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SSG Rock
06-30-2006, 01:47 PM
I'd like to take a moment to pick some brilliant minds here gentlemen if I may. If you had the authority to change anything we are doing in Iraq, what changes would you implement regarding military tactics, troop levels, equipment? The table is wide open, all the way to the nuclear option. Or, would you change anything at all?

jcustis
06-30-2006, 05:53 PM
-Put more LAR on the ground. This would mean cutting the Okinawa rotation and mobilizing Reserve companies again. This is near and dear to me, and since this is my post, I get to make the recommendation ;)

-Make advisor tours 14 months, and institute a volunteer/screening process. If a guy wants to go and is screened as an appropriate candidate, he goes. I'd rather see a unit give up it's best and brighest because the guy went willingly, as opposed to being a mandatory fill. 21-day train up, 30-day RIP, 10 months walking the beat with IA partners, 30 days RIP, and 30 days at FMTU.

-Get the Corps' FMTU in psynch (e.g. school seats, MTTs, exchange officers) with the JFK Special Warfare School, if it isn't happening already.

-Get around the B.S. of 1 or 2-man pre-deployment site surveys. Every company commander should have the opportunity to go and walk the ground.

-Charter and establish a COIN center of excellence in CONUS, now, or expand the scope/charter of the JFKSWS. It should be an Army and Marine affair to start. School seats should be purple, but I think we only need two branches of instructors for the time being.

-Start compiling AARs of advisor team actions, from the advised force (and not the HHQ talking heads in Baghdad) perspective. Despite all their idiosynchrasies, the Iraqis and Afghans aren't stupid. We can't afford to be narcissistic in this endeavour, and need a report card from all sides. Will it be realistic and devoid of flowery or hollow praise? Maybe not at first, but has it been tried?

-If the Army can publish On Point, I see no reason why the Corps cannot commission a compilation of journals from three IA advisors; One very successful, one who had a few issues, and the third being an advisor who had to fight hard to make everything happen. It doesn't even matter if it is ghost-written, as long as the salient points are published and reinforced.

Hope this develops discussion, though I am far from a brilliant mind.

Jones_RE
06-30-2006, 09:58 PM
Establish joint US/Iraqi police forces. The Americans involved would not be soldiers - rather they would possess police powers chartered by the local government. The point is to allow members of the force to play a more inherently political role - which US military officers are subscribed from doing by their traditions. Stringent training requirements and a strict code of ethics would be indoctrinated in all officers - along with a period of training in US cities with large Arab populations or high crime rates.

Institute a program based on Combined Action Platoons to provide personal security to Iraqi communities.

Immediately assess, on a grid type basis, those areas of Iraq that are under the sway of insurgents, relatively peaceful or in between. Continuously update this assessment, based on voluntary cooperation with government forces, tax revenues collected, number and violence of attacks, etc.

Reorient the entire counterinsurgency effort to focus on consolidating our gains in one or two small safe areas (via CAP and joint policing) rather than a "fire brigade" approach of rushing reinforcements to the latest hotspot. I cannot stress enough the importance of small scale, successful operations to our overall efforts. It doesn't matter if it's some dusty little village no one has ever heard of - if it's possible to secure the thing and "innoculate" it against further insurgency then it's a victory. Frankly, right now we need victory. Once we've learned how to achieve a single victory, we can duplicate that success in other areas. It also builds credibility in a way no photo op or leaflet campaign ever will.

A complete reversal in prisoner/detainee treatment. All individuals under coalition custody should receive the very best treatment to include: the opportunity to write letters to family members (which may be read and/or censored as needed), clean and air conditioned living quarters, regular meals of the highest practical quality (which should be better than our troops eat), clean civilian clothes, access to religious counseling (even if only through a US military chaplain) and polite, respectful treatment at all times. An insurgent should feel like the guest of honor. I don't feel this level of treatment would be necessary in all situations, but it's important to make a clear change from past practices and abuses. There are countless examples of this kind of thing working for our enemies and treating prisoners well is the one thing totally under our control that would separate us from the insurgents in the minds of the locals (who should be thinking: the Americans will feed, shelter and respect me even if I'm not allowed to leave, the insurgents will torture me and then behead me. I'm for the Americans!).

