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Thread: Center of Gravity Construct

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jones_RE
    It's easy to see how rotating a press secretary in and out of the Green Zone isn't going to cut it.
    Not a press secretary, a meme, which I suppose could be a collection of a single conscious (SOF).

  2. #22
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    Default Media battle space

    This is a link to a Multi-National Forces-Iraq press briefing where Maj. Gen. Lynch discusses the Zawahiri leter to Zarqawi.

    ...

    I talk about the Zawahiri letter to the point where you might be tired of me talking about it. But there is something that I have not talked about in the last several press conferences that I want to emphasize. In the letter from Zawahiri, the second in command, if you will, of al Qaeda, he told Zarqawi - he says, "Remember, Zarqawi" - he says, "Half the battle is in the battlefield of the media." Half the battle is in the battlefield of the media. The terrorists will use the media as a combat multiplier to hide their limited capabilities. And let me use an example that you're all very familiar with to highlight that point.

    ...
    This is a link with a link to the text of the letter in both English and Arabic.

    ...

    Among the letter's highlights are discussions indicating:

    * The centrality of the war in Iraq for the global jihad.

    * From al Qa'ida's point of view, the war does not end with an American departure.

    * An acknowledgment of the appeal of democracy to the Iraqis.

    * The strategic vision of inevitable conflict, with a tacit recognition of current political dynamics in Iraq; with a call by al-Zawahiri for political action equal to military action.

    * The need to maintain popular support at least until jihadist rule has been established.

    * Admission that more than half the struggle is taking place "in the battlefield of the media."

    ...
    Elsewhere, the 80 percent figure has been used, but in either case the point is the same, we are not really engaged in half or more of the battle space.

    I would point out that the Arab audience is not the only one these attacks are suppose to infleunce and probably not the most important. Part of the design is to reduce support for the war in the US. That has been the most successful aspect of the enemy's war strategy, and people who can make the case in the US are certainly important to the continued success of the operation. The enemy's goal is to change our policy even if he can not win militarily.

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    Several of you have just given good explinations of what EBO realy is. Our enemy understands it better then we do. Specifically you are talking about Col. Wardens ring #4 connection to population groups. Which is a COG and if you can manipulate public opinon through population EBO ops and achieve your political objective you can win at a cheap price. When you do EBO ops against all 5 rings at the same time you have what Warden would call parrallel warfare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merv Benson
    The 80 percent figure came from one of the intercepted al Qaeda communications. I will try to find it and post a link.
    Merv, I agree 100% with you in that we are the IO campaign to date has been a failure. As Bill stated, there is a great deal of potential leverage to bring into play in a properly orchestrated and synched IO campaign. We do have people (not many, and damn sure not enough for all the missions they are in demand for) with the requisite local and cultural knowledge to develop such a campaign. There's been plenty of doctrinal ink spilled, and lots of high-level discussion, regarding effective integration of IO at the tactical and operational levels, but it ain't happening on the ground.

    Not that it matters that much, but the 80% figure Merv quoted from Al-Qa'ida is in relation to pre-attack intelligence gathering rather than media battlespace. In the Al-Qa'ida training manual it states (on page 42 of the pdf file) that ...by using public sources openly and without resorting to illegal means, it is possible to gather at least 80 percent of all information required about the enemy.

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    Default Counter Insurgent Centers of Gravity

    "...those characteristics, capabilities, or locations from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight."

    Lot of smart guys here, so I'll be weighing in with some trepidation. The above is the "official" DoD definition of COG. Most of this conversation has revolved around "effects based oriented" operations (EBO?) relating to our enemy's perception of coalition vulnerabilities and vice versa-in Iraq. Collectively, you guys have seemed to narrow this to the conduct of Info Ops (I.O.), both ours and theirs-and the relative skill which each side brings to the fight.

    What about Afghanistan? There, I'd suggest a more tangible COG exists-Opium. When I consider this as a COG, I acknowledge the monetary importance it plays to the Taliban. I see the physical connection opium establishes between our opponent and the community- coercive and corruptive. I consider the correlation between smuggling routes leading to labs outside, and enemy LOCs leading inside to Afghanistan, as I'd bet they are one and the same. Finally, opium connects the interdependance between the drug warlords and the Taliban. Like LOCs, finding one almost certainly means finding the other.

