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Thread: New Guidance on Counter-Insurgency

  1. #1
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    Default New Guidance on Counter-Insurgency

    Abu Muqawama listed this link to the new Commander of ISAF General McChrystal's guidance to counter-insurgency. The direct link is right
    here:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/19075680/C...-COIN-GUIDANCE

    As I have said before, I am a huge fan of population-centric COIN as put forward in the Army manuals, David Kilcullen, John Nagl and General Petraeus. This short document lays out clearly the intentions to secure the support of the population while leaving kill/capture missions as the lowest priority.

    Most importantly, as a soldier who saw large scale missions repeatedly not yield effects, this is music to my ears. We have tried to use firepower to win for many years now, this seems like the way ahead.

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    So the Australians are going about it all wrong? May be we didn't get the memo.
    Last edited by Taiko; 08-25-2009 at 09:23 PM.

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Considerations

    Michael C,

    Thanks for sharing the link. I've been considering McChrystal's guidance today. IMO, much of it is good, but here are two quick points that where I would differ.

    1. Securing the populace and destroying the enemy (capture, kill, or turn) are NOT mutually exclusive. Rather, they are comprehensively intertwined. Patreaus and Odierno addressed this issue in Iraq as identifying the reconciliables and irreconciliables. Regardless of how much influence one garners with the locals, there are still going to be dudes that make bombs, put them in the roads, volunteer for suicide bombings, etc. It takes a lot of intelligence collection to FIND these bad dudes, but then you must act decisively to FIX, FINISH, and EXPLOIT. When you neutralize the bombmaker, then the roads no longer blow up, and the market place becomes safer. That's what I call security.

    2. Information Operations when dealing with Families. Yes, when you detain or kill a dude for placing bombs in the road, you are going to upset his parents, uncles, grandmother, and others. So what? I think the argument can be better understood by looking at our own country. Should a policeman release a drug dealer, murderer, or rapist because that person's family is upset over his detention? Of course not. So what do you do?
    IMO, this is where Information Operations is best used. When possible, you address the family, the village, and the local leadership to EXPLAIN why you killed/detained the individual. Then, you ENSURE that he receives a fair trial. If he is found not guilty, then you help him get readjusted to home. You can drive him from the police station to his village. You can help him find a job. If he is guilty, then you inform the verdict to his family, and you can assists with helping them visit/communicate with him during imprisonment.


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
    As I have said before, I am a huge fan of population-centric COIN.
    As opposed to what other strategy? SFA, FID, or SSTR? Or are you referring to the kill/capture tactics? I never considered sitting in a FOB and going out on raids to kill/capture a true strategy.

    v/r

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeF; 08-25-2009 at 11:05 PM. Reason: Grammer

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Your comment needs more detail, perhaps. Sort of confuses me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taiko View Post
    So the Australians are going about it all wrong? May be we didn't get the memo.
    But then I'm old and slow...

    I for one see absolutely nothing wrong in the guidance to the bulk of the general purpose forces comprising ISAF that is posted, it makes sense to me. Couple of things that won't get done but they had to be said and most command guidance has that problem.

    Everyone understands or should that the SOF guys will certainly be doing something that is not publicly posted and, of course, should not be. Nobody's getting a free pass and no one is picking on the Strynes.

    What is your point?

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    Anyone have that as a truly downloadable document yet, without all the drama of having to sign up for a service that "respects your privacy" ?

    I need this for a guided discussion.

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    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Default Help with COMISAF COIN Guidance

    The UK Mil system does not allow access to the link. Does anyone have a copy of the new guidance that they could send to me, or even better post a copy on this site? Much appreciated!

    RR

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Link in SWJ Blog

    Via the SWJ Blog there is a clear link, hassle free too: http://www.scribd.com/doc/19075680/C...-COIN-GUIDANCE

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Well I'm not a fan of "Pop-centric COIN." This paper seems to confirm my opinion that PC COIN is actually a very clumsy forcing mechanism to try and educated people not to do criminally stupid and counter-productive things. Worst case is that this is "dumbing down" warfare for what is doable, rather than requiring a raising of standards to the required level.

    That policy comes at the cost denigrating correctly applied combat power as being the essential element of irregular warfare.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Via the SWJ Blog there is a clear link, hassle free too: http://www.scribd.com/doc/19075680/C...-COIN-GUIDANCE

    davidbfpo
    Tried that - doesn't work for me!! The aim of the UK's IT system is to add more process - not to enhance communications and make us more effective.

    RR

    Copy received by e-mail. Many thanks!
    Last edited by Red Rat; 08-26-2009 at 09:43 AM.

