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FID & Working With Indigenous Forces Training, advising, and operating with local armed forces in Foreign Internal Defense.

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Old 07-23-2012   #41
Dayuhan
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The context of the quote was me explaining why the U.S. isn't enough of an empire to reap the benefits of imperial arrogance.
Or the penalties of that arrogance.

Either way, I don't see how that particular set of imperial methods is really applicable to today's non-imperial small wars.
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Old 07-23-2012   #42
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There can be many reasons why more activity happens outside a city rather than in[.]
The days of an urban cadre in the Guatemalan civil war with which I am familiar were numbered indeed (and s/he knew it). On the other hand, I suspect that during the darkest days of the conflict guerrillas in the hills slept more soundly than did civilians in the cities and pueblos. Something like a third of the Guatemalan population was urban at that time, as compared to about two-thirds of the contemporary Iraqi population. And in Iraq, outside of the north there isn’t much in the way of highlands to abscond to. And of course the stability of governance in Iraq in 2007 didn’t approach that in Guatemala in 1983. So, as you say, lots of reasons.
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Old 07-23-2012   #43
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Posted by Dayuhan

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I personally suspect that AQ and similar groups maintain a quite substantial urban apparatus... of course they would be trying very hard not to draw attention to themselves, and you'd expect them to have little or no contact with local militant groups other than with a few trusted individuals.
Re-read my comments, I said as much and agree, but these are not strong holds where they live in the open and control the area. The urban area is generally hostile territory to overt (even clandestine) terrorists.

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I suspect part of the reason their activity is limited in the larger urban areas is due to security concerns.
That comment was not intended to mean AQ is not active in the urban area, heck the urban areas are their targets. I suspect there are tens of AQ cells in London, New York, Paris, and elsewhere throughout the world, and they are very dangerous. However, this doesn't require the deployment of general purpose forces (like it did in Iraq, Algeria, etc.).

Which is why I wrote:

Quote:
and if the scale of the AQ presence and activity in an urban areas is (dropped my thought, so completing it here in bold) relatively small and clandestine, then the appropriate response is generally small scale security assistance composed mainly of personnel from intelligence, special operations, and contractors with speciality skills. This is often enough to enable the affected state to defeat/suppress this threat.
In sum I agree with you. What I am not getting is why it would be that much tougher for us to assist a partner with an Urban insurgency versus rural insurgencies (though in reality most are blended)? Urban areas are a tough battlefield, but so are the mountains and jungles, so regardless you have to adapt.

If we occupy (not do FID) a country and try to control the populace ourselves then I agree that "may" (still situationally dependent, wasn't exceptionally tough in Germany or Japan) be brutal.

My fault for failing to better clarify my intent.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 07-23-2012 at 02:08 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 07-23-2012   #44
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Default Re: Fuchs/Montagnards

Regret (1) I stumbled onto this belatedly and (2) the sidetrack
Nevertheless, Fuchs, to clarify: Both sides made ample use of Montagnards. We even had a name for the ones on the other side: "VCM." Their collaboration and guidance (literally) were essential to allowing NVA units to pop up "out of nowhere," as it were--on the coastal plain in northen Binh Dinh....

A couple of the main ethnic groups from which US recruited, the Rhade and Jarai, were easy to attract because they feared and hated lowland Vietnamese---whether communist or GVN....and had formed FULRO, their own independence "Front." They saw an association with the US as a counterbalance to the hated ARVN. Their anti-Vietnamese sentiment did not play entirely into US hands, as they also sought strength from a noted, local, anti-Viet force--namely, the Khmer Rouge.....An interesting side note is the fact that Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's personal guard unit was, from the '60's until his end, composed solely of Jarai.

