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Old 01-01-2002   #1
Steve Blair
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Default COIN Counterinsurgency (merged thread)

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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
I'm pretty well convinced. I was fortunate in having had two really great Battalion Commanders in Viet Nam. I know the first would not have and I strongly doubt the second would have made it to LTC any time after the late 1980s. DOPMA and its followers have not done us any favors. Not at all...
We've been in total agreement about this for some time, Ken. The system discourages any initiative or non-conformist thinking.
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Old 03-20-2006   #2
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Default Hard-Learned Lessons

27 March issue of U.S. News and World Report - Hard-Learned Lessons by Julian Barnes.

Quote:
...After three years of roadside bombs, midnight raids, and sectarian strife, one can safely say that Iraq is not the kind of war for which the National Training Center and the U.S. Army spent decades preparing. In fact, Iraq is the kind of fight that, after Vietnam, the Army hoped to avoid. It is a messy war in an urban landscape against multiple insurgencies, a powder keg of ethnic tensions that the United States still does not completely understand.

It is a war that is forcing the Army to change. Today, combat veterans, military thinkers, and Army historians are beefing up the study of insurgencies. They are emphasizing tone, intelligence, and cultural understanding. They are training designated skeptics to question planned operations. And they are rethinking the way the Army trains and fights...

LESSON #1: Emphasize stability and security

LESSON #2: Study counter-insurgency

LESSON #3: Know the cultural terrain

LESSON #4: Gain trust and confidence

LESSON #5: Improve intelligence analysis
But a short excerpt, click on the link above for the whole story...
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Old 04-20-2006   #3
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Default COIN as a 6 Paragraph Parable

Interesting COIN discussion going on at the Army.ca (Canada) board - Counter-Insurgency as a 6 Paragraph Parable.
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Old 09-01-2006   #4
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Default The American Way of War: Barriers to Successful COIN

1 September Cato Institute policy analysis - The American Way of War: Cultural Barriers to Successful Counterinsurgency by Jeffrey Record.

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The U.S. defeat in Vietnam, embarrassing setbacks in Lebanon and Somalia, and continuing political and military difficulties in Afghanistan and especially Iraq underscore the limits of America's hard-won conventional military supremacy. That supremacy has not delivered decisive success against nonstate enemies practicing protracted irregular warfare; on the contrary, America's conventional supremacy and approach to war—especially its paramount reliance on firepower and technology—are often counterproductive.

The problem is rooted in American political and military culture. Americans are frustrated with limited wars, particularly counterinsurgent wars, which are highly political in nature. And Americans are averse to risking American lives when vital national interests are not at stake. Expecting that America's conventional military superiority can deliver quick, cheap, and decisive success, Americans are surprised and politically demoralized when confronted by Vietnam- and Iraq-like quagmires.

The Pentagon's aversion (the Marine Corps excepted) to counterinsurgency is deeply rooted in the American way of warfare. Since the early 1940s, the Army has trained, equipped, and organized for large-scale conventional operations against like adversaries, and it has traditionally employed conventional military operations even against irregular enemies.

Barring profound change in America's political and military culture, the United States runs a significant risk of failure when it enters small wars of choice, and great power intervention in small wars is almost always a matter of choice. Most such wars, moreover, do not engage core U.S. security interests other than placing the limits of American military power on embarrassing display. Indeed, the very act of intervention in small wars risks gratuitous damage to America's military reputation.

The United States should abstain from intervention in such wars, except in those rare cases when military intervention is essential to protecting or advancing U.S. national security...

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-07-2016 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Was a stand alone post till merged.
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Old 10-18-2006   #5
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Default Irregular Warfare: COIN Challenges & Perspectives

Presentations from the 10 Oct 06 Panel at the AUSA annual meeting:

Best Practices in COIN
Quote:
Successful COIN Practices
• Focus on the population, their needs, and their security
• Emphasis on intelligence
• Secure areas established, expanded
• Insurgents isolated from population (population control)
• Single authority (charismatic/dynamic leader)
• Effective, pervasive PSYOP campaigns
• Amnesty and rehabilitation for insurgents
• Police in lead; military supporting
• Police force expanded, diversified
• Conventional military forces reoriented for COIN
• Special Forces, advisers embedded with indigenous forces
• Insurgent sanctuaries denied
The Evolution of American COIN Doctrine
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COIN Paradoxes
• The more you protect your force, the less secure you are
• The more force you use, the less effective you are
• The more successful you are, the less force you can use – and the more risk you must accept
• Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction
• The best weapons for COIN do not shoot
• The host nation doing something tolerably is sometimes better than us doing it well
• If a tactic works this week, it might not work next week. If it works in this province, it might not work in the next
• Tactical success guarantees nothing
• Most important decisions are not made by generals
International Perspectives on COIN
Quote:
“Small Wars demand the highest type of leadership directed by intelligence, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. Small wars are conceived in uncertainty, are conducted with precarious responsibility and doubtful authority, under indeterminate orders lacking specific instructions.”
The Lessons of Tal Afar
Quote:
Change the Environment that Allows Chaos to Exist
• Secure the population - Patrol Bases, R & S
– Perception of security has cascading effects
– Enables civil projects
• ISF Partnership
– Dig to the root problems to improve ISF
• Combined Command & Control
– Develop combined speed & agility
– Focus on developing ISF capabilities
• Restore government
• Relationships matter – Build Trust
– Mutual respect is a combat multiplier
– Be even-handed
• Take personal Ownership of your AO
– People Can Tell When You Care

