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Thread: Nation-Building Elevated

  1. #41
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    These points tie together. "Lead" references "leadership" and who takes the "lead". Unless you want to assign formal grades (I want a super-grade ) and create a formal pecking order, the "lead" process has to revolve around the "ability, knowledge and character" of those contributing to the process. The corollary of that is that individual egos have to be put aside (honest, I'll try); and we all have to really listen and try to understand what others are saying (gung ho).

    As to a board and some decision making process, I think that would develop as those interested keep with it, and areas of subject matter expertise will also develop. I'd also expect that many (hopefully) will feel called, but that fewer will end up feeling chosen. So, no surprise if there is a high attrition rate, which we see on a regular basis at SWC.
    Let say, in a full virtual world: it's the field that will decide what is applicable or not. (Me too I want a super grade, below army marshal, marechal d'armee en francais dans le texte, I'm against)

    If it goes real as describe below:

    1. A stochastic-oriented virtual network (maybe a board of directors, maybe not) that looks at problems and solutions, etc., and connects with ...

    2. A real-live field force on the ground that implements the solutions with feedback to the virtual network, etc.

    Any resemblence to a certain unfriendly organization is purely coincidental .
    This is what I was thinking about talking about decision making system. For me this is not limited to use of violence as I integrate non military action in the scope of security (with a big holistic "S"). And as I see security as a cross cutting issue in a context as Astan (cf; the Do No Harm approach).

    Making it real?:

    very tricky and lots of legal to consider.
    Tricky but not impossible, if no challenge: no fun.
    The best approach, according to me for a start, is something looking like NGO status. It's quite "simple", allows to access funds "easily" (Government, USAID, DFID... large range of donors) and provides a legal status less complexe than corporates and companies. (And is less taxed)

    M-A

  2. #42
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default A few things...

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    OK, but...

    a.) What's the policy?
    b.) Why and how will we use violence or threat of violence to make it happen?
    c.) Do we understand how the use of threaten use of violence in support of policy may change the policy?
    Wilf,

    We have discussed the inseparable trinity of security, governance, and economics across a number of threads here at SWC. The Venn diagram for these three individual components always intersects, although I would anticipate that there would be appreciable differences in the amounts of intersection when comparing models of Haiti with Afghanistan – shorthand – the spectrum of looting/civil unrest to combat.

    What are your preferences as to the location to be examined in this experiment? Open source information concerning Haiti is certainly easier to find than for Afghanistan, there are more speakers/readers of French on this board than Pashto, and we would have a better chance of plugging into actual on the ground information about Haiti generated by CA/CAG and NGO’s than in Afghanistan.

    Whatever location we develop a consensus on, as to doctrine I will appreciate your analysis via CvC and other references that you may suggest.

    As to your three questions, be the security SME and help us to find the right path…

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    As to doctrine and some other points, and recognizing that we are a herd of cats (but with situational awareness of what the others are saying or trying to say), I'd suggest adopting a few of Evans Carlson's precepts:

    1. As to doctrine: "don't obey, think"

    2. As to "lead": "ability, knowledge and character"

    3. As to everything: "work together" (gung ho).
    Mike,

    Glad to see that you and I are on the same page. It seems that we all use a variety of approaches depending upon situation (METT-TC) and I too would like to try a decentralized network approach to working on this project without the traditional hierarchy. The marketplace/competition of ideas to identify the best way forward is a SWC technique that makes for interesting conversations if nothing else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    In urban studies, the original downtown-centric model log ago gave away to various distributed models as a result of communication/transportation resources that unlocked the walkability constraint. This is more regional than classical cities, and more sophisticated (yet distributed) in its connections and associations built to support dynamic and shifting opportunities/competitive advantages. Oil spot or city-based are confusing---more like MA's linking islands where and when you can.

    My version of targeting places we can be successful with least effort and most underlying potential (rather than just accidental involvement in places of high conflict) would look at factors like whether there is a big batch of grads in the pipeline before expanding industry. If not, focus more on hand-skill and traditional activities (farming, roadwork, tertiary stuff). Try to find some pattern out of potential areas that can allow prioritization to underlying strategies of encirclement of bad areas.
    Steve,

    Will showcasing urban planning concepts for this experiment include gravity analysis, using KML language & Google Earth, and civilian GIS capabilities?