Recruit from among captured insurgents for agents who will switch to our side. They are the single most effective weapon in guerilla warfare. Improvements in prisoner treatment will help a lot.

Change search procedures. Homes should be searched in groups - as many as possible at a time. However, the searchers must be accompanied by Iraqis of stature who will sign statements that property was not taken and female quarters were entered only by female personnel. Mosque searches must also be videotaped and the tapes/CDs distributed to locals after the fact.

When detaining an individual for interrogation or interviewing locals, many locals should be questioned so that the insurgents will not know who gave them up. Anonymity is the only security we can offer informants at this time.

Despite the above, soldiers are not to debate searches, interviews or arrests. Nor should they be deterred by local resistance - although firing on an unarmed mob isn't much of an option. That means training in riot control techniques and issuance of adequate less than lethal weapons, plus appropriate ROE.

Strongly consider relocating the seat of government to a safer area.

carl
07-03-2006, 12:12 PM
Regarding Jones RE point 8, about taking steps to preserve the anonymity of informants.

Bing West mentioned just such steps being taken in Vietnam in his book "The Village". Hundreds of people at a time would be detained or questioned in order to conceal the identity of one or two.

SSG Rock
07-03-2006, 12:43 PM
Although they have begun doing this on a smale scale, I believe in the strategy of breaking up the super base and moving our troops into towns to live among the people, I think that this is a demonstration of faith and good will and we will enjoy all kinds of benefits from it both tangeble and intangeble, afterall, this is about winning over the people more than defeating the insurgents. I have read articles that seem to indicate the Marines have been doing this but the Army isn't, I'm confused as to what the facts are. Of course we should leave some superbases in tact, and occupied for contingency purposes, and I'd leave the log and aviation units away from built up areas as well.

To me, this is all about denying the enemy freedom of movement and to do that we need to be where they want to be. Maybe establishing partnerships with IA would help in that regard. Even to the point that they co-locate on our bases to live, train and work with us, I'm not sure about this but maybe its something to kick around. I think the more exposure that IA has to our units the more they will learn even through observing from a distance.

I like the idea of turning detainees to our side. If you pay them enough, they'll do it.

I also think that the IP should be trained by police and other law enforcement entitites. The IP need to learn how to think like the insurgents, they need to learn how to fight just like they do. I also think that the leadership of the IP should recieve some training outside the country.

Strickland
07-03-2006, 05:07 PM
I'd like to take a moment to pick some brilliant minds here gentlemen if I may. If you had the authority to change anything we are doing in Iraq, what changes would you implement regarding military tactics, troop levels, equipment? The table is wide open, all the way to the nuclear option. Or, would you change anything at all?

Speaking as a citizen, and not as a Marine, I would begin the process of leaving.

jcustis
07-03-2006, 05:58 PM
To me, this is all about denying the enemy freedom of movement and to do that we need to be where they want to be. Maybe establishing partnerships with IA would help in that regard. Even to the point that they co-locate on our bases to live, train and work with us, I'm not sure about this but maybe its something to kick around. I think the more exposure that IA has to our units the more they will learn even through observing from a distance.

This is already the case for the most part. Having the ING remain in place (alone) at their old HQs/camps was one of the major headaches. Once there, they would often simply not leave to do anything.

Same thing with the IP training. There's a lot of civ-pol training going on by contractors aboard larger bases, but I fault it with not embedding these trainers with the graduates, to see whether what they teach is really what the IP needs to 1)do his job, 2) adhere to the constitional precepts of the govt, 3) overcome the reality that graft will likely never leave the culture.

