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Thread: Security Force Assistance: Roles and Missions for SOF and Conventional Forces

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    Council Member Boot's Avatar
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    Default Security Force Assistance: Roles and Missions for SOF and Conventional Forces

    I have read the discussions on this board wrt who should be conducting COIN and FID to a lesser degree; Should it be conventional forces?, SF? who is SF and who isn't? etc...what really constitutes an "SF" or "SOF" mission.
    I have read on other sites how some in the Army SF community feel about organizations like MARSOC or anyone else who would venture into that realm.
    I am reading Max Boot's "Savage Wars of Peace" and its VERY clear that we have waged small wars and sorts of irregular warfare since our conception as a country. Certainly the Marine Corps has played a prominent role in many of these incursions be it a day or a year long. It is also clear that until recent history we haven't had a professional force dedicated to COIN/UW/FID.
    I would also say while the Naval services where pursuing those “Savage Wars of Peace”, the Army from 1865 to the late 19th Century waged its own form of COIN against the native American tribes out west.
    Recently with the advent of MCTAG in the Marine Corps, that is a conventional advisor unit, and of course MARSOC's MSOAG, here we have two organizations that will focus on advising. I don’t speak for either organization but it is also clear that some don’t like this within the SF community.

    http://www.veteransofspecialforces.o...ditorials.html

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/200...c-forms-mctag/

    In MCTAG's case I believe they will be dedicated to FID and that alone. They are not and don't intend to be special forces or conduct UW missions, which brings me to, what constitutes UW or a special forces mission?
    The men who conduct it (sorry ladies) or the mission itself?
    If you say its the men who conduct it, then when someone other than SF conducts a mission that the men of SF normally do, and successfully pull that mission off, then what does that make those conventional Soldiers and Marines? If a SF Soldier conducts a more conventional mission, then what does that make them? Highly trained conventional Soldiers?
    I believe the lines have really blurred in the last few years. Is it the way that SF thinks and goes about their mission planning? Is it the SFAS (MARSOC runs a RSAS that is pretty much the same). Doing these type of selection courses qualify an individual for further screening and selection in these organizations but don’t constitute automatic entry, it is a long process. I will say that this process does a good job of screening out and preparing an individual for this type of duty. I would say maturity being one of the traits that the screening process successfully screens for.
    One only has to look at the TT's in Iraq and Afghanistan to see Soldiers and Marines conducting a form of FID or poor man's SF team as my Army counterpart liked to call them.
    So;

    -There is a history of the Marine Corps and conventional Army conducting UW/COIN/FID.
    -TT’s in Iraq and Afghanistan do this now.
    -Currently there are organizations that have formed or is forming that will conduct UW/FID/COIN within the Marine Corps (not sure what the Army is doing).
    -Both are VERY small organizations compared to SFG’s. MCTAG is strictly conventional advising teams. It is a VERY small organization.
    -SF types (not all) seem to be very apprehensive about this (I understand this)and unwilling to accept what is happening (I could be wrong but this is based on what I have read and heard)
    -The “Long War” is here to stay and as Max Boot’s book points out, has always been here. History didn’t start at the end of WW II.


    For the forum;
    -These new organizations are here to stay, what is the best way for SF to handle it?
    Refuse to deal with them? Pretend like it ain’t happening?, Get on board and work with them, thereby assisting in the direction they go?, which if done right will only complement SF be it MARSOC(JMO).
    -What is the best way for new organizations (Army, Navy, USAF, Marines) to go about training these individuals and teams for this type duty. In MSOAG’s case, they have to meet the SOCOM standards, but what is the best way to train “conventional” forces? Don’t they deserve first class training to prepare them for this type duty?
    -I do advocate a screening process for these conventional advisors. We do it all the time in the Marine Corps for Recruiters and Drill Instructors and in the Drill Instructors case, they really weed out those who can’t cut it. I have often heard the term “Drill Instructor Mafia” used. Its almost like they are an elite force within the Marine Corps within that context. Although both Recruiter school and Drill Instructor school are very demanding, I would say Drill Instructors are better analogy because they are teachers, trainers and mentors. Believe it or not(Sorry GySgt Emery, don’t mean to shatter the myth). My point is that Drill Instructors are weeded out and have a course that does this. Plenty have been dropped, so it is possible for conventional advisor courses to do the same, different mindset but similar process.
    -Where is this leading, I will point out as I have before, that many of the Officers and SNCO’s in the Marine Corps who fought and won WW I and WW II cut their teeth in these “Savage Wars of Peace”. Lots of Marines made names for themselves during the Banana Wars (Chesty Puller).
    I don’t know where conventional advisors will lead and how history will look upon this, but I would love to hear others views, should conventional forces do this and move out into something that has for at least the last 40 years SF's province (as the SecDef pointed out), how do you do it and not just pay lip service and do it right?. From what I have read here there are many on this board with experience in many of these areas, love to see your views. I’ll button up now, helmet is on…

