them later.

FID is foreign internal defense in support of a host nation's internal defense and development plan (IDAD). FID can be conducted in the absence of an insurgency. If an insurgency is present, counterinsurgency may be necessary as a part of the FID mission.

Max? Klugzilla?

Old Eagle
07-30-2009, 09:33 PM
And your other question about UW is similar. UW means something very specific to most of us -- the raising, training, equipping, employment, etc of an indigenous force. Other uses of the term only muddy the waters.

Once again -- Max & Jon can add official defns and elaborate.

Gotta go.

Klugzilla
07-30-2009, 09:34 PM
For what it is worth...

FID refers to the participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in any of the action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, insurgency, terrorism, and other threats to their security. The
focus of all US FID efforts is to support the HNís program of internal defense anddevelopment (IDAD). FID can only occur when there is a HN that has asked for assistance. The US will generally employ a mix of diplomatic, economic, informational, and military instruments of national power in support of these objectives. Military assistance is often necessary in order to provide the secure environment for the above efforts to become effective. For example, a FID program may help a HN to improve the capability or capacity of one of its programs such as counterdrug activities or quell the nascent stages of an insurgency.

FID may or may not include countering an insurgency. When FID includes countering an insurgency, COIN is part of FID. COIN only refers to actions aimed at countering an insurgency whereas FID can aim at dealing with any one or a combination of subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency. In most
cases, the joint force conducts COIN as part of a larger FID program supporting the HN government. COIN that is not part of FID is an uncommon situation, and it should be a transitory situation where the US and any multinational partners should work to establish or reestablish HN sovereignty. The military instrument of FID includes direct, indirect, and combat. This can cause confusion as a lot of folks use U.S. FID and the military instrument of FID interchangeably, which is not correct.

LS
07-30-2009, 09:42 PM
FID is defined as "Participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in any of the action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency."

Counterinsurgency is defined as “military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.”

(both taken from JP 1-02 DoD Dictionary of Military and associated terms)

This suggests to me that external assistance cannot be doctrinally described as COIN... (it's a stretch I know...)

Klugzilla
07-30-2009, 09:45 PM
UW is distinctly different from FID and COIN, as Old Eagle mentioned, although it can occur within other operations. My spin is below.

UW is a special operations mission. UW is a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations normally of long duration and conducted by, with, and through indigenous or surrogate forces. These surrogate forces are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source. UW activities include, but are not limited to, insurgency, guerrilla warfare, subversion, sabotage, intelligence, PSYOP, and unconventional assisted recovery. UW most frequently refers to the military and paramilitary aspects of an insurgency designed to resist, overthrow, or gain political autonomy from an established government or used to resist or expel a foreign occupying power. However, UW can also refer to military and paramilitary support to an armed group seeking increased power and influence relative to its political rivals without overthrowing the central government and
in the absence of a foreign occupying power.

Entropy
07-30-2009, 09:53 PM
One of the basic theological questions that we never really discussed, but rather took as a foregone conclusion was whether we should be using the lens, vocabulary, taxonomies, and metrics of a COIN operation or a FID mission.

Honest question: How much does it really matter which you use, particularly since operations in Afghanistan span a wide range of conflict?

Klugzilla
07-30-2009, 09:55 PM
This suggests to me that external assistance cannot be doctrinally described as COIN... (it's a stretch I know...)

You are right in that would doctrinally be support to COIN, which is part of a larger U.S. FID program. You might have the military instrument of FID (direct, indirect, and combat) support COIN. If there is no HN goverment and U.S. forces are actually conducting COIN, it is not FID. No HN government, no FID.

Would we be better off with less terms and fewer concepts? Probably. Is that in the realm of the possible? No.

LS
07-30-2009, 09:59 PM
thanks to all for your thoughts.

Some clarifications: I'm not interested here in UW. I'm familiar with the concept and execution of UW and can easily imagine that there is somewhere UW planning being done wrt to GIROA. I don't wanna know about it...

And I'm less interested in putting our current engagement in AFG into a "FID" or "COIN" basket than I am untangling - deconstructing as it were - the logic of our actions <-- concepts of operation <-- intellectual constructs about the nature of the problem, vocabularies, etc <-- Kantian "Categories" (as evidenced here by "COIN" or "FID").

In other words, given the exact same Common Relevant Operating Picture (CROP, COP, SA, whatever), how would proposed COAs be different if one "team" (at a JUW10, for example *grin*) used a doctrinal FID model, vice another "team" that was instructed to use a doctrinal COIN model. How would it effect JMD's? Would the LOOs be different? Would we look for different PME among our officers? Would the desired profile be different at all levels? NCO, Company- or field-grade? Flag level? Would the mixure of resources (civil and military) be different in a FID vice a COIN situation?

I've done FID; both as a member of the military and as various sorts of civilian. I ~know~ first hand that my DOTMLPF will be dramatically different if you tell me "Your mission is to go and fight/counter this insurgency," than if you tell me "Your mission is to go and do what is required to enable GIRoA to fight/counter this insurgency."

Maybe this is all semantics (as was pretty strongly suggested during a discussion along these lines in theatre). But somehow I don't think that it is.

Anyway, thanks again (and in advance) for the contributions and the thought...

LS
07-30-2009, 10:03 PM
Entropy,

this is the crux of my arguement. If you personally were to do an initial CONOP for COM ISAF and were told to prepare for a FID mission, how would your concept (and subsequent RFFs, JMDs, etc) be different from the exact same situation, only told to prepare for COIN?

I guess I'm intuitively thinking it ~does~ make a significant difference. Even if (only) at the subliminal level.

Entropy
07-30-2009, 10:44 PM
I ~know~ first hand that my DOTMLPF will be dramatically different if you tell me "Your mission is to go and fight/counter this insurgency," than if you tell me "Your mission is to go and do what is required to enable GIRoA to fight/counter this insurgency."

Exactly, and in Afghanistan we are doing both. I'm not sure how useful it is to pick one over the other at the level of "Afghanistan" or, if you're like me and take a bigger picture, at the "AF-Pak" level.

LS
07-30-2009, 10:59 PM
Exactly, and in Afghanistan we are doing both. I'm not sure how useful it is to pick one over the other at the level of "Afghanistan" or, if you're like me and take a bigger picture, at the "AF-Pak" level.

*huh* Good point. I hadn't thought of it, but I suppose one could argue that our approach in PAK is tilted towards FID, while our approach in AFG is decidedly more COIN.

I've been looking at references this afternoon, and am really disappointed that most of the official literature still limits FID to security assistance, and still (apparently) overlooks the non-kinetic requirements for a viable State (that can, in turn win their COIN fight).

Entropy, where I don't think I agree with you (yet!) is I don't think we're doing FID in AFG (we're not "doing both." We're fighting a COIN fight...). Our efforts to build ANSF are really in support of our own COIN (and other) objectives; not, as would be the case in a true FID-driven mission, IOT give GIROA the capacity to win this fight. Data points? The POI for ANSF are ours, not theirs. Less decisive, but still important (to my mind), the standards for training are ours; artificially high, especially in areas of human rights and other western constructs.

LS
07-30-2009, 11:04 PM
Or maybe "complication," is a better word...

Is one reason I'm looking for justifications to use FID lenses for looking at AFG the fact that FID is (usually) conducted in support of IDAD, and IDAD is really what GIROA so desperately needs?

While FID explicitly recognizes this larger, civil context for "the fight," COIN gives it a more rhetorical nod...

Klugzilla
07-30-2009, 11:58 PM
For what it is worth, I think we should be doing FID at the Afghan or Af/Pak level. Beneath that there should be an appropriate mix of COIN/CT/CN/PE/etc. based on the local environment. However, I get the feeling (not having been to that theater, only Iraq) that we have been conducting predominantly counterguerrilla operations. I'll defer to others who have been there.

Ken White
07-31-2009, 12:14 AM
understand the problem. LS and others posted definitions, all of which I agree with. So IMO, we are now performing FID. Period. We are not performing COIN because the US has no insurgents to fight (That is not just a semantic quibble; whose insurgents are they?).

We are using COIN TTP to assist the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) with their COIN operation. We are also assisting them in the control of smuggling and other criminal operations. Well, that's mostly what we say, anyway...

LS said:
"we" (the US, the international community; external interested parties) are the center-of-effort and -gravity with respect to changing the situation on the ground. It's "our" strategies, our resources, our initiatives, etc. In the latter case (FID), it's very explicitly ~not~ the externals who are on the hook to win the thing.'Win' is a very bad word to use with respect to either FID or COIN because the almost certain best end will be an acceptable outcome. One cannot win other than at a tactical level. So there's not going to be a win and that word needs to disappear. Neither will there be a defeat -- so that word should never appear.

