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Thread: Recognizing Distinct Types of Insurgency - "Know the type of conflict you are in."

  1. #41
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Colonel,

    How do you classify the post invasion phase? If it is Stability Operations, could some of the operational methods outlined in COIN adapted to a Stability Operation, assuming we are not planning on staying long enough to create a mini-merica.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
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  2. #42
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Argh...not the "phase" word.

    Better question, what is the natural human response to a foreign power invading their homeland and defeating their government and security forces? A blend of submission by some, collaboration by others, and resistance by the rest.

    That means that those guys with the friendly faces welcoming you? They are high order traitors and opportunists in the eyes of most everyone else. The ones you'd actually respect are the ones who want to cut your throat. But we put the collaborators into power and then wonder why we are soon met with resistance insurgency against our foreign presence, and revolutionary insurgency against the de facto illegitimate regime we have put in power to serve our interests.

    What do we call that phase? We delude ourselves that what we bring is so good, and that what we oppose is so evil, that there will be no resistance against us. We also believe that when we create a government that we think will be good for us and call it a democracy, there will be no revolution against it. But we are always wrong. Always.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "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)

  3. #43
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Argh...not the "phase" word.

    ..

    What do we call that phase? We delude ourselves that what we bring is so good, and that what we oppose is so evil, that there will be no resistance against us. We also believe that when we create a government that we think will be good for us and call it a democracy, there will be no revolution against it. But we are always wrong. Always.
    Sir,

    Don't think I am trying to inject COIN into other operations, but reality is that there will be something after the fight is done. I am a proponent of the WWII style Military Government until it can be turned over to civilian control. But I am not for the Bush/Rumsfeld "the locals can handle it" attitude that prevailed after we overthrew Saddam.

    The Army is loath to accept this responsibility, even though it has been historically our job. "No, the Army fights and wins America's Wars, ... we do not enforce the peace!" Meanwhile, the Marine (the older and more mature fighting force) have been doing just this for years.

    OK, now I am way off topic, but I think the concept needs to be a complete "soup to nuts" formula. No disrespect meant.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Sir,

    Don't think I am trying to inject COIN into other operations, but reality is that there will be something after the fight is done. I am a proponent of the WWII style Military Government until it can be turned over to civilian control. But I am not for the Bush/Rumsfeld "the locals can handle it" attitude that prevailed after we overthrew Saddam.

    The Army is loath to accept this responsibility, even though it has been historically our job. "No, the Army fights and wins America's Wars, ... we do not enforce the peace!" Meanwhile, the Marine (the older and more mature fighting force) have been doing just this for years.

    OK, now I am way off topic, but I think the concept needs to be a complete "soup to nuts" formula. No disrespect meant.
    You can't blame the Army for the President's and SECDEF's decisions. If you recall the Army Chief of Staff proposed a much larger ground force for invading Iraq to stabilize it post conflict. He didn't suffer the Wolfowitz illusion that Iraqis would simply welcome us and embrace a western form of government. The Marines weren't stabilizing the Balkans or conducting any other significant stability operations within the past 50 years.

    The Army's new doctrine addresses the stability requirement, now we'll if they task organize and train for it. Even if they do it will mean little if policy makers continue to shy away from military governance. This is an example of point where we fail to use sufficient force or other means to achieve OUR objectives. Instead we do just enough to make it worse, and continue to do enough to make it worse instead of getting completely out of the way and letting locals settle it (it won't be pretty), or using sufficient force to impose our will. The lessons we'll take from this war are consolidated in a highly deficient COIN doctrine based on unsound theories. One could argue they are even based on political correctness.

    While no one can predict the future, I hope we don't get involved in another long COIN operation. Frankly we suck at it, and it isn't the soldier or marine on point, it is our system. We just end up getting a lot of our kids killed and maimed, and prolong the suffering of the locals who are also killed and maimed. What do we have to show it for it anywhere? Why not try a different approach? Why are we afraid of implementing military governance when it is the right and humane thing to do?

  5. #45
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Between "dominate the enemy" and "stabilize" there is a missing step :"prevent, resolve or defeat the resistance."