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    Default Winning wars isn't a competition between Services

    First -- it would have been helpful to have a more definitive thread title, but that's just me. The curiosity factor made me open the thread even against my better judgement.

    The "demand signal" for security force assistance activities will outstrip capacity, both SOF and conventional for the foreseeable future, so there's plenty of work to go around, as long as nobody gets "rice-bowl-itis".

    Future requirements will outstrip tactical capability. That simply means that the OD-A/OD-B skill sets can't cover the broad spectrum of required specialties. Building tactical expertise without development of infrastructure and institutions is insufficient. Additionally, development of non-military security forces lies outside the expertise of SF/MCSOAG except for highly focused CT forces.

    What will be required is a holistic approach across a huge number of Combat, combat support and combat service support specialties, from the ministerial level all the way to the individual soldier/policeman.

    If we start to do this right, maybe we can better prevent bad situations from developing rather than trying to respond to them once they're out of hand.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Brilliant post.

    Thanks for capturing my 6,000 words in five concise paragraphs...

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Speaking of Better Judgement... Not

    Unless, I'm mistaken... SOF has been named the proponent for Security Force Assistance...

    God love the snake eaters, I'm not here to throw stones while I live in a glass house... but this is not a good outcome...

    As Old Eagle (isn't that a teenage clothing store) accurately states, the SFA demand signature will outpace SOF and current conventional capabilities alike for the foreseeable future. Burying proponency for this mission inside the SOF community will do nothing to remedy that situation

    The current projected order of magnitude demand can only lead you to the conclusion that efforts to increase advisory knowledge, skills and aptitude need to be added to core curriculum of all PME and exercised as a routine part of all unit METLs

    I wonder which newly assigned SF MAJ will have this additional duty added to his OER support form... because remember snake eaters are a T in advising, much the same way the 101st is a T in river crossing

    What if anything does this signal?? I can hear the armor of the 98th Kraznovian AR BDE over the next terrain feature.

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    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default The $1,000,000,000 questions

    I have been reading and rereading the post and linked articles since last night. I have decided any attempt on my part to add to or explain would be a pathetic attempt. Many of the answers to the questions are well above my pay grade and education level, but will continue to piece together a coherent boots on the ground perspective, utilizing as much common sense as possible based of experiences on both sides of the fence(conventional and SF). Quite possibly may just concede to the minds greater than mine.
    Last edited by ODB; 04-24-2008 at 04:15 PM.
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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default

    Yes, but its not Army-SOF that has been listed as the Joint Proponent, it is SOCOM. There is some goodness in this - first among them - we now have a joint proponent, and its a proponent that wanted to do it.

    The important thing I think the services must keep in mind is that this does not absolve them from dealing with the problem just because we have a joint proponent, and that proponent is SOCOM. If we go down the road, of "whew, glad its not me", then we will not get this right.

    As OE mentioned, there is more work to go around then can possibly be met. Even if we establish priority to OIF and OEF, we quickly outstrip capacity and will for the next couple of years I think. If you start looking at all the other places we would like to conduct SFA in some form, you can see the need for the services to stay engaged and supportive of the joint proponent. They will provide the means appropriate to the level and type of assistance.

    Hacksaw is correct - we need to consider this from the complete DOTMLPF point of view, I think the Joint proponent understands that, and I think the services must each consider the DOTMLPF issues of the mission be they a ground service, sea service or air seervice. Ultimately, SFA is also a JIIM issue - and we should consider it based on ends and conditions in a holisitc manner.

    Best, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 04-24-2008 at 06:24 PM.

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default

    Hacksaw captured my issue with SFA being at SOCOM - historically SOCOM doesn't talk or have any interest in assisting the GPF - and it allows the GPF to wash hands of it and place it back in that useful box of stuff we don't think we ought to do. Also the developers will all be SF types not familiar with the differences and needs of GPF units to conduct these types of ops and who don't have unlimited resources, training time priority, and no-limit IMPAC.

