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Thread: Gangs and Insurgencies

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    Default Gangs and Insurgencies

    Awhile back I read a paper someone did from the War College I think that equated gangs to insurgencies and the similarities in the way they could be combated. If anyone knows of this paper or has any knowledge of other resoures please drop me a line. Any help or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

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    I've been banging on that drum for three years now but haven't produced much of note apart from keeping it as a recurring them in some of my work...Dean Baratta presented on this topic from an intel perspective at the COIN Center Virtual Brown Bag in October or November last year and his presentation should be available online there; also check out www.twshiloh.com as this is a common theme there as well...

    Like Dean, I've mainly looked at this topic from an intel POV as there are definitely stronger connections between law enforcement CRIMINT that is more responsive in nature and COIN/Countering irregular activity than there are with traditional predictive-centric military intel i.e. where every intel op wants to the THE who predicts where 3rd Shock Army will make its move.

    There are also similarities in granularity and resolution between CRIMINT and C-IA in that both deal more with the less predictable actions of individuals than the more structured and templated actions in traditional conventional platform-based war. I got the platform-based versus individual-based concept from Marine LTC Mike Scheiern who I think may have gone back to RAND - if you Goggle he may have done some work expanding on this concept as well.

    Hope this helps and love to see any conclusions you may reach...

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    PS

    Memory kicking in now after a coffeeless day...there was also quite a good thread on this topic on www.cominganarchy.com early last year or late in 09 - I remember because I made some comments about it in my blog and ended up having a bit of a falling out over it with one of the writers over there...that was more about using COIN techniques in law enforcement which also has some merits (IMHO) due to the similarities I mentioned before...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Special View Post
    Awhile back I read a paper someone did from the War College I think that equated gangs to insurgencies and the similarities in the way they could be combated. If anyone knows of this paper or has any knowledge of other resoures please drop me a line. Any help or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
    I've been making that suggestion for a number of years.

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    Default Gangs & Insurgencies

    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Special View Post
    Awhile back I read a paper someone did from the War College I think that equated gangs to insurgencies and the similarities in the way they could be combated. If anyone knows of this paper or has any knowledge of other resoures please drop me a line. Any help or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
    This it?

    http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute...les/pub597.pdf

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    Read anything you can find by John P. Sullivan, a lot of his stuff is here at the SWJ librabry, Blog, etc.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Max Manwaring has also noted the similarities.

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

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    All great stuff guys. Alot to digest. I'm doing a proposal for work and hoping since none of the bosses are prior service that I can translate some of this stuff into a workable plan for us. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Nick

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    Default Did you miss this?

    Not to forget 'Of Mice and Men: Gangs, Narco-Terrorism, and the USA', a long running thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=6290
    davidbfpo

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    So I had this genius idea slap me in the head but it's so far out of my lane I don't even know how to put it together and what the law, bosses or public would have to say to shoot it down. One of the best things about A-stan when I was there is we had a couple of psy-ops guys attached to us and I have to say they did some great work. So the idea is to start a psy-ops campaign against known or suspected gang members. But like I said, just thinking out loud because it's out of my lane. Thoughts? Ideas?

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Special View Post
    So I had this genius idea slap me in the head but it's so far out of my lane I don't even know how to put it together and what the law, bosses or public would have to say to shoot it down. One of the best things about A-stan when I was there is we had a couple of psy-ops guys attached to us and I have to say they did some great work. So the idea is to start a psy-ops campaign against known or suspected gang members. But like I said, just thinking out loud because it's out of my lane. Thoughts? Ideas?
    Could you expand on your idea of what you would want psy-ops to do?

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    I was thinking along the lines of a disinformation campaign to get the bangers to start distrusting each other more, etc. That in turn should start internal conflict. I'm not really sure though because psy-ops is out of my lane.

    The same came be used with registered sex offenders. Put pictures and arrest histories in the local paper and the like. When the normal folks in town see this stuff I believe it would add pressure and make these guys move out of town. I guess you could do the same with drug dealers.

    Not really sure how it would work but sewing the seed of discord among the known bad guys would surely spread to the unknown bad guys.

    Just thinking out loud.

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    Certainly gangs could be played against each other more effectively ( I had one LEA official semi-jokingly say we should work to convince them that one needs to kill another gang member to become a gang member. Goal was zero growth and a reduction of such initiation homicides against innocent civilians).

    But to reduce the growth and influence of gangs one has to address the psychological reasons why people join such organizations and either mitigate those causal factors or offer better alternatives, or both. Reducing the number of illegal revenue venues would also help (drugs, prostitution, guns, human trafficking, etc). I suspect a more effective integration program for legal and illegal immigrants; coupled with a concerted effort to vastly reduce the size of the prison community in the U.S.

    Bottom line is that much of the recent growth of gang numbers and influence is a result of domestic policies that have nothing to do with gangs directly. In that way, gangs are very much like insurgent organizations indeed. A response to ill-formed or implemented domestic policies.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Special View Post
    I was thinking along the lines of a disinformation campaign to get the bangers to start distrusting each other more, etc. That in turn should start internal conflict. I'm not really sure though because psy-ops is out of my lane.