    A semi-successful SWC Prototype/Proof of Concept built upon easily accessible data would be probably be at least an interesting footnote or paragraph in a book. Wherever we end up geographically focusing upon I suspect it will help in some way towards roughing out a TTP – CA CIM TTP are not where they need to be. This is an interesting website. What are your thoughts about focusing upon water for the project? Agriculture, deforestation, stormwater runoff, water & wastewater treatment seem to have many intersections among planning, law, anthropology, development, engineering, and security…



    Quote Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
    Let say, in a full virtual world: it's the field that will decide what is applicable or not. (Me too I want a super grade, below army marshal, marechal d'armee en francais dans le texte, I'm against)


    Quote Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
    This is what I was thinking about talking about decision making system. For me this is not limited to use of violence as I integrate non military action in the scope of security (with a big holistic "S"). And as I see security as a cross cutting issue in a context as Astan (cf; the Do No Harm approach).
    The intersection between military and civilian efforts sometimes reminds me of the Edge Effect in ecology…lots of things going on, many opportunities to make a difference. What are your thoughts about the balanced scorecard?

    Steve
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 01-22-2010 at 12:40 AM.
    Sapere Aude

  3. #43
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    Step 4. Digital Civil Affairs/Development work is attempted...
    "Digital Civil Affairs/Development Work" is a concept unfamiliar to me... what exactly are we trying to accomplish here? What problem are we trying to solve? Is this a COIN scenario or a sort of virtual Peace Corps small-scale development effort?

    Let me just toss out an example, as food for thought, of how a project intended to promote economic development and alleviate the impulse to insurgency can have the opposite effect.

    Many years ago on Mindanao (the eastern side, not the Muslim area) a foreign aid agency funded a road, which was intended to traverse a quite remote area. The project was sold as a farm-to-market road, though it was generally understood that it would also make it easier for the military to gain access and deny the area to the NPA.

    The farmers in the area opposed the road vigorously, sabotaging equipment, shooting at workers, causing all kinds of problems and eventually stalling the project. The foreigners involved couldn't understand it. One of them, almost in tears at the collapse of his project, moaned to me at length over how the farmers were such fools to fall for the commie propaganda, how the road would benefit them, etc etc... it took some doing to get it through his damn fool head that none of those farmers had legal title to the land they were tilling, that they'd been left alone because their land was remote and inaccessible, and that when that road was complete their land would become valuable, and when it became valuable men with guns would come and drive them off it so somebody with money and power could take over. This was the conclusion the farmers had reached, and they were absolutely right.

    It pays to be very careful when proposing solutions to other people's problems.

    A few things to remember...

    Never assume a village to be homogenous, and never ask what "the people" want. They want different things. There are factions and there are rivalries, and all of them will want to get the inside track on working benefits out of the naive outsider who offers assistance. The articulate guy who speaks development jargon and tells us what we like to hear does not necessarily speak for the community.

    Villages tend to be conservative places. Change can be perceived as a threat, especially if one faction is perceived to be working the situation to drive changes that benefit them. Aid that is delivered without full awareness of internal rivalries and issues can destabilize a situation and provoke conflict.

    People generally don't insurge because the government isn't providing services. In most insurgency environments the idea of a government providing services would be considered absurd; many have never seen or known a functional government. People who insurge are more likely to do so because they are or believe themselves to be threatened.

    I could say more, and probably will, but enough for now.

  4. #44
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    Default Road building

    How many times in recent history have we had this:

    from Dayuhan
    Many years ago on Mindanao (the eastern side, not the Muslim area) a foreign aid agency funded a road, which was intended to traverse a quite remote area. The project was sold as a farm-to-market road, though it was generally understood that it would also make it easier for the military to gain access and deny the area to the NPA.

    The farmers in the area opposed the road vigorously, sabotaging equipment, shooting at workers, causing all kinds of problems and eventually stalling the project. The foreigners involved couldn't understand it. One of them, almost in tears at the collapse of his project, moaned to me at length over how the farmers were such fools to fall for the commie propaganda, how the road would benefit them, etc etc... it took some doing to get it through his damn fool head that none of those farmers had legal title to the land they were tilling, that they'd been left alone because their land was remote and inaccessible, and that when that road was complete their land would become valuable, and when it became valuable men with guns would come and drive them off it so somebody with money and power could take over. This was the conclusion the farmers had reached, and they were absolutely right.
    Serious question. Perhaps, some road examples could be found in Vietnam - many general examples exist where farmers with shaky or no legal title joined or at least supported the VM or VC out of fear of land possession loss.

