Page 1 of 9 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 161

Thread: What is presence patrolling?

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,209

    Default What is presence patrolling?

    In a post on the thread 'Leading infantry tactics theoreticians/experts today':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...?t=5626&page=4 Jon Custis raised the issue of what is presence patrolling?

    I think this is the part of the paragraph that could launch discussion here:
    Perhaps it should start with a look at the definition of patrolling. (My italics) We haven't discussed it here at the SWC from what I can tell, but what is presence patrolling? One of the most significant complaints concerning OIF that I had and saw was the fact we commuted to work and ran patrols that accomplished very little outside of putting eyes on a certain patch of dirt for that particular period of time. We lost way too many good men and women while they drove to work.
    In a quick scroll through 'Trigger Puller' I found a couple of threads where the issue appeared: Patrol Base Infantry http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2675
    Costly Protection: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=3902
    MRAP & Infantry mobility: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5696

    IIRC the issue has appeared in discussions on peacekeeping and UK operations in Northern Ireland, where building the policing concept of trust and confidence IMHO underpins such patrolling.

    May the discussion begin!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-25-2009 at 10:29 PM. Reason: Slowly constructed
    davidbfpo

  2. #2
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,444

    Default

    "Presence patrol" was often the task in the mission statement handed down to us in Bosnia. This drew the ire of many senior officers who were schooled in the Fulda Gap school of warfighting and who rose through the ranks in the 1990s Army of training for CTC rotations. Some of us began using the more doctrinal-sounding (perhaps even doctrinally correct?) term of "administrative movement." This, too, was objectionable.

    Our response was always, "okay, if the task of 'presence patrol' or 'administrative movement' is an improper 'tactical task,' then please tell us whether raid, ambush, or movement to contact is more appropriate for my 'patrol' to meet with the local police chief." The real question that we wanted to ask was even more cynical: why do we need to hand in typed copies of our FRAGOs to BN? Are you that paranoid that we're not doing our jobs and are you incapable of verifying by conducting on-the-spot checks, rather than having a pile of paperwork handed to you at your desk? But I digress...

    We never got a good answer about why presence patrol was such a problem or what the more appropriate term should be. The gist of it was that we were in Bosnia, largely, to maintain a presence. We did that by driving around and making ourselves highly visible. Hence, the term (task) "presence patrol." It wasn't in 101-5, so it made certain people uneasy.

    That is my understanding.

  3. #3
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default It's providing a presence

    I can't believe that our guys are still asking this, and I suspect it because we have an Army that is indoctrinated versus familiar with doctrine. This gets to Ken's post on the blog under the NPS Thesis on IW, where he severly and rightfully scolds the micro managed training that produces leaders who don't understand the why of what their doing, or how to adapt, they simply follow a series of steps.

    Why do we need to maintain a presence with presence patrols? Maybe to keep the enemy off guard, to provide a sense of security to the populace, to collect intelligence, to learn about the people you're there to work with and protect (learn what their complaints are, not simply rely on walk ins), and the list goes on and on. It should probably be mandatory training in leader training to write a paper on why presence patrols are important. Everyone would run to the doctrinal manuals and complain there isn't a book answer, then the answer from the instructor should be along the lines that doctrine is only a guide, you now have a problem where there is no book answer, figure it out. We have too many leaders who simply want to live in a base, push a patrol out to a specific point to conduct a specific task like an ambush or raid(that can be measured), then go back to base calling it a day and mission accomplished. This mind set has contaminated both conventional and special operations forces.

    You won't necessarily know if you're presence patrols are successful, but in the day men capable of thinking independently (like many Americans who haven't been re-educated in military doctrinal schools) could get a good sense without MOP/MOE whether or not they were on the right or not. I know if the police maintain a consistent presence in an area with a high crime rate, the crime goes down. Yea, it's more dangerous for the officers but that is what they get paid for, and we get paid to fight our enemies, not focus solely on force protection. Fighting involves risk, we all know that. I would have been stuck with the information our S2 gave us if I didn't go out and run numerous presence patrols, which by the way greatly informed the S2. Never complained about, didn't bother looking for how to do it in a doctrinal manual, it was simply the right thing to do.

