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Old 07-01-2009   #1
charlyjsp
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Default Impacts on Finland/EU/NATO of renewed IW/COIN focus of US military

Hi,

I am working on a project looking at the recent evolution of the U.S. armed forces interest and capabilities in IW/COIN/StabOps and what implications it may carry for Finland, EU and NATO. Open disclosure: the project is mainly funded by the Defence Ministry and any report is meant for public dissemination.

The first portion, what has taken place, the debates, most recent budget request etc. I feel I have under fairly good control (thanks in part to SWJ & SWC). Interviews and thinking (hey, I'm being paid for something, right?) have clarified some of the potential implications but, I would greatly appreciate any insights (personal, links to reports etc.) anyone of the boards has on what the concrete consequences of the increased focus on IW/COIN/Stabops may have on (1) NATO, EU and Finland, and (2) the future of the concepts 'crisis management' (EU) and 'peacebuilding/keeping' (UN).

I don't want to guide any potential replies at this point, but look forward to engaging in a discussion and sharing my insights as they are at the moment.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 07-01-2009   #2
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Default Three thoughts & comments

My first reaction - on a wider European level - is that participation in such activities when a part of a coalition with the USA will have an impact of each defence forces learning / experience / equipment / tactics. Kilcullen cites the Danes as being amongst the best COIN operators in Afghanistan and another here (Ken?) cites the Swedes have the best kit.

Secondly, especially for peacekeeping / stability ops and those under UN command, is the impact on imagery and legitimacy. Scandanavian participation in UN peacekeeping was (still?) a major focus and commitment. Can COIN experiences be left behind, should they be left behind.

Third, UN operations often cite the professionalism of some NATO / Western nations, alongside a willingness to be 'robust' and make comparisons to others weaknesses. Will involvement in US-led COIN ops and the risk of casualities impact being 'robust'?

Finally I am mindful of the frequent comment that the Europeans in NATO / EU have two million in service and can deploy a tiny fraction. Let alone helicopters and specialist troops.

Just a few thoughts from an armchair.

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Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-01-2009 at 12:07 PM. Reason: Last sentence added'
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Old 07-01-2009   #3
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davidbfpo, thanks for initial comments. I haven’t read Kilcullen’s Accidental Guerilla yet, are his comments about Danes in there?

In trying to push the conversation onwards, some of my thoughts on the issues of legitimacy, robustness you raise.

For UN commanders, access to imagery, especially tactical (and live) is by most accounts far more limited than NATO ops. If US COIN & IW doctrine ‘requires’ access to such ISR assets, and especially NATO adopts similar doctrines, then more investments are needed to be able to ‘play the game’. Conversely, NATO (and EU) troops that are used to receiving larger amounts of ISR info may not want to participate in UN operations if it is not forthcoming (and they don’t have the resources to provide it themselves).

On legitimacy, In Finland UN led operations are still closely identified with peacekeeping of yore, and it’s therefore seen as more legitimate (what Finland should be doing). This hasn’t precluded Finland from reducing its involvement in UN led operations. Nearly 80% of soldiers are in NATO led operations (KFOR & ISAF), less than 5% in UN led operations and the remainder in EU led operations. Local legitimacy is something that I’ve tried to look at, because Finns are not that used to having to worry about supporting the legitimacy of the HN through their actions - in effect taking sides on the strategic level.

I agree that NATO-EU led operations (or UN ones predominantly staffed and led by westerners - UNPROFOR in 1995) are seen to be more robust. Some of this undoubtedly comes from actually capabilities. However, already at the willingness to use the capabilities level, when moving towards actual combat (within COIN-stabops), I think there are many unanswered questions among both NATO and EU members. If robustness also includes a willingness to take casualties and keep going, I don’t know that those countries that are significant contributors to UN ops in Congo (for example) can be seen as less robust.

