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

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

  1. #61
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    Two of Wilf's posts tend to ring true to me:

    Not true. Cambodia in the 70's, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Saddam's Iraq, A'stan under the Taliban, Saudi-Arabia, Syria, North Korea etc etc etc.
    This "power from the people" is not a reality in the real world, unless they do a lot of killing to get it, and unless they are prepared to keep killing, they can loose it.
    The political problem may continue, BUT you use violence (military AND Police) to ensure it remains a political problem that the rebels will not seek to resolve by force. The ONLY thing armed force does is stop the other guy (rebels) using armed force. That is the key thing FM3-24 doesn't get.
    I read every page of FM 3-24 when it first came out, but have rarely looked at it since. The manual has much wisdom in it based on years of COIN experiences, but it also definitely has a slant to it that IMO is misleading by excessively focusing on the populace to the extent of almost ignoring the enemy. While I understand Bob's points about force being a temporary solution at best, I think Wilf trumps that point by stating until we get the enemy (in this case the insurgents) to stop using force, a political settlement will remain a pipe dream.

    In Afghanistan the populace doesn't know who will win at this point, and again as Wilf stated in much of the real world "power from the people" without force doesn't exist. We won't have a Ghandi like peace movement in Afghanistan. For us to confuse less developed, non-democratic States with the U.S.'s mature democratic bureaucracy and associated social norms is a dangerous mistake on part, and will result in the development of ineffective policy. The Khmer Rouge and other thug groups didn't obtain power by waging a peaceful election based on new ideas, but rather by employing brute force. The Taliban post-Soviet era obtained power by employing brute force, and now they're attempting to do the same (although this time they're also applying a fair amount of political savvy). IMO you can't effectively counter brutality with a peace movement and economic development. I know others disagree, but again I ask for historical examples of where the counterinsurgent effectively offered an olive branch without first establishing tactical dominance?

    At the tactical level do we really need more than a manual on how to "defeat" the insurgent militarily? We all recognize this is not a victory in the traditional sense, but it sets security conditions for a real political settlement. The key is to aggressively pursue and surgically kill the enemy without alienating the populace, and yes defending the populace remains a key line of effort. That means we need to kill the enemy, take and "hold" territory (not return to base camps), and protect the populace, and do so at a fast enough pace to overcome the enemy's ability to reconstitute.

    This goes back to the tank issue, if the Marines want tanks, then give them tanks. They have a tactical mission to accomplish and they know what tools they need to do it. They're not the Soviets and any comparison with the Soviets is simply foolish and misleading. People questioning their request reminds of the experts in the rear who questioned the TF's request for armored vehicles in Somalia, and then the subsequent Black Hawk Down situation. Higher gives lower a mission based on policy, and then lower best determines how to accomplish it, which includes determining what tools they need. We don't need a snoty nosed State Department employee in his young 30's influencing that decision by stating sending tanks sends the wrong message. Put the kid back in his lane, the right message is ensuring our forces dominate the enemy militarily. That enables the diplomats to more effectively negotiate as required. Based on my relatively short experience in Afghanistan I can see several cases where tanks could be effectively employed and if I was in the Taliban I would be plently worried if the Marines brought in some M1's.

    Where I disagree with Wilf is that there are many unique aspects of Small Wars that differ significantly from conventional combat, so a good Small Wars TTP manual and associated doctrine is required, but in the end the common military objective between conventional and small wars remains the same and that is to take away from the enemy the option of using force to obtain their goals. It is political and psychological warfare so there is more involved than just shooting, but on the other hand that doesn't mean the shooting war takes a back seat while we experiment with a broke IO program, civil military projects, and economic development. We sure has hell aren't going to deter the North Koreans with our civil-military projects and economic development (we tried). They understand the deterrence of might, and so do many hard core insurgents.

    Back to Bob's excellent points, which ultimately are the right answer, but they're the right answer at the policy level, and while the lines between the military and policy wonks are admitedly gray, I think we would be better off if our military doctrine focused on defeating the enemy (the tactical fight), and then re-emphasizing (once again) the whole of government approach to achieving a a strategic political settlement. We seem to be out of balance with our current approach. I state the above with some apprehension, because I have little faith in the Department of State to develop effective in lieu of politically correct policy. DOS has some exceptional diplomats, but unfortunately that isn't the prevailing norm, and for one I hate to see our troops committed to a fight where they're trying to support a lame policy that feels good (democracy and economic development for everyone) instead of a policy that is achievable, so from my view it is understandable why the military has over stepped into this role.

    In a more perfect world we would have realistic policies and an interagency doctrine based on realsim (not simly idealism) for these types of conflicts. Based on our political system, I realize that is a pipe dream, but I still think our doctrine for small wars manual should focus on how to defeat the insurgent at the tactical level. We would probably use 60% of what is in the current FM, but the slant would be different this time.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 11-27-2010 at 03:05 AM. Reason: significant update

  2. #62
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Bill,

    Nice post. This is always the big question, of what to do first, and what to prioritize. The majority position in military circles is to establish security first. Some come to that because, like Tranquier, they see security as the entire issue. Some because they see the populace as the prize, but rationalize that they can't get at them effectively to bring them under control until they have a reasonable degree of security in place. Like a sinking boat with a large hole in it: does one bail or plug the hole?? There may be too much water to get at the hole, or the water may be threatening to swamp the boat. But the bailing may not be able to keep up with the amount coming in the hole, or perhaps is only marginally faster, so the process is guaranteed to be long and tiring, but water never tires... Security first is bailing the boat. Balance and prioritize.