    1973-2003 all over again, my worst fear. Same with IW and COIN, which SOCOM might also get lead on. If it enters there, it is unlikely to remain a core competency in the GPF forces.

    I'm prepared to be proven wrong though.
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    Council Member Vic Bout's Avatar
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    Default Well yes...and no

    Also the developers will all be SF types not familiar with the differences and needs of GPF units to conduct these types of ops and who don't have unlimited resources, training time priority, and no-limit IMPAC.
    Well, except for the 18X program types, nearly everybody with a long tab comes out of the GPF.....most especially officers. They spent their formative 2LT-CPT years in units like the 82nd or 1st Cav and are quite familiar with the problems the GPF face. Nobody springs fresh from the manicured gardens at Camp MacKall with a green beret, rolex and randall (again, except for 18X, and they're enlisted). And, unlimited resources and a no-limit IMPAC? Please. We'd both have to take that up with our tier I, "black" SOF brethren.
    "THIS is my boomstick!"

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default

    Remeber SOCOM is a pretty big tent. We tend to lump them into the "special" pile, but there is diversity both in terms of service, function and experiences.

    The real challenge its probably keeping the services engaged in and amongst the many other things they are asked to do. Ideally, the services would create "service" proponents that are either outside their own SOF representation, or some kind of composite that keeps their GPF culture engaged.

    While within OSD it might be convienient to say "SFA is something that only falls into ASD SO/LIC"; but SFA as a broad conceptual framework for employing tools such as Security Assistance, Security Cooperation and Foreign Internal Defense, the other policy shops (GSA, ISA, etc.) also touch SFA in a number of environments, to a number of ends - as a result it'd be hard to not consider the impacts on the other USDs, or for that matter the whole of government given the various legal authorities and JIIM responsibilties.

    The same must be considered by the services - its not just a SOF only activity. If the services voluntarily divorce themselves from supporting the Joint proponent it not only comes back to haunt them, but it hamstrings our policy ends both with regards to a given state and regional goals. "That is not my job" does not cut it.

    Best, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 04-24-2008 at 09:04 PM.

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Brother Rob

    I think CAVGUY and I are, in principle, violent agreement with you and OE...

    We all agree that SOCOM as a community has exactly the right expertise to serve as the Joint Proponent for SFA...

    The fear, based on historical example, is that this mission will get buried in that organization. All the things you caution against in your post are the most probable outcome as opposed to most dangerous...

    I realize it is part of JCISFA's mission to prevent that from happening, but I think they just made your mission more difficult rather than less. A whole bunch of organizational culture issues working against SOCOM as a vigorous and inclusive joint proponent.

    Perhaps its just scar tissue, but Tigers, Stripes and all that stuff

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  11. #11
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default

    Well, the decision went as it went so to speak, and SFA has a Joint Proponent now - which I think is a positive step. As a 25 person organization, JCISFA is limited on capacity; a Joint Proponent has resources and authorities that a Center does not.

    As the Chairman's activity the question for us might be, "what things should a Joint Center of Excellence do that a Joint Proponent can not do well, or what things can it do that allows a Joint Proponent to better do other things? Its interesting working here, our equity is really philosophical in that it represents the interests of the group vs. a service, or a command.

    Some things to consider:

    SFA as a holistic conceptual framework includes tools outside the Purple ones.

    Consider the need to assist the Joint Proponent in the promotion of SFA as a core competency across the DoD - what you'd mentioned above about organizational culture holds true for all organizations, not only SOCOM - if policy decides it, you may not have to swim directly upstream against the cultural current.

    As such, the idea of SFA as core competency in all the services and at OSD needs to be seen as complimentary, not as an either/or or as being at odds with other core competencies.

    At some level, SFA operations permeate through almost all types of operations and all operational environments - be it the front end, the conduct of operations or on the back end.

    Global SFA solutions must be inclusive vice remaining parochial - each set of conditions requires some unique framing to come up with the most practicable and best fit solution - it must pass the CFAS test as it applies to the conditions e.g. it must be congruent with both our ends/ways/means, but it must also be sustainable by the HN or regional entity. This must be seen both within the context of the ends and expectations, and against competing ends and expectations elsewhere that have more or less priority

    The need to inform the employment and development guidance

    Demand is driven by policy and priorities - and its hard to see past the current demand, no matter if we are talking about SFA or strategic lift - CENTCOM is where the two most important fights are right now. However, that does not mean we should not consider how future policy requirements will impact the demand signal.