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    Default Out here in Frontier 6 Land

    DOIM says that GEN McCrystal's giuidance falls into these categories:
    Adult/Mature Content, Alternative Sexuality/Lifestyles, Auctions, Chat/Instant Messaging,
    Extreme, Gambling, Hacking, Illegal Drugs, Illegal/Questionable, LGBT, Nudity, Online Storage,
    Pay to Surf, Peer-to-Peer (P2P), Phishing, Pornography, Proxy Avoidance,
    Spyware/Malware Sources, Streaming Media/MP3s, Violence/Hate/Racism.

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    Default Lots to reply to

    I am currently at a training exercise so I will quickly try and reply to all.

    First, towards the UK folks, I am trying to get it downloaded. As soon as it is I will post again and I will email it to you if you have an email.

    Second, to Mike F. You don't really say anything with which I disagree. I believe security operations have a precise place and I believe counter-force operations have a place. The correct thing is analyzing the percentages. In a given insurgent population maybe only five percent are irreconcilables: those who have to be killed or captured. You also mention turning the population which I think is always better than killing the enemy.
    You also made some great points on IO which is how it should be conducted. The only thing I would add is that once you live in the population and eliminate armed propaganda in the villages, then conduct regular shuras, eventually you will ask the people to turn in the bad guys so they can reconcile. Surprisingly they will and the violence will lower dramatically. The key is not killing the right people, its securing and living with the right people. This is also much easier when partnered with local units, not conducting solo operations.
    When it comes to comparing population-centric COIN with other theories, people frequently say like what? Well, my first answer is fire-power reliant theories that the US Army used in the beginning of the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war until now, and throughout the Vietnam war. Firepower and vague concepts of maneuver replaced interaction and intelligence gathering. Above all, though, US army might say they do not advocate that, in practice that is the majority of their actions.

    To William F. Owen: I don't think we see eye to eye but I don't think small little forum posts will change that. The problem with "correctly applied combat power as the essential element of irregular warfare" is defining correctly applied power. Is it fire power? Is it living with the population? Is it partnering with the local security forces? Is it gathering more accurate intelligence?
    It seems like correctly applied power is a euphimism for conducting kinetic operations on the insurgent or irregular forces. And, frankly, I don't think we can shoot our way out of this operation.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
    To William F. Owen: I don't think we see eye to eye but I don't think small little forum posts will change that. The problem with "correctly applied combat power as the essential element of irregular warfare" is defining correctly applied power. Is it fire power? Is it living with the population? Is it partnering with the local security forces? Is it gathering more accurate intelligence?
    Well you may yet be surprised.

    • Is it fire power? - Yes, but 5.56mm and 7.62mm applied against armed targets, clearly identified and engaged within ROE.
      It is not 454kg JDAMS, Hellfire, or 155mm, unless very clear criteria are satisfied
    • Is it living with the population? Yes, as and when it merits benefit.
    • Is it partnering with the local security forces? Yes, especially if they can trained to operate in ways that acknowledge both their limits and strengths and not just as less capable mirrors of yourselves.
    • Is it gathering more accurate intelligence? Absolutely! That is about the most important thing you can do!


    It seems like correctly applied power is a euphimism for conducting kinetic operations on the insurgent or irregular forces. And, frankly, I don't think we can shoot our way out of this operation.
    It's not a euphemism. It is exactly what I mean.

    If I can find 30 armed insurgents on the move, away from any population, why should I not attempt to engage and kill all of them? Are you seriously suggesting we should not do this?

    If however, I risk killing civilians, or I am not sure as to the identity of those 30 armed men, then I'll seek to conduct operations to clarify their identity, till I can successfully engage them, or consider them not a threat.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Infanteer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    If I can find 30 armed soldiers on the move, away from any population, why should I not attempt to engage and kill all of them? Are you seriously suggesting we should not do this?

    If however, I risk killing civilians, or I am not sure as to the identity of those 30 armed men, then I'll seek to conduct operations to clarify their identity, till I can successfully engage them, or consider them not a threat.
    Changing one word highlights the sillyness of dividing war simply on what clothes one side decides to wear to battle....

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Default Yup,

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Eagle View Post
    DOIM says that GEN McCrystal's giuidance falls into these categories:
    Adult/Mature Content, Alternative Sexuality/Lifestyles, Auctions, Chat/Instant Messaging,
    Extreme, Gambling, Hacking, Illegal Drugs, Illegal/Questionable, LGBT, Nudity, Online Storage,
    Pay to Surf, Peer-to-Peer (P2P), Phishing, Pornography, Proxy Avoidance,
    Spyware/Malware Sources, Streaming Media/MP3s, Violence/Hate/Racism.
    That and half the DOD public information sites
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Too late tonight

    but in the mean time, maybe I posted this LINK in the wrong thread.