I haven’t hear anyone say Finns are participating in COIN, though operationally they are - it’s all to be subsumed under the ‘crisis management’ moniker. Speaking with a Finnish officer who has a good amount of international experience, he commented on Gen. Petraeus’s ‘commandments’ listed in Ricks’ The Gamble. In short, he felt that what was prescribed by Petraeus would have been very familiar to almost any Finnish peacekeeper that was stationed in Lebanon in the 1980s. From what I hear, I agree partially. However, for about 65 years Finnish soldiers have not been in a position where anyone is actively trying to kill them (with the increasing exception of Afghanistan). Considering what I understand of IW and COIN, I would say this is a significant difference. Though I don’t think Finnish soldiers are alone in this (among EU and NATO members).
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Old 07-01-2009   #4
jmm99
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Default Hei Charly .....

On this one ....

Quote:
from Charly
For UN commanders, access to imagery, especially tactical (and live) is by most accounts far more limited than NATO ops. If US COIN & IW doctrine ‘requires’ access to such ISR assets, and especially NATO adopts similar doctrines, then more investments are needed to be able to ‘play the game’.
you probably should get in touch with Wilf (he is a bit straight-forward, but that should not be a problem for a Finn ) as to what age-old and modern tactical capabilities are really necessary - on the ground and looking at it from the air - particularly for a smaller nation.

From my armchair, I could see where the Finnish forces (being something of a proportionately large National Guard-type outfit) could easily fit into the broader aspects of "stability operations" (e.g., James Dobbins, "Nation Building for Dummies", actually for "Beginners") since most all of the reserves would be well-qualified in various skills needed for reconstruction, etc.

But, why would Finland (as a national policy issue) want to go beyond multi-national peace enforcement (as the kinetic limit), and get into COIN and IW (irregular warfare ?), or even get into such as FID and SFA ?
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Old 07-01-2009   #5
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Default I'll echo JMM, send Wilf

a Private Message (P.M.) on this board and get him to send some of his articles.

Based on your initial request,
Quote:
"...recent evolution of the U.S. armed forces interest and capabilities in IW/COIN/StabOps and what implications it may carry...
I'd say one big implication is that we have not learned anything new, we have merely had to relearn what we earlier had to relearn -- the basic principles and practices of aiding foreign development, security force assistance and even COIN ops were all practiced by us -- but we purged the doctrine and neglected the training in an effort to save money and time after WWI and after WW II and after Korea and after Viet Nam. Big mistake each time. Hopefully we won't repeat it.

This
Quote:
"If US COIN & IW doctrine ‘requires’ access to such ISR assets, and especially NATO adopts similar doctrines, then more investments are needed to be able to ‘play the game’. Conversely, NATO (and EU) troops that are used to receiving larger amounts of ISR info may not want to participate in UN operations if it is not forthcoming (and they don’t have the resources to provide it themselves)."
is a very valid and important issue for the reasons you cite and for the FACT that such immediate and good imagery will not always be available -- even to the US -- technical goodies do fail and they are expensive, so much so that the sheer number of means now available may decline. Better to train and plan to do without; thus acquiring such benefits will serve to increase capability whereas training or planning only to operate where or if it is available will be quite damaging if it becomes unavailable.

Obviously on the issue of casualties taken, every nation will differ. Attitudes toward a particular operation will cause some internal differences. Can't speak for Finland but here in the US over the years, we've pretty consistently had about a third who opposed a given war or operation generally from (or supporters of the party not in power at the time plus the few truly pacifistic and anti war persons). Another third generally was supportive (political opposites and a few really crazy people) while a third or so varied from support to non support dependent on how well the operation or war seemed to be going -- if well, they were supportive, if not they seemed to believe the potential benefits were not adequate for the number of casualties sustained. The combination of perceived legitimacy of the operation or war and the number of casualties thus affect the public tolerance. That's US centric but I suspect it has broader applicability. People the world over don't differ that much
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Old 07-01-2009   #6
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Default Kilcullen on the Danes

[QUOTE=charlyjsp;75659]davidbfpo, thanks for initial comments. I haven’t read Kilcullen’s Accidental Guerilla yet, are his comments about Danes in there?[QUOTE]

Yes, in one of the videos certainly, two are linked here - from Chicago and at Google. The thread is: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ight=kilcullen

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Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-01-2009 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Add link
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Old 07-01-2009   #7
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Kilcullen cites the Danes as being amongst the best COIN operators in Afghanistan and another here (Ken?) cites the Swedes have the best kit.

davidbfpo
Does anybody have any pictures of Swedish Infantry Kit?
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Old 07-01-2009   #8
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Default I don't but he does...