    What has been the reaction to improvement of Highway 1 in Astan ?

    The military road tradition goes back to Rome where it certainly had an impact on the local populations - as in Rutherfurd's novel Sarum for a more fun read than the more scholarly works on the same topic.

    So, agreed as to this:

    from Dayuhan

    It pays to be very careful when proposing solutions to other people's problems.

    A few things to remember...

    Never assume a village to be homogenous, and never ask what "the people" want. They want different things. There are factions and there are rivalries, and all of them will want to get the inside track on working benefits out of the naive outsider who offers assistance. The articulate guy who speaks development jargon and tells us what we like to hear does not necessarily speak for the community.

    Villages tend to be conservative places. Change can be perceived as a threat, especially if one faction is perceived to be working the situation to drive changes that benefit them. Aid that is delivered without full awareness of internal rivalries and issues can destabilize a situation and provoke conflict.

    People generally don't insurge because the government isn't providing services. In most insurgency environments the idea of a government providing services would be considered absurd; many have never seen or known a functional government. People who insurge are more likely to do so because they are or believe themselves to be threatened.
    In effect, are the "masses" "voting" for the insecurity they know and have adapted to; as opposed to what is thought by developers to bring more stability, whereas to the "masses" it represents greater insecurity ?

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default MA, looking at a distant (?) target

    from MA
    The best approach, according to me for a start, is something looking like NGO status. It's quite "simple", allows to access funds "easily" (Government, USAID, DFID... large range of donors) and provides a legal status less complexe than corporates and companies. (And is less taxed)
    You are saying here something beyond a pilot project or a simulation - you are talking real life NGO status under domestic and international law. Doable (actual legal work is beyond my SME); avoids "Neutrality Acts".

    So, we look to 3 levels: funds, coordination and field, don't we ? Indeed, at times, you are the son of a scorpion. And, I thought I was the only one descended from François Villon & La Grosse Margot.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 01-22-2010 at 03:26 AM.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    It is a good idea to understand the culture and to consider potential higher order effects to even the most benign actions.

    In one villiage in Afghanistan a well was put in. On I believe two separate occasions that well was saboutaged. Everyone assumed it was the Taliban sending a message.

    In fact, it was the women of the village. Once the well was put in, their one good excuse to get out of the house to go and interact with other women away from the contol of men at a distant community well had been taken away. Women's centers have been a big hit for this very reason, as they provide a safe place where women can be with other women.

    As Stephen Covey says: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
    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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    Sorry. Had to crank out my requisite 80 pages plus exhibits. Done at last.

    We have talked about this stuff through Global Planner's Network for the Afghan gov (a member). Digital advising. I can get the contacts if we have a focus.

    If it is Afghanistan, I am very concerned that we do not over-generalized because there are so many different and different kinds of places, each with their own unique issues.

    I was thinking about contacting a friend in Jalalabad, and somebody else might have contacts or be there at a place where there is a definable problem to solve. Something where somebody needs more help than the random clutter we carry around in our brains that could be put to a specific use. Afghanistan is digitized to the Nth, and available through univ links in open source format (imagery/shapefiles), but google earth ain't bad either for basics.

    An option I thought of through GNP is to see if Afghan agencies/ministries have a particular need that we could link to. Just a thought.

    If Haiti, planners have usually used a design link system with local govs/ngos on specific problems---planning or transportation issues in a town/region, etc... Other wise, they have been big community engagements like after Katrina along the Gulf Coast. There is usually a local gov sponsor who wants ideas, and can orchestrate feedback and effectively read and vet on the ground.

    Do we just pick a random place first to try something? I suspect it will be a learning, building/mistakes driven thing anyway.

    I keep looking at the places along the western edge of Helmand as a place that would be worth knowing about, but, rpoabably, the more dynamic, the harder to get feedback (even if help is more needed).

    Maybe it is better to start in an urban or semi-urban/fringe place where (1) we can learn more about it in open source, (2) there are some folks to link to, and (3) there is some phased or focused problem that could be tackled first.

