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Thread: New Guidance on Counter-Insurgency

  1. #21
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    Default Use of Vignettes in COMISAF COIN Guidance

    I suggest COMISAF's guidance for COIN is a good example of tight writing and appropriate use of vignettes to drive home a point. Alarmingly the current trend in draft revisions of Army doctrinal manuals is not to include such vignettes (see the posts on Army Doctrine Reengineering on the TRADOC Senior Leaders Conference thread). As you well know by now I think this is a mistake. In writing doctrine we should follow GEN McC's lead rather than sacrificing the inclusion of any historical perspective in doctrinal manuals on the altar of brevity (as we are apparently about to do).

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    Default Peter Hopkirk

    A possible addition to the discussion would be Peter Hopkirk's "The Great Game - The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia". It is the story of a small military force controlling a sub continent with northern extensions. It can be said that the English having practiced on the tribal peoples of Scotland, Ireland and Wales decided to turn to the sub continent of India.

    From Hopkirk's "Prologue"

    "If this narrative tells us nothing else, it at least shows that not much has changed in the last hundred years. The storming of embassies by frenzied mobs, the murder of diplomats and the dispatch of warships to the Persian Gulf..."

    "Had the Russians in December 1979 remembered Britain's unhappy experiences in Afghanistan in 1842... then they may not have fallen into the same terrible trap.."

    "The Afghans, Moscow found too late, were an unbeatable foe. Not only had they lost none of their formidable fighting ability, especially in terrain of their own choosing, but they were quick to embrace the latest techniques of warfare..." "...their modern counterparts the heat-seeking Stinger, which proved so lethal againist Russian helicopter-gunships"

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    Default The Issue

    The issue in population-centric COIN versus anything else, or even just itself as a term is percentage of operations. At its core, in irregular or counter-insurgency warfare there are different types of missions. On one hand you can conduct actions against the enemy, counter-force. On the other, you can conduct security operations to prevent the enemy, or insurgent from influencing the population either through persuasion or coercion. The key is that they are not the same mission. Logistics, intelligence, information operations, governance development, and economic/infrastructure development.

    That being said, the US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq were primarily conducting counter-force operations. You are right Wilf, we were not very effective and we caused civilian casualties. However, the solution is not better counter-force operations it is more security patrols. Security leads to every other aspect of COIN. And, yes they mix up so improved security leads to improved governance which creates better security. There is no simple if this then that, but changing the bulk of our patrols will lead to a more empowered government.

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Tactical debate hinders strategic thought

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
    There is no simple if this then that, but changing the bulk of our patrols will lead to a more empowered government.
    Maybe it will; maybe it won't. Empowered, better governance is up to the host nation. We can secure areas, build infrastructure, advise the government and military apparatus forever, but in the end, it is up to the populace and governing bodies to determine how they are going to live. I believe that this never-ending tactical debate on kinetic versus non-kinetic actions in war distracts our thinking on the real debate.

    I would suggest, as currently constructed, a population-centric COIN model applied to the coalition efforts in Afghanistan may allow the Governent of Afghanistan to secure large portions of territory. That is it. It will not solve the illiteracy problem, the unemployment problem, the drug problem, the ethnic divisions, nor will it end radical Islamic terrorism. So, what should we be doing? This answer is something that has been perculating for a while...Maybe this thread is a good place to explore.

    I think we need to relook our assumptions. Here's some that I've started.

    1. We don't do COIN outside US borders. Ken White restated this again earlier this morning, but it is true. COIN is something that a Host Nation (HN) does. When we conduct operations inside someone elses borders, we are playing the role of a partisan force or International Community. Some examples of intervention include:

    A. Occupation. We take over. Germany and Japan after WWII.
    B. Security Force Assistance. Combination of military and political ASSISTANCE throughout the world. (Phillipines, Colombia).
    C. Peace-keeping. Bosnia/Kosovo.
    D. Regime Change (For lack of a better term.) Iraq (2003), Afghanistan (2001).