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-07-2016 at 03:38 PM. Reason: Was a stand alone post till merged.
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Old 10-18-2006   #6
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Thanks Jed! Just added these presentations to the SWJ's Counterinsurgency Page.
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Old 01-28-2007   #7
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Default Two Schools of Classical Counterinsurgency

Two Schools of Classical Counterinsurgency - David Kilcullen on the Small Wars Journal Blog.

Quote:
Discussion of the new Iraq strategy, and General Petraeus’s recent Congressional testimony have raised the somewhat obvious point that the word “counterinsurgency” means very different things to different people. So it may be worth sketching in brief outline the two basic philosophical approaches to counterinsurgency that developed over the 20th century (a period which I have written about elsewhere as "Classical Counterinsurgency"). These two contrasting schools of thought about counterinsurgency might be labeled as “enemy-centric” and “population-centric”...
Please comment on the SWJ Blog as well as here - thanks!
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Old 01-28-2007   #8
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Dave Kilcullen said:

Quote:
Both have merit, but the key is to first diagnose the environment, then design a tailor-made approach to counter the insurgency, and - most critically - have a system for generating continuous, real-time feedback from the environment that allows you to know what effect you are having, and adapt as needed.
French General-d'Armee Andre Beaufre wrote in his book "An Introduction to Strategy" in 1965:

"... strategic plan can now be worked out. We are dealing with a porblem of dialectics; for every action proposed, therefore, the possible enemy reactions must be calculated and provisions made to guard against them. His reaction may be international or national, psychological, political, economic or military. Each sucessive action planned, together with the counter to the corresponding enemy reaction, must be built up into a coherent whole, the object being to retain the ability to pursue the plan in spite of the resistance of the enemy. If the plan is good one, there should be no risk of set-backs. The result will be "risk-proof" strategy, the object of which will be to prserve our own liberty of action. Naturally strategy must have a clear picture of the whole chain of events leading up to the final decision - which, be it noted in passing, was not the case with us in France either in 1870 or in 1939 or in Indo-China or in Algeria. It must also be remembered that dialectic struggle between two opponents will be further complicated by the fact that it will be played out on an international stage. Pressure by allies or even neutrals may prove decisive (as at Suez). Germany has lost two wars as a result of failure to grasp this point; she brought England in against her by invasion of Belgium and the United States by the U-boat war. A correct appreciation of the influence of the the international situation upon our own liberty of action is therefore a vital element of strategy ..."
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Old 02-11-2007   #9
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I am, admitedly, not familiar with General Beaufre's book. But from that snippet he seems to be of the determinist school - if there is enough planning every contingency can be anticipated and the correct formulae applied to guarantee success. Chet Richards' little book, _Certain to Win_ addresses this thinking quite well with regard to business but his comments also apply to warfare. I think it is a rather simplistic view of the world that assumes we can anticipate how irrational human beings will react to everything we do and be able to guarantee success. It ignores the obvious question of what happens when two opponents meet both using that kind of thinking - if both are believing in guaranteed victory because they both believe they have fulfilled the perfect planning paradigm..... It also assumes human commanders of opposing forces are rational enough that one can predict what their reactions will be to every scenario in the "plan" - but by and large, human beings often do not act rationally. In fact, a key to success is very likely acting in a way that appears irrational to your adversary and, as the Boyd crowd likes to say, getting inside the adversary's OODA cycle.
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Old 02-28-2007   #10
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Default Complexity and Context

I agree that the deterministic approach limits the depth of understanding and degree of creativity applied. The feature that makes this so is the nonlinear characteristic of human behavior in large groups. The thinking of the Santa Fe Institute toward greater understanding of nonlinear systems theory, and it captures some reasons for the inherent unpredictability of behavior, and the attitudes and perceptions that shape decisions. I think that there is a necessary place for reductionist work in the process of assessing an environment, identifying what is to be done, planning that action, executing that action, and assessing its effect.

