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Thread: COIN Counterinsurgency (merged thread)

  1. #81
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    Default PhDs

    Dr Jack--

    Thanks for clraifying. I was a bit surprised that I didn't see the doctorate requirement. Has its benefits but also its downside since someone like GEN (ret.) Fred Woerner (who was hired by Boston U as a Full Professor and worked there for some 14 years) could not be hired. Looks like it would be right up your alley - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Steve--

    Your personnel people are really screwed up. Leavenworth is not the only place that makes a PhD a requirement - NDU does as well. CPOs really do not understand the Title 10 law and want to treat it like Title 5 light This can sometimes work to the advantage of the individual or the organization; at other times it works against the interests of one or the other or both. For those who have doubt about the legislative intent of the law, an inquiry to Rep Ike Skelton would surely clarify (might even make some CPO bureaucrats squirm).

    Cheers

    JohnT

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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Dr Jack--

    Thanks for clraifying. I was a bit surprised that I didn't see the doctorate requirement. Has its benefits but also its downside since someone like GEN (ret.) Fred Woerner (who was hired by Boston U as a Full Professor and worked there for some 14 years) could not be hired. Looks like it would be right up your alley - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Steve--

    Your personnel people are really screwed up. Leavenworth is not the only place that makes a PhD a requirement - NDU does as well. CPOs really do not understand the Title 10 law and want to treat it like Title 5 light This can sometimes work to the advantage of the individual or the organization; at other times it works against the interests of one or the other or both. For those who have doubt about the legislative intent of the law, an inquiry to Rep Ike Skelton would surely clarify (might even make some CPO bureaucrats squirm).

    Cheers

    JohnT

    Actually, we kind of like listing it as "desireable" rather than "required." That means if a Fred Woerner comes along, we would at least have the option of hiring him. We normally phrase it "terminal degree" rather than "doctorate" though since our director is retired colonel with a J.D. In practice, all of the civilians in SSI except the director currently have a Ph.D., two of our officers do, and three of our officers are working on one. So we really only have one colonel who is "masters only."

  3. #83
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    I agree. Tom, you ought to apply. I didn't see a PhD requirement in the job listing.

    I am flattered guys. I have to say that 6 years ago I finally got what I have never had in my life--a permanent home in a place I like (yes, I like Louisiana) and working with people I respect and love for what they do, not who they know. Leavenworth has its attractions and I look back fondly on my time there largely because of the people. But Leavenworth has a concentration of egos akin to the Pentagon and frankly the tax structure compared to Louisiana is oppressive.

    I will stay a semi-Cajun.

    Tom

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    Default Tactics, tactics, tactics...

    Steve--

    I'm with you on listing things like PhDs as desirable - it does provide "tactical" flexibility. But I don't hold with a CPO telling an academic organization what it can and cannot do in terms of how it lists its academic requirements. I am particularly uncomfortable when a CPO does so with respect to legislation that was designed to give the DOD academic institutions the same hiring flexibility that civilian academic institutions have and to make those academic positions competitive with "elite" civilian universities.

    Cheers

    John

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    Default Home on the range

    Tom--

    I understand completely. I wouldn't trade my life here on Rancho la Espada for all the endowed academic chairs in the world (except maybe one here at the U of Oklahoma)

    Cheers

    JohnT

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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Tom--

    I understand completely. I wouldn't trade my life here on Rancho la Espada for all the endowed academic chairs in the world (except maybe one here at the U of Oklahoma)

    Cheers

    JohnT
    Ironically, Max Manwaring was talking about your "rancho" just minutes before you made this post. Your ears must have been burning.

    But on the job listing, we've decided not to fight with CPO on making a Ph.D. desired or required. They never tell us who we have to interview or hire.

    Which reminds me, when I was hired at CGSC it was still a Title 5 position. Because of veterans preference, a couple of guys came out ranked higher than me. But the chairman of what was then the Strategy Committee of what was then the Department of Joint and Combined Operations (COL ret Dennis Quinn) wanted me, so he invented a start date for the position that only I could meet, and that disqualified the guys ranked ahead of me. Or so he says! I guess you have to take what Soviet FAOs say with a grain of vodka.

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    Default Narrative in counterinsurgency (FM 3-24, ¶1-76)

    Greetings, all. Paragraph 1-76 in the new Counterinsurgency field manual discusses the role of narrative (storytelling) in the development and maintenance of insurgencies. "Stories about a community's history provide models of how actions and consequences are linked. Stories are often the basis for strategies and actions, as well as for interpreting others' intentions."