I'm all over the out-of-Iraq training piece, especially for their senior leadership, but more along the lines of them giving us training in the realities they face, and how military/police life used to be. The downside is that the family effect plays havoc with any initiatives that may take the bread winner out of the country for any serious length of time.

Strickland
07-03-2006, 06:14 PM
Can anyone name a successful example, whereby an outside power defeated and then eradicated all vestiges of the government, military, and internal security apparratus of the host country, and then remade them all in the face of a continued insurgency? The Soviet experience in Eastern Europe or Central Asia after 1922 and post-1945 comes to mind, but neither turned out real well in the end.

I have read the suggestions listed above, and they all appear to be well-thought out; however, I am unclear if they assist in achieving the overall campaign objectives. How do these enable those points articulated by the President in his Victory in Iraq Strategy document?

Per the President -

Victory in Iraq is Defined in Stages
• Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones,
building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.
• Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully
constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.
• Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international
community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.

So, as far as the suggestions listed above, how do they help us in the big picture? The items or tactics suggested appear to be geared toward short term solutions per the President's guidance. So, where are we in the big picture, short, medium, or long term, using the president's definitions?

979797
08-01-2006, 10:59 AM
The best suggestion is that of something similar to combined action platoons. We need to take companies, assign them a neighborhood (for large urban areas) or a village, and then send them there to live with the people. Then, the Army needs to give that captain the power to make the difference. The battalion commander's main function would be to make sure his companies are receiving the supply and support they need to succeed. It would suck for the troops, but they could rotate to a "superbase" every one to two weeks for a day to eat hot chow, get a shower, and visit the PX.

The problem with force protection (from the Army's perspective... I don't know how the Marines do it) is that we insulate ourselves from the people. As a PSYOP guy, I have to build relationships. I have a difficult task made MORE difficult when I approach people dressed like a stormtrooper, wrapped head-to-toe in Kevlar (they have us wearing these kevlar shoulder pads now... it's crazy). Patrols roll around in steel HMMWVs and Bradleys. Very little long-distance dismount patrols in which foot soldiers directly interact with people.

The concept of the "superbase" (with power, water, and PX) is very bad for our efforts. We allow locals to work and sell wares on the base, so they see us living in luxury and then have to return home at night to their homes with no running water, maybe a few hours of power a day, etc. What type of perception is this? Think about the statement it makes among the people.

I sit in the BUB and listen to staff officers talk about searches of weapons caches, an occasional insurgent killed, or a school built. We're missing the entire point. It's about the people, stupid. And the force structure we have in place, with our superbases and force protection rules, are simply a barrier between us and the people.

You don't build relationships based on a few hours spent weekly in one of many towns in a battalion AO. You have to live among the people, suffering their hardships, and showing them you GENUINELY give a #### about them.

I think, at this point unfortunately, we're beyond the point of being able to fix things and make it nice. Too much water under the bridge and all that. But, I hope we LEARN from this war so we won't make the same mistakes next time.

nichols
08-01-2006, 01:47 PM
You don't build relationships based on a few hours spent weekly in one of many towns in a battalion AO. You have to live among the people, suffering their hardships, and showing them you GENUINELY give a #### about them.

This is the key to success. It doesn't matter where you are or how fluent you are in a language. When the local people see this grass roots level activities, they respond accordingly.

The kick in the teeth is that we have been talking about the Strategic Corporal for some time, Distributed Operations for about two years now but we as a military are still attached to the base/PX/shower embellical cord mentality of WW II.

My first change would be to eliminate all types of troop formations and close order drill. :eek: These have the effect of cognitively teaching the troops the herd mentality.

Steve Blair
08-01-2006, 02:18 PM
I would say again that the firebase syndrome came directly from Vietnam and the perceived need to keep a draftee army "fat and happy" in the basecamps when not out slogging through the bush. Not only is it damaging to building relationships with the local populace, it raises the cost of any involvement dramatically. Base camps don't just spring out of thin air. They take money to build and troops to man and guard. Drawing from the historical examples, a four company battalion in Vietnam had to leave at least one company on "palace guard" at any given time. One quarter of the combat strength was unavailable for operations, or things like CAP and RD.