    The same came be used with registered sex offenders. Put pictures and arrest histories in the local paper and the like. When the normal folks in town see this stuff I believe it would add pressure and make these guys move out of town. I guess you could do the same with drug dealers.

    Not really sure how it would work but sewing the seed of discord among the known bad guys would surely spread to the unknown bad guys.

    Just thinking out loud.
    I think you'll find that this occurs already and, in fact, the transfer of useful TTP is probably more from law enforcement to the military in this area as LE has been dealing with it for decades...

    The problem with your sex offender scenario is where do they go? Some time the evil you know id better than the evil that just drifts into town after being driven out someplace else...more so in a big population like that of the US, Canada, maybe even Australia....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Special View Post

    The same came be used with registered sex offenders. Put pictures and arrest histories in the local paper and the like. When the normal folks in town see this stuff I believe it would add pressure and make these guys move out of town. I guess you could do the same with drug dealers.
    I doubt it would work in this capacity. Sex offenders are very,very different than drug dealers. Many of the same reason that people join insurgencies are the same reasons they join Gangs....for security and prosperity.....they are "outgroups" because they often come from disenfranchised population groups. There is a role for Information operations connected with good policies but I don't think you are going to see that anytime soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Many of the same reason that people join insurgencies are the same reasons they join Gangs....for security and prosperity.....they are "outgroups" because they often come from disenfranchised population groups.
    Good points. Add respect or "status" to the list.
    "Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper

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    All good stuff. Sometimes I get stuff in my head and have to work through it all. The psychology behind the gang thing is a big one and I don't ever foresee a way to get rid of them although it would be nice! The sex offender thing, I just want them gone. Period. Off the planet would be nice. The thing I see is that traditional policing methods are behind the power curve and I'm trying to find newer/already done workable solutions to the problems. Maybe I'm just tired of beating my head against the wall because in the end when it all plays out, the work we do gets fragged by the States Attorney's. Been a long couple of days. Thanks for the imput.

    Nick

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    Default Insurgency Paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Special View Post
    Awhile back I read a paper someone did from the War College I think that equated gangs to insurgencies and the similarities in the way they could be combated. If anyone knows of this paper or has any knowledge of other resoures please drop me a line. Any help or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
    You are correct in stating that insurgencies act a lot like gangs and criminal elements. In fact insurgents do not have a goal of winning in war, just as gangs dont want to over-through the government. The insurgents "win" if the war is protracted. They simply want chaos because chaos provides utility--it allows them to operate unabated and substantiates that, in reality or in appearance, the government cannot provide governance--rule of law, security, public safety, economic opportunity, essential services...

    Several years ago, I wrote a paper that addresses the Insurgency Paradigm. I have attached it for your use. On page three the paper addresses the similarities of insurgencies and gangs/criminal elements. It also addresses the concept of "resource scarcity" and violence. I hope this helps.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by GPaulus; 01-26-2011 at 06:06 AM.

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    Default Dunbar's Number and Insurgencies

    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Special View Post
    So I had this genius idea slap me in the head but it's so far out of my lane I don't even know how to put it together and what the law, bosses or public would have to say to shoot it down. One of the best things about A-stan when I was there is we had a couple of psy-ops guys attached to us and I have to say they did some great work. So the idea is to start a psy-ops campaign against known or suspected gang members. But like I said, just thinking out loud because it's out of my lane. Thoughts? Ideas?
    Have you heard of a concept known as Dunbar's Number? Dunbar makes an argument to the upper limits of social organizations (gangs, terrorists, insurgencies, military operational units, etc). And, although his research was never geared to terrorist groups, insurgents or gangs, it may be effective when dealing with these elements. (Dunbar's research was done many years before Afghanistan, Iraq, Oklahoma City, 911, or other attacks)

    Dunbar postulates that the absolute maximum group size would be 150. And that this high number could only exist for "social communities" with a very high incentive to remain together. For a group of this size to remain cohesive, Dunbar speculated that as much as 42% of the group's time would have to be devoted to social grooming. So your idea of Psy-Ops to play the end against the middle may have merit to fracture the insurgency cell (social community). The group might have to expend 80% of its energy trying to hold it together. Correspondingly, only groups under intense survival pressure, such as subsistence villages, nomadic tribes, and historical military groupings have, on average, achieved the 150-member mark.

    Moreover, Dunbar noted that such groups are almost always physically close: "... we might expect the upper limit on group size to depend wholly on the degree of social dispersal in A-stan. In dispersed societies, individuals will meet less often and will thus be less familiar with each, so group sizes will be limited to local command and control and be smaller in size as a consequence." Thus, the 150-member group can only occur if there is an intense necessity to be united, i.e. due to intense survival, security, environmental and/or economic pressures. My guess would be that Psy-ops could develop a play geared at group sizes of 70 or less, and that the play could be very effective.

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