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Thread: Articulating the tactical to strategic realtionships to the Inter-Agency and others

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Articulating the tactical to strategic realtionships to the Inter-Agency and others

    I did this up to help some of the Inter-Agency and Academic folks I’ve been working with recently to help understand military planning and execution culture. First, I know that to many on the SWC some of this is pretty straight forward. This is not meant to be presented as something new, just as a way to think about relationships. I apologize up front for a busy slide, but it sort of bridges a gap between a culture that uses .ppt that is usually light on content due to an audience with a like culture and one that uses text to articulate and clarify nuances, and as such uses text.

    In a recent conference I was at some very smart folks were giving a very good presentation on how to think about Rule of Law as it related to post conflict environments, or transitional governments. This presentation was part of a larger discussion about all aspect of Rule of Law hosted by NDU (hat tip to them for sponsoring a very good event!). The focus was on “tools of implementation”, but the broader audience was mostly lawyers of various flavors, and some IA folks who’d worked in RoL in various capacities, there were few planners in the audience. I asked one of the presenters if they could articulate what they were trying to come across into a campaign objective, they had a little trouble with that. Later, another green suiter also remarked that he was having trouble packaging the various presentations into something that a planner could use.

    It struck me how the DoD planning culture is one the rest of the IA is reasonably unaccustomed to. Although on reflection it makes sense they don’t think about things the way we do, but when we were all in the same room it is easy to take for granted. I got the feeling they really did not understand the way we identify levels of war, or how we seek to nest purposes and identify linkages and disconnects. I also don’t think the majority of the people in the room understand the role fog, friction and chance play in desynchronizing actions, and diffusing unity of command and unity of effort. Most have not had the types of experiences where trying to move 170 men in 20 vehicles out of an assembly area at 0200 to move 20 kilometers on time schedule under NVDs, let alone the challenges of trying to conduct complex movements in an interactive environment against a cunning enemy. I got the feeling that most of them considered that if the plan was right at the outset, it would implement itself to a great degree. I also don’t think they understand that many times the guy who writes the plan is not the implementer and that even if that guy is around, he won’t be for long. At the JTF or GCC level, you might get an Army planner who understands life on the ground pretty well one time, but you might get a C-130 pilot the next who inherits influence on a ground plan, or works in J-3 or J-5 and gets tagged to update the plan. Even if you account for the friction that comes from an unstable, interactive, non-linear combat environment, you also have to account for the ones we self induce on ourselves for various reasons.

    Anyway, I put this together to help facilitate discussion. None of the bubbles are meant to be written in stone, you could fill them with whatever you needed to, these are just examples – what is important is that starting with the strategic ends (whatever policy determines them to be), the campaign objectives, LOOs/LOEs and tactical actions make sense in relation. I took a little different approach in my examples of strategic ends by laying out ones in the blue bubble as they applied specifically to the U.S, the green bubble as they applied to the HN and regional partners, and the red bubble as they applied to the enemy’s objectives as we perceived them. The campaign objectives to the left are fairly straight forward. The operations column to the left of the campaign objectives are split. The upper half (yellow) are meant to get folks to think about regional and international operations that support theater LOOs and LOEs – they are extra- theater to some regard. The bottom half (purple) are ones pursued by operational CDRs in theater. I labeled each with a D,I,M or E in order to foster some thought about relationships – they should not be seen exclusive to each other in any sense, they are meant to be interdependent. Also, it was brought to my attention that labeling them must be caveated with that although on IA member might be better suited to do a particular function over another, DoD 3000.05 clearly indicates that DoD must be prepared to do those function when required, but when other more appropriate agencies are unable. It was also brought up that this could be mixing means with ways, a worthwhile comment to consider – but also worth considering in the context of the relationship between means and way – e.g. what may look good in the plan may mean making some hard choices with regard to resources in order to implement it, and of course it must always be considered against the conditions as they are during implementation, not necessarily as they were when the plan was wrote.