    Everyone with all the stastical data, metrics, whatever the flavor of the month is I have one question. What percentage of the Afghan populace supports US prescence?

    Some may remember my rant some months ago on some PSYOPS guys here LINK, well let's just say our I/O does not exist.....or in others words it is pure bureaucratic horsesh*t; at least in the other theatre it is that way. Maybe, just maybe someone has it right in Afghanistan......anyone, anyone, anyone?

    I really need to stop all this ranting.....sorry
    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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    ODB- Knowing what percentage of the population supports the government of Afghanistan is the most important metric. That being said, we don't know it. Finding it out would involve daily conversations with locals and rigorous searching for that answer. The result would be operations very much like population-centric COIN.

    In short, that is the most important metric but in Afghanistan and Iraq the US Army's most important metric is friendly KIA.

    Wilf- I guess the only thing we disagree on is that it is much better to flip a known insurgent to supporting the government than killing him. Otherwise, I agree with everyone of your points except that violence is the last resort in a counter-insurgency.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
    Wilf- I guess the only thing we disagree on is that it is much better to flip a known insurgent to supporting the government than killing him. Otherwise, I agree with everyone of your points except that violence is the last resort in a counter-insurgency.
    The very fact an insurgency exists, shows that the insurgent was very happy to resort to violence. Before the insurgency occurs, violence should indeed be a last resort.

    I think if you can get an insurgent to give up or change sides, you should. Point being he is only likley to do that, once you have subjected him to some harm or threat.

    My real concern being that POP-COIN is either very poorly explained, or actually suffers from profound failure to understand the nature or irregular warfare, - as I think my answer to your questions would seem to indicate.

    The central tenet of POP-COIN is "protecting the population." My reasoning, based on history, is that if you defeat the insurgency (kill, capture, coerce) then you fulfil your aim, axiomatically. My reasoning also being that I want to protect the Government, because the Government, not the Population make the Policies, we wish to benefit from - Clausewitz!
    POP-COIN is essentially a poor reasoning of END-WAYS-MEANS.
    POP-COIN reasons that killing the enemy means killing the population - which is essentially assuming folks are stupid and changing the means to account for it.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    POP-COIN reasons that killing the enemy means killing the population - which is essentially assuming folks are stupid and changing the means to account for it.
    No Wilf, you have it all wrong on this statement.

    If you spend all your time trying to kill the enemy, you stand to lose sight of many things concerning the population, like whether or not the enemy is slipping into his villages and towns at night to deliver mischief and mayhem.

    We should do our best to avoid killing civilians...and that's about the gist of it. You talk a lot about concepts and ideas standing up to rigor. Please show the council where anyone advocating a effort that focuses on the population (or even just looks to pay attention to the population), actually said that killing the enemy mens kills the population.

    That is not an equation I have seen anyone make.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    I think he aimed at the accidental guerrilla aspect that insurgents are a part of the population and linked to it.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    No Wilf, you have it all wrong on this statement.

    If you spend all your time trying to kill the enemy, you stand to lose sight of many things concerning the population, like whether or not the enemy is slipping into his villages and towns at night to deliver mischief and mayhem
    .
    How does any intelligent application of force against the enemy, allow them to freely move in and out of villages? That is precisely what focussing on the enemy would aim to prevent. 1st Core Function is FIND.

    We should do our best to avoid killing civilians...and that's about the gist of it. You talk a lot about concepts and ideas standing up to rigor. Please show the council where anyone advocating a effort that focuses on the population (or even just looks to pay attention to the population), actually said that killing the enemy mens kills the population.
    I have long said that the application of force should be intelligently applied. - EG - not killing civilians. The New ROE for A'STAN explicitly talk about restricting the use of force to prevent civilian casualties, as part of POP CENTRIC COIN do they not.

    My reasoning is same, if not tighter ROE, should be applied as part of going after the enemy.

    Now COMISAF COIN Guidance states claims 8 years of successful kinetic actions have made the problem worse. Essentially in that killing the enemy alienates the population. So does that mean the population all support the Taliban and don't like seeing them get killed or does it mean that negligent use of fire power risks killing the population?

    In fact the document explicitly states that large operations risk killing civilians.

    To logically extrapolate from the COMISAF, it basically says that you can't kill the Taliban because it will make them want to kill you. This logic does not seem to extend to what happens when you have to kill them, when they try and attack the civilians you are trying to protect.
    Last edited by William F. Owen; 08-28-2009 at 05:13 PM.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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