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Old 07-23-2012   #45
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A couple of the main ethnic groups from which US recruited, the Rhade and Jarai, were easy to attract because they feared and hated lowland Vietnamese---whether communist or GVN....
I know a fellow in my hometown who worked with Montagnards during the war and he told me one of his best guys had been with the ARVN until an in broad daylight incidence in which he turned his rifle on fellow ARVN—ethnic Kinh who wouldn’t leave off yelling various takes on “####ing Montagnard!” at him from across the street. Possibly a stolen and/or invented story, but indicative of a more general truth, I’m sure…
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Old 07-23-2012   #46
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Posted by Mike in Hilo

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Both sides made ample use of Montagnards. We even had a name for the ones on the other side: "VCM."
Interesting comments on the Montagnards. I'm currently reading Black Ops by Tony Geraghty "The Rise of SF in the CIA, the SAS, and Mossad" (jury is still out on the book).

Mike if you have any insights on the following please share.

In the Vietnam chapter he explains the ARVN disarmed the Montagnards in the late 50s and were not too happy we armed them again. He described a couple of situations where the program was transfered over to ARVN and it rapidly broke down because the Vietnamese didn't trust them; a pattern that widely repeated itself. The Vietnamese tried to reclaim their weapons, refused to go on patrol with savages, etc. All this I was aware of, but one bit of history I wasn't (or I forgot about) is that in September 1964 there was a Montagnard armed uprising. At one site they disarmed and detained their SF advisors and declared a rebellion against Saigon. At another site they killed 15 Vietnamese team leaders, at another site 11 Vietnamese SF soldiers were killed.

These surrogate operations are generally dicey, but especially so when those we are arming and training are opposed to the government we're trying to keep in power. The expedient choice is not always the right choice.
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Old 07-23-2012   #47
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In sum I agree with you. What I am not getting is why it would be that much tougher for us to assist a partner with an Urban insurgency versus rural insurgencies (though in reality most are blended)? Urban areas are a tough battlefield, but so are the mountains and jungles, so regardless you have to adapt.
I realize that we mostly agree; I was mostly trying to underscore the differences between dealing with an "AQ-type" group and with an insurgency... two quite different things. If the local security services have any level of competence, they shouldn't need much help beyond intel to roll up a network of terrorist cells. An actual insurgency would be a quite different proposition, and the need for outside help, the desirability to an outside power of moving against the insurgency and the type of help that might be useful would depend entirely on the specific characteristics of the insurgency and the situation.

Urban areas are of course highly visible to the media and offer abundant potential for collateral damage, factors that have to be considered.
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Old 07-23-2012   #48
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I'm guilty of conflating AQ terrorist cells and insurgencies, that wasn't my intent, but felt the need to address both. Of course it isn't unheard of for AQ to co-opt an insurgency (Iraq) and to a lesser extent Afghanistan. By the way we also dealt with an urban insurgency that utlized terrorist cells in Vietnam.

As challenging as this may be, I still don't think it compares to the true hybrid challenges our forces faced in Vietnam (fighting NV regulars, insurgents, suicide bombers "the sappers", electronic warfare, high end anti-aircraft weapons, major state actor support from Russia and China, etc.).

Our biggest challenge today isn't the enemy, it is ourselves. We went into this fight with unrealistic goals, adapted a doctrine that is deeply flawed, etc. This is a scenario where we actually could do more with less.
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Old 07-23-2012   #49
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Our biggest challenge today isn't the enemy, it is ourselves. We went into this fight with unrealistic goals, adapted a doctrine that is deeply flawed, etc. This is a scenario where we actually could do more with less.
A statement that should draw loud "Amen, brother!" from the chorus AND the congregation.

Challenge is getting to some degree of agreement on what less looks like. We are much better at making things bigger in ways that don't make much sense or work that well, but when things go south when one does less people feel like you just aren't trying hard enough.
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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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Old 07-23-2012   #50
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A statement that should draw loud "Amen, brother!" from the chorus AND the congregation.
You'll get one from me, especially on the "unrealistic goals"...

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Challenge is getting to some degree of agreement on what less looks like.
Before we even think about how to do more with less, we have to think about what we want or need to do. That seems to get overlooked a lot...
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Old 07-23-2012   #51
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Default Rural to Urban setting: FID doctrine

My reply to Bill Moore's question (Post 37):
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what significant change and challenges do you think we would face with our FID doctrine if the focus shifted from the rural to the urban?
I was not thinking of just the USA intervening and my SWC reading does not make me familiar with US FID doctrine. Caveats aside here goes.