There is an enduring myth that American troops cannot live in the field without their running water, Internet cafes, and ice cream. Though it's been proven time and again that they can live in the field, and often do so very effectively, the base camp has been very hard to get away from.

Merv Benson
08-01-2006, 03:30 PM
Steve,

My recollection of firebases in Vietnam is of isolated hill tops with a few 105's and sandbagged bunkers. Troops were dependent on choppers bringing in supplies including water. It was definitely nothing like the forward operating bases in Iraq. It was really a way to control space with a minimal amount of force. My company cleared the way for the installation of one of the first on Dong Ha Mountain where we also found the 75 mm pack howitzer that was used to harass Camp Carrol. I think that pack howitzer is in a Marine museum now.

slapout9
08-01-2006, 04:02 PM
Good observation merv. They were called firebases for a reason. Also I never saw a General Officer wear a Miami Vice shoulder holster like some of them do now. The nickname for this holster by Police officers was a "Jackass Rig." Wonder if this why we are loosing??

Steve Blair
08-01-2006, 04:17 PM
Steve,

My recollection of firebases in Vietnam is of isolated hill tops with a few 105's and sandbagged bunkers. Troops were dependent on choppers bringing in supplies including water. It was definitely nothing like the forward operating bases in Iraq. It was really a way to control space with a minimal amount of force. My company cleared the way for the installation of one of the first on Dong Ha Mountain where we also found the 75 mm pack howitzer that was used to harass Camp Carrol. I think that pack howitzer is in a Marine museum now.

This certainly happened with the Marine Corps and some units of the 101st that operated in I Corps, but if you get down to some of the Army organizations in III Corps there was a different mentality. Perhaps I should have used the term base areas or something similar as opposed to the combat fire base, which was often a rather sparse operation (especially in the period after 1968 when the First Cavalry Division began using battalion-sized camps that were only opened for a few days and then closed out). However, the same could not be said of the more developed complexes around Saigon. I think what we may be seeing now is that same mindset, but they happen to be using more "combative" names.

979797
08-02-2006, 12:15 AM
Troop formations and close-order drill are a good thing for transitioning civilians into soldiers. You gotta have it for your conventional combat units.

What you need for counterinsurgency though are units that can act independently and with initiative. A captain (or even staff NCO) who is presented with a crisis of perhaps strategic proportions and is given the ability to resolve it without having to "call the six". From an Army perspective, Special Forces has this capability (although I've heard some friends there lamenting how "big Army" is slowly sinking its claws into the organization).

The only way to graduate soldiers to the level I'm talking about are to train 'em hard as recruits first. I feel that the current Army basic training regimen and syllabus is woefully lacking in this regard. The Marines still kick our ass in this category. Once seasoned with a few hard years in a line unit, they can be ready to move into special units that are given latitude in operational planning and decision-making and are free from micro-management.

I also think soldiers serving here (at least the squad-level leadership and up) need REAL cultural training. I'm not talking about the silly "Arabs consider the left hand dirty" type kindergarten ####. I mean the real, in-depth "how does an Arab think and feel" GRADUATE-LEVEL type knowlege. Why do our leaders still make decisions and assesments based on western education and values? For all you "Boydists" out there, you cannot get inside the enemy's OODA loop thinking like a westerner. You get inside it and think LIKE AN ARAB THINKS!!

There is a lieutenant in my supported unit who is a company XO. He was amazed at the books in my PSYOP team's collection and he wanted to read them. #### that I thought was basic-level stuff that my team and I had read or at least looked at and discussed. I have the advantage of a team member who serves on a congressional staff as a middle-eastern specialist, but still... what sort of prep work had this LT been doing apart from an NTC rotation and checking off the blocks on a CTT worksheet?