    We still have a long ways to go to undue the damage of over indoctrinating our force.

  4. #4
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default What he said...

    With an added quote from an AWG Sergeant Major; "All the other combat arms are science, infantry and SF are arts..."

    That predicated on the fact that COIN operations are 'Infantry' like regardless of the branch or backgrounds of those involved; it is cued from Bill's point:
    "We have too many leaders who simply want to live in a base, push a patrol out to a specific point to conduct a specific task like an ambush or raid (that can be measured), then go back to base calling it a day and mission accomplished. This mind set has contaminated both conventional and special operations forces."
    Metrics and war simply do not mix...

    Fire tables, tank gunnery, maintenance parameters, preflight checklists all have their place, I guess, however, in ground combat at the tactical level they and the mentality that drive them become impediments. Much I've heard from participants in both Iraq and Afghanistan leads me to believe impedimentia rules.

  5. #5
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    The UK's concept of "Presence Patrolling" is ensure that the bad guys cannot do stuff, because you are not there to stop them. "Suppress the enemies freedom of action" - just like any patrolling!!

    In Northern Ireland, it actually meant lying up in abandoned houses, or woods, sometimes for a couple of days, then suddenly moving into an area unexpectedly.
    The object was to appear unexpectedly from an unexpected direction.

    In more benign environments it's just showing the flag, and sending he message "don't f**k with us or else," combined with "You're safe because we're here."

    All blinding common sense really.
    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

  6. #6
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    It may seem like blindingly common sense, but when we look at the COIN context, and throw in the paradigm of the combat outpost, as seen is post 86 of this thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...?t=5626&page=5, common sense isn't so easy to determine.

    I think any discussion of presence patrolling needs to have a parallel discussion of the conditions (remember TASK - CONDITION - STANDARD?) to the patrol in question, or how else do you train to standard and evaluate it, and how else do we peel back the layer on this COP issue?

    I admit that with the siting of COPs, there must be balance achieved by a rational application of METT-TS&L, but if we want to be able to "presence patrol" what is that balance? What does presence patrolling really give us if the BGs can enjoy freedom of maneuver when we are not there, in the ville (which seems to typically happen at night).

    I get frustrated the same as the next guy when I see video of an attack taking place on a low-lying COP, but have had to step back and think but if that's where the people are, then there are some basic operational hazards to deal with in that approach...so be it. What I am more frustrated by are patrols that saunter out of the COP perimeter for a period of time, gain terrain and therefore some security for the locals, and then cede that same terrain when they conclude the patrol. They may be establishing a presence for X period of time, but how is that presence achieving what we are trying to do? More importantly, can there be more efficient and force-preserving ways to achieve the same thing?


    You are right Wilf, a presence patrol is, in the end, basic and common sense, and doesn't need to fit into a doctrinal boilerplate. The problem is that presence patrol becomes a bumper sticker slapped on a lot of stuff, and Joe fails to understand the WHY behind why he does it. We definitely need to spend a lot of time lying up, but in a many of the clips I've seen, it doesn't look like our boys are doing that.
    Last edited by jcustis; 11-26-2009 at 08:58 PM.

  7. #7
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    IMO part of the problem is that in most Military patrols you want to detect the presence of the enemy but not reveal your presence until the time of the attack. COIN/Police patrolling is the exact opposite you want to be highly visible for the deterrent effect.....you will get caught so don't commit the crime. Problem is you become a great big target if you are facing a ruthless enemy as opposed to a run of the mill criminal.

  8. #8
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    You are right Wilf, a presence patrol is in the end basic and common sense, and doesn't need to fit into a doctrinal boilerplate. The problem is that presence patrol becomes a bumper sticker slapped on a lot of stuff, and Joe fails to understand the WHY behind why he does it. We definitely need to spend a lot of time lying up, but in a many of the clips I've seen, it doesn't look like our boys are doing that.
    Common sense is not so common?