    We can address most of this with leader and education development, doctrine, and some personnel policies. The impact to organizations should be kept small, and if anything should enhance existing force structure and strengths.

    I think we are moving past the wouldn't this be a good idea, and into the implementation phase. No matter if proponency went to a service, JFCOM, or SOCOM it would be a challenge – it is just a matter of what flavor. Its not as though the CDRs and staffs want to make it hard, it just is - but the only way we'll make it work is together. There is not room for parochial attitudes, and we'll all have to try hard to guard against defaulting to cultural bias.

    Best Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 04-25-2008 at 01:33 AM.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Thumbs up You got that right...

    "...There is not room for parochial attitudes, and we'll all have to try hard to guard against defaulting to cultural bias."
    Excellent point.

    Between this thread (sorta) and the "Air Power in the new COIN era" thread (lotta), one could have difficulty breathing -- if one inhaled...

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    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Biases

    Sorry but I find it hard to believe that after six years of some of the most combined operations (SOF/conventional) in US history we are still at each others throats. Yes there are legitimate reasons for both sides views. As in everything, there are good units, there are bad units, good ODAs, bad ODAs, unfortunately as we are creatures of habits, if one did us wrong they all must be wrong. I spent many years on the conventional side, fighting for resources: land, ammo, gear, etc...., guess what still doing it in SF. Luckily during this time I had friends down the street in SF,guess what, I used those resources. My unit spent many days on the range shooting their ammo, in their team rooms getting classes and in return helping them as well. Now that I'm that guy down the street with old friends on the conventional side, I do they same for them, it's a rare case of a win win situation. Nothing gets me more irrate than personnel on either side having preconceived notions of the other. Vic hit it on the head, most of us come from the conventional side first, unfortunately many forget where they came from, happens all the time everywhere. By nature of the size of SF vs conventional the same money covers a lot more ground, I'll be the first to admit that it isn't always spent in the right ways, but that's an Army wide black hole.

    Maybe I'm too simple minded to understand, who cares who the proponent is, we are all in the same fight in the same larger organization, the U.S. Army. Unfortunately too many in today's service have their own agendas, strickly basing what needs to be done in their mind for their next promotion, not what is best for the institution. The sooner we run these people out of our Army the sooner we can get down to business and might actually have a truely combined cohesive force. I'll finish with redundancy throughout the force is the right answer, no different than having contingencies, if we lose sight of this we will fail.
    Last edited by ODB; 04-25-2008 at 12:13 AM.
    ODB

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    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Two good posts in short order.

    Fortunately, I see signs that more and more people are starting to realize that what you say is true.

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Good God!!!

    ODB and all Others....

    This is not about tactical level cooperation. That is not the concern here. This isn't about wanting it in the conventional army for some sense of proportion, and iIt is not about thinking some guy hair is too long either, DON'T CARE. And Rob, I certainly don't think JCISFA is the right place either, although I think you might have made the basis for the staff management element of a joint proponent

    There is a large, and I do mean large, community of officers who long for the days of fighting the Kraznovians - Gian might be the prophet screaming in the desert - but he has a very large (albeit muted) following.

    SOCOM has always been the defacto/unnamed joint proponent for SFA. They do it well, although in very small discreet packages. But what is it that we expect of a proponent -- Buehler... Ferris Buehler anyone -- full DOTMLPF integration (across service providers).

    I get it Rob, decision made, time to move on... OK, but the question remains what does this decision signal... I thought those were valid discussion points on this panel. Putting this back into its "old bin" does not signal a change in approach, a recognition of the mission's importance from a GPF perspective...

    Sorry, this decision said... This stuff makes my brain hurt, who used to do this stuff before, maybe this is a blip and we are making too much out of the past 5 years...

    All of which is bad juju... I say again this isn't an attack or even a knock on our friends who wear the funny colored berets -- we all like the crazy uncle who spells his name urinating off the back porch on x-mas day and then eats the slushiest parts (OK that was a swipe, but I can't help me'self) -- this just makes it too easy for those in spaces far higher than ours to go back to yesteryear and dream of corps on corps tank battles.

    Another rant I know, but this was never about "those guys get cool toys" rather about how do we make sure it stays on the front burner.

    So I respectfully disagree Rob and OE... I don't think any step is a good step, especially one that moves us five years in reverse...

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Im afraid I have to agree with this concern

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    ODB and all Others....


    SOCOM has always been the defacto/unnamed joint proponent for SFA. They do it well, although in very small discreet packages. But what is it that we expect of a proponent -- Buehler... Ferris Buehler anyone -- full DOTMLPF integration (across service providers).

    I get it Rob, decision made, time to move on... OK, but the question remains what does this decision signal... I thought those were valid discussion points on this panel. Putting this back into its "old bin" does not signal a change in approach, a recognition of the mission's importance from a GPF perspective...

    Sorry, this decision said... This stuff makes my brain hurt, who used to do this stuff before, maybe this is a blip and we are making too much out of the past 5 years...

    All of which is bad juju... I say again this isn't an attack or even a knock on our friends who wear the funny colored berets -- we all like the crazy uncle who spells his name urinating off the back porch on x-mas day and then eats the slushiest parts (OK that was a swipe, but I can't help me'self) -- this just makes it too easy for those in spaces far higher than ours to go back to yesteryear and dream of corps on corps tank battles.

    Was part of a conversation in which the wisdom of making sure that any op which might require SF capabilities included at least one rep from SF for the planning. Makes sense so one would readily agree with the premise.

    The problem lies in the other way around. If operations are being planned by SOF which require GPF how realistically can we expect the necessity of GPF reps being at the table to be considered. I mean after all as ODB stated many come from GPF to SF and thus they already been there done that and would reasonably expect that they would be able to consider GPF stuff without need for input.

    We may say naw this is a new day and things have changed but the table reserved for SOF element sign I saw in our dining area today speaks volumes to the problems we may encounter. Nothing wrong with wanting to make sure you have a place to sit,

    But theres over 50 tables and in the entire time I've been there I haven't seen anyone else do the same. And looking at where I work plenty of fairly important people have been there at one time or another.

    Accepting that the decision has been made, I can do but I sure hope someone makes sure we don't end up having to learn the same lessons all over again the hard way, in 10-20. That's our kids and grandkids that will be having to learn it.
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I agree with this...

    "Accepting that the decision has been made, I can do but I sure hope someone makes sure we don't end up having to learn the same lessons all over again the hard way, in 10-20. That's our kids and grandkids that will be having to learn it."
    but I think this:
    "This is not about tactical level cooperation. That is not the concern here..."
    while true is the key to not letting what you both fear actually occur. If the youngsters work it out on the ground, they'll drag the old bulls along. In contrast to the post Viet Nam Army where all the combat experience was up high in the chain; the bulk of the actual time in contact is now down in the O4 and below area...

    I suspect reality in the form of the quantitative shortfall in SOCOM will preclude them getting too parochial; some there will try to fix that shortfall but I strongly doubt that'll be successful. I further suspect that the 2012-202 budgets, barring something unforeseen, will be a ferocious leavener...

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    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Should have explained further

    I realize this is not dealing with issues at the tactical level, unfortunately through the years this is where it has started. At some point those at the top started way down the totem pole where I am today. This unwillingness to work together is not something that started when they got into upper levels, it started years before when they were at the tactical level. My statement about 6 years after some of the most combined operations in US history we are still trying to cut each others throats, applies to all levels and in many cases between all services. Someone please help me understand how it is, if I at the bottom of the pecking order can see this, how is it those above me just don't get it? I attribute a lot of this attitude to the simple fact we (SOF/conventional) do not interact in our professional/advanced schooling/development. It has to start somewhere, where better than in the school house. This goes inline with my statement regarding many forget where they came from. Yes many of us started on the conventional side, but many forget what that side is like, additionally how fast all sides change. Just because we started on the conventional side does not make us experts in planning on the use of conventional forces, especially in todays asymetrical battlefield. By integrating both SF and conventional in the school house, both stay abreast of how they are operating. Allows our brillant minds on both sides an open forum to learn from each other about each other.

    As I just reread the initial posting I think we have all strayed off the orginal questions ask of us which I'm still contemplating my response.