    I welcome disagreement, but HERE seems to lie a tangible/material center of gravity in a low intensity/C.I. battlefield. However, while tangible and material, it would also appear elusive, as it seems both insidious and culturally pervasive.

    Curious to your thoughts, thanks.

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    Council Member sgmgrumpy's Avatar
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    Default Updated Joint Pub 3-0 Revision FC 23 Dec 2005 "COG"

    A COG is the source of moral or physical strength, power, and resistance — what Clausewitz called “the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends . . . the point at which all our energies should be directed.”

    A COG comprises the source of power that provides freedom of action, physical strength, and will to fight.

    COGs exist in an adversarial context involving a clash of moral wills and/or physical strengths. They are formed out of the relationships between the two adversaries and they do not exist in a strategic or operational vacuum.

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    Ask a psychologist, an anthropologist, a sociologist, and an economist what the center of masses are. Even more important, what are ours?
    Last edited by GorTex6; 06-05-2006 at 08:31 PM.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Effects process

    Adam,

    EBO (strat and opn level) is an extensive process; I won't argue for it or against it.

    But an effects based process at tactical level does work and it achieves the magic word "synchronization" of lethal and non-lethal effects. The intel requirements to support such a approach are heavily tactical--that is soldier and small unit; but that is the same in any COIN/stability opns environment.

    the key to using an effects process is to modifying it to meet the tactical level; constructs such as COGs must be (and are) adjusted to match the user level.

    Best
    Tom

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    "A COG is the source of moral or physical strength, power, and resistance — what Clausewitz called “the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends . . . the point at which all our energies should be directed.”

    I don't know if 19th century U.S. Army officers were familiar with Clausewitz, but evidently they understood how the concept of COG applied to a non state enemy in their situation.

    I believe most senior Army officers encouraged buffalo hunting and pioneer settlement. These two things did more to defeat the Plains Indians than military operations. The Plains Indians needed room to roam and a mobile commissary. When they lost those two things they lost physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

    The down side is that we still have a Bureau of Indian Affairs and a reservation system over 100 years later. Even if a COG can be identified in a non state or guerilla enemy is it always wise to strike it? Maybe if total subjugation and dependency is the goal, but otherwise?

    Maybe I'm way off base with that last statement. I like military boards for the tactical discussions, my understanding of strategic ideas like COG and EBO are vague at best.
    Last edited by Rifleman; 09-17-2006 at 03:19 AM.

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    Default Do we strike COG's?

    Ah now you're getting at the key difference between the way we currently use the COG construct and EBO. Most military officers think in terms of directing their forces/efforts against a COG to puncture the enemy's ballon sort of speak. EBO on the other hand allows indirect approaches to achieve desired effects. There is almost always more than one COG, and the type of enemy we're fighting today will adapt to COG based strategies has he has been doing quite effectively in Iraq.

    Is opium really a logistical COG for the Taliban? If we took the opium away (somehow) do you believe the second order effect would be that the Taliban would be finished ecomonically? I don't know, but I do recall that the Taliban eradicated opium in the Afghanistan when they ruled it, and they still seemed to function. I do think if you targeted the opium you would alienate a number of clans that would then form a temporary allegiance of convenience with the Taliban to fight the coalition.

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    COG's are still relevant, we just have to be mentally agile enough to make the jump from physical space and locations to intangibles such as peopl's will, public opinion, and such. IMO, we do a poor job at IO, it is under-resourced and misunderstood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I don't know, but I do recall that the Taliban eradicated opium in the Afghanistan when they ruled it, and they still seemed to function. I do think if you targeted the opium you would alienate a number of clans that would then form a temporary allegiance of convenience with the Taliban to fight the coalition.
    Bill,

    The Taliban stopped growing opium to appease the international community and then reaped the profits of selling the previous years bumper crops at increased prices due to the lack of a current crop. However, that being said, opium is a critical piece of the puzzle in Afghanistan for multiple parties, but you correctly identify that whether it would be beneficial to eliminate it immediately on balance is a tough question to answer and hence a tough nut to crack.

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    Shek, wrong thread, but I understand and concur. I read the piece that Jedburgh attached and it explained that the Taleban was basically trying to create a shortage to increase the value of their product.

