View Poll Results: Evaluate Kilcullen's work on counterinsurgency

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  • Brilliant, useful

    26 45.61%
  • Interesting, perhaps useful

    26 45.61%
  • Of little utility, not practical

    1 1.75%
  • Delusional

    4 7.02%
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Thread: The David Kilcullen Collection (merged thread)

  1. #401
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJPONeill View Post
    Possibly the issue here is that 3-24 is not really about COIN but more related to what the Marines call(ed) Countering Irregular Threats (CIT) and the UK Countering Irregular Activity (CIA - an unhappy acronym if ever there was one), of which COIN is a subset. We reviewed most of the available 'COIN' doctrine in 2007/Early 08 and were already thinking in terms of CIT when we got to 3-24 and in that context it made a ton of sense but was less applicable perhaps to the classic COIN campaign a la Vietnam or perhaps the myths of Malaya and Kenya.
    I'd see that 100% in reverse. 3-24 is a "COIN" manual, and that is why it is a woeful publication. It views COIN as a distinct form of military/non-military activity. That is rubbish.
    An Irregular Warfare manual, would be useful and would be written in an entirely different way. 3-24 is not an "Irregular Warfare" manual by any stretch.
    So called "COIN" manuals have to be theatre specific. -which is why the UK never issued one, until they tried to copy the US, and wrote one.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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

  2. #402
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    I'd see that 100% in reverse. 3-24 is a "COIN" manual, and that is why it is a woeful publication. It views COIN as a distinct form of military/non-military activity. That is rubbish.
    An Irregular Warfare manual, would be useful and would be written in an entirely different way. 3-24 is not an "Irregular Warfare" manual by any stretch.
    So called "COIN" manuals have to be theatre specific. -which is why the UK never issued one, until they tried to copy the US, and wrote one.
    Woeful compared to what? At the time it meet the need for Iraq and is a big step up from other 'COIN" pubs from the same time e.g. those from Canada and Australia.

    Distinct from what? The mil/non-mil mix is more disitnct in COIN/CIT/CIA than it is conventional force-on-force conflict e.g. the good old Fulda gap. I'm not sure which COIN campaigns you have been following but which did not have a strong mil/non-mil mix? Possibly the Soviet ones in Hungary and Czechoslovakia which were, admittedly successful...

    Irregular Warfare is not COIN and vice versa...if anything they might be different sides of the same coin (no pun intended) - that manual that Slap posted is a good read and may serve to illustrate the difference. 3-24 never attempted to present itself as an IW manual and nor should it because it is not - there, we agree on something perhaps...

    Yes, there should be theatre/campaign-specific manual produced for each campaign/conflict (uh-oh, agreement again) - our rule of thumb was/is that this should be produced no later than the force generation for the first rotation force to relieve the initial intervention/lodgement force (don't think you can count on the lead time to have this ready before the first lodgement). But that each campaign will have its own unique characteristics does not mean that a more generic higher level, broader focus COIN/CIT/CIA (perhaps all three in a perfect world) manual can not and should not be produced. If nothing else it could start by detailing the differences between COIN/CIT/CIA and the conventional force on force state v state conflict most of us were brought up to deal with, at least until those who were the coy and bn commanders in 03/04 are the 2 and 3 stars of the future.

    The UK did produce COIN manuals and quite good ones well before FM 3-24 every appeared on the scene - I don't have my notes to hand so can't real them off but some of them were part of the Review, as was some Aussie 60s doctrine derived from the UK that was pretty fine as well - supporting the statement elsewhere in this thread that way we wrote about these topics 40-50 years ago was at least as good and possibly better than how we do it now.