    Unknown place is kind of a mixed bag because we don;t know whether the key problems/solutions are engineering? rule-of-law? Planning? social/ethnic? economic?

    Some problems I would want to be the bull on while others are way out of my lane.

    Close our eyes and through a dart at a spinning globe? Can a committee through a dart?

    What about some obscure area in the wilds of Centcom/Africom that nobody is engaged in much but where a focus would be helpful?

    Steve

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    I'm signed up for a CSIS briefing on the London Conference on Monday afternoon. Two ambassadors will go over it.

    State is coming out with a big report and recommendations on Afghan civ strategies on today or tomorrow. Big boost sought---zoom up 130% in civ deployments and activities, Sounds great as a metric, but that means, perhaps, 2 new folks per FOB, with most of their folks taking six months to become operational on a one year tour. A llloonnngggg way to go to extrapolate that into a sea change.

    The London Conf is supposed to yield a new civ. NATO czar, and whole new thing (to replace the last few whole new things).

    Might be a lot clearer picture on Monday/Tuesday/Friday re Afghanistan.

    PS- I dropped my name into the hats for vol. NGO aid stuff for Haiti, but just trying to understand how to bring more warm bodies in that could help must be real difficult for them. Wish I could fly in with a big helo with living accommodations, a backhoe and jack hammers, and a little health clinic and food store in the trunk... But so do they.

  9. #49
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    From the 22 Jan 2010 Bloomberg, U.S. to Keep Civilians in Afghanistan When Troops Go (Update1), By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan

    President Barack Obama’s military surge in Afghanistan will be matched by a commitment to keep a large number of U.S. government employees there well after troops leave, according to a new State Department report.

    “While our combat mission in Afghanistan is not open-ended, we will remain politically, diplomatically and economically engaged in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the long-term to protect our enduring interests in the region,” according to the report released yesterday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the office of Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    The State Department’s 30-page “Afghanistan and Pakistan Stabilization Strategy” says the U.S. will focus on rebuilding Afghanistan’s agricultural capacity, countering extremist propaganda, improving governance and reintegrating militants into society. It comes after Obama in early December announced he would send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan this year, with a target date to start a withdrawal in mid-2011.

    Civilian Force

    The report calls for a 20 percent to 30 percent boost in staffing beyond the 1,000 U.S. civilians now assigned to work in Afghan ministries and the U.S. mission. The U.S. civilian force includes diplomats, development and agriculture specialists, and agents for the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Treasury and Homeland Security.

    “Our civilian effort must be sustained beyond our combat mission so that Afghanistan does not become a failed state and safe haven for al-Qaeda,” according to the report.
    Sapere Aude

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Serious question. Perhaps, some road examples could be found in Vietnam - many general examples exist where farmers with shaky or no legal title joined or at least supported the VM or VC out of fear of land possession loss.
    In my time I've had close prolonged exposure to 3 insurgency situations. All were driven by actual or threatened loss of land exacerbated by abusive behaviour by local elites supported by national military forces and absence of any option for peaceful redress. People might complain about not having a well or an irrigation system, but they don't start shooting. When thugs start coming around forcing people off their land and stomping or killing those who object, people fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    In effect, are the "masses" "voting" for the insecurity they know and have adapted to; as opposed to what is thought by developers to bring more stability, whereas to the "masses" it represents greater insecurity ?
    If people know it and have adapted to it, it's no longer insecurity.

    There's often a rather pedantic assumption that "economic development" brings "stability" and that the combination brings "security". That assumption often does not take actual conditions into consideration.

    Specifically, you have to look at competing agendas. Even in a small village you're likely to have competing elite factions. If you're looking at a village and seeing consensus and unanimity, with no internal conflict or dissent, you're not looking hard enough or you're looking at a different species.

    If a dominant faction, often associated with formal government positions, is perceived as abusive by some part of the population, that provides a lever for the insurgent, and for competing factions. NGOs have their own agendas. If you choose to work with or through the local government, you may be perceived as aiding and supporting an abusive elite. Choose to work outside that elite, and you may be perceived as supporting a rival faction, which may cause problems with the local governing elite. Economic development efforts in environments where the rule of law is absent and the style of governance is feudal are likely to be manipulated for the benefit of a small minority, and cause proportional resentment among others.