    Jimbo, I'll bite, so tell me what "the people's will" means to a military planner as a COG?

    I think it is obvious we're always targeting the enemy's will, but I can't focus military efforts on their will unless they're a rational actor. How do I target Al Qaeda's will? (I mean target as lethal and non lethal)

  14. #34
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post

    I think it is obvious we're always targeting the enemy's will, but I can't focus military efforts on their will unless they're a rational actor. How do I target Al Qaeda's will? (I mean target as lethal and non lethal)
    I'm not sure that targeting will is necessarily a feasible goal. Targeting and mitigating ideology in a fanatical people isn't going to get you very far. To say that we'll target their will infers that adversarial will is based upon logic and reason. When you're an extremist, no amount of logic or reason is going to allow you to look at the other side of the coin.

    However, isolating insurgent groups from their support basin will. One of the only things that seperates the disenfranchised Bubba at the end of your block who hates the government and the insurgent population is the amount of localized support he receives from his neighbors. If Bubba started blowing up mailboxes and putting bombs on the sides of roads, his neighbors will turn him in.

    I use the term "support" loosely, as passive support would include those who are so afraid of the reprocussions of action that they do nothing, allowing the insurgent to continue his reign of terror. We need to do a better job, through IO, of debasing the grasp insurgent groups have on the population. Depending on what part of the country we're talking about (Al Anbar having a higher concetration of insurgent supporters), we're only looking at about 5% of the population with an overt support of the insurgency. What we need to worry about is the 80% or so who passively let it happen out of fear of reprocussion to themselves or their families. How do we mitigate this? We show them, through our own actions, that it is more adventageous to them to turn in the wacko down the street than it is to sit by and do nothing.

    In this sence, one of the lines of operation in the COIN environment must be Information Operations. By making IO a LOO within the mission development cycle, we're placing as much weight in IO as we would with combat operations. I submit that the four LOOs all units should follow in Iraq are:

    1. Combined Combat Operations
    2. Development of Security Forces
    3. Civil-Military Operations
    4. Information Operations

    Given we're strangers in a society as unfamiliar with us as we are of them, IO must be an imperitive in COIN operations. Many of the preconceptions Iraqis have of Americans is based upon the information operations that insurgent groups propegate amongst the people of the society. In this sence, the insurgents are winning the IO war. We must make IO as important to us as combat operations are.

    One of the most successful IO campaigns I saw in Ninwah province was a series of fliers with pictures of children killed by a homicide car bomber. After that flier went out, tons of tips came in, most actionable. The problem is that after doing this once or twice, we figure that the momentum will continue. Oftentimes we kill our own initiative by resting on our laurels and figuring that one or two fliers is enough, particularly if they produce some sort of temporary action. By constantly reengaging the IO target, we chip away at the base of support the insurgents enjoy until eventually its a moot point.

    Certainly there are those whose minds we will not change. They are labled collaborists and must be dealt with appropriately as well. The burden is on individual units to A). Know the enemy their dealing with, B). Determining their base of support, C). Mitigating or neutralizing that support within every means at their availability, and D). constantly pursuing innovative ways to diminish passive support.

    As has been written in multiple threads, the only way to do this properly is to understand the culture with which you are working. Obviously, what would be sound logic in the United States doesn't necessarily work in Iraq or Afghanistan. Its up to small unit leaders in both of these areas to get to know their populace, forge relationships with local leaders, and get inside the psyche of those their working around, with, and for.

  15. #35
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default CoG and Effects

    The reality is that as we practice tactical effects thinking here, we use COG analysis as a fundamental tool in understanding effects. I would certainly endorse both in this context.


    best
    Tom

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    Default Cultural logics and IO

    Hi RTK,

    You make soem interesting points that I'd like to pull apart a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    I'm not sure that targeting will is necessarily a feasible goal. Targeting and mitigating ideology in a fanatical people isn't going to get you very far. To say that we'll target their will infers that adversarial will is based upon logic and reason. When you're an extremist, no amount of logic or reason is going to allow you to look at the other side of the coin.
    I have to disagree with you on this - specifically your last sentence. One thing most Anthropologists learn pretty quickly is that "logic" and "reason" are cultural constructs rather than absolutes. What we, in the West, assume to be logic (and it is for us) may not operate in other cultures. This is not because they are not "logical" but, rather, because other cultures use different axiomatic assumptions and different syllogisms of logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Given we're strangers in a society as unfamiliar with us as we are of them, IO must be an imperitive in COIN operations. Many of the preconceptions Iraqis have of Americans is based upon the information operations that insurgent groups propegate amongst the people of the society. In this sence, the insurgents are winning the IO war. We must make IO as important to us as combat operations are.
    Hmmm, again, I think you may be understating Iraqi sources of information on America. Yes, you are quite correct about the IO from the insurgents, but I don't think that it is a good idea to forget about all of the information comming in from other sources as well. In particular, I am thinking about Internet based sources, family diasporic networks, and IO passed through tribal lines.

    There's a model in Anthropology that may be useful for looking at this. "Information" is just a set of sensory perceptions which must then be interpreted for and by individuals. Most of these sensory perceptions are "value neutral" originally and get their valuation during the interpretation stage. This "interpretation stage" is where cultural logics and interpretive schema get added into the mix and, if they run long enough, get converted into "rules of thumb" which, in turn, are passed throughout personal networks. In order to establish something as a "rule of thumb" interpretation (aka a "meme") within a given population, there has to be fairly strong reinforcement in the environment for that interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    One of the most successful IO campaigns I saw in Ninwah province was a series of fliers with pictures of children killed by a homicide car bomber. After that flier went out, tons of tips came in, most actionable. The problem is that after doing this once or twice, we figure that the momentum will continue. Oftentimes we kill our own initiative by resting on our laurels and figuring that one or two fliers is enough, particularly if they produce some sort of temporary action. By constantly reengaging the IO target, we chip away at the base of support the insurgents enjoy until eventually its a moot point.
    Yup. In effect, you are doing it by creating your own memes, "rule of thumb" interpretations, and then reinforcing them. Let me take this situation a little further and see how it could have been extended, and please excuse me if I'm unaware of a chunk of the details of this specific situation.

    From the sounds of it, right after the car bombing, flyers with pictures of the dead children went out and the tips started coming in. Did any military personelle go to the funerals and show grief over their deaths? If not, they should have.

    "Momentum" in most pastoralist societies is based on ongoing personal connections and relationships and, grotesque as it may sound, this was a perfect opportunity to establish this type of personal relationship while, at the same time, clearly showing that Americans value the lives of Iraqi children. More importantly, the people who should have attended would be the ones involved in tracking down the others involved in the car bombing. This action would have been perfectly understandable to the Iraqi people since it would be interpreted as a blood vendetta.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    As has been written in multiple threads, the only way to do this properly is to understand the culture with which you are working. Obviously, what would be sound logic in the United States doesn't necessarily work in Iraq or Afghanistan. Its up to small unit leaders in both of these areas to get to know their populace, forge relationships with local leaders, and get inside the psyche of those their working around, with, and for.
    I totally agree, and probably the best way to do that is to look at cultural parallels. For example, most Western cultures understand blood feuds even if we don't use them (well, most of the time). Most pastoralist cultures have them as central to their orientation. Most Western cultures say that personal relationships are not as important as legal relationships, but the reality is that they are, in all probability, more important (e.g. "networking"). In most pastoralist cultures, personal ties are crucial to social operations.

    If we really want to hammer at the will of the insurgency, then we have to do it by changing the interpretations of action, the memes, of the population such that the commonalities with the Coalition are stronger than the commonalities with the insurgency.

    Marc
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    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi RTK,

    You make soem interesting points that I'd like to pull apart a bit.



    I have to disagree with you on this - specifically your last sentence. One thing most Anthropologists learn pretty quickly is that "logic" and "reason" are cultural constructs rather than absolutes. What we, in the West, assume to be logic (and it is for us) may not operate in other cultures. This is not because they are not "logical" but, rather, because other cultures use different axiomatic assumptions and different syllogisms of logic.

    __________________________________________________ ___________

    Hmmm, again, I think you may be understating Iraqi sources of information on America. Yes, you are quite correct about the IO from the insurgents, but I don't think that it is a good idea to forget about all of the information comming in from other sources as well. In particular, I am thinking about Internet based sources, family diasporic networks, and IO passed through tribal lines.


    Marc
    Marc,

    I have no hope in going toe to toe with a Ph.d in Anthropology. My undergraduate degree will only get me so far.