    I ran into a similar circumstance when I left the regular army to go to law school. Wanting to stay in the military in some capacity I joined the Guard. Going from an ODA Commander in 5th SFG to being the new guy in a Guard Light Infantry Brigade was a bit of a culture shock. Lesson one was that the AC is a training readiness focused organization, while the Guard is a personnel readiness focused organization. Success of Commanders, Budget decisions, what states get what units and what equipment, etc are all made based upon the ability to produce units with a high percentage of available MOS qualified personnel. Period. How well they could perform was not a factor. This led to the great debate: should one train to unit capability, or should one focus on recruiting and individual capability? The standard Guard position was that a unit could not train until it was well manned, so focus on recruiting and individual training. The problem was they never got there, so they never trained. Also, as units spent so much time at the armory doing boring individual tasks, or events and parties intended to attract recruits, most really good soldiers would give up after a few years, and the organization in a Darwinian way became predominated by guys who saw it more as a social club than a military organization (with notable exceptions of course).

    Ever the iconoclast, myself and another young major took the position of "train to retain"; and pushed for aggressive collective training and maximization of drill weekends. We soon build a cult following of young soldiers and junior leaders who really wanted to soldier. Social soldiers went to other units or got out, and soldiers who wanted to really soldier were drawn to the units that made training a priority. I never saw a unit that focused on hard, realistic training suffer for long for low numbers. The key was in determining the decisive point.

    For Guard recruiting and retention I determined that the decisive point was when the soldier returned home following a drill weekend, and when he went to work. It was how he answered the question of "how was your weekend" by a spouse whose sister's wedding she had attended alone that weekend, or by a child who had a big ball game, or by a co-worker who had gone on a big hunting or skiing trip. If his answer was "I had to go to drill and we hung out at the armory" I knew the follow-on question would be fatal "so why do you do it?" Recruit the soldier, but retain the wife. If he had great war stories to tell with fire in his eye about how hard it was the wife and kids would support him and his buddies would want to join. By focusing on the decisive point the "recruit or train" question was easy to answer.

    But what is the decisive point for COIN?

    But what if the populace is not the "prize" and the insurgent is not the "cause"??? Perhaps we are all focused on the wrong problem. I just read the great French piece on Galula to Petraeus http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/201...d-galula-to-p/ and it lays out the key points of Tranquier, Galula, Kilcullen and Petraeus. Tranquier is great for those doing CT; but is not COIN. The other three are all in the beaten zone for COIN, but in my opinion miss two critical points:

    1. All saw/see the intervening power as the "counterinsurgent." In the current globalized environment I believe this is even more of a fatal mistake than it has been historically. But in the colonial era the role of the intervening power was to sustain in power a government that answered to them first, and then to the populace. Today this just is not the case, and is a habit we must break. This is the flaw of all colonial COIN, be it French, British, or USMC Small Wars Manual. The intervening power today does NOT want "control" over the Government or the Populace either one. To do so, to even create the Perception of Control is to:
    A. Render the Host Nation Government Illegitimate in the eyes of the populaces, thereby stoking the flames of insurgency, and
    B. Make the intervening power the target of terrorist attack, at home as well as in the host nation.

    2. All fail to identify the government as the principal factor of causation. Tranquier placed all blame on external UW actors. The rest place blame on a populace that yes, questions legitimacy, but more importantly does so due to the effects of insurgent ideology and lack of effective government services.

    So, I think this causes us to mis-identify the decisive point, and therefore make poor decisions as what to prioritize and how to balance our efforts. I say make fixing the government the priority, balance that with information operations that admit to past failures of government, agree with and co-opt vast swaths of the insurgent's message, and proclaim hard internal fixes being made to address all of the above. Only third after this comes security efforts focused on key elements of governmental outreach and key nodes of the insurgency itself.

    A long post, I realize, but these two points of the intervener not being the counterinsurgent and the repair of governance as the decisive point largely missed in mainstream COIN doctrine and theory is critical. More so than ever in today's information age of empowered populaces.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 11-26-2010 at 09:26 PM.
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Where I disagree with Wilf is that there are many unique aspects of Small Wars that differ significantly from conventional combat, so a good Small Wars TTP manual and associated doctrine is required, but in the end the common military objective between conventional and small wars remains the same and that is to take away from the enemy the option of using force to obtain their goals.
    Agree a 100%. I cannot see where we disagree. Suppressing armed rebellions requires some unique TTPs - and those tend to be theatre specific.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    The intervening power today does NOT want "control" over the Government or the Populace either one.
    One hopes this is so. At the same time, though, it raises the question of what the intervening power DOES want. Nobody intervenes for the sake of the country being intervened in: if somebody's intervening they are doing so because they have very significant interests at stake. The intervention is generally shaped by these perceived interests, not by the interests of the government, populace, or insurgents of the country being intervened in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    I say make fixing the government the priority, balance that with information operations that admit to past failures of government, agree with and co-opt vast swaths of the insurgent's message, and proclaim hard internal fixes being made to address all of the above.
    That raises other questions...

    What brief have we to run about fixing other people's governments? What if the government doesn't want to be fixed, or the populace doesn't want us involved, or both? How do we go about inserting ourselves into another country and declaring that we propose to fix anything, let alone the government...