    Finally, the tactical actions also sort of lay out according to a DIME construct – the guys on the ground are the ones making it happen, and they touch things as they go through execution, and have to deal with the consequences of operational and strategic short falls. This last bit is very important to remember I think because the frictions that occur at the tactical level are the most human ones and the most subject to non-linearity. If you think of the bubbles as gears with sprockets, you figure out real quick that they don’t always turn in the direction they were intended to in the plan, or at the speed the plan said they would for an infinite number of reasons. This is where leadership comes makes a difference in the implantation, and goes back to the requirement to articulate objectives in a manner that provides direction while retaining some flexibility to account for the way things play out on the ground in order to meet the strategic end. Last point I’d like to bring up is that the open parentheticals were used to show how aggregates of each column interact with the aggregates of each column, it is not a unidirectional flow once the plan goes into implementation – at that point its kind of two way sausage machine – however – the quality that goes in determines the quality that comes out.

    I know we have a wide variety of thought here on the SWC, and that we also have a readership who may not have thought about some of this before so I wanted to put it out there. I certainly welcome thoughts and feed back. In no way did I mean to imply that somehow because the lawyers, academics and IA folk that may not understand some of this are in anyway inferior, they just have a different set of experiences, and as we move forward together to address the many challenges ahead, we are learning a great deal about each other. I’ve come away from the last few week with a head full of new knowledge and thoughts thanks to their expertise in many areas, I just want to help them understand us a little better as well. Again thanks to NDU for sponsoring a great event last week.
    Best, Rob
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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Rob, what is a Poly Organizational Enemy?

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Slap - nothing new there I think - its just the way I articulated how some of the groups or organizations we'd lay out as enemies are finding that where their interests coincide - such as making money to fund activities, disrupting legitimate authorities, gaining influence, or by presenting the U.S. with problems that cut across our various FP goals, and create confusion on the domestic political front, and as such diffuse effort and focus - they are better served to do so - as long as it can be rationalized with their political goal or in many cases their bottom line. It also allows them husband resources, capabilities and access to markets or areas that any one group may not have in and of itself.

    It would seem that technology and global access have created have enhanced/created these ad-hoc poly-organizational networks with both formal and informal agreements - participants range from Russian Arms dealers to Multi-National Corporations, to Coastal Pirate Rings, to Corrupt Officials (Civilian and Military) to Islamic Jihadist Terror Groups, to Columbian and Mexican Cartels to U.S. gangs, distributors and users. It is transnational in nature. Some of the relationships might be temporary, some may be longer standing.

    At a recent conf. I went to some LE folks went over how the monies from the sales, storage and transportation of illegal drug precursor chemicals, sale and smuggling of illegal drug product, movement, sale and post sale revenue from human trafficking (from slaves to foreign fighters and jihadists), movement and sale of weapons and intelligence, the stolen car market, money laundering, telecommunications services, etc. all provide examples for the basis for cooperation among groups with different motivation, political objectives, beliefs etc.

    Again, the concept of cooperation is not new - its business. We often see it on the local level, and often folks we'd label as an enemy are working with folks we'd label as only a competitor. What might be different is the emerging scale of the cooperation - a sort of non-state band-waggoning by increasingly dangerous groups who through our own public discourses are learning how better to create inertia in our system. This also extends to states partnering with non-state actors, or states that create non-state organizations as a means of cooperating with others.

    Its worth noting that some groups (or members of their groups - free agents) may be involved with several different activities in order to supplement their income and reduce risk in other areas.

    The first time I'd heard the term was a couple of weeks back. I thought it was a fair description in understanding these relationships and interests - you still have to place it in context though. If you don't do the mental effort to distinguish the limitations of any term or concept, you can wind up constraining your understanding of the enemy.

    As for it being in the "bubble", what goes in the bubble all depends on the strategic end (and that drives the contents and numbers of the others) - that is also contextual and is dependent on the enemy, and the policy end to which military force is to be committed. Its just a way of thinking.

    Does that help?

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi Rob, I understand now. Sounds like when gangs that hate each other will often cooperate against a common enemy...usually the Police. Gangs or Crime Families that often use legitimate businesses to cover some of their activities....often rival gangs will us the same business.

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    Default LE books

    Rob, I don't want to derail your thread, I downloaded your post and will read it soon.

    Slapout, can you recommend some good books, studies, websites that we can use to research organized crime and gangs from a law enforcement perspective? Then, what are your thoughts on INTERPOL? Is it effective? What are the lessons learned from this international organization that we can use for our fight against extremists? Bill

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Interpol - lessons learnt

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    ... what are your thoughts on INTERPOL? Is it effective? What are the lessons learned from this international organization that we can use for our fight against extremists? Bill
    Bill,

    Slightly adapted quotation originally addressed to Slapout.

