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Thread: Operationalizing The Jones Model through COG

  1. #21
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    Default Not to worry folks,

    The Powers That Be seem to have problems settling on the name of what is going to happen in the Argandab valley and the other scenic Kandahar venues.

    This from today's WP, Results of Kandahar offensive may affect future U.S. moves:

    Senior U.S. military officials briefing American reporters in Kabul early last month described extensive "clearing operations" planned in the outlying Kandahar districts of Zhari, Argandab and Panjwai, where the Taliban is entrenched.
    ....
    The name of the offensive -- Hamkari Baraye Kandahar, or Cooperation for Kandahar -- was carefully chosen to avoid the word "operation," which suggests violence. The administration official described it benignly as a "military presence" and Karzai has defined it as a "process." Last week, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, called the offensive "a unique challenge."
    So, Slap and Karzai are on the same page here (a "process") - probably the only time that will happen.

    The vocabulary for the "good governance process" should be primarily political and less military - what it involves is the process of mobilizing the masses per Mao and John McCuen on various levels (security, opportunity and ideology, working from the base needs upwards), which has to be attempted by whatever side is interested in arriving at an acceptable outcome. That political effort will involve violence - sometimes narrators will have to kill and wolfhounds will have to narrate (not theoretically perfect, Wilf, but we live in a world of finite resources).

    A "key point" (note I didn't say CoG, which to me was firstly a matter of physics, calculus, statics and dynamics - ill-spent youth at an engineering school), in this political effort, is the interface between the political types and the military types. That interface (strong or weak) applies to both insurgent and incumbant.

    If that interface (boundary) is strong - unity of effort and unity of principles - we are likely to end up with a Malaya situation from the Brit-Malaysian viewpoint. If there are contradictions (which the opponent will exploit), we have a Malaya situation from the ComTerrs viewpoint. The CTs had a comparatively weak political-military interface. As Entropy correctly notes, developing a strong political-military interface is no easy given.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 05-23-2010 at 08:07 PM.

  2. #22
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    So the Howard Paret translation is wrong?
    Tell me book, chapter and a longer quote and I'll try to find it in the original to check.

  3. #23
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    I think the Jones model is an excellent tool for understanding what might be called "classic insurgency", where a populace or portion thereof rises up against its government. One limitation is that the term "insurgency" (and again I feel the discussion suffers for want of a definition) is widely used to describe other circumstances. For example, many here use the term "insurgency" to describe irregular resistance to foreign occupation, a circumstance in which the quality of governance is not the core issue driving the conflict.

    A similar situation might arise in a diverse populace in which government is dominated by one subset (ethnic, religious, whatever), and another subset is resisting domination by that government. An observer working from the Jones model might be tempted to interpret the core narrative of the conflict as "they are governing us badly", when in fact it is "we refuse to be governed by them".

    Another limitation is that no matter how often we repeat that it is the populace's perception of governance, not ours, that matters, we will always evaluate governance according to our own standards, and we will always project our own preferences onto our assumptions of what the populace is thinking. We are, after all, human.

    That tendency is evident in our preference for central government, and in our assumption that effective governance is a desirable thing. In many cases it may not be. If a group of people is accustomed to governing themselves, with nominal allegiance to a distant and abstract national entity, the prospect of an effective government - of a government that actually proposes to govern them - might be regarded as a direct assault on a treasured autonomy. We might see a police force and a courthouse as "delivering justice", the populace might see it as an attempt to impose a foreign system of justice.

    Models are useful, but they can also create assumptions that color and distort our ability to interpret core narratives. On the local level, a commander trained with the Jones model might be inclined to look to quality of governance as the core narrative of the local insurgent, and overlook issues with the source of governance.

    On the macro strategy level there's a greater risk. The 1970s and 80s taught us that we can no longer go around installing dictators to run other countries for us. The current engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan should be teaching us a similar lesson, and I'm concerned that the model in question might lead us to look past it. In short, we might be inclined to assume that it's ok for us to go around removing governments and installing new ones, as long as the governments we install are "good". If we make that assumption we end up asking ourselves how we can provide others with good governance, instead of asking the rather more important question of whether or not we should be trying to establish governments in other countries at all. Under certain interpretations the Jones model could be used to justify intervention in places where intervention can have serious unintended and undesirable consequences.