    Bring resources in, bring plans in, announce plans to change things... that will always destabilize. Of course every community has its own mechanisms to manage instability, but those mechanisms can be overwhelmed if the change is too large or too abrupt to manage, or if it is locally perceived as a change that will favor one faction over others or will otherwise upset an existing balance.

    Let's not kid ourselves, we have an agenda too. If we go into an Afghan village looking to "help", we're not doing it because our hearts bleed for the poor Afghans, we're doing it because we want them to support us rather than the Taliban. We know it, they know it, and the Taliban know it, so why pretend otherwise?

    I was thinking about contacting a friend in Jalalabad, and somebody else might have contacts or be there at a place where there is a definable problem to solve. Something where somebody needs more help than the random clutter we carry around in our brains that could be put to a specific use. Afghanistan is digitized to the Nth, and available through univ links in open source format (imagery/shapefiles), but google earth ain't bad either for basics.
    If only there was a Google Earth for social geography, mapping all the overlapping patterns of alliance and rivalry, loyalty and resentment, etc...

    If I look out my window I see a moderately remote mountain village populated by an indigenous tribe, which was a hotbed of insurgency not al that long ago. I've been here 11 of the last 15 years, and I'm still figuring out the local power/conflict dynamics.

    I asked this before, but I have to ask again: what are we trying to accomplish with this project? Whether it's Afghanistan, Haiti, central Africa, Colombia... what's the goal?

    It helps to know.

  11. #51
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    If I look out my window I see a moderately remote mountain village populated by an indigenous tribe, which was a hotbed of insurgency not al that long ago. I've been here 11 of the last 15 years, and I'm still figuring out the local power/conflict dynamics.

    I asked this before, but I have to ask again: what are we trying to accomplish with this project? Whether it's Afghanistan, Haiti, central Africa, Colombia... what's the goal?

    It helps to know.
    Dayuhan,

    Your points regarding the need to appreciate the complexities of village/area dynamics are wise ones.

    With respect to the goal of the project, I have suggested a concept here, however, perhaps part of why it has been resonating is that the project is an attempt at articulating something that all of us here at SWC have been working on across many threads...a journey which involves gaining a better understanding of our environment, how to shape it, and how to do so for the betterment of all...just one man's thoughts...what do you see?


    From the 22 Jan 2010 BBC Haiti port opening raises hopes

    An estimated 1.5 million people were left homeless by the 7.0-magnitude quake, which some have estimated has killed as many as 200,000 people.
    At least 500,000 people are currently living outdoors in 447 improvised camps in Port-au-Prince, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
    "Tents will not work in May when the long rainy season begins and later when hurricane season starts, but at this point there is not much choice," said IOM Chief of Mission Vincent Houver.
    Sapere Aude

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    Wilf,
    As to your three questions, be the security SME and help us to find the right path…
    Well I am in no way qualified for the job but I'll assume the key requirement it to protect some sort of "activity." - normal life/life, (policy) so explicitly I'd plan for a Security Operation, but with resources to escalate to Combat Operations, within less than 24 hours. (support weapons/assetts - agreed ROE etc)

    I'd also want a bit more info before deciding on what sort of posture troops would adopt, but less visible rather than more would seem to be default setting. Visibility and activity in general would scale up or down based on the levels of suppression and reassurance required.
    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

  13. #53
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default Catching the train

    Many years ago on Mindanao (the eastern side, not the Muslim area) a foreign aid agency funded a road, which was intended to traverse a quite remote area. The project was sold as a farm-to-market road, though it was generally understood that it would also make it easier for the military to gain access and deny the area to the NPA.