  3. #403
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJPONeill View Post
    Woeful compared to what? At the time it meet the need for Iraq and is a big step up from other 'COIN" pubs from the same time e.g. those from Canada and Australia.
    Woeful as in not needed, overly long, complicated and not useful.
    Distinct from what? The mil/non-mil mix is more disitnct in COIN/CIT/CIA than it is conventional force-on-force conflict e.g. the good old Fulda gap.
    COIN is not a distinct form or warfare. Fighting an insurgency requires the application of military force. How that force is applied is in the context of Irregular War, not in a "COIN" context. It is very doubtful if the idea of "COIN" as it is currently touted actually withstands any rigour at all.
    The UK did produce COIN manuals and quite good ones well before FM 3-24 every appeared on the scene - .
    Yes, but they were theatre specific. The CATOM for example was for use only in Malaya. -which is why Kitson was forced to write "Low Intensity Operations" in September 1970, precisely because the UK Staff Collage lacked a viable publication on the issue.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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

  4. #404
    Council Member Chris jM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Woeful as in not needed, overly long, complicated and not useful.
    Would you extend this description to FM3-24.2 Tactics In Counter-Insurgency, as well?

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/documents/cointacticsfm.pdf
    '...the gods of war are capricious, and boldness often brings better results than reason would predict.'
    Donald Kagan

  5. #405
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris jM View Post
    Would you extend this description to FM3-24.2 Tactics In Counter-Insurgency, as well?

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/documents/cointacticsfm.pdf
    Still flawed, but its a great deal more useful. It has to be asked, how come it's a different manual?
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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

  6. #406
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default To justify spaces and TDY lag time for

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    It has to be asked, how come it's a different manual?
    for 'doctrine writers.' Plus it beefs up the printing, warehousing, distribution and other staffing and budgeting arguments...

    We now do process. Not products.

  7. #407
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Questions for Dr. David Kilcullen

    This Thursday, we're hosting a book signing event for Dr. David Kilcullen's "Counterinsurgency" in Fredericksburg, VA. As I'm framing my own questions, I thought that I'd open it up to the Council.

    If you have questions, then post them here. I'll consolidate them, ask what I can, and provide feedback after the event.

    I imagine this would be much better than a thread of "Answers by MikeF" .

    Thanks

    Mike

  8. #408
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Have we got the patience to wage COIN?

    Does the West / USA / NATO have the strategic patience to campaign against the 'Accidental Guerilla' and those who are closer to the global jihad / AQ?

    I am mindful of the overwhelming majority in many NATO countries that are opposed to the deployment of military forces; in the the UK cited at over 80%. How can we engage in COIN when there is little public support.

    (At times this theme has appeared in various threads, IIRC not recently; perhaps itself a sign of attrition).
    davidbfpo

  9. #409
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Hello Mike.

    If you could, can you ask some or all of the following questions for me.

    Are all the night raids conducted by our forces a net advantage or disadvantage for us? I wonder this because I have read that the Afghans really hate this tactic, despise us for using it and it is a continuing source of very strong irritation to them.

    I have read that the main prison in Bagram is controlled by the Taliban and is a center for their recruiting and radicalizing. Is this true? If it is how did this get to be since one of the things we learned in Iraq is the importance of controlling the prisons and using them for counter-indoctrination so to speak.

    Is there any chance at all of a successful outcome in Afghanistan if the Pak Army/ISI continues the level of support they give the Taliban in its various permutations?

    If we were to completely abandon the supply line running through Pakistan, would we be able to maintain a viable effort in Afghanistan just depending on the northern supply route and air?

    Thank you Mike.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  10. #410
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    David/Carl,

    I've got your questions written down. If anyone else has questions, then let me know.

    Thanks

    Mike

  11. #411
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    Default Kilcullen on Libya: U.S. Should be ‘Air Referee’

    Kilcullen on Libya: U.S. Should be ‘Air Referee’

    Entry Excerpt:

    Former Petraeus Adviser Kilcullen: U.S. Should be ‘Air Referee,’ Avoid Arming Rebels, in Libya by Rick Klein, ABC News. BLUF: "Kilcullen, an author and former adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, said the U.S. should think about its role as 'kind of like the air referee. Oversee what's going on on the ground from the air and ensure that nobody, regardless of what their political orientation is, takes it out on civilians...'”