    I also feel like the Jones model overlooks two key factors, one an important vulnerability in many insurgencies, the other an important weakness common among governments facing insurgents.

    The common insurgent weakness revolves around the relationship between insurgent leaders and their followers, both the rank-and-file fighters and the supporting populace. It's not universal, but where it exists it provides a key strategic target. If we look at "the insurgency" as a monolithic entity driven solely by resistance to bad governance, we can overlook this vulnerability.

    Insurgent leaders are typically ideologically driven, and fighting for a particular desired end state, generally one in which they take political power. Insurgent followers are more typically driven by local issues that threaten them: they fight against an unacceptable status quo. The ideology of the leader is frequently less that significant (and often less than comprehensible) to the follower. The key to success for the insurgent leadership is in understanding those local grievances (which will vary widely from one locale to the next) and in presenting themselves as a solution or as an ally.

    That dynamic presents an interesting challenge. The leadership may be diffuse and difficult to target; even when some of them are killed or captured new leaders emerge from the ideological core. If we target the followers, we end up punishing people who see themselves fighting for their own rights or their own survival, often exacerbating the issues that the core insurgent propagandists exploit. For me, the key to resolving a situation like this is to understand the core narrative of the followers in any given locale, identify the divergences between the narratives of leader and follower, and act to address the issues that motivate the followers. The idea is to drive a wedge between leader and follower, less a question of decapitation than disembodiment. We will never persuade the core ideologues, but if we can isolate them from their followers we can render them irrelevant.

    The key weakness I see in our COIN/FID efforts lies in our relationship with host governments, and in the reasons why bad governance exists in the first place. We don't fight insurgents in our own country, we haven't any. We fight them in other countries, often countries with traditions of governance that don't exactly appeal to us or to the populace being governed. In these cases we can talk all we want about good governance, but we have to recognize that the governing elites we're dealing with cannot implement our recommendations without compromising their own power and prerogatives, which they will not do. Bad governance exists because somebody finds it very profitable, generally somebody in power... and that somebody is going to do all in their power to resist changes to the status quo. Recommending change in such circumstances is like talking at a wall. Of course we have the option to withdraw support, but that can mean sacrificing the strategic objectives that brought us into the picture in the first place. A bit of a quandary, and there's no good solution, but to manage those situations we have to first acknowledge that they exist, and that in many of the cases we seek to influence our capacity to influence may be very limited.

    All meant as constructive comment; this post is already way too long to be discussing areas of agreement.

  4. #24
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Agree, alway dangerous to swim in muddy water, and between the debates between the deciples of CvC over the few words he wrote about a simple concept of "COG"; and the (my personal opinion) jumbled mess of operationalizing it that the US Joint doctrine takes lately; it is muddy water indeed.

    Personally I think I take a lean, clean, logical aproach to COG analysis; but for those who are used to mud in their water it does spark them to defend their pet points.

    But this thread isn't about COG. This thread is about applying a logical methodology to get at the most important things that one must get at in order to prevail in an insurgency.

    The fact that that is also "COG analysis" and that it differs from what the books say I am supposed to think and do, is just something that the COG Nazis will have to live with.
    I can call a horse a pig, but it is still a horse.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  5. #25
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Smile Arggghhh. You are killing me Mike.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    The Powers That Be seem to have problems settling on the name of what is going to happen in the Argandab valley and the other scenic Kandahar venues.

    This from today's WP, Results of Kandahar offensive may affect future U.S. moves:



    So, Slap and Karzai are on the same page here (a "process") - probably the only time that will happen.

    The vocabulary for the "good governance process" should be primarily political and less military - what it involves is the process of mobilizing the masses per Mao and John McCuen on various levels (security, opportunity and ideology, working from the base needs upwards), which has to be attempted by whatever side is interested in arriving at an acceptable outcome. That political effort will involve violence - sometimes narrators will have to kill and wolfhounds will have to narrate (not theoretically perfect, Wilf, but we live in a world of finite resources).