    Back when I was serving, I came to the conclusion, and more so since, that a great deal of what is taught about patrolling in western armies not really thought through very well. There is a good deal of confusing process with outcomes.
    If you are walking the streets to walk the streets, then something is wrong. Patrols have to have an objective and clear purpose. Joe should be taught that.
    That's why there is a huge difference between hunting and just walking around the woods with a gun!
    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

  9. #9
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    IMO part of the problem is that in most Military patrols you want to detect the presence of the enemy but not reveal your presence until the time of the attack. COIN/Police patrolling is the exact opposite you want to be highly visible for the deterrent effect.....you will get caught so don't commit the crime. Problem is you become a great big target if you are facing a ruthless enemy as opposed to a run of the mill criminal.
    Got it in one Slap, me old'Mustang driver!

    What you really want to do is switch seamlessly between the two, and keep everyone else guessing. Not that hard, once you know how.
    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

  10. #10
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Got it in one Slap, me old'Mustang driver!

    What you really want to do is switch seamlessly between the two, and keep everyone else guessing. Not that hard, once you know how.
    Yep, it police world you would have a mix of uniformed and plain clothes police officers and then go have fun watching the bad guys try to figure it out

  11. #11
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    Not that hard, once you know how.
    That's a great proposition, but "knowing how" is where we (at least in the American military) fall short at times.

    We have too many leaders who simply want to live in a base, push a patrol out to a specific point to conduct a specific task like an ambush or raid(that can be measured), then go back to base calling it a day and mission accomplished. This mind set has contaminated both conventional and special operations forces.
    Yes, a big problem...I don't want to go to a specific point and come back though. I want to go to another specific point and perform a task, then another point. Stay afield and perform a rest cycle, then begin anew. With very few exceptions, we don't do that, but it's been proven as recently as this year that we can.

    Our response was always, "okay, if the task of 'presence patrol' or 'administrative movement' is an improper 'tactical task,' then please tell us whether raid, ambush, or movement to contact is more appropriate for my 'patrol' to meet with the local police chief."
    As denoted below from the Marine Corps publication "Marine Rifle Squad" MCWP 3-11.2 (the acronym we use for combat patrols is RACES), that could appropriately be categorized as a contact patrol because the chief is supposed to be friend. It could also, in a sense of splitting hairs, be categorized as a basic security patrol.

    a. Raid Patrols. Raid patrols destroy or capture enemy personnel or
    equipment, destroy installations, or free friendly personnel who have been
    captured by the enemy.
    b. Contact Patrols. Contact patrols establish and/or maintain contact
    with friendly or enemy forces.
    c. Economy of Force Patrols. Economy of force patrols perform
    limited objective missions such as seizing and holding key terrain to allow
    maximum forces to be used elsewhere.
    d. Ambush Patrols. Ambush patrols conduct ambushes of enemy
    patrols, carrying parties, foot columns, and convoys.
    e. Security Patrols. Security patrols detect infiltration by the enemy, kill
    or capture infiltrators, and protect against surprise or ambush.

    I don't think we get hung up on the actual task as much as we struggle with the PURPOSE, based on what higher headquarters wants us to do, what our personal protective equipment posture is supposed to be, what the enemy situation is (another area we tend to be terrible at at times), what the terrain and weather look like, what conveyance we intend to use to get to those specific points we outline, what the civilian situation is, and on and on. And sometimes, figuring that out amongst the rest of the white noise, requires lot more than just common sense.

  12. #12
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    jcustis, yea it is just guard duty You have an interior and exterior guard, you have mobile patrols and fixed posts all over your AO.......I will guard everything within the limits of post and quit my post only when properly relieved. we don't need a COIN manual we need basic training general orders.