    In the long run, we're essentially saying the same thing, though you're more elloquent than I. I was trying to make the point that what we view as logic and reason doesn't necessarily apply in the same way as it does to your everyday Iraqi. Breaking it into the lowest common denominator, this is difficult for our soldiers to understand.

    As for the IO sources available to the citizenry of Iraq; I intentionally focused on one aspect of all their sources. Just as a western citizen has numerous media outlets to choose from, Iraqis have the same. It's a matter of which one they pick. Some are more overt than others. In a society where tribal links are paramount to everything else, obviously this will take a precedence of all else. Depending on the tribe, emphasizing these ties will help or hurt our side of the issue, given our relationship as soldiers with those particular tribe.

    After 2 years in Iraq I can tell you that it really depends on where you are. We had success in Al Anbar when I was there in 2003-4 but our success was entirely dependant on the support of tribal leades. My second tour last year in Ninewa Province enjoyed a fantastic relationship with tribal leaders which enhanced our success.

    I agree with you and acknowledge all your points. Again, I broke it down to the user level with some fairly specific examples.

  18. #38
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Smile Sorry 'bout that

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Marc,

    I have no hope in going toe to toe with a Ph.d in Anthropology. My undergraduate degree will only get me so far.
    Drat, I certainly wasn't trying to set it up as a fight (wry grin).

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    In the long run, we're essentially saying the same thing, though you're more elloquent than I. I was trying to make the point that what we view as logic and reason doesn't necessarily apply in the same way as it does to your everyday Iraqi. Breaking it into the lowest common denominator, this is difficult for our soldiers to understand.
    I agree, it definately is difficult to understand. Sometimes, I think it is harder for Ph.D's to understand that for the people on the ground .

    I think I was reacting to the idea, call it a "sense interpretation", that the extremists are not using logic and reason. I've seen a little too much of that coming from politicians, and all I see it serving to do is to seperate "us" from "them".

    There's a debate I get into with a lot of my friends about why we need to be really careful about semantics (okay, yeah, it's a soapbox of mine). We use language in a lot of ways to construct our understandings of reality and the habits of speach we use often condition the people who listen to us. So if "we" deny "them" the use of logic, then we are saying that we can never get them to change since their is no basis of communication other than a kinetic strike. I would far rather see us set up a situation where we assume that they do use logic and that we can manipulate that logic to our benefit.

    Okay, I'm off my soapbox

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    As for the IO sources available to the citizenry of Iraq; I intentionally focused on one aspect of all their sources. Just as a western citizen has numerous media outlets to choose from, Iraqis have the same. It's a matter of which one they pick. Some are more overt than others. In a society where tribal links are paramount to everything else, obviously this will take a precedence of all else. Depending on the tribe, emphasizing these ties will help or hurt our side of the issue, given our relationship as soldiers with those particular tribe.
    I totally agree with you on this, and I certainly understand why you focused on the insurgents as the primary means of information. I have to wonder how more effective the IO operations could be in the immediate situation. Believe me, I'm certainly not faulting anyone in the field - that would be nuts! But, if we have to play catch-up, what can be done to make that more effective?

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    After 2 years in Iraq I can tell you that it really depends on where you are. We had success in Al Anbar when I was there in 2003-4 but our success was entirely dependant on the support of tribal leades. My second tour last year in Ninewa Province enjoyed a fantastic relationship with tribal leaders which enhanced our success.
    So, I have to ask, how were those relationships established and maintained? I'm asking because if you enjoyed good relationships with the tribal leaders, then you were doing something right that needs to be communicated both with other people going into the field and in the international mediaspace.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    I agree with you and acknowledge all your points. Again, I broke it down to the user level with some fairly specific examples.
    Thanks and, again, I apologize if I appeared to be coming down on you. mea culpa.

    Marc
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    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Default No Worries....

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    So, I have to ask, how were those relationships established and maintained? I'm asking because if you enjoyed good relationships with the tribal leaders, then you were doing something right that needs to be communicated both with other people going into the field and in the international mediaspace.
    Marc
    I'm in the beginnings of a COIN handbook written as little AARs for direct actions, CMO operations, IO, and partnership with local leaders and security forces. Hopefully some of what we did can be highlighted and shared with the force.