On the bright side though, in the same company, is a staff sergeant who trades books with me all the time. So, there is always hope...

I perused the board in which everyone here introduces themselves and was disappointed to see so few who wrote "I'm an active-duty Army infantry (or armor, or FA, or whatever) officer/NCO in Iraq thirsty for knowlege and looking to truly win the counterinsurgency fight here." There are so many who are "former" or "retired" and this is well and good. Especially for the guys who served in 'Nam. There are many lessons to be drawn from that conflict and can be applied here (as well as many that can't). But this board should be overwhelmed with current leaders who are looking for more answers and bouncing ideas off eachother. God knows we have enough access to the Internet.

Anyway, I'll step off my soapbox (or, rather shut off my loudspeaker).

SWJED
08-02-2006, 11:54 PM
I also think soldiers serving here (at least the squad-level leadership and up) need REAL cultural training. I'm not talking about the silly "Arabs consider the left hand dirty" type kindergarten ####. I mean the real, in-depth "how does an Arab think and feel" GRADUATE-LEVEL type knowlege.

Well said...

CPT Holzbach
08-04-2006, 07:05 PM
There is a lieutenant in my supported unit who is a company XO. He was amazed at the books in my PSYOP team's collection and he wanted to read them. #### that I thought was basic-level stuff that my team and I had read or at least looked at and discussed. I have the advantage of a team member who serves on a congressional staff as a middle-eastern specialist, but still... what sort of prep work had this LT been doing apart from an NTC rotation and checking off the blocks on a CTT worksheet?

On the bright side though, in the same company, is a staff sergeant who trades books with me all the time. So, there is always hope...

Hey 979797, would you be able to list some of those books here? I'd love to hear what you consider must-reads. And on a side note, your location says "Rustamiyah". Does that mean FOB Rustamiyah, Baghdad? If so, how are things going there? I was stationed there with 3ID through 2005. Lemme know how stuff is going there.

jcustis
08-15-2006, 07:21 PM
979797,

I've read both of your posts and think they are spot on!!! Welcome to the forum...

marct
08-16-2006, 02:36 PM
I also think soldiers serving here (at least the squad-level leadership and up) need REAL cultural training. I'm not talking about the silly "Arabs consider the left hand dirty" type kindergarten ####. I mean the real, in-depth "how does an Arab think and feel" GRADUATE-LEVEL type knowlege. .... For all you "Boydists" out there, you cannot get inside the enemy's OODA loop thinking like a westerner. You get inside it and think LIKE AN ARAB THINKS!!

There is a lieutenant in my supported unit who is a company XO. He was amazed at the books in my PSYOP team's collection and he wanted to read them. #### that I thought was basic-level stuff that my team and I had read or at least looked at and discussed. I have the advantage of a team member who serves on a congressional staff as a middle-eastern specialist, but still... what sort of prep work had this LT been doing apart from an NTC rotation and checking off the blocks on a CTT worksheet?

979797, you've got some really good points here. I guess that my main questions would be a) how do you go about doing it and b) how do you sell it institutionally?

Back in WWII, there was a concerted effort to get inside the heads of the Japanese. Given that the traditional methods of doing ethnographies couldn't be used, Ruth Benedict pioneered a new method - "culture at a distance" (see The Chrysanthemum and The Sword). This method allowed her to get a gut-level (i.e. internal, "intuitive") understanding of Japanese culture that was worth a lot more than a Western, intellectual knowledge based understanding (i.e. typical graduate level stuff, at least in Canada).

The start of this methodology, however, was with reading the "basic level stuff", followed by a sensory immersion into everything she could find (language, film, food, clothing, etc.). From what I have seen, which I will admit is woefully inadequate :o, I get the feeling that, barring Maj. Gen Mattis' 2003 work towards this, there seems to be very little work on institutionally supporting this type of training for troops going on regular deployments. Is it possible that the LT you mentioned is from a unit where the emphasis is on "real military training, not that fuzzy ####"?