    2. The military is best equipped to conduct security operations. We have several approaches to accompish security. It appears that a combination is currently being used in Afghanistan.

    A. Mentoring. Typical MiTT teams. Small groups of advisors focus on training military staffs.
    B. Advice/Assist. Traditional Foreign Internal Defense. Small groups of advisors work directly with a larger combat unit.
    C. Partnering. GPF forces pair up with HN companies on a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio.
    D. Unilateral. We do it ourselves, and hope that the HN military catches up.


    3. There are other alternatives to nation/state-building than military options.

    A. One understudied approach is the use of non-state actors to tackle non-state symptoms. Greg Mortenson's work in building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan is a great example of a social entrepeneur creating real progress WITHOUT security.

    B. Another approach is soft-power or indirect approach. Plan Colombia is a great example where State Department leads the effort to assist the government with a small military presence as advisors.

    Long post, but a culmination of my thoughts for the week. Looking foward to hearing others comments/criticisms.

    v/r

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeF; 08-28-2009 at 08:40 PM.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    1. We don't do COIN outside US borders. Ken White restated this again earlier this morning, but it is true. COIN is something that a Host Nation (HN) does. When we conduct operations inside someone elses borders, we are playing the role of a partisan force or International Community. Some examples of intervention include:
    True but we support COIN ops by those host nations as part of FID, SFA or whatever we call it.

    Tom

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
    On one hand you can conduct actions against the enemy, counter-force. On the other, you can conduct security operations to prevent the enemy, or insurgent from influencing the population either through persuasion or coercion.
    ....and there's the rub. How many platoons or squads do you want to put in how many villages? 24 Hour security requires 2-3 shifts. What size of population is worth a platoon? Do you protect every compound?
    Are you being successful if the Taliban can only kill 30 civilians a month?
    The real problem with the "POP-COIN" approach is that you are making a promise you can't keep. The Taliban can far more easily keep their promise to go on killing he infidels.
    You require massive logistic support for those operations, there is the risk that the Taliban roam free interdicting your supply routes. More over the static security approach does defeat the Taliban. They merely go on existing.

    That being said, the US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq were primarily conducting counter-force operations. You are right Wilf, we were not very effective and we caused civilian casualties. However, the solution is not better counter-force operations it is more security patrols. Security leads to every other aspect of COIN.
    Sorry, I disagree. Patrolling is an aid to fixing the enemy. It reduces their freedom of action. Yes, security operations are vital, but not to the degree where the enemy has less to fear.
    The solution is better "counter-force" operations. That requires a solid approach to ENDS, WAYS and MEANS. US Forces should be better trained, better commanded and better equipped than the Taliban. Security is always traded against Activity, and it is very time dependent.
    Intelligence is the key. All efforts should be harnessed in that direction. Nothing here is new. The entire first chapter of Callwell's Small Wars devotes an entire chapter to it. Kitson talks about it at great length. In fact, if you wanted to drift out on another definition of "Irregular Warfare," then the primacy of tactical intelligence would be a not all-wrong start.
    So, given that you can successfully and consistently locate the enemy and or predict his activity, why would you not harness that towards killing/capturing him?

    Another sad fact that POP-COIN refuses to recognise is that Afghan civilian deaths are almost entirely politically irrelevant. US/UK deaths are vastly more politically significant in terms of sustaining the political will to remain committed.
    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 MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Changing the Lingo...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    True but we support COIN ops by those host nations as part of FID, SFA or whatever we call it. Tom
    Tom,

    You aptly described what we are doing (Oxford and Princeton version),; I am attempting to reframe the conversation towards what should we be doing not monday-morning quarterback the boys on the ground.

    I am simply trying to shift this debate from tactical towards strategic and policy. If I was a commander on the ground in Afghanistan right now, I would follow McChrystal's words verbatem.

    There is simply a huge gap between clear and build, between COIN theory and nation-building. If anything, your time in Africa can attest to that.

