Join Date: Feb 2007
Great idea on the CD and...
As always, great ideas and observations.
WRT the CD, something like this was discussed when creating the handbook and is currently being worked on. About this time last year though, the guidance from higher (specifically LtGen Mattis) was to get an 80% solution (the link at this thread is an initial draft; the mass-produced version is roughly 230 pages) on how to operate in a COIN environment into our small-unit leaders' hands ASAP.
Lots of lessons learned WRT how/why a military does/does not learn and adapt throughout the process of writing and ultimately getting the COIN handbook into our warriors' hands. Suffice it to say, if it weren't for a few high level officers demanding the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN regardless of normal, peacetime protocol on USMC doctrine, the COIN handbook wouldn't exist today (interesting story concerning why it's an MCIP vs. MCWP for anyone interested).
Please share ideas on what you think should be on the CD. A few things that immediately come to mind are: how to run an intel cell at the company and even platoon level; tactical questioning techniques and recommendations; patrol log templates; QRF templates both internal and external; standardized census database formats; detention facility SOP template; a "how to" guide on info ops; how to use the internet in your fight...
If anyone has specific inputs that you don't feel appropriate to send in an open forum, please send to me via e-mail (.mil) and I will pass on (I'll be sure to include the "Fundamentals of the Battle Captain" thread http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=2126).
Changing subjects a bit...
Marc, I understand your concern with: "Regardless of the agencies involved, this is your AO and you must stay involved with all upcoming and ongoing efforts. Remember, you are the one that will have to live with whatever happens in your AO, everyone else is just a tourist. (page 64-65)".
To offer some reinforcing fires for Tom, Ryan, and JCustis though...
Unless I'm mistaken the Blackwater Contractors that were ambushed in Fallujah in Mar 2004 never cleared their mission with the unit that owned the AO. This tragedy had an enormous impact on "strategic" level decisions and as "Bing" West discussed in No True Glory really put our senior military leaders in a tough position.
On a more tactical level though, I'll never forget my first few months of patrols into a very unwelcoming village in Najaf. Although we didn't get attacked with mass IEDs or RPGs, my Marines were routinely hit with rocks, flipped off and occassionally even spit on. For my Marines, such actions proved often more frustrating and in some ways more difficult to deal with than say an RPG attack because throwing rocks back at kids and spitting back at teenagers just isn't an option. Anyway, after months of challenging work and some incredible patience from my Marines, we were eventually able to turn the tide in this village through winning over the majority of the people with mini-MEDCAPS, school projects, helping the police and, in general, simply treating people like human beings. Well, about 2 months into operating in this area, and a month after "winning" over the village, the Iraqis once again resorted to routine rock throwing, demanding we leave their village, spitting, Sadr pictures everywhere, etc. Needless to say, I was confused about why until one of the village elders explained that "we" had come into the village one of the previous nights, set an explosive charge on a door, raided a house, took a whole bunch of stuff from a family, without explaining anything. I had no clue what he was talking about, and was not the least bit happy when informed later that a "specialized" unit had received intel of an IED cell in the village and acted on it, ultimately finding nothing. As the quote says, this was my "AO", my Marines' problems, my Marines' having to dodge rocks and come up with creative ways to catch 100 lbs kids throwing rocks while my Marines weighed on average, 225-250 lbs with all of their gear, etc. The "specialized" unit fit the tourist description in this case.
And a last brief note on how this might relate to NGOs... I remember operating in a village 20 miles or so S-SE of Baghdad. Initially the village wasn't overjoyed with our presence, but eventually welcomed us, in many cases with feasts, invitations to ceremonies, frequent soccer games, etc.
The Marines enjoyed patrolling in this area and actually looked forward to doing so (after a few weeks). Well, one day when trying to coordinate a CA project with an NGO for this particular village, the NGO told me the village was hostile. I asked why is it hostile. The response was we (the NGO) think we were shot at as we convoyed by (in our armored SUVs with black tinted windows), were definitely hit with rocks, and the people weren't the least bit happy to see us. I remember my Marines asking, "are they talking about the same village that we're in every day?" I thought the same. Again though, I was surprised to learn that an NGO was moving through the AO without coordinating with anyone, and probably more troubling was this NGO's making judgments based on sketchy info/intel at best and without ever contacting the military unit responsible for the area. It scares me to think how this village was painted up the chain of command.
I'll stop here because I'm drifting into a whole new discussion that I think will lead into the importance of unity of effort in COIN.
Please share ideas and input/products for the CD.