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Thread: Discussion: Integrating Counterinsurgency into Army Professional Education

  1. #1
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default Discussion: Integrating Counterinsurgency into Army Professional Education

    After a long journey it's finally out. Thanks to those that helped and let the discussion begin!

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/200...into-army-pro/

    Overdue Bill: Integrating Counterinsurgency into Army Professional Education
    by Major Niel Smith

    Download the full article: Integrating COIN into Army Professional Education

    In the eight years since the invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. Army has failed to integrate counterinsurgency (COIN) into Professional Military Education (PME). Counterinsurgency instruction remains uneven in quantity and quality throughout Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) institutions, which have failed to define standards, competencies and outcomes for COIN education. This lack of consistency contributes to ongoing operational confusion and poor execution of operations in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom due to lack of common concept of what counterinsurgency is and what it entails, despite great advances in COIN application and execution by troops in the field.

    Integrating COIN into PME is crucial for improving the ability of the Army to wage our current wars. Ideally, two officers or NCO’s educated at differing TRADOC schoolhouses should emerge with similar skills and knowledge competencies on doctrine and staff processes. This synchronization is crucial to allowing large staffs with multiple specialties to operate seamlessly using shared understandings of the operational environment. No such standardization exists for the topic of COIN, despite adequate published doctrine and historical military literature.

    TRADOC must address this shortcoming in one of its key areas of responsibility. This paper will outline several actions executable within the TRADOC commander’s existing authority to address these problems.
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good job, Niel.

    Long overdue and hopefully will be heeded. This is particularly important:
    "As a corollary, TRADOC requires a single integrator for counterinsurgency. Such an integrator would synchronize the efforts of disparate COIN/IW related organizations, allowing a more coherent approach to counterinsurgency and stability tasks."
    Unfortunately, while I -- and many others- will agree with you (and not only with regard to COIN; many common areas cry for such a rationalization) my fear based on earlier experience at attempts to rationalize core instructional modules across the Branch Schools is that parochialism rules and the 'not invented here syndrome' will defeat the excellent suggestion. Sadly...

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Long overdue and hopefully will be heeded. This is particularly important:Unfortunately, while I -- and many others- will agree with you (and not only with regard to COIN; many common areas cry for such a rationalization) my fear based on earlier experience at attempts to rationalize core instructional modules across the Branch Schools is that parochialism rules and the 'not invented here syndrome' will defeat the excellent suggestion. Sadly...
    I sent the paper to some key individuals, perhaps it will actually get read in the Army before tossed in the recycle bin. The good news is the editor of a major military professional magazine contacted me and wants a modified version of the topic for an upcoming issue. I know the paper is a bit "inside baseball" for general consumption, but that was the point ...

    My point was not that instruction isn't happening at all, there is just no rhyme, reason, consistency, or rigor to it.
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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default Good job, but is the problem the problem

    Good paper. Well done.

    It does suggest a logical and coherent solution to the problem the US Army has created for itself.
    However is part of the problem the very variable understanding the US Army actually has of something the US Army has chosen to call COIN?

    I cannot tell Neil he is wrong, (nor would wish to) because the problem he faces is one he sees. However, there may be some merit in questioning the start position from which the whole US Army is starting.

    Why teach FM3-24, when it may actually be setting you up for bigger issues/problems later on? Education is very distinct from training in most true professions.
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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Why hasn't COIN Center picked up the paper???

    Went to COIN Center web site... its part of CAC-LDE

    Seems like this paper would be fodder for the Blog, splash page scroll, did you provide for their use???

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Niel,
    Good paper. I put some comments on the SWJ Blog side. Best, Rob

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    Went to COIN Center web site... its part of CAC-LDE

    Seems like this paper would be fodder for the Blog, splash page scroll, did you provide for their use???

    Live well and row
    Now Kirk, you know the REAL history of that paper ....

    Niel
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    Neil,

    Wilf just took the words out of my mouth and re-typed them in a more concise and logical manner.

    I read this skeptically, originally thinking, "oh boy, here we go again - another bright COIN idea pushing 'COIN skills'." I expected to disagree point by point. However, this seems straightforward and practical.

    My only reservation, again, is what Wilf pointed out regarding the fundamental assumption, but even that doesn't seem overly troubling to me.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I have the same reservation

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    ...My only reservation, again, is what Wilf pointed out regarding the fundamental assumption, but even that doesn't seem overly troubling to me.
    but while flawed, it's where the elephant is headed. I also am not particularly troubled by it, it can be worked through and is better than doing nothing.

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default

    Good discussion going on over in the blog comments. Keep it up!
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    Good discussion going on over in the blog comments. Keep it up!
    Cavguy, here is my UW input from my experience. Part of my Guerrilla force included cadets from West Point. So when they graduated they would have a true PHD in War....they could fight conventionally or unconventionally. All Officers and NCO's should be able to do that.

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