    For the forum;
    -These new organizations are here to stay, what is the best way for SF to handle it?
    Refuse to deal with them? Pretend like it ain’t happening?, Get on board and work with them, thereby assisting in the direction they go?, which if done right will only complement SF be it MARSOC(JMO).
    -What is the best way for new organizations (Army, Navy, USAF, Marines) to go about training these individuals and teams for this type duty. In MSOAG’s case, they have to meet the SOCOM standards, but what is the best way to train “conventional” forces? Don’t they deserve first class training to prepare them for this type duty?
    -I do advocate a screening process for these conventional advisors. We do it all the time in the Marine Corps for Recruiters and Drill Instructors and in the Drill Instructors case, they really weed out those who can’t cut it. I have often heard the term “Drill Instructor Mafia” used. Its almost like they are an elite force within the Marine Corps within that context. Although both Recruiter school and Drill Instructor school are very demanding, I would say Drill Instructors are better analogy because they are teachers, trainers and mentors. Believe it or not(Sorry GySgt Emery, don’t mean to shatter the myth). My point is that Drill Instructors are weeded out and have a course that does this. Plenty have been dropped, so it is possible for conventional advisor courses to do the same, different mindset but similar process.
    -Where is this leading, I will point out as I have before, that many of the Officers and SNCO’s in the Marine Corps who fought and won WW I and WW II cut their teeth in these “Savage Wars of Peace”. Lots of Marines made names for themselves during the Banana Wars (Chesty Puller).
    I don’t know where conventional advisors will lead and how history will look upon this, but I would love to hear others views, should conventional forces do this and move out into something that has for at least the last 40 years SF's province (as the SecDef pointed out), how do you do it and not just pay lip service and do it right?. From what I have read here there are many on this board with experience in many of these areas, love to see your views. I’ll button up now, helmet is on…
    Will once again resume my position on the bottom of the pecking order, just hope one day those who haven't been there in years remember where it was they got their start
    Last edited by ODB; 04-25-2008 at 04:59 AM.
    ODB

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    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

  19. #19
    Council Member Boot's Avatar
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    Default Sorry...

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Eagle View Post
    First -- it would have been helpful to have a more definitive thread title, but that's just me. The curiosity factor made me open the thread even against my better judgement.

    The "demand signal" for security force assistance activities will outstrip capacity, both SOF and conventional for the foreseeable future, so there's plenty of work to go around, as long as nobody gets "rice-bowl-itis".

    Future requirements will outstrip tactical capability. That simply means that the OD-A/OD-B skill sets can't cover the broad spectrum of required specialties. Building tactical expertise without development of infrastructure and institutions is insufficient. Additionally, development of non-military security forces lies outside the expertise of SF/MCSOAG except for highly focused CT forces.

    What will be required is a holistic approach across a huge number of Combat, combat support and combat service support specialties, from the ministerial level all the way to the individual soldier/policeman.

    If we start to do this right, maybe we can better prevent bad situations from developing rather than trying to respond to them once they're out of hand.
    I wasn't sure of how to title this.

    Thanks MODS for framing this the way it needed to be framed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    I realize this is not dealing with issues at the tactical level, unfortunately through the years this is where it has started. At some point those at the top started way down the totem pole where I am today. This unwillingness to work together is not something that started when they got into upper levels, it started years before when they were at the tactical level. My statement about 6 years after some of the most combined operations in US history we are still trying to cut each others throats, applies to all levels and in many cases between all services. Someone please help me understand how it is, if I at the bottom of the pecking order can see this, how is it those above me just don't get it? I attribute a lot of this attitude to the simple fact we (SOF/conventional) do not interact in our professional/advanced schooling/development. It has to start somewhere, where better than in the school house. This goes inline with my statement regarding many forget where they came from. Yes many of us started on the conventional side, but many forget what that side is like, additionally how fast all sides change. Just because we started on the conventional side does not make us experts in planning on the use of conventional forces, especially in todays asymetrical battlefield. By integrating both SF and conventional in the school house, both stay abreast of how they are operating. Allows our brillant minds on both sides an open forum to learn from each other about each other.

    As I just reread the initial posting I think we have all strayed off the orginal questions ask of us which I'm still contemplating my response.



    Will once again resume my position on the bottom of the pecking order, just hope one day those who haven't been there in years remember where it was they got their start
    I welcome your thoughts. I do know that conventional forces within the Marine Corps will carry out this role (FID) and for the near term its here, so of course coming from someone that does this for a living is welcomed, of course all other thoughts are welcomed whether you have done it or not.

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