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Thread: MG Flynn (on intell mainly)

  1. #61
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    Default Counterinsurgency vs. Anti-insurgency

    Gen. Flynn's article brings to the forefront a core discussion that has been moving under the radar screen since 2007. It highlights the core difference between anti-insurgency which is focused on kill/capture and the elimination of IED cells/networks or true counterinsurgency which focuses to a high degree on population control and security.

    It is interesting that FID and unconventional warfare which were the bread and butter of Special Forces from their inception to the early 1970s was forced into extinction by the big Army as they drove to disband Special Forces who had to rebrand themselves as the "Strategic Recon types" in the 80s/90s in order to survive. This rebranding cause internal problems for SF when they discovered the need to shift back to FID/UW.

    Now we are back to FID and unconventional warfare and big Army went left in Iraq and that is now not working in Afghanistan which went right and is a true insurgency with characteristics of a full blown phase three guerilla war. It is refreshing to see a Spad called a Spad.

    Now just maybe big Army can focus in learning just what is insurgency, what drives an insurgency, and how does that insurgency evolve--and not learning it out of the COIN FM or from CTC scenario rotations. It is amazing that many in the old guard (Vietnam vets) have pointed to key lessons learned about FID, but were brushed off and now there is the sudden interest in books written about FID in Vietnam--lessons learned though from the Special Forces CIDG program seem on the other hand to still be ignored. One of the most important books written in the early 80s "Silence As A Weapon" written by retired COL. Herrington goes along way in describing the use of silence by an insurgency in the control of populations.

    Since Gen. Flynn has gotten some attention on the MI side maybe attention should be paid to a concept developed by John Robb called "open source warfare" (2004/2005) and just recently scientifically verified by the Nature magazine article "Ecology of Human Warfare". For the first time via computer research one can make specific outside changes/impacts to the insurgency environment and see the results on the insurgency movement without having boots on the ground. And it goes a long way in explaining the media impact of their operations which can be verified by the impressive increase in video releases on the part of the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2008.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outlaw 7
    Since Gen. Flynn has gotten some attention on the MI side maybe attention should be paid to a concept developed by John Robb called "open source warfare" (2004/2005) and just recently scientifically verified by the Nature magazine article "Ecology of Human Warfare". For the first time via computer research one can make specific outside changes/impacts to the insurgency environment and see the results on the insurgency movement without having boots on the ground. And it goes a long way in explaining the media impact of their operations which can be verified by the impressive increase in video releases on the part of the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2008.
    I would hesitate to say it is "scientifically verified". A magazine article doesn't verify anything, and the research is far from conclusive.

    This link is to the full Nature article and this one is to the supplementary notes. The Mathematics of War website was set up by the authors to accompany the publication of the article and provide additional background.

    Here is a critique of the Nature article by Drew Conway: On the Ecology of Human Insurgency.

    Which elicited a response from John Robb and more discussion from Drew Conway. None of which really settled anything.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-09-2010 at 06:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Beetle:

    We've been beating these subjects to death for months now, haven't we?

    Good to see them finally at front and center.
    It's not just limited to our tree, the forest is in an uproar as well...

    From the Harvard Business Review blog by Umair Haque: The Builders' Manifesto (H/T John Robb)

    So the question is this: are you merely managing an organization, just leading an organization — or are you building an institution? 99.9% of the world's leaders are, well, just leaders. But today, leadership alone can't get you from the 20th century to the 21st.

    Of course, everyone has their own definition of leadership — and that's why it's a tricky subject to discuss. The "leadership" I'm challenging is of the orthodox, B-school 101 one, that has to do with motivation, influence, and power.
    Sapere Aude

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    Like the Structure of Scientific Revolutions---a time to change, and a time tpo implement.

    When it's time to change, you adapt or you don't.

    Headline from Jalalabad:

    "Vaccination Diplomacy': Taliban Helps UN, Karzai"

    http://www.newser.com/story/77839/va...un-karzai.html

    Somebody is out there learning and adapting every day.

    Steve

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    Interesting context to MG Flynn's article (PPT file). First, this is one of the most complete unclassified assessments I've seen. Secondly, it's a bit ironic that it's done on powerpoint. Courtesy of Danger Room.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Just to clarify an easily misunderstood comment I made about COIN and CT. What I meant was that the intel community is too quick to label insurgents who engage in acts of terror as "terrorists"; and that we then apply CT tactics against these insurgents (which is really counterinsurgent or CI I guess) operations.