    A "key point" (note I didn't say CoG, which to me was firstly a matter of physics, calculus, statics and dynamics - ill-spent youth at an engineering school), in this political effort, is the interface between the political types and the military types. That interface (strong or weak) applies to both insurgent and incumbant.

    If that interface (boundary) is strong - unity of effort and unity of principles - we are likely to end up with a Malaya situation from the Brit-Malaysian viewpoint. If there are contradictions (which the opponent will exploit), we have a Malaya situation from the ComTerrs viewpoint. The CTs had a comparatively weak political-military interface. As Entropy correctly notes, developing a strong political-military interface is no easy given.

    Regards

    Mike
    Two points:

    A. Who ever wrote this piece is about 50% right 50% clueless, and 100% dangerous in the flawed perceptions he is creating.

    B. I picked Arghandab for my eample to run one of the critical causal perceptions through the mill from CR down to HVI. Fact is it is immaterial to this thread, (and in the Arghandab, which is in fact the gateway to Kandahar; and Khakrez is the staging area to that gateway) as it is about the process, not an example. All CRs must be addressed in the Afghandab, not just "Justice"
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  6. #26
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default Two quick points (meetings to get to)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I think the Jones model is an excellent tool for understanding what might be called "classic insurgency", where a populace or portion thereof rises up against its government. One limitation is that the term "insurgency" (and again I feel the discussion suffers for want of a definition) is widely used to describe other circumstances. For example, many here use the term "insurgency" to describe irregular resistance to foreign occupation, a circumstance in which the quality of governance is not the core issue driving the conflict.

    A similar situation might arise in a diverse populace in which government is dominated by one subset (ethnic, religious, whatever), and another subset is resisting domination by that government. An observer working from the Jones model might be tempted to interpret the core narrative of the conflict as "they are governing us badly", when in fact it is "we refuse to be governed by them".

    Another limitation is that no matter how often we repeat that it is the populace's perception of governance, not ours, that matters, we will always evaluate governance according to our own standards, and we will always project our own preferences onto our assumptions of what the populace is thinking. We are, after all, human.

    That tendency is evident in our preference for central government, and in our assumption that effective governance is a desirable thing. In many cases it may not be. If a group of people is accustomed to governing themselves, with nominal allegiance to a distant and abstract national entity, the prospect of an effective government - of a government that actually proposes to govern them - might be regarded as a direct assault on a treasured autonomy. We might see a police force and a courthouse as "delivering justice", the populace might see it as an attempt to impose a foreign system of justice.

    Models are useful, but they can also create assumptions that color and distort our ability to interpret core narratives. On the local level, a commander trained with the Jones model might be inclined to look to quality of governance as the core narrative of the local insurgent, and overlook issues with the source of governance.

    On the macro strategy level there's a greater risk. The 1970s and 80s taught us that we can no longer go around installing dictators to run other countries for us. The current engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan should be teaching us a similar lesson, and I'm concerned that the model in question might lead us to look past it. In short, we might be inclined to assume that it's ok for us to go around removing governments and installing new ones, as long as the governments we install are "good". If we make that assumption we end up asking ourselves how we can provide others with good governance, instead of asking the rather more important question of whether or not we should be trying to establish governments in other countries at all. Under certain interpretations the Jones model could be used to justify intervention in places where intervention can have serious unintended and undesirable consequences.

    I also feel like the Jones model overlooks two key factors, one an important vulnerability in many insurgencies, the other an important weakness common among governments facing insurgents.

    The common insurgent weakness revolves around the relationship between insurgent leaders and their followers, both the rank-and-file fighters and the supporting populace. It's not universal, but where it exists it provides a key strategic target. If we look at "the insurgency" as a monolithic entity driven solely by resistance to bad governance, we can overlook this vulnerability.

    Insurgent leaders are typically ideologically driven, and fighting for a particular desired end state, generally one in which they take political power. Insurgent followers are more typically driven by local issues that threaten them: they fight against an unacceptable status quo. The ideology of the leader is frequently less that significant (and often less than comprehensible) to the follower. The key to success for the insurgent leadership is in understanding those local grievances (which will vary widely from one locale to the next) and in presenting themselves as a solution or as an ally.

    That dynamic presents an interesting challenge. The leadership may be diffuse and difficult to target; even when some of them are killed or captured new leaders emerge from the ideological core. If we target the followers, we end up punishing people who see themselves fighting for their own rights or their own survival, often exacerbating the issues that the core insurgent propagandists exploit. For me, the key to resolving a situation like this is to understand the core narrative of the followers in any given locale, identify the divergences between the narratives of leader and follower, and act to address the issues that motivate the followers. The idea is to drive a wedge between leader and follower, less a question of decapitation than disembodiment. We will never persuade the core ideologues, but if we can isolate them from their followers we can render them irrelevant.

    The key weakness I see in our COIN/FID efforts lies in our relationship with host governments, and in the reasons why bad governance exists in the first place. We don't fight insurgents in our own country, we haven't any. We fight them in other countries, often countries with traditions of governance that don't exactly appeal to us or to the populace being governed. In these cases we can talk all we want about good governance, but we have to recognize that the governing elites we're dealing with cannot implement our recommendations without compromising their own power and prerogatives, which they will not do. Bad governance exists because somebody finds it very profitable, generally somebody in power... and that somebody is going to do all in their power to resist changes to the status quo. Recommending change in such circumstances is like talking at a wall. Of course we have the option to withdraw support, but that can mean sacrificing the strategic objectives that brought us into the picture in the first place. A bit of a quandary, and there's no good solution, but to manage those situations we have to first acknowledge that they exist, and that in many of the cases we seek to influence our capacity to influence may be very limited.

    All meant as constructive comment; this post is already way too long to be discussing areas of agreement.
    Point one is that "the source of governance" as well as how governance is sustained in power are the keys to the critical causal factor of "Legitimacy." If the populace does not recognize either one you are on the fast track to insurgency. When Regime change by a foreign power occurs their is a presumption of illegitimacy that is virtually possible to overcome.

    Point two. Insurgent leaders are not "ideologically driven"; they are politically driven and use ideology to motivate and drive the masses to support their political goals. Not saying their ideology is not often very important to them, it just isn't what drives them.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  7. #27
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Talking "Don't complify; simplicate!" Said a wise old bird...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Personally I think I take a lean, clean, logical aproach to COG analysis
    I'd suggest perhaps excessively lean, possibly overly logical in contrast to the human conflicts it discusses which are rarely logical and thus perhaps not as firmly cast as some might think.

    I do sort of wonder how it can be clean if the water is muddied by pointless battles over terminology...
    ...This thread is about applying a logical methodology to get at the most important things that one must get at in order to prevail in an insurgency.
    Some insurgencies? I agree. All? Arguable.
    I can call a horse a pig, but it is still a horse.
    True. However, you might offend some pigs (or horses...); might attract undue attention of a sort that can adversely impact adoption of your hypothesis and possibly lose some supporters by imposing your will on a height difference or definition that adds to the confusion and proliferation of terms and which could even exacerbate "that jumbled mess of operationalizing it that the US Joint doctrine takes lately." You may be unnecessarily complifying.

    All of course, your prerogative -- my thoughts are simply offered for your consideration only and I for one make no claims to having any solutions to the problems of mankind...

  8. #28
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    A little bit of a change of pace, but this discussion of "good governance" and "perception" brought me back to the TCAF Survey and its applicability in "tacticalizing" the "Jones model".

    I kind of balked at the surveys at first but after a while I started making these the primary form of intelligence gathering of patrols. Building up a good collection of these on a community (combined with some basic census info) will help define what the local perception is.

    Problem was I filed these and never saw nor heard anything about them. Much information got plugged into an Excel ASCOPE spreadsheet and was lost forever to the network drive.

    I know this isn't in the weeds of COG, but it came to mind as I went through this.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    In other words, is the conventional wisdom attempting to back its way into stability by importing the products of good governance rather than going in the front door by targeting the perceptions of good governance among the disaffected populace?
    Again that is solid gold. Good is in the eyes of the target populace not our US preconceived notions of what is.

