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It Ain't Just Killin' Applying influence, working with civil and private agencies, dealing with non-combatants.

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Old 09-28-2008   #1
jcustis
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Default How well do you LOO?

Well, I've been officially installed as the LOO manager for my unit (Bn TF) in W. Anbar, and we held our first effects meeting to work through the business of what we should be doing with Lines of Operation since we will not be tied to urban areas.

I was honestly apprehensive as we built up to the business of deploying, since I did not serve as the LOO Manager during our Mojave Viper training rotation, and I have honestly been daunted by the mass of organization required to manage the LOOs. When I stopped by our HHQ during my transit into my final home, I wasn't impressed by the mass of spreadsheets, documents, and just plain "stuff" that they had to track. It almost seemed as if it had become the self-licking ice cream cone. When I sat back and said, "man , I hope it never becomes that difficult to stay updated," I made a commitment to make our efforts manageable, sustainable without massive amount of outside support, and related directly to the tactical mission at hand.

I think I can effectively report that the past few years of reading SWJ articles, browsing and commenting in threads, and just interacting with members here has served me better than any COIN academy, CA course, or hip pocket IO training. These are some of the things I learned from you all, and I was shocked when I took stock of our meeting notes and realized that most of this stuff had come out of my mouth:

-We need one common narrative as our theme, and an Iraqi visited or stopped by our partnered forces in one portion of the AO should hear the same theme that he did if he was stopped on the other side, several dozens of kms away
-We need to have an IO campaign as much as we need a tactical plan that involves kinetics. Our Marines down to the private need to understand the basic tenets of it, and it needs to be supervised closely.
-We need to IO ourselves to ensure that the Marines know the purpose of mission, what our theme is, and that although it is still dangerous out there, we must achieve our goals.
-We need to be find a way to make it beneficial, or at least in their best interests for Iraqis in our AO to participate in transparent census operations.
-We need to reach out to gain insight on what the effects will be (tribal) of our presence in the AO.
-Any projects we look to implement must absolutely be sustainable without us around.
-Don't provide false hope or make the promise you cannot absolutely follow through on.
-Iraqis appreciate stories, so we are trying to relate our unit callsign to the lifestyle of the Bedouin who inhabit and transit our AO, so the commander can tell a good story during the intial social hour of any key leader engagement.
-Key leaders we were trained to look for during our pre-deploy training are not the same types of folks who are key leaders in our AO, so we need to start with a revised expectation.

This is just the tip of the iceberg I'm sure, but thanks SWC...my time spent here previously was in fact spent wisely.

Last edited by jcustis; 09-28-2008 at 11:21 PM. Reason: spelling and grammar
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Old 09-28-2008   #2
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Hmmm Looks like somebody could use my little pet project somewhere http://selil.com/?p=430 There likely is much better in the military though.
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Old 09-29-2008   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcustis View Post

-We need one common narrative as our theme, and an Iraqi visited or stopped by our partnered forces in one portion of the AO should hear the same theme that he did if he was stopped on the other side, several dozens of kms away
-We need to have an IO campaign as much as we need a tactical plan that involves kinetics. Our Marines down to the private need to understand the basic tenets of it, and it needs to be supervised closely.
From my recent article

Quote:
8. Understand perceptions matter far more than truth. Counterinsurgency is political conflict for power, and control of the population is the primary means to gain that power. History is replete with examples of counterinsurgents winning the tactical battles while losing the strategic campaign for the support of the host and home nations . We have learned that operations will be assessed through the lens of information effects. Information engagement is not a staff section’s responsibility or an operations order annex, but a commander’s program through which all efforts, lethal and non-lethal, must be viewed. Counterinsurgents must constantly ask, “What are the various audiences, and how will this action be perceived by each one? Then, ask what can we do to shape that perception to our advantage?” A successful counterinsurgent is proactive in shaping the information message of his actions. When reacting to events in the current media environment, speed and accuracy are key. To increase tempo, media engagement authority must be decentralized as much as possible out of theater and corps headquarters down to battalions and companies.8 Creating credible perceptions of increasing success and momentum are critical to re-establishing legitimacy and restoring the population’s confidence and trust in the host government.9
It has been attributed to Admiral Mullen, but I haven't been able to find it in print -

"[For COIN] we need an information order with an operations annex, not an operations order with an information annex."

I don't literally agree, but he makes a great point. Every patrol/operation sends a message, is it the one you intended to send?
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Old 09-29-2008   #4
Tom Odom
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Default A toute a LOO!

Quote:
8. Understand perceptions matter far more than truth. Counterinsurgency is political conflict for power, and control of the population is the primary means to gain that power. History is replete with examples of counterinsurgents winning the tactical battles while losing the strategic campaign for the support of the host and home nations . We have learned that operations will be assessed through the lens of information effects. Information engagement is not a staff section’s responsibility or an operations order annex, but a commander’s program through which all efforts, lethal and non-lethal, must be viewed. Counterinsurgents must constantly ask, “What are the various audiences, and how will this action be perceived by each one? Then, ask what can we do to shape that perception to our advantage?” A successful counterinsurgent is proactive in shaping the information message of his actions. When reacting to events in the current media environment, speed and accuracy are key. To increase tempo, media engagement authority must be decentralized as much as possible out of theater and corps headquarters down to battalions and companies.8 Creating credible perceptions of increasing success and momentum are critical to re-establishing legitimacy and restoring the population’s confidence and trust in the host government.9
Agreed 110%: see:

Quote:
6. Information warfare as a political struggle is about perceptions not facts. That means that a counter insurgent force or an insurgent force must first identify its own weaknesses because such weaknesses fuel perceptions. In the case of the RPF, its greatest weakness was its largely Tutsi-exile composition. The hardliners use of that weakness fueled their information campaign that culminated in the genocide.
From the Guerillas From the Mist article here on SWJ

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Old 09-29-2008   #5
sullygoarmy
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Congrats on entering the world of Lines of Operation! There are few FMs, texbooks and pamphlets that made the cut to come with me from Fort Leavenworth. This one by Jr. Jack Kem, however, is right here on my desk beside me: Campaign Planning: Tools of the Trade.. Dr. Kem has a great chapter (chapter 5) on logical lines of operation which may be worth your time.


One note from the old O/C in me...be wary of IO fratricide. Having a coordinated IO plan with dedicated LOOs helps. But when everyone from the Psyops team to your squad leader up through the Battalion Commander visits the local Sheik over a few days, you've hit IO fratricide. That will be your job to deconflice IO "fires" and ensure you are targeting the proper resources against the correct targets. Happy hunting!
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Old 09-29-2008   #6
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IO fratricide avoidance makes sense, and yes, the second and third order effects of too many voice was kicked around. Now that you reinforced my slight concerns, we'll be certain to discuss that aspect.
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