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  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default After Mosul: better SSR?

    Hat tip to WoTR for an article 'Raising An Army' by Sean McFate, which looks at security sector reform (SSR) and makes a few suggestions:http://warontherocks.com/2014/07/rai...rmy-ten-rules/

    There's a ten point 'To Do' list and more. For the USA and other SSR is a strategic option, especially after peace appears to outsiders and this sums it up:
    Inability to competently raise indigenous security forces results in strategic failure.
    Curiously the author cites the PMC role in creating a new Liberian army as his test case, where he was involved with DynCorp.

    African armies have recently been discussed on:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=20913

    He ends with:
    The best metric of success is easy:is a soldier someone a child runs away from in fear, or someone a child runs toward for protection?
    Now I've started this new thread before checking if we have discussed this before - without a specific setting - so just maybe one day it will be merged into an older thread.
    davidbfpo

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    It isn't as simple as ten rules, and I think the author understands that. That author also has an agenda he is pushing, since he was one of the Dyancorp contractors that helped rebuild the Liberian Army from scratch. By all accounts they did a fantastic job, and in many respects private contractors may be better suited for conducting SSR for a lot of reasons I don't have time to dwell on now.

    Tenth, the private sector may be better at this than the government. The United States turned to the private sector in unprecedented ways during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, especially for SSR functions. In Liberia, SSR of the armed forces was entirely contracted. The United States hired DynCorp International, a private security company, to raise Liberia’s army in toto, marking the first time in 150 years that one country hired a company to raise another country’s armed forces.
    I question his assertion that this is the first time one country hired a company raise another country's armed forces, but need to research it further. Taking nothing away from the great success in Liberia, many of us have seen many contractors attempting to develop capacity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans that were inept clowns that simply wasted government money. Liberia was a relatively small scale effort, and by intent or by luck, it appears they recruited a top notch team of contractors to execute this mission.

    With that out of the way, I agree with the author on the following:

    -The military needs to get rid of the train and equip mentality, which doesn't mean we shouldn't train and equip, but realize it is a much bigger than training and equipping.

    - If possible we should instill a professional military ethos, but that requires the support of the host nation government to be effective. There is a lot to be said of how we transform our citizens into soldiers, from shaving their heads, given them a new identity, and pounding into them our code of honor (values). At the end of process most discard the potential identity they had when they joined and embrace the identity as a professional soldier. This clearly hasn't happened in Iraq or Afghanistan. In some places it may not be possible, but we at least need to be cognizant of it so we can identify and mitigate future problems.

    - If possible we definitely need to constrain the size of the military to a size that be sustained, but that also creates risks.

    http://america.aljazeera.com/article...omesofage.html
    Today the AFL numbers just under 2,000 men and women, a small fraction of its size during the war. Analysts say that while the army is a professional force, it may be too small and weak to protect the country. As the U.S. draws down its financial support, questions remain about whether the money spent to rebuild the AFL has been used wisely.
    I'm not sure what the author was talking about when he mentioned Iraq and asked does Iraq need F-16s? I guess if you have to defend yourself against Iran you probably do. He also said Iraq should have limited force projection, artillery, etc. That wouldn't have been in our interest if one of our goals was to contain Iran.

    Not a bad piece, and it has merit if you can look beyond the author's agenda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Taking nothing away from the great success in Liberia, many of us have seen many contractors attempting to develop capacity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans that were inept clowns that simply wasted government money. Liberia was a relatively small scale effort, and by intent or by luck, it appears they recruited a top notch team of contractors to execute this mission.
    I would suggest it is too early to declare these efforts in Liberia to be a success... where is the evidence?

    The problem - as I have mentioned before - is the simple matter of how these newly aquired skills will be used in the future. No training team has control over that and neither does the sponsoring country.

    A quote from the piece David posted the URL of:

    Two years ago a group of U.S.-trained Malian soldiers mutinied and staged a coup d’état in Mali, setting the Sahel region of Africa ablaze.
    See what I mean...
    Last edited by JMA; 07-15-2014 at 09:04 AM.

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    JMA,

    Time is always a factor, Rome was a successful empire until it wasn't, etc. I would judge it a success to this point, based on they developed a professional military that is currently subordinate to the civilian leadership.