Regarding the point in the quoted statement, perhaps a part of the problem is just that: It is "our" strategies, our resources, our initiatives, etc. and maybe a little less of that would let everyone know that what we're doing there is FID. As you say:
I don't think we're doing FID in AFG (we're not "doing both." We're fighting a COIN fight...). Our efforts to build ANSF are really in support of our own COIN (and other) objectives; not, as would be the case in a true FID-driven mission, IOT give GIROA the capacity to win this fight. Data points? The POI for ANSF are ours, not theirs. Less decisive, but still important (to my mind), the standards for training are ours; artificially high, especially in areas of human rights and other western constructs.(emphasis added /kw) I believe that makes my point. As we all know, artificially high levels will fall precipitously absent an enforcer. So will most western constructs (not to mention that it takes more time to 'train' people when you try to change what they think...).

We went from MCO against an organized (more or less...) State force (also more or less...) to controlling the chaos of toppled governments to conducting military operations against bandits and insurgents (insurging against another government we helped establish) in support of nascent governments to the conduct of FID. Well, that's where we should be -- but we haven't quite arrived and the sooner we do the better off everyone will be. ADDED: That includes the meeting of our other objectives...

What's required is FID. We are NOT doing COIN but we using COIN TTP where appropriate to assist the host nation. 'Host Nation' is important -- it is NOT our nation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

What follows is esoteric background from open sources to remind everyone how we got where we are; those who know all that obviously should ignore it.

What all the above amounts to is that MarcT was pretty well correct in the first response on the thread. We are doing FID and we were forced into it by several factors and we have been slow to adapt. While that's simplistic to some, it's accurate. We went to Afghanistan with no coherent plan because none of the active planners knew enough to do it properly and / or they were not listened to by senior people. We went to Iraq and walked into Saddam's little hornets nest that he told us he was preparing -- letting prisoners out of jails, weapons everywhere, medals to Russian Generals and again planning was flawed and good things were ignored. Not picking on anyone; those are just facts. Realize that in the case of both nations we were doing something no one had any experience with, no one in command had been in combat command at the echelon in which they were serving -- and in no combat at all with rare exceptions for ten years. Few had been trained to expect or do the things that would confront us. In both cases, some good plans were tossed aside by direction of...

All things considered we did it pretty well and -- this is important; what it was was not what it became and that is not what it now is.

Seems to me the 'problem' arose due to our method of entry and a lack of proper guidance from our Political Masters. None of them know enough to say 'FID' OR 'COIN' and frankly, the Army as an institution * -- and thus CentCom and DoD -- could not provide better guidance so everything just sort of happened. Our Personnel system and its rotational processes meant that about the time someone really learned the job; they moved. We compounded that by shifting the wrong units to Iraq and never placing units back in an AO or on a mission they had previously performed or were even suited for in some caes. Our doctrinal and training failure during the 90s * led to a learning curve exacerbated by the distraction of Iraq -- which was a different war on several levels but also latterly was a case of FID and Assistance to the Host Nation in the conduct of COIN operations.

Note in both cases, we overthrew the existing government and thus were not conducting FID but instead were conducting PreNatal Development which should have transmuted into today's FID once we had designed and installed a government which immediately began it's own transmutation into a new sovereign government. We just need to back off a bit.

We do not do FID well because we have to be in charge, we're impatient and anyone who doesn't do it our way is wrong. Thus we get to be overbearing and while we're tolerated for the 'help' we offer, we build up a lot of resentment. Trying to make the 'assisted[' nation an image of the US in some respects does not help. This thread is indicative of that dichotomy; we run around the world and get invovled in FID but all to often, overdo it and must run everything, therefor the Troops are confused; "Am I doing COIN or FID?" Answer is neither or both (depending on who one asks). Or it's 'c.' Both of the above. Or one today, the other tomorrow... :rolleyes:

Not smart. Not at all.

* There were people in the services that knew what needed to be done in 2001-3 but they were not in positions to adequately influence planning. There were people in the services in the 1975-2000 period who strongly advised against dismissing nation building, COIN TTP and FID among other things. They were ignored.

Entropy
07-31-2009, 04:16 AM
*huh* Good point. I hadn't thought of it, but I suppose one could argue that our approach in PAK is tilted towards FID, while our approach in AFG is decidedly more COIN.

Even if there was agreement on where the border is located, there are a substantial number of people on both sides that don't recognize it.

Then there are other substantial numbers of people who have long existed under, at best, very limited authority from any central government. There are some groups that don't recognize any authority outside their own extended tribal structure. This is true on both sides of the border. What does the "i" in FID mean in these cases? What about the "i" in COIN? We see these people as "internal" because of lines on a map, we call some of them "insurgents" because they actively oppose central government, yet many of them see things quite differently. Do we have terminology and doctrine to change these kinds of loyalty structures, far removed and long hostile to any central government?

The point being is that I don't think our doctrinal constructs can hope to fit a place like Afghanistan or Pakistan, even assuming guidance from policymakers is clear, which, as Ken notes, it isn't.

IMO, Afghanistan and Pakistan are like conjoined Frankenstein twins - a menagerie of peoples that have yet to solidify into something resembling our Western concept of nationhood and likely never will. What is it called when we assist a central government in what amounts to conquering its own territory and its own peoples? Whatever it is, I don't think it's FID or COIN, but maybe it contains elements of both. We also need to consider that even Pakistan has been unable (and, it turns out, unwilling) to subjugate its people to its authority either through coercion or accommodation or FID or COIN.

Secondly, I think there is FID going on in Afghanistan, it's just that not much of it gets noticed and so much of it has been utter failure. The problems and issues are nicely detailed in a Richard Sale article in the ME Times (link to the full-text at another site (http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2009/07/crippling-obamas-counterinsurgency-strategy---richard-sale.html)) and those problems are nothing new:


Much of the ANPís incompetence is due to a lack of adequate training but their mission of administering the rule of law is sidetracked and distorted by the sinister influence of power brokers or war lords. Afghan expert Gretchen Peters in a recent book ďSeeds of Terror,Ē wrote of one power broker, Haji Juma Khan, as a criminal skilled in building networks and schemes to corrupt officials wherever he has chosen to operate. Provincial governorsí security agents, officials in the Highway Police or regional military commanders were all his targets. U.S. officials report that many Taliban commanders have forged affective and close ties with Afghan police officials which have proved troublesome. A recent UN report detailed a complex system of kickbacks involving 36 districts where governorships, customs and police postings are up for auction with the job winners paying huge fees to senior officials to keep their place. Top police officials in key districts pay $10,000 a month for job security, Peters said.

Cordesman noted in his report that power brokers see any improvement in police efficiency as a threat to their own operations and are desperate to forestall it by any means. But Cordesman and others make clear that their activity can only be countered by making vast improvements in the ANP leadership.

There are more details in Cordesman's report here (http://csis.org/files/publication/090727_ansf_draft.pdf). The short version is that it's hard to conduct FID when the population thinks the police are just a bunch of criminals.

Tom Odom
07-31-2009, 06:35 AM
From Ken: LS and others posted definitions, all of which I agree with. So IMO, we are now performing FID. Period. We are not performing COIN because the US has no insurgents to fight (That is not just a semantic quibble; whose insurgents are they?).

We are using COIN TTP to assist the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) with their COIN operation. We are also assisting them in the control of smuggling and other criminal operations. Well, that's mostly what we say, anyway...

In short we are supporting the host nation in their COIN effort or whatever as part of FID
Tom

William F. Owen
07-31-2009, 07:07 AM
In short we are supporting the host nation in their COIN effort or whatever as part of FID


...so we could say "conducting warfare against irregular forces, in support of asserting the authority of the national government."

Does that express the same means and ends?

Tom Odom
07-31-2009, 08:08 AM
...so we could say "conducting warfare against irregular forces, in support of asserting the authority of the national government."

Does that express the same means and ends?

yes, the difference being that mine (and Ken's) is using US doctrinal terms

LS
07-31-2009, 08:52 PM
Entropy: "IMO, Afghanistan and Pakistan are like conjoined Frankenstein twins - a menagerie of peoples that have yet to solidify into something resembling our Western concept of nationhood and likely never will."

I don't disagree, but it's not terribly relevant to USG (inter)national security imperativies. Our goal is an AFG that can police it's territory. That requires a "State," not a "Nation" (though I will certainly concede that some form of national identity or social contract is essential for a State to be seen as credible...)

Regarding ANP: This deserves a dissertation, but all your points below are accurate. It is training; and it is the pervasive corruption as well. I had a police trainer (UK) tell me, in speaking about the ANP training, that "Training these guys and then returning them to the same broken corrupt system is like purifying a glass of water then pouring it back into a cesspool."

I feel quite strongly that we should ~not~ continue with the shape-clear-hold-build paradigm until we have some HN agency that can manage the "hold" without being seen by the local population as worse than the Taliban. And that is currently the case in Helmand province, where USMC clearing activities are being followed by ANP who are corrupt and predatory, and do enoromous damage to our efforts...

