View Poll Results: Should FM 3-24 be updated?

Voters
23. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes.

    22 95.65%
  • No.

    1 4.35%
Page 5 of 6 FirstFirst ... 3456 LastLast
Results 81 to 100 of 106

Thread: Time for a FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency Update

  1. #81
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    This is an old article on the Moral imperative of 4th generation warfare. Before we update the manual maybe we should take a look at other concepts that may have seemed strange at the time, but seem to be very relevant in understanding the enemy we are fighting.


    http://www.dnipogo.org/fcs/pdf/4gw_a...imperative.pdf

  2. #82
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010..._r=1&ref=world



    This is one recent example of hundreds available. Warfare is about power, not good governance. No about CMO, IO, economic development in a situation like this will distract from those who hold coercive power. The military has a very valid role to play in COIN, and they a need a FM that tells provides guidance on how to be good at applying military force against these insurgent groups.

    Some argue we're doing the same old thing, but I would argue we forfeited the use of effective military force starting in 2002, and then in 2004 in Iraq. We became overly focused on winning hearts, not convincing the populace that we held the most coercive power and intended to win.
    Bill,

    I don't say the military has no role in helping to resolve insurgency; my point is simply that I believe much of the GWOT violence aimed at the US is due to perceptions of populaces in primarily Muslim countries where such insurgent movements are active or growing is that the blame for much of their current grievances with their governments lies with the US. Be that a co-option of natural legitimacy processes; be it the concerns that media-delivered US "culture" is eroding Islam in dangerous ways, etc.

    For the US to go from insurgent spot fire to insurgent spot fire and assist the government there suppress the insurgent element of their populace through military force, while at the same time enabling those same governments to avoid engaging in meaningful talks with their own people and addressing the very real issues fueling these insurgencies primarily serves to make these GWOT-feeding perceptions WORSE.

    We're chopping up starfish and throwing them back into the sea with our current military-led approach.

    Bringing this back to my two points: The conventional wisdom (of governments, btw) is that insurgency is "caused" by insurgents, ideology, or some external actor drives our current approaches. I simply suggest considering, just for a moment, what if that planning assumption is wrong, and in fact that causation is something that comes from governmental domestic policy for nationalist insurgencies; and for the US/GWOT, from governmental foreign policies? If the military is the cure, then one should turn the military on the government (which sadly, too often happens). But no, the military is part of the government. The military is often as much part of the problem as it is part of the solution as the military too often becomes the lead face of the government with the populace as insurgency worsens. This will always be true due to the security concerns. The key then, is the military merely reinforcing and enforcing the same domestic/foreign policies that are the causal root of this problem, or is the military reinforcing and enforcing the new policies crafted to address the real and (material to insurgency) concerns of the populace??

    Next time you sit down to do planning for an OEF-P way ahead, have one group do a COA that:
    1. Adopts the planning assumption that insurgency causation comes primarily from the government of the Philippines and their domestic policies toward the south; and that the risk of those groups supporting acts of terrorism against the US and our interests derives its causation from US foreign policy in general, but more specifically toward Muslim governments/populaces globally, and to the governments/populaces of SEA.

    2. Assume the current insurgent groups are largely symptoms of this causation and that ideology is merely an essential component of any such movement.

    3. Include honest best effort assessments of how we think the populaces these groups emerge from feel about the role of US foreign policy on Philippine, Indonesian and Malaysian domestic policies.

    4. Also assess popular perceptions of the legitimacy of their government at all levels, any institutionalized biases or discrimination, any disrespect of those who deserve respect, and finally how much voice the people feel they have to effectively address any of these concerns short of insurgency.

    5. Consider fully if the most critical issues are best addressed through military-led approaches in the south, or if they are best addressed through diplomatic approaches in Manila? (not saying one does not exist currently or that one needs to go away entirely, just if they are properly understood, balanced, prioritized and resourced).

    Does that change the proposed approaches? (And OEF-P is the one OEF where we the least abusive of the rights, authorities and legitimacy of the local government; and the most respectful of lives and property of the populace.)