    Interpol is an incredibly slow organisation and sometimes the UK staff (within SOCA, the UK's FBI) recommend a more direct approach. You can submit a request for assistance, assume it is rapidly forwarded, only to be told the receiver has a very different set of priorities and months later nothing. Even a request for a systems check with the FBI can take months. The UK has run co-ordinated national lorry checks and had some European colleagues ready to help. Anecdote says Interpol is better now, notably with better IT. It's role in counter-terrorism is much talked about, but it is not the main forum.

    Interpol has lost some non-police credibility when its regional structure has been headed by a controversial nation, notably Zimbabwe's Chief of Police heading the Southern Africa Interpol region.

    There are occassions when a direct call can get the answer, not only in Western Europe, even Pakistan and India. Was Dr X killed a week ago? Invariably the person taking the call refers upwards and within the hour an answer is given. This is only when information is sought, not action.

    Bilateral co-operation between trusted officers is far more preferable and works. Even in the most unusual circumstances, e.g. co-operation in the later years of the Cold War between the Finns and the USSR (PM for details if required).

    In the UK there are semi-formal links with several foriegn countries, organised by ACPO (the Chief Constable's organisation). Even then this depends on a willingness to help at the other end. Hence the proliferation of liaison officers, for CT and non-CT (mainly drugs) purposes; check the website of the AFP (Australian Federal Police) for example.

    Many authors have written on non-Interpol liaison, often citing Europol and various oddly named co-operation bodies in Western Europe (indeed there are several academics who specialise in this area of studies).

    Interpol is not the way ahead in fighting extremism.

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Funding as control method...

    Rob,

    On the ground, the solution to interagency issues would seem to be spending time together working to solve a problem that affects both parties. In large part this is a leadership issue, can the folks involved see beyond the rice bowl and work towards the greater good? Your slide is a good start and captures many issues that could be profitably discussed individually.

    Structurally, however I do not yet see something akin (in intent anyway) to the The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 for fusing all elements of American Power together in a crisis. If funding streams are not intertwined or conditions based upon mutual team success (defining this will be a doozy) rice bowl-ism will continue. Absent such a change this means more of the same while all involved hope for something different. Mountain Runner has been thinking much more deeply about this than I and has some interesting things that he has been examining of late:

    Briefly, both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates testified 15 April 2008 in front of the House Armed Services Committee. I've been told, but haven't confirmed, this is the first time the Secretary of State has been in front of HASC. The Secretaries were testifying on "Building Partnership Capacity and the Development of the Interagency Process" and thus talking about Section 1206 and Section 1207 funding.
    Regards,

    Steve
    Sapere Aude

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,
    I saw the testimony on C-SPAN - I think its a good start, and I hope we see more of such where secretaries go forward together. If they will, I think it will catch more with the lower echelons (at least I hope it will).

    I think in Secretaries Rice and Gates you get leadership that by virtue of their various experiences, they have a good understanding of the nature of the threat and the challenges of the system. They also strike me as the types of leaders who checked their egos at the door, and just want to move things forward. Their's is as good a model inside the beltway and General Petraeus' and Ambassador Crocker's represents outside the beltway.

    Your point:
    conditions based upon mutual team success (defining this will be a doozy)
    is very well taken, and would seem to be the best way to frame the argument so everybody realizes the stakes.

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi Bill, yes I can but give me a little time. Slap

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Smile Along these lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Hi Steve,
    I saw the testimony on C-SPAN - I think its a good start, and I hope we see more of such where secretaries go forward together. If they will, I think it will catch more with the lower echelons (at least I hope it will).

    I think in Secretaries Rice and Gates you get leadership that by virtue of their various experiences, they have a good understanding of the nature of the threat and the challenges of the system. They also strike me as the types of leaders who checked their egos at the door, and just want to move things forward. Their's is as good a model inside the beltway and General Petraeus' and Ambassador Crocker's represents outside the beltway.

    Your point: is very well taken, and would seem to be the best way to frame the argument so everybody realizes the stakes.

    Best, Rob
    I was also somewhat glad to hear CJCS come right out and point to the need for a good strong dialog about the nations defense forces (all of them) and what the nation is going to be willing to pay for. Although one would assume a larger portion of that is pointing towards funding for military it would be the very thing to get the pols talking about who else needs what and therefore might really offer a chance at directing national requirements for some "real" IA work on a large scale.