    I have never seen much value in CT as a mission set as it does not create any new TTPS to train, organize, or operate. It is merely DA and SR applied against a particular type of actor. It think it confuses more than it clarifies. I have suggested to that having a "State-CT" section as the lead for DOS on GWOT is VERY wrong-headed for our primary governance engagement department. It distracts them from what they really need to be doing to put terrorism back in the box: Focus on fixing policy, not fixing terrorists. Similarly having "NCTC" as the lead agency for GWOT also creates the same distracting effect of overly focusing efforts to reduce a symptom (the terrorist) as opposed to devising holisic programs aimed at root causes.

    There are a lot of insurgencies going on out there, at various stages, and each unique to is own country. Many of these are in countries the US considers as allies; and many of those insurgents believe they must attack the US to prevail at home. AQ plays on that belief. We must target that belief. CT focuses us on targetting the actor, the symptom. We must shift to targeting those facts and perceptions that lead to the the belief itself. Change the nature of our relationships, adjust our Ways and Means to persue our Ends.

    So, while MG Flynn's paper is a great start, it also a very tactical perspective. How to be more tactically effective in Afghanistan. Great start. Now let's back up and expand the aperture to the Corps of intel guys at the national level. They too are focused in large part on the wrong things because we have focused everybody on the wrong thing. Focused them all on defeating "terrorists" and "terrorism" (both symptoms) instead of developing the information we need to truly understand and address the root causes.

    I have my theories, but they are just theories. Perhaps once the intel is developed to explore such theories they can become more than that.
    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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    Bob:

    Military perspective aside, when I first saw that ppt, I was looking at the civilian dimensions.

    International economic development had not matched local expectations. What does that mean? How do you "Cure" that with quick hits and low-hanging fruit?

    Maybe wrong, but I read the "Shadows" as an inevitable result of the above, plus failure to extend the basic writ and services of local government (basic civil/criminal justice, humanitarian services, and, above all, security). People find a way to representation, and, for better or worse, the troublesome election, the continued lack of government effectiveness, and the lack of focus on basic constitutional reforms (a Loya Jirga to move to locally elected governors, for example)plus the fact that international forces are being portrayed as the cause or attractor of population insecurity. While it is easy for us to dodge these fundamental issues, it is inevitable that the dodge has consequences.

    Is COIN so all encompassing as to address issues raised elsewhere in SW: What if we are representing a bad government? What if opposition is fairly grounded? What if the opposition, despite our views, is perceived as "better than ours?

    Tony Cordesman's report about winning the battles and losing the wars is, in my opinion, not really a military critique, but a "whole-of-government" critique.

    He punches hard on the lack of metrics, lack of focus, lack of results on the civilian side. Great, we built a new road somewhere: How did that project related to the short, medium, long range issues at the core of instability in this town or district?

    What are the causes of instability in this town, district, province? Are there credible and effective projects highly-targeted at those, or are we just building a road because we can, and doing nothing significant to address the high-priority causes for instability?

    Great. 1,000 civilians descended on Afghanistan. How did that help? What are they doing? What were the problems of importance? What are they doing about those?

    No offense, but I hear a lot of crap about this human terrain analysis stuff, and the reconstruction stuff, but I don't see the results. We don't do this well, and aren't going to change absent a well-placed boot (or a shocking failure).

    I get it that Afghanistan is more complicated than Iraq, but our civilian/ht, reconstruction in Iraq was abysmal. If we just do that quality and caliber of work in Afghanistan, it is no wonder the "yellow" is bleeding across the map.

    Behind it all, I remain deeply concerned that the US is not following the consequences of urbanization (by UN definition), including the growing urban refugee pops in "informal settlements."

    Kabul alone has exploded to 4.5 million people, and we are busy chasing bad guys on the frontier, while token protests are beginning to emerge in the cities. What are we credibly doing to assure that those token protests, and the causes of their protests (which go beyond the surface complaint) are being addressed/controlled/minimized/resolved/eliminated?

    These refugee "cities", throughout history, are the place where there truly "Be Dragons," and provide an abundant opportunity for the next regional Sadrs to emerge, safe operational havens for current opponents, and the breeding ground (as we see in Pakistan) for Madrahsas.

    If anything, I believe the Flynn report goes far beyond the military. I assume, in part, that is why it is public.