    Given that we are not the government, how do we admit to the past failures of government? Are you suggesting that we force or influence the government to admit to what we believe to be its failures, or that we just go ahead and admit to someone else's failures, which amounts to an accusation. What if the government doesn't share our perception of failure?

    If the primary message of the insurgent is "get the @#$%& furriners out", how do we co-opt that?

    Do we proclaim "hard internal fixes", or do we actually produce them? Isn't producing a hard internal fix a governance function? How do we do this without actually taking over governance?

    Overall, I think this overlooks the difficulty - and potential undesirability - of trying to control the government of another country. I know you said we don't or shouldn't want control, but how do you fix a government without control?

    I suspect that much of the difficulty we have in applying our traditional COIN discourse to Iraq and Afghanistan traces back to the reality that our traditional COIN discourse tends to be based on the premise that we are intervening to support an allied government threatened by insurgency. What we're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is quite different, and might better be described as "phase 3 regime change".

    Assume regime change has 3 broad phases:

    1. Remove previous government (generally fairly easy)

    2. Install new government (easy to do badly, hard to do well)

    3. Suppress armed resistance to new government and support it until is able to govern (very hard, especially if phase 2 was done badly).

    There are significant commonalities between traditional COIN and phase 3 regime change, but also very real differences, particularly in the perceived and actual relationship between the intervening power and the Government of the host country. Pretending that they are the same thing is self deception, and while the lessons of one may at times apply to the other, it's important to maintain awareness of the differences.

  5. #65
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    When and where the U.S. engages in such governmental-populace disputes is every bit as important as how.

    This is why the assessment of national interests based on the current and emerging geopolitical dynamics is so critical. Too often we are driven by 60 year-old Cold War positions; or for the GWOT by flawed concepts of AQ and their role and relationship with insurgent populaces, coupled with an Intelligence-driven perspective that builds an ever growing threat picture that is then painted as being our critical interest to defeat.

    The troubled regions where we have the greatest true national interests are, ironically, the locations where we are actually the least likely to engage directly as we have long relations with those "friendly" governments, preferring to engage in locations where we have few interests, and weak or strained relations with the government.

    This brings us to another aspect of Decisive Points: We have made AFPAK our focal point for the GWOT, yet if one focus on the heart of the causation of GWOT, rather than merely the current location the current manifestations of this causation are operating out of; the decisive point shifts, IMO, to Saudi Arabia.

    Now, this is not a call to send our military to remove a government, or to help a government control its populace. Nor is it a call to conduct a massive program of helping upgrade government effectiveness. Clearly such approaches seem as ridiculous when considered for a modern, friendly state as they seem obvious for a more primitive, or less friendly state; but are quite possibly equally inappropriate for both. The issues that must be addressed at the decisive point are those in the nature of the relationship between the Saudi government and their populace; and those in the relationship between the US Government and the Saudi Government. Both are wildly dysfunctional and are the burning core of causation for the GWOT that must be extinguished to rein this problem in.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 11-27-2010 at 12:37 PM.
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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    This brings us to another aspect of Decisive Points: We have made AFPAK our focal point for the GWOT, yet if one focus on the heart of the causation of GWOT, rather than merely the current location the current manifestations of this causation are operating out of; the decisive point shifts, IMO, to Saudi Arabia.
    Thats right from an LE perspective they were,are,and will be the primary suspect, except they aren't even suspects IMO they are flat out guilty. First thing we should do is send them a bill for about 25 Trillion dollars!!!

  7. #67
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    Bob's World,

    I think you're so focused on trying to convince that the audience that the decisive point in COIN is the government that you tend to hijack threads in the SWJ council that are not focused on strategy and policy to change the topic to one of strategy and policy issues. This is actually, though unintentionally I suspect, a little on the rude side. Many of us have our pet issues and we argue them in the "appropriate" threads. I think you may some valid points, but the discussion in this thread is FM 3-24, which is COIN doctrine for the military (which does mean warfare). It isn't the military's role to reform host nation governments (though we all too frequently get sucked into that role due to the ineptness and capacity short falls within the State Department).

    It doesn't matter whether you embrace DIME, DIMEFIL or some other method to explain the whole of government approach, a FM focuses on the M, the military's role, which is defeating the insurgent using military force, or at a minimum deterring the insurgent from using force to compel the HN government to its will.

    The policy debates for Afghanistan, Pakistan and the WOT continue to spin in the muck of political correctness (Islam is a religion of peace, we need to have more patience with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia is an ally on the WOT, etc.), and in the meantime our fighting force is fighting at the tactical level trying to construct something meaningful from the bottom up. I agree that ideally there shouldn't be a tactical level fight without first identifying the national policy and supporting strategy, but that isn't the world we live in, and that isn't what the FM should be about.

    As to your other points the fight in Afghanistan is very much about external influences, and even if we could "fix" the Afghanistan government it wouldn't bring the insurgency to a close. Your recommendation to co-opt part of the insurgent's narrative could be effective if none skillfully, but it won't work if the HN government does it from a position of military weakness. The facts are if they are perceived to be losing the fight militarily and they co-opt part of the insurgent narrative it will be seen as a weakness and further reinforce the perception that the government won't win. That usually doesn't equate for a mass movement in support of the government.

