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Thread: Commonalities and lessons learned between gangs and insurgencies

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    Default Commonalities and lessons learned between gangs and insurgencies

    ALCON:

    Seems to me after watching Gangland on The History Channel (great show on a great channel) that there are a lot of similarities between gangs and insurgencies...and a lot of lessons learned that can go both ways for counterinsurgents and law enforcement...does anyone know of any effort by the COINISTAS or DOD or anyone to reach out to the FBI or other bodies that have gang task forces to see what lessons can be learned/shared?

    Thanks!

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default The answer is yes

    Quote Originally Posted by tulanealum View Post
    does anyone know of any effort by the COINISTAS or DOD or anyone to reach out to the FBI or other bodies that have gang task forces to see what lessons can be learned/shared?
    But some departments would rather not be named (there's a love-hate relationship between the Federal Government and many State and local law enforcement agencies). Due to that, most of it is FOUO. But it has been and is being done by more than one DoD element.

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    Default

    Thanks, Ken...glad someone is looking at it...I certainly have heard nothing of it and hope that something comes of it...

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    Registered User PK=COIN's Avatar
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    Default

    Would like to hear more about this--offline, probably be better--if anyone cares to share...

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Previous thread

    Try this for some indicators: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=6290 and http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5082

    There have been other threads and a quick search using 'Gangs' as the keyword found numerous matches, but on a skim there must be a dozen previous threads on the linkages. So take time to browse, there are some references and many comments. Lawvol, Slap and SGMGrumpy in particular have written on the theme.

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-10-2009 at 11:58 PM.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default PK=COIN - Introduce yourself please

    Quote Originally Posted by PK=COIN View Post
    Would like to hear more about this--offline, probably be better--if anyone cares to share...
    PK=COIN,

    Please introduce yourself on SWJ, within OPSEC and personal safety. The thread is: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=1441 You will find others like to know who is asking for help and adding comments.

    davidbfpo

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    Default

    Does anyone know how the custom began of flashing one's headlights to inform other motorists about police cars lying in wait for speeders? This is something that predates the internet, cell phones, or other electronic mediums for quickly spreading a code or signal, so I surmise that it was spread by word of mouth or something equally non-technological.

    What does this have to do with this thread? I suspect that similar signals are used in Iraq and Afghanistan that coalition forces are unaware of, but that are common knowledge to the locals.

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Quite probably

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Does anyone know how the custom began of flashing one's headlights to inform other motorists about police cars lying in wait for speeders? This is something that predates the internet, cell phones, or other electronic mediums for quickly spreading a code or signal, so I surmise that it was spread by word of mouth or something equally non-technological.

    What does this have to do with this thread? I suspect that similar signals are used in Iraq and Afghanistan that coalition forces are unaware of, but that are common knowledge to the locals.
    clothes hung on a line a particular way, kids playing a certain game or in a certain place, fruits or veggies set in a certain order. Nothing like word of mouth to turn the inane into operational tactics

    as to your initial ? I remember when I was a kid being told about it in relation to big rig truckers,
    They flash lights to let you know when its clear to move over, or if someone's around
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Was indeed started by truckers back in the 30s.

    One blink was 'Hi.' Two was Cop ahead; three was danger ahead (road out, bridge out, icy bridge). A single flash when being passed was "I got you, okay to pull back in." Turning off the lights briefly was "thanks."

    There was a time when a Cop witnessing a double flash to oncoming traffic would pull you over and harass you just for grins. Haven't seen that happen in the least 30-40 years.

    Back to the thread -- you can bet there were and are literally hundreds of signals -- to include what the kids are doing and how they're playing. Also verbal cues that bystanders or even many Terps may pick up but not reveal.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    There was a time when a Cop witnessing a double flash to oncoming traffic would pull you over and harass you just for grins. Haven't seen that happen in the least 30-40 years.
    That's another aspect of it that I've been curious about. When the signal is so easy to relay, it increases that chances that people will send it. By relaying the signal for the criminal, the signaler creates a closer bond with the criminal than with the police officer. When kids in Iraq alert an IED emplacer of an oncoming IA patrol or they act as the spotters for an ambush, they are suddenly part of the team. I don't know what to do about it, but it seems like a self-reinforcing activity.

    For my part, whenever someone flashes their headlights at me, I flip the person off. Aside from the fact that I don't speed to begin with, my hope is that the person will get annoyed that, "geez, try to help a guy out and he flips you off - I'm not doing that again." I don't understand why people in this country find it so acceptable to help others break the law.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not just in this country.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    I don't know what to do about it, but it seems like a self-reinforcing activity. ... I don't understand why people in this country find it so acceptable to help others break the law.
    As your first paragraph above points out, it happens elsewhere. Everywhere in my observation.

    Partly a 'we're all in this together; us against the man...' routine, partly rebellion against 'authority.' Partly a rather juvenile 'I'm violating the the rules -- look at me, I'm bad!' thing plus I'm sure a lot of other individual foibles wrapped up in it.

    In the COIN-like scenario, I suspect there's also a lot of ethnic / neighbor solidarity plus a degree of fear that one might be able to fool or evade the foreigners but the local folks can get to you if they get angry.

    Based on what I've seen, a lot depends on the attitude of the host nation or allied unit (or both) involved in the area; if they tend to get heavy handed or are perceived as excessively arrogant or even just rude (by local standards -- and most in the world are more polite than Americans. Further, the world over, all soldiers tend to sometimes be a little rough around the edges), they'll turn off the local folks and make them more inclined to indulge in if not actual help, at least a little passive resistance or passivity toward the bad guys.

    Only solution to it I've found is absolutely fair and professional conduct or actions. People recognize competence when they see it and it garners respect even if one is not liked and fair treatment almost always draws a like response. I've seen that attitude provide information benefits from local populations that were of great value...

    As an aside, throwing a lot of money about seems to me to have a negative effect; they'll take the money but you lose big points in respect. The more you throw, the more they'll take and the less you'll gain as it becomes a game to get as much of your wealth as possible.

    I realize that throws one COIN theory out the window but I'm pretty well convinced that out profligate spending does more harm than good. Frequently and for many reasons, some spending is necessary but it is a mistake to think that buys any hearts or minds. Development will be accepted and used but it will not buy true friendship. Or loyalty -- or a a change of heart in the beneficiaries; we're still foreigners and fair game.

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    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Just came across this

    Not truly on topic but makes one wonder how many we are training.

    (U) Gang-related activity in the US military is increasing and poses a threat to law enforcement officials and national security. Members of nearly every major street gang have been identified on both domestic and international military installations. Although most prevalent in the Army, the Army Reserves, and the National Guard, gang activity is pervasive throughout all branches of the military and across most ranks, but is most common among the junior enlisted ranks. The extent of gang presence in the armed services is often difficult to determine since many enlisted gang members conceal their gang affiliation and military authorities may not recognize gang affiliation or may be inclined not to report such incidences. The military enlistment of gang members could ultimately lead to the worldwide expansion of US-based gangs.
    Full Assessment
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

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    Default Islands in the Street

    I read Islands in the Street by Martin Sanchez-Jankowski after a pointer by a peer. It was written by a sociologist who studied a number of urban gangs of various ethnic/racial backgrounds from several U.S. cities. I think it gives a lot of insight to the commonalities to bands of young men/social movements across cultures and how they integrate into the larger social structure of their neighborhoods. The insights certainly carry over into insurgent groups to some extent. You can also find a number of articles about former gang members in the military and reservists who are gang task force members in their civilian life using those insights to analyze insurgent groups in Iraq.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Prince meets gangs and says...

    As the link words suggest a royal prince on gangs, after talking to them: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...eet-gangs.html

    Added here, although other threads on gangs.

    davidbfpo

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    Not truly on topic but makes one wonder how many we are training.

    Full Assessment
    Previously posted in the Gangs Claima Their Turf in Iraq thread. Although since the time of the original post (Feb 07) both FOUO documents have been widely disseminated on the open 'net. Anyway, on that thread there are also several other links there to other sources you may find of interest.

    The Yale Law Journal also recently published a piece, Gangs in the Military, which cites several of the sources posted on this board.

