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Thread: Historical Parallels?

  1. #21
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    The problem with CIDG is that the main line army began using the CIDG strikers as deployable light infantry instead of leaving them in their home regions where they could secure their own villages. Shelby Stanton talks about this in his "Green Berets at War," as do other personal memiors. CIDG if memory serves originally started as a CIA/SF project and reverted to main Army control during Operation Switchback. There were also issues because CIDG was aimed mainly at the Montegnard population, who had little love for the Vietnamese due to years of poor treatment.

    It was a good program that was later misused, much to the detriment of pacification operations.

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    Default Cultural Intelligence

    Can someone define this term for me? Does cultural intelligence equal processed data and information on language, religion, and social networks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore
    Merv,

    I don't disagree with your statement, but I think if we only use PSYOP as a line of operation to acheive limited tactical operations, then we're under utilizing a tool. Your example of using PSYOP will always remain a viable use, but staying course on Small Wars where political actions trump military actions, our PSYOP activities must effectively influence the target audience to support our political objectives. Obviously we're not going to convince a thinking man that it is in his interest to support U.S. economic or strategic interests, so we need to tailor our approach to find a win-win theme that convinces the target audience this is the direction they want to go. Then all our actions and words must support that theme if we want it to be credible. Perhaps using the term PSYOP is the wrong approach because it is already hamstrung by existing definitions and perceptions. I like term someone used earlier in this thread "Influence Operations". The objective for our GWOT wars are not geographical, but the space between the ears. Bill

    Excellent post. We are of one mind.

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    There is a program ongoing in Colombia somewhat similar to CIDG - it is called Soldado Campesino or Peasant Soldier (peasant doesn't hold a negative connotation in this context). The soldiers are locally recruited, given basic training and operate in their native areas. They are led by professional officers and NCOs. When it first started, I thought it would be a disaster, but I was wrong. As for how effective they will be, that remains to be seen. It is difficult to measure the contribution of specific programs, as the admin has done a good job of integrating them seamlessly (or as closely as possible.)

    I am a huge proponent of these types of programs, however it requires a different mindset and not every soldier will be able to function in this type of environment. And it is risky - against a dedicated enemy, you will likely lose a couple.

    A-Teams tend to do this very well, if they are mature Teams. It is basically what an A-Team was deisgned to do. Unfortunately, it takes a decade to develop a Team to this level. Not collectively, but individually. Most young guys want to kick doors and that is as it should be.

    As for cultural intelligence - it is one thing to be told or even know. It is quite another to apply. It would be nearly impossible to area orient the force structure - and that is what it takes. We spend years and millions doing it in SF, and the results still vary. I am also not sure it is even possible in the case of the ME. The differences are much greater than in LATAM and other places. The really successful operator will have an affinity for the AO. He will learn and adapt because he likes it, not just because it is his job. In SF, it is quite common to marry inot the culture, speak the language and pick up the mannerisms. One sort of morphs - not really from the target country but not the same old person either.

    My thinking is, if we can do it, we need to develop FID units. Hand-over units, whatever you want to call them. Trainers capable of leading indig against low level insurgent problems, but primarily focused on rapport, nation-building, local government etc. More mature individuals, well grounded in such things as local government administration, civic action, psyops, etc. And they need to have organic language capabilities - at least until they can trust their trusted agents.

    The SF FID or USMC CAP programs are good models, but they don't have the scope we need now. It is not a task for the infantry battalion.

  5. #25
    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    Default Cultural Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Strickland
    Can someone define this term for me? Does cultural intelligence equal processed data and information on language, religion, and social networks?
    Excellent question. I think there are multiple definitions.

    CI can refer to specific intelligence products prepared by analysts to give new field people or other intel consumers a crash course.

    A classic example would be the WWII _Chrysanthemum and the Sword_ by Ruth Benedict. Another example from that era, though to a much lesser extent would by the OSS psychological profiles of Hitler and other Nazi leaders. Even though Freudianism was a dominant perspective the analysts did draw on cultural information to explain Hitler's worldview. The OSS profile is available online BTW.

    CI can also, in sort of a Howard Gardner multiple intelligences way, refer to a competency in mastering the nuances of foreign cultures and interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds. a certain intuitive sensitivity of perception is probably in play. Think Rudyard Kipling's _Kim_ as a literary example.

    Intense language mastery programs - like DLI - are often followed by immersion in order to pick up cultural nuances - inflection, gesture, body language -that would normally accompany colloquial speech. The student would really have to be alert and ideally the natives around him/her unaware they were objects of study. Can everyone do this well ? Probably not.

    The military and the IC have CI programs - how good they are is best left for area specialists to assess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zenpundit
    Intense language mastery programs - like DLI - are often followed by immersion in order to pick up cultural nuances...
    Unfortunately, immersion is not an automatic follow-on to language training at DLI. Most FAOs will end up in a country speaking their target language. But many other soldiers graduate and then do not use their language again until its time to take their next DLPT. For a long time, outside of the SOF community, most conventional units did not have regular deployments into locations where their assigned language-capable personnel could have a chance to operate. Korean linguists used to be an obvious exception, with the regular tours in-country keeping them solid. Also pre-9/11 most units had programs in place where they would send their linguists TDY for in-country immersion programs of varying length and quality. The current optempo has really cut into that, but it still goes on. For those learning Arabic at least, now damn near everyone who completes the course can expect a tour in Iraq. But the Arabic program is MSA, not Iraqi dialect, so the soldier has another learning curve to drive through when he arrives in-country.
    ...inflection, gesture, body language -that would normally accompany colloquial speech. The student would really have to be alert and ideally the natives around him/her unaware they were objects of study. Can everyone do this well ? Probably not.
    So true. HUMINTers especially need to develop that type of kinesic and cognitive awareness. Unfortunately, the schoolhouse barely mentions that at any phase of training. And even among those who are formally trained in that type of neuro-linguistic situational awareness, not all can apply it in practice.

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    Default Hand-over units

    Are you implying that we need additional troops, or is this a task that is going to fall on existing units? If the Army has had to expand its recruting efforts to include 37 year olds, and bribe young men with $10K plus to join,and still cant find enough to join, who do we think is going to do this other than infantry battalions that are already over-tasked?

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    I think part of it can be done with reorganization. And I think developing this capability would attract candidates from a pool we don't always access. The "On the verge of Peace Corps but looking for more of a challenge" maybe. I also see a large role for the reserves - I think they would do this better than perhaps the hard infantry role. Unfortunately, it would require long tours. Rapport isn't developed over night.

    I obviously don't have all the answers or even all the questions. But I do know it is very difficult to win hearts & minds from the closed hatch of a tank. And I know that every mission doesn't require an infantry battalion. I think it is unjust to task young infantry soldiers with this mission, especially given that they aren't trained for it.

    It could probably be done for the price of the next aircraft carrier or AF developmental aircraft.

  9. #29
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    For the price of a B-2 I'm sure you could at least spin up part of a program...

    But I think the real question we should be asking ourselves isn't "can we afford it?", but rather "can we afford NOT to do it?" Small wars/4GW/insert your favorite LIC-type term here are not going to go away. Unit stability, cultural awareness, and the ability to provide precise firepower when needed are all vital factors.

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    Default Hand over battalions

    I would agree that most tasks cannot be accomplished from the closed hatch of a tank or IFV; however the Army thinks differently. Speaking as a Marine who has daily contact with Army Officers, they too are embarrassed at the Army's continued philosophy of "death before dismount," however, no one seems to want to do anything about it. Thus, I have to conclude that they think that this is a good idea.

    I believe that hand over units already exist in the Marine Corps, and that they are called Infantry Battalions. Many battalions have utilized an officer such as the Weapons Company XO to lead a combination of weapons company and weapons platoon Marines in this task. These Marines are regularly tasked with presenting periods of instruction to other Marines on complicated weapons systems, thus are comfortable in the role of mentor and instructor.

    What we cannot continue to do is throw together ad hoc units of personnel from the IRR, SMCR, and NG, give them 30 days of training, and then send them off to do God's work. If you send in the B team, you get B results.

    While the "just beyond the Peace Corps crowd" may not be appropriate, the idea is sound. The French Gendermarie (sp?) units are excellent at this type of work.

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    How about standing up something similar to a foreign legion?

    Require service for naturalization (i.e. to acquire citizenship), allow non Legal Permanent Residents to serve? If they serve in this force, they could receive LPR status and either live with that or join the regular Armed Forces. Those who are anything other than honorably discharged are barred from future entry into the USA.

    That way you might also be able to aid with the cultural adaption process, in both directions.

    Martin

  12. #32
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    Default Legionaires for Cultural Intelligence

    Around the time when some in Congress were raising the specter of the draft, I wrote an article for HNN that suggested among a number of other possibilities, a " foreign legion" recruitment option. My focus at the time was having the U.S. pick up highly trained SOF vets from NATO and other allied armies with various inducements to expand our SOCOM forces rapidly without diluting quality nearly so much.

    If CI is the primary goal, the inducements could be more modest. The Indian and Israeli Armies alone could provide us with far greater linguistic resources. So for that matter, could the French with their operational experience in the Mahgreb

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    Quote Originally Posted by Major Strickland
    I would agree that most tasks cannot be accomplished from the closed hatch of a tank or IFV; however the Army thinks differently. Speaking as a Marine who has daily contact with Army Officers, they too are embarrassed at the Army's continued philosophy of "death before dismount," however, no one seems to want to do anything about it. Thus, I have to conclude that they think that this is a good idea.

    I believe that hand over units already exist in the Marine Corps, and that they are called Infantry Battalions. Many battalions have utilized an officer such as the Weapons Company XO to lead a combination of weapons company and weapons platoon Marines in this task. These Marines are regularly tasked with presenting periods of instruction to other Marines on complicated weapons systems, thus are comfortable in the role of mentor and instructor.

    What we cannot continue to do is throw together ad hoc units of personnel from the IRR, SMCR, and NG, give them 30 days of training, and then send them off to do God's work. If you send in the B team, you get B results.

    While the "just beyond the Peace Corps crowd" may not be appropriate, the idea is sound. The French Gendermarie (sp?) units are excellent at this type of work.

    I agree. Are the Marines assigned these tasks getting sufficient training?

    I tend to favor the reserve solution because you get a wider skill set from the civilian side. There are no doubt small town mayors and city councilmen serving. It does however, bring its own set of issues to deal with.

    I am not in favor of a foreign legion-type setup for this (I may be missing the point with it) for one very basic reason - we are trying to influence the target audience to come more into line with US founding values. I don't think we will get that letting a 3rd party speak on our behalf.

    Very interesting discussion, thanks for taking the time all.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone's talking about ad hoc units (at least I know I'm not), but more a systematic approach to something that may have been fobbed off on infantry battalions. That isn't fair to them, and it's also not fair to the mission itself (which is growing in importance and has always been more important than the heavy unit army may want to recognize).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair
    I don't think anyone's talking about ad hoc units (at least I know I'm not), but more a systematic approach to something that may have been fobbed off on infantry battalions. That isn't fair to them, and it's also not fair to the mission itself (which is growing in importance and has always been more important than the heavy unit army may want to recognize).
    Exactly. Ad hoc is part of the problem now. I am advocating dedicated units with the same level of training as the Strike/Hold units.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD
    I am not in favor of a foreign legion-type setup for this (I may be missing the point with it) for one very basic reason - we are trying to influence the target audience to come more into line with US founding values. I don't think we will get that letting a 3rd party speak on our behalf.
    NDD, I was thinking that they could work in a joint fashion and would adapt to the US manners at the same time, blending. Also, I think that since they are seeking service to become accepted in the USA, they might tend to be receptive to the ideas and American ways, while offering a little different approach to the indigenous people. I respect your experience more than my theories, however.

    Martin

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    There are already some foreign nationals in the US military working towards citizenship.

    But to go back to the foreign legion concept, these forces have a tendency to be viewed historically as both expeditionary and imperial police forces. There's also the perception that such legions are mercenary formations and could thus be used in ways that might not be considered acceptable for 'home grown' troops.

    Just some things to consider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Major Strickland
    I would agree that most tasks cannot be accomplished from the closed hatch of a tank or IFV; however the Army thinks differently. Speaking as a Marine who has daily contact with Army Officers, they too are embarrassed at the Army's continued philosophy of "death before dismount," however, no one seems to want to do anything about it. Thus, I have to conclude that they think that this is a good idea.

    I believe that hand over units already exist in the Marine Corps, and that they are called Infantry Battalions. Many battalions have utilized an officer such as the Weapons Company XO to lead a combination of weapons company and weapons platoon Marines in this task. These Marines are regularly tasked with presenting periods of instruction to other Marines on complicated weapons systems, thus are comfortable in the role of mentor and instructor.

    What we cannot continue to do is throw together ad hoc units of personnel from the IRR, SMCR, and NG, give them 30 days of training, and then send them off to do God's work. If you send in the B team, you get B results.

    While the "just beyond the Peace Corps crowd" may not be appropriate, the idea is sound. The French Gendermarie (sp?) units are excellent at this type of work.
    Well, it looks like the Pentagon is already doing something in that direction as far as creating an active duty emergency relief force which I mention on my blog.

    I've also written about our experience in Iraq and suggestions for reorganizing here.

    Comments are appreciated.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenpundit
    Around the time when some in Congress were raising the specter of the draft, I wrote an article for HNN that suggested among a number of other possibilities, a " foreign legion" recruitment option. My focus at the time was having the U.S. pick up highly trained SOF vets from NATO and other allied armies with various inducements to expand our SOCOM forces rapidly without diluting quality nearly so much.

    If CI is the primary goal, the inducements could be more modest. The Indian and Israeli Armies alone could provide us with far greater linguistic resources. So for that matter, could the French with their operational experience in the Mahgreb
    I was thinking that we should create our own Ghurka Regiments. These troops would be solely trained as peacekeepers and stationed only abroad. We would use them for long-term stabilization and would operate with a much smaller logistical tail and personnel cost. The could be stationed for long periods of time under more spartan conditions than we would be willing to subject our troops to, and casualties would not have the same political impact as US casualties would have.

    The last time the Brits were recruiting for a few hundred slots over 20,000 Ghurkas volunteered, so there is a great pool of willing volunteers. The Ghurkas also have a reputation as disciplined and fierce warriors.

    Potential hotspots for those Ghurkas for long-term deployment beyond the obvious Afghanistan and Iraq would be Kosovo, Bosnia, Djibouti, Liberia, and Haiti. Countires that we either have long-term committments to, or had to repeatedly intervene in the recent past, only for the situation to collapse once we left.

  20. #40
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    Default Foreign Nationals in US military

    Currently total 30,000 from 100 countries.

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/ar...tary_services/

    Like the Ghurka idea - though Nepal currently needs them a lot more than we do.

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