    100% of responders to this thread think the current COIN manual needs a re-write. One has offered substantive changes for consideration. I'll even come out and work as a consultant with this group to help them work through the nuances of these issues and to face the full range of challenges to developing such a perspective. Happy to work with the Leavenworth team as well, even if as a red cell to a main effort that is looking at much more moderate adjustments to the manual.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 11-28-2010 at 01:04 PM.
    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)

  3. #83
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Bringing this back to my two points: The conventional wisdom (of governments, btw) is that insurgency is "caused" by insurgents, ideology, or some external actor drives our current approaches. I simply suggest considering, just for a moment, what if that planning assumption is wrong, and in fact that causation is something that comes from governmental domestic policy for nationalist insurgencies; and for the US/GWOT, from governmental foreign policies?
    This is where I disagree with you somewhat, many times what you say is true but not always. Warden was right all along the Enemy is a System....not a country. Some Insurgencies/movements don't believe in governments at all and that is a really big problem that is not going to be solved with negotiations or building them a new country or a good government for that matter. How do you deal with a movement or group that dosen't even believe in Government....alll they believe in is force to get what they want.

  4. #84
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    This is where I disagree with you somewhat, many times what you say is true but not always. Warden was right all along the Enemy is a System....not a country. Some Insurgencies/movements don't believe in governments at all and that is a really big problem that is not going to be solved with negotiations or building them a new country or a good government for that matter. How do you deal with a movement or group that dosen't even believe in Government....alll they believe in is force to get what they want.
    Slap,

    But that is implicit in this position of insurgency as govenance rather than warfare. The entire dynamic is internal to the relationship between a populace and its governance, and manipulated and shaped by external parties seeking to maintain, enhance or create inroads with some element of that internal dynamic for their own interests.

    There is a lot of wisdom in Warden's work, but not all of what was derived for warfare applies to insurgency. Warfare is temporary and is between separately governed bodies. Insurgency is continuous and is within a single governed body and only rarely rises to a state where it appears much like warfare.

    Does your heart become your enemy when your poor lifestyle choices and genetics combine to enable the development of disease within that segment of your body? No, it is part of you. It is not the problem, it is merely the part of you where this combination of factors has resulted in a problem. Just as evil men will exploit a populace weakend by conditions of insurgency, so too will disease exploit a heart weakened by conditions of poor health. This is not a problem that can be resolved through surgery or medicine alone, but requires taking respsonsibility for ones own role in causation and adopting a comprehensive program of treatment that is heavy in lifestyle changes. Ironically, when the patient refuses to accept such responsibility or adopt such changes in his own behavior and the heart stops functioning it is a disaster for the entire body and we call it "heart failure." It is not the heart the failed the patient, it is the patient that failed the heart.
    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. #85
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post

    There is a lot of wisdom in Warden's work, but not all of what was derived for warfare applies to insurgency. Warfare is temporary and is between separately governed bodies. Insurgency is continuous and is within a single governed body and only rarely rises to a state where it appears much like warfare.
    I don't agree, in fact that is the main problem, there are know boundaries,it is a movement (a philosophy of life) and the only boundaries are the ones inside the guerrilla fighters head (and they don't have many boundries) not a country or government.

    PS: all good cops smoke and drink large amounts of coffee, it is not poor lifestyle choices it is Genetics

  6. #86
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default Afghanistan and Philippines

    I'm pretty sure I recall FM 3-24 stating that "every" situation is different. The communist insurgency and the Muslim separatist movement in the Philippines have little to do with the war on terrorism and in this almost everything to do with poor governance. The CPP and NPA have remained isolated from external due to choice and geography, and while the Muslim separatist movement has some degree of international support, it is mostly moral and financial in character.

    On the other hand, the threat we responded to were the terrorist groups in the Southern Philippines (JI and ASG), and at the time we responded they were relatively strong and their strength was growing. They were suppressed by a combination of aggressive security force operations and civil-military operations (CMO wouldn't have worked without the aggressive security measures), and equally important a great effort was made to separate the Muslim separatist movement from its illegimate brother the terrorist groups (ASG and JI), so we didn't artificially conflate the issues. Of course, like most things dealing with politics, social movements and conflicts (or more simply, people) there are gray areas, so you can point to exceptions where there were links.