    Overall, my thoughts are the tactical debate (Nagl v/s Gentile, kinetic v/s non-kinetic, those that get "it" v/s those that don't) is irrelevant in the strategic sphere of transnational terrorism, limitations of democratization, and constraints of globalization coupled in the age old mantras of tribes, ethnicity, and religion.

    I wish I had simple answers. I do not.


    v/r

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeF; 08-29-2009 at 07:35 AM.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Overall, my thoughts are the tactical debate (Nagl v/s Gentile, kinetic v/s non-kinetic, those that get "it" v/s those that don't) is irrelevant in the strategic sphere of transnational terrorism, limitations of democratization, and constraints of globalization coupled in the age old mantras of tribes, ethnicity, and religion.

    I wish I had simple answers. I do not.
    OK, all good points, but what do you mean "Strategic?" Strategy and policy are not the same things. Tactics (Operations?) is how you apply strategy. Strategy should set forth the policy.

    The Policy in Iraq/A'Stan is to force Pro-US Governments upon the population of each nation. Anti-US Governments are unacceptable.
    That, simply stated is the aim. In this case, the "Strategy" is how you use specific actions and effects (Tactics) to make that happen. That may include violent (military) and non-violent (diplomacy) means. Military means require the use or the threatened use of force.

    Overall my thoughts are that the COIN/FID/Peacekeeping debate is irrelevant in that it always manages to frame the problem, and thus solution, in the terms the observer finds most appealing to their political inclination and not in terms of what the evidence suggests.

    The issue you are trying to force in irregular warfare is almost always that the irregulars (insurgents?) cannot win by violent means. They must surrender/disband and/or negotiate a settlement beneficial to you, the Government. Unless the enemy is being convinced of that, all else is frankly rubbish.

    What ever you want to call it, the reason the US Armed Forces are in Iraq and A'Stan is there is a need to conduct warfare. Warfare requires will and skill, regardless of the type being conducted. Any policy or idea that detracts from that simple truth is extremely risky and historically likely to fail.
    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 Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    ....and there's the rub. How many platoons or squads do you want to put in how many villages? 24 Hour security requires 2-3 shifts. What size of population is worth a platoon? Do you protect every compound? Are you being successful if the Taliban can only kill 30 civilians a month? The real problem with the "POP-COIN" approach is that you are making a promise you can't keep. The Taliban can far more easily keep their promise to go on killing he infidels.
    I keep telling that to people for maybe two years now.

    My interpretation of the whole affair is that the "establish security" crowd thinks of magic, for there's a huge black box in their reasoning.

    Problem - black box - security established

    It's the old rule; those who attempt to defend everything defend nothing. Old Frederick already knew that 250 years ago, why is it so difficult to grasp today? Ego?

    The Spanish cannot prevent bomb strikes of ETA in their own country for decades. How should that work in Afghanistan? What's the troopsopulation ratio? One soldier who leaves the fortified bases per village?

    ISAF will never manage to do the equivalent of the police of Naples providing a witness-protection programme for the whole population of Southern Italy.

    Maybe the problem is simply that ego prevents people from accepting their lack of power, so they adopt an illusion and follow a route that at least promises them to be powerful enough to handle their problem.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-29-2009 at 11:30 AM. Reason: Tidy up and spelling.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default This tact didn't work in the 60s; and definitely fails today

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    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 likely 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.
    Focusing on crushing the insurgent has never done more than create, in effect, a "cease fire" until such time as the populace can generate whatever part of the equation (leaders, ideology, fighters, resources) you have taken out. History is rife with examples of locations where there have been COIN "victory" after "victory." If it keeps coming back, you never resolved anything.

    This is the problem with the Colonial mentality. It rationalizes that the outside presence is proper, and that governments supported by that outside presence are therefore proper as well. Most populaces disagree, though most will also tend to put up with it as well. As Thomas Jefferson said:

    "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

    In today's information environment it provides more advantages to the insurgent than it does to the government. Tactics like those practiced successfully in Malaysia would be far less likely to succeed today. One Dinosaur of the new info age is the "Friendly Dictator." No longer can a Colonial power (or a pseudo-"I'm not really a colonial power, I'm the U.S.") strike a deal with some Dictator that is mutually beneficial for those parties, but that rides on the back of the Dictator's populace, for one simple reason: Other than perhaps N. Korea, there is nowhere on earth where the populace, and the information available to the populace, can be fully controlled.