Back on point, I read in David Kilcullen's piece a call for developing an approach to counterinsurgency that is appropriate to the environment or situtation in which one is to operate. I agree with that, and see that colliding with a desire to master an approach or small set of discrete approaches in order to provide a general purpose counterinsurgency capability. I'm persuaded that it isn't that simple, but there are methods that guide one to an approach that facilitates learning throughout the effort and provides sufficient flexibility to capitalize on insight gleaned.
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Old 03-07-2007   #11
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Default CGSC adds Counterinsurgency Chair?

http://www.ftleavenworthlamp.com/art...news/news3.txt

A professor of Strategic Studies of the U.S. Naval War College has been selected to become the first holder of the Congressman Ike Skelton Distinguished Chair for Counterinsurgency at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Dr. Ahmed S. Hashim will teach and help develop curricula relevant to counterinsurgency operations, including ensuring that the most relevant counterinsurgency material is included in CGSC courses attended by mid-grade officers. He will also teach electives in the CGSC, and deliver lectures at the School of Command Preparation and the School of Advanced Military Studies. Additionally, he will serve on Master of Military Arts and Science committees and conduct regular faculty development seminars for key CGSC personnel and faculty.

Hashim will develop a counterinsurgency outreach program by actively surveying and participating in "high payoff" counterinsurgency efforts throughout the Joint, interagency, academic and civilian arenas in order to promote institutional change in the U.S. Army. He will also periodically update Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on the chair's activities.
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Old 03-07-2007   #12
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I'd say 5 1/2 years after the start of a "declared conflict" is about time to start thinking about addressing the problems of COIN at the institutional level.
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Old 03-07-2007   #13
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Default COIN at CGSC

120--

CGSC has at least a fairly good history of teaching COIN and other Small Wars euphemisms. In the 1970s, when the army decided to forget Vietnam and COIN, it reduced curriculum to a mere 1 hour. At that time LTC Don Vought realizing that terrorism was the new hot topic saved all the old stuff under that file so it was available as COIN came back into play in the 80s. Late 70s and 80 - 81 is the period when John Waghelstein was teaching at Leavenworth.
In 92 when I returned as a civilian prof, DJCO had a committee of 7 or so guys devoted to teaching and deveoping curriculum on MOOTW. They included Britishe Lt. Col. Mike Smith who had served in Oman. We also used to have regular lectures by Larry Cable and Amb Dave Passage who had been Charge in El Salvador in 1985.
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Old 03-07-2007   #14
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Quote:
At that time LTC Don Vought realizing that terrorism was the new hot topic saved all the old stuff under that file so it was available as COIN came back into play in the 80s.
Don Vought as a civilian sat on my editorial board for LP 14. COL Denny Frasche was CSI Director and he recruited guys to look at UW. LTC Jack Hixson was Research Committee Chief and he let me--with Roger Spiller's support--go forward with the Congo 64 project for LP 14.

Hopefully some of this will hang on when the inevitable refocus on big wars and bigger battalions takes place.

Tom
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Old 03-07-2007   #15
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Default Amb Passage

Amb. Dave Passage (now retired) along with LtGen Paul Van Riper are our two senior mentors / grey beards for the Joint Urban Warrior and Expeditionary Warrior programs. Amb. Passage has been a god-send to the programs...
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Old 03-07-2007   #16
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Default AMB Passage

He is a 30-plus year veteran of the foreign service and had extensive experience with both Latin America and guerrilla insurgencies. I recall he also spent several years as a youth in Colombia and much later as an analyst at the U.S. military assistance command in Vietnam.

I remember mostly reading about his days in Africa with insurgencies and his work as a negotiator during the US's diplomatic efforts in the 1980s securing the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Africa.
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Old 03-08-2007   #17
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I'm just completing ILE via correspondence course (Pain!!!) and I am underwhelmed by most of the content. There are a few acorns, there, but most of it is just slop.

As I am supposed to become an ILE Instructor here in the next few months, I have suggested that our ILE BN name me as their own COIN chair, and include more relevant information (some of it shamelessly lifted from this web-site) relating to COIN and current ops.
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Old 03-09-2007   #18
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I just need to get back with you on this. I spoke with the ILE schools director, and he says "We have enough of that stuff in the curriculum the way it is."

So, back to "checking the block" so Majors can do the minimum necessary to make LTC.
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Old 03-12-2007   #19
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That is why the active guys have to go to the residency course now. The people I have met who did the ILE battalion job in the reserves were not always the most up to date. If you really want the PME, you go to the resident course.
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Old 05-18-2007   #20
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Jimbo can back me up on this one. The core cirriculum has expanded in the amount of COIN instruction to each student at CGSC (can't comment on the correspondent course...I suspect its lacking). Although not nearly as much as I'd like, it was enough to teach the bare bone basics. During your elective periods, you can sign up for additional COIN/Terrorism classes, which I did. Took a great class on COIN, and two great classes on terrorism...really helped me in broadening my COIN/Terrorism knowledge base. Again, I actively sought out these courses to augment the basic COIN classes taught in the core cirriculum. Hopefully have an experienced guy as the COIN chair will bring out an increase the amount and quality of COIN instruction in CGSC and hopefully, that will spill over to the correspondance stuff as well.

On another note, John, we watched a Larry Cable lecture that he did when he used to come to CGSC...plus his book on Malaya was pretty good as well.
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