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  1. "COIN math"

    I don't have first hand experience with Afghanistan, but I'd assert that just like there are calculations involved in employing combat power in a "conventional" sense, the same holds true in an...
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    Marlborough

    I’m in the first part of Churchill’s biography of the Duke of Marlborough, Marlborough, written in 1933. I was taken by this passage (especially as it was written pre-WWII):

    “It is customary to...
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    Theory and Practice

    The operational level is something that may be worthwhile in theory, but not in practice. I think examining all the linkages between setting national ends/ways/means (strategy if you like) all the...
  4. Design at every level

    The more I think about Design, and its implications as it moves into broader use at multiple levels in the chain of command, I'm struck by the potential effects of having each level conducting...
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    You're correct, and I failed to make that...

    You're correct, and I failed to make that distinction in my post. I'd add that laying out the COP itself is only one piece of the entire defensive battle, if it is conceived as such. I'd still assert...
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    Duffer's Drift

    I’m somewhat surprised that in this whole discussion, the classic, The Defense of Duffer’s Drift has not been referenced. While the weapons have changed some of the tactical fundamentals, the whole...
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    A war of COPs

    I agree that the Taliban won’t fight a “war of COPs”, but to a degree, that’s the physical reality of the ISAF/GoA fight. To get to the population, we need to be among them. Since the idea of patrols...
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    The tactics of it all

    We were very good in Vietnam at rapidly constructing defendable firebases. The knowledge and background is there. With all the time we've spent (and are planning to spend) in Afghanistan, I'd hope...
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    New Paper on Soviet Advisory Effort in Afghanistan

    I just found this recent report from the Cold War International History Project “The Blind leading the Blind: Soviet Advisors, Counter-Insurgency and Nation-Building in Afghanistan.” As described in...
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    Surferbeetle, We are all prisoners of our...

    Surferbeetle,
    We are all prisoners of our experience, both in operations and in learning. By your comments, it’s apparent that we have been exposed to Clausewitz’s writings in a different manner...
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    Coming Back to Clausewitz

    I still haven't read anything in this thread that suppports the assertion that Clausewitz isn't relevant. If you choose to think that On War only provides insight when two established states fight...
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    In reply to Bob's World: I agree. While...

    In reply to Bob's World:



    I agree. While fighting the FID force is ultimately a branch, it is a necessary branch. The insurgent has to get the FID force out of the picture. This does not...
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    Back to Clausewitz

    There are parts here I agree with and parts I don’t agree with. To start with the last first, I don’t think that Clausewitz would ever assert that reading his book gives an understanding of any...
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    I think that most historians (good ones, at...

    I think that most historians (good ones, at least) would be the first to acknowledge that what they produce is not some absolute "truth", but an interpretation of events based on the sources...
  15. More complex?

    I would extend it to say that we have a generation that think WWII and Korea, etc. was also "simple." I don't think our histories, or how we teach them, necessarily do those conflicts justice. We...
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    Picking this thread back up from another perspective

    From Danger Room: How the Afghan Air War Got Stuck in the Sky (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_end_air_war/all/1). This short article offers an account of how the current gudiance on...
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    Its unfortunate that we get hung up on task...

    Its unfortunate that we get hung up on task terminology and definition and not on the PURPOSE. I always liked the COA development drill I learned at Ft Benning that directed development of the...
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    Is it the carpets?

    From Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, Generalship: Its Diseases and Their Cure
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    Economy of Force

    I would have to agree with CavGuy about "a little COIN may be worse than no COIN at all." This is a worthwhile consideration when we discuss the larger picture in Afghanistan--of ceding whole areas...
  20. In looking at this as a document which is...

    In looking at this as a document which is supposed to help the Army frame/prioritize what stuff to buy and how to educate and train soldiers, I found it less than useful. Knowing how the Pentagon...
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    Completely agree. Going back to the ISAF...

    Completely agree. Going back to the ISAF Guidance, its continual reference to ISAF's responsibility to the people of Afghanistan, as a seperate issue from our responsability to support the Government...
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    A long time ago...

    I wrote that as an undergraduate thesis in 1986. I gave a copy to a CAP vet in 1997 and he later uploaded it to the internet.
    Its been some time ago, but I don't think I'm far off my present...
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    Clausewitz, Sun Tzu and COIN guidance

    While it’s always a possibility, I’d offer that Clausewitz’s writings were more drawn from his interpretation of his experiences and history as he understood it. Peter Paret’s Clausewitz and the...
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    I believe this gets at the heart of the matter...

    I believe this gets at the heart of the matter with FM 3-24, or "pop-centric" COIN, as its being described. I think that FM 3-24 describes a very specific COIN operational design to result in a...
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    Navy Campaign Planning

    Information Dissemination has a great post that comments on a recent press conference with VADM Gortney, Cdr US Fifth Fleet and NAVCENT....
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