    Can anyone point me to any publications that have specifically discussed this topic (the role of narratives in insurgent and counterinsurgent strategies)? I am not a specialist in the military literature, so there may well be a famous ten volume treatise on the subject that everyone else already knows -- if so, I'd be glad to be directed to it.

    Many thanks.

    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJO View Post
    Greetings, all. Paragraph 1-76 in the new Counterinsurgency field manual discusses the role of narrative (storytelling) in the development and maintenance of insurgencies. "Stories about a community's history provide models of how actions and consequences are linked. Stories are often the basis for strategies and actions, as well as for interpreting others' intentions."

    Can anyone point me to any publications that have specifically discussed this topic (the role of narratives in insurgent and counterinsurgent strategies)? I am not a specialist in the military literature, so there may well be a famous ten volume treatise on the subject that everyone else already knows -- if so, I'd be glad to be directed to it.

    Many thanks.

    Bob
    Well, one example might be that many of the Islam based insurgencies use the story of Mohammed's struggles against the unpious elites of Mecca to explain their own struggle against what they portray as an unpious elite.

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    Lawrence Freedman spoke among other things (as new COIN manual) in his "The Transformation of Strategic Affairs" about narratives.

    http://www.iiss.org/publications/ade...ategic-affairs

    If you need case study about story telling, you should follow Kremlin activities in Russia (and neighbouring countries).

    Putin pledged to hand out government grants to authors who will write proper new textbooks. Following his recent pattern, he used the meeting to again lash out at the United States. “Yes, we had terrible pages in Russia’s history,” he said. “Let us recall the events since 1937, and let us not forget that. But in other countries [the U.S.], it has been said, it was more terrible.” Putin suggested that Washington’s use of nuclear weapons against Japan at the end of World War II was worse than Stalin’s political repression and mass murder. Putin also cited the U.S. bombing campaign and use the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War (official transcript, www.kremlin.ru, June 21).
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2372256

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJO View Post
    Greetings, all. Paragraph 1-76 in the new Counterinsurgency field manual discusses the role of narrative (storytelling) in the development and maintenance of insurgencies. "Stories about a community's history provide models of how actions and consequences are linked. Stories are often the basis for strategies and actions, as well as for interpreting others' intentions."

    Can anyone point me to any publications that have specifically discussed this topic (the role of narratives in insurgent and counterinsurgent strategies)? I am not a specialist in the military literature, so there may well be a famous ten volume treatise on the subject that everyone else already knows -- if so, I'd be glad to be directed to it.

    Many thanks.

    Bob
    One other thought. This is completely useless to you at this point, but I am addressing the issue in some detail in the book I'm writing with Con Crane and Ray Millen (Perdition's Gate: Insurgency in the 21st Century). We're probably looking at a 2008 publication though.

    I think some of the best work on the role of "narrative" in conflict has been done by Mike Vlahos. See, for instance, his "Storytelling and Terrorism."

    (Mike is one of the most brilliant people I know. I was rapt listening to him argue with Ed Luttwak--who is also in my "top ten smartest people I know" list--at the Unified Quest seminars last winter).

    And, if you want to pursue this, you could pose the question to Conrad Crane who was the lead author for the manual. He'd know the lineage of the idea.

  11. #91
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    Default Counterinsurgency and the Fast Ticking Clock

    I was reading this story from the LA Times:

    Iraq strategy geared to U.S. pullout
    Expecting a timeline soon, the military shifts main focus to Sunni-led Al Qaeda, a move it says will calm Shiite militias too.
    By Julian Barnes
    Times Staff Writer

    June 28, 2007

    BAGHDAD — U.S. commanders plan a summer of stepped-up offensives against Al Qaeda in Iraq as they tailor strategy to their expectation that Congress soon will impose a timeline for drawing down U.S. forces here.

    The emphasis on Al Qaeda, described by commanders in interviews here this week, marks a shift in focus from Shiite Muslim militias and death squads in Baghdad. It reflects the belief of some senior officers in Iraq that the militias probably will reduce attacks once it becomes clear that a U.S. pullout is on the horizon. By contrast, they believe Al Qaeda in Iraq could be emboldened by a withdrawal plan and must be confronted before one is in place...
    That led me to wonder: Do we need to add a second major criterion when we develop a strategy for counterinsurgency support?

