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Old 01-15-2012   #1
HumanCOGRachel
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Default Every Soldier A Sensor - Localized Elicitation Training for IDs

Hi everyone, long time no talk!

So US Army has finally come to their senses with their Airborne Infantry types - responding to the augmentation of USMC Squad-level decision making for setting up Shuras, identifying and communicating PIRs, etc... I'm really glad but that's why elicitation training localized for the AO should be required and it follows my Masters thesis conclusions. I'm glad Applied Memetics was able to provide this for the Soldiers, but this should be instituted across the board, not just role playing and lectures but engagement and interaction as a necessary element of pre-deployment work ups.

So what do you guys think? Is this kind of training useful for Armored Divs? Armored Batt COs seem traditionally uninterested in venturing outside and interacting, but I could be wrong. What do you think? Is it worth sharing with them?

Anyways, hope all is well with everyone.

Quote:
In November 2011, the US Army selected Applied Memetics LLC to launch their latest pre-deployment training program: a four-day course training 4th BCT 82D Airborne Infantry soldiers critical social networking skills so that sergeants and lieutenants alike can effectively interact and engage with tribal groups in Afghanistan.

Soldiers were trained to adapt to tribal singularities honoring cultural norms, traditions and histories, encourage the participation of tribal leaders in shuras and jirgas, and perform advanced elicitation skills relevant to their upcoming area of responsibility.

The elicitation training provided was customized for their upcoming deployment and delivered critical tactics and techniques beyond what has been traditionally provided. One Sergeant commented: “Practical exercises with an interpreter and role players that acted differently each time helped prepare me to deal (with the people)…It (the training) even helped me notice the bad habits I’ve developed over the years.

Lessons highlighted how applying an understanding of the specific needs and desires of local populations is essential towards maintaining situational awareness, enhancing security, and fulfilling key priority information requirements for host country and supporting national forces, alike.
Contact me if you want some of the unclassified slides for your units or elicitation scenarios relevant for W Kandahar.
//Rach
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-17-2012 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Citation in quotes and PM to author for a link
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Old 01-15-2012   #2
MikeF
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Originally Posted by HumanCOGRachel View Post
"In November 2011, the US Army selected Applied Memetics LLC to launch their latest pre-deployment training program: a four-day course training 4th BCT 82D Airborne Infantry soldiers critical social networking skills so that sergeants and lieutenants alike can effectively interact and engage with tribal groups in Afghanistan. //Rach
Rachael,

While it was not called SNA, soldiers and marines have been doing this type of work for ten years. It is not new on the tactical level; however, what continues to be missing is the ability for the system to absorb the raw information collected and translate it into intelligence and analysis.

Mike
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Old 01-15-2012   #3
HumanCOGRachel
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Rachael,

While it was not called SNA, soldiers and marines have been doing this type of work for ten years. It is not new on the tactical level; however, what continues to be missing is the ability for the system to absorb the raw information collected and translate it into intelligence and analysis.

Mike
Or even that the information is passed up properly and that less-than-convenient information is not omitted. I still say that squad and fire-team levels have a long ways to go in the art and science of social interaction and elicitation performance, but I give credit for the few COs out there that do push that training (COIST teams even have a ways to go as I see firsthand every day those challenges) but I'd like to see more nations train in this space - particularly the Estonians, Dutch, and German guys I see a lot of... Interesting times we live in... Cheers Mike. //Rach
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Old 01-15-2012   #4
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Default Concur, but

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Originally Posted by HumanCOGRachel View Post
Or even that the information is passed up properly and that less-than-convenient information is not omitted. I still say that squad and fire-team levels have a long ways to go in the art and science of social interaction and elicitation performance, but I give credit for the few COs out there that do push that training (COIST teams even have a ways to go as I see firsthand every day those challenges) but I'd like to see more nations train in this space - particularly the Estonians, Dutch, and German guys I see a lot of... Interesting times we live in... Cheers Mike. //Rach
Technology in and of itself will not solve the problem. The structure/system was designed for top-down not bottom up information flow.

Also, if you haven't talked to them already, you might want to collaborate with the CORE Lab folks out in Monterey, CA.
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Old 01-17-2012   #5
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Originally Posted by HumanCOGRachel View Post
"In November 2011, the US Army selected Applied Memetics LLC to launch their latest pre-deployment training program: a four-day course training 4th BCT 82D Airborne Infantry soldiers critical social networking skills so that sergeants and lieutenants alike can effectively interact and engage with tribal groups in Afghanistan.
I seriously wonder what they do with those 4 days. Better than nothing, certainly, but the idea of trying to teach people to "effectively interact and engage with tribal groups" in that time span seems an uphill climb at best. Are they really trying to change practices in the field, or do they want to be able to point at an effort and say something was done?
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Old 01-17-2012   #6
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Default At the risk of sounding territorial…

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Originally Posted by HumanCOGRachel View Post
So US Army has finally come to their senses with their Airborne Infantry types - responding to the augmentation of USMC Squad-level decision making for setting up Shuras, identifying and communicating PIRs, etc...

In November 2011, the US Army selected Applied Memetics LLC to launch their latest pre-deployment training program: a four-day course training 4th BCT 82D Airborne Infantry soldiers critical social networking skills so that sergeants and lieutenants alike can effectively interact and engage with tribal groups in Afghanistan.
It would never, ever, occur to me to put an applied anthropologist through four days’ worth of skydiving classes and declare him/her ready to do a paratrooper’s job if need be. And vice versa.

And correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t this sort of thing why SF exists?
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Old 01-17-2012   #7
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The reality is that SF cannot be everywhere, and where they are, they are territorial (and at times rightly so). Basic grunts need to employ some basic rules of interaction, and so it seems someone has deemed it important enough to contract training.

I think the preponderance of cultural training is self-destructive because it is too generalist and not tailored to specific AOs, barely scratches the surface for some folks and in turn actually causes confusion and inner doubt over whether one is eating soup with the right knife, and frankly is just another contract sinkhole.

The cultural interaction rules we should follow should be no different than what should be practiced in the course of reasonable human interaction:

-Shown deference to elders
-Do not interrupt your host
-Listen more and talk less
-Look people in the eye when you speak
-Do not boast
-Do not lie
-Do not make claims that are not true or that you cannot back up
-Eat what your host puts on your plate
-Thank your host for the hospitality he has provided
-Do not belittle your host, or scoff at his possessions, even if he believes he is rich yet really very poor
-Say what you mean and mean what you say

I didn't learn these rules from some nifty class provided by a cultural "expert", I learned them from my father, and he from his father.

We would do better when we attempt to FIND, FEEL, INFLUENCE by drafting more precise PIRs in the first place, instead of stumbling around sucking in everything we can touch, see, and hear. Improve that, and we will have gone a long way to improving our plight. This training is not really beneficial to any branch of the Army.

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an understanding of the specific needs and desires of local populations is essential towards maintaining situational awareness, enhancing security, and fulfilling key priority information requirements for host country and supporting national forces
Or it could simply ensure the folks sitting around us at the shura have an easier time of perfecting their role as opportunists.

Last edited by jcustis; 01-17-2012 at 04:08 AM.
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Old 01-17-2012   #8
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I didn't learn these rules from some nifty class provided by a cultural "expert", I learned them from my father, and he from his grandfather.
There was (what I at least thought was) a good interview on an episode of Fresh Air late last winter with an Army interrogator. There was a great discussion some of the issues surrounding night raids (beginning at about 19:55 in the interview) during which he made the great point that resentment at having the door of your home kicked in and your family thrown on the floor doesn’t spring from any Arab cultural nuance (at about 22:40 in the interview).

Quote:
-Eat what your host puts on your plate
The hardest one for me. I recall particularly well once being told repeatedly how delicious the cow stomach I had been served tasted.
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Old 01-17-2012   #9
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There was (what I at least thought was) a good interview on an episode of Fresh Air late last winter with an Army interrogator. There was a great discussion some of the issues surrounding night raids (beginning at about 19:55 in the interview) during which he made the great point that resentment at having the door of your home kicked in and your family thrown on the floor doesn’t spring from any Arab cultural nuance (at about 22:40 in the interview).
Precisely, and I would have to add:

-Don't take what is not yours
-Don't break stuff that doesn't belong to you
-Treat others as you wish to be treated. If they are in your sights, there's probably a reason for that, and you had better pay attention to the DECIDE step
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Old 01-17-2012   #10
HumanCOGRachel
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Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
The reality is that SF cannot be everywhere, and where they are, they are territorial (and at times rightly so). Basic grunts need to employ some basic rules of interaction, and so it seems someone has deemed it important enough to contract training.

I think the preponderance of cultural training is self-destructive because it is too generalist and not tailored to specific AOs, barely scratches the surface for some folks and in turn actually causes confusion and inner doubt over whether one is eating soup with the right knife, and frankly is just another contract sinkhole.

We would do better when we attempt to FIND, FEEL, INFLUENCE by drafting more precise PIRs in the first place, instead of stumbling around sucking in everything we can touch, see, and hear. (**agreed**) Improve that, and we will have gone a long way to improving our plight. This training is not really beneficial to any branch of the Army. Or it could simply ensure the folks sitting around us at the shura have an easier time of perfecting their role as opportunists.
This particular pilot training program was non-traditional and also very specific and localized to their upcoming AO, and there was training provided to recognize specific tribes and individuals who might have been outsiders. God only knows whether this training produced better rapport-building, we shall see, but with all the SF changes going on right now, I'd like to be able to see the performance on the field and whether or not at squad levels, whether these Soldiers generally know how to act, deal with their TERP FAIL etc - just what is the pervasiveness of poor interaction I'd like to know. Also, I'd like to see more COs use Shura funds rather than CERP funds or Small Rewards, to encourage those Lts and Sgts to be confident enough to hold them more regularly. What sayeth you?
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Last edited by HumanCOGRachel; 01-17-2012 at 06:41 AM. Reason: additions, deletions
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Old 01-17-2012   #11
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and there was training provided to recognize specific tribes and individuals who might have been outsiders.
And what are they supposed to do once they recognize outsiders? Is there a presumption that outsiders are going to be hanging around at a shura?

Quote:
Also, I'd like to see more COs use Shura funds rather than CERP funds or Small Rewards, to encourage those Lts and Sgts to be confident enough to hold them more regularly.
And what good is a shura if the coalition side doesn't have the tools, resources, or authority to act on anything that comes up in the shura? More shuras mean more complaints and, frankly, more opportunities to annoy the locals as we ask the same questions over and over, and continue to fail to deliver on their often outlandish demands. I'm not so sure that we understand the genie that is safe in his bottle right now. It goes back to getting better at the PIRs in the first place. We need a holistic approach, and holding a better shura is not the place to start.

If you have not been in country, you need to go. It should be very easy, if this program has any actual teeth and patrons who are at all serious about the effort. A San Diego newspaper reporter made it to way south Helmand pretty easily, and do did a Filipino Reuters photographer. Same with a German writer for some military-related glossy mag.

You need to get on the ground in Sangin or Gereshk, or the Korengal to see it this stuff at work. And you need to sit in a shura or two and see how Soldiers--if they care to open their mind and learn--can pick up much of what it is they need to know about who's who in the zoo from:

1) listening to the unit they are replacing
2) doing a bit of studying of the problem set before they go
3) just stopping and talking to folks
4) spending some time listening to their linguists

You could validate all of the training's assumptions by going into country just before the next unit rotation, to observe the unit in place, and then watch these newly-trained Soldiers show up and begin to operate.

There would be no anecdotal information collected from surveys, AARs, etc. All primary source observations.

I am dead serious about the relevance of getting on the ground. If there was integrity to the analysis of the training's effectiveness, I venture to say that you'd see there isn't really quite the need that some folks think.

Last edited by jcustis; 01-17-2012 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 01-17-2012   #12
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I am dead serious about the relevance of getting on the ground. If there was integrity to the analysis of the training's effectiveness, I venture to say that you'd see there isn't really quite the need that some folks think.
Rachael,

this goes for y'all working with Little Groups of Paratroopers as well as indigineous forces overseas
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Old 01-17-2012   #13
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Rachael,

It might be time for you to read this

At what point does reality completely overwhelm the neatly, beautifully constructed theories we’ve used to explain it?

Read more: http://www.lineofdeparture.com/2011/...#ixzz1jiOx1Ury
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Old 01-17-2012   #14
HumanCOGRachel
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Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
If you have not been in country, you need to go. It should be very easy, if this program has any actual teeth and patrons who are at all serious about the effort. A San Diego newspaper reporter made it to way south Helmand pretty easily, and do did a Filipino Reuters photographer. Same with a German writer for some military-related glossy mag.

You need to get on the ground in Sangin or Gereshk, or the Korengal to see it this stuff at work. And you need to sit in a shura or two and see how Soldiers--if they care to open their mind and learn--can pick up much of what it is they need to know about who's who in the zoo from:

1) listening to the unit they are replacing
2) doing a bit of studying of the problem set before they go
3) just stopping and talking to folks
4) spending some time listening to their linguists

You could validate all of the training's assumptions by going into country just before the next unit rotation, to observe the unit in place, and then watch these newly-trained Soldiers show up and begin to operate.

There would be no anecdotal information collected from surveys, AARs, etc. All primary source observations.

I am dead serious about the relevance of getting on the ground. If there was integrity to the analysis of the training's effectiveness, I venture to say that you'd see there isn't really quite the need that some folks think.
These are good points for analysis on the ground, and I can see IDA or NATO's JALLC being interested in reviewing those points first hand and reporting something of substance. Spending time at RC South, IJC, and North isn't anything like SOF experiences partnering with ANP and other elements, I understand and agree. I just hear all the feedback from those guys, compared to feedback I get some non-Intel or non-SF types and that's what got me interested in engagements at the local/tribal levels history and all. I have experienced the differences between national forces and their tactics, as well as how they relate and what they think of their time in AFGH. I try to give them some tools and resources to help them advocate, share their perspectives, and not be shy to look beyond their immediate 30ft.
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Last edited by HumanCOGRachel; 01-17-2012 at 04:58 PM. Reason: additionals, deletions
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Old 01-17-2012   #15
HumanCOGRachel
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Default Interesting and timely article.

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Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
Rachael,

It might be time for you to read this

At what point does reality completely overwhelm the neatly, beautifully constructed theories we’ve used to explain it?

Read more: http://www.lineofdeparture.com/2011/...#ixzz1jiOx1Ury
Thanks Mike - coming from an Armored guy, it's interesting to read this one. I'll come back with some thoughts later. Now, back to writing a "JIG." (couldn't they have come up with a better acronym?!)
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Old 01-17-2012   #16
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Thanks Mike - coming from an Armored guy, it's interesting to read this one. I'll come back with some thoughts later. Now, back to writing a "JIG." (couldn't they have come up with a better acronym?!)
Acronyms are a weakness

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