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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-04-2011 at 10:25 PM. Reason: Image refuses to open, removed and PM to author earlier

  12. #412
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    Default Comparing Mao and Kilcullen

    Comparing Mao and Kilcullen

    Entry Excerpt:



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    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  13. #413
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The David Kilcullen Collection

    Prompted by the SWJ Blog article 'Meet An Urban Planner For Cities That Don't Yet Exist' and link:http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/mee...dont-yet-exist I found that two hundred threads contain Kilcullen and nine threads specifically contain his name in the title, so before I merge them to this 'Collection' thread they were:

    1. In 2008 'Killcullen Briefing' a link to another website
    2. In 2008 after his book was published 'Kilcullen article' on defeating the Taliban
    3. In 2009 announcing a speaking slot 'David Kilcullen at the Pritzker Military Library'
    4. In 2009 a link to an Australian TV debate 'Kilcullen debates the ethics and tactics of contemporary warfare'
    5. In 2009 a thread after 'Accidental insurgent' was published 'Recovering David Kilcullen'
    6. In 2006 'Kilcullen -- New Theories for a New Way of War'
    7. In 2010 'Deconstructing Kilcullen's Counterinsurgency'
    8. In 2010 seeking questions for a meeting 'Questions for Dr. David Kilcullen'
    9. In 2011 'Kilcullen on Libya: U.S. Should be ‘Air Referee’
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-31-2012 at 12:15 PM.
    davidbfpo

  14. #414
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    its better to create assets within these tribes and social groups. that would better provide access and open coomunication lines with them. paving the way for a better understanding of their needs and helping in determining where and who the enemy actually is

  15. #415
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default David's new book

    David Kilcullen has a new book out, so is on tour promoting it - with at least two London events. The book is 'Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla', a Tweet via SWJ alerted me to some reviews on:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...-the-mountains

    More reviews on:http://www.amazon.com/Out-Mountains-...rban+Guerrilla

    I plan to attend one London book launch, so may offer my own opinion.
    davidbfpo

  16. #416
    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Default Let's all RV in London...

    I'd be interested in attending an event as well. perhaps there is scope for a Kitakidogo style SWJ gathering in London?

    Dr Kilcullen's background in anthropology is for me what makes his work so interesting.
    RR

    "War is an option of difficulties"

  17. #417
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    David Kilcullen is speaking tomorrow to the Henry Jackson Society, in Portcullis House (Parliamentary office block) and on Friday, at RUSI in Whitehall: http://www.rusi.org/events/ref:E52148194AD534/

    Neither is a public event.
    davidbfpo

  18. #418
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    David Kilcullen, now bearded, gave an impressive explanation of his book and answered about ten questions today to a small group of interested persons - including Prince Harry.

    Yes the book is aimed at a military audience, but he readily admitted he was not advocating intervention to solve emerging problems (population growth, urbanization, concentration in coastal areas and the connectivity provided by cell / mobile phones and web access).

    The paradigms we have are wrong, they simply do not fit the data.
    Water supply was one issue and he cited Syria as an example. Syria, with an expanding population for several years had issues over water supply, so much that water rationing applied in most cities. This was aggravated in 2010 with a drought in the south-east, which pushed more people into the cities and in 2011 two of those cities were where the protests began.

    Anyway more after the book arrives and it is read fully.

    For UK / European readers the book is available from the publishers; if you register with them you may get a 20% discount:http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/...the-mountains/
    davidbfpo

  19. #419
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    Default Assuming arguendo, that he's right

    The Future of Warfare Will Be Urban, Coastal, and Irregular (NAF, 25 Sep 2013):

    According to Dr. Kilcullen, there are four environmental “mega- trends” that will be critical in planning future operational strategies.

    First, the continuing increase in the world’s population in the next generation will change the global landscape. Dr. Kilcullen noted that most studies that record this data predict that the world’s population will accelerate until it reaches around 9.5 billion around the year 2050, meaning that another 3 billion people will arrive before then.