    Like every prolonged conflict, the character of it changes over time. For the most part the threat of Islamic radicalism in the Southern Philippines has been suppressed (not defeated), but the issues of separatism and communism remain and will remain until the government reforms "itself". IT isn't our role to reform their government, but as allies we can provide a helping hand if asked. It is important to note that the Southern Philippines could easily slip back into the dark days if "security forces" can't effectively apply pressure.

    IMO the greatest threat of terrorism in the Philippines (outside of insurgents using terrorism as a tactic) is the growing Balik movement that can potentially be radicalized. The threat of Islamist based terrorism is not restricted to the Southern Philippines.

    The JI has also been under a lot of pressure in the Indonesia by its security forces, so right now it appears the organization is having a hard time finding its balance; however, if that pressure if removed they'll reconstitute because the underlying driver has nothing to do with "good governance" and everything to do with radical ideology, and the desire to establish a caliphate. What most of us would call "good governance" they hate with a passion and it is the reason they're fighting. They don't have popular support and probably never will, but they have a cause they believe in, and the only way for those who oppose that cause to have an acceptable level of security is to conduct aggressive security operations to suppress the radicals. The basic rule applies here, the side that most effectively (means skillful application of force, not brute force) applies coercive force wins. There isn't a happy middle ground with these organizations that their opponents can negotiate, because their views are extreme, which is why we label them as extremists.

    While there may be some similiarities or even parallels to Afghanistan, there are many more differences, which is why I cringe when I hear we should apply the Philippine model in Afghanistan. The Philippine model (if indeed it is effective) is only effective in the Philippines. The ideal Afghanistan model hasn't been developed yet, and when it is it will be based on the real dynamics in that region (not our politically correct view of the way it should be), not in the Philippines.

    Long way of getting to your question, but in short the terrorists in the Southern Philippines were suppressed by effective security operations that were enabled through CMO. What we're talking about is warfare, and warfare has never been restricted to simply the application of violence, but the application of violence always plays a role.

  7. #87
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17 5' 11N, Longitude 120 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    I believe much of the GWOT violence aimed at the US is due to perceptions of populaces in primarily Muslim countries where such insurgent movements are active or growing is that the blame for much of their current grievances with their governments lies with the US.
    AQ has very little to do with populaces or nationalist insurgency. It is not a populace based movement and has only very tenuous connection to nationalist insurgency. It's good to remember that AQ's initial prominence and much of its residual legitimacy emerged from a struggle against the Soviet Union, not the US, and that it has only achieved meaningful popular support for struggles against direct foreign intervention. To declare a linear causative relationship among US policy, nationalist insurgency, and AQ terrorism is to assume what has yet to be demonstrated, and to excessively simplify a very complex causative environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    For the US to go from insurgent spot fire to insurgent spot fire and assist the government there suppress the insurgent element of their populace through military force, while at the same time enabling those same governments to avoid engaging in meaningful talks with their own people and addressing the very real issues fueling these insurgencies primarily serves to make these GWOT-feeding perceptions WORSE.
    Are we doing this? If so, where? Certainly not in Iraq or Afghansitan... we didn't go to those places to assist governments threatened by insurgency, we went there to replace governments we dislike, and the insurgencies we now face grew from that process. We didn't go there because of insurgency, the insurgency is there because we went there.

    Where exactly do we "assist the government there suppress the insurgent element of their populace through military force, while at the same time enabling those same governments to avoid engaging in meaningful talks with their own people and addressing the very real issues fueling these insurgencies"? Is there any government out there that we support that would talk to its own people and address issues if we ceased to support it? I can't think of any, offhand. In most cases a withdrawal of US support and associated conditionalities would simply generate more vigorous suppression.

    I think you're vastly overestimating our assistance, and the degree to which we enable anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Bringing this back to my two points: The conventional wisdom (of governments, btw) is that insurgency is "caused" by insurgents, ideology, or some external actor drives our current approaches. I simply suggest considering, just for a moment, what if that planning assumption is wrong, and in fact that causation is something that comes from governmental domestic policy for nationalist insurgencies; and for the US/GWOT, from governmental foreign policies?
    Largely true, but of questionable relevance to GWOT, which is not fundamentally a fight against insurgents. Our COIN fights in Iraq and Afghanistan are collateral burdens, products of fundamentally flawed (IMO) GWOT policy decisions, not an integral part of the supposed GWOT.