    Just my ten cents.

    Steve

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    BW,

    Just to clarify an easily misunderstood comment I made about COIN and CT. What I meant was that the intel community is too quick to label insurgents who engage in acts of terror as "terrorists"; and that we then apply CT tactics against these insurgents (which is really counterinsurgent or CI I guess) operations.
    That does clarify things and I agree completely. I do think there are many intel people who are uninterested in motivations which is lazy thinking and counterproductive.

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    Default McCreary's finer points

    http://nightwatch.afcea.org/NightWatch_20100108.htm

    Special comment: In 42 years, NightWatch has never seen a Presidential directive to intelligence and security entities remotely like that promulgated this week. It is a worthy document in intent and precision.

    Its weak point is that implementation relies on the same people who failed, twice.

    The two most extraordinary Presidential directives to the Director of National Intelligence have received no media coverage. The first is to “take further steps to enhance the rigor and raise the standard of tradecraft of intelligence analysis …” In other words, the analysts failed. They need more rigor in their analyses and better “tradecraft.”

    The intent of the directive is clear, but its execution is problematic. Analytical tradecraft is in the dock. Commentators and very experienced practitioners frequently cite the “new” challenges in this “new” form of war. (Counter-insurgency is hardly new.)

    The pubic is bombarded with “Newness,” but no transformation has occurred.

    NightWatch senses that the intelligence failings cited by the President and cited by General Flynn are not failings of insight about new threats; they are the longstanding failings of complaisant analysts and supervisors, who shirk their responsibilities.

    The 1978 HPSCI report on Warning found that in every crisis since Pearl Harbor, there always was enough information for competent analysts to issue actionable warning. The intelligence failures of the post-World War II era and the Cold War always were failures of analysts, not collectors and not systems.

    President Obama’s statement repeats those findings in spades, 32 years later!

    If it means anything, analysis transformation has to mean creation of a systematic, structured approach to analysis that always and everywhere is replicable, auditable, non-idiosyncratic and non-anecdotal and which has application across boundaries and groups.

    There are few lessons for young analysts in idiosyncratic and anecdotal personal expertise. No one can live another person’s experiences and experts seldom agree on the significance of their experiences. So how can that mess be taught? Intelligence must escape this trap.

    NightWatch insists that “expertise is necessary but not enough” to achieve actionable warning. To that assertion must now be added that sharing is not enough.

    High predictability and the ability to warn in an actionable time frame require knowledge of threat phenomenology, the study of which has been neglected, except possibly at the tactical level. For example, two pieces of evidence – payment in cash for a transatlantic air trip and without checked luggage -- are the embodiment of actionable, phenomenological data.

    Cash and no bags are universal red flags of threat that create a reasonable suspicion that justifies, nay compels, fail-safe security measures. This should be a “no-brainer.“

    The other Presidential directive of special interest is, “Ensure resources are properly aligned with issues highlighted in strategic warning analysis.” The President issued a new directive on strategic warning analysis; not risk management, but warning. That has not happened since before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    One odd thing, though, is that the Defense Department and all its agencies, except the National Security Agency, received the directive but no direct guidance. DoD has more counter terrorism analysts in its national-level agencies and in the combatant commands than all the other agencies combined. Hmmm…

    End of NightWatch for 8 January.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-11-2010 at 03:38 PM. Reason: Add quote marks

  10. #70
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Default A Cross post from the HTT Thread . . .

    Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Something about intelligence theory is basic. The more you know and learn, the more you can know and apply.

    Professionally, I would rather use data (scrounged and verified by any sources) to cross-check against field verification and systemic consistency (smell test)) in sets, and update those sets with field changes on as real-time a basis as possible. Then, use that knowledge base to fill in gaps for people while they fill mine. If it isn't engaged and actionable, its just another contract..

    Question is: What is needed?
    You are correct with the last question--what is needed. We answer that question by knowing what the mission is IMHO and that brings us around to the discussion of the MG Flynn CNAS report.

    The breakdown occurs in my opinion when one moves from position "the more one knows, the more one can know" (which is fine) to the position "the more one can know, the more one must know."

    I'm not at all convinced that simply because we can know, for example, that the soil 10 feet below the surface at UTM grid LC 1234554321 consists of a specific form of clay that we usually need to know that. If I am planning to build another Burj Kahlifa I might need that knowledge, but I doubt it is important if I'm trying to decide where to erect my TACSAT antenna.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

  11. #71
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    Default Those last few posts sort of summarize the problems...