LINK
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Old 07-02-2009   #9
charlyjsp
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See Post 11; previously cited wrong webpage.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-02-2009 at 11:34 AM. Reason: Amended as redundant link shown.
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Old 07-02-2009   #10
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Default No access to website?

Changed, see poist 11.
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-02-2009 at 11:35 AM. Reason: Amended due to change
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Old 07-02-2009   #11
charlyjsp
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Default

My bad, follow this link:
http://www.mil.se/sv/Press/Pressbilder/

on the right hand side, click on the sigth >> link (it reads "Gästkonto (Gå in som gäst)

You'll come to a screen with a file tree on the left, go down to "Internationellt", click and then pick Afghanistan. You can only view one picture in detail per page (without reloading), a little cumbersome, but should give some pictures. What there are no pictures of are the electronics...
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Old 07-02-2009   #12
charlyjsp
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Default The US may be relearning, but how about others?

Thanks Ken,

Further clarification on:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
I'd say one big implication is that we have not learned anything new, we have merely had to relearn what we earlier had to relearn -- the basic principles and practices of aiding foreign development, security force assistance and even COIN ops were all practiced by us -
My impression is that the U.S. has to a large extent relearnt the old, but failed to integrate the actually new (the 'classicist' COIN - '21st C. insurgencies balance). For some European countries (UK, France, Spain?) various amounts of relearning and adaptation have started. Disagreements?

Then, for euro countries w/out any colonial power history I'd argue that COIN actually is new; and, there is some need to at least understand what its implications are within a broader "comprehensive approach" context. The question then becomes: Whose Coin becomes the legitimate currency (sorry, couldn't resist).

jmm99's comment/question is pertinent here: "But, why would Finland (as a national policy issue) want to go beyond multi-national peace enforcement (as the kinetic limit), and get into COIN and IW (irregular warfare ?), or even get into such as FID and SFA ?" Finland needs to think long and hard about this, particularly the why. The answer to why and in what capacity is to my mind different depending on how Finland understands COIN, FID etc.
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Old 07-02-2009   #13
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Default Partly true, I think

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlyjsp View Post
My impression is that the U.S. has to a large extent relearnt the old, but failed to integrate the actually new (the 'classicist' COIN - '21st C. insurgencies balance). For some European countries (UK, France, Spain?) various amounts of relearning and adaptation have started. Disagreements?
I'm not sure we will ever 'integrate the new' as will Europe. Different national psyches in a sense. We can be as sympathetic and caring as anyone but that surfaces as an individual attribute and is unlikely to appear as lasting political or military policy and practice. We tend to opt for fixing the problem quickly and barely adequately and moving on and to accept more human inequality, suffering or discomfort in the process.
Quote:
Whose Coin becomes the legitimate currency (sorry, couldn't resist).
Very valid question. My answer -- which will not surprise most here -- is that very much depends on the situation. There is no one size fits all and attempts to 'simplify' or consolidate doctrine to cover all eventualities are part of the problem. War is probably the most stupid of human endeavors; warfare -- how you do it -- is one of the most complex.

One should insure no misuse of words and no excessive expectations. There is likely to be no 'win' or victory, the best that can usually be obtained is an acceptable outcome and the definition of what constitutes that 'acceptable outcome' is almost certain to change as events occur. Flexibility of outlook and in performance (especially that...) is needed.

Stability ops, COIN et.al. are difficult and tedious and populations around the world differ mightily -- trying what worked in Iraq in Afghanistan will lead to some errors as we will likely see. So whose COIN is indeed appropriate and my view is that everybody's should be known and best practice appropriate to the situation should be used. Do not try to fight or help someone while in a straitjacket.

I strongly agree with Wilf; Foreign Internal Development and stabitiy ops are not military things; they're civil. If one has a security problem and the military is committed, it should rectify the security issue and then disappear to allow a strengthened police organization to handle the residual issues.

Armed Forces should be used where armed force is required and not elsewhere other than in rare and very brief circumstances. To misuse them (as the US is prone to do) is to create as many or more problems as are solved.
Quote:
...Finland needs to think long and hard about this, particularly the why. The answer to why and in what capacity is to my mind different depending on how Finland understands COIN, FID etc.
EVERY nation, including the US, needs to do that. A little less of it around the world would probably be beneficial. One cannot fix all the wrongs in the world and almost certainly more damage is the result of trying to do so...

Particularly when the wrong tool is used.
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Old 07-02-2009   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
I strongly agree with Wilf; Foreign Internal Development and stabitiy ops are not military things; they're civil. If one has a security problem and the military is committed, it should rectify the security issue and then disappear to allow a strengthened police organization to handle the residual issues.
I strongly agree with Ken.... , but yes, the military should only be deployed to solve military problems. if there is no enemy to use violence against, then you simply should not be there. If there is an enemy, then your raison d'etre should be seeking him out and defeating him.
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Old 07-03-2009   #15
charlyjsp
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Default FID, Development or Defense...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
There is no one size fits all and attempts to 'simplify' or consolidate doctrine to cover all eventualities are part of the problem. War is probably the most stupid of human endeavors; warfare -- how you do it -- is one of the most complex.
Liked the last sentence, and agree. One size doctrines, even if most all known eventualities are in it still face one significant problem: We like to do things differently because of historical and cultural experiences. I'm only speculating, but I'd say NATO got around this during the Cold War because there was more of a common understanding about the specific nature of the threat(s) and what to do about them. I don't envy the individuals who've had to get NATOs COIN AJP into a form that the allies can accept it (are such publications also consensus based?).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
I strongly agree with Wilf; Foreign Internal Development and stabitiy ops are not military things; they're civil. If one has a security problem and the military is committed, it should rectify the security issue and then disappear to allow a strengthened police organization to handle the residual issues.
.
I'd taken FID as Foreign Internal Defense, which tactically speaking I think is almost entirely military. Advisors could be civilian, especially those advising at the nat'l HQ and minstry level. I agree in principle that at strengthened police should take over, but if even the EU is having problems deploying enough police to do training, mentoring etc. I don't know where they'll come from.

FM 3-07 has a figure (1-3) that shows the relationship between SFA and FID, with both FID and SFA being entirely military. I see some potential for confusion if an EU and US rep speak about SFA. Police obviously belong in the category of security forces (at least any Gendarmerie), but helping them would fall under Rule of Law programs within the EU - entirely civilian.


I've done a fair number of interviews for my project, and always brought up the fact that on the military side, the US has upwards of a dozen different tasks the military may be asked to do, while in EU parlance there is only Crisis Management. The most common reply has been that at the tactical level everyone is still clear on what any given mission involves, so it's not a problem. What do you think?
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Old 07-03-2009   #16
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Default Civilian vs Military

I expect you have run into this study, NDU's 2008 Civilian Surge: Key to Complex Operations, which is summed here with full text here.

A key point has been the relative degradation of the civilian capacities to assist host nations; which in turn has led to the military being tasked with many of those assistance functions - thus, military operations other than war. The civilian capabilities degradation is well summed in the study:

Quote:
Capabilities Lost

Four decades ago in Vietnam, the U.S. military had a strong civilian partner to work with in what was then called pacification. Programs of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) were important components of the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) program. CORDS operations were relatively successful against the Viet Cong, but were trumped in the end by North Vietnamese regular forces in a massive, conventional invasion. In the wake of the fall of South Vietnam, U.S. military and civilian components let this important capacity to conduct complex operations lapse.
....
Rather than develop the capacity to fulfill this role, civilian departments and agencies, in the face of a strong cost-cutting mood in Congress, saw their skills and resources decline. USAID was compelled to reduce its Foreign Service and Civil Service staff from about 12,000 personnel during the Vietnam War to about 2,000 today. The United States Information Agency (USIA), which had more than 8,000 personnel worldwide in 1996, was decimated and forced to merge with the State Department. The State Department itself was underresourced and understaffed, sometimes having to forego any new intake of Foreign Service Officers. Other civilian departments of government had few incentives to contribute workers to national security missions.
In response to this problem, we have 2005 Department of Defense Directive 3000.05, which established the following policy (only part quoted here):

Quote:
4.1. Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission that the Department of Defense shall be prepared to conduct and support. They shall be given priority comparable to combat operations and be explicitly addressed and integrated across all DoD activities including doctrine, organizations, training, education, exercises, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities, and planning.

4.2. Stability operations are conducted to help establish order that advances U.S. interests and values. The immediate goal often is to provide the local populace with security, restore essential services, and meet humanitarian needs. The long-term goal is to help develop indigenous capacity for securing essential services, a viable market economy, rule of law, democratic institutions, and a robust civil society.

4.3. Many stability operations tasks are best performed by indigenous, foreign, or U.S. civilian professionals. Nonetheless, U.S. military forces shall be prepared to perform all tasks necessary to establish or maintain order when civilians cannot do so. Successfully performing such tasks can help secure a lasting peace and facilitate the timely withdrawal of U.S. and foreign forces. Stability operations tasks include ... [long laundry list]
I expect that this policy did not and does not sit well with many in the military - e.g., "priority comparable to combat operations"; but also because the military is well aware of its own limitations in "non-war" areas.

Briefly, we can consider an area in which I can offer some expertise - restoring and institutionalizing the "Rule of Law" (let's leave aside whose law and institutions for another thread). The military has both military lawyers and military police - so what's wrong with tasking them with "Rule of Law" issues. Nothing; if that is the only available capability (which is presently the situation).

However, military lawyers and military police are specialized creatures - and naturally are oriented to the military side of the coin (see, I also couldn't resist ). Ideally, the folks tasked for "rule of law" and restoration of the HN's justice system (worst case is there is none) would be civilians: lawyers and cops, with an international and comparative law and law enforcement bent, and with some knowledge of the "small wars" arena.

Now, setting loose JMM and Slap (he's the cop from Alabama with all kinds of ideas) on any HN would probably be tantamount to chaos; but that is the general idea (civilians, not chaos ). The same for civilian-type input in the nuts and bolts of physical reconstruction - the need for competent engineers and technicians (on which our Surfing Beetle could wax).

The problem is that such folks in government service do not exist in adequate numbers - thus, the military has to fill the gap. So, DoD Dir 3000.05.

Ken can wax better on FID and SFA (his fields); but a brief comment. In their "pure form" (e.g., absent our involvement in an "armed conflict" as a party belligerent), those are operations where legally the civilian side has the lead - and Congress has set up civilian agency and military funding to reflect that. See FM 3-07.1, Appendix A for the funding quagmire.

All of that is pretty clear to those who have stuck their noses into it (by experience, study or both). So, for example. we have all the joint pubs heading the list here.

Terminology (what you are used to and what we are used to) requires "dual-language training" - Crisis Management is doctrinally defined (FM 3-07, Glossary) as:

Quote:
crisis management

Measure to resolve a hostile situation and investigate and prepare a criminal case for prosecution under federal law. Crisis management will include a response to an incident involving a weapon of mass destruction, special improvised explosive device, or a hostage crisis that is beyond the capability of the lead federal agency. (JP 3-07.6)
and is just one example.

----------------------
Hyvää päivää - and what am I doing up this early on a day off. Weather here is in about 50F (into the 40s last nite), but no snow. How is Helsinki ?

Last edited by jmm99; 07-03-2009 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 07-03-2009   #17
Ken White
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Default Tactical is easy -- Operational and Political not so much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlyjsp View Post
...I don't envy the individuals who've had to get NATOs COIN AJP into a form that the allies can accept it (are such publications also consensus based?).
Yes, they are -- and as such they tend to be very amorphous and avoid controversial items. Unfortunately, that is true even domestically in every nation (an example below).
Quote:
I'd taken FID as Foreign Internal Defense, which tactically speaking I think is almost entirely military.
It is that, both --but should it be purely military? I think not. Paramilitary? Most likely to one extent or another. Problem is when you introduce military forces with weapons, you introduce foreign soldiers that no one will like for very long and you provide targets. Civilians can of course be targets as well but small numbers of civilians working to aid a nation are not as rewarding to strike as are armed forces. Then there's the adverse information effect for the opposition of hitting civilians versus paid to fight military people...
Quote:
Advisors could be civilian, especially those advising at the nat'l HQ and minstry level. I agree in principle that at strengthened police should take over, but if even the EU is having problems deploying enough police to do training, mentoring etc. I don't know where they'll come from.
Is a problem -- we are exploring new territory here and have no institutions in place for that effort. They probably need to be designed and built. Purpose built tools work better than adapted tools. Very difficult to use a 5kg Sledge Hammer to drift out a 3.5mm pin.

This entails much effort and political and economic decisions by every nation. It is cheaper to cause ones Forces to adapt -- but it is not always effective (I'd say more often not truly effective than it is). It also raises the question, IMO, is the effort being considered truly in the national interest and not just a 'it seemed right at the time' idea? My personal belief after participating and watching for many years is that much 'nation building,' FID and the like is unnecessary and wasted, costly effort. It is nice to be able to help ones fellow man. Cutting off an arm in the process is not beneficial.

Armed forces are for armed conflict. Employ them where there is no conflict for very long and you will almost certainly have conflict.

JMM mentioned this:
Quote:
The military has both military lawyers and military police - so what's wrong with tasking them with "Rule of Law" issues. Nothing; if that is the only available capability (which is presently the situation).
As an example of 'consensus' in designing solutions, the Military Police of the US would be ideal, particularly Guard and Reserve forces, to use for the Police instruction and mentoring role -- however, it's against the law. A combination of some MPs who did not want to do that job and Human Rights Activists convinced our Congress to forbid the use of Military Police in such efforts other than in very narrowly defined circumstances LINK. No one ever said we were very bright. Thus we end up with a way NOT to do it LINK.

Lastly, you wrote:
Quote:
The most common reply has been that at the tactical level everyone is still clear on what any given mission involves, so it's not a problem. What do you think?
I broadly agree with the statement but think the issue overall isn't quite that simple. Interference (for lack of a better word) of Legislators, NGO, the UN, Local Activists, other coalition members if any and own or local law or customs can all intrude and significantly muddy water at the tactical level. As can incompetence, poor leadership (civilian or military, domestic national or local own nation -- and obviously local host government). The US experience in Iraq is an example. Flawed initial national level guidance, an Army that had not trained for the TOTAL mission and thus created many of its own problems through ignorance, lack of knowledge (more correctly, ignoring available knowledge) of local dynamics and culture, imposition of a senior civilian Diplomat as the on site national command authority and who made some terribly inept political, cultural and military decisions (based not on the situation on the ground but on US domestic politics). Good example of how not to do it. The basic rationale for the mission was good; the execution was badly flawed -- at the tactical level as well as above.

So, yes, at the tactical level, well trained forces will be clear on the mission -- the questions are how well trained and how much interference (no matter how well intentioned) will be present. Not to mention how clearly the mission was initially stated...
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Old 07-03-2009   #18
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Default Presidential waiver ....

The FAA police restrictions are not necessarily a total straight-jacket. As Ken's first link states (p.13):

Quote:
In addition to the exemptions previously discussed, there are other authorities that waive the prohibition on assistance to police forces of foreign countries. For example, the President may authorize foreign assistance when “it is important to the security interests of the United States”. [13] This allows the President to waive any provision of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, including section 660.

[13] 22 USC 2364.
This area of contingency operations law is indeed a quagmire. It starts with basic rules, then exceptions to the rules, and then exceptions to the exceptions. Much of this is due to the interplay between Congresses and Presidents, present and past. In some (many ?) cases, the reason for the rule no longer applies.
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