    Now, I am not a big fan of the CNAS-promoted form of COIN that is based in tackling "effectiveness" of government and controlling populaces. What Kilcullen calls "Population-Centric" COIN.

    I am, however, a fan of my own theory which is based in tackling "poorness" of governance (targeted on the specific issues by region/community that are at the core of causation; while also targeting the aspects of the governance that deny those same populaces the ability to address these issues through legitimate means) and supporting the populace (governments come and go, as do threats. The populace is what endures. Ultimately, all governments are expendable, and threats transient. Focus on what's really important). What I call "Populace-Centric" COIN.

    WILF is pretty savvy on conventional warfare, both between states and with irregular forces as well; but my opinion, in his refusal to recognize that warfare within a state is unique and must be handled differently than by the rules derived from Napoleonic warfare; is dangerously off track when discussing insurgency.

    The Brits lost an empire "winning" insurgencies using the mindset WILF promotes. The U.S. will suffer a similar fate if we apply the same. Good news for the Brits was that they had little brother to pass the torch to. The US might want to ponder just who picks up the torch when we are forced to drop it as well...
    Last edited by Bob's World; 08-29-2009 at 11:15 AM.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    WILF is pretty savvy on conventional warfare, both between states and with irregular forces as well; but my opinion, in his refusal to recognize that warfare within a state is unique and must be handled differently than by the rules derived from Napoleonic warfare; is dangerously off track when discussing insurgency.
    Well thanks, but actually I am merely repeating the cannons and teachings of great men, in whose shadow I reside. I am not an original thinker, by any stretch.
    So how exactly is war within a state different? Spanish, US, English(3) and Columbian civil wars ? The de-facto Iraqi Civil war?
    a.) There are no rules derived from Napoleon's conduct of War (not warfare). He merely made enemies to create no advantage. He lost. The era in which he conducted Warfare holds relevant and timeless lessons.
    b.) I merely suggest using force to gain what force has always been best at gaining. The insurgents are using force. Why the great confusion in persuading them to pursue peaceful means?
    An insurgency is rarely, if ever, a legitimate expression of discontent.
    If you don't take military action against an "insurgency", the "insurgency" will win, using military action against you! - as in Cuba and Nicaragua.

    The Brits lost an empire "winning" insurgencies using the mindset WILF promotes. The U.S. will suffer a similar fate if we apply the same. Good news for the Brits was that they had little brother to pass the torch to. The US might want to ponder just who picks up the torch when we are forced to drop it as well...
    Actually that's not true. We did not loose an Empire. Retaining an Empire was not economically or politically viable, after 1945 - mainly thanks to the US!
    For 180 years, we held onto our Empire and expanded it, almost exclusively using skill in irregular warfare, as an expression of the politics of the age.
    Post 1945, what our ability to conduct irregular warfare achieved in most cases, (thought not all) were non-communist Governments who could be productive members of the Common Wealth, at the time of independence. -contrast and compare that to the French and Dutch!

    The two insurrections we "lost" - Ireland and Palestine, were against mostly against British Army trained irregulars, - both in under 2 years and both after a major war.
    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 Bob's World's Avatar
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    All Clausewitz and Jomini is rooted in Napoleonic warfare. Good stuff both, but products of the era all the same. The trick is to ferret out the enduring principles and to ID what is colored the most heavily by the Westphalian system of governance it occurred within, and the European culture as well.

    Also, all violence is not warfare; just as all warfare is not violent. To over simplify in the wrong areas is dangerous, not so much in others. This is a dangerous area as it can shape bad strategy, which is far more dangerous than bad tactics (for a nation, not necessarily the poor infantryman on point). There are broad categories, and sliding scales of violence within each. When does dissatisfaction become insurrection, and when does insurrection become insurgency...more importantly, do such distinctions even matter to divining and applying effective strategy (which should span all three).