    Your 4 questions should be in a box by themselves at the top of your slide. The ANSWERS to the questions that the populace gives you will be your INPUT to the system, from there designing a process with appropriate outputs would be a lot easier. And more in line with Systems Thinking as opposed to building stuff that symbolizes good governance based upon the US vision of what it should be. I think you are going to have a tough sell on that......Americans think they know everything about good government so we are conditioned NOT to listen to others.....gets us into a lot of trouble.


    I would be careful about the horse and the pig deal. Does Voodoo exists? If enough people believe it does and begin to ACT as if it does......then it does exists. Miami PD had some bad experiences with non-existent Voodoo in the 80's until they began to recognize that perceptual reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    So the Howard Paret translation is wrong?
    Apologies to the last few posters, as this is a small (and hopefully quick and painless) divergence back to the CoG issue.

    The following article contains some discussion of the H-Paget translation of CvC: http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/jfq_pubs/0735.pdf

    The article makes some good points for the first few pages and then promptly descends into effects-based discussion, making my brain spin.

    Noted that this thread isn't about CoG, so I'll be quiet now.
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    This thread is about applying a logical methodology to get at the most important things that one must get at in order to prevail in an insurgency.
    Ends, Ways, Means?
    The fact that that is also "COG analysis" and that it differs from what the books say I am supposed to think and do, is just something that the COG Nazis will have to live with.
    I can call a horse a pig, but it is still a horse.
    So you'll say "Shock" when what you are actually describing is "Surprise."
    Sorry, but this is why modern Concepts and Doctrine can be so poor.
    Use the words as they are used in English. There is 1 definition of a COG. It is well described. It is useful to those of us who understand it.

    Based on the commonly used definition, the Population is not a COG. You are just arbitrarily assigning the word, based on your wish to use it. Do you mean that "securing the population is the objective?"
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    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris jM View Post
    Noted that this thread isn't about CoG, so I'll be quiet now.
    No it's not, but words matter. Now off to drink "molten steel"! - my new word for coffee, or tea, or orange juice.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Not OK and depends on the context. By act of war, do you mean "warfare?" None of those things are warfare in and of themselves.
    None of the things you cite, are in of themselves military task to counter.
    They may well be criminal. Do they involve killing? All those things are far more likely to fall towards police/state security, than the army.

    An Army can only be used against armed force.
    OK so it is Special Warfare instead of all this UW,IW,COIN,FID,FAD,stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    OK so it is Special Warfare instead of all this UW,IW,COIN,FID,FAD,stuff.
    Dunno. It's almost certainly "Irregular". May have something to do with "FID." At what point does a fire, merit the fire brigade? Context, context and context.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    So, Slap and Karzai are on the same page here (a "process") - probably the only time that will happen.
    Sorta, like all politcians Karzai is working a process to stay in power. Mine isn't.

  16. #36
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default You live in an intellectual box surrounded by very high walls, I fear.

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Ends, Ways, Means?


    So you'll say "Shock" when what you are actually describing is "Surprise."
    Sorry, but this is why modern Concepts and Doctrine can be so poor.
    Use the words as they are used in English. There is 1 definition of a COG. It is well described. It is useful to those of us who understand it.

    Based on the commonly used definition, the Population is not a COG. You are just arbitrarily assigning the word, based on your wish to use it. Do you mean that "securing the population is the objective?"
    "COG" is in truth a broad concept given very brief coverage by its founder, Mr. CvC. Since then various military organizations have attempted often to codify it, with those codifications covering a broad range of meanings and degrees and types of process prescribed that continually evolve over time.

    The concept is a sound one, but I believe it must be applied with an open mind. Conflict within a state, among a single populace is a VERY VERY different thing in terms of its nature (though on the surface it may look quite similar) to conflicts between distinct states or populaces. For those who believe rigidly that all political violence is war, and that all war is the same, and that every application of the military is solely to defeat the opponents capability and capacity to produce violence, will remain forever trapped in a box, and surrounded by high walls.

    I merely offer you a window to peak through. I do not demand that you come out of your box, or that you tear down your walls. As I learned as a trial attorney, I can disagree without being disagreeable; object without being objectionable; and be outraged without being outrageous. (though sometimes I confess, I fail in all of those nicities...)