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Default

    Army (and the rest of the DOD) are in need of taking a strong stance on not allowing gang members into the service. This could take the form of a zero tolerance for enlistment of individuals with gang tattoos. Also any finding of gang activity in the background check and discipline for anyone making gang signs in military photos. Current soldiers with gang tattoos would have to have them removed or be discharged. The Army managed to get ahold of the skinhead problem in the 90's, they can do the same with the gangs.
    Reed
    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Council Member Blackjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    Army (and the rest of the DOD) are in need of taking a strong stance on not allowing gang members into the service. This could take the form of a zero tolerance for enlistment of individuals with gang tattoos. Also any finding of gang activity in the background check and discipline for anyone making gang signs in military photos. Current soldiers with gang tattoos would have to have them removed or be discharged. The Army managed to get ahold of the skinhead problem in the 90's, they can do the same with the gangs.
    Reed
    I think it does relate in a way Reed, and I agree about how the skinheads got cleaned up. I was in during the 90s' and my leadership nipped that stuff in the bud quick. There were 3 chapter cases in 1-21, 1 chapter case in 1-27, and 1 chapter in 2-14 withing the span of a month for being affiliated with neo-nazi punks. If the Army did the same thing with the other gangs and handled it like the skinheads the army would be a lot better off.


    I do not know if Fort Hood can get a hold on its' Crip/Sur 13/MEchA/GD/La Raza problem though. There are other gangs on Fort Hood, but those two are the largest. I should take some pictures of housing here on Ft. Hood, specifically Commanche III housing area. The welcome signs are tagged with gang markings.
    See things through the eyes of your enemy and you can defeat him.

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    Default Good read..

    http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/...ng_analogy.pdf

    Terrorists Organizations and Criminal Street Gangs Analogy

    Both street gangs and terrorist groups are non-corporate groups. They are not organized as formal (legal) entities, so group leaders operate in different environments and with different kinds of authority than do those in charge of corporate legal actor. As a different type of actor, street gangs and terrorists also have different sets of actions available to them. Both terrorist groups and street gangs often are self-identified, that is, legitimacy and identity are not conferred upon them by some external body (they do not need to be ‘recognized’ by a larger community in order to act) but rather are self-proclaimed. Membership in both gangs and terrorist organizations is an active proposition. One does not become a member by virtue of (e.g.) birth, ethnicity, or residency, although there may be exclusionary criteria (that is, there may be criteria which determine [in]eligibility for membership). Rather, one becomes a member through some voluntary act, some act of choice. Both types of groups (gangs and terrorist organizations) engage in criminal and, often, violent behavior. They thus operate in an extra-legal environment and maintain an adversarial relationship with peace-keeping interests.
    The emphasis is mine, and while it may well be an emphasis of the obvious, it is the obvious that we sometimes seem to miss. All too often we portray the enemy as an organization like us (mirror analysis), and in some cases we have going as far as labeling their perceived leadership as their battlestaff, so we're looking for a node to kill (the battlestaff) thinking we're going to solve the problem. We have to understand this enemy in order to defeat him.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Understand? Diverging approaches?

    Bill,

    A nice line:
    We have to understand this enemy in order to defeat him.
    That maybe the US Army way, it certainly is not the UK police approach and I suspect other police forces rarely 'understand' their enemy.

    Police officers deal with what I'll call DCI Detail: information, intelligence and above all evidence. Sometimes they gain Context: the why and the setting e.g. youth unemployment rates impact on property crime. Rarely we gain Insight, partly as so little studying is done (in the UK); it comes from informants, the rare defector, analysis and networking.

    This police methodology may explain the diverging viewpoints in the (London) Metropolitan Police's Special Branch (intelligence) and Anti-Terrorist Branch (evidence) which lasted years and more recently the differences between NYPD offices.

    How do the model(s) you know Bill differ?
    davidbfpo

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    Default Models

    David,

    We're still striving to find models, we have a couple of not for public release models we're experimenting with and now the Army is starting to use, and soon the Joint Force will, the Operational Design model or method (not to be confused with the Systemic Operational Design SOD), which in my opinion could be adapted for law enforcement.

    The experimental methods and operational design have promise, but the challenge is they require extensive talent (the right kind of expertise) and lots of manhours to compile. This hints at another reason we need to transform the force to deal with the types of threats we're dealing with today. Anyone who really thinks the nature of the threat hasn't changed is living in the past.

    The Army isn't there yet, but they're moving in that direction. I'll see if I can find some useful links for you.

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