    Here's what I mean. Our current strategy relies on effectiveness as the major criterion. We attempt to do what will be effective on the ground. But, perhaps, we need to give equal weight to political feasibility.

    We all know that the clock is ticking whenever the United States becomes involved in counterinsurgency support. But it ticks at different rates depending on the nature of the conflict, the extent of American interests in the country facing an insurgency, and a range of domestic political factors.

    Our current strategy and doctrine assume a slow ticking clock. Perhaps it would be better if strategy and doctrine explicitly indicated that military operations need to be different when facing a fast ticking clock.

  12. #92
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    I'd say it may go deeper then that. Does the environmental context (I guess I mean GWOT) in which we are practicing COIN differ from historical COIN examples?

    The methodology may be very similar, but the context at the political level might be very different - after all how many people thought the Vietnamese would follow us home? After reading some of what is coming out of both the administration, the 08 candidates and the bi-partisan congressional committees -I'm starting to see common ground emerging that might indicate we're getting a sense of how much the world has changed and what that means to our security at home and abroad. We're just so big and bureaucratic with some many divisive interests its taken us this long to start developing a common understanding. You can see it in the think tanks (on both sides, retired civilian and military professionals - even in the search for new terms to build consensus (the Sec State's use of American Realism). Consider the broadening of mind amongst the service cultures toward COIN.

    We all know that the clock is ticking whenever the United States becomes involved in counterinsurgency support. But it ticks at different rates depending on the nature of the conflict, the extent of American interests in the country facing an insurgency, and a range of domestic political factors.
    What we need is a foreign policy which defines these new challenges (such as globalization in the Info age, the effects of Global Warming, Population growth, Pandemics, etc.) and relates them to domestic impacts. Without that any legislation that is produced will be unguided, and probably either go too far, or not far enough. In order to gain the type of bi-partisan support we require, elected officials must have the means to assume political risk - they must be able to help the citizen understand why success (effectiveness) outside the U.S. in SSTRO means success at home, and vice-versa. Its got to go beyond a catalyst like 9/11 which puts our justification on a failure, or something gradual like gas prices which is felt overtime.

    I'm not sure how we do that without demonizing a culture, or providing some type of clear, physical manifestation of an "enemy". When a soldier returns from OIF or OEF or some cruddy place in the world, he intuitively understands what is at stake, and how lucky they are to live in America. They have some sense of the randomness by which children are born into the ####ty places of the world, and they thank God (even if they don't believe) their children were not born there. Unfortunately, over time even the memories of soldiers might be dulled, and through pop culture, and political rhetoric. I guess that speaks to what someone who tries to articulate the threat in "pro-active" way is up against.

    So as President the politically feasible depends on how well you can convince the public there is a threat that requires long term sacrifice (at least through 4-8 years), if you can convince the public that the gains (positive, moral things that make you feel good) are worth the sacrifice, and if you can contain that sacrifice to such that its penalties (those events you don't want in your neighborhood) are not more attractive then the sacrifice - extreme examples being - all your kids are killed in war and war is all you know, as opposed to lessened status abroad, less buying power, less security in places which you can choose to divorce yourself from. The public (if you frequent this site face it, your not Joe Public) is generally short-sighted and somewhat fickle because their day to day lives consume them they tolerate government only when it provides for them the things they cannot provide for themselves. There is big difference between the number of people who tune into American Idol vs. C-Span.

    Ken - I guess I showed my hand - I'm in the Madison Camp. However in about 3 years I'm gonna watch a bunch more American Idol

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    What I don't understand is everyone knows we haven't finished rebuilding New Orleans and yes it will take years, due to the circumstances. But these same people think we can surge an entire country in 6 months and if it doesn't happen that way then something is wrong.

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    Excellent, folks. The Vlahos and Freedman references look perfect.

    Many thanks.

    RJO

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    Seems to me that clock speed is controlled by public perception of the war effort. If people see the war as badly managed, then the clock will run at a higher frequency. If people see the war is well run and the Administration is selling/explaining it’s policies, then the clock slows down.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Slapout,
    Off the original thread, but you may be on to a an example of a case study where Humanitarian Aid missions could be examined. You know we do TEWTS inside U.S. cities on MOUT/FIBUA but I've never heard of one that did it on Hamanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief. I mean, what a case study to consider IA friction, Logistics, security, infrastructure, Bio-Hazzards, etc. Its also one where we know quite a bit about what went wrong, when it went wrong, why it went worng, hard numbers on people, etc.