An urban setting for an insurgency / terrorist campaign absorbs manpower like a sponge, so using and adapting a local security element to the 'sepoy model' makes a lot of sense. You referred to 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland (1969-1998), at one stage the UK had 30k soldiers there - Operation Motorman, when police primacy had not been reached. Nearly all of them in two cities, Belfast & Londonderry.

Secondly by time FID is deployed the host nation will have lost considerable control and governance will be weakened. Think of the favelas in Rio and some "no go" areas elsewhere. Citizen involvement in providing information to the state will be low, especially if intimidation is prevalent - not necessarily violent nor observable. In one period in 'The Troubles' Loyalists used cameras without film to intimidate; imagine the impact today of mobile-phones.

F3EA will be problematic until many other factors act as enablers: informants, intelligence, surveillance etc. Enough time may not be given.

Pinpoint accuracy of weapons systems, especially the use of explosives, will be limited in densely occupied spaces. They might not even be allowed by the host.

Finally image is important, even crucial. Not for the 'armchair" observers, but the people affected by the presence of FID-users. It simply is a very different image if the security forces appear similar, even if with a few expatriate officers & NCOs.
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Old 07-23-2012   #52
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Default Rural to Urban setting: NIC & others predict

Abu M has a comment on urban operations today, prompted by a David Kilcullen article and the footnotes point to a SWJ article.

So first the link to AbuM:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawam....html#comments

Then the Kilcullen piece:http://gt2030.com/2012/07/18/the-cit...an-resilience/

The SWJ article 'Command of the Cities: Towards a Theory of Urban Strategy':http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...urban-strategy
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Old 07-23-2012   #53
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A number of posts, including my own, have been on a related topic of future 'Small Wars' moving from the rural to the urban setting and may sit better in their own thread. Later I will try to identify previous threads on the theme.
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Old 07-24-2012   #54
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
My reply to Bill Moore's question (Post 37):

I was not thinking of just the USA intervening and my SWC reading does not make me familiar with US FID doctrine. Caveats aside here goes.

An urban setting for an insurgency / terrorist campaign absorbs manpower like a sponge, so using and adapting a local security element to the 'sepoy model' makes a lot of sense. You referred to 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland (1969-1998), at one stage the UK had 30k soldiers there - Operation Motorman, when police primacy had not been reached. Nearly all of them in two cities, Belfast & Londonderry.

Secondly by time FID is deployed the host nation will have lost considerable control and governance will be weakened. Think of the favelas in Rio and some "no go" areas elsewhere. Citizen involvement in providing information to the state will be low, especially if intimidation is prevalent - not necessarily violent nor observable. In one period in 'The Troubles' Loyalists used cameras without film to intimidate; imagine the impact today of mobile-phones.

F3EA will be problematic until many other factors act as enablers: informants, intelligence, surveillance etc. Enough time may not be given.

Pinpoint accuracy of weapons systems, especially the use of explosives, will be limited in densely occupied spaces. They might not even be allowed by the host.

Finally image is important, even crucial. Not for the 'armchair" observers, but the people affected by the presence of FID-users. It simply is a very different image if the security forces appear similar, even if with a few expatriate officers & NCOs.
I agree with this, the urban environment definitely presents its unique challenges. When I refer to foreign internal defense (FID), I'm generally refering to a few (maybe a couple hundred) advisors and trainers, so in theory it wouldn't be our guys dealing "directly" with these challenges. That is why I said it wouldn't be that much harder for "us".

As for future wars moving ever more into the urban domain it definitely seems probable.
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Old 07-24-2012   #55
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Default Reply to Bill Moore's of 22 July

1) The 1964 episode received wide publicity through National Geographic Mag, which featured it in the January 1965 issue of the magazine. The story focused on successful US Army SF efforts to defuse the situation, without which events would likely have spun out of control.

2) Re: those we're arming and training being opposed to the government we're trying to keep in power: Sounds like Sunni Sons of Iraq and their relationship with the Maliki government....

Cheers,
Mike.
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