    Part of our problem in imposing COIN models, whether FM 3-24 or the Jones model, on GWOT is that it's not essentially a COIN fight: it's not a fight against insurgents. Aside from Iraq and Afghanistan there is no insurgency that requires US intervention in more than a limited FID role, and Iraq and Afghanistan are less the traditional insurgencies that these models are designed to confront (intervention to support an allied government threatened by insurgency) than a natural and inevitable part of the regime change process. The issue is not entirely governance,it's also about foreign intervention.

    We may be looking less at a case of flawed models than at a case of models being applied to situations they were not designed to cover.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Next time you sit down to do planning for an OEF-P way ahead, have one group do a COA that:

    1. Adopts the planning assumption that insurgency causation comes primarily from the government of the Philippines and their domestic policies toward the south; and that the risk of those groups supporting acts of terrorism against the US and our interests derives its causation from US foreign policy in general, but more specifically toward Muslim governments/populaces globally, and to the governments/populaces of SEA.
    Certainly causation in this case comes from the Philippine government; I think that's universally recognized. Despite our long-term relationship with the Philippine government, though, these groups have not generally acted against US interests, and have acted against US citizens only in opportunistic situations that are less terrorism than criminality. To the limited extent to which anti-US rhetoric is embraced, it's little more than a nod to groups who occasionally send a little money. It's very difficult to draw any causative line between US policy and terrorist or insurgent activity in the Philippines. Both insurgent groups and their popular base in the Philippines generally approve of us; they see us as a moderating influence on their enemies.

    US planners in the Philippines actually did go through a process much like that which you describe. Unfortunately it was very badly done, and considered very few of the factors and influences involved. The outcome was American support for an ill considered "peace process" that was doomed from the start and managed to make things a good deal worse.

    One problem with the approach you suggest is that "diplomatic approaches in Manila" are not going to produce any meaningful change. No matter how diplomatic we are (generally not very) we can't make policy for the Philippine government, nor can we persuade or compel the Philippine government to follow our policy recommendations. It's another country, and our influence is not that great.

  8. #88
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default COIN Planning

    Posted by Dayuhan,

    US planners in the Philippines actually did go through a process much like that which you describe. Unfortunately it was very badly done, and considered very few of the factors and influences involved. The outcome was American support for an ill considered "peace process" that was doomed from the start and managed to make things a good deal worse.

    One problem with the approach you suggest is that "diplomatic approaches in Manila" are not going to produce any meaningful change. No matter how diplomatic we are (generally not very) we can't make policy for the Philippine government, nor can we persuade or compel the Philippine government to follow our policy recommendations. It's another country, and our influence is not that great.
    Our interagency and military planning is frequently done poorly, and our nation and especially our troops have to live with the results of this poor planning all too often. Sometimes the poor results are due to arrogance and ineffective personalties leading the planning effort, but just as often I think the root of the problem is the planning process itself and the associated expectations.

    I think we plan poorly because (at least in the military) we're focused on the process instead of correctly defining the problem. We almost casually give our planners a mission to plan, which often means we told them the problem to solve, and probably without putting much intellectual rigor in it. Then the planners take the mission given to them and with religious zeal adhere to the MDMP steps believing they'll come up with the right answer. Usually the over worked majors will quickly identify some bogus centers of gravity again without intellectual rigor, because the expectations are you'll have to give a brief on your plan development according to the timeline. So now we have most likely have the wrong mission and wrong centers of gravity. Obviously if we define the problem incorrectly, our plan won't be helpful, and most likely it will just make the situation worse.

    IMO one of the changes we need to address in FM 3-24 is the importance of slowing the train down during planning. We need to invest the time required to research the situation and truly talk (and more importantly listen) to the experts who understand the dynamics in that nation. Once we identify the right problems to solve (or help the HN solve), then maybe we can use something along the lines of MDMP that is modified for interagency purposes. Perhaps in the end we know how to plan, but we don't how to identify the right problem to address? Regardless, I still think the process is too restrictive and consequently stifles the development of creative solutions.

    Insurgencies are relatively slow processes, we have the time to really think this through before we commit to a course of action. After we commit we need to constantly reassess to monitor when the character of the conflict changes and adjust our plan accordingly. Seems we have trend of starting to get things right after 7 or 8 years of involvement in these types of conflicts. Maybe we can do better?

  9. #89
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17 5' 11N, Longitude 120 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Our interagency and military planning is frequently done poorly, and our nation and especially our troops have to live with the results of this poor planning all too often. Sometimes the poor results are due to arrogance and ineffective personalties leading the planning effort, but just as often I think the root of the problem is the planning process itself and the associated expectations.
    True, but I think a great deal of the trouble is at the policy level. Screw up there and it's very difficult to fix things at the strategic or tactical levels.

  10. #90
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    I recommend that John M. Collins' (Colonel, US Army, Retired) on "Military Strategy - Principles, Practices and Historical Perspectives" be included as a reference in the next version of this manual.

    John's text is clear, complete, and logical. A great desk reference for anyone who deals with military or policy issues much. His section on "Specialized Military Strategies" that drills into a wide range of subtopics material to this discussion is of particular note.
    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)

  11. #91
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I think we plan poorly because (at least in the military) we're focused on the process instead of correctly defining the problem. We almost casually give our planners a mission to plan, which often means we told them the problem to solve, and probably without putting much intellectual rigor in it. Then the planners take the mission given to them and with religious zeal adhere to the MDMP steps believing they'll come up with the right answer. Usually the over worked majors will quickly identify some bogus centers of gravity again without intellectual rigor, because the expectations are you'll have to give a brief on your plan development according to the timeline. So now we have most likely have the wrong mission and wrong centers of gravity. Obviously if we define the problem incorrectly, our plan won't be helpful, and most likely it will just make the situation worse.

    IMO one of the changes we need to address in FM 3-24 is the importance of slowing the train down during planning. We need to invest the time required to research the situation and truly talk (and more importantly listen) to the experts who understand the dynamics in that nation. Once we identify the right problems to solve (or help the HN solve), then maybe we can use something along the lines of MDMP that is modified for interagency purposes. Perhaps in the end we know how to plan, but we don't how to identify the right problem to address? Regardless, I still think the process is too restrictive and consequently stifles the development of creative solutions.
    As the ultimate Field manual and Mapping freak I would say you hit it on the head. And if I was the Field Manual Czar for a day I would create a field manual that had 50 pages of the best known analysis techniques and 50 BLANK pages for the solution. On another thread we were talking about the Galula manual which has Insurgency analysis methods that are as valid today as they were back then........but he has only one solution, not a good ideal against a dedicated and creative enemy.

  12. #92
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    Ideal, why dosen't the Army have a contest and put up some cash to see who could write the best new update for the manual.

  13. #93
    Council Member Sargent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
    178

    Default

    JMA --

    The goal in any analysis of past events to inform current policy is to find comparable examples. It is a simple and known principle. It exists so as to provide the best possible conclusions. Where bad comparisons are knowingly used, the objective is usually to prove a conclusion arrived at ahead of time. It seems to me that the point you want to make, especially with the closing comment, is that it is bad policy, either generally or in the specific case of Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the US should not participate in COIN operations. There may in fact be good arguments for this, but to argue that COIN can only be best pursued with a doctrine of brutality is not one of them. The mass slaughter of civilians is not war. Brutal though the experience of war may be, brutality, on its own, is not war.

    If it is your intention to speak credibly on the matter of counterinsurgency, then it behooves you to be well acquainted with the historical record for yourself. However, when I spoke of it in my message, I was thinking of the history of foreign interventions in the domestic politics of other countries during the period since the rise of nationalism, which I would generally date to the American Revolution. The British failed to understand the extent to which a shared identity had developed, and behaved in a fashion likely only to alienate the populace they were attempting to pacify. New Jersey is the perfect example, as its population was not strongly patriotic, and could easily have been turned against the cause. However, the actions of the army in that state in the winter of 76-7 did a tremendous amount to spoil that opportunity. Let's not even discuss Burgoyne's horribly mistaken Northern campaign, stupid appeal to the populace, and failure to recognize that the Revolutionary ideal was quite strong outside of New England. On the other hand, it is instructive how careful Washington was in any actions the army would take that might make civilians and local populations unhappy. In fact, he let the army suffer rather than impress necessary goods to the level authorized by Congress, and did so only when such impressments would serve the dual good of providing for his men and depriving the British, as in those conducted arounded Valley Forge in the Winter of 77-8. Finally, how the French participated in that war was exceedingly savvy -- they did not come in as the leading army, to defeat the British for the Americans. They participated as an ally, as the second force in support of the primary, the Continental Army. It was a truly brilliant example of how to intervene in the matter of regime change, not to be repeated until the Allies retook and rebuilt Western Europe almost two centuries later. From the Revolutionary War on, foreign armies would operate at a tremendous disadvantage on foreign soil unless they were very careful. Short term brutality might gain ephemeral advantage, but it was always the rare case that it could endure.