    As I said up front, a resistance insurgency is a continuation of warfare, and the natural response of a population to a foreign invasion and occupation. One must either be very clear that this was a drive by punitive operation and that we are not staying for lunch, let alone to "stabilize"; or one must defeat or in some way deal with the resistance that will naturally result.

    We tend to make matters worse by wishing away the resistance, and then putting an illegitimate government in place that motivates the rise of a revolution to go along with the resistance.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "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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    Trying to return to the topic, and agreeing the the early stages of a revolution is not war, what type of assistance could an outside element provide?
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Trying to return to the topic, and agreeing the the early stages of a revolution is not war, what type of assistance could an outside element provide?
    There are a number of threads here that comment and debate what external parties / nations can do.

    My immediate reaction was to offer Northern Ireland as an example. In 1969 it was a self-governing province and we now know from memoirs very few on the mainland actually knew what was going on. Indeed several politicains who did get involved thought it was a 'orrible place with 'orrible people who had a hsitorical memory not seen elsewhere.

    So assistance without thought should be avoided. How long does it take for an advisory mission to really know the context?

    Supplying copious amounts of CS gas for riot control is often an option before the level of insurgent / civil violence escalates.

    Can diplomacy and NGO action get people on all sides to talk? Should an external actor open dialogue with all?

    There is clearly a potential for any external actor to be identified as supporting the regime / nation-state. Is that clearly a plus?
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    So assistance without thought should be avoided. How long does it take for an advisory mission to really know the context?

    Supplying copious amounts of CS gas for riot control is often an option before the level of insurgent / civil violence escalates.

    Can diplomacy and NGO action get people on all sides to talk? Should an external actor open dialogue with all?

    There is clearly a potential for any external actor to be identified as supporting the regime / nation-state. Is that clearly a plus?
    I agree with being cautious, learning what is going on, not saying "you are either with us or against us," and taking your time in deciding how best to proceed. It may be that anything an external party does will simply exasperate the problem. Even an NGO that provides medical and food aid may simply be setting the conditions for the conflict to continue.

    The identification of a third party outsider with one side or the other is a big problem. I am not sure there is anyone anymore who is truly neutral. I donít even know if the UN can do it anymore.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    What American leaders, policy and doctrine struggle to recognize, is that those affected by our actions care little for our good intentions.

    We can appreciate why a Russian invasion of Afghanistan sparked a resistance insurgency against the Russian invaders and a revolutionary insurgency against the puppet regime they put in power; but we cannot fathom why the US invasion and installation of a puppet regime would create the exact same effect.

    There will be matters of degree based on the character of one's actions, but the primary effect is rooted in human nature and driven by the nature of the action.

    We must have an assumption that any occupation - be it a small unit doing a training event to build partner capacity, or a full blown regime change invasion - will spark some degree of resistance in some portion of the affected population. This is natural.

    Likewise, we must have an assumption that any government we help to rise to power or to merely stay in power will spark some degree of revolutionary energy against them by some portion of the population. The greater the perceived popular illegitimacy of the government based on our actions, the greater the revolutionary energy and the broader it will be across the affected population. Again, this is natural.

    Bottom line, is that American fecal matter is just as odiferous as anyone else's. Truth.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "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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    We can appreciate why a Russian invasion of Afghanistan sparked a resistance insurgency against the Russian invaders and a revolutionary insurgency against the puppet regime they put in power; but we cannot fathom why the US invasion and installation of a puppet regime would create the exact same effect.
    No truer words ever spoken, but if it is in our national interest (agree or disagree, it is the policy we have been given) to promote and protect the clown we put in charge, what's a girl to do?

  11. #51
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Bill,

    This gets to what I think "Whole of Government" really needs to mean: Not that we all pull together to try to sustain the unsustainable, or to fix the unfixable.

