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Old 07-31-2009   #21
LS
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Default various, in response...

Entropy: "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."

I don't disagree, but it's not terribly relevant to USG (inter)national security imperativies. Our goal is an AFG that can police it's territory. That requires a "State," not a "Nation" (though I will certainly concede that some form of national identity or social contract is essential for a State to be seen as credible...)

Regarding ANP: This deserves a dissertation, but all your points below are accurate. It is training; and it is the pervasive corruption as well. I had a police trainer (UK) tell me, in speaking about the ANP training, that "Training these guys and then returning them to the same broken corrupt system is like purifying a glass of water then pouring it back into a cesspool."

I feel quite strongly that we should ~not~ continue with the shape-clear-hold-build paradigm until we have some HN agency that can manage the "hold" without being seen by the local population as worse than the Taliban. And that is currently the case in Helmand province, where USMC clearing activities are being followed by ANP who are corrupt and predatory, and do enoromous damage to our efforts...

But back to my thesis question: I now believe the following to be reasonably accurate (and yes, that's two colons in a single sentence):

1. FID is, ideally, an element of a broader Internal Defense and Development (IDAD) strategy by/for a HN government, typically in a fragile or failing state. FID in a ~failed~ state would be like rendering first aid to a corpse.

2. COIN practiced by the US military is usually done in support of a FID mission, per the above.

3. US military doctrine, understandably, focusses on military assistance to COIN/FID, paying lip-service to the importance of other (non-military) aspects of the FID/IDAD mission.

4. Reatively little is written with authority about non-military aspects of FID/IDAD, not to mention those aspects of State-building/improvement/sustainment that must accompany IDAD if it's to be successful.

5. The primary failures in AFG are, as a matter of observation, in those specific areas of non-military FID/IDAD State-building/improvement/sustainment.

6. If a US Commander views his task as a COIN mission, s/he will approach the allocation of resources, METLs, RFFs, and training differently than if s/he has been told that the mission is FID, with potentially significant elements of COIN and direct combat support to the HN.

Comments? Thoughts?
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Old 07-31-2009   #22
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You might also look at the CORDS program in Vietnam, where there was a different, possibly more formal model of a tactical interagency program.

I would submit that there is still a significant combined and interagency effort in Afgh along the non-military LOOs.
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Old 07-31-2009   #23
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Originally Posted by Old Eagle View Post
You might also look at the CORDS program in Vietnam, where there was a different, possibly more formal model of a tactical interagency program.

I would submit that there is still a significant combined and interagency effort in Afgh along the non-military LOOs.
OE: I don't disagree that there is significant presence by lots of USG agencies, bureaux, and offices. But that's like watching a crowd standing around a traffic accident and assuming someone has taken charge and is doing triage, providing assistance, calling 911, etc.

I think, on a scale of 1-to-10, where 1 is virtually no interagency or combined civ-mil collaboration and 10 is fully-integrated, we're about a 3. And happy, because we used to be at a 2; so we've improved our performance by 30%. But, IOT succeed, we really need to be at about a 7; and that would require a "revolution in civ-mil affairs." Radical things!
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Old 07-31-2009   #24
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Default I think what we want to do has bumped into what we ought to do...

If this is correct:
Quote:
Our goal is an AFG that can police it's territory. That requires a "State," not a "Nation" (though I will certainly concede that some form of national identity or social contract is essential for a State to be seen as credible...).
That's achievable. If anyone wants to add to that goal words implying democratic in the western sense and / or at least slightly corruption free, it can become unachievable. Your UK Police Trainer has it exactly right and we are highly unlikely to change that; the focus on the Police was an error in wishful thinking by some and was caused by too many people reading too much theory and not watching what occurred on the ground.

Your HN Agency to manage the hold is the ANA -- and if that continues on its current track, there is an excellent chance that a crossover effect in ten or a few more years from today might improve the ANP. Might.

On your points:

1. True. That's why we don't do it at all well, we generally walk in too late. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we made the corpse. Mouth to mouth is not pleasant and it may or may not be successful. Still, we have to try for several reasons...

2. FID may or may not require military forces. If they are committed, support of the HN COIN operation is generally expected. Why else would the Military force be committed.

3. True.

4. Not correct, a host of stuff appeared in the 1961-70 period and some has appeared after that. The problem is no one wanted to think about it so it was ignored. Old Eagle is correct, check the CORDS stuff; better yet, tell the other Agencies to check their CORDS stuff. The problem now is that many agencies are being drug to the altar kicking and screaming and Papa Eichenberry needs to spank 'em. The senior US 'civilian' needs to be seen by some of those folks to be in charge; they'll resist military-in-charge just to be contrary. There'll be a minor problem in that Eichenberry is a military retiree but he speaks Manadarin so that'll help with some.

The civil side can and probably will get there but it's worse than pulling teeth...

5. True and unlikely to change.

6. True but his mission was and always is combat, call it COIN and be wrong, call it whatever you wish but combat is the reason the US Commander is there. FID is NOT a combat unit mission, it is a national undertaking using various US agencies for their normal mission parameter purposes to assist the host nation. Support of COIN operations of the host nation is a combat unit mission -- and so is mentoring and pairing with host nation units to impart skills (and values...).
Quote:
I think, on a scale of 1-to-10, where 1 is virtually no interagency or combined civ-mil collaboration and 10 is fully-integrated, we're about a 3. And happy, because we used to be at a 2; so we've improved our performance by 30%. But, IOT succeed, we really need to be at about a 7; and that would require a "revolution in civ-mil affairs." Radical things!
I don't think you can get US agencies to an 8, much less a 10.

FWIW, in Viet Nam, we never really got above about a 5 or so -- so you're over halfway there...
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Old 08-01-2009   #25
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Forgive the complete absence of doctrinal definitions/references and my general ignorance of strategy, but I came across something that seems relevant. Here is a quote from Abu M (Exum)...

Quote:
There is a growing realization that we can run the greatest counterinsurgency campaign in the world's history in Afghanistan and that it will all be for naught as long as the government of Afghanistan remains weak, catastrophically corrupt, or both. - link
This suggests to me that it is not (or at least should not be) a COIN mission. But it also seems that we are not defending the government, so much as attempting to stand it up as an alternative to the governance offered by the Taliban.

In the business world, this would be analogous to a decision of how to expand into a foreign market. Agent, franchise, joint venture, acquisition, or greenfield? Thus far, it seems like we started with agent (CIA and SOF), then jumped to the other end of the spectrum, greenfield (US forces attempting to stand up a new gov't and ANA from scratch) , rather than going the happy medium route of joint venture. Joint venture with whom, you ask? Well, who was there? Let's see, we had the Northern Alliance and the Taliban. I suppose neither one is ideal. But how is greenfield working out for us?

My understanding is that Taliban does not always equal al-Qaeda. And our strategy is apparently to make Afghanistan hostile to al-Qaeda. Perhaps a joint venture with the Taliban makes some sense. I suspect that if they were offered some power that their "religious" objection to cooperating with the infidel would significantly subside. This would undoubtedly lead to subjugation of women, rape of pre-teen boys, and a reversal of some good that has come to Afghanistan. I can't help but think that, while awful, this is less objectionable to the countless Afghanis who will be killed, maimed, orphaned, crippled, etc, as we continue on our current course.

I suppose this amounts to bondage for the Afghan people. I have always been of the opinion that it is better to die fighting than to live in bondage. But that's me. That's not a decision I would presume to make for others.

If nothing else, working with an organization allows you to collect intel on them so that you can target them later, if the relationship sours.

Two cents from a guy who has never attended the War College, SAMS, or even the career course.

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Old 08-01-2009   #26
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Before I start giving my two cents on this matter let me first caviat it by saying that my knowledge on Afghanistan is the result of 1x 9month deployment to RC-East doing MI at the tactical level. I did my best to pay attention to the bigger picture but that may have been hampered by the need to fully grasp the unique social/cultural/tribal dynamics of the two provinces that were in our AO. What I did learn is that there were no cookie-cutter solution between neighboring districts within the same province province... and I would venture to say that is the case throughout RC-East. The knowledge I have of RC-South has come from studying that command since returning home and what I know is it is a completely different world than the East.

Well onto the my reply...
The question of are/should we be conducting FID or COIN in AFG:
We should be doing both, but we are doing neither. To say that the operations in Afghanistan are COIN IMO would be wrong. The reason being that we are missing fundamental elements. We are attempting a "CLEAR"-"go back to the FOB"-"try to build--indirectly fund the insurgency through corrupt contractors--demonstrate our inability to secure our own construction project sites little-on the populace". We are completely missing the HOLD phase and many people overlook the SHAPE phase as well. Our failed BUILD phase means that we are merely CLEARING valleys/villages until the end of the CONOP period. We kill some guys, kick in some doors, and maybe take some "Bad" guys away, but as soon as we are out of the area the INS come right back and HOLD the terrain. Until we conduct all 4 phases it is not COIN it is merely just a dog-and-pony show.

As for the FID side... this is not something that we can do from the side lines. Yeah we have diplomats and civil service members in country but really what are they doing? To say they are DOING the job of their Afghan counterparts I think would be just as inaccurate as saying they are supporting them. They simply try to "mentor" the Afghan officials to do things in our Western-friendly "Afghan" way but that is not the Afghan way. There are "western ideals" that Afghans must adapt such as checks and balances in every level of government. This is essential to exposing corruption to the population with the intent of the population policing their government.

So how do we determine which is best for Afghanistan, FID/COIN? I think that you can implement FID in areas where GIROA has at least Marginal legitimacy but not in the areas where they don't. How do you help a government that has only authority but never gained legitimacy. Many people may view the two as one but it is important to note that authority is something a government has by means of existence but legitimacy is something that only a population can give to a government. There are areas in Afghanistan that GIROA has authority while the TB has legitimacy (RC-S). There are areas where neither has legitimacy and that is given to the tribal leadership (RC-E).

So how do we get the populace to legitimize GIROA? IMO we conduct COIN with GIROA in the backseat. We SHAPE-CLEAR-HOLD-BUILD but we build in a way to show GIROA is the one building. "They" build the means for the populace to HOLD the terrain w/ GIROA support. Then they build the social structures/programs needed to begin building other "stone and mortar" projects. The US military then becomes the FID players we should be and not the COIN force.

For what its worth,
James
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Old 08-01-2009   #27
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Default Appropriate article in today's

Quote:
NYT:TALLIL AIR BASE, Iraq — In this desert brush land where the occupiers and occupied are moving into an uneasy new partnership, American and Iraqi commanders sat side by side earlier this week and described their biggest problems to Robert M. Gates, the visiting defense secretary.

For Staff Maj. Gen. Habib al-Hussani, the commander of the 10th Iraqi Army Division, the trouble was not enough equipment for patrols on the border with Iran. For Col. Peter A. Newell, the commander of the first American advisory brigade to Iraqi troops, it was something else.

“The hardest thing to do sometimes,” he told Mr. Gates, “is step back and not be in charge.”
(LINK).

Therein lies the 'problem' that we have created. If it's FID, we can't be in charge; if it's COIN we have to be in charge. Thus we are ...

What we're SUPPOSED to be doing is FID and helping the Host Nation with THEIR COIN effort since we cannot do COIN because they aren't our insurgents and isn't in our country. The capabilities and qualities of their government are irrelevant -- it is still not ours. By over controlling, we're confusing everyone -- except the bad guys who are taking advantage of it...

That will be dismissed by some as simplistic. It is not. Having lived and fought under that dichotomy in three other Nations under perhaps more violent circumstances and with the exact same 'problem' a while ago, let me assure you that I learned the hard way over a few years that is not a good plan.
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Old 08-01-2009   #28
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Default Hi Ken; yes, it matters, legally

A couple of weeks ago, we had a brief (non-fires) exchange re: a quote from JP 3-07.1 (JTTP FID), here and here.

The quote from the manual was this (my concern focused on the last sentence, bolded by me):

Quote:
(3) In all cases, the strategic initiative and responsibility lie with the HN. To preserve its legitimacy and ensure a lasting solution to the problem, the host government must bear this responsibility. A decision for US forces to take the strategic initiative amounts to a transition to war.
You advised:

Quote:
You should be concerned with the legal aspects because that is the intent of the paragraph you quote.
and that I have done - thought about it.

But, first, another point you raised (which I should have answered) - the dictionary and legal definition of "war" (the dictionary from you, with JMM bolding):

Quote:
war (wôr)
n.
1.
a. A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties...
That is the basic Geneva definition (an "armed conflict"), which expanded the Hague definition of "war" - slightly with respect to state on state conflicts; but substantially by bringing in non-state parties ("Powers") to armed conflicts via Common Articles 2 and 3.

Moving back to FID (Foreign Internal Defense, where "internal" and "defense" are key words), that can occur in the context with no armed conflict or in the context of an armed conflict (subject to Geneva). Both situations are covered in JP 3-07.1.

Far be from me to interpret definitively what the CJCS meant by "A decision for US forces to take the strategic initiative amounts to a transition to war", but here is what I think.

Where the US "takes charge" (takes the "strategic initiative"), we transition our status from being an "assister" to being a "belligerent". In the case of Iraq, a co-belligerent with them against their insugencies, I suppose. That would be a tricky position legally, given the executive agreement (whether a SOFA or SA is not particularly material) in effect. As you pointed out, 50 USC 33 (War Powers Resolution) could well come into play.

Astan is different. There, we are engaged in FID and assisting them (usually taking the primary role in personnel and materiel) in their COIN efforts. Add the UN-NATO mandate to that, which is peace enforcement (not peacekeeping). But, we are also carrying on a separate war (armed conflict) against AQ-Taliban pursuant to the 2001 AUMF, as a belligerent - which spills over into Pstan and, as to which, Astan is not a co-belligerent. That is a complex situation legally, and from all appearances militarily.

Vietnam was different still, but that is another thread.

The issues raised above are really a mix of legal and military, where the right and left hands have to co-ordinate via a common brain. In that respect, COL Newell seems a good choice for Iraq since he researched and wrote a very intelligent thesis on a related area where legal and military concerns have to be met. I've lauded that elsewhere.
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Old 08-01-2009   #29
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Let's assume that we are striving to apply the SHAPE - CLEAR - HOLD - BUILD paradigm to getting Afghanistan back on its feet.

Through the CLEAR phase, what measures of effectiveness are applied to it? Is the task to clear an area(s) of Taliban, corrupt elements (official or tribal or both), Al Qaeda, or is it to clear the area of those elements that do not support the freely elected government? Is it to prevent random violence at the hands of [insert local boogeyman title here], the imposition of Sharia-based law, or illegal drug trafficking? Where is the line, or is that line so terribly blurred from the interagency struggles we face that we will never run a tactical and operational effort that is nested in the strategy?

Maybe I'm just dense or exceptionally confused, but I seem to remember this hoopla about preventing Afghanistan from becoming this lawless, borderless, sieve that facilitates safe harbors for Islamic fundamentalists (specifically AQ). I'm beginning to wonder (as I always do when considering the 2nd and 3rd order of kinetic effects) about what would happen in Afghanistan if we weren't there...if we simply picked up and left and spent our resources mitigating terrorism the old fashioned way.

I don't believe the Pottery Barn rule applies in AFG. Is it a mess? Absolutely, but will those expenditures in blood, money, and time ever truly result in a net gain in our security or the security of the region? Is security the end goal? From a distant perch, we are all over the place, and the only folks with any sort of productivity in this area are the think tanks and their studies mills.

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Old 08-01-2009   #30
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Default Jon, you are not alone ...

in your wonderment ...

Quote:
I'm beginning to wonder (as I always do when considering the 2nd and 3rd order of kinetic effects) about what would happen in Afghanistan if we weren't there...if we simply picked up and left and spent our resources mitigating terrorism the old fashioned way.
I also wonder if any change in policy would result if we were today or tomorrow to kill UBL and Zawahiri ?

Last edited by jmm99; 08-01-2009 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 08-01-2009   #31
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Default Best not to stay and what to say

Quote:
(from Jon Custis)what would happen in Afghanistan if we weren't there...if we simply picked up and left and spent our resources mitigating terrorism the old fashioned way.
Jon and JMM,

Look back at Imperial British history, with three Afghan Wars and regular cross-border issues (even during WW2, NWFP was fully manned). The British Empire learnt, very painfully, notably in 1845, that it was best not to stay, just visit; visiting with a very large "stick" and some "carrots". Ironically I suspect many said this about the Soviet intervention and upon their exit.

What would we say to all Afghans if we were to leave? "Don't allow 'X' or we will be back", "We tried to change you and failed. Please forgive us and we will pay you" and more. I do not assume there is such a common nationality shared by all Afghans.

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Old 08-02-2009   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
Maybe I'm just dense or exceptionally confused, but I seem to remember this hoopla about preventing Afghanistan from becoming this lawless, borderless, sieve that facilitates safe harbors for Islamic fundamentalists (specifically AQ). I'm beginning to wonder (as I always do when considering the 2nd and 3rd order of kinetic effects) about what would happen in Afghanistan if we weren't there...if we simply picked up and left and spent our resources mitigating terrorism the old fashioned way.
That is the best question on the issue and not one that I have read or heard anyone address. I can't help but think that if the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan that they would be having the same legitimacy issues that the GIRoA is having now. Afghanistan seems to favor the insurgent. Perhaps we would be better positioned if the Taliban were the government and we were aiding the insurgents who seek to oust it. I suspect that we could do that for substantially less money and with a far smaller footprint. And as to whether or not the insurgents ever succeed - so what?
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Old 08-02-2009   #33
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Default Leaving and then what

Quote:
What would we say to all Afghans if we were to leave? "Don't allow 'X' or we will be back", "We tried to change you and failed. Please forgive us and we will pay you" and more. I do not assume there is such a common nationality shared by all Afghans.
I haven't been to Afghanistan in years and since reality is always different from what you read in the press, no comment on our current strategy in OEF-A. However, this discussion in general is interesting to me. My thinking has evolved to the point that are no end points, and what is called the Powell Doctrine is deeply flawed. Conditions change, policies change, objectives change (based on new policy or conditions) on a continuous basis. If we see ourselves getting involved more and more in these messy poorly defined conflicts like Afghanistan, etc., doesn't it seem unrealistic to base our strategy on government, economic and essentially cultural reform? We just don't have enough resources to do this world wide the way we're approaching it now.

What prompted this thought is the question above, "what do we tell the people"?

When we make public such idealistic views and goals I think we make our moralist quagmire and the muck we're stuck in is our own idealism. Agree or disagree? If you agree, what is alternative strategy?

I'm ducking for cover, but will be back up in a few days.
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Old 08-02-2009   #34
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Quote:
When we make public such idealistic views and goals I think we make our moralist quagmire and the muck we're stuck in is our own idealism.
Well said Bill.
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Old 08-02-2009   #35
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Well said Bill.
Aye, and why I beat the drum on this board long ago that it wasn't about "victory for the American people", despite what Bush proclaimed.

I've done half and afternoon's thinking about this Afghanistan thing, and the whole enormity of the task makes me ponder even more...we probably need a guy with a businessman