    There is not a particularly good record for successful foreign intervention because the temper of modern conventional warfare is not built for the needs of such wars. But rather than lacking in necessary brutality, I would submit that this model lacks the proper restraint, the willingness to sacrifice not for territorial or geographical advantage, but simply for the protection and betterment of local populations. It's particularly difficult for Americans because ours is a culture of doing, not sitting and waiting for something to happen. We are impatient. It has helped us in many things -- the exploration and settlement of the territory (at the cost of a terribly brutal campaign against the native tribes), the development of industry and mass transportation -- but it does not serve foreign counterinsurgency. Maybe that's a small price to pay -- or it is perhaps a weakness that enemies will note and play upon. So, it would be better if the US can figure out a means to effective COIN practices.

    As for Kilcullen, I've seen the man speak. He seems intelligent. While I'm sure he believes that he has arrived at a good model, I can hardly believe he wants his ideas raised to the level of a religion to be quoted as dogma. Slapout got there before me with his point that doctrine ought to be a starting point, a thing to get personnel thinking, but it is not a prescription. Specifically as concerns the "mirror" point, to be nothing more than a photocopy of the insurgent would be folly, as the need is to be better. My impression is that good COIN practice requires that you address the issues of concern that the insurgent has raised and which resonate with the populace.

    The problem for military doctrine and COIN is that, unlike conventional war, where you fight and defeat first, and then do the recovery piece second, in an insurgent war you must do both simultaneously. So, every piece of military activity must accord with the social, political, and economic policies that are simultaneously being pursued. This is mightily difficult.

    Jill

  14. #94
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    On another thread we were talking about the Galula manual which has Insurgency analysis methods that are as valid today as they were back then........but he has only one solution, not a good ideal against a dedicated and creative enemy.
    That has been my point.

    No one person can provide a solution (or set of solutions) to cater for all eventualities. Use Galula to help hone analysis skills and if having studied as many sources to assist with such an analysis one can't come up with a custom solution then it should be left to those more able.

    The level of this process should start at Command and Staff Course level and extend beyond. All those below should act under instructions and do the job their level demands/requires. It starts to get ridiculous when junior officers and NCOs start second guessing the COIN strategy for a particular campaign.

    If faced with a dedicated and creative enemy you beat him by outdoing him in both aspects... or if you can't, better you just pack up and go home.

  15. #95
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3,189

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Ideal, why dosen't the Army have a contest and put up some cash to see who could write the best new update for the manual.
    Because this kind of tender exists primarily (almost exclusively) for hardware ... for unknown reasons.

  16. #96
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sargent View Post
    JMA --

    The goal in any analysis of past events to inform current policy is to find comparable examples. It is a simple and known principle. It exists so as to provide the best possible conclusions. Where bad comparisons are knowingly used, the objective is usually to prove a conclusion arrived at ahead of time. It seems to me that the point you want to make, especially with the closing comment, is that it is bad policy, either generally or in the specific case of Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the US should not participate in COIN operations. There may in fact be good arguments for this, but to argue that COIN can only be best pursued with a doctrine of brutality is not one of them. The mass slaughter of civilians is not war. Brutal though the experience of war may be, brutality, on its own, is not war.
    My closing comment was to question whether in the light of history the US/Brits and others believe that what was/is being achieved was/is worth the cost. Time will tell and my gut tells me that history will judge the cost of the victory as too high.

    In the case of foreign intervention (by a western power) against an insurgency one needs to accept that 1) there are grounds for a rebellion/uprising/insurgency, 2) that peaceful means to have these issues addressed would have already been exhausted. If sheer brutality was to be used to crash the aspirations of the people it would have already been done (like in Zimbabwe, Tibet and Sri Lanka for example).