    Rather, what it needs to mean is that we need to design feasible operations from the start at the policy level; and then work through all phases of execution to minimize the negative characteristics that will naturally occur due to the nature of our actions.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "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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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Bill Rather, what it needs to mean is that we need to design feasible operations from the start at the policy level; and then work through all phases of execution to minimize the negative characteristics that will naturally occur due to the nature of our actions.
    So, how do we influence policy. I have been at the DA level for a couple of years now, and it seems like, if it is not a budget issue, it does not matter.

    I guess I am asking - do you have any suggestions on how we influence the civilian side of the military-civilian relationship?
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
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    Who is the "honest broker"? That is a good question. I don't know. How does one be an honest broker when working within an organization that is by its very nature biased due to an overarching mission of advocating for a particular aspect of our total system?

    That is like the proverbial camel making it through the eye of the needle. (the small gate in walled cites that could be opened at night after the main gate was closed).

    The army is much more purely a war fighting service than any of the others. Particularly for maritime nations with no neighboring ground threat to have to respond rapidly to. So the army is on a quest for relevance that creates a tremendous bias. They seek to expand the definition of war. They seek to expand the perceived necessity for military engagement overseas in times of peace. They seek to sell a "land power" solution as to key to virtually every security problem.

    It is little wonder our doctrine on conflict and war is so confused, when all of the cooks are working off of a different idea of what the proper solution looks like, and works mightily to craft the problem into the context of their respective solutions. Who is it that works to understand and frame problems for what they actually are?

    The services like leaders and action officers who are grinders and who adhere strictly to the party line. Innovation is only wanted in the context of those two things. If you opt to be a thinker, then you will not be grinding as hard as your peers, and your thoughts will likely take you outside of the party lines. At that point you become a heretic and a pain in the neck, or even a threat, to those dedicated to head down grinding.

    Know your boss, know your environment. Good bosses like good ideas and will know what they can and can't advance. It is a game of inches when all around you are running 100 miles per hour.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "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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    Default Straight Lines and Size

    The Journal has a new item and slant on a recurring topic: ‘Reorganization is Imperative to Fixing Special Forces’ Bent Unconventional Culture’:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...tional-culture

    The author focuses on language and linguistics as an important factor in the overall problem. That seems valid because although a political cartoon may convey a lot without words few people can succeed in doing the same. However the Pentagon has certainly managed to do just that.

    (This item was intended for Doctrine and TTPS but threads such as Counter – Unconventional Warfare, Thrashing about is not a strategy, The Joint Planning Process were all closed. Active threads were preoccupied with COIN. This thread has the first appropriate title but have not read all its items.)

    It’s now easy to distinguish the special trooper. “ Yes he’s the one wearing the big helmet and mosquito net with half a pair of opera glasses and the single ear headset for road safety, multi-colour sunscreen, big wristwatch and sweat bands and mittens, modish scarf over the blotchy but stylishly slit Jean Paul G stretch combo, the cowboy’s holster on the belt with the big knife and hatchet, handcuffs and baton and large bunch of coloured cable ties, with soft lunch bag and drink flasks. Then over the waistcoat with the rifle magazines, energy drink and fruit pouches there’s the cute shortie over-and-under shotgun between the speckled binoculars and the computer phone with a screen, the big rifle on one shoulder with a can on the end to keep out the rain and the vacuum cleaner squeegie thingie on the other shoulder together with the bent antenna. The coloured patches are to show who is the boss of each group and for all skills other than spoken and written American English and math. “

    The Pentagon chiefs and their political chiefs - and similarly the chiefs of other ABCA nations - have apparently forgotten how to task organise, exercise and commit joint force units. One result has been the growth of Special Forces harvesting vitality and particularly extracting rather than extricating it from single service special units. If that continues SpecFor will become larger than the USMC leading each next set of chiefs to dream up a special SpecForCom.

    Possibly the long-term task organisation of SpecForCom - as distinct from strike-oriented single and joint force units - should consist of at the largest 100-person SpecFor teams each specialised in one language/ethno area with integral mobility using ag-bikes up to at most 3-tonne GP vehicles – some with discrete armour but without an electric generator for high capacity comms. Then as indicated or if needed promptly add for later subtraction sub-units from single forces as needed, exercise and deploy with no higher than a major in local command. Possibly a LTCOL with 6 staff in country and almost always at the embassy or consulate keeping tabs on several separate teams, but limited to 20 hours per week in the field. If not enough then more area-specialised teams and at most a Colonel with 10 staff at the embassy, again with at most 20 hours per week in the field. If still more commitment is warranted then send in a USMC force up to the size of a MAGTF.

    The Pentagon knows that special forces have to be engaged in difficult business and that small can be useful. But it commonly scores B for effort and E for brain. SpecForCom has been enthusiastically and energetically glamourised and made popular with the electorate. And the Pentagon is now almost duty bound to continue feeding an overlarge gorilla when smooth and cut-down guerillas are needed. The way many politically contentious decisions seem to be made indicates that rectification is likely to be delayed until some administration after the current one has gone. Some pragmatists like Jean Larteguy might understand but many long-dead and some recently dead senior executives would be seriously displeased and for the long term.

    So how might a SpecForCom be made effective or more effective without damaging the rest of a national security infrastructure ? Use skill in languages to determine suitability for what precisely or approximately ? Is that the right type of straight line for a reorganization and just how many straight lines are needed ?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-04-2015 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Add link to cited SWJ article

  15. #55
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Reorganization is what military leaders do when they know things aren't as good as they could be, but have no real idea what the problem is or how to fix it.

    A couple of "simple" fixes:

    1. We must change how we think. We are currently attempting to implement a national strategy that is essentially to sustain a status quo of a US dominated global system through a policy of attempting to convince others to think and believe and value more as we do. We do this in an era of accelerated power-shifting within, among and between systems of governance, when people everywhere are much more focused on attempting to be more like themselves, not more like us. The result: Massive strategic friction and associated US strategic frustration. It makes the world appear to be full of "threats."

    So, the US must first gain a greater awareness of how the world actually is, and a greater empathy for the perspectives of others. We must then seek to avoid the empire-killing inclination of "Imperial overreach" and focus our interest more narrowly so as to better posture ourselves to hold onto what is truly important as hegemony naturally transitions to more multi-polar, regional systems of influence.

    We must think in terms of interests, and problems; not in terms of problematic threats that become to us an "interest" simply because they exist and challenge our world-view.

    2. Shift from reactive applications of SOF to proactive applications. Counterterrorism, Counter insurgency, FID focused on building partner CT and COIN capacity; etc. We are in the react mode and chasing threats. We never catch up, and our strategic goals, are mirage-like, in that no matter how hard we work, we never reach them. This is the problem of defining problems in tactical terms of named threats, and applying a reactive "strategy of tactics" to defeat and disrupt said threats. It is a treadmill we can't seem to get off.

    A more proactive approach recognizes that the US is a nation at peace in a dangerous and evolving world. It is also a world full of pockets of revolutionary energy. This is a target rich environment for unconventional warfare-based approaches that rely on leveraging the insurgent energy within populations governed by others in order to advance one's own interests.

    To implement such a proactive approach one would need a program of persistent, benign, transparent activity that placed special operators among the populations living in the places most critical to our truly vital interests. Not in some Embassy. Not in some military base teaching soldiers for the 20th time how to zero their rifle or clear a room. Not in some ninja squirrel clandestine operation. Just in plain sight, and focused on developing our own understanding, influence and relationships. This will gives us timely warning when some other independent (AQ, ISIS, etc) actor or state (Russia, etc) actor shows up to conduct their own UW; and also posture us to conduct whatever mission might someday come down the pipe from civilian authorities.

    To do this requires gaining control over the SOF personnel system, so that SOF can protect, reward and promote those who do what is vital for SOF, but bizarre and unvalued by the services. It also requires SOF to turn the cart around from our current reactive, threat-centric mindset.

    I do not hold high hopes for either to happen in time to avoid the cliff we are currently racing toward.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "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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    Say again Bob and more simply. No nation is ever actually at peace. Michael Howard recently and the Greeks millenia back had it correct. We just have to be a more more adroit and adaptive.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Special Operations Forces after Afghanistan: a Canadian Perspective

    A short, on the record talk by Canada's senior SOF officer last week @ IISS London:
    The Afghanistan campaign saw extensive use of Special Operations Forces (SOF) in a wide variety of roles, and spurred unprecedented technical and tactical developments. For Canadian SOF, this also included new command structures and considerable growth in size. While maintaining a clear, mandated role for domestic counter-terrorism, Canadaís SOF are developing important global roles, from delivering precision direct effects to building partner capacity. Amid much speculative media commentary, there is a need for a clear understanding amongst policymakers and the defence and security community of the capabilities and limitations of SOF, as well as their role in supporting conventional forces and other government agencies.

    Interesting short bio for the speaker, with my emphasis:
    Brigadier-General Michael Rouleau, Commander of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM), will share his perspective on these issues. Enrolled in 1985 and later commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer, Brigadier-General Rouleau joined Canada's nascent SOF unit Joint Task Force 2 in 1994. Retiring to join the Ottawa Police in 1999, he re-enrolled following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He returned to Joint Task Force 2, eventually serving as the Commanding Officer, followed by a number of strategic-level positions. He was promoted to his current rank and appointed Commander of CANSOFCOM in February 2014.
    Link:http://www.iiss.org/en/events/events...ghanistan-8bb8


    Might be appropriate here.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Nations are rarely at war, which is not the same as an absence of conflict. The US has not been at war since 1945 - but we often have troops engaged in various conflicts here or there. Heck, we lose a cop every other day domestically. The world is a violent place, but violence does not mean war in most cases. The military over defines conflict as war, and our laws for conflict encourages that inappropriate behavior.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "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 Bob's World View Post
    To implement such a proactive approach one would need a program of persistent, benign, transparent activity that placed special operators among the populations living in the places most critical to our truly vital interests. Not in some Embassy. Not in some military base teaching soldiers for the 20th time how to zero their rifle or clear a room. Not in some ninja squirrel clandestine operation. Just in plain sight, and focused on developing our own understanding, influence and relationships. This will gives us timely warning when some other independent (AQ, ISIS, etc) actor or state (Russia, etc) actor shows up to conduct their own UW; and also posture us to conduct whatever mission might someday come down the pipe from civilian authorities.
    Say again again. What do you suppose is being attempted - not always well - when actors show up every day for a tryout/tryon or whatever ?

    Getting back to the purpose of special forces, started on a list of personnel and skills needed for FMA style military assistance complementary and supplementary to Embassy work and assistance from other parts of government.

    Sorted them out in alphapetic order and was surprised at what came out.
    Biometricians and police liaison;
    Economists, forensic accountants and business/industry liaison;
    Ethnographers, historians and college/university liaison;
    Hygienists and waterworks engineers and liaison to civil/rural organizations;
    Intelligence analysts and military liaison;
    Journalists, speech writers and media liaison;
    Linguists and humint;
    Medicos, surgeons and hospital liaison;
    Military analysts (especially psych warfare) and liaison coordinated with that provided by military separately posted as Embassy staff.

    Realise that several other skill sets have been neglected. For example wanted to include operational research, systems analysts, computer programmers and industry liaison with feet on the ground but decided some such might be sent as fly-in teams. Eventually got to military, tactics and weapons to supplement US marines usually assigned roles such as embassy protection. Believe that SWAT team could also handle guerilla liaison.

    And yes am aware that a low form of organisation can be to try and squeeze many functions into one place but the results can with common sense planning prove useful. Just keep some things elite and highly valued but small.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Compost,

    I like the list. Missing are prison staff trainers, if not adequate prisons - construction staff maybe available, designers and the like maybe not. And cartographers, little can be done without maps even in this so called digital age.

    I have assumed pre-trial detention and imprisonment are the route being taken, not "catch, kill or release".

    A key factor is understanding how country actually 'X' works and the extent of non-national / local access such as the IMF, banks, airlines, media and NGOs. Will they talk to you? Is there an overseas community? Sometimes the answers are closer than you think.
    davidbfpo

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