    Second, the urbanization of that population means that these people will not be evenly distributed over the globe. Based on his research, Dr. Kilcullen believes that around two-thirds of the world’s population will reside in cities, and notably, that population will be aggregated in the developing world.

    Third, the littoralization (the movement of people from rural, inland areas to the coast) of those densely populated cities will be critical in terms of conflict patterns. Today, around 80 percent of the world’s population lives within 50 miles of the coast and Dr. Kilcullen predicts that this number will only increase.

    Fourth, and perhaps most significant, the connectivity of the world’s population is rapidly changing, enabling greater access to information and a higher ability to organize among non-state groups.
    This is definitely not my Atlantic-Pacific Littorals worldview, but it is definitely a littorals view.

    So, one issue is how should US Armed Forces be organized to meet these megatrends. One answer is Jeong Lee, Why the United States Should Merge Its Ground Forces (24 Sep 2013), arguing (largely for "budgetary" reasons) a merger of the Army, the Marine Corps and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

    I'd go an entirely different route (leaving "bean counting" aside in this post): turning SOCOM into a separate service branch; and classifying operations (and which service executes them) on a unit size basis -

    1. Small unit operations: SOCOM, which it has been doing (IMO, doing well) for the past several decades.

    2. Medium unit operations: Marines (MAGTFs of various sizes), which would get them back to their amphibious, littoral function - and, yes, expeditionary warfare and interventions (cf. The Small Wars Manual). Since everyone should know my views on military intervention outside of the Americas, I'll refrain from annexing a set of caveats on that.

    3. Large unit operations: The Army (something of a Gian Gentile force), which would be assigned primarily to continental defense of the Americas; although, for interventionists holding a different worldview - land wars in continental Eurasia and Africa, that large unit Army could fill that role as well.

    Trying to assign roles to armed services based on the "intensity" of conflict has never made sense to me; nor has trying to turn the armed services into "social engineers" (but that is another rant topic).

    Regards

    Mike

    PS: Some of COL Gentile's ideas (with two flag officers) are in A Cheaper, Stronger Army (15 Aug 2013), e.g. (p.2):

    The centerpiece of reorganization for the Army is the combat group, which is smaller than a division but larger than a current brigade. There are five main categories of combat groups: Light Recon Strike Group, Combat Maneuver Group (CMG), Strike, C4ISR, and Sustainment. At the institutional level, MTM achieves improvements through organizational reform, reducing overhead by flattening echelons of command and control, and placing greater emphasis on protected mobility and firepower in tactical formations than is currently the case.

    By reorganizing the force from a brigade-centric formation to a combat group-centric one, the MTM would allow the Army to reduce its current size of approximately 551,000 troops to as low as 420,000 and yet in the end produce a force that has greater combat capability, costs less to operate, is more sustainable over the long term, and is more strategically and operationally responsive to joint-force operations. MTM readiness cycles ensure there would be at least thirty-five thousand troops in the ‘ready to deploy’ window. Thus, the President would always know how many and which units can react to a no-notice emergency. Those units would already be tied to specific air and sea transportation assets, and their deployment timelines—even when blindsided by an unexpected event—could be executed within days. The MTM thus provides both significant strategic and tactical improvements.
    Theoretically, a MAGTF could be the Corps: 4 divisions, 4 air wings and all the support units; which we haven't seen since Iwo Jima. The MTM proposal (35,000 "ready to deploy" troops) would be akin to a MAGTF based on a Marine division ground component. Somewhere in or below that range would be the "dividing line" between medium and large size units.
    Last edited by jmm99; 09-25-2013 at 11:16 PM.

  20. #420
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    There are a few speaking events on David's book tour in the USA, with three events in Chicago:http://caerusassociates.com/news/

    From a rather less enthusiastic review:
    It sounds great—it's very high-tech and would make a great comic book—but it seems highly unlikely as the true way forward.
    Link:http://gizmodo.com/what-happens-when...art-1440820493
    davidbfpo

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