    In reply to your question, we didn't do anything that we felt was out of the ordinary. Having said that, in retrospect, we did a lot of things that others evidently aren't doing:

    • We placed one platoon within a restive town and they lived with both the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police.
    • Everything we did was combined with Iraqi Security Forces.
    • We met with town councils on average of about once a week.
    • We met with tribal leaders at least once a week, oftentimes more.
    • We'd stop by the houses of key leaders as a matter of routine to check in on them, much like you might do with a good friend who lives down the block from you.
    • We never made promises we couldn't keep
    • In working everything combined, we put an Iraqi face on operations, not an American face. In hanging out in the shadows and only appearing when we had to it also gave the impression (rightly so) that the Iraqis were in charge of their own area, not just being paraded around by us as puppets
    • We took council of their concerns and worked together to correct them. After we would produce they would tell their tribesmembers what had taken place.
    • When our leading advocate, a tribal sheik, died suddenly, we attended the wake without body armor or protective gear to pay respects. We left our rifles in our vehicles (we kept our pistols). This may have been ballsy, but it showed the people we were there to mourn with them and were not afraid of what could happen to us. (This was planned for, however, like an operation, with the rest of my troop pulling an observation cordon out of sight and mind, but with the ability to act as a QRF if things got bad).


    In essence, we treated them as equals, not as people who didn't know what they were doing. We ate their food, drank their tea, exchanged gifts, and stories. By the end of it, the aforementioned tribe adopted us.

    My measuring stick for success was this; when we talked to these people for the last times before we left theater the second time, tears were shed on both sides. I have gifts from them in my office. They have pictures of as all like a family photo on their wall. I worry about them constantly, like I'd worry about a part of my family. I think once you get to that level of understanding then you can stamp the entire experience with the success label.

    This may be a stretch, but if you look at Kevin Costner's character in "Dances with Wolves," maybe we need to start looking at that as a model for bilateral engagement progression. In simple terms, that's essentially what we did.

  20. #40
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Sounds like an Anthropologist in the field to me...

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    I'm in the beginnings of a COIN handbook written as little AARs for direct actions, CMO operations, IO, and partnership with local leaders and security forces. Hopefully some of what we did can be highlighted and shared with the force.

    In reply to your question, we didn't do anything that we felt was out of the ordinary. Having said that, in retrospect, we did a lot of things that others evidently aren't doing:
    You know, your list is a really great checklist for how to do it right . And. leaving out the fact that we usually aren't armed, it's pretty much what Anthropologists do in the field - live with the people you are studying and "become" one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    • ...
    • When our leading advocate, a tribal sheik, died suddenly, we attended the wake without body armor or protective gear to pay respects. We left our rifles in our vehicles (we kept our pistols). This may have been ballsy, but it showed the people we were there to mourn with them and were not afraid of what could happen to us. (This was planned for, however, like an operation, with the rest of my troop pulling an observation cordon out of sight and mind, but with the ability to act as a QRF if things got bad).
    This is just the type of thing that would work, especially the leaving the rifles behind (honouring their ability to protect you) and carrying your side arms (showing your willingness to protect them under guest right in case of an attack). Brilliant !!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    In essence, we treated them as equals, not as people who didn't know what they were doing. We ate their food, drank their tea, exchanged gifts, and stories. By the end of it, the aforementioned tribe adopted us.

    My measuring stick for success was this; when we talked to these people for the last times before we left theater the second time, tears were shed on both sides. I have gifts from them in my office. They have pictures of as all like a family photo on their wall. I worry about them constantly, like I'd worry about a part of my family. I think once you get to that level of understanding then you can stamp the entire experience with the success label.
    Absolutely! Have you managed to keep in touch with them at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    This may be a stretch, but if you look at Kevin Costner's character in "Dances with Wolves," maybe we need to start looking at that as a model for bilateral engagement progression. In simple terms, that's essentially what we did.
    I've got my own take on Dances with Wolves but, yes, the idea of partially "going native" is something that really needs to be done. It has its own dangers in some ways, but it certainly makes what is happening more comprehensible to everyone and, IMHO, would probably make for a better model of engagement that of occupier and occupied.

    I'd love to see that handbook when you get it done, either as a draft or as a final product. I hope you'll be able to share it.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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