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Old 12-14-2009   #41
Steve the Planner
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Default Latest Rand Study- Civil Coin

Reconstruction Under Fire: Unifying Civil and Military Counterinsurgency

http://search.rand.org/search?v%3Apr...tion&Go=Search

Almost frightening where it is not bewildering.

First, their versoin of COIN extends all the way past econimc development to pure nation-building---no breaks in the cycle, no hand-offs, no cycles.

Clear, hold and build, according to this report, must not be sequential, ie, Clear+Hold+Build= Clear. As a practical matter, they are all one thing, and clearing is not complete until holding and building is complete.

Key finding is that there is abundant resource for COIN execution, but that security prevents implementation. Thus, civilians must become "risk tolerant."

To assure security for major projects like building hospitals (versus quick hits like a soccer field), there needs to be a better system of threat reduction and QRFs.

Excuse me, but opening a hospital is a pretty time consuming and complex development, staffing and resourcing activity. I believe they are actually suggesting that this work should be done under fire, with civilians learning to tolerate greater risk to fire.

In Iraq, even if we could get a clinic built, getting it staffed and supplied was a completely separate challenge all by itself. How does that work in Afghanistan?

Who writes this stuff?
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Old 12-14-2009   #42
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Default

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Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
Reconstruction Under Fire: Unifying Civil and Military Counterinsurgency

http://search.rand.org/search?v%3Apr...tion&Go=Search

Almost frightening where it is not bewildering.

First, their versoin of COIN extends all the way past econimc development to pure nation-building---no breaks in the cycle, no hand-offs, no cycles.

Clear, hold and build, according to this report, must not be sequential, ie, Clear+Hold+Build= Clear. As a practical matter, they are all one thing, and clearing is not complete until holding and building is complete.

Key finding is that there is abundant resource for COIN execution, but that security prevents implementation. Thus, civilians must become "risk tolerant."

To assure security for major projects like building hospitals (versus quick hits like a soccer field), there needs to be a better system of threat reduction and QRFs.

Excuse me, but opening a hospital is a pretty time consuming and complex development, staffing and resourcing activity. I believe they are actually suggesting that this work should be done under fire, with civilians learning to tolerate greater risk to fire.

In Iraq, even if we could get a clinic built, getting it staffed and supplied was a completely separate challenge all by itself. How does that work in Afghanistan?

Who writes this stuff?
I thought some of the points were good, some bad. They're trying to address the security issue- Good on them; however, I dislike many over the overgeneralizations. Anytime one talks about a controversial subject and begins with "it is widely agreed that..," they usually lose my attention. We have a lot of untested theorems circulating right now.

One common element that I find missing in many of these reports is assuming what the local populace needs instead of asking. Here's an example of how I learned this through blunt trauma.

In Zaganiyah back in June 2007, we started seeing great strides in security. I wanted to begin lifting many of the blocking positions, curfews, and other emergency measures to begin transitioning into "hold and build." We started planning and resourcing for project money for clinics ($150,000) and schools ($200,000).

Before we executed my brilliant plan, a local came by to talk to us at the patrol base. He stated that he was a doctor, a clinic already existed, and all he needed was some soldiers to provide security, medical supplies, and a salary to pay him and his nurses. I looked at him dumbfounded. I was like, "that's it?"

The clinic was up and running the next week at a cost of less than $3000. The IA pulled security, our medics ordered extra CL VIII supplies, and some cash got the doctor back in business.

Same answer with the schools. The lesson I learned was to always ask the people that live in the area how best to help them instead of planning up grand schemes in a vacuum.

Mike
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Old 12-14-2009   #43
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Mike:

Thanks for the positive.

What I love about your posts is that they always seem to focus on identifying the actual folks involved in deciding what is needed, then engaing them in getting it done.

It's like US planning 101, but seems so difficult to get across in the reconstruction game.

Steve
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Old 12-14-2009   #44
Ross Wherry
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Smile Clear and Hold, and Build Several Times

Steve,

Apologies for seeming prickly. I agree that it's the contract culture. But like honest politicians, good contractors stay bought and get their job done with a minimum of whining.

The UPI article posted recently is dead on, or at least completely consonent with my biases. I was also impressed by Micheal Yon article from 13 Dec on SWJ. He sees clearly. My own experience in Helmand was 2005, flying into Lashkar Gah's pebble runway. I can only be in awe of Marines now operating south of there. The farmers we were trying to help still had dried poppies hung up in barns in case the Americans left (which eventually happened).