    The situation in Mali, based on what I read, was messed up from the start, it was more of fire then aim approach. Those on the ground can comment with insights that I can't provide. Where I agree with the author, is that we have a bad habit of ignoring the longer term implications of our approach to dealing with security problems, and instead rush in with our train and equip mentality as though that is the default answer. It is often either unproductive or worse.

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    Seems to me that the single biggest thing we can do in SFAAT/FID/SSR/whatever we're calling it this week is to be extremely thorough and extremely honest in our evaluation of foreign forces we're training and advising. The Mosul crisis and some follow up stuff I've seen in the NYT and WotR indicates we did not do that in Iraq.

    In Afghanistan, I know at my level (platoon/company) everyone was brutally honest about ANSF capabilities. Maybe that was true all the way up the chain, but I doubt it. That Vice documentary "What Winning Looks Like," for what it's worth, says otherwise.

    (Added by Moderator) Link to cited documentary:http://www.vice.com/en_uk/vice-news/...ke-full-length
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-15-2014 at 05:24 PM. Reason: Add link

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    Quote Originally Posted by Granite_State View Post
    Seems to me that the single biggest thing we can do in SFAAT/FID/SSR/whatever we're calling it this week is to be extremely thorough and extremely honest in our evaluation of foreign forces we're training and advising. The Mosul crisis and some follow up stuff I've seen in the NYT and WotR indicates we did not do that in Iraq.

    In Afghanistan, I know at my level (platoon/company) everyone was brutally honest about ANSF capabilities. Maybe that was true all the way up the chain, but I doubt it. That Vice documentary "What Winning Looks Like," for what it's worth, says otherwise.

    (Added by Moderator) Link to cited documentary:http://www.vice.com/en_uk/vice-news/...ke-full-length
    Considering the period of OEF when our casualties caused by green on blue were 1 in 7, that lack of discipline is a "tell" to me that Afghanistan is going to be in for worse than Iraq if the Taliban mount a coherent offensive in 2015-16.

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    Bill we have touched on this issue a few times here at SWC and I submit it will take a minimum of ten years to get a reasonable battalion of infantry off the ground.

    But how these skills that are transferred has no guarantee on how and to what end they will be used.

    We could discuss this matter of 'outsiders' training an indigenous force at great length but I offer these two pieces for you.

    The first is from the book Having Been a Soldier pages 119/120 in the paperback version:

    Although my tour of duty in East Africa was to end about eighteen months before Kenya became independent, the “Africanization” of the Kings African rifles was well under way. African officers were given more responsibility and en-couraged to exercise the leadership which would be demanded of them when we left. A number of them were most promising, but we came to realize that their methods would sometimes be very different from ours, as would be their scruples. One of our most successful officers was discovered to have achieved excellent results in a peace-keeping operation near the Uganda border by tough methods which, had we known of them, would have resulted in his immediate court-martial.
    I began to realize, too, that African officers would become politicians as well as soldiers. This was dramatically illustrated when a senior African officer from Uganda visiting Nanyuki said that he planned to take over the Ugandan Army by a coup - and therefore, in effect, the country - and was I inter¬ested in becoming his Chief-of-Staff! I could, he added, name my price. I tactfully declined and have reason to be particu¬larly glad that I did so because the coup failed and this par¬ticular officer is, so far as I know, still chained up in prison.
    See what I mean? The battalions of the KAR (Kings African Rifles) were raised starting 1902 and fell apart when the British officers left. Whether early incorporation of African officers would have made any difference is debatable.

    Secondly, the following thesis by your man Micheal P Stewart from his staff course is worth a read for background:

    The Rhodesian African Rifles
    The Growth and Adaptation
    of a Multicultural Regiment through the Rhodesian Bush War, 1965-1980


    This discussion may have some value in the African Militaries thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    JMA,

    Time is always a factor, Rome was a successful empire until it wasn't, etc. I would judge it a success to this point, based on they developed a professional military that is currently subordinate to the civilian leadership.

    The situation in Mali, based on what I read, was messed up from the start, it was more of fire then aim approach. Those on the ground can comment with insights that I can't provide. Where I agree with the author, is that we have a bad habit of ignoring the longer term implications of our approach to dealing with security problems, and instead rush in with our train and equip mentality as though that is the default answer. It is often either unproductive or worse.

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