But back to my thesis question: I now believe the following to be reasonably accurate (and yes, that's two colons in a single sentence):

1. FID is, ideally, an element of a broader Internal Defense and Development (IDAD) strategy by/for a HN government, typically in a fragile or failing state. FID in a ~failed~ state would be like rendering first aid to a corpse.

2. COIN practiced by the US military is usually done in support of a FID mission, per the above.

3. US military doctrine, understandably, focusses on military assistance to COIN/FID, paying lip-service to the importance of other (non-military) aspects of the FID/IDAD mission.

4. Reatively little is written with authority about non-military aspects of FID/IDAD, not to mention those aspects of State-building/improvement/sustainment that must accompany IDAD if it's to be successful.

5. The primary failures in AFG are, as a matter of observation, in those specific areas of non-military FID/IDAD State-building/improvement/sustainment.

6. If a US Commander views his task as a COIN mission, s/he will approach the allocation of resources, METLs, RFFs, and training differently than if s/he has been told that the mission is FID, with potentially significant elements of COIN and direct combat support to the HN.

Comments? Thoughts?

Old Eagle
07-31-2009, 09:00 PM
You might also look at the CORDS program in Vietnam, where there was a different, possibly more formal model of a tactical interagency program.

I would submit that there is still a significant combined and interagency effort in Afgh along the non-military LOOs.

LS
07-31-2009, 09:53 PM
You might also look at the CORDS program in Vietnam, where there was a different, possibly more formal model of a tactical interagency program.

I would submit that there is still a significant combined and interagency effort in Afgh along the non-military LOOs.

OE: I don't disagree that there is significant presence by lots of USG agencies, bureaux, and offices. But that's like watching a crowd standing around a traffic accident and assuming someone has taken charge and is doing triage, providing assistance, calling 911, etc.

I think, on a scale of 1-to-10, where 1 is virtually no interagency or combined civ-mil collaboration and 10 is fully-integrated, we're about a 3. And happy, because we used to be at a 2; so we've improved our performance by 30%. But, IOT succeed, we really need to be at about a 7; and that would require a "revolution in civ-mil affairs." Radical things!

Ken White
07-31-2009, 10:21 PM
If this is correct:
Our goal is an AFG that can police it's territory. That requires a "State," not a "Nation" (though I will certainly concede that some form of national identity or social contract is essential for a State to be seen as credible...).That's achievable. If anyone wants to add to that goal words implying democratic in the western sense and / or at least slightly corruption free, it can become unachievable. Your UK Police Trainer has it exactly right and we are highly unlikely to change that; the focus on the Police was an error in wishful thinking by some and was caused by too many people reading too much theory and not watching what occurred on the ground.

Your HN Agency to manage the hold is the ANA -- and if that continues on its current track, there is an excellent chance that a crossover effect in ten or a few more years from today might improve the ANP. Might.

On your points:

1. True. That's why we don't do it at all well, we generally walk in too late. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we made the corpse. Mouth to mouth is not pleasant and it may or may not be successful. Still, we have to try for several reasons...

2. FID may or may not require military forces. If they are committed, support of the HN COIN operation is generally expected. Why else would the Military force be committed.

3. True.

4. Not correct, a host of stuff appeared in the 1961-70 period and some has appeared after that. The problem is no one wanted to think about it so it was ignored. Old Eagle is correct, check the CORDS stuff; better yet, tell the other Agencies to check their CORDS stuff. The problem now is that many agencies are being drug to the altar kicking and screaming and Papa Eichenberry needs to spank 'em. The senior US 'civilian' needs to be seen by some of those folks to be in charge; they'll resist military-in-charge just to be contrary. There'll be a minor problem in that Eichenberry is a military retiree but he speaks Manadarin so that'll help with some. :rolleyes:

The civil side can and probably will get there but it's worse than pulling teeth... :(

5. True and unlikely to change.

6. True but his mission was and always is combat, call it COIN and be wrong, call it whatever you wish but combat is the reason the US Commander is there. FID is NOT a combat unit mission, it is a national undertaking using various US agencies for their normal mission parameter purposes to assist the host nation. Support of COIN operations of the host nation is a combat unit mission -- and so is mentoring and pairing with host nation units to impart skills (and values...).
I think, on a scale of 1-to-10, where 1 is virtually no interagency or combined civ-mil collaboration and 10 is fully-integrated, we're about a 3. And happy, because we used to be at a 2; so we've improved our performance by 30%. But, IOT succeed, we really need to be at about a 7; and that would require a "revolution in civ-mil affairs." Radical things!I don't think you can get US agencies to an 8, much less a 10. :D

FWIW, in Viet Nam, we never really got above about a 5 or so -- so you're over halfway there... :wry:

Schmedlap
07-31-2009, 11:53 PM
Forgive the complete absence of doctrinal definitions/references and my general ignorance of strategy, but I came across something that seems relevant. Here is a quote from Abu M (Exum)...


There is a growing realization that we can run the greatest counterinsurgency campaign in the world's history in Afghanistan and that it will all be for naught as long as the government of Afghanistan remains weak, catastrophically corrupt, or both. - link (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/07/losing-patience-giroa.html)This suggests to me that it is not (or at least should not be) a COIN mission. But it also seems that we are not defending the government, so much as attempting to stand it up as an alternative to the governance offered by the Taliban.

In the business world, this would be analogous to a decision of how to expand into a foreign market. Agent, franchise, joint venture, acquisition, or greenfield? Thus far, it seems like we started with agent (CIA and SOF), then jumped to the other end of the spectrum, greenfield (US forces attempting to stand up a new gov't and ANA from scratch) , rather than going the happy medium route of joint venture. Joint venture with whom, you ask? Well, who was there? Let's see, we had the Northern Alliance and the Taliban. I suppose neither one is ideal. But how is greenfield working out for us?

My understanding is that Taliban does not always equal al-Qaeda. And our strategy is apparently to make Afghanistan hostile to al-Qaeda. Perhaps a joint venture with the Taliban makes some sense. I suspect that if they were offered some power that their "religious" objection to cooperating with the infidel would significantly subside. This would undoubtedly lead to subjugation of women, rape of pre-teen boys, and a reversal of some good that has come to Afghanistan. I can't help but think that, while awful, this is less objectionable to the countless Afghanis who will be killed, maimed, orphaned, crippled, etc, as we continue on our current course.

I suppose this amounts to bondage for the Afghan people. I have always been of the opinion that it is better to die fighting than to live in bondage. But that's me. That's not a decision I would presume to make for others.

If nothing else, working with an organization allows you to collect intel on them so that you can target them later, if the relationship sours.

Two cents from a guy who has never attended the War College, SAMS, or even the career course.:eek:

JM2008
08-01-2009, 12:54 AM
Before I start giving my two cents on this matter let me first caviat it by saying that my knowledge on Afghanistan is the result of 1x 9month deployment to RC-East doing MI at the tactical level. I did my best to pay attention to the bigger picture but that may have been hampered by the need to fully grasp the unique social/cultural/tribal dynamics of the two provinces that were in our AO. What I did learn is that there were no cookie-cutter solution between neighboring districts within the same province province... and I would venture to say that is the case throughout RC-East. The knowledge I have of RC-South has come from studying that command since returning home and what I know is it is a completely different world than the East.

Well onto the my reply...
The question of are/should we be conducting FID or COIN in AFG:
We should be doing both, but we are doing neither. To say that the operations in Afghanistan are COIN IMO would be wrong. The reason being that we are missing fundamental elements. We are attempting a "CLEAR"-"go back to the FOB"-"try to build--indirectly fund the insurgency through corrupt contractors--demonstrate our inability to secure our own construction project sites little-on the populace". We are completely missing the HOLD phase and many people overlook the SHAPE phase as well. Our failed BUILD phase means that we are merely CLEARING valleys/villages until the end of the CONOP period. We kill some guys, kick in some doors, and maybe take some "Bad" guys away, but as soon as we are out of the area the INS come right back and HOLD the terrain. Until we conduct all 4 phases it is not COIN it is merely just a dog-and-pony show.

As for the FID side... this is not something that we can do from the side lines. Yeah we have diplomats and civil service members in country but really what are they doing? To say they are DOING the job of their Afghan counterparts I think would be just as inaccurate as saying they are supporting them. They simply try to "mentor" the Afghan officials to do things in our Western-friendly "Afghan" way but that is not the Afghan way. There are "western ideals" that Afghans must adapt such as checks and balances in every level of government. This is essential to exposing corruption to the population with the intent of the population policing their government.

So how do we determine which is best for Afghanistan, FID/COIN? I think that you can implement FID in areas where GIROA has at least Marginal legitimacy but not in the areas where they don't. How do you help a government that has only authority but never gained legitimacy. Many people may view the two as one but it is important to note that authority is something a government has by means of existence but legitimacy is something that only a population can give to a government. There are areas in Afghanistan that GIROA has authority while the TB has legitimacy (RC-S). There are areas where neither has legitimacy and that is given to the tribal leadership (RC-E).