On the issue of clearing and holding villages, I hold the position that villages are probably the right level for "clear and hold" security operations since that the bad guys move into the villages first, whether it's Nepal or Colombia. The "build" operations probably are best run out of the equivalent to a county, call it a district or a qada or a municipality. It lends a certain economy of scale, and allows for balancing local rivalries. MikeF had it right with the need to be circumspectly consultative -- if the local folks chose the project, it's less likely to be destroyed by one or another of the armed groups. We saw that in Salvador and Colombia, but not in eastern Zaire.

Lastly, I had the honor of running the RTI project in Iraq for 18 months. Thanks for the kind words.
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Old 12-14-2009   #45
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Default Rand Studies re Civilian COIN

Steve.

Who writes that stuff? The authors I recognized spent their tours in Baghdad in the friendly confines of the Republican Palace.

see also Imperial Life in the Emerald City, but don't buy a copy.

Guess my biases are all out on the table now.
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Old 12-14-2009   #46
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Ross:

That's what it looks like to me.

Lot's of money in them there think tanks afterwards, too.

I think I was in the embassy a few times, usually on the way to somewhere that you could actually see and learn things...
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Old 12-15-2009   #47
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Default Now Zad, Now What?

OK.

Here's a good test.

Press coverage indicates that the battle of Now Zad,second largest town in Helmand is complete and they are just mopping up now.

Clear is done, lots of refugees fled.

Now what comes next?

Steve
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Old 12-16-2009   #48
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Default Amateur attempt

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Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post

Here's a good test.

Press coverage indicates that the battle of Now Zad,second largest town in Helmand is complete and they are just mopping up now.

Clear is done, lots of refugees fled.

Now what comes next?

Steve
I'll bite. Cognizant that we want civil, government, and security activities to occur simultaneously, I would start by positioning FOBs, COPs and OPs around Now Zad that are mutually supporting and adjacent to the population. I would collocate ANA/ANP and U.S. security personnel in each of the FOB and platoon (+) sized COP. Also would position OPs in between the COPs and FOBs with vehicle crew-served weapon firing positions available at each protected by HESCO.

Looking at this maplandia photo of Now Zad, where would the best locations for the FOB and COP be based on both METT-TC and ASCOPE:

http://www.maplandia.com/afghanistan/helmand/now-zad/

I might suggest putting the FOB in the open area and inch and a half north of the blue dot at the end of the diagonal main street appearing to run through town. On the southern end of town and that diagonal road, would take over the entire compound of buildings and courtyards that sits alone at the end of the road, to create a COP. Just east of the zoom tool in an L-shaped open area inside the town, would create another COP. Midway along the west end of town in the open desert south of the zoom tool would create a COP. On the east side of town about 4 inches from the west COP would position another COP in the open area close to the town, but not too close.

Would construct tall towers at each COP and FOB with video surveillance to ensure coverage of much of the town. Would place a QRF in the FOB in the center of town. Construction of that large FOB with interior helicopter landing area would facilitate resupply. Might consider building housing for government civilians, civilian aid workers, and contractors within that FOB. Might consider building or walling in housing adjacent to the FOB for families of locally recruited Pashtun Soldiers who return to town looking for work and a place to live.

Would build girl's schools next to each COP and FOB with women's clinics adjacent to each. Would encourage mothers to bring their girls to school where the mothers can get medical help next door. Waiting rooms for moms with televisions would provide information messages that will be passed along to husbands. All employees in the girl's school and clinic would be women. Male doctors might provide televised advice to clinic personnel and televisions in classrooms would help teach students. Hot meals prepared at COPs and FOBs would also be provided for school breakfast and lunch to encourage attendance. Other grains and raw foods might be handed out to mothers on a limited basis.

Would include wind turbines and solar power panels at each COP and FOB and large generators to power both the FOB/COP and adjacent neighborhoods eventually, with nearby government offices and schools/clinics receiving power initially.

How does that sound for someone tempting William F. Owens wrath about seeing something work in theory given my novice awareness of COIN?
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Old 12-16-2009   #49
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Cole:

I'll leave Wilf or the great Ken to address military.

First, this seems like a very managable scale for a perfect civilian exercise.

Stabilize the existing population. Bring in additional clinics and food, humanitarian services at the outset? Secure and reopen what markets can be reopened now? Start development of a small-scale school system? Solar to get street lights, etc...?

OK. So, first essential and human services. Bring back (and vet) the old "government?" Now how to attract returnees and address damage?

Is enough enough then?

Do you hold tight with that, or move on to fancier development initiatives?
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Old 12-16-2009   #50
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Default Now Zad...

As a civilian reconstruction type, I'd be interested, while house-to-houses are going on, in getting as much local population, social and econ information as possible, embedded with questions of: Do you need help? Is there a food supply? What is most important to get reopened? How many houses were damaged? What resources exist/are needed to rebuild?

I'm pretty interested in the hinterland---ag types, markets, resources.

Assuming that it is a great place from which to distribute bad stuff (prssure plates, etc...), I assume the town has some basic market-serving functions too. What were they? What would it take to bring them back? What basic levels of government and/or community control needs to be in place?

I'm increasingly becoming concerned that we may "over-build" some of these places with stuff that can't be sustained, absent the LaLa Land of Foreign Aid, and isn't wanted or needed. Where is the line of "good enough" in a rural village, or small region-serving town?

My guess, too, is that once a basic Phase I stabilization, inventory, repair job is done, the next level of serious development, if warranted, is going to need to be left to some "higher" program (USAID, NGOs?), so that the military does not become unproductively engaged in town building, and is free for the next challenge.

Steve
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Old 12-16-2009   #51
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Default Got to zoom in

Noticed the link does not default to the same zoom or screen position that my initial description was based on....which perhaps is for the better from an OPSEC standpoint.

Guess most of the door-to-door searching pertains to looking for bombs since the city that once had 30,000 is currently pretty deserted. Not sure how you get folks to return but by having the FOB, COPs, and OPs in place beforehand, and other building started or adapted when empty, you would have the makings of a future Marine-protected ink spot.

Anecdotally, I have several relatives who home school and the smartest pair of mothers have created really smart kids. Another in-law with less education was far less successful. If mothers could be taught in parallel classes in their daughter's school and given learning materials, they could assist their children's learning and long term Helmand province development.
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Old 12-16-2009   #52
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The details.

Various reports over the many successive occupations report the population as ranging from about 10,000 in the town to a ghost town. For now, I will assume about 2,000 with, at best, the maximum restoration of about 5,000.

The 30,000 figure is probably for Now Zad district---all those happy poppy growers.

Probably a ton of the homes visible on Google Earth are damaged/unoccupied.

As for schools, assuming, based on the young age of the pop in general, that about 1,000 school age students are possible in the town, and a total of about 10,000 in the district, it is most likely that much of the schooling will be informal (tents, abandoned homes, people's houses), but it's important to know whether any plans for schools in town are intended to serve the town, or reach for a more regional strategy---specialized high schools, etc...

Twenty total teachers and classrooms is probably a max, to be fazed in as re-occupation proceeds. How many tea cups does that take?

Where lack of buildings is a problem elsewhere, Now Zad, it seems, would have plenty of empty space, some of which could open the door for rapid repair/re-use without costly and slow building projects. Take a few adjacent houses and turn them into schools, health clinics, kitchens. A good time to plan something out before refugees return.

Why would they return initially? Reconstruction jobs? New teacher jobs? Unfortunately, the jobs drivers will all be foreign aid/int'l supported, but what else?

The real challenge, based on past successive occupation/abandonment (Brits, Russians, us, etc...) is to find a sustainable strategy to what is around Now Zad. Is it intended as an Oil Spot, with a focused strategy to reinvent ag production away from poppy, or is poppy an assumed?

I assume there was a reasonably productive agricultural base before poppies. Wonder what it was, what old sites, knowledge and infrastructure supported that, could be re-promoted?

My guess is that unless we take the town strategy as part of a focused strategy for the immediate region, and maybe the district, then it is just another passing occupancy. In large part, that comes back to Ross's comment about what gov/societal level to target---district for higher level project/programs---but what is the state of governance and/or societal structure at that level?

How, where to engage which level of government? I think the answer to that question depends on what bigger picture is intended in Now Zad/Helmand--- central, regional, provincial, district, town, tribal?

Steve
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Old 12-23-2009   #53
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Default Same Old, Same Old

NPR's latest report on State's Inspector General Report:

"When it comes to its counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan, the State Department's activities, while well-intentioned, leave a lot to be desired, according to a new report from the department's inspector general."

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/...tidrug_ef.html

What are you going to do?

Steve
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Old 12-24-2009   #54
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Quote:
Would build girl's schools next to each COP and FOB with women's clinics adjacent to each.
Cole, why would you focus on doing this? I ask because this is one of the first things you went to, but I wonder what it gains us in terms of cooperation or information...what do you desire to achieve by trying to apply resources to a specific target affiliated with a schools's project? Going after influence over military-aged males? Going after close-hold information from tight-lipped fathers who truthfully want an education for their daughters?

Also, PM sent re: UAS employment.

Last edited by jcustis; 12-24-2009 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 12-24-2009   #55
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Custis:

Your point has a lot of resonance.

First, my understanding is that the first real societal confrontation in the current era occurred when the communist urban government started to tear down a lot of old cultural traditions, and directly challenge long-standing rural practices---including education and professions, and especially for women. Social transformation stuff.

So is the military role in post-conflict on immediate stabilization/restoration, reconstruction, social transformation, etc...? Especially if bigger objectives are multi-year and richer and broader than available resources.