    I agree with Dayuhan's tone that we need to be very careful with the attitude that we're here to fix your government as a matter of policy (even worse if expressed in one our FMs). We deploy forces in a FID role to "assist" the HN government, not "undermine" their government by attacking their legitimacy. What you're proposing seems to be a combination an odd combination of FID and UW (FID we're here to help, UW we're here to conduct subversion and sabotage to bring your government down), and again maybe if this approach was executed skillfully it would work, but most likely it is an approach that would simply collapse on itself, because we're not sophisticated enough to pull it off, and we have too many divisive points within our government that would work at odds against one another instead of collaboratively towards a common purpose. We can only work together at the tactical level (where the real heroes are, the people that actually give a crap about the their peers and the people they interact with daily). Understanding the limitations of our government will help us define a more realistic strategy in my opinion.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 11-28-2010 at 04:05 AM. Reason: Grammar for clarity

  8. #68
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    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
    Sun Tzu

    Bill, you are right, of course. I am a strategist who focuses on understanding insurgency. This is what I do and it is, indeed, what I bring to the discussion. There are thousands of NCOs and junior officers with far more to offer than I in regard to nuances of tactical approaches to the fights we have placed them in. My focus has been, and will remain, seeking to ensure that when us old guys put them into such a fight, it is in a time, manner and place designed to contribute to solving the problem that led us to deploy them in the first place.

    What I am suggesting is not an approach rooted in a combination of UW and FID, though that would certainly be the lion share of the tactical supporting actions. What I am suggesting is that we are currently applying a military solution to attack/defeat the symptoms of problems rooted in foreign policy.

    As I have pointed out before, FM 3-24 takes a fork in the road in the very first sentence of the first paragraph of the first Chapter: "Insurgency and Counterinsurgency (COIN) are complex subsets of warfare." At that point we have committed ourselves to a military solution and just granted the Policy/Governance community a pass.

    I would make this the first thing to change in the re-write of this manual. Insurgency and Counterinsurgency (COIN) are complex subsets of governance."
    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)

  9. #69
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    As I have pointed out before, FM 3-24 takes a fork in the road in the very first sentence of the first paragraph of the first Chapter: "Insurgency and Counterinsurgency (COIN) are complex subsets of warfare." At that point we have committed ourselves to a military solution and just granted the Policy/Governance community a pass.
    Possibly I'm channeling Wilf here, but the document in question is a military field manual and does not concern the policy/governance community. If the military is involved, the policy decision to use armed force has already been made. If the military is not involved, the manual is irrelevant. For the purposes of military involvement, presumably the purpose for which the manual was written, the definition is adequate.

    Governance issues are of course critical to effective COIN, but they are beyond the scope of the military and do not need to be covered in a military manual. The military's only appropriate role is the military aspect of COIN; if we're asking the military to "do governance" we're putting ourselves in a corner form which no manual can effectively extricate us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    When and where the U.S. engages in such governmental-populace disputes is every bit as important as how.
    Certainly, but you omit "why", probably more important than any of them.

    I think the points I made above are not being adequately addressed. You wrote:

    I say make fixing the government the priority, balance that with information operations that admit to past failures of government, agree with and co-opt vast swaths of the insurgent's message, and proclaim hard internal fixes being made to address all of the above.
    and subsequently:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    The issues that must be addressed at the decisive point are those in the nature of the relationship between the Saudi government and their populace; and those in the relationship between the US Government and the Saudi Government. Both are wildly dysfunctional and are the burning core of causation for the GWOT that must be extinguished to rein this problem in.
    Put those together and the problems come into focus. We cannot "fix" the Saudi government. We can't even substantially influence the Saudi government: they are not a dependency or protectorate. We cannot "admit to past failures of governance" or compel or persuade the Saudis to do so. We can make accusations, but we can't "admit" to someone else's failings. Agreeing with the supposed "insurgent" message won't help us much, because the message of the would-be "insurgent" was never really adopted by the populace: they have their own concerns, but AQ does not represent them. Neither do we, and neither can we. We can neither proclaim nor implement "hard fixes" to Saudi problems: it's not our country.

    On the one hand you tell us to renounce control, on the other you propose a program that cannot be implemented unless we have control.

    The relationship between the Saudi government and its populace may be dysfunctional, but it's none of our business and nobody, least of all the Saudi populace, wants us meddling in it.

    Our relationship with the Saudi government is within our control, but proposed revisions must be based on the reality that we are dealing with a sovereign state that is not under our control, and that our influence over that State is slim to nonexistent. Realistically, the Saudis have more leverage over us at this point then we have over them... so how do you propose to go about fixing their government, admitting their failures, or proclaiming "hard internal fixes" to their problems?
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 11-27-2010 at 11:24 PM.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Possibly I'm channeling Wilf here, but the document in question is a military field manual and does not concern the policy/governance community. If the military is involved, the policy decision to use armed force has already been made. If the military is not involved, the manual is irrelevant. For the purposes of military involvement, presumably the purpose for which the manual was written, the definition is adequate.

    Governance issues are of course critical to effective COIN, but they are beyond the scope of the military and do not need to be covered in a military manual. The military's only appropriate role is the military aspect of COIN; if we're asking the military to "do governance" we're putting ourselves in a corner form which no manual can effectively extricate us.



    Certainly, but you omit "why", probably more important than any of them.

    I think the points I made above are not being adequately addressed. You wrote:



    and subsequently:



    Put those together and the problems come into focus. We cannot "fix" the Saudi government. We can't even substantially influence the Saudi government: they are not a dependency or protectorate. We cannot "admit to past failures of governance" or compel or persuade the Saudis to do so. We can make accusations, but we can't "admit" to someone else's failings. Agreeing with the supposed "insurgent" message won't help us much, because the message of the would-be "insurgent" was never really adopted by the populace: they have their own concerns, but AQ does not represent them. Neither do we, and neither can we. We can neither proclaim nor implement "hard fixes" to Saudi problems: it's not our country.

    On the one hand you tell us to renounce control, on the other you propose a program that cannot be implemented unless we have control.

    The relationship between the Saudi government and its populace may be dysfunctional, but it's none of our business and nobody, least of all the Saudi populace, wants us meddling in it.

    Our relationship with the Saudi government is within our control, but proposed revisions must be based on the reality that we are dealing with a sovereign state that is not under our control, and that our influence over that State is slim to nonexistent. Realistically, the Saudis have more leverage over us at this point then we have over them... so how do you propose to go about fixing their government, admitting their failures, or proclaiming "hard internal fixes" to their problems?

    What I have always stood for is that we must change ourselves, not work so hard to change others to suit us. When I say the US must change the nature of its relationship with the Saudis I mean we must change our end of it. As to the relationship between the Saudi government and their own populace, that is a conversation for the President to have with his counterpart in private. But the primary reason he does not have it is because the military has kidnapped COIN as warfare and their domain.

    To claim that military can simply declare some aspect of governance as warfare, write a manual about it and thereby convert it to warfare is absurd. Stable governments with solid relationships with their populaces are conducting COIN every single day and we don't call that warfare when they are doing it effectively. It is only when the civil leaders lose control of the populace to such a degree that violent challengers emerge and calls upon the military to help defeat the products of their failures that we recognize the condition as insurgency, declare it to be warfare and pass the lead off to the military. That clean break and conversion from governance to warfare is a fiction. Manuals such as 3-24 contribute to that fiction.

    What is next? Will the military publish a manual that declares that support to natural disasters, or smaller civil emergencies such as the LA riots are warfare as well? When insurgency goes violent it is indeed often warfare by the populace against the state; but it is the rare situation that I would recommend to a government conducting COIN as warfare against their own populace.

    But this gets us back to the role of an intervening power and what their mission is in that intervention. The intervening power is supporting the COIN force (the Host Nation), even when they have decimated that host nation government as we did in Iraq. Simply because the Host Nation government ceases to exist it does not suddenly make the intervening government the host nation. They have the mission, but not the status. To assume the status is create impossible conditions of illegitimacy that will feed the insurgent movement.

    So long as we continue to look at COIN in the context of warfare and a mission that an intervening government has the status to implement we will struggle with this mission. Similarly, until we hold our allies to task for their responsibility in creating conditions of insurgency within their states; and hold ourselves responsible for the role US foreign policy over the past 100+ years has played in contributing to the conditions leading to current illegal violence directed at the US we will struggle with the GWOT as well. I really don't see a down side in demanding greater accountability in civil government.
    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. #71
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default At the risk of being the third wheel on the cycle...

    Strategy is good. So is Policy. Hopefully the two cross reference each other but mixing them up in a stew is inadvisable. Similarly, Executive Chefs and Chefs de Partie are both important but each has to do his or her job, mix 'em up and poor chow results.

    I have to agree with Bill Moore and Dayuhan -- when you try to change the first sentence in the first paragraph of the first chapter of a Field Manual -- no matter how poor it is -- to reflect what is and should be a civilian policy decision you are going to lose and you just get yourself consigned to the 'Disregard all before Huh' pile. Governance is a civilian, foreign policy concern. It is not and should not be a US Army -- to include SF -- concern. If the Armed Forces are committed, then in our nation a civilian ordered that and the Army's job is to conduct combat operations suitable to the mission.

    As several of us keep saying, you have the right idea but keep shooting at the wrong target.

    Same thing is true of going after the Saudis. It plays well to the populists here and there but it's not going to happen and we all -- including the populists -- know a half dozen or more good reasons why. So what purpose is served by beating it into the ground? To show that you are an independent thinker? We know that.

    As someone far wiser than I (lot of them about... ) once said, there's a fine line between admirable persistence and deplorable bullheadedness. You aren't there yet -- but I really don't think going there will do your cause one bit of good...

  12. #72
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    I honestly don't see how this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    What I have always stood for is that we must change ourselves, not work so hard to change others to suit us. When I say the US must change the nature of its relationship with the Saudis I mean we must change our end of it.
    can be reconciled with this:

    I say make fixing the government the priority, balance that with information operations that admit to past failures of government, agree with and co-opt vast swaths of the insurgent's message, and proclaim hard internal fixes being made to address all of the above.
    Please explain: how do those two prescriptions fit together? They seem to be opposites, unless there's something there that I'm not seeing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    As to the relationship between the Saudi government and their own populace, that is a conversation for the President to have with his counterpart in private. But the primary reason he does not have it is because the military has kidnapped COIN as warfare and their domain.
    I think the primary reason he doesn't have is that it's none of our business, and if he tries to raise the point he will be told exactly that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    To claim that military can simply declare some aspect of governance as warfare, write a manual about it and thereby convert it to warfare is absurd.
    No aspect of governance is a military concern unless it involves warfare. If an aspect of governance has been handed over to the military, it has been declared warfare by the civilian government, and the military has every right to treat it as such.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Stable governments with solid relationships with their populaces are conducting COIN every single day and we don't call that warfare when they are doing it effectively.
    You can't do COIN unless there is an insurgency; you can't counter something that isn't there. Certainly insurgency can be prevented or preempted by addressing potential causes before insurgency breaks out, but that is not the role of the military. Certainly it is not wise for the US or any other intervening power to get involved in every insurgency or potential insurgency, but that decision is not up to the military. If an insurgency has reached the point where armed force is required, and if the civilian government has decided to intervene, then yes, warfare is involved. If these conditions do not apply, the military isn't involved anyway. From the military perspective - the perspective from which the manual was written - COIN may be called warfare because the only aspect of COIN, and governance, with which the military should be dealing is the part that involves the use of armed force.

    I agree that in any case the military aspect will only be one part of COIN, but the non-military aspect is not and should not be the realm of the military. Our problems with the non-military aspect of COIN is not that the military is excessively focused on the military aspects: that's exactly what they should focus on. Our problem is that we have no equivalent organization with the capacity to address the non-military aspects, which are either ignored or passed off to those who are not trained or equipped to manage them.

    The answer to our neglect of governance concerns is not to get the military involved in governance: that's a recipe for disaster. The answer is to let the military do its job, and develop a separate but coordinated capacity for dealing with the governance concerns.

  13. #73
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Talking Hoo Boy. Can't leave you alone for a second...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    But the primary reason he does not have it is because the military has kidnapped COIN as warfare and their domain.
    I think that's a specious comment with little grounding in reality. I can think of many reasons such a conversation has not probably not taken place with regard to several recent Presidents but that 'reason' you give isn't one of them -- even if it were true. I suggest there's a difference between 'default' and 'kidnap'...

    IMO and I suspect that of many other -- not all -- Americans, such a conversation should not occur. I don't think you can say on the one hand:
    When I say the US must change the nature of its relationship with the Saudis I mean we must change our end of it. As to the relationship between the Saudi government and their own populace...
    and suggest in the next breath that we should insert ourselves via the President in a private conversation saying to the King he must change his ways to do what we want. I'm inclined to believe that is, if not hypocritical, at least a very conflicted proposition.
    To claim that military can simply declare some aspect of governance as warfare, write a manual about it and thereby convert it to warfare is absurd.
    Sweeping statement. "Absurd." Really? At the risk of being rude, allow me to point out that just because Robert C. Jones claims governance is the root of all insurgency and blithely ignores any evidence to the contrary does not portend that the world is going to convert to that view in the near future. I know you're aware that more people disagree with you than agree on that governance bit and while you may discount them and their opinions, your approach leads them to believe ignoring your opinions is possibly prudent.

    To call a consensual approach absurd while proclaiming to have the only correct answer only makes you seem strident at the very least.
    Stable governments with solid relationships with their populaces are conducting COIN every single day and we don't call that warfare...That clean break and conversion from governance to warfare is a fiction. Manuals such as 3-24 contribute to that fiction.
    Is it a fiction or is that merely a simplification for your purpose. Most of the several insurgencies in which I've been involved on four continents resulted from anything but a '"clean break" and no one I knew or know has claimed such clarity in transition other than you in that statement. Most of 'em are more than muddy. Unintended consequences rule...
    What is next...their own populace.
    I don't see anything sensible to respond to in that paragraph so I just truncated it.
    But this gets us back to the role of an intervening power...To assume the status is create impossible conditions of illegitimacy that will feed the insurgent movement.
    True. We can agree totally on that. We can agree that we would not have done it the way W. decided to do it. We may or may not agree that once he had so decided, the ball was in the court of the US of A Army -- and they blew it. We may agree that the Army should not have had to pick up that ball -- but we both have to acknowledge that they had to do that. So. Bad move but it's partly over and the Army simply did, not too poorly, what they had to do. We have elsewhere agreed several times it should not get to that point -- hopefully, ever again -- and you plead for a coherent grand strategy.

    I keep telling you that is not going to happen, the best you can get in our political system is a fairly coherent long term policy. Instead of shooting for that, you wish to try for the Gold Ring. Have at it and I'll get to tell you as I have dozens of other old Colonels "I told you..."
    ...and hold ourselves responsible for the role US foreign policy over the past 100+ years has played in contributing to the conditions leading to current illegal violence directed at the US we will struggle with the GWOT as well. I really don't see a down side in demanding greater accountability in civil government.
    Bad news, Bob -- we've been at it for over 220 years, not 100+. It's who we are, what we are. Our collective attention span doesn't grasp two decades, much less two centuries. You simply are not going to change that. Shame you can't accept that and work within logical parameters and American realities for achievable goals...

    ADDENDUM:

    I type slowly, should have reloaded the page and looked before I posted. Dayuhan said it faster and better, I agree with him. You really ought to consider that...

    And this, from Dayuhan, is most important and got left out:

    ""The answer to our neglect of governance concerns is not to get the military involved in governance: that's a recipe for disaster. The answer is to let the military do its job, and develop a separate but coordinated capacity for dealing with the governance concerns"" (emphasis added / kw)
    Last edited by Ken White; 11-28-2010 at 03:02 AM. Reason: Addendum

  14. #74
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Man, rough night. As an Oregon State alum lets just say the game against Stanford is not going well... (next week against Oregon not likely to go much better).

    Then the defenders of the status quo pile on here at the journal!

    First, the US efforts in a Global war on terrorism and insurgency are two separate, yet related things.

    Just asf nationalist insurgency feeds off of causation the emanates from the governments of those nations; the War on Terrorism against the US feeds off of causation that emanates from US foreign policy.

    So, we do have total control over our approach to foreign policy. By understanding what aspects of it create the most causation for acts of terror against us, and adjusting those components we in effect "turn down the heat" on terrorism. By continuing to support the very governments that are most challenged by insurgent populaces we keep that heat on high when that support enables them to continue to act with impunity toward their people.

    Second; I don't pick on the Saudis, I pick on the US-Saudi relationship. The difference is a substantial one. Our entire Middle Eastern policy is long overdue for a major overhaul. But a many say, this is all policy stuff and not the domain of the military to worry about. The problem is that the policy types see insurgency and counterinsurgency as warfare and not the domain of policy types to worry about. We are at a stalemate, and something has to break that stalemate.

    What I propose is that the military stepping up clarifying the roles of host nation, intervening nations, and what violence is warfare and what violence really isn't warfare is a critical initial step in breaking this cycle. To simply salute and say "we got it" is not helpful.

    What I find interesting is that people can see regime change as ok; but employing a little firm, backroom influence between state leaders as inappropriate. I aways thought that warfare was supposed to be the "final argument of kings." We've gotten way too used to making it our opening statement.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 11-28-2010 at 03:28 AM.
    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)

  15. #75
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The answer to our neglect of governance concerns is not to get the military involved in governance: that's a recipe for disaster. The answer is to let the military do its job, and develop a separate but coordinated capacity for dealing with the governance concerns.
    CIA did that in the Philippines from after WW II until the 1960s. Although the morality of it might make one uncomfortable, the result was most likely better than the potential alternative. Few remember it now, but in the 1950s we were determined that the Philippines not go Communist; the result was that Marcos and the old big landowner Japanese collaborator crowd held on to power. There were some marginally leftist Filipinos who were good guys whose reputations were destroyed by U.S. paid-for and sponsored black propaganda and psyops. See Smith, Joseph B., Portrait of a Cold Warrior -- he was there for many years.

  16. #76
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Then the defenders of the status quo pile on here at the journal!
    I don't see anyone defending the status quo. The status quo can be (and is) beset with all manner of stupidities, but that doesn't mean an alternative proposal is necessarily a solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Just as nationalist insurgency feeds off of causation the emanates from the governments of those nations; the War on Terrorism against the US feeds off of causation that emanates from US foreign policy.

    So, we do have total control over our approach to foreign policy. By understanding what aspects of it create the most causation for acts of terror against us, and adjusting those components we in effect "turn down the heat" on terrorism.
    To some extent, yes. But US foreign policy is by no means the only cause of these problems, and many of the causative factors that do exist are in the past and relate to policies that no longer exist. We cannot change the past. The relationship between AQ, nationalist insurgency, and US policy is, I suspect, not quite as clear and linear as you make it out to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    By continuing to support the very governments that are most challenged by insurgent populaces we keep that heat on high when that support enables them to continue to act with impunity toward their people.
    Where does our support enable anyone to act with impunity toward their own people? Certainly not in Saudi Arabia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Second; I don't pick on the Saudis, I pick on the US-Saudi relationship. The difference is a substantial one.
    Again, how do you reconcile that with this:

    I say make fixing the government the priority, balance that with information operations that admit to past failures of government, agree with and co-opt vast swaths of the insurgent's message, and proclaim hard internal fixes being made to address all of the above.
    They seem to be two completely different things. Do you want to focus on fixing the government, or fixing our relationship with the government.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    What I find interesting is that people can see regime change as ok; but employing a little firm, backroom influence between state leaders as inappropriate. I aways thought that warfare was supposed to be the "final argument of kings." We've gotten way too used to making it our opening statement.
    You certainly won't find me saying regime change was ok; I think it was one of the stupidest policies we've adopted in the last 50 years, which puts it in some pretty rarefied company. But you can't apply "firm, backroom influence" unless you have it, and we don't. If we start lecturing the Saudis on their relationship with their populace, do you really think they are going to change that relationship? Or will they gently remind us that the $60 billion they propose to spend on the products of our munitions industry might very easily be spent elsewhere... or will they simply ignore us? Not like they need to listen.

  17. #77
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    Default Shiite Deal Gives Militants New Afghan Access

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010..._r=1&ref=world

    The bloodletting peaked in 2007 when Shiites drove Sunnis out of Parachinar, the regional government headquarters. Sunni Muslims retaliated by denying Shiite Muslims access to road. In some instances, Sunni militants have stopped buses on the road, taken out Shiite passengers and executed them.

    The Shiite militias had to turn to the Haqqanis to strike a deal "because they are so strong. No one else is as strong," Bangash said.
    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.