So how do we get the populace to legitimize GIROA? IMO we conduct COIN with GIROA in the backseat. We SHAPE-CLEAR-HOLD-BUILD but we build in a way to show GIROA is the one building. "They" build the means for the populace to HOLD the terrain w/ GIROA support. Then they build the social structures/programs needed to begin building other "stone and mortar" projects. The US military then becomes the FID players we should be and not the COIN force.

For what its worth,
James

Ken White
08-01-2009, 06:24 PM
NYT:TALLIL AIR BASE, Iraq ó In this desert brush land where the occupiers and occupied are moving into an uneasy new partnership, American and Iraqi commanders sat side by side earlier this week and described their biggest problems to Robert M. Gates, the visiting defense secretary.

For Staff Maj. Gen. Habib al-Hussani, the commander of the 10th Iraqi Army Division, the trouble was not enough equipment for patrols on the border with Iran. For Col. Peter A. Newell, the commander of the first American advisory brigade to Iraqi troops, it was something else.

ďThe hardest thing to do sometimes,Ē he told Mr. Gates, ďis step back and not be in charge.Ē(LINK) (http://www.nytimes.com/learning/students/pop/articles/01memo.html).

Therein lies the 'problem' that we have created. If it's FID, we can't be in charge; if it's COIN we have to be in charge. Thus we are :confused:...

What we're SUPPOSED to be doing is FID and helping the Host Nation with THEIR COIN effort since we cannot do COIN because they aren't our insurgents and isn't in our country. The capabilities and qualities of their government are irrelevant -- it is still not ours. By over controlling, we're confusing everyone -- except the bad guys who are taking advantage of it...:rolleyes:

That will be dismissed by some as simplistic. It is not. Having lived and fought under that dichotomy in three other Nations under perhaps more violent circumstances and with the exact same 'problem' a while ago, let me assure you that I learned the hard way over a few years that is not a good plan.

jmm99
08-01-2009, 08:54 PM
A couple of weeks ago, we had a brief (non-fires) exchange re: a quote from JP 3-07.1 (JTTP FID), here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=76937&postcount=53) and here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=76948&postcount=54).

The quote from the manual was this (my concern focused on the last sentence, bolded by me):


(3) In all cases, the strategic initiative and responsibility lie with the HN. To preserve its legitimacy and ensure a lasting solution to the problem, the host government must bear this responsibility. A decision for US forces to take the strategic initiative amounts to a transition to war.

You advised:


You should be concerned with the legal aspects because that is the intent of the paragraph you quote.

and that I have done - thought about it.

But, first, another point you raised (which I should have answered) - the dictionary and legal definition of "war" (the dictionary from you, with JMM bolding):


war (wŰr)
n.
1.
a. A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties...

That is the basic Geneva definition (an "armed conflict"), which expanded the Hague definition of "war" - slightly with respect to state on state conflicts; but substantially by bringing in non-state parties ("Powers") to armed conflicts via Common Articles 2 and 3.

Moving back to FID (Foreign Internal Defense, where "internal" and "defense" are key words), that can occur in the context with no armed conflict or in the context of an armed conflict (subject to Geneva). Both situations are covered in JP 3-07.1.

Far be from me to interpret definitively what the CJCS meant by "A decision for US forces to take the strategic initiative amounts to a transition to war", but here is what I think.

Where the US "takes charge" (takes the "strategic initiative"), we transition our status from being an "assister" to being a "belligerent". In the case of Iraq, a co-belligerent with them against their insugencies, I suppose. That would be a tricky position legally, given the executive agreement (whether a SOFA or SA is not particularly material) in effect. As you pointed out, 50 USC 33 (War Powers Resolution) could well come into play.

Astan is different. There, we are engaged in FID and assisting them (usually taking the primary role in personnel and materiel) in their COIN efforts. Add the UN-NATO mandate to that, which is peace enforcement (not peacekeeping). But, we are also carrying on a separate war (armed conflict) against AQ-Taliban pursuant to the 2001 AUMF, as a belligerent - which spills over into Pstan and, as to which, Astan is not a co-belligerent. That is a complex situation legally, and from all appearances militarily.

Vietnam was different still, but that is another thread.

The issues raised above are really a mix of legal and military, where the right and left hands have to co-ordinate via a common brain. In that respect, COL Newell seems a good choice for Iraq since he researched and wrote a very intelligent thesis on a related area where legal and military concerns have to be met. I've lauded that elsewhere (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=72579&postcount=22).

jcustis
08-01-2009, 09:15 PM
Let's assume that we are striving to apply the SHAPE - CLEAR - HOLD - BUILD paradigm to getting Afghanistan back on its feet.

Through the CLEAR phase, what measures of effectiveness are applied to it? Is the task to clear an area(s) of Taliban, corrupt elements (official or tribal or both), Al Qaeda, or is it to clear the area of those elements that do not support the freely elected government? Is it to prevent random violence at the hands of [insert local boogeyman title here], the imposition of Sharia-based law, or illegal drug trafficking? Where is the line, or is that line so terribly blurred from the interagency struggles we face that we will never run a tactical and operational effort that is nested in the strategy?

Maybe I'm just dense or exceptionally confused, but I seem to remember this hoopla about preventing Afghanistan from becoming this lawless, borderless, sieve that facilitates safe harbors for Islamic fundamentalists (specifically AQ). I'm beginning to wonder (as I always do when considering the 2nd and 3rd order of kinetic effects) about what would happen in Afghanistan if we weren't there...if we simply picked up and left and spent our resources mitigating terrorism the old fashioned way.

I don't believe the Pottery Barn rule applies in AFG. Is it a mess? Absolutely, but will those expenditures in blood, money, and time ever truly result in a net gain in our security or the security of the region? Is security the end goal? From a distant perch, we are all over the place, and the only folks with any sort of productivity in this area are the think tanks and their studies mills.

jmm99
08-01-2009, 10:07 PM
in your wonderment ...


I'm beginning to wonder (as I always do when considering the 2nd and 3rd order of kinetic effects) about what would happen in Afghanistan if we weren't there...if we simply picked up and left and spent our resources mitigating terrorism the old fashioned way.

I also wonder if any change in policy would result if we were today or tomorrow to kill UBL and Zawahiri ?

davidbfpo
08-01-2009, 10:53 PM
(from Jon Custis)what would happen in Afghanistan if we weren't there...if we simply picked up and left and spent our resources mitigating terrorism the old fashioned way.

Jon and JMM,

Look back at Imperial British history, with three Afghan Wars and regular cross-border issues (even during WW2, NWFP was fully manned). The British Empire learnt, very painfully, notably in 1845, that it was best not to stay, just visit; visiting with a very large "stick" and some "carrots". Ironically I suspect many said this about the Soviet intervention and upon their exit.

What would we say to all Afghans if we were to leave? "Don't allow 'X' or we will be back", "We tried to change you and failed. Please forgive us and we will pay you" and more. I do not assume there is such a common nationality shared by all Afghans.

davidbfpo

Schmedlap
08-01-2009, 11:19 PM
Maybe I'm just dense or exceptionally confused, but I seem to remember this hoopla about preventing Afghanistan from becoming this lawless, borderless, sieve that facilitates safe harbors for Islamic fundamentalists (specifically AQ). I'm beginning to wonder (as I always do when considering the 2nd and 3rd order of kinetic effects) about what would happen in Afghanistan if we weren't there...if we simply picked up and left and spent our resources mitigating terrorism the old fashioned way.
That is the best question on the issue and not one that I have read or heard anyone address. I can't help but think that if the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan that they would be having the same legitimacy issues that the GIRoA is having now. Afghanistan seems to favor the insurgent. Perhaps we would be better positioned if the Taliban were the government and we were aiding the insurgents who seek to oust it. I suspect that we could do that for substantially less money and with a far smaller footprint. And as to whether or not the insurgents ever succeed - so what?

Bill Moore
08-01-2009, 11:28 PM
What would we say to all Afghans if we were to leave? "Don't allow 'X' or we will be back", "We tried to change you and failed. Please forgive us and we will pay you" and more. I do not assume there is such a common nationality shared by all Afghans.

I haven't been to Afghanistan in years and since reality is always different from what you read in the press, no comment on our current strategy in OEF-A. However, this discussion in general is interesting to me. My thinking has evolved to the point that are no end points, and what is called the Powell Doctrine is deeply flawed. Conditions change, policies change, objectives change (based on new policy or conditions) on a continuous basis. If we see ourselves getting involved more and more in these messy poorly defined conflicts like Afghanistan, etc., doesn't it seem unrealistic to base our strategy on government, economic and essentially cultural reform? We just don't have enough resources to do this world wide the way we're approaching it now.

What prompted this thought is the question above, "what do we tell the people"?