    Though I'd suggest that while Bob is correct on the tactical versus the strategic focus, he and the problem seem to forget that our political system is not conducive to long term strategies. That said, he is correct that our threat-centric intel focus is just really dumbb -- with two 'b's.

    Ergo, a policy reform is required...

    Entropy is correct in that many 'intel' errors are a result of lazy thinking and counterporductive (i.e. excessive classification, parochialism and turf battles, political expediency among other facets) actions by some analysts and many Bosses.

    Seems like a policy reform might help...

    Steve's quote from Night Watch has this gem:
    "Its weak point is that implementation relies on the same people who failed, twice."
    Yet another case of a policy error IMO. Fire a few "pour l'encouragement d'les autres..."

    Lastly, WM hits a nail squarely:
    "The breakdown occurs in my opinion when one moves from position 'the more one knows, the more one can know' (which is fine) to the position 'the more one can know, the more one must know.' "
    There is no policy that explicitly says do that, rather, our policies -- and our Congress -- lead us to do that because the system has developed numerous rules and even laws to protect itself from accountability. Our deeply flawed budgetary process leads to a winner takes all approach and a 'go along - get along' attitude and set of turf allocations all too often that create a series of very discrete stovepipes that foster the idea that more is better when we should instead establish and encourage competition between agencies and units to produce meaningful intel. Reward those who get it right to spur the competitors to better efforts.

    There's little doubt in my mind that sharp analysts in many agencies are delivering good product to their Bosses. The problem is they are being constrained by politically (in all senses of that word) oriented supervisors and / or units or agencies who do not want their Honcho to get upset by hearing things he or she would prefer not to hear.

    That too would seem to indicate a needed policy change -- fire about half the senior people in order to get the rest to do what they should be doing instead of what they think the Boss might want.

    And foster competition. While centralization will always be more efficient it will also always be less effective. In my view, effective intel trumps the 'efficient' production of something that is not really intel but is instead all too often platitudinous garb -- er, information -- of marginal value...

  12. #72
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    Ken:

    Two comments.

    First, about secrecy. As I scurried about Iraq in 2008 to collect huge amounts of data, I always heard criticism from others that secrecy would prevent it (they'll never give you that). In fact, everybody I went to (short of a small bunch of spooks) was bending over backward to get civilian=ized declassified versions of things to me. NGA sent a team over to work the whole civilian shapefile/imagery declass and licensing process.

    Scrubbing national-scale metadata is a huge undertaking, but they did it, and Al Faw was 100% behind us.

    The spooky characters, as I realized later, were the ones who had little to offer, just their own "secret crap" that they didn't know what to do with, and by lack of reciprocity, didn't get anything else. Not productive players, for whatever team they were working with(?).

    Second, some of the big obstacles from folks I was working with fell into two categories: Budget and staffing. There was never a time that people didn;t try like crazy to accommodate, but, where they couldn't, it was budget and staffing.

    What I did learn, however, was that between reach-back and field, there were huge duplications of service. A lot of work was being done, but of the wrong kind (duplicates) that could have been systematized, freeing up those same people to don more creative and better work.

    Lately, what attracts my attention for Afghanistan is how to susbstantially reduce unnecessary deployed staffs, and the obnerous supply chains that go with it. If we get strangled, it will be by logistics and budgets, so why not optimize unity and synchronization of efforts. Less reports, meetings and staff time on duplicating the SOS and PPT, and more point spear stuff (Civil or mil).

    Steve

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    Default Logistics

    Somebody somewhere has built an old fashioned input/output model with constraints on transportation movements (probably Mullah Omar from his new digs in Peshawar), and that will tell the whole story under our latest staffing/deployment models.

    I keep reading back to 1920s Iraq. Winnie going for chemicals and air bombardments because it makes the budget and staffing model work on a constrained and extended colony.

    Beat that model, and the clocks built into it, and you can win the game.