    The farmers in the area opposed the road vigorously, sabotaging equipment, shooting at workers, causing all kinds of problems and eventually stalling the project. The foreigners involved couldn't understand it. One of them, almost in tears at the collapse of his project, moaned to me at length over how the farmers were such fools to fall for the commie propaganda, how the road would benefit them, etc etc... it took some doing to get it through his damn fool head that none of those farmers had legal title to the land they were tilling, that they'd been left alone because their land was remote and inaccessible, and that when that road was complete their land would become valuable, and when it became valuable men with guns would come and drive them off it so somebody with money and power could take over. This was the conclusion the farmers had reached, and they were absolutely right.
    This is the perfect example for "do no harm" but basically the "what not to do"!
    Do No Harm is just an approach that is based on the fact that the aim of humanitarian action is aimed to protect people.
    Here we are talking about a Civil Affaires/Development-Humanitarian structure which via internet will provide advices to people on the ground.
    In the example proposed by Dayuhan the Do No Harm doctrine tells you that you have to take in consideration the effect of the road on security before looking at the apparent economical benefits.
    A good approach would have been to look at the consequences (legal, security…) and first propose to the farmer assistance to get legal ownership of their land (immediate access in exchange of the road can be done with "extremely good willing politicians"), then support their production and transformation technique for them to have a better product to sell… Then support transport (not road: trucks) for them to sell their products and once they were more rich (less poor if you want). And then propose to build a road that they would have support because it would be more economically beneficial than security threat.
    Guts guess duration: at the best 2 years before getting the idea of a road in the farmer priorities pipe.
    But that's a field driven approach.
    For the security: basing a small group of 3 to 5 people with a radio, with open hours for the population to talk to relatives, would have been my first solution. (A pure COIN population centric solution if I may.)

    Villages tend to be conservative places. Change can be perceived as a threat, especially if one faction is perceived to be working the situation to drive changes that benefit them. Aid that is delivered without full awareness of internal rivalries and issues can destabilize a situation and provoke conflict.
    In development there is an analogy which is often use:
    If people use a rope to climb a mountain: do not install an elevator even if it is cheaper, safer and easier. Just build a stair they can use and be secure by keeping their rope in hand.
    Took me some years to figure out what it was about but it's damn right. Don't go too fast or too fancy. Just go with the people step by step.

    In fact, it was the women of the village. Once the well was put in, their one good excuse to get out of the house to go and interact with other women away from the contol of men at a distant community well had been taken away. Women's centers have been a big hit for this very reason, as they provide a safe place where women can be with other women.
    Basic rule: always listen to the women first, especially in countries as Afghanistan. The Pula (Nomadic Muslim/animist tribe in South Sahara) say: the beard always does what the locks are dictating at night…

    But we are already discussing virtual problematic of virtual villages through a virtual network…
    It's no more SWJ it's the Matrix in action.

    So now, about a Le Expérience pilot project:

    Several thoughts crossed my mind.

    1) First, we said that we are client oriented. So we need to know who our clients are. Civilian (NGO, development agencies…), military (CIMIC, ?...), host government (cf Steve article…), people (local CBO, local authorities…). Once we have figured out who our clients are (They can be NGO + CIMIC + Host Government/research centers), then we will know what kind of network we need: virtual, virtual + field relay…

    2) But also we need to figure out what is our target area to build our product.
    Many opportunities there: Afghanistan, Haiti… Haiti seems to be a more easy training experiment field than Astan and less deadly if me make mistakes. Also Steve point on French reading is to be taken in account (I'm talking in my name only). My Pashto is at a much lower level than my Klingon for example. (And my Klingon is limited.) But good sources in English are available on Astan. We need to make a choice or to develop a 2 sub products of a 1 main package (virtual community advice for Civil Affaires/Development work + COIN Advices).

    3) Then comes the product:
    "Digital Civil Affairs/Development Work" is a concept unfamiliar to me... what exactly are we trying to accomplish here? What problem are we trying to solve? Is this a COIN scenario or a sort of virtual Peace Corps small-scale development effort?
    This will be clarified once we have figured out what are our clients and the area we want to experiment in. Please see point 2.

    4) Finally the means: who when how… the practical/engineering part that needs to be solved out to have the machine working. This includes the doctrine applied, the area of competency…

    In resume: define an objective; identify the target; locate it; select a team and baboum!


    Mike,
    So, we look to 3 levels: funds, coordination and field, don't we ? Indeed, at times, you are the son of a scorpion. And, I thought I was the only one descended from François Villon & La Grosse Margot.
    If only I could… I'm dreaming of myself being a deadly breed of Richelieu and Talleyrand… But reality keeps dragging me back to the normal average man that I am.

    Steve,

    I'll be looking at the links you posted. Some thoughts to be developed late at night on this.
    Last edited by M-A Lagrange; 01-22-2010 at 11:15 AM.