    One thing you can always count on in life is that agendas exist for whatever reason and sometimes the best way to get bureaucracy's to work together is to make them somewhat more Co-Dependant

    We can always hope
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Post For what it's worth

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Rob, I don't want to derail your thread, I downloaded your post and will read it soon.

    Slapout, can you recommend some good books, studies, websites that we can use to research organized crime and gangs from a law enforcement perspective? Then, what are your thoughts on INTERPOL? Is it effective? What are the lessons learned from this international organization that we can use for our fight against extremists? Bill
    I would be willing to bet you there's some fairly good examples of Poly-organizational entities and their operations if you look for information on Russia after the collapse and i'm sure South America would offer some really good insights into just how big our little gang problems could and have grown.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Rob,

    You make my brain hurt.

    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    Rob,

    You make my brain hurt.

    You're not the only one; I think Rob's posts are sometimes the intellectual equivalent of packing a two-hour workout into 20 minutes. The old noodle is sure stiff and sore for the next couple days...

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi Bill, so as not to mess up Rob's thinking I will reply at Slapout MTV.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Slap,
    I think Bill's question is a good one, and is actually in keeping with the thread. Understanding the nature of the enemy, and the enemy's objective must be accounted for. It may not be the deciding factor, but the enemy's rationale and means of resistance must be accounted for. If you don't, you remove the key source of resistance to your objective and you change the objective nature of War (it may be that you are also removing the key reason for continued use of military force to achieve the policy objective). This is one of the things I think some of the non-military folks have trouble envisioning.

    Norfolk, Neil, - if its any consolation it makes my head hurt some too

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Ok Rob, I will reply here. I been busy the last couple of days you know with the SECDEF coming to Maxwell and all... thought I should have some Bar-B-Que ready in case I got a call to help him with his problems and all(that's a joke put the flame throwers away) but I will never understand what people see in that guy Boyd.... in Alabama he would be considered a slow learner. The theory of reaction time which is nothing but an OODA loop was being taught in Police Academies in the late 70's based upon medical learning theories from the 1920and 30's, but so it goes.


    Here is the list:
    1- Thinking Like a Terrorist by Mark German. Outstanding book but I disagree on a couple of points. The Military will need to be involved not just LE and penetrating foreign networks with different cultural and languages is a lot harder then he understands. Still a good book.

    2-Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden. Excellent and offers a possible blueprint for future action. Page 182 has a good 5 rings analysis that was turned into the actual plan. Even talks about attacking the systems things and people that are essential to his survival. Ring 2 in Wardens rings was changed to System Essentials during this time period when it was being adapted for LE/DEA ops. Still being used to. SGT T posted a DEA report about Atlanta,Ga. and how they attack the organizations structure.

    3-Stalking Jihad by Mark Bowden...not a book(which is why I could not find it for my book list) but a documentary from the History channel(which will replay in May....don't miss it!!!!!) also can buy the DVD. I flat out love this guy. Most remember when I talked about the 3 F's of a criminal Network. You will see it done on this show...right down to showing pictures to people and asking them do you know who his friends or relatives are? Simple,effective but can be hard work. Oh I almost forgot it is about the missionaries that were abducted in the Philippines by Abu Sayaf (can't spell). Heart breaking at times, they found out where they were about 72 hours after their abduction but inter-service rivalry made it drag on forever, finally costing one American life during the rescue. Do not miss this!!! some very important stuff in that piece.

    Finally Bill, David pretty much covered INTERPOL. All I can add is that it is a good idea but needs funding and work to really be something. They would be a good Intelligence data base if they got some money, and manpower. Later Slap
    Last edited by slapout9; 04-24-2008 at 12:26 AM. Reason: fix stuff

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Kudos for Bowden

    Slapout,
    I am not qualified to comment on much of the content of your thoughts, but I can heartily concur on Bowden and the products cited ...

    Had a chance for a small group sitdown, following the publication of Blackhawk Down...

    Real humble guy, who is sharp as a tack, but doesn't rely on those smarts to draw conclusions based on intuition... rather he researches and plugs away like a pit bull on the neck of an intruder.

    The only author/thinker who impressed me as much was Robert Kaplan. Both excellent thinkers...
    Hacksaw
    Say hello to my 2 x 4

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    Slapout,
    I am not qualified to comment on much of the content of your thoughts,
    Anybody named Hacksaw sounds pretty qualified to me I betcha Mark Bowden didn't use a OODA loop either

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