Another question, again coming from my ignorance, is given that you have such a great library and obvious expertise in the area, are you tasked with any in-field training? I'm asking, because one of the roles that Anthropologists traditionally played when working with non-Anthropologists was as in-field trainers in both the local culture and, perhaps more importantly, in the attitudes and perceptions of how to analyze and get to know a local culture.

Marc

Tom Odom
08-16-2006, 05:56 PM
Marc,

Much of what is bandied about currently on cultural sensitivity is often easy to say and impossible to do. We cannot make cultural experts of every soldier; we have enough challenges making sure that our soldiers are trained and proficient in their specific and general skill sets.

979797 as a PSYOP guy is in the business of anticipatory analysis of the enemy. My business as a foreign area officer was heavily oriented in that regard per your discussion of immersion training. see http://www.tamu.edu/upress/BOOKS/2005/odom.htm for my experiences in that regard.

still 979797 is absolutely correct: we do need to prepare our soldiers to think and open their minds when they deal with foreign cultures. for that matter, we need to prepare some senior leaders as well (I was reading Tom Ricks' Fiasco last night).

I start with 2 basic rules:

They (fill in the culture) don't think like you do

They (fill in the culture) have an agenda in everything they do with you

If I can get those basics across, then the listener can began on the right track rather than mirroring.

It also cuts back on assuming everyone loves or hates us. Ricks book has a fantastic discussion of walking with a patrol as its members tell him how much the Iraqis love Americans. He parallels it with insights gained from the locals via interpreters (I assume) that say exactly the opposite.

Hopefully as a soldier develops he will continue to develop and broaden his analytical framework so that he truly starts to think like his enemy (or ally). The same applies in strategic and tactical intelligence analysis. getting inside a guy's head starts with understanding his mental framework is different. it is remarkable to me the number of analysts who balk at looking at motivations and intentions. they dismiss it as voodoo analysis, preferring discussions of recorded actions and speeches. My response is that it is voodoo. It is the voodoo that I do if I wish to anticipate what my opponent is likely to do. Merely digesting actions and spoken communications is history.

Best
Tom

marct
08-16-2006, 08:25 PM
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the response. I seem to be having problems with my browser today and this is the third time I'm trying to post a response. I think I'll write them in notepad and then cut and paste them from now on :)....

In all honesty, I really hate the term "cultural sensitivity" - probably because it is a very politically charged fad in academia that seems to mean "I'm as good as you are" (said in a whiney voice). I far prefer the term "culturally aware" or something similar, just to avoid the PC quagmire.

Funny you should mention Fiasco - I just finished it last night. I think that Ricks does a fantastic job of highlighting the problems in both strategic thought, operational planning and pre-deployment training.

On your two points, I would definately agree. I usually have a similar discussion with my students when I'm trying to communicate something from a culture that they aren't familiar with, although I also try and invert those questions as well - "How do you think" and "What are your motivations?". That way, it is possible to identify overlaps and commonalities of interest as, at the least, the begining point of an ongoing discussion/collaboration.

I think your point about the ongoing development of the individual soldier as a rational, thinking being is a really crucial one. The ability to analyze a situation and take appropriate action is absolutely crucial to everyone, be they soldier, politician or civilian. Being able to "step into the mind" of your opponent, i.e. looking at their motivations as well as their behaviours, is absolutely crucial. Musashi makes that point in the Third Book of the Book of Five Rings, as does Sun Tsu.

When you were mentioning "voodoo analysis", I just had to laugh. I have read way too many academic papers that had absolutely brilliant analyses that were totally off base because the analyst never considered either their own motivations and biases or those of the speaker. I used to have one particular article that I would give my students that really highlighted that - a gorgeous, methodologically rigorous psychology paper that clearly proved that everyone who didn't agree with a particular Christian denomination was demon haunted :). Unfortunately, I have noticed similarities with some of the analyses coming out of Iraq.