    The fact is that most insurgencies are handed to the military to deal with. The fact also is that most Empires that possess the military power to ward off all external state threats are also so confident and reliant on their military abilities that they apply them to internal struggles as well. Those Empires now all reside in a tremendous graveyard filled with those who have fallen to successful insurgency.

    My position is that the one so often presented on these electronic pages by Mr. William F Owen is a very, very dangerous one indeed. It is a map to a well traveled path that many a failed empire has taken in good faith of their righteousness and full confidence in their military prowess.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 05-24-2010 at 07:08 AM.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Sorry to deviate from the COG discussion again, but I still can't get this packaged up right:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Conflict within a state, among a single populace is a VERY VERY different thing in terms of its nature (though on the surface it may look quite similar) to conflicts between distinct states or populaces.
    Do we consider Afghanistan a single populace? Do the Kandaharis consider Uzbeks from the north to be of the same people? Many discussions I had with the average southern Pashtun indicated that they had as much in common as me, Joe Canuck, and a Mexican. Americans and Canadians have more in common than certain ethnic divisions in Afghanistan.

    What does this do to the model of warfare/insurgency that you have presented? Maybe bringing this back to the thread (so I am not a complete off-topic guy) what does this means that "perception of good governance" =/= "Afghanistan".

  18. #38
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infanteer View Post
    Sorry to deviate from the COG discussion again, but I still can't get this packaged up right:



    Do we consider Afghanistan a single populace? Do the Kandaharis consider Uzbeks from the north to be of the same people? Many discussions I had with the average southern Pashtun indicated that they had as much in common as me, Joe Canuck, and a Mexican. Americans and Canadians have more in common than certain ethnic divisions in Afghanistan.

    What does this do to the model of warfare/insurgency that you have presented? Maybe bringing this back to the thread (so I am not a complete off-topic guy) what does this means that "perception of good governance" =/= "Afghanistan".
    The intial test is this a conflict between peoples under two separate systems of govenrance, or is that conficts between a segment of a popualce the governance over them. The first is war, the second is insurgency.

    As to how do the popopulaces perceive themselves, and this govenance over them? Ah, now you are getting to the Jones Model. There are many reasons why a popualce may not perceive the governance over them as legitimate.

    The American Colonists felt that Government in England had become too removed, and too self-serving at their expense and exclusion from input.

    The People of France in WWII felt that a government emplaced and supported by the German invaders lacked legitimacy.

    The people of Afghanistan, and they are indeed goegraphically separated in diverse groupings, surely take a wide range of perspectives on ANY centralized governance in Afghanistan. Though there is probably greater agreement that when that centralized form is created and supported by an invading outsider that it drops to an even lower level of acceptance in terms of its legitimacy.

    Things like borders and treaty-driven divisions of populaces and establishments of governments can confuse the issues as well as create conditions for insurgent violence. The creation of a a state of North Viet Nam, for example, did not suddenly turn the issues there into state vs state issues; the issues were still largely rooted in the popular challenge to such treaties and governments being imposed upon them by outsiders. These things are rarely black and white, and as Ken White loves to beat me about the head and shoulders with (hey, a guy his age needs the exercise) there are no pat answers. There are, however, some underlying fundamental "truths" that help shape an effective understanding of the suface conditions we observe.
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    I think it's appropriate that we've got two definitions today; the CvC definition of a Schwerpunkt (a bit fuzzy becasue it varies between books) that's about the location of greatest might and the U.S. definition of a "Center of Gravity" (center with -er!) or "CoG" that's more a kind of weak spot lever analysis.

    It's too late to force the world to accept the original one as the only one because the weak spot analysis needs a title as well - but it's not too late to deny people the right to assert that their differing concept goes back to CvC and his Schwerpunkt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    The intial test is this a conflict between peoples under two separate systems of govenrance, or is that conficts between a segment of a popualce the governance over them. The first is war, the second is insurgency.
    I suspect that the key question in Afghanistan is how the populace perceives the conflict: is the core conflict between the GIROA and the Taliban, with the foreigners intervening in support of the GIROA, or is the core conflict between the foreigners and the Taliban, with the foreigners setting up the GIROA as a local agent of their own devising? If the former, then yes, this is insurgency and we're doing FID. If the latter, then it is war, regardless of how badly we'd like to call it something else.

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