When we make public such idealistic views and goals I think we make our moralist quagmire and the muck we're stuck in is our own idealism. Agree or disagree? If you agree, what is alternative strategy?

I'm ducking for cover, but will be back up in a few days.

SWJED
08-02-2009, 12:46 AM
When we make public such idealistic views and goals I think we make our moralist quagmire and the muck we're stuck in is our own idealism.

Well said Bill.

jcustis
08-02-2009, 02:19 AM
Well said Bill.

Aye, and why I beat the drum on this board long ago that it wasn't about "victory for the American people", despite what Bush proclaimed.

I've done half and afternoon's thinking about this Afghanistan thing, and the whole enormity of the task makes me ponder even more...we probably need a guy with a businessman's background, experience and drive, in order to do better at these sort of conflicts. The problem is just that expansive and complicated, and as I read the 2 April '09 White Paper of the Interagency Policy Group's Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, I am more convinced that a military, government, or aid guy (or gal for that matter) isn't the best choice to run herd over all the players involved in the issue.

William F. Owen
08-02-2009, 08:08 AM
2. COIN practiced by the US military is usually done in support of a FID mission, per the above.

Comments? Thoughts?

That actually makes sense, in that it holds COIN to be a primarily military activity, therefore reliant on military power.

Jayhawker
08-02-2009, 10:03 AM
This is a good question that began the thread. If a Commander is doing FID then his tasks, equipment and skills sets of his folks have to be one thing while counterinsurgency requires other JMETLS, etc. So nailing down exactly what we're doing is the place to begin. Its a little unsettling that you got shouted down, as it were.

On a bigger plane, and taking the wholistic approach to all of ISAF's activities in Afghanistan, we're doing far more than short term FID and far more than counterinsurgency. I've had friends at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan mentoring their faculty, so what is that? FID? Probably fits more with that than counterinsurgency. The problem with the term counterinsurgency is not only that the US and NATO can't do counterinsurgency in a country that is not ours, as pointed out above, but that the prefix "counter" only speaks to identifying what we're fighting against, rather than what we're fighting for. If COMISAF is doing counterinsurgency, he should get all the SOF, Psyops, intel, recon, assets to go kill insurgents. But all that does is create dead insurgents. Alone it does not defeat the movement commonly known as the Taliban because the issue(s) that inspired its creation in the first place remains.

So what to do? What are we fighting for and who gets to decide that? The Afghans do and somehow the Afghans have to create a movement that builds the sense of themselves that along the way eclipses the Taliban's movement. The Afghan cadets and many of the 20 somethings in the Kabul area seem to be wishing to do that, they just need some time to figure out what shape that will take. Hopefully ISAF buys them the time and space to do that.

LS
08-03-2009, 02:27 PM
Keeping in mind that I'm "LS," and have no idea who this "Sampler" guy is (though he sounds like a true legend in his own mind)...

After reading all these responses and discussions (on this thread), I went back and looked at JP 3-07 to try and resolve the questions in my mind: Specifically, what're the relationships between COIN, FID, and (added later) IDAD. If heirarchical relationships exist, presumably so too would heirarchical weightings for resource allocation and priorities of political "fire."

I'm becoming persuaded that there is (in fact if not in practice) a taxonomy that's doctrinally supported, and it looks like the picture attached here. If this is the case, one might sensibly ask why our priorities and resources don't follow this same schema.

Finally, being of small and simple mind, I have to cast these hard questions in my own Gumpian algorithms.

For my mind, COIN is like showing up (as directed) at your girlfriend's church social to discover that the damned place is infested with mosquitoes, and then spending the rest of the evening swatting or fanning them away (from you and your girlfriend, primarily).

FID is - still during the evening social - getting the maintenance guy to help you strategically place a few fans and close a few window screens in the Fellowship Hall; and then placing and lighting those mosquito coils that've been in the tackle box in the bed of your truck since "last season."

IDAD is making a donation to the church IOT allow them to fix the drainage problem on the back of the lot where the damned bugs breed, repair their window screens, put screen doors on the Fellowship Hall before the ~next~ social event.

And, of course, success is convincing the girlfriend that there's too many bugs at this place and absconding with the girl, a half a chicken off the grill, and what's left of Ms. Smith's pecan pie and tooling down to the lake in the truck with your sweetie for your own intimate little picnic... Only to remember you left the damned mosquito coils burning back at the church!

Thanks all, as ever, for the interesting and intellectually stimulating discussion.

L

Settings\Owner.YOUR-15B8553252\Desktop\samplers taxonomy

Ken White
08-03-2009, 05:55 PM
That is a really good slide; seriously.

However, given that urge... :wry:

jmm99
08-03-2009, 07:27 PM
especially where a number of "assisting" nations are involved. But, let's take just the simple case of HN and one AN - looking at it from a legal standpoint.

You would have to have two charts (one HN and one AN) since the relative civil and military efforts in each of the little boxes are not necessarily the same and are probably going to be different (HN vice AN).

Then, for each of those boxes, we have to ask what law (whose law) applies in each situation. That is positing that the civil effort in each box is ruled by the Rule of Law (but whose, HN or AN ?) and the military effort is ruled by the Laws of War (LOAC), which may differ (again a HN or AN issue).

Pile on a few more nations, Status of Forces and Security Assistance agreements, plus a few different (and possibly conflicting) international and collective charters and mandates, and then we are approaching reality.

Legally, all of this "stuff" is complex.

PS: and now we have a new COIN, Combat Operations In support of another Nation. That definition does translate readily into LOAC terms.

Ken White
08-03-2009, 08:13 PM
Legally, all of this "stuff" is complex.Legally, yes, it is indeed -- but it's only complex operationally if you try to do more than is necessary for operations appropriate to the place and time out of your lane. When we start weaving in and out of lanes or take advantage of no lane markings to hog the road then life always becomes more complex. Unduly so... ;)
PS: and now we have a new COIN, Combat Operations In support of another Nation. That definition does translate readily into LOAC terms.Yep. Also far more accurate for most cases than the other meaning which has become stigprostioverregulized.

MM_Smith
02-11-2010, 05:46 PM
that this thread has died off.

-The distinction beween COIN & FID will continue to come up. I was involved in discussions in two separate commands regarding the ambiguity.

-My personal opinion is that the US hasn't been involved in COIN since the Philippine Insurrection(s). To me COIN is what a government/nation-state does to rid itself of an insurgency. And, frankly, given a literal interpretation of the Posse Comitatus Act it is quite possible that US uniformed services (less National Guard and Coast Guard) are legally barred from COIN. Yeah; I know that's a ridiculous extreme, but read the law.


FID is NOT a combat unit mission, it is a national undertaking using various US agencies for their normal mission parameter purposes to assist the host nation. Support of COIN operations of the host nation is a combat unit mission -- and so is mentoring and pairing with host nation units to impart skills (and values...).
-I'll agree that FID is not an exclusively combat unit mission but combat units can do and have done FID. One of the elements of the Partnership for Peace program was mil-to-mil contact which included US/NATO units going to PfP nations and doing combined training. Isn't that FID?

-There is also a problem with FID and the Whole of Government Approach: besides the State Department, government departments are NOT chartered or funded to support foreign governments. They don't have the manpower either.

-I think the critical question is whether or not US troops can conduct unilateral combat operations in FID.

-Sampler's Taxonomy raises another question; that of the primacy of FID or IDAD. Years ago, when we had an IDAD course, it was taught as a part of FID. I suppose that could have been because the FID department already existed and IDAD was a new course, or it could have been because "we" saw FID as primarily military while IDAD was done by other guys. I don't know but I've always seen a large non-military component in FID and what we called IDAD certainly used quite a bit of the host nation's military with US Title 22 support.

-As has been noted elsewhere discussions about definitions are pretty much pointless. Maybe we don't really "do" COIN and maybe what we really do is FID but I don't think it makes any difference.

Dayuhan
02-12-2010, 12:41 AM
-My personal opinion is that the US hasn't been involved in COIN since the Philippine Insurrection(s).


The US sent armed forces to the Philippines (in 1898), removed an existing government, installed a new government, and used armed force to crush all resistance to the new government. How exactly is that different from what we are doing (or trying to do) in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Bob's World
02-12-2010, 01:27 AM
The US sent armed forces to the Philippines (in 1898), removed an existing government, installed a new government, and used armed force to crush all resistance to the new government. How exactly is that different from what we are doing (or trying to do) in Iraq and Afghanistan?

We decided to keep the Philippines as a colony. I hope we don't decide to take such an approach in Iraq or Afg.; but the world will judge us by our history, not our promises.

If it looks like the Philippines option, than that is how we will be assessed.


As to last US COIN; as I have stated on other threads I have come to believe that it is most helpful to look at COIN as Governance. COIN is a condition between a governance and its own populace. When you travel to another country to intervene in the relationship between that governance and populace you are either conducting UW or FID (in US doctrinal terms), depending on which side you are there to assist.

Arguably, viewed in this manner, all governance and every populace in every country is at some level of COIN/Insurgency at all times. Most are bumping along in what I would call "Phase 0". It is only when the government loses the bubble on the populace, that some segment of discontent will rise up from the masses to compete with the government for the support of the populace through illegal and typically violent means. This is when one enters Phase I Insurgency and typically needs to bring in military assistance to help move the conditions back down into Phase 0, or within the Civil government's span of control.

The last time the US really was at risk of losing the bubble, was Civil Rights Movement in the 60s. Of note, the US opted not to employ the military to merely suppress the insurgent segment of the populace, but instead opted to enact bold and sweeping changes to the law and to enforce those changes so as to move that segment of the populace back down into Phase O by working to address their concerns and include them more fully in good governance. THAT is good COIN. At the same time we were busy in Vietnam, conducting FID with a much less savvy approach. Ironically, I am sure no one considered what we were doing at home COIN, and many considered what were were doing in Nam COIN.

To me this is the criticality of such nuances. What you call something shapes what you do. By understanding that COIN is the continuous duty of Civil Government, they are far less likely to abandon their duties to the military or some foreign power when it goes violent on them, and the military is far less likely to say "this is war, so we are in charge now until it is Peace again." The Civil Governemt is also far more likely to be held accountable for it's failures, and less able to pawn the blame off on either the populace or some country (or now, non-state actor) that might be working among your dissatisfied segments of your populace to conduct UW. IF the Civil Governent was doing it's job for the entire populace, and the entire populace felt that they had trusted and legitimate means to legally address their concerns, you will have pretty much immunized your populace to being suceptible to such outside infections.

By understanding whenever you go to a foreign country, regardless of what brought you there, it is still NOT YOUR POPULACE, you are never conducting COIN, and you are far less likely to get into an inappropriate family of C2 or operations in general. Oh yeah, and it will never be perceived as "an exestential threat" to your nation. BL, you will have a healtier perspective that allows for better decisions.


Simply by calling our response to 9/11 "A War" has led to bad perspectives and decisions as to how to best resolve the problems that gave rise to the attack (military focus vice a policy focus). Similarly, by calling our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan COIN has led to roles usurping the HN authority.

Many say, "yes, but we destroyed their government and had to take over." True enough. See what bad naming will do for you? Gets you into all kinds of messy situations.

Bob's World
02-12-2010, 01:41 AM
The US sent armed forces to the Philippines (in 1898), removed an existing government, installed a new government, and used armed force to crush all resistance to the new government. How exactly is that different from what we are doing (or trying to do) in Iraq and Afghanistan?

In Manila, and also at a stop along the way to Manila in Guam, as the fleet sailed from San Francisco with hastily gathered volunteer militia from several Western states, it was a handful of Oregon Volunteers who went ashore and accepted the surrender of the Spanish Garrisons that were occupying those countries. We really wanted the excellent harbors as coaling stations and safe ports for our growing navy, but then we got greedy. Greed is bad.

Dayuhan
02-12-2010, 04:31 AM
As to last US COIN; as I have stated on other threads I have come to believe that it is most helpful to look at COIN as Governance. COIN is a condition between a governance and its own populace. When you travel to another country to intervene in the relationship between that governance and populace you are either conducting UW or FID (in US doctrinal terms), depending on which side you are there to assist...


In either case, we removed a government, created a new one, and branded all who failed to accept the new government as "insurgents". This rather begs the question of whose government it is in the first place. If it is "ours", our creation, our dependency, and has never been accepted as legitimate by much of the population... is it really a government at all? If not, are those who fight it really "insurgents"?

I would say that the "Philippine Insurrection" was not properly an insurrection at all, but an unsuccessful resistance against an invading power. Whether or not the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will ultimately be seen the same way depends on the degree to which those governments can stop being "ours" and become "theirs". I'm not convinced that this has happened yet.



In Manila, and also at a stop along the way to Manila in Guam, as the fleet sailed from San Francisco with hastily gathered volunteer militia from several Western states, it was a handful of Oregon Volunteers who went ashore and accepted the surrender of the Spanish Garrisons that were occupying those countries. We really wanted the excellent harbors as coaling stations and safe ports for our growing navy, but then we got greedy. Greed is bad.


Some only wanted the harbors. Some wanted a good deal more, from the start. There was a significant faction in the US Government at the time who were plain and simple imperialists, believing that the US needed to break out of its shell and emerge as a great power in the European mold, complete with overseas possessions. Notable examples were Albert Beveridge in the Senate, Henry Cabot Lodge in the House, and Theodore Roosevelt. There were also economic interests. Manufacturers saw the rest of the world being divvied up and were keen to establish protected export markets; the Philippines were seen as a stepping stone to China. The Sugar Trust, one of the great industrial monopolies of the day, was keen to bring a source of cane sugar inside the tariff wall that had been established to protect beet sugar producers.

The fleet that Admiral Dewey sailed into Manila Bay for his famous victory against a rather decrepit Spanish squadron sailed from Hong Kong; Roosevelt had ordered Dewey there with specific instructions to prepare for action against Manila. Of course it had to be sold to the public as a fortuitous accident that brought with it the responsibility to "civilize, Christianize, and uplift" the Filipinos (which in point of fact meant appropriating them), but it wasn't nearly as accidental as was later suggested.

The point in today's context is simply that what "we" want is never monochromatic. Different people want different things, and factions will readily try to adopt a noble (or at least salable) facade for intentions that might not be well received by the public. I'm not sure how much that has changed since 1898...

MM_Smith
02-16-2010, 05:38 PM
Dayuhan:

The US sent armed forces to the Philippines (in 1898), removed an existing government, installed a new government, and used armed force to crush all resistance to the new government. How exactly is that different from what we are doing (or trying to do) in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I think the intent was different. Regarding the Spanish-American War, compare Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. We chased the Spanish out of Cuba, stuck around for a while, then left the Cubans pretty much to their own devices. We chased the Spanish out of Puerto Rico and claimed it as US territory. In the PI the US replaced a Spanish colonial government with an interim administration based on US laws and procedures but adapted to the environment and with the intent of pulling out and leaving a functioning Philippine government behind. Aguinaldo, et al, wanted independence immediately and philosophically equated the Spanish occupation with the US occupation; most of his countrymen disagreed.

I havenít seen anyone designated as US governor of either Iraq or Afghanistan. I havenít seen US laws and legal systems imposed. I havenít seen any long range plans for US occupation of either country. On the other hand, I have seen US lawyers being trained in Iraqi and Afghan law and I have seen efforts to untangle the legal and administrative cesspools left behind by the Baathists, Taliban and co-conspirators. Iíve seen programs and policies designed to implement local through national governments and Iíve seen evidence of home grown representative governments. Iíve also seen constant clamoring to get US forces out of both countries.

Iím not sure of the intent of your riposte but Iím fairly certain it wasnít to address the differences between FID and COIN.

Bob's World:


COIN is a condition between a governance and its own populace. When you travel to another country to intervene in the relationship between that governance and populace you are either conducting UW or FID (in US doctrinal terms), depending on which side you are there to assist.

I think you are agreeing with me. I'd like to think, however, that governments don't always teeter on the edge of open, violent, insurgency.

There can be another factor, however, and that is a simple destabilization desire without any attempt to replace an ineffective government. That may be what we're seeing in Mexico and Colombia.

Dayuhan
02-17-2010, 12:36 AM
Dayuhan:
I’m not sure of the intent of your riposte but I’m fairly certain it wasn’t to address the differences between FID and COIN.


Actually it was. Let me be more clear. The points:

1. These distinctions are largely a question of semantics and perception.

2. Our classification of a conflict may be driven by the desire to frame the conflict in terms favorable to us and acceptable to our populace, not by a desire to accurately describe the conflict.

3. Our perception of the conflict may be quite different from that of the populace of the conflicted nation, and where these differences occur, their perception matters more than ours.

The "Philippine Insurrection" was of course not an insurrection at all, but resistance to foreign invasion and occupation. It had to be publicly classified as "insurrection" because calling it what it was would have been politically unacceptable on the home front.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the distinction between FID and COIN revolves around the perception of whether the governments in question are "ours" or "theirs". If the governments are "theirs", then yes, we're "doing FID" in support of an autonomous but allied foreign government. If the government is perceived as "ours" - our creation, our tool, accountable primarily to us - then we're "doing COIN", or simply propping up a puppet.

Certainly we would like to see ourselves in the former position, but whether that is the position we are actually in is open to question. My own sense is that in Iraq the government has achieved a degree of "theirs-ness" and to that extent we might say that what we are doing is FID. In Afghanistan I suspect that claiming an FID role is a self-serving illusion, and a pretty threadbare one at that.

The potential for variance in perception is considerable. It may serve our politics to say that the Karzai government is an autonomous and legitimate ally that we are protecting from vile insurgents, but if a plurality of Afghans believe that Karzai is a puppet and they are fighting a foreign occupation, we will only be deceiving ourselves, and the deception isn't likely to hold up for long. It's their opinion, not ours, that will shape the future of the conflict.