Marc

Culpeper
08-17-2006, 12:22 AM
This is the key to success. It doesn't matter where you are or how fluent you are in a language. When the local people see this grass roots level activities, they respond accordingly.

The kick in the teeth is that we have been talking about the Strategic Corporal for some time, Distributed Operations for about two years now but we as a military are still attached to the base/PX/shower embellical cord mentality of WW II.

My first change would be to eliminate all types of troop formations and close order drill. :eek: These have the effect of cognitively teaching the troops the herd mentality.

The Marines have some experience at this.

Combined Action Companies (CAC).

"These Marines entered into the life of the village where they were assigned, and became an integral part of its defenses. To the Popular Force platoons they could offer training in weaponry and tactics, and effective communications -- vital for supporting fires or reinforcements; and to the communities involved, they offered a very real Marine-to-the-people civic action program, including medical aid." The Marines in Vietnam 1954-1973: An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography. USMC, 1973, 49.


Also, known as Combined Action Platoons and Combined Action Program.

The Marine Corpsí Combined Action Program and Modern Peace Operations-Common Themes and Lessons (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1997/Go.htm)


The mixed performance of U.S. forces in recent low intensity conflicts or "small wars", i.e. Vietnam (counterinsurgency) and Somalia (peace operation), has been due in part to a failure to understand the political, economic, social, and cultural factors at work in the area of operations. The Combined Action Program (CAP) of the Vietnam War has been frequently cited by military historians as an example of a successful small wars operation, this because the CAP did have cultural aspect. The U.S. Marine Corps-led Unified Task Force (UNITAF) portion of the 1992-1995 UN operation in Somalia was successful partly because it applied lessons learned from Marine Corps small wars experience from the Central American "Banana Wars" of the 1930's and the CAP in Vietnam.

SWJED
08-17-2006, 05:10 AM
The Marines have some experience at this.

Combined Action Companies (CAC).

Much more on CAP / CAC in our very own SWJ Reference Library (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/reference.htm) in the Vietnam War - U.S. / Allies (http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/ref/vietnam.htm) section. CORDS too...

zenpundit
08-19-2006, 03:11 AM
Provide significant incentives in terms of pay and promotion for FL skill acquisition in critical languages (Pashto, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, CA Turkic languages, Chinese)

Increase the proportion of NCO's relative to officers and enlisted men.

Increase the number of field officers for the CIA D.O., particularly those without diplomatic cover. Ditto for DIA

Apply the the principle of "jointness" to Mil-IC-State- Aid agencies

Accept that intervention tasks requires a military that emphasizes career specialization in a particular region as welll as military skill-sets. No, every man is not an FAO but 30 years (mostly) in the Mideast/CENTCOM creates enough " old hands" in case of major actions.

The next "occupation", wherever it is, begins with a proper military governorship before we start screwing around with P.R. facades

And then I will part the waters....;)

Ray
08-20-2006, 08:53 AM
Much of what is bandied about currently on cultural sensitivity is often easy to say and impossible to do. We cannot make cultural experts of every soldier; we have enough challenges making sure that our soldiers are trained and proficient in their specific and general skill sets.


First off is that my comments are based on the Indian experience and it is not for me to comment on the environment faced by the US Army. It is just sharing experiences.

India is a vast country with is multi ethnic, multi lingual with multiple customs and tradition and multi religious. The dialects change with every districts

Therefore, there is no common denominator as such when cultural sensitivities and lingual differences are being confronted.

The Indian Army has practically quelled the insurgencies in the North East and is still battling the cross border terrorism in Kashmir, though on a much lower threat than before. This is because of the exacting requirements to win the hearts and minds (it is often stated that we are combating terrorism with one hand tied behind our backs).