    Similarly, when does competition between states become rivalry, and when does rivalry become warfare, and again, as to strategy, does where you are on the scale really matter?

    We tend to focus on what is in front of our face, and assess it as colored by what we know and or have experienced. Quite natural. As a strategist I believe one must be able to look beyond what is in front of their face, and similarly be able to step back from what they know to consider what others know as well. I haven't met many strategic thinkers, as like leadership, it is a talent that can be trained, but no amount of training will create it where no talent exists.

    Westerners are particularly blind to perspectives of others. Look at the definition we apply to "Failed and Failing" states. We define the Westphalian system; designed by Europeans for Europeans and then exported around the globe through colonialism; and then use those criteria to call any populace that dares to reject, or simply cannot make work, that system within the borders those same colonials drew for them, to be "failed." Pure arrogance.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member max161's Avatar
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    Default I agree but herein lies the problem with the American Way of COIN

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    warfare within a state is unique and must be handled differently than by the rules derived from Napoleonic warfare; is dangerously off track when discussing insurgency.
    Though I disagree with the backhanded slap at Clausewitz, Bob because passion, reason, and chance and the fact that war [all war] is a true chameleon is still applicable - he was not advocating how to fight using Napolenic warfare but like Sun Tzu (and I am convinced he read the 1789 French translation of the the great Master Sun) he admonishes us to understand the nature and character of the war, but I digress).


    The problem with the American Way of COIN (as adapted from the American Way of War) is that the way we fight a war within a state presupposes US forces being in charge. We want to take the lead and we rationalize this in all kinds of ways as in when they stand up we will stand down, they are not ready, we have to provide security until they can get on their own two feet. With us in charge we undercut the very legitimacy that we seek to provide to the state. Now of course we have gotten to where we are today because we deposed two totalitarian regimes (that needed deposing) and now we have to come in and conduct armed social work.

    Just for a minute if we think about what if we had used those dreaded Napoleonic rules of war and looked to take the surrender of the those regimes (a success to those criminals who were in charge) and instead of destroying the government and all its institutions (Sun Tzu: it is better to take a country in tact that to destroy it, it is better to take an Army in tact than to destroy it) we took the surrender akin to Germany and Japan and then embarked on a Marshall plan type effort to support the successor regime and allowed that successor government to develop in accordance with its own customs, traditions, and political processes rather than impose our own way on them.

    To be successful in supporting a host nation in its war within in a state we must support the host nation. They must be in charge as the COIN equation is that there are only 3 main elements:

    1. the insurgents
    2. the population (battlefield of human terrain)
    3. the counter-insurgent (and this includes as a sub-element external support to the nation conducting COIN).

    Unfortunately we do not like being the sub-element and only in a support role. It is our nature to be in charge and build all institutions in our image (including the host nation security forces and their ways of governance).

    We are on the right track with our emphasis on cultural awareness in today's situation. It is the new buzzword phrase (along with cultural agility and other similar catch phrases). We want cultural awareness so we can derive solutions that we think will work within that culture and also because we think it will win us the hearts and minds of the people (again, us as in the U.S., winning the hearts and minds which is the wrong construct - we should not be worrying about us winning hearts and minds but support the host nation in ensuring they have the hearts and minds of their population, but I digress again) Unfortunately we use cultural awareness as a means to an end and do not strive for the two things that are really necessary - cultural understanding (e.g., the reality of that culture as it really is, was, and likely always will be) and cutlural respect (and the understanding that we cannot and should not try to change it, nor their political systems, legal systems, etc -change can only come from within and while we can nurture and support that change it is of course generational and we cannot and should not try to force that change).