At the end of the day, are we basing our classifications and policies on what we want to see or on what's really there? It's a question worth asking on a regular basis.



I think the intent was different. Regarding the Spanish-American War, compare Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. We chased the Spanish out of Cuba, stuck around for a while, then left the Cubans pretty much to their own devices. We chased the Spanish out of Puerto Rico and claimed it as US territory. In the PI the US replaced a Spanish colonial government with an interim administration based on US laws and procedures but adapted to the environment and with the intent of pulling out and leaving a functioning Philippine government behind. Aguinaldo, et al, wanted independence immediately and philosophically equated the Spanish occupation with the US occupation; most of his countrymen disagreed.


This is a subject on which I'm inclined to run on a bit, and I suspect strongly that this is not the place for that particular historical digression. I would, however, suggest revisiting that particular bit of history in detail before arriving at conclusions of this nature. There's a good deal more to it than that, to put it mildly.

Dayuhan
02-17-2010, 12:50 AM
As to last US COIN; as I have stated on other threads I have come to believe that it is most helpful to look at COIN as Governance. COIN is a condition between a governance and its own populace. When you travel to another country to intervene in the relationship between that governance and populace you are either conducting UW or FID (in US doctrinal terms), depending on which side you are there to assist.


What if you travel to another country to destroy and remove a government you don't like? Isn't that just plain war? Then if you "win" - successfully remove the government you dont like - what do you call what you do next? It used to be called occupation, but that's not a word we like to use now. That may, however, be the word that the locals use for it, and they don't like it either. Just because we choose to call it something else doesn't necessarily make it something else.

If COIN is "a condition between a governance and its own populace", we have to ask ourselves a simple question: what, in reality, is the "governance" of Afghanistan? Is it really the Karzai government, or is it us? How would Afghans in various areas answer that same question? If we say it's the Karzai government and the Afghans say it's us, whose opinion matters?

If we go to a foreign country, knock down a government, install another, and call our support of that government "FID" we may be able to fool ourselves - for a little while at least - but we're not likely to fool anyone else. As long as that government is perceived by those who matter - the people it governs - as our tool and not their government, we are not "doing FID".



Arguably, viewed in this manner, all governance and every populace in every country is at some level of COIN/Insurgency at all times. Most are bumping along in what I would call "Phase 0". It is only when the government loses the bubble on the populace, that some segment of discontent will rise up from the masses to compete with the government for the support of the populace through illegal and typically violent means. This is when one enters Phase I Insurgency and typically needs to bring in military assistance to help move the conditions back down into Phase 0, or within the Civil government's span of control.

The last time the US really was at risk of losing the bubble, was Civil Rights Movement in the 60s. Of note, the US opted not to employ the military to merely suppress the insurgent segment of the populace, but instead opted to enact bold and sweeping changes to the law and to enforce those changes so as to move that segment of the populace back down into Phase O by working to address their concerns and include them more fully in good governance. THAT is good COIN. At the same time we were busy in Vietnam, conducting FID with a much less savvy approach. Ironically, I am sure no one considered what we were doing at home COIN, and many considered what were were doing in Nam COIN.


An interesting construct, but I suspect that there has to be some line of distinction between domestic dissent (an ever-present condition) and insurgency, both on a quantitative and a qualitative basis. Expand a definition far enough and it tends to lose its usefulness.

Bob's World
02-17-2010, 01:24 AM
The distintive line is when the level of violence exceeds the capacity of the civil governance, requiring them to bring in the military (much like our MSCA construct for all other forms of civil emergencies) as last in, first out, and always under civil control as a crucial augmentation. I have posted a chart that shows this construct. Key is that it recognizes that the goal is both to reduce violence AND improves the aspects of poor governance giving rise to the insurgency.

As to what we do when we deploy, that is like going to the neighbor's house to help him with a domestic dispute. Start thinking of it as your problem to solve, and you are in for a world of bad higher order effects. We'd never do it in our neighborhoods at home, yet we do it every time when we go to our global neighbors as a country. Problem is because we think of these things as "foreign wars" and not "foreign domestic/civil disputes."

LTC Brian Petit's article on "Think COIN, but do FID" is a great supplement to this line of thinking. links to it are posted here on the SWJ.

Dayuhan
02-17-2010, 02:28 AM
The distintive line is when the level of violence exceeds the capacity of the civil governance, requiring them to bring in the military (much like our MSCA construct for all other forms of civil emergencies) as last in, first out, and always under civil control as a crucial augmentation.

Reasonable, but this does set the bar at very different levels depending on the capacity of civil governance. France, for example, can manage its periodic urban riots without military support (e.g. not insurgency) while a nation with less advanced police capabilities might have to call out troops (e.g. insurgency) for the same level of disorder. It may not be possible to establish an absolute line of demarcation that is relevant in all cases, but it's a distinction we have to be aware of. I'd say we also have to be more aware of the distinction between insurgency and armed competition for control of an ungoverned space or to fill a governance vacuum. You can't have an insurgency without a government, and calling something "a government" or "the government" doesn't necessarily make it that. If it does not or cannot govern, it's not a government, regardless of what we call it.



As to what we do when we deploy, that is like going to the neighbor's house to help him with a domestic dispute. Start thinking of it as your problem to solve, and you are in for a world of bad higher order effects. We'd never do it in our neighborhoods at home, yet we do it every time when we go to our global neighbors as a country. Problem is because we think of these things as "foreign wars" and not "foreign domestic/civil disputes."


Certainly true in some cases, less so in others. I'm not convinced that our deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan can be reasonably characterized as intervention in someone else's domestic dispute. In both cases we went in for our own reasons in pursuit of our own policies. Our intention in both cases was not to settle a domestic dispute but to re-order the "households" in a manner that suited our interests. In both cases our actions generated a dispute, but that begs the question of whether a dispute that results from outside intervention is truly domestic.

Bob's World
02-17-2010, 04:47 AM
Agree on both points. Absolutely every government and every populace is unique in its dynamic in terms of conditions, cultures, capacities, etc. But that does not change the underlying human dynamic at work. What would be unacceptable violence or corruption in one, is no big deal in another. What can easily be handled by one civil government requries military or even foreign support in another. These are things that must be understood; but I find that they are also things that overwhelm and distract novices on insurgency from what the real mission at hand is that must be addressed. People start addressing the symptoms that are in their face, rather than seeking to understand those symptoms as to how they relate to the root causes and address those instead.

As to Iraq and Afg. True enough that we ripped out the old and put in the new. That changes the facts, but not the dynamics. It is still the government of those respective countries; but they were governments that both were horribly and accurately perceived as lacking legitimacy in the eyes of the governed. Goal number one should be, if you truly are just there to help and don't plan on staying, to target and address that legitmacy perception problem. Hard nut to crack when you are standing there with your army and your hand up the president's backside making his mouth move. But what you must do first all the same. This requires relinquishing CONTROL, and control is the cornerstone of 60 years of Cold War engagement, so the good Cold Warriors really choke on this one key point.

All the military can do is help shape conditions; the key to success is the political problem of governmental legitmacy and creating or enforcing structures recognized by that populace for giving them certain input and control on their standards for shaping and thereby legitimizing the government. It may not be a vote. It may by a Loya Jirga. Each populace is unique in how it bestows legitimacy. Not ours to quesiton or override.

Dayuhan
02-17-2010, 06:25 AM
It is still the government of those respective countries; but they were governments that both were horribly and accurately perceived as lacking legitimacy in the eyes of the governed.

I guess that's the key question: is it "the government" or is it not? To me government is that which governs, meaning that which actually carries out the functions of governance, not necessarily that which sits in the presidential palace or wears the presidential t-shirt. If we are the ones carrying out the core functions of governance, then like it or not, we're the government.

Another key factor in this equation is the prevailing perception of the conflict among our antagonists and among the various segments of the populace. When our antagonists in Afghanistan fire a rifle or plant an IED, do they perceive themselves as striking a blow against the Karzai government, or against the US? Do they recruit new followers to overthrow the Karzai government, or to expel the US? When Afghan civilians discuss the conflict, do they frame it as "the Taliban vs the Karzai government" or as "the Taliban vs the Americans"?

If we are to any appreciable degree doing the actual governing, if our antagonists perceive the conflict as primarily against us, and if the Afghan populaces see the conflict as primarily an engagement between us and the Taliban - and I suspect that all three conditions prevail to varying extents - I can't see how we can honestly tell ourselves, or anyone, that we are "doing FID". Of course we can call it that if we want. We can call it dancing the tarantella if we want... that won't make it anything other than what it is.

I guess I could agree that the Afghan conflict is a COIN operation conducted with the goal of eventual transition to an FID operation, but I don't know if we can honestly call it FID at this stage. Unless of course I have the acronyms all wrong, which is entirely possible.

Bob's World
02-17-2010, 07:04 AM
Well, as I told MG Carter this morning, we are really dealing with two insurgencies. The rank and file fighter is primarily fighting a resistance movement. They fight because we are here and because they can draw an honest wage for an honorable Pashtun profession to do so. I would like to think that I would be an insurgent if I were Afghan.

This is the bulk of the insurgency, but it is not the aspect of the insurgency that the COIN effort must focus on to resolve. The COIN effort must go after the top of the insurgency, the senior leadership that are much more the Revolutionary insurgents; who believe they have a superior legitimacy than Karzai does. Once this is resolved, and no amount of population centric tactics nor killing of insurgent fighters will resolve it; you can then take a much more palatable position in support to the emergent, legitimate government, and reduce presence in a manner that takes the steam out of the larger, rank and file, resistance insurgency. Not "go after" as in KILL (though some may well just have to eat that bullet); but go after as in targeting the causal factors of illegitimacy and lack of mechanisms recognized and trusted by the populace for shaping government.

Just like the key to the problems in Southern Philippines lay in manila; the problems in Southern Afghanistan lay in Kabul. All of the outside parties in both who like or hate the conditions in those respective captitals (the FID and UW actors) conspire to shift focus to the manifestations of violence among the affected populaces. Smoke and Mirrors.

Dayuhan
02-18-2010, 05:02 AM
Well, as I told MG Carter this morning, we are really dealing with two insurgencies. The rank and file fighter is primarily fighting a resistance movement. They fight because we are here and because they can draw an honest wage for an honorable Pashtun profession to do so. I would like to think that I would be an insurgent if I were Afghan.


I suspect that most insurgencies bifurcate in this manner to some extent... how many of those who fought in “communist” insurgencies were actually communists?



This is the bulk of the insurgency, but it is not the aspect of the insurgency that the COIN effort must focus on to resolve. The COIN effort must go after the top of the insurgency, the senior leadership that are much more the Revolutionary insurgents; who believe they have a superior legitimacy than Karzai does. Once this is resolved, and no amount of population centric tactics nor killing of insurgent fighters will resolve it;


What will resolve it? Would any change in governance that we promote satisfy or de-motivate the core insurgent leadership? Might it not be more effective to try to de-motivate the rank and file and disaggregate them from the core ideologues, who are too heavily invested in the insurgency to back away?



you can then take a much more palatable position in support to the emergent, legitimate government, and reduce presence in a manner that takes the steam out of the larger, rank and file, resistance insurgency. Not "go after" as in KILL (though some may well just have to eat that bullet); but go after as in targeting the causal factors of illegitimacy and lack of mechanisms recognized and trusted by the populace for shaping government.


Sounds great, I approve, but where do we find an “emergent, legitimate government”? Now that we’ve thrown our weight behind the Karzai government and the process that put it in power, how do we reverse that support without setting ourselves up as the arbiter of legitimacy? I like the idea of reducing presence; I’m sure we all do... but I’m not seeing how we get to that emergent, legitimate government that will allow us to do that.

If we had no stake in the matter, we could simply withdraw, let Karzai fall, and deal with whatever replaces him. In the real world, though, that will probably be the Taliban, which puts us right back where we were before, in a position that didn’t work out well last time around.

It would of course be lovely if Karzai would hold a real Loya Jirga and abide by the outcome... but I don’t see that happening. More than likely he’ll pack it with his people and try to manipulate it to put a stamp of approval on his rule; I doubt that he and his inner circle are going to stage anything that would undercut their own power. I wouldn’t bet a half a groat on us being able to outmaneuver him in that kind of scenario.

As far as FID vs COIN goes, I’d submit that we are doing neither. We’re doing regime change. It’s what we started out doing, and we’re still doing it.

Regime change has 3 fairly obvious stages:

First you have to remove the old regime, something we’ve proven we can do.

Second, you have to develop a new regime. This is a lot more complicated: any regime put in place by an outside power is going to face serious legitimacy issues, and if we wait for a new regime to emerge on its own we face a long period of instability and competition for power, with a strong possibility that whatever regime emerges will be unfriendly. We’ve chosen the former method, which is why we find ourselves backing regimes with massive legitimacy issues.

Third, we have to manage the transition by which the new regime becomes a government. This is a key distinction. Just because we’ve put a regime in place doesn’t make it a government, even if we call it that. It’s not a government until it can govern, and until the people it proposes to govern accept it as their government.

My objection to the “doing FID” approach is that it assumes that this step is complete, that there is an actual acknowledged functioning government in place, and that we are simply helping that government defend itself against insurgents. That may be what we want to see, but it may not accurately describe what’s going on. If the regime we’ve put in place does not govern and has never been accepted as legitimate by those it proposes to govern, it’s not a government. If there’s no real government, we certainly can’t be “doing FID”. We can’t be “doing COIN” either, because you can’t have COIN without an insurgency and you can’t have an insurgency without a government. Is this really an insurgency situation or is it a continuing armed competition to fill the vacuum left by the removal of the Taliban? I know we say that vacuum has been filled by the Karzai government... but is that claim realistic? If we’re not doing FID or COIN, what are we doing? As I said above, I think we’re still doing regime change... or trying to.



Just like the key to the problems in Southern Philippines lay in manila; the problems in Southern Afghanistan lay in Kabul. All of the outside parties in both who like or hate the conditions in those respective captitals (the FID and UW actors) conspire to shift focus to the manifestations of violence among the affected populaces. Smoke and Mirrors.


Possibly true, but not reassuring. If those in Manila or Kabul don’t have the will or capacity to solve their problems, and we have no means to replace them or to create that will and/or capacity, we’re left with few effective ways to pursue our objectives.

The only conclusion I can draw from all this is that we need to be a whole lot more careful when considering regime changes, and a whole lot more conscious of how difficult it is to fill the gap left by the removal of a regime with a credible and legitimate successor. We seemed to have overlooked that last time around, though I don’t see how.

Steve the Planner
02-18-2010, 05:13 AM
Bob:

I've been lost in a particular assignment for the last few weeks (and next month), but I just wanted to say that, while there are plenty of smart folks on this Board, including in issues way outside of my expertises, your inscrutible wisdoms always end up flowing to my lane.

MikeF has a link going on TRADOC education, and in the back of my mind, I was thinking about your comments on the Civil Rights movement, etc... Once you have truly immersed into a few deep blood-letting domestic policy issues, you really understand what you are talking about re:interfering in domestic conflicts with your next door neighbor.

Tom Ricks is still covering Iraq; The Unraveling against the growing perception that Iran is exercising increasing influence on Iraq. In fact, on so many levels, that is a difference without a distinction to many residents of much of these historically intertwined countries, which, like close relatives, can sometimes find themselves drunk after a big family dinner and with guns drawn in the driveway.

In so many of our conflict areas, these kinds of underlying conflict risks are not going to be resolved, just minimized or managed when they can be. And get out of the way (give up control) when the big waves come.

Like Iraq, our continued presence and influence, if unchecked by SOFA, would have been increasingly problematic if we were still there today, just being americans, but parked in the middle of their street.

Figuring this stuff out at the "street" level is an important viewpoint to grasp and plan what we are trying to do, and how to do it.

Steve

Infanteer
02-22-2010, 04:27 PM
Well, as I told MG Carter this morning, we are really dealing with two insurgencies. The rank and file fighter is primarily fighting a resistance movement. They fight because we are here and because they can draw an honest wage for an honorable Pashtun profession to do so. I would like to think that I would be an insurgent if I were Afghan.

This is the bulk of the insurgency, but it is not the aspect of the insurgency that the COIN effort must focus on to resolve. The COIN effort must go after the top of the insurgency, the senior leadership that are much more the Revolutionary insurgents; who believe they have a superior legitimacy than Karzai does. Once this is resolved, and no amount of population centric tactics nor killing of insurgent fighters will resolve it; you can then take a much more palatable position in support to the emergent, legitimate government, and reduce presence in a manner that takes the steam out of the larger, rank and file, resistance insurgency. Not "go after" as in KILL (though some may well just have to eat that bullet); but go after as in targeting the causal factors of illegitimacy and lack of mechanisms recognized and trusted by the populace for shaping government.


This makes sense to me sitting where I am. I regularly get fed stuff on TBSL this and HVI that which bears little relevence to what I watch unfold in and around the villages. Unlike a Bosnia or a Iraq, where a more base, intercine violence occured which required a strong security force presence to prevent revolutionary elements from exploiting or thriving, there is a much more "violence as usual" feel around here. No mass graves or targeted killings, just 100 little wars for 100 various reasons that we've stumbled into - despite being as friendly as hell, many of these folks simply don't want us clattering around their countryside and think it is logical and acceptable to take a whack at us.

To date, the best explanation of COIN is "a violent political campaign" and right now we're working with a fickle electorate.