    Peace under such circumstances would require a political accommodation which would undermine the stated aims and objectives of the insurgents.

    You are probably correct in that the US should not get involved to any great extent in counter insurgency wars... unless they start to accept there is a difference between conventional warfare (Dessert Storm) and what is needed in Afghanistan.

    Can the US achieve this? Sure. It will just require a paradigm shift in the mental approach to warfare.

    snip
    There are many examples out there but not many recent ones where counterinsurgency wars were won without having had to give away the farm.

    There is not a particularly good record for successful foreign intervention because the temper of modern conventional warfare is not built for the needs of such wars. But rather than lacking in necessary brutality, I would submit that this model lacks the proper restraint, the willingness to sacrifice not for territorial or geographical advantage, but simply for the protection and betterment of local populations. It's particularly difficult for Americans because ours is a culture of doing, not sitting and waiting for something to happen. We are impatient. It has helped us in many things -- the exploration and settlement of the territory (at the cost of a terribly brutal campaign against the native tribes), the development of industry and mass transportation -- but it does not serve foreign counterinsurgency. Maybe that's a small price to pay -- or it is perhaps a weakness that enemies will note and play upon. So, it would be better if the US can figure out a means to effective COIN practices.
    Yes, I agree that the US will not allow itself the freedom to crush an insurgency but rather just assist the beleaguered country to reach some sort of peace through (eventual) negotiation. The US must know that there is no possibility of any great victory only a negotiated peace where their friendly regime will probably have to give the farm away to achieve that.

    As for Kilcullen, I've seen the man speak. He seems intelligent. While I'm sure he believes that he has arrived at a good model, I can hardly believe he wants his ideas raised to the level of a religion to be quoted as dogma. Slapout got there before me with his point that doctrine ought to be a starting point, a thing to get personnel thinking, but it is not a prescription. Specifically as concerns the "mirror" point, to be nothing more than a photocopy of the insurgent would be folly, as the need is to be better. My impression is that good COIN practice requires that you address the issues of concern that the insurgent has raised and which resonate with the populace.
    Kilcullen certainly has value. The more I read his stuff the more little gems I find buried in there. Read him read Galula, read McCuen, read the whole lot and fill your database with possibilities.

    It is the government which needs to address the grievances which lie behind the insurgency. US/Brit/NATO intervention can merely assist to provide stability while this process runs its course. It might take a while for the regime to accept that the grievances need to be seriously/genuinely addressed.

    The problem for military doctrine and COIN is that, unlike conventional war, where you fight and defeat first, and then do the recovery piece second, in an insurgent war you must do both simultaneously. So, every piece of military activity must accord with the social, political, and economic policies that are simultaneously being pursued. This is mightily difficult.

    Jill
    That difficulty lies at the top and at probably division and brigade level. By the time it gets down the line the troops have their RoE and their SOPs and the like and are free of the really sensitive "joint" planning and strategy headaches.

    At platoon level it gets quite simple. "There are some insurgents in them thar hills, go find them and kill them, and make sure you don't kill any civvies or break their stuff in the process."

  17. #97
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    827

    Default

    Policy School 101---An accurate PROBLEM DEFINITION.

    Dayuhan's observation that, in Iraq and Afghanistan, we removed an unwanted government---opposition/conflict emerged in the wake.

    Ambassador Crocker was recently quoted along the lines that, at last, the Iraqis can get on with the messy process of sorting out their differences, and future without us in the middle.

    A lot of echos to above comments.

  18. #98
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default The double edged view of history

    I agree that the study of history for military professionals is critical for their development, but the study of history alone without classes on critical thinking and a command climate that fosters critical thinking can actually be a detriment.

    Sargent wrote,

    The goal in any analysis of past events to inform current policy is to find comparable examples. It is a simple and known principle. It exists so as to provide the best possible conclusions. Where bad comparisons are knowingly used, the objective is usually to prove a conclusion arrived at ahead of time.
    All too often, especially today, we have military professionals who have a read a couple of books on insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, and based on this limited knowledge base they have formed biases that encourage them to bring preconceptions to the table (or as Sargent wrote, prove a conclusion arrived at ahead of time). Often, and without so much as a second thought, they'll spout out the center of gravity is the populace (or another accepted truth), and the planners will be directed to focus on methods to win their hearts, while ignoring other issues. Of course there is are no historical examples where we have won by solely focusing our efforts on winning the hearts of the populace, but that doesn't seem to matter when you have a limited understanding of history and are not required to think critically.