    Steve

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Default From the Tom Ricks Blog

    Tom Ricks' blog includes the following commentary from a major working on counterterrorism issues at the Pentagon:

    We are currently involved in an insurgency in Afghanistan against a force that is routinely better informed than US forces. The enemy provides a painful example of doing more with less. What's that you say? In the age of information dominance are we not the standard bearers for information gathering and sharing at the speed of light? Yes, we are in the academic sense of having forms to fill out, processes to follow, and more systems than we can efficiently use. We must be dominant because we have a line and block diagram for every occasion. Unfortunately, we focus on the form far more than the function of intelligence.
    The entire piece is available using the link below:

    http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts...uck_here_s_why

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    Default The Major Is On To Something

    Pete:

    In civilian life, I do court testimony as an expert.

    I'm currently preparing muy reports and testimony for a very complex government case that has been going on for ten years, so I am sitting here going through mountains of records, evidence, underlying court rulings, and trying to develop a deep and richly-supported analysis against the realization that whatever I write or testify to will be grilled to death by two economics professors on the other side armed by the largest law firm in the world.

    All kidding aside, the case is about money and government authority---no lives on the line whatsoever, and, ten years from now, no one will ever remember it.

    It really is incredible that, where lives are on the line in such a complex circumstance, the so-called warfighter support is so poor.

    I have written (or should I say: overwritten factual inaccuracies) in Wiki too often to know the limits of some of the electronic sources.

    What's really funny to me in expert testimony matters, too, is that increasingly I see opposing counsel working from electronic research in regulatory cases. The applicable regulation comes up one section at a time despite that a regulation must be read across its entirety. So often, the next section alters the intent and meaning of the last, and they miss that.

    E-lawyers versus the old guys that review a printed copy of the entire regulation, which they read cover to cover before developing any positions.

    Oh, Brave New World!

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    Default Kwiki-Wiki Data

    Pete cites Tom Ricks piece from a Major Nathan Murphy (intel sucks: Here's why).

    In his report, the Murphy describes the pressures for quick answers, and the frequent Googling for answers.

    One of MG Flynn's criticisms was the lack of relevant provincial/district political/administrative information.

    I have a specific interest in provincial/district boundary shifts, particularly in and around national border areas, so I decided to compare what I know to what I could google.

    I have a composite map of provinces and districts in Afghanistan and Pakistan which I use to follow events in all these places. The one I use shows the district of Delaram in Farah,with an asterisk that Afghanistan does not formally accept the transfer of Delaram from Nimruz to Farah.

    Despite the asterisk, the Census Bureau clearly shows the transfer of the 20,000 residents from Nimruz to Farah four years ago, so somebody accepts it.

    Anyway, I wiki-ed the two provinces. For Nimruz, the wiki provincial boundary map includes Delaram in Nimruz, but doesn't list Delaram as one of its districts, nor its component population.

    For Farah, it does not show Delaram as one of oits districts or the population of Delaram in its component counts.

    Both wiki cites claim to use the 2005 Census, but, probably because the changed circumstance didn't conform with their data transfer, Delaram just disappeared.

    Farah/Nimruz, like Uruzgan/Daykundi is one of those places of recent changes. 1970's era maps for Nimruz show it extending up to include Lash-e Juwayn (adjacent to Iran and now a part of Farah), so both provincial boundaries have changed by one hundred miles or more.

    When there is not much development/administration going on, these "minor" changes and discrepancies don't seem to matter, but become very important if you want to do something like plan and extend government services.

    Particularly, if a place like Delaram, adjacent to Washer and Nad Ali districts in Helmand, is only a short hop (so to speak) from places like Now Zad. Great to have a "hole in the wall" or nonexistent district nearby if you are traveling off-the-record.

    So wiki is nice, but it isn't always accurate, or timely.

    (Yes, I'll update it when I get a chance).

    Steve

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    Default Hnir

    SWJ has published an article containing the detailed outline of the new Host Nation Information program.

    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9504

    Setting aside the jargon, acronyms and flow charts, the issues, now are:

    First, does the system create new and actionable insights into the situation?

    Second, how do those insights find their way into application, staffing, activity organization, and, in the end, actions?

    In Iraq, our purpose in structuring and assembling this type of information was in order to find a framework for synchronized and properly targeted actions in the post-conflict reconstruction environment.

    What resulted was were several key understandings. First, that there had not been an effective plan and course of action. Second, that there needed to be one, and that it must be heavily driven by Iraqis, and based on sound hierarchical actions, and sustainable strategies.

    The results were a simplification of focus on clearly identified first-things-first: security, water, energy and power (the preconditions for any future successful efforts). From there, US DoD resources to see, assess, travel, and plan/engineer were used to systematically assess and prioritize project needs (roads, bridges, fuel movement, water & wells, etc...); CERP and other resources were targeted consistent with the priorities (and Iraqi sourced projects were not CERPed in order to focus US funding away from duplication of Iraqi activities. Then, after identifying the Iraqi implementing agencies (mostly national ministries), the MND-N CG implemented a process of "helicopter diplomacy" to substantially reconnect the ministries to the provinces, and link the ministries with the problems.

    One critical factor behind the Iraqi strategy was the recognition that relevant Iraqi agencies and leaders had twice rebuilt their country from two devastating wars, and one of which was done under hugely restrictive sanctions. This may not be the case in Afghanistan.

    In my view, the effort in Northern Iraq in 08 was to identify the way through to improved post-reconstruction, which, in that circumstance, identified Iraqi-focused solutions to connect Iraqi provinces and ministries, and deliver to them (not us) the knowledge, responsibility and power to move forward on their own. This may not be practical in Afghanistan.

    The questions in Iraq were answered there, and thpose answers dictated specific solutions and actions.

    If the new information systems answers the same basic questions, what will the answers be, and how we they drive solutions in Afghanistan?

    Clearly, it is unlikely that the answers should be the same. Let's see what they learn...

  18. #78
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Two "boots on the ground" comment

    'Babatim' has commented on MG Flynn's report, as an "on the ground" commentator and outside officialdom worth reading IMHO: http://freerangeinternational.com/blog/?p=2479

    (My added emphasis)This white paper is full of good things but all good things must come to an end and at the end of this paper there are no good things which I can detect.
    He then adds a comment by a regular poster on the blog, by an in-country US intelligence analyst:
    I read MG Flynn’s paper as well, and while he makes some excellent points, he failed to mention that part of the reason our intelligence sucks is that all our collectors are mostly stuck on the FOB. That’s why we’ve become so hooked on technical intelligence. The kind of relevant intelligence that Flynn yearns for comes from meaningful interaction with the populace, period. In my experience with Afghans, especially Pashtuns, if you suddenly roll up into their village with your MRAPs, Star Ship Trooper suits, and “foreign” interpreters (even if your terp is from Afghanistan, if he’s not from the neighborhood, he’s “foreign”), they will tell you two things: jack and sh*t. We are reminded constantly that Afghanistan is a country broken by decades of war; no one trusts one another. But trust is only obtained by building meaningful relationships with people, and our current force protection policies make the process of building rapport impossible. As I sit here at my desk, on an unnamed FOB in Regional Command East, I would dearly love to grab a few of my soldiers and head out to the local market to see what’s going on in town today. Perhaps I could report back to my leadership that local farmers are concerned about a drought next year because of the light snowfall this winter, or that the mullah down the street is preaching anti-coalition/government propaganda. I’d get this information from shop keepers and kids that I’ve built a relationship with over the past few months. But I cannot just walk off the FOB because that would be the end of my career. Instead, I’m going to check out BBC.com, call a couple guys I know like Tim, and continue to be disgruntled that I have NO idea what’s going on outside my FOB.
    I think relationship building has featured before on many Afghan threads.
    davidbfpo

  19. #79
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default As have excessive Force Protection measures,

    The one precludes the other. You'd think someone would tumble to that simple little fact...

    Excellent catch, David.

  20. #80
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Default More from the Tom Ricks Blog

    The following comments on the Flynn report are by Adam L. Silverman, Ph.D., a civilian analyst who was imbedded with the 1st Armored Division in Iraq:

    I have sat in meetings dealing with this issue where the question was repeatedly brought up: "how come we don't have any information from this area?" Looking at the part of the map being referred to the simple response is that there is no military presence in the area, which means no PRT, no CA, and no HTT there either. Provincial Reconstruction, Civil Affairs, and Human Terrain members work very hard, but even they can't bring back primary source data from places that no one is operating in.
    My second concern is that the military in general, seemingly derived from military intelligence, has two negative reinforcing dynamics: if you needed to know it you already would and if I know it and you don't, then I'm more powerful than you. Operationally relevant knowledge management will never be effective, regardless of the system that is put in place, until or unless this dynamic is broken! My third concern is that aggregation and collection of data into a centralized location, is still not going to solve the problem. The operational side of the House, whether hungry for information for non-lethal operations or intelligence for lethal ones must be fed!
    The entire piece can be read using the link below.

    http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts...feed_the_beast

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