  14. #54
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
    In the example proposed by Dayuhan the Do No Harm doctrine tells you that you have to take in consideration the effect of the road on security before looking at the apparent economical benefits.
    A good approach would have been to look at the consequences (legal, security…) and first propose to the farmer assistance to get legal ownership of their land (immediate access in exchange of the road can be done with "extremely good willing politicians"), then support their production and transformation technique for them to have a better product to sell… Then support transport (not road: trucks) for them to sell their products and once they were more rich (less poor if you want). And then propose to build a road that they would have support because it would be more economically beneficial than security threat.
    Guts guess duration: at the best 2 years before getting the idea of a road in the farmer priorities pipe.
    I think that gut guess is wrong, and I don't think this program would work. There's an important point being missed. When I said that the farmers were resisting because they knew their land would be taken by people with power and money... who do you think those people were? They were the local political powers, of course, and individuals close to them. As soon as they knew the road project would be funded (and well before it was announced) they were already muscling in, acquiring legal rights to land and positioning themselves to profit from the road. The government would never have allowed those farmers to get legal title to the land in question because the people in charge wanted it for themselves.

    When you see a miserable status quo enduring without change, the chances are that it's not enduring because people lack initiative, or lack the right machine, or lack infrastructure, or lack capital. People have natural initiative and they will make a way... it may be slower and less efficient than it would be with more resources, but they will make one. When nobody's making a way and the status quo is dragging on and on, there's a pretty good chance that the status quo is dragging on because somebody wants it to. There's a pretty good chance that the somebody in question has both legal power and armed force, and is willing to use that power to slap down initiatives that threaten his dominance or to derail any initiatives that do not promote his interests.

    Sometimes the best way to promote development is not to look for ways to help people move forward, but to identify and help remove the obstacles that are holding them back. Of course that gets political, and can get very complicated... but it's tough to promote development apolitically in an environment where the primary obstacles to development are political.

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    Default Balance through diversification...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Sometimes the best way to promote development is not to look for ways to help people move forward, but to identify and help remove the obstacles that are holding them back. Of course that gets political, and can get very complicated... but it's tough to promote development apolitically in an environment where the primary obstacles to development are political.
    Top down strategies are part of a solution, but limiting oneself to just one axis of attack or line of operation is similar to investing in just one stock. Good for you if you hit it out of the park, however empirical work on concepts such as efficient market theory, mean variance portfolio theory, capital asset pricing model, value at risk, etc. seem to suggest that there are greater benefits to be had via diversification when problem solving.

    From FP, a 22 Jan 2010 post on Tom Rick's blog the Best Defense, Haiti watch (III): A role for retired Special Forces?

    By Robert Maguire

    Best Defense Haiti correspondent

    In 1994/95, following the US-led, UN-sponsored intervention that restored elected government to Haiti after three years of rapacious rule by the Haitian military and its allies, US Special Forces played a critical role throughout the Haitian countryside in restoring order and assisting local officials move forward with the always enormous task of providing services to citizens at the local and municipal levels. Much was written about this, but I recall it most clearly through a documentary produced by CNN called "Guardian Warriors." I recall from that documentary -- which I recorded on a VRC (it was that long ago) and is now stowed away somewhere on video tape -- that small Special Forces units around Haiti were playing a very positive role in this regard -- working with mayors; interfacing with local populations; providing technical and resource assistance. These men (I do not recall seeing any women) were portrayed as sensitive to local people and their culture and were finding ways to work within existing paradigms -- even broken ones. They were also very welcome by the local populations with which they worked.
    Tom Rick's also provides a link to an applied GIS website about Haiti.

    Wilf,

    The GIS website allows one to examine/focus upon security concerns...
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 01-22-2010 at 05:24 PM.
    Sapere Aude

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    Default Add to our doctrinal materials,

    in light of this:

    from Dayuhan
    When I said that the farmers were resisting because they knew their land would be taken by people with power and money... who do you think those people were? They were the local political powers, of course, and individuals close to them. As soon as they knew the road project would be funded (and well before it was announced) they were already muscling in, acquiring legal rights to land and positioning themselves to profit from the road. The government would never have allowed those farmers to get legal title to the land in question because the people in charge wanted it for themselves.
    Blazing Saddles. Never thought of that as a treatise in revolutionarty warfare, but its script is written above. And who can beat the ending.

    Keep going, folks - looks like it's heading somewhere.

    Mike

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    Default I'm wrong because you're right

    I think that gut guess is wrong, and I don't think this program would work. There's an important point being missed. When I said that the farmers were resisting because they knew their land would be taken by people with power and money... who do you think those people were? They were the local political powers, of course, and individuals close to them. As soon as they knew the road project would be funded (and well before it was announced) they were already muscling in, acquiring legal rights to land and positioning themselves to profit from the road. The government would never have allowed those farmers to get legal title to the land in question because the people in charge wanted it for themselves.
    Dayuhan,

    You're so right! Unfortunately this is one of the too often encountered problems with development projects.

    Just prove us that back ground, context, creative solutions are the best. Only limit being: you cannot expect having non political policies in development.
    And trying to change the political environment seems a little out of our range.

    Tom Rick's also provides a link to an applied GIS website about Haiti.

    Wilf,

    The GIS website allows one to examine/focus upon security concerns...
    So, we did figure out our location: seems we are going for Haiti, don't we?
    The local politic may be as harsh as in the Pashto valleys. And the use of violence as necessary as in Astan.
    Many reports of gangs killing people to get food and aid monopole and destroyed countries are wild wild West by definition.

    Now, let's respond to the question to whom do we want to address it?
    Are we trying to give a hand to US troops? To NGO? (who do not care about us by the way) To CIMIC?
    My first feeling goes to CIMIC people. Most of those I now are good people who just would like to help, are seeking for advices but get bounced by NGO because they wear uniforms.
    Here the advantage is that you no one will judge you on that.
    They also are much more sensitive to security/development integrated projects.
    Last edited by M-A Lagrange; 01-22-2010 at 09:03 PM.

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    Default Takings

    Dahayun:

    "As soon as they knew the road project would be funded (and well before it was announced) they were already muscling in, acquiring legal rights to land and positioning themselves to profit from the road. The government would never have allowed those farmers to get legal title to the land in question because the people in charge wanted it for themselves."

    I've done quite a few taking projects in the US for major roads, rail, and airports. Same thing in the US and anywhere. How did the guys on the "State Road Commissions" all get rich and powerful? Inside info oin where the highway was headed and land was going to be needed, and valuable (both for the road, and the subsequent uses adjacent to it.

    In Blazing Saddles, they are trying to build the railroad, and get the land. The Governor says to his henchman: "All that stands between us and that valuable land are the rightful owners."

    Same diff everywhere. A basic rule of the road for projects.

    In Iraq, a lot of the technical types in 2008 were furiously opposed to provincial projects using national funds that were coming up through the US Sheik's Counsels and PRDCs/PRTs.

    They knew that, too often, the schools or clinics being proposed were on some shiek's land (with rent or taking claims to follow), or were just poorly concieved, unstaffable, and un-necessary. From my review, many were like that, and their reason to delay/deny the projects were firmly grounded.

    That's what always concerns me about projects.

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    Default Back to the same issues

    Lessons Learned

    So many of these COIN, Civ/Mil Manuals use bullets, jargon, and slogans for civ/mil stuff, but contain little practical information about specific how tos that somebody could use in the field when facing the same identical development/project problems over-and-over again.

    Just a simple, dumb handbook (like the new ag field guide) would be a huge leap in effectiveness. What to consider when assigned to a rural village? What to consider when faced with a road or school project?

    Big, dumb stuff.

    Is our more effective contribution to just collect up the big dumb stuff that so overwhelmingly and colorfully gets demonstrated on SWJ's pages?

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    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    They knew that, too often, the schools or clinics being proposed were on some shiek's land (with rent or taking claims to follow), or were just poorly concieved, unstaffable, and un-necessary. From my review, many were like that, and their reason to delay/deny the projects were firmly grounded.

    That's what always concerns me about projects.
    We all have the same concern. It's all the same everywhere. I have to manage peace projects and initiate reconsciliation conferences because some dummy minister is making sure his useless village gets all the projects.
    The worst being the Un agencies heads who do not see where the problem is because they have to spend all the money they asked for without knowing how to spend it.

    Just a simple, dumb handbook (like the new ag field guide) would be a huge leap in effectiveness. What to consider when assigned to a rural village? What to consider when faced with a road or school project?

    Big, dumb stuff.
    State Building for the dummy? We have here a best seller!

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