    Even though it was Katrina that was the immediate catalyst for New Orleans we could use it to consider issues such as the combined effects global warming and mass population migration in the context of a myriad of "what ifs" such as natural disasters to refugee flow.

    Rob

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    Default A description of narrative.

    Quote Originally Posted by RJO View Post
    Greetings, all. Paragraph 1-76 in the new Counterinsurgency field manual discusses the role of narrative (storytelling) in the development and maintenance of insurgencies. "Stories about a community's history provide models of how actions and consequences are linked. Stories are often the basis for strategies and actions, as well as for interpreting others' intentions."

    Can anyone point me to any publications that have specifically discussed this topic (the role of narratives in insurgent and counterinsurgent strategies)? I am not a specialist in the military literature, so there may well be a famous ten volume treatise on the subject that everyone else already knows -- if so, I'd be glad to be directed to it.

    Many thanks.

    Bob
    Bob,
    Maybe I can help you and bring my own contribution to this exchange. In case where you are starting from scraps about the purpose and role of narrative, then I begin in introducing you to some fundamentals.

    Imagine yourself as the CEO of a car maker, for a while. You want to sell a new car you designed and your plant shall begin to mass manufacture it in a few months. So, with the help of your advertising agency you start working on ideas to sell this new model. But your problem it is not very different of the others your main competitors manufacture. The reason stems from the fact that your marketing department aimed at a pool of customers likely to spend $25,000 to 29,000 for a Sedan and no more; and so your engineers couldn’t do miracles with that. All you expect from that future model is just to get a market share in this category and in this range of prices. But is this what you are going to tell to your customers?

    Better not!

    For, your customer would say that you are just attempting to fool them and that’s all. Is it likely that things turn to be otherwise?

    No.

    So, you have to tell yout customers something else if you want to convince them to buy your car, and not those of your competitors. The survival of your company depends of that. Business’ business is business, said Milton Friedman. Isn’t that so?

    At some point you get the idea, at last.

    You know that all your competitors import most of their parts from East Asia whereas you don’t because, for some reason of your own, you were unwilling to cut jobs and close plants.
    On the basis of this fact you decide to change the name of your future car for “America;” a daring and bold decision.
    Thereupon, your Marketing Manager tells you that it’s good idea, though not new, but that it will be a challenge nonetheless to goes on with that because if American people are sensible to that argument many of them hold that East Asian made cars are strong, enduring, and cheaper than American made cars.
    So, to make such a strategy a successful one you’ll have to make your advertising campaign so compelling that it must take precedence over selfish considerations. You think that it is possible since Harley Davidson did it beyond all expectations in motorbike industry. Why not you?

    The add your advertising agency brilliantly made shows the model America moving on a road mixed with video sequences featuring good looking American workers welding coach parts, assembling engines, putting a shiny air filter cover on which is stamped in a calligraphic style the name “America”. At some point we may distinguish a wavering American flag mixed with another sequence showing a huge crowd of enthusiast and smiling employees posing on the parking lot facing the headquarters of your company. The rich sound of the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra is covered by a deep male voice entertaining the listener about the legendary American know-how and the spirit of constant innovation your company expresses in all domains, and so on and on.

    Ten years latter.

    You are alone in your office remembering your bygone angst, the first days on the road of the America, the huge and enthusiast media coverage, the broadcasted angry protestations of one your main challengers.
    Sales timidly started the first year, before it literally skyrocketed from May on during the second year. It was a success you even didn’t dream of. You were just in need to introduce a new model on the market; and you made your company an American symbol. Around the world countless people wear tee-shirts marked with your company’s name. You published your autobiography last year and it is a best seller.
    Good marketing and good for the image of the company! Your are a symbol of American entrepreneurship and patriotism. Though things happened accidentally you yielded at some point to the conclusion that it couldn't be that accidental. Today you truly believe what you said ten years ago and you are proud of your company the same way your loyal and patriot customers are to own a car it produces.


    Well, I put an end to my fiction here.

    That’s narrative. That’s why it is done for, and it works in politics and religion almost exactly as it works in business.