    Now to my bottom line. (Sorry I did not put it up front). I am afraid that the American Way of COIN presupposes future OIF and OEFs. Although it does not explicitly say it, our doctrine combined with OUR strategic culture also presupposes us being in charge always (just look at the hot debates we have had had in the past about US forces under command of a foreign commander - something many Americans will never stand for, but I continue to digress and I apologive for the rambling). We pay lip service to FID and the new fashionable term Security Force Assistance but as we look at how we are going to employ forces it is all about "shaping" the environment and this in turn can undercut our legitamacy. FID is still the best construct for what we need to do because the very nature of its definition is that it supports the host nation in its programs for internal defense and development which is critical for war within a state (FID: "Participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in any of the action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency.")

    So in closing, I would say that war within a state has to be conducted by he state, it can have external support but that external support cannot supplant that legitmate and sovereign nation-state. If it does it is defacto an occupying power and of course one of types of traditional insurgencies is to rid a country of an occupying power. And if we would kep in mind those Napoleonic principles in the future and ensure that our military operations against a nation state result in a formal surrender we might not have to be forced back into a "you break it you buy it" situaiton.

    And lastly, we must purge ourselves of the romanticization of COIN. It is this idea that we can come in and save the people by us being in charge that gets us into trouble. We need to figure out how to best help a soveriegn nation state (when it is of course in our strategic, national interest). Yes, I am a student (just a student, not a self-described expert) of TE Lawrence and all the other great COIN theorists but I do not think that we should try to fancy ourselves as Lawrences as it is so fashionable to say today. The romanticization of COIN today is going to hurt us in the long run and we need to ensure our future doctrine development understands that. Yes we are going to be faced with a myriad of threats around the world from irregular forces with hybrid capabilities. But underforunately it will be the rare case in the future when we can take them on directly and we must realize that we have to support soveriegn nations in their quest to bring security and stability to their under-governed, perhaps improperly governed and ungoverned spaces that provide sanctuary for insurgents and terrorists.

    Finally, I wholeheartedly agee with Bob that war within a state requires a different way of operating. We know how to do that. We have had doctrine for it. Now we need to build strategies and campaign plans that will correctly implement that doctrine to acheive our national security objectives.

    Dave
    David S. Maxwell
    "Irregular warfare is far more intellectual than a bayonet charge." T.E. Lawrence

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    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.
    This is not always the case. In the Philippines in the last years of the Marcos regime, the Communist New People's Army had roughly 40k armed members and was approaching strategic parity with a poorly led and demoralized AFP. In '86 Marcos fell, and his network of local governors, mayors and village captains, many of them in place for decades and responsible for a wide variety of abuses that served as recruiting tools for the NPA, were removed and replaced. NPA numbers dropped drastically, and by the mid 90s they were down to 6-8000. The hardcore ideologues stayed with the fight, but the followers abandoned it en masse - not because they were harmed or threatened, but because the regime they perceived as their enemy was no longer there, elections were happening, and there was potential for change within the existing political framework.

    Only one case of course, but it illustrates the importance of understanding why the insurgent fights - not "the insurgency", as a whole, but the individual insurgent. The insurgency may be Communist, Islamist, Separatist, what have you, but it's often the case that many of the individual insurgents are fighting not because they are devoted to those goals but because of some more immediate and often more local grievance. Addressing those grievances may not eliminate the insurgency, but it can dramatically reduce the appeal of the insurgency to the populace, reducing recruitment and increasing defections.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Only one case of course, but it illustrates the importance of understanding why the insurgent fights - not "the insurgency", as a whole, but the individual insurgent. The insurgency may be Communist, Islamist, Separatist, what have you, but it's often the case that many of the individual insurgents are fighting not because they are devoted to those goals but because of some more immediate and often more local grievance. Addressing those grievances may not eliminate the insurgency, but it can dramatically reduce the appeal of the insurgency to the populace, reducing recruitment and increasing defections.
    An excellent point. If you look at fluctuations in the strength of Hamas over the years, for example, it soon becomes clear that it has relatively little to do with IDF military activities. Rather, it grew during the first intifada (at a time when the IDF shifted from initial passive tolerance to active countermeasures--in a sense, IDF military action against it enhanced its "street cred"), waned sharply at the beginning of the Oslo process (when it fell to single digits in some polls as a consequence of optimism about the peace process), grew to over 40% by 2006 (because of a combination of collapse of the peace process and poor Fateh/PA governance), and has slowly slipped since then (largely because Hamas governance hasn't been much better, although here it could also be argued that IDF military action has had some effect).
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    What Dave said!