In my long stint in Kashmir, I found that it was essential to impress upon and teach the soldiers the culture of the place they are operating in as also some were taught the language (and in Kashmir, there are many languages and cultures). We had classes pre induction as also ongoing while in the Insurgency area. While one cannot state that 100% responded to the teaching in the manner desired, yet because a large majority did, we were able to interact and because of the same, we obtained favourable results.

I feel it is absolutely essential to know the culture and language (smattering, if nothing else) of the people where one is operating in.

I daresay that the American soldiers are better educated than the Indian soldiers, though these days all Indian soldiers have to be high school pass.

In so far as the skills that the Indian Army has to apply itself to is again multi-dimensional since tactics change for each type of environment the soldiers have to operate it - high altitude, mountains, hills, plains, deserts, jungles, plains with Ditch cum Bunds and so on. All ranks have to be proficient in operations for each of these environment.

Steve Blair
08-21-2006, 01:57 PM
Outstanding input, Ray! I, for one, am always interested in the experiences other armies have had with this type of warfare. And, for the reasons you pointed out, I would expect that the Indian army might have many lessons to share. Thanks!

RTK
08-28-2006, 01:19 AM
1). Basic and AIT would include Rosetta Stone language training like the officer basic course and captain's career courses are including now.

2). The state department would leave the Green Zone.

3). The Army would begin to think of FID and IDAD as principles of COIN, not just SOF core missions.

4). That everyone in the Army would know what the acronyms in point 3 mean.

5). Brigade commanders would put out a reading list 1 year before deployment (like H.R. McMaster did with 3 ACR).

6). That Brigade commanders and below would read the reading list.

7). That we'd teach our soldiers that kinetics don't win COIN.

8). That we, as leaders, have the balls to fire subordinate leaders if they suck. That includes Division commanders firing brigade commanders.

9). That we, as troop commanders and above, would do a better job at promoting the good deeds done daily through the media.

10). That SECFOR companies and American soldiers didn't have to guard trucks with 31 flavors for superFOBs from Kuwait.

11). That SuperFOBs would disappear and the firebase concept was embraced, like it was in Tal Afar.

SSG Rock
08-28-2006, 02:44 PM
Your deployment orders are being published now. :D

Jimbo
09-24-2006, 11:10 PM
Better screening of advisors for foreign militaries

Pre-deployment training would have instruction with how to work with host-nation forces

devlopment of training plan for national police forces/paramilitaries (something we do poorly)

Agreement and execution of inter-agency responsibilities in the COIN fight.

CaptCav_CoVan
11-14-2006, 08:47 PM
I was a member of the first Combined Action Company (later called Combined Action Platoons or CAPs, also know as the Combined Action Program) in Phu Bai when it was started in Auguest 1965. We took two squads of volunteers who were interviewed and screened, and paired them up with the Popular Force Platoons in Phu Bai 3 and Phu Bai 4. The Marines lived right in the village (we had a grass and tin hooch) with sandbagged defensive pits outside. We spent the days training the PFs and the evenings going out on patrol with them. Another FO and I shot in concentrations around the villages at the direction of the village chiefs. The chiefs gave each concentration a name, like "Mongoose" or "Rat". We worked up the coordinates for each of the concntrations and had them posted in the FDC and FSCC. We had Vietnamese liaison officers who stood watch in the FDC and were in communication with the village chiefs through Motorola radios. When the village chief wanted illumination, he called in the animal name of the concentration and the word "light." When he wanted HE, he called in the animal name of the concentration and "boom." By having our troops living in the village, 3/4 also had a a ready reaction force, including tanks, that could be deployed since the villages were only 2 klicks away, and we could bring down arty on any target around the village. I have proposed to several general officers to the idea of formally establishing a CAP program in Iraq. So far, only 3/1 had anything resembling a CAC, and they Marines did not stay with the forces at night. We shall see....

CaptCav_CoVan
11-14-2006, 08:54 PM
Attached are some pics that show what the CAC unit living consitions were like.