    No matter how aware we may be of the deceptiveness of narrative, we all need it at some point. For, the world around us would seem gray, sad and cynical; purposeless, in sum.
    Carl Yung is right when he stresses the importance of religion in our mind and for our mental balance. Personally, I prefer calling it a “need to believe in something that is not necessarily rational.” We need landmarks; especially in our complex world of today. Lenine said in jest that “religion is the opium of the people” but he missed to acknowledge that political ideology alike.
    No matter how skeptic and disillusioned we may be; we all are looking for a narrative when we don’t have one already. Nothing in this world is done without it, from mere cheese to clothes, to sodas, to elections, to war.

    Now, while talking about “counter narrative,” you don’t need to have much imagination to find what might retort the challengers of this hypothetic car builder. Possibly, they would attempt to fuel discontent among employees in its plants through bribery and manipulation of the labor unions. Possibly they would buy a lot of advertising space to some publication in order to influence their opinion and get them criticizing the performances of the America. Possibly they would manage to find a NGO willing to go to court because the company that builds the America infringed rules of respect toward the American flag, etc. In sum, they would attempt to damage the image and reputation of the company.

    In order to afford the subject of narrative in politics and religion per se, I find as practical as purposeful to take a look at a comment relating to religion and insurgency I recently wrote on another blog; I name The Captain’s Journal. In this comment, I explain the purpose and role of narrative in mass movements and insurgency. Since it is my description of the role of narrative, it goes without saying that any critics expressed by the enlightened Council members of the SWJ are welcome.


    You can find the integral version of this text (numbered #11), as taken in its context, at the following link:
    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2007/...ave-kilcullen/

    Another of my comments, numbered #16, I wrote on this same webpage continues on narrative.

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    Rob,

    I think I may have said something like this already, but I think hard-nosed honesty is the key to winning long-term public support for operations. For one thing, it means the public will be less likely to hold unrealistic expectations. For another, it means the public is more likely to believe what you tell them after the campaign is under way.

    I think it shouldn't be too difficult to gain liberal and conservative support this way. Especially if appeals to moral duty are made early and often--couched in religious terms, perhaps. Mind, those terms should be to the effect of 'Jesus told us to help the poor and downtrodden even at great expense' not 'Crusade!'.

    The corollary being that if it proves impossible to gain support for an action without spinning the bejesus out of it, you don't proceed to spin, spin, spin, and undertake the course of action. Otherwise you'll end up where we are now or, even worse, where we were in 1969.

    The problem with this idea is that I'm unaware of any examples of our political leadership being open and honest about the objectives and difficulties of a military action while trying to gain support for it. So it probably isn't realistic to hope for.

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    Council Member Mark O'Neill's Avatar
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    Default So much for the separation of Church and State..

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxL View Post
    Rob,

    Mind, those terms should be to the effect of 'Jesus told us to help the poor and downtrodden even at great expense'
    I wonder what the large number of non-christian Americans would think about this as a justification for national policy or strategic planning? You wouldn't last 10 seconds in Australia trying it.

    Thankfully, I have never seen anyone successfully argue a conops in our Army or security policy establishment on the basis that "Jesus would want me to do it". Our mob tend to be a bit secular and stick to the more mundane, rather than the divine... you know, good old fashion simple things like sound military strategic planning principles.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O'Neill View Post
    I wonder what the large number of non-christian Americans would think about this as a justification for national policy or strategic planning? You wouldn't last 10 seconds in Australia trying it.

    Thankfully, I have never seen anyone successfully argue a conops in our Army or security policy establishment on the basis that "Jesus would want me to do it". Our mob tend to be a bit secular and stick to the more mundane, rather than the divine... you know, good old fashion simple things like sound military strategic planning principles.

    Excellent point, Mark, that illustrates what I think is THE key dilemma of the "war of ideas" against Islamic extremism: our enemies are offering their followers eternal bliss and we're offering satellite television. But if we cannot compete in a LTG Boykinesque religious-ideological war because we are multi-faith/multi-cultural nations.

    It's really depressing, but the only long term solution I can see is radical action to wean overselves off of petroleum, disengagement from the Islamic world, and treating people from that region like we treated Soviets during the Cold War, i.e. with no expectation of unfettered rights. We haven't reached the point of taking such admittedly adverse steps yet, but I think we're one WMD terrorism incident away from doing so.

    But, I hope everyone is having (or had, for those of you on the other side of the date line) a happy Friday!

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