    Steve the Planner got it right, policy 101 is correctly identifying the problem, but that so much easier said than done.

  19. #99
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    1,099

    Post Welllllll

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Because this kind of tender exists primarily (almost exclusively) for hardware ... for unknown reasons.
    pretty sure the reasons are widely known, and apparently accepted; at least to some extent.

    Now whether their good ones or not is up for debate------

    Constantly
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

  20. #100
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    1,099

    Post Well said

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Policy School 101---An accurate PROBLEM DEFINITION.

    Dayuhan's observation that, in Iraq and Afghanistan, we removed an unwanted government---opposition/conflict emerged in the wake.

    Ambassador Crocker was recently quoted along the lines that, at last, the Iraqis can get on with the messy process of sorting out their differences, and future without us in the middle.

    A lot of echos to above comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    My closing comment was to question whether in the light of history the US/Brits and others believe that what was/is being achieved was/is worth the cost. Time will tell and my gut tells me that history will judge the cost of the victory as too high.
    Although I'll admit that you may well be correct There is also a good possibility that the actual judging finds that the cost were higher then should have been, due mainly to our belated recognition or perhaps better stated recollection of many principles we should have remembered from the start.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    There are many examples out there but not many recent ones where counterinsurgency wars were won without having had to give away the farm.

    Yes, I agree that the US will not allow itself the freedom to crush an insurgency but rather just assist the beleaguered country to reach some sort of peace through (eventual) negotiation. The US must know that there is no possibility of any great victory only a negotiated peace where their friendly regime will probably have to give the farm away to achieve that.
    There again; although in the end this may be an accurate description of end states, would that not in and of itself mean that those governments in question had re-established a position of great enough strength to have regained ownership of aforementioned farms.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Kilcullen certainly has value. The more I read his stuff the more little gems I find buried in there. Read him read Galula, read McCuen, read the whole lot and fill your database with possibilities.

    It is the government which needs to address the grievances which lie behind the insurgency. US/Brit/NATO intervention can merely assist to provide stability while this process runs its course. It might take a while for the regime to accept that the grievances need to be seriously/genuinely addressed.
    Agreed on both with addition of a question

    Doesn't the latter sound an awful lot like what we are doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    That difficulty lies at the top and at probably division and brigade level. By the time it gets down the line the troops have their RoE and their SOPs and the like and are free of the really sensitive "joint" planning and strategy headaches.

    At platoon level it gets quite simple. "There are some insurgents in them thar hills, go find them and kill them, and make sure you don't kill any civvies or break their stuff in the process."
    I'll leave that alone except to respectfully disagree


    Quote Originally Posted by Sargent View Post

    The goal in any analysis of past events to inform current policy is to find comparable examples. It is a simple and known principle. It exists so as to provide the best possible conclusions.
    I'd personally put this differently

    The goal in any analysis of past events to inform current policy is to find comparable principles.
    It is a simple and known fact. It exists so as to provide
    the most accurate list of possible conclusions or expected end states.

    Thats just me though...

    I have to agree heartely with the rest of your post,
    especially--

    Quote Originally Posted by Sargent View Post
    It's particularly difficult for Americans because ours is a culture of doing, not sitting and waiting for something to happen. We are impatient. It has helped us in many things -- the exploration and settlement of the territory (at the cost of a terribly brutal campaign against the native tribes), the development of industry and mass transportation -- but it does not serve foreign counterinsurgency. Maybe that's a small price to pay -- or it is perhaps a weakness that enemies will note and play upon. So, it would be better if the US can figure out a means to effective COIN practices.



    The problem for military doctrine and COIN is that, unlike conventional war, where you fight and defeat first, and then do the recovery piece second, in an insurgent war you must do both simultaneously. So, every piece of military activity must accord with the social, political, and economic policies that are simultaneously being pursued. This is mightily difficult.

    Jill
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •