SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Small Wars Participants & Stakeholders > Government Agencies & Officials

Government Agencies & Officials War zone governance, and in-country political, economic, development assistance.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-30-2009   #1
LS
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Good question. If anyone knows, would you please send me home?
Posts: 15
Default FID or COIN? does it matter

I'm looking for discussion and/or guidance (to references).

I just got back from working with COM ISAF on the 60-day assessment. One of the basic theological questions that we never really discussed, but rather took as a foregone conclusion was whether we should be using the lens, vocabulary, taxonomies, and metrics of a COIN operation or a FID mission.

This is theological and existential for me because in the former paradigm "we" (the US, the international community; external interested parties) are the center-of-effort and -gravity with respect to changing the situation on the ground. It's "our" strategies, our resources, our initiatives, etc. In the latter case (FID), it's very explicitly ~not~ the externals who are on the hook to win the thing.

I do know - first hand - that COIN preaches as a central tenent the primacy of host nation interests, actors, and governance. But that's like sex ed from a priest; it's not really as believable as the 'real deal,' which I think a FID model would better emulate.

If this has been written about, I'd like to know. And if there are opinions I'd love to hear them. I've been short with text here in respect for your (and my) time. I'm happy to wax more eloquent if this is a discussion that has legs.

Cheers all and thanks,

LS
LS is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #2
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Default

Hi LS,

Well, my take on it is that it is FID by stupidity using COIN tactics. I say "by stupidity", because I think that both Iraq and Afghanistan should have been occupations followed by a ground-up development of a democracy (if that was the desired end state and assuming that the wars were justified in the first place [Definitely not the place for that debate]).

The reason why I say it currently is FID is that the legitimacy of the current Iraqi and Afghan governments is dependent upon and stems from their recognition by the international community of states - it does not derive from a "home grown" movement. The elections in each, while arguably "fair", are not really perceived as being "home grown".

I would suggest that in Iraq this is moving over increasingly to become the "reality" - Tom would be in a much better position to comment on Iraq. In Afghanistan, my take, for what it's worth, is that the Karzai regime has little local legitimacy as does the entire government and its processes. It's reminding me a bit of Emperor Maximillian and Mexico.

So, on the whole, I would have to say that it is FID in general with too many of the major actors resembling the Keystone Cops.
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #3
Old Eagle
Council Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Rocky Mtn Empire
Posts: 473
Default Bad timing

I'll be back tomorrow.

Reader's Digest version.
Start by looking up the doctrinal definitions we use. I will post them later.

FID is foreign internal defense in support of a host nation's internal defense and development plan (IDAD). FID can be conducted in the absence of an insurgency. If an insurgency is present, counterinsurgency may be necessary as a part of the FID mission.

Max? Klugzilla?
Old Eagle is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #4
Old Eagle
Council Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Rocky Mtn Empire
Posts: 473
Default Alibi

And your other question about UW is similar. UW means something very specific to most of us -- the raising, training, equipping, employment, etc of an indigenous force. Other uses of the term only muddy the waters.

Once again -- Max & Jon can add official defns and elaborate.

Gotta go.
Old Eagle is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #5
Klugzilla
Council Member
 
Klugzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Fortress Leavenworth
Posts: 29
Default

For what it is worth...

FID refers to the participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in any of the action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, insurgency, terrorism, and other threats to their security. The
focus of all US FID efforts is to support the HN’s program of internal defense anddevelopment (IDAD). FID can only occur when there is a HN that has asked for assistance. The US will generally employ a mix of diplomatic, economic, informational, and military instruments of national power in support of these objectives. Military assistance is often necessary in order to provide the secure environment for the above efforts to become effective. For example, a FID program may help a HN to improve the capability or capacity of one of its programs such as counterdrug activities or quell the nascent stages of an insurgency.

FID may or may not include countering an insurgency. When FID includes countering an insurgency, COIN is part of FID. COIN only refers to actions aimed at countering an insurgency whereas FID can aim at dealing with any one or a combination of subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency. In most
cases, the joint force conducts COIN as part of a larger FID program supporting the HN government. COIN that is not part of FID is an uncommon situation, and it should be a transitory situation where the US and any multinational partners should work to establish or reestablish HN sovereignty. The military instrument of FID includes direct, indirect, and combat. This can cause confusion as a lot of folks use U.S. FID and the military instrument of FID interchangeably, which is not correct.
Klugzilla is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #6
LS
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Good question. If anyone knows, would you please send me home?
Posts: 15
Default

FID is defined as "Participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in any of the action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency."

Counterinsurgency is defined as “military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.”

(both taken from JP 1-02 DoD Dictionary of Military and associated terms)

This suggests to me that external assistance cannot be doctrinally described as COIN... (it's a stretch I know...)

Last edited by SWJED; 07-30-2009 at 09:45 PM.
LS is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #7
Klugzilla
Council Member
 
Klugzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Fortress Leavenworth
Posts: 29
Default

UW is distinctly different from FID and COIN, as Old Eagle mentioned, although it can occur within other operations. My spin is below.

UW is a special operations mission. UW is a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations normally of long duration and conducted by, with, and through indigenous or surrogate forces. These surrogate forces are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source. UW activities include, but are not limited to, insurgency, guerrilla warfare, subversion, sabotage, intelligence, PSYOP, and unconventional assisted recovery. UW most frequently refers to the military and paramilitary aspects of an insurgency designed to resist, overthrow, or gain political autonomy from an established government or used to resist or expel a foreign occupying power. However, UW can also refer to military and paramilitary support to an armed group seeking increased power and influence relative to its political rivals without overthrowing the central government and
in the absence of a foreign occupying power.
Klugzilla is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #8
Entropy
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,457
Default

Quote:
One of the basic theological questions that we never really discussed, but rather took as a foregone conclusion was whether we should be using the lens, vocabulary, taxonomies, and metrics of a COIN operation or a FID mission.
Honest question: How much does it really matter which you use, particularly since operations in Afghanistan span a wide range of conflict?
Entropy is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #9
Klugzilla
Council Member
 
Klugzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Fortress Leavenworth
Posts: 29
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by LS View Post
This suggests to me that external assistance cannot be doctrinally described as COIN... (it's a stretch I know...)
You are right in that would doctrinally be support to COIN, which is part of a larger U.S. FID program. You might have the military instrument of FID (direct, indirect, and combat) support COIN. If there is no HN goverment and U.S. forces are actually conducting COIN, it is not FID. No HN government, no FID.

Would we be better off with less terms and fewer concepts? Probably. Is that in the realm of the possible? No.
Klugzilla is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #10
LS
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Good question. If anyone knows, would you please send me home?
Posts: 15
Default Okay...

thanks to all for your thoughts.

Some clarifications: I'm not interested here in UW. I'm familiar with the concept and execution of UW and can easily imagine that there is somewhere UW planning being done wrt to GIROA. I don't wanna know about it...

And I'm less interested in putting our current engagement in AFG into a "FID" or "COIN" basket than I am untangling - deconstructing as it were - the logic of our actions <-- concepts of operation <-- intellectual constructs about the nature of the problem, vocabularies, etc <-- Kantian "Categories" (as evidenced here by "COIN" or "FID").

In other words, given the exact same Common Relevant Operating Picture (CROP, COP, SA, whatever), how would proposed COAs be different if one "team" (at a JUW10, for example *grin*) used a doctrinal FID model, vice another "team" that was instructed to use a doctrinal COIN model. How would it effect JMD's? Would the LOOs be different? Would we look for different PME among our officers? Would the desired profile be different at all levels? NCO, Company- or field-grade? Flag level? Would the mixure of resources (civil and military) be different in a FID vice a COIN situation?

I've done FID; both as a member of the military and as various sorts of civilian. I ~know~ first hand that my DOTMLPF will be dramatically different if you tell me "Your mission is to go and fight/counter this insurgency," than if you tell me "Your mission is to go and do what is required to enable GIRoA to fight/counter this insurgency."

Maybe this is all semantics (as was pretty strongly suggested during a discussion along these lines in theatre). But somehow I don't think that it is.

Anyway, thanks again (and in advance) for the contributions and the thought...
LS is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #11
LS
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Good question. If anyone knows, would you please send me home?
Posts: 15
Default

Entropy,

this is the crux of my arguement. If you personally were to do an initial CONOP for COM ISAF and were told to prepare for a FID mission, how would your concept (and subsequent RFFs, JMDs, etc) be different from the exact same situation, only told to prepare for COIN?

I guess I'm intuitively thinking it ~does~ make a significant difference. Even if (only) at the subliminal level.

Last edited by LS; 07-30-2009 at 10:04 PM. Reason: add name...
LS is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #12
Entropy
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,457
Default

Quote:
I ~know~ first hand that my DOTMLPF will be dramatically different if you tell me "Your mission is to go and fight/counter this insurgency," than if you tell me "Your mission is to go and do what is required to enable GIRoA to fight/counter this insurgency."
Exactly, and in Afghanistan we are doing both. I'm not sure how useful it is to pick one over the other at the level of "Afghanistan" or, if you're like me and take a bigger picture, at the "AF-Pak" level.
Entropy is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #13
LS
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Good question. If anyone knows, would you please send me home?
Posts: 15
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
Exactly, and in Afghanistan we are doing both. I'm not sure how useful it is to pick one over the other at the level of "Afghanistan" or, if you're like me and take a bigger picture, at the "AF-Pak" level.
*huh* Good point. I hadn't thought of it, but I suppose one could argue that our approach in PAK is tilted towards FID, while our approach in AFG is decidedly more COIN.

I've been looking at references this afternoon, and am really disappointed that most of the official literature still limits FID to security assistance, and still (apparently) overlooks the non-kinetic requirements for a viable State (that can, in turn win their COIN fight).

Entropy, where I don't think I agree with you (yet!) is I don't think we're doing FID in AFG (we're not "doing both." We're fighting a COIN fight...). Our efforts to build ANSF are really in support of our own COIN (and other) objectives; not, as would be the case in a true FID-driven mission, IOT give GIROA the capacity to win this fight. Data points? The POI for ANSF are ours, not theirs. Less decisive, but still important (to my mind), the standards for training are ours; artificially high, especially in areas of human rights and other western constructs.
LS is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #14
LS
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Good question. If anyone knows, would you please send me home?
Posts: 15
Default A further "clarification"

Or maybe "complication," is a better word...

Is one reason I'm looking for justifications to use FID lenses for looking at AFG the fact that FID is (usually) conducted in support of IDAD, and IDAD is really what GIROA so desperately needs?

While FID explicitly recognizes this larger, civil context for "the fight," COIN gives it a more rhetorical nod...
LS is offline  
Old 07-30-2009   #15
Klugzilla
Council Member
 
Klugzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Fortress Leavenworth
Posts: 29
Default

For what it is worth, I think we should be doing FID at the Afghan or Af/Pak level. Beneath that there should be an appropriate mix of COIN/CT/CN/PE/etc. based on the local environment. However, I get the feeling (not having been to that theater, only Iraq) that we have been conducting predominantly counterguerrilla operations. I'll defer to others who have been there.
Klugzilla is offline  
Old 07-31-2009   #16
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Mayhap I'm being more dense than usual but I don't

understand the problem. LS and others posted definitions, all of which I agree with. So IMO, we are now performing FID. Period. We are not performing COIN because the US has no insurgents to fight (That is not just a semantic quibble; whose insurgents are they?).

We are using COIN TTP to assist the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) with their COIN operation. We are also assisting them in the control of smuggling and other criminal operations. Well, that's mostly what we say, anyway...

LS said:
Quote:
"we" (the US, the international community; external interested parties) are the center-of-effort and -gravity with respect to changing the situation on the ground. It's "our" strategies, our resources, our initiatives, etc. In the latter case (FID), it's very explicitly ~not~ the externals who are on the hook to win the thing.
'Win' is a very bad word to use with respect to either FID or COIN because the almost certain best end will be an acceptable outcome. One cannot win other than at a tactical level. So there's not going to be a win and that word needs to disappear. Neither will there be a defeat -- so that word should never appear.

Regarding the point in the quoted statement, perhaps a part of the problem is just that: It is "our" strategies, our resources, our initiatives, etc. and maybe a little less of that would let everyone know that what we're doing there is FID. As you say:
Quote:
I don't think we're doing FID in AFG (we're not "doing both." We're fighting a COIN fight...). Our efforts to build ANSF are really in support of our own COIN (and other) objectives; not, as would be the case in a true FID-driven mission, IOT give GIROA the capacity to win this fight. Data points? The POI for ANSF are ours, not theirs. Less decisive, but still important (to my mind), the standards for training are ours; artificially high, especially in areas of human rights and other western constructs.(emphasis added /kw)
I believe that makes my point. As we all know, artificially high levels will fall precipitously absent an enforcer. So will most western constructs (not to mention that it takes more time to 'train' people when you try to change what they think...).

We went from MCO against an organized (more or less...) State force (also more or less...) to controlling the chaos of toppled governments to conducting military operations against bandits and insurgents (insurging against another government we helped establish) in support of nascent governments to the conduct of FID. Well, that's where we should be -- but we haven't quite arrived and the sooner we do the better off everyone will be. ADDED: That includes the meeting of our other objectives...

What's required is FID. We are NOT doing COIN but we using COIN TTP where appropriate to assist the host nation. 'Host Nation' is important -- it is NOT our nation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

What follows is esoteric background from open sources to remind everyone how we got where we are; those who know all that obviously should ignore it.

What all the above amounts to is that MarcT was pretty well correct in the first response on the thread. We are doing FID and we were forced into it by several factors and we have been slow to adapt. While that's simplistic to some, it's accurate. We went to Afghanistan with no coherent plan because none of the active planners knew enough to do it properly and / or they were not listened to by senior people. We went to Iraq and walked into Saddam's little hornets nest that he told us he was preparing -- letting prisoners out of jails, weapons everywhere, medals to Russian Generals and again planning was flawed and good things were ignored. Not picking on anyone; those are just facts. Realize that in the case of both nations we were doing something no one had any experience with, no one in command had been in combat command at the echelon in which they were serving -- and in no combat at all with rare exceptions for ten years. Few had been trained to expect or do the things that would confront us. In both cases, some good plans were tossed aside by direction of...

All things considered we did it pretty well and -- this is important; what it was was not what it became and that is not what it now is.

Seems to me the 'problem' arose due to our method of entry and a lack of proper guidance from our Political Masters. None of them know enough to say 'FID' OR 'COIN' and frankly, the Army as an institution * -- and thus CentCom and DoD -- could not provide better guidance so everything just sort of happened. Our Personnel system and its rotational processes meant that about the time someone really learned the job; they moved. We compounded that by shifting the wrong units to Iraq and never placing units back in an AO or on a mission they had previously performed or were even suited for in some caes. Our doctrinal and training failure during the 90s * led to a learning curve exacerbated by the distraction of Iraq -- which was a different war on several levels but also latterly was a case of FID and Assistance to the Host Nation in the conduct of COIN operations.

Note in both cases, we overthrew the existing government and thus were not conducting FID but instead were conducting PreNatal Development which should have transmuted into today's FID once we had designed and installed a government which immediately began it's own transmutation into a new sovereign government. We just need to back off a bit.

We do not do FID well because we have to be in charge, we're impatient and anyone who doesn't do it our way is wrong. Thus we get to be overbearing and while we're tolerated for the 'help' we offer, we build up a lot of resentment. Trying to make the 'assisted[' nation an image of the US in some respects does not help. This thread is indicative of that dichotomy; we run around the world and get invovled in FID but all to often, overdo it and must run everything, therefor the Troops are confused; "Am I doing COIN or FID?" Answer is neither or both (depending on who one asks). Or it's 'c.' Both of the above. Or one today, the other tomorrow...

Not smart. Not at all.

* There were people in the services that knew what needed to be done in 2001-3 but they were not in positions to adequately influence planning. There were people in the services in the 1975-2000 period who strongly advised against dismissing nation building, COIN TTP and FID among other things. They were ignored.

Last edited by Ken White; 07-31-2009 at 04:51 AM. Reason: Addendum
Ken White is offline  
Old 07-31-2009   #17
Entropy
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,457
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by LS View Post
*huh* Good point. I hadn't thought of it, but I suppose one could argue that our approach in PAK is tilted towards FID, while our approach in AFG is decidedly more COIN.
Even if there was agreement on where the border is located, there are a substantial number of people on both sides that don't recognize it.

Then there are other substantial numbers of people who have long existed under, at best, very limited authority from any central government. There are some groups that don't recognize any authority outside their own extended tribal structure. This is true on both sides of the border. What does the "i" in FID mean in these cases? What about the "i" in COIN? We see these people as "internal" because of lines on a map, we call some of them "insurgents" because they actively oppose central government, yet many of them see things quite differently. Do we have terminology and doctrine to change these kinds of loyalty structures, far removed and long hostile to any central government?

The point being is that I don't think our doctrinal constructs can hope to fit a place like Afghanistan or Pakistan, even assuming guidance from policymakers is clear, which, as Ken notes, it isn't.

IMO, Afghanistan and Pakistan are like conjoined Frankenstein twins - a menagerie of peoples that have yet to solidify into something resembling our Western concept of nationhood and likely never will. What is it called when we assist a central government in what amounts to conquering its own territory and its own peoples? Whatever it is, I don't think it's FID or COIN, but maybe it contains elements of both. We also need to consider that even Pakistan has been unable (and, it turns out, unwilling) to subjugate its people to its authority either through coercion or accommodation or FID or COIN.

Secondly, I think there is FID going on in Afghanistan, it's just that not much of it gets noticed and so much of it has been utter failure. The problems and issues are nicely detailed in a Richard Sale article in the ME Times (link to the full-text at another site) and those problems are nothing new:

Quote:
Much of the ANP’s incompetence is due to a lack of adequate training but their mission of administering the rule of law is sidetracked and distorted by the sinister influence of power brokers or war lords. Afghan expert Gretchen Peters in a recent book “Seeds of Terror,” wrote of one power broker, Haji Juma Khan, as a criminal skilled in building networks and schemes to corrupt officials wherever he has chosen to operate. Provincial governors’ security agents, officials in the Highway Police or regional military commanders were all his targets. U.S. officials report that many Taliban commanders have forged affective and close ties with Afghan police officials which have proved troublesome. A recent UN report detailed a complex system of kickbacks involving 36 districts where governorships, customs and police postings are up for auction with the job winners paying huge fees to senior officials to keep their place. Top police officials in key districts pay $10,000 a month for job security, Peters said.

Cordesman noted in his report that power brokers see any improvement in police efficiency as a threat to their own operations and are desperate to forestall it by any means. But Cordesman and others make clear that their activity can only be countered by making vast improvements in the ANP leadership.
There are more details in Cordesman's report here. The short version is that it's hard to conduct FID when the population thinks the police are just a bunch of criminals.
Entropy is offline  
Old 07-31-2009   #18
Tom Odom
Council Member
 
Tom Odom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DeRidder LA
Posts: 3,949
Default Dead On

Quote:
From Ken: LS and others posted definitions, all of which I agree with. So IMO, we are now performing FID. Period. We are not performing COIN because the US has no insurgents to fight (That is not just a semantic quibble; whose insurgents are they?).

We are using COIN TTP to assist the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) with their COIN operation. We are also assisting them in the control of smuggling and other criminal operations. Well, that's mostly what we say, anyway...
In short we are supporting the host nation in their COIN effort or whatever as part of FID
Tom
Tom Odom is offline  
Old 07-31-2009   #19
William F. Owen
Council Member
 
William F. Owen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Posts: 3,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
In short we are supporting the host nation in their COIN effort or whatever as part of FID
...so we could say "conducting warfare against irregular forces, in support of asserting the authority of the national government."

Does that express the same means and ends?
__________________
Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
William F. Owen is offline  
Old 07-31-2009   #20
Tom Odom
Council Member
 
Tom Odom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DeRidder LA
Posts: 3,949
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
...so we could say "conducting warfare against irregular forces, in support of asserting the authority of the national government."

Does that express the same means and ends?
yes, the difference being that mine (and Ken's) is using US doctrinal terms
Tom Odom is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Fallacy of HIC vs COIN reed11b Military - Other 19 07-21-2009 01:53 AM
Teach Your Organization the Basics of Counterinsurgency: COIN OPD/NCOPD Instruction Cavguy Training & Education 0 04-21-2009 03:00 PM
COIN & The Media (catch all) Jedburgh Media, Information & Cyber Warriors 79 02-28-2009 10:55 AM
COIN Academy Reading List SWJED OEF - Afghanistan 7 12-26-2007 09:58 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation