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Thread: Pet Peeve - Trying to Apply M&S to Small Wars Issues

  1. #1
    DDilegge
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    Default Pet Peeve - Trying to Apply M&S to Small Wars Issues

    Educate me if you can, I have seen quite a bit of effort by the modeling and simulation community (and resources applied to the same) in an attempt to come to grips with insurgents, terrorists, and non-combatants (local population). To me, human behavior - cultural intelligence is one part (not the only) – is the key to winning Small Wars.

    I remain unconvinced that the M&S community will ever produce an intelligence agent capable of aiding our efforts here. Now the “buzz” word is “enemy intentions”. Really now, can we model this – I don’t believe the murderous thugs actually know their own intentions on a week to week basis. More like “commander’s intent” – decentralized operations and taking advantage of targets and events of opportunity.

    IMHO, the money spent here would be better utilzed at the "boots on the ground" level - tactical needs for the troops and creating a "tactical" interagency capability.

    Am I missing something? Please comment...

  2. #2
    Council Member CPT Holzbach's Avatar
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    I believe that the closest we can come to that sort of simulation is creating human networks for training purposes. But each point in the network would need to have a human behind it to make it realistic. And the fictional network as a whole would need to be believable as well. I think we can simulate an insurgent organization, but not the individual insurgents or their leaders. Not in the immediate future anyway. Any kind of computer run simulation would require something out of science fiction, like artificial intelligence.

    I agree that such money would be better spent on training our soldiers for small wars and the totally different mind set they require. Gear-wise, I think we're fine. Maybe a little more money for refurbishment to offset the wear and tear of constant patrolling. I know these socks Im wearing that I got from my RFI (Rapid Fielding Initiative) draw are fantastic, but only 4 pair? 4 pairs of socks tend to wear out after a year of this stuff. The Army can refit you with almost anything from your standard issue, but almost all of that stuff is crap. The RFI gear was great, and it's virtually all I use here. Kevlar, body armor, and uniform top and bottom are the only standard issue items I use. But there is very rarely any re-issue or Direct Exchange of RFI gear. Money just needs to be spent smarter.
    "The Infantry’s primary role is close combat, which may occur in any type of mission, in any theater, or environment. Characterized by extreme violence and physiological shock, close combat is callous and unforgiving. Its dimensions are measured in minutes and meters, and its consequences are final." - Paragraph 1-1, FM 3-21.8: Infantry Rifle PLT and SQD.

    - M.A. Holzbach

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    Council Member Hansmeister's Avatar
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    The main thing that we have to develop is soldiers and leaders with enough mental agility to be able to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances.

    The SF school's final field exercise ROBIN SAGE provides a good model for this. Also, when I went to interrogation school back in '91 we had just adopted a new FTX based on cracking an insurgency.

    We need soldiers with a much higher skill set than in previous wars, combining combat, investigative, and public relations capabilities. Decision making needs to be much more decentralized and levels of management eliminated.

  4. #4
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Smile FAOs, Thinking, and Theory

    Dave,

    As a liberal arts major by instinct and training--history and anthropology--I too view techie solutions with jaundiced ideas. I saw the same as an intel officer; MI has never met a collection system it did not want but will take take the need for trained analysts to heart. Why? Because you can throw money at it and offer immediate measurable results such as "we fielded so many systems, etc".

    One has great difficulty in modeling human behavior even when you specialize in it. As a long term FAO, you will never, ever hear me describe myself as an expert on a target culture. I specialized in the Middle East and Africa. There are NO experts on foreign cultures; to be an expert you have to be a native speaker/native thinker. That combination presents its own challenges: you are part of the problem trying to devise a solution. In discussing cultural sensitivity, I coach O/Cs here to keep it in perspective; cultural sensitivity will assist in the mission. It is NOT the mission. I teach 2 fundamentals: A. Understand that they do not think like you do (due to influences involving culture and language); and B.They have an agenda in everything they do with you. I tell folks they must first underatnd those premises if they wish to A Understand their thinking and B. Anticipate their agenda, the real goals for cultural sensitivity. All of that plays into the idea of teaching soldiers to think, versus following a scripted playbook.

    Finally I would also say that in modeling human behavior and dealing with foreign cultures, only APPLIED exeprience counts. Relating to the idea of "experts," many describe themselves as experts on various societies when their experience is purely academic. We used to have a number of dual track FAOs who never really got into their regions; I put them in the same category as those academics. Both have enough theoretical experience to be truly dangerous.

    best

    Tom Odom

  5. #5
    DDilegge
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    Default Spot On

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom
    Dave,

    As a liberal arts major by instinct and training--history and anthropology--I too view techie solutions with jaundiced ideas. I saw the same as an intel officer; MI has never met a collection system it did not want but will take take the need for trained analysts to heart. Why? Because you can throw money at it and offer immediate measurable results such as "we fielded so many systems, etc".

    One has great difficulty in modeling human behavior even when you specialize in it. As a long term FAO, you will never, ever hear me describe myself as an expert on a target culture. I specialized in the Middle East and Africa. There are NO experts on foreign cultures; to be an expert you have to be a native speaker/native thinker. That combination presents its own challenges: you are part of the problem trying to devise a solution. In discussing cultural sensitivity, I coach O/Cs here to keep it in perspective; cultural sensitivity will assist in the mission. It is NOT the mission. I teach 2 fundamentals: A. Understand that they do not think like you do (due to influences involving culture and language); and B.They have an agenda in everything they do with you. I tell folks they must first underatnd those premises if they wish to A Understand their thinking and B. Anticipate their agenda, the real goals for cultural sensitivity. All of that plays into the idea of teaching soldiers to think, versus following a scripted playbook.

    Finally I would also say that in modeling human behavior and dealing with foreign cultures, only APPLIED exeprience counts. Relating to the idea of "experts," many describe themselves as experts on various societies when their experience is purely academic. We used to have a number of dual track FAOs who never really got into their regions; I put them in the same category as those academics. Both have enough theoretical experience to be truly dangerous.

    best

    Tom Odom
    Tom,

    You are right on the money here. Stuff like Operational Net Assessment (ONA) in support of Effects Based Operations (EBO) blows me away.

    Simply said, if we have a hard time maintaining a Common Operating Picture (COP) on the friendly side - how the hell are we going to keep track of enemy intent (an asymmetric foe at that), reactions and intentions of the local populace, and all the nodal analysis that links social and physical infrastructure with each friendly action - kinetic (steel on target) and non-kinetic (IO - velvet glove) and spits out the pie-in-the-sky answer to the CO and OPSO on when he should ratchet up one and stand down the other.

    We are reaching for a bridge too far here and need to get back to basics. That said, we could use a little help from our friends - the policy and interagency folks to be specific.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to mortgage our future – just want to move ahead sensibly and not throw good tax-payer money after bad.

    /Rant

    Glad you signed on today and Semper Fi,

    Dave
    Last edited by DDilegge; 10-19-2005 at 05:04 PM.

  6. #6
    Council Member M. J. Dougherty's Avatar
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    Default Genrally agree with all

    ALCON,
    I generally agree with everything said in this particular thread. However, I do think that in some cases human behavior can be modeled. However for the most part, the U.S. intelligence community is focused on "industrial" or "mass production" intelligence processes and not a specific and expensive intelligence problem. (This ia situation is analgous to the Death Star in Star Wars. A singl X-wing fighter was not considered a real "likely" threat, so the defense was not as tight as it should have been.) Rather than invest heavily in HUMINT to focus on a single sticky problem, efforts are focused high tech solutions that give at best a 50% solution and are eaicly spoofed by a knowledgable enemy.

    As to enemy intentions, I have attached an article by Lester Grau on foreign national perceptions and U.S. Warfighting. It was posted to the Foreign Military Studies Office webpage some time ago but is no- longer there. It remains very relevant however and clearly illustrates the disconnect between our adversaries (or potential adversaries) and the focus of U.S. intelligence.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by M. J. Dougherty; 10-25-2005 at 03:19 AM.
    Semper Fidelis,

    M. J. Dougherty
    United States Marine Corps
    (W) michael.dougherty@korea.army.mil
    (H) mjdoug1@center.osis.gov

  7. #7
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Smile Voodoo Intelligence

    MJ and Dave,

    I must confess that I am a past and current practioner of what the MI community would consider to be "voodoo intelligence". That is to say that I believed as a young S2 in an airborne infantry battalion, as current intel officer on the Mid East, and as a much older light colonel defense attache that I had an obligation to tell the old man WHAT I thought the enemy was going to do rather than list capabilities (or possibilities) as MI doctrinally trained to do. You know the drill: the enemy has the capability to attack, he can defend, or he can go home or whatever alternatives you can list. I do not believe that selecting a "most likely" course of action answers the mail because it is too pro forma. One can always say, "Well I did tell you about the other alternatives."

    To me that is where the art of intel analysis leaves the science behind. And I got pretty good at it: on 20 July 1990 I told the senior Army leaders that Saddam would invade Kuwait, much to the irritation of the DCSINT. I told Wash DC in Oct 94 that a regional war was coming in Africa unless we--the US and the International Community--did something meaningful, quickly.

    I must also confess that I do like Effects Based Operations as an approach if for no other reason that done properly it forces the staff to arrive at a holistic operational solution. It is like other iterations of staff processes an attempt to infuse structure into inexperienced and largely untrained staffs. The Army has a tradition of never giving a battalion commander a trained staff; most BCs spend their tours training the staff to a certain level, usually minimal acceptable. We give that BC an entry level intelligence officer and then we doctrinally expect intelligence to drive maneuver. (I have written on this subject for CALL if you are interested.)

    But developing intel analysts requires years and getting them to the voodoo level means an investment in that time of training, exposure, and frankly an opportunity to fail. Coming full circle on ths thread, maybe that is where some gaming can help, that is if it is built to effectively model the real world. again though we have to keep the intell officers in those jobs long enough to develop. And we have to promote them and reward them accordingly.

    Best all,

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom
    I must confess that I am a past and current practioner of what the MI community would consider to be "voodoo intelligence". That is to say that I believed....that I had an obligation to tell the old man WHAT I thought the enemy was going to do rather than list capabilities (or possibilities) as MI doctrinally trained to do. You know the drill: the enemy has the capability to attack, he can defend, or he can go home or whatever alternatives you can list. I do not believe that selecting a "most likely" course of action answers the mail because it is too pro forma.
    I wouldn't call that "voodoo intelligence". Its good solid practice, although it may divert a bit from doctrine. At the schoolhouse the rational aspect of threat decision making for COA analysis is pretty much all that is taught. However, as you clearly understand, the cultural and emotional aspects are just as - and sometimes more - important when attempting to determine a potential threat COA. Especially in the unconventional threat spectrum. The logic of the rational aspect of decision modeling in COA analysis is also its weakness. It is simply too easy to fall into the trap of mirror-imaging.

    The shortcomings you mentioned in training and professional development for the intel field have to be addressed in order to effectively meet the demands of the current operational environment. From the enlisted point of view, NCOs tend to stay in a single position longer than officers, which is a definite plus. However NCO's opportunities for intelligence professional development do not equal the operational demands placed upon them.

  9. #9
    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    Default Excellent thread

    Very impressive thread. It would have been useful if the Congress, the 9/11 Commission and the upper echelon managers in the IC had given more credence to observations such as these before " reforming" the intelligence community.

    Speaking as someone who has studied declassified and open source material on this subject I found Tom's comment re: Iraq's invasion of Kuwait unsurprising. A similar prediction had been made of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan almost a year before it occurred by the regional NIO ( I think it was Arnold Horelick) who did not seem to catch the attention and support of policy makers in the NSC until the summer of 1979 ( State rejected this prediction as unlikely and it later opposed the first Carter PDD proposal to aid the Mujahedin). Ditto the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia was forseen by analysts and State dug in its heels even when Romanian diplomats came in to forewarn the U.S. and, much to the Johnson administration's intense discomfort, seek unspecified support - I am not sure about Hungary in '56 catching the U.S. off-guard or not.

  10. #10
    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    Default on a related note

    I'm not sure why networking would be impossible to simulate. Online, virtual reality games by the dozens exist where players have avatars, make alliances or associations, engage in virtual commerce, communicate with one another - Everquest is one example.

    I'm sure DARPA could easily out design Sony with IC/ MI requirements in mind

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