  18. #78
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    CIA did that in the Philippines from after WW II until the 1960s. Although the morality of it might make one uncomfortable, the result was most likely better than the potential alternative. Few remember it now, but in the 1950s we were determined that the Philippines not go Communist; the result was that Marcos and the old big landowner Japanese collaborator crowd held on to power. There were some marginally leftist Filipinos who were good guys whose reputations were destroyed by U.S. paid-for and sponsored black propaganda and psyops. See Smith, Joseph B., Portrait of a Cold Warrior -- he was there for many years.
    I've been there for many years too... 30+. Might point out that the big landowners collaborated with the Americans as well as with the Japanese, and that they rather effectively persuaded the Americans that anyone who wanted to rock the good ol' boat was a communist. The Americans may have thought that they were opposing Communism; in actuality they were supporting feudalism, and setting the stage for the far more effective Communist uprising that began in the 1970s.

    Could say a good deal more; it's a pet period of mine, but it has precious little to do with FM 3-24 and I'd better stop before I start running on!

  19. #79
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    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.
    Why no go back to good old basic SF theory where we raise and train a guerrilla force instead using conventional forces. We need the equivalent of an Islamic Los Pepe's like they used to Kill Pabelo.

  20. #80
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Bob, no one's defending Old Quo (What part of China does he hail from...)

    What three people are doing is suggesting that Bob's Way is not the only way to achieve some needed changes, that Bob's Way may be in fact a good idea that is simply incorrectly aimed, that Bob's Way would have a better chance of success if it posed fewer contrapositions. One cannot mind one's own business and not impose one's will on another and at the same times try to cajole him into doing it one's way...

    Either we stay out of other government's business or we intrude or interfere in some way. Since the latter is the more likely course, I believe you and I would agree that militarily interfering is the last resort and generally not a good choice. Where we seem to disagree is how the Armed Forces should go about getting that point across to the policy makers. You appear to want the FlagOs to be pro-active and bulldoze the civilians into doing it the 'right way.' I contend that they should not try that (it will backfire, it always has every time we've tried it) and that the personnel turnover among said policy makers means your ideas will get little traction unless you produce a coherent, realistic, non contradictory approach that provides them political cover. IMO, you have not yet done that, in fact seem to refuse to even consider it.
    Second; I don't pick on the Saudis, I pick on the US-Saudi relationship. The difference is a substantial one. Our entire Middle Eastern policy is long overdue for a major overhaul. But a many say, this is all policy stuff and not the domain of the military to worry about. The problem is that the policy types see insurgency and counterinsurgency as warfare and not the domain of policy types to worry about. We are at a stalemate, and something has to break that stalemate
    True on the first point, for brevity I shortchanged that point which I did and do understand. I agree on the second point. On the third point, I disagree -- it is NOT the place of DoD or the Armed Forces to dictate to the civilian heirarchy what policies should be.

    You'll likely respond you do not intend to dictate. So you might say but your words written here do not convey anything less. Think about that.
    What I propose is that the military stepping up clarifying the roles of host nation, intervening nations, and what violence is warfare and what violence really isn't warfare is a critical initial step in breaking this cycle. To simply salute and say "we got it" is not helpful.
    "Stepping up" equals dictation? Suggesting? Suggesting more strongly? Hinting? What? Precisely what do you propose the military do to get those points accepted?

    Your "not helpful" comment, like the 'absurd' earlier is not going to help your sale pitch...

    Further, FWIW, the US Army has not simply saluted and started off on its own in my lifetime. They have generally resisted almost to the point of insubordination. If you can give me an instance where they have done what you say, I'd appreciate it.

    Here's the crux of the seeming pile on (I can't help you with the Fussball games...)
    What I find interesting is that people can see regime change as ok; but employing a little firm, backroom influence between state leaders as inappropriate. I aways thought that warfare was supposed to be the "final argument of kings." We've gotten way too used to making it our opening statement.
    No one here has said that or anything close to it -- what we are saying is that YOU contend we should not dictate to others and then consistently proceed to spell out the dictation that should be given. IOW, you appear to be talking out of both side of your mouth. Be nice in public, we must let them do it their way -- and if we don't like their way lambaste the hell out of 'em in private??? You contradict yourself on that issue.

    Aside from the basic fact that privately urging can be publicly ignored, thus forcing a public action -- like regime change -- your proposals all seem to be overly idealistic, not reality based and as noted, contradictory. In one sense, it's the walk softly and carry a big stick bit, ala T.R (who was a hypocrtical little dickens almost as devious as his cousin...) and that's a good catch line -- it does not work well with people who do not bluff if they sense the nominal stick wielder is a bluffer. Our problem in the US is that the electorate sometimes goes for bluffers. Our History of evil doing as you see it is also a history of poor bluffs and follow through. Those things have arguably done us more damage than any of or all the evil. A series of no or poor use of the Armed Forces and poor bluffs and follow through by four prior Administrations from both parties almost certainly led to the latest two cases of regime change. You may not agree with regime change, I disagreed strongly with the previous sluffing. Regime change works. Sloppy but it does work. The backroom stuff has a fairly poor track record unless it is backed up with credible regime change capability - and will to use it.

    On the final point; we lead with force too often -- I totally agree and further agree with many of your proposals to change that.

    However, I respectfully suggest that your methodology in getting your approach to change adopted by the Armed Forces or the US Government will not sell in Peoria -- or Washington. IOW, yet again, I'm suggesting you have some good thoughts but some rather jarring contradictions and a sales approach that is unlikely to succeed. So this isn't so much a pile-on as a fourth or fifth suggestion to consider that. Consider it my semi annual contribution.
    Last edited by Ken White; 11-28-2010 at 05:29 AM. Reason: Typos, truncation

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