    (And I don't rough up CvC, only those who take him a bit too literally and universally. Everything must be read within the context of its time and culture. Sun Tzu was crafted over hundreds of years of experience I believe, so has a broader base of time; but both still colored by their cultures all the same)

    And when I speak to populace focused approaches, it is not to say one does not go through the government; but often it is the government that must change the most for them to regain peace with their populace. So my focus is to help the Gov't get straight with its populace, or if they refuse either leave, or help the populace get a Gov't that will (depends on how big the interest is that brought us there); but to simply take the govt as they are and assist them in subduing their populace is simply to add our names to the target list.

    Often we refuse to play hardball with governments because we fear the consequences. Often these fears are based in our addictions (energy being a big one); sometimes these fears our based in concerns with other states and what happens if we lose some support or right of access from the one we are engaging. Fear is healthy. It just isn't always rational.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    And when I speak to populace focused approaches, it is not to say one does not go through the government; but often it is the government that must change the most for them to regain peace with their populace. So my focus is to help the Gov't get straight with its populace, or if they refuse either leave, or help the populace get a Gov't that will (depends on how big the interest is that brought us there); but to simply take the govt as they are and assist them in subduing their populace is simply to add our names to the target list.

    Bob, I know you are tired of hearing this COG thing come up, but you just explained what I have been trying to say but could not do it. The Government is the COG....the People are the Objective/Target. I think that is critical to understand because just protecting the people or killing them is not going to solve the problem. And your populace based theory is a winning theory and people should read it more carefully and stuff Ask yourself why do people form governments in the first place? Understanding that and why governments fail or succeed will show you how to win.

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    Default COG theory is tricky, and art (so no "right" answer)

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Bob, I know you are tired of hearing this COG thing come up, but you just explained what I have been trying to say but could not do it. The Government is the COG....the People are the Objective/Target. I think that is critical to understand because just protecting the people or killing them is not going to solve the problem. And your populace based theory is a winning theory and people should read it more carefully and stuff Ask yourself why do people form governments in the first place? Understanding that and why governments fail or succeed will show you how to win.
    Slap, I understand what you mean when you say the Gov't is the COG, but I also understand that you are a "Wardenphile", and that fits. I would categorize the Gov't more as both a CR and CV; and the Populace as the COG. One does not necessarily try to defeat the COG, but in these internal conflicts more aptly one is out to win the support of the COG. Every populace must have a Govt of some sort, so therefore it is a CR. Failure of Govt is what gives rise to insurgency, so therefore this CR is also a CV and must be "targeted" to fix the points of poor governance.

    Even in external conflicts where the COG is likely something that must be "defeated" I rarely think it is something that should be attacked directly. Derive the CRs that make it function in the way that makes it the COG in the first place; and then derive a subset of those CRs to the ones that are also susceptible to successful engagement, and call those CVs and make them the focus of your campaign.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    I read CvC in original and my stomach cringes every time when I see such 'liberal' uses of the Schwerpunkt concept.

    It's time to define a new term, the 'liberal' uses are really not connected with the original meaning any more - they're more like buzzwords.

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    Default What I read of CvC

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I read CvC in original and my stomach cringes every time when I see such 'liberal' uses of the Schwerpunkt concept.

    It's time to define a new term, the 'liberal' uses are really not connected with the original meaning any more - they're more like buzzwords.
    He really didn't have much to say about COG. But then I sure never read the original, nor all of any translation.

    To me this is a concept he tossed up for consideration, and all real value comes from how it has been applied and thought about by others.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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