Where does the line get drawn? Quick hits? Immediate work?

My problem with, for example, the poppy game, is that the real answer lies in creating a sustainable alternative, which means developing (or reestablishing) markets, market support resouces, trading patterns and transportation links. My general assumption is that the farmers know how to grow what they grew for generations (not poppies) but something today makes only poppies viable. Address that. Carrots, sticks, incentives, whatever---there must be an obvious and economically viable strategy behind the many tactics.

If we want to improve their ag techniques, approaches, that is a next stage which, for the most part, they are going to figure out and adopt later...

Steve
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Old 12-24-2009   #56
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Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
Cole, why would you focus on doing this? I ask because this is one of the first things you went to, but I wonder what it gains us in terms of cooperation or information...what do you desire to achieve by trying to apply resources to a specific target affiliated with a schools's project? Going after influence over military-aged males? Going after close-hold information from tight-lipped fathers who truthfully want an education for their daughters?

Also, PM sent re: UAS employment.
Just used that as an example and would include male schools as well if not already present. But believe it's in line with my latest reply under the COL Gentile post about things the Taliban would never provide...which maybe reason enough. Besides, what nation can afford to not educate half its citizens. My wife is a longtime post Child Development Center provider and has had many Saudi kids in pre-school classes over the years. The wives would often still be in full Islamic garb yet would be highly educated which helps her teach her kids. For poor Afghans, it would not hurt to have a second bread-winner in the family, either. Sewing classes and similar lessons could be provided, and the women's health clinic would reduce the horrid childbirth death rate and death rate of kids under 5 years old.

The whole idea is to move civilian aid workers, teachers, clinic workers etc into the same COP so they are close to their work and the COP can provide overwatch. Just my theory that has zero basis in reality to back it up that I can point to. But it seems to align with COIN practices.

Hopefully you got at least one of the PMs.
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Old 12-25-2009   #57
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Custis:

Your point has a lot of resonance.

First, my understanding is that the first real societal confrontation in the current era occurred when the communist urban government started to tear down a lot of old cultural traditions, and directly challenge long-standing rural practices---including education and professions, and especially for women. Social transformation stuff.

So is the military role in post-conflict on immediate stabilization/restoration, reconstruction, social transformation, etc...? Especially if bigger objectives are multi-year and richer and broader than available resources.

Where does the line get drawn? Quick hits? Immediate work?

My problem with, for example, the poppy game, is that the real answer lies in creating a sustainable alternative, which means developing (or reestablishing) markets, market support resouces, trading patterns and transportation links. My general assumption is that the farmers know how to grow what they grew for generations (not poppies) but something today makes only poppies viable. Address that. Carrots, sticks, incentives, whatever---there must be an obvious and economically viable strategy behind the many tactics.

If we want to improve their ag techniques, approaches, that is a next stage which, for the most part, they are going to figure out and adopt later...

Steve
This is what has, and always will, worried me in terms on non-kinetic efforts to improve the plight of the people we are charged to protect. I have had to endure prattling from folks about this or that project or initiative, and I often thought them mad since it ran totally counter to a number of societal trends that fit that specific slice of society.

Your point about the poppy alternative effort makes me think back to a class I took in undergraduate where I formed the impression that that the so-called Green Revolution did not actually improve the plight of the most impoverished on our planet. Distribution networks, markets, seed and fertilizer procurement systems have to improve at the same time. It's not enough to simply do a seed drop of resistant wheat, without having a grasp of other factors already at play in that agricultural system.

Quote:
So is the military role in post-conflict on immediate stabilization/restoration, reconstruction, social transformation, etc...? Especially if bigger objectives are multi-year and richer and broader than available resources.
If that is what the role must be, alongside kinetic efforts, the campaign plan for it has to be water tight...Sadly, when stacked up against even 15 month deployment rotations, I don't imagine that these campaign plans retain the focus and rudder steer required to actually show something for the effort.

Last edited by jcustis; 12-25-2009 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 12-25-2009   #58
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jcustis:

That's what I found fascinating about Iraq. No shortage of smart, brave people or resources, but. amongst all the competing priorities, and action-oriented campaign plans chock-full of programs and tactics, we couldn't seem to create an Iraq in our image---had to wait for Iraqis to do it.

MG Caslon (MND-North) talked about the June 30 SOFA turn-over. Initially, was very skeptical that Iraqis were ready for responsibility, but accepted Gen. Odeirno's point that it was the only way forward. In retrospect, he said he was amazed by how much the Iraqi Army was ready, willing and able (within their resources), to take possession of their own country's responsibilities. Might not be perfect, but it was theirs.

Some kind of big lessons there.

Steve
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