    The other COIN Manual FM 22-6 Guard Duty......The Real POP-Centric manual.
    https://rdl.train.army.mil/soldierPo...m/22-6/toc.htm
    Last edited by slapout9; 11-26-2009 at 03:29 PM. Reason: add stuff

  13. #13
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    we don't need a COIN manual we need basic training general orders.
    Aye, and we need to take a really hard look at the operational risk calculations when we are figuring this stuff out. I'm convinced that based on the threat (which is no joke, I grant you) we are defaulting to mostly passive measures to mitigate the risk, and that is all so very wrong.

  14. #14
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    ArmyStudyGuide.com provides an example to the T-C-S methodology for how one common task guide lays it out:

    171-300-0016 - Conduct a Presence Patrol
    Conduct a presence patrol so that the military presence of US troops is projected, and all appropriate human intelligence (HUMINT) information is gathered and the commander's intent is met. Interaction with local or foreign civilians, law enforcement, governmental officials or military is conducted in a manner that did not incite aggression against US forces or our allies. Maintained force protection, as appropriate, for the threat situation. Conducted actions on contact. Maintained situational awareness by monitoring FM communications and/or the FBCB2/IVIS

    Conditions: In a tactical environment as the section leader, given an operations order (OPORD) or fragmentary order (FRAGO) to conduct a presence patrol either mounted or dismounted, an operational vehicle, maps with graphic control measures, signal operation instructions (SOI), and the requirement to conduct a presence patrol through populated terrain and/or urban built-up area. Your vehicle may be equipped with the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below (FBCB2) system/ intervehicular information system (IVIS) with the current map, operational overlay, and order displayed.

    Standards: Conducted a presence patrol so that the military presence of US troops is projected, and all appropriate human intelligence (HUMINT) information is gathered and the commander's intent is met. Interaction with local or foreign civilians, law enforcement, governmental officials or military is conducted in a manner that did not incite aggression against US forces or our allies. Maintained force protection, as appropriate, for the threat situation. Conducted actions on contact. Maintained situational awareness by monitoring FM communications and/or the FBCB2/IVIS.

    Performance Steps

    NOTE: The primary purpose of the presence patrol is to be seen by military forces and civilians in the area of operations. Although this patrol does perform limited reconnaissance and security functions; it should be planned and conducted as a combat patrol......
    Complete list of performance steps is at the link.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 11-30-2009 at 07:34 PM.

  15. #15
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    223

    Default Presents patrols

    We started calling them 'presents' patrols since we almost always were passing out soccer balls or gum or something.

    Seriously, the reason why we didn't like the term 'presence' was not that it was not in the field manuals; it was because it often denoted a patrol that was routinized, purposeless, and non-productive, if not actually counter-productive.

    Every patrol should have a purpose, or multiple purposes. It can be 'engage citizen X and Y', or 'observe activity in marketplace', or 'conduct route reconnaissance'. Too many times, 'presence patrols' were labeled that way because subordinate commanders had no clue what they should be doing or were too lazy or too busy to properly plan their daily activities. A 'presence patrol' was easy to mount and easy to count as successful. In our corner of the world we just directed that they be called 'patrols' and that each had a clear task and purpose attached.

  16. #16
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    DeRidder LA
    Posts
    3,949

    Default

    We started calling them 'presents' patrols since we almost always were passing out soccer balls or gum or something.

    Seriously, the reason why we didn't like the term 'presence' was not that it was not in the field manuals; it was because it often denoted a patrol that was routinized, purposeless, and non-productive, if not actually counter-productive.
    Spot on. The term presence becomes synonomous with routine interpreted to mean "no planning and no purpose". We did that as UN observers too often and I suspect it migrated from the Balkan operations to US operations.

    It is not the same as a presence mission; establish a presence is a mission. Conduct a "presence" patrol however soon turns into drive through/walk through without a purpose, without a plan, and all too often without a clue. We saw this quite a bit at the JRTC especially in the earlier days of MREs; such patrols were meat on the hook for Geranimo

    Best
    Tom

  17. #17
    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    RC-S, Afghanistan
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    It is not the same as a presence mission; establish a presence is a mission. Conduct a "presence" patrol however soon turns into drive through/walk through without a purpose, without a plan, and all too often without a clue. We saw this quite a bit at the JRTC especially in the earlier days of MREs; such patrols were meat on the hook for Geranimo
    From what I saw in Afghanistan in early 08-09, this is what "presence/presents patrols" turned into, especially in the over-tasked and under-resourced East. A weekly/monthly visit to a district center constituted a "presence" patrol, and was done as fast as possible. Stops in the bazaar, or to talk to road workers, etc. were verboten, because it was time consuming and we had to be back before dark.

    As a HUMINT guy, these "patrols" were almost worthless, even if one of the supposed purposes was to "gather intelligence" (other than for orientation so we could refer to landmarks when talking to sources). It's really hard to gather intelligence when watching out the window of a HUMVEE/MRAP and then talking to a corrupt district police chief for fifteen minutes.
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
    -- Ken White


    "With a plan this complex, nothing can go wrong." -- Schmedlap

    "We are unlikely to usefully replicate the insights those unencumbered by a military staff college education might actually have." -- William F. Owen

  18. #18
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Norfolk VA
    Posts
    77

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Spot on. The term presence becomes synonomous with routine interpreted to mean "no planning and no purpose". We did that as UN observers too often and I suspect it migrated from the Balkan operations to US operations.

    It is not the same as a presence mission; establish a presence is a mission. Conduct a "presence" patrol however soon turns into drive through/walk through without a purpose, without a plan, and all too often without a clue. We saw this quite a bit at the JRTC especially in the earlier days of MREs; such patrols were meat on the hook for Geranimo

    Best
    Tom
    Its unfortunate that we get hung up on task terminology and definition and not on the PURPOSE. I always liked the COA development drill I learned at Ft Benning that directed development of the PURPOSES for all of the moving parts before assigning them aligned tasks. the tasks were understood to be subordiante, supporting, concepts to the PURPOSE.
    As JCustis relates above, patrolling is another method, just like establishing a COP, or conducting a sweep, or doing something else. Its hard for our troops to be "strategic corporals" if they don't know why they are doing what they do.
    I'd hope that any patrol is conducted as part of a larger plan (that considers more than just the patrol itself). A patrol, by its nature, is not as permanent as a COP, or other outpost, but we can control the periodicity, the randomness, the area covered. There was also a comment about ceding the night (no patrols?). I hope that's not true. I'd wager that "presence" at night in certain areas is as important as "presence" during the day.

    Phil Ridderhof USMC

  19. #19
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Megalopolis
    Posts
    83

    Default

    In the question of Patrol efficacy: do you think they can replace intel collection & security measures in and around outposts? I've felt minefields, early warning systems, wire and other obstacles might also have a place in security. If so does all this apply in certain AOs & not others as might be expected?

    The presence patrol is so enshrined in the western mentality that you might say I'm conducting a presence patrol incident to a Ford Motor Company psy-ops campaign just by driving in public.

    "Showing the flag" is a consistent part of the method behind such patrols. Don't forget every patrol is a reconnaisance patrol & as the US soldier is the "Ultimate Weapon" every patrol is a kind of victory parade in the spirit of TR's Great White Fleet Voyage...

  20. #20
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    as the US soldier is the "Ultimate Weapon" every patrol is a kind of victory parade in the spirit of TR's Great White Fleet Voyage...
    I'm not sure I savvy your meaning with this, but if you're leaning towards presence patrols as a means of showing who's boss, I suppose that could work. More often than not, at least in Afghanistan, I think we'd be more likely to simply breed resentment or one sort or another.

Similar Threads

  1. Our Troops Did Not Fail in 2006
    By SWJED in forum Who is Fighting Whom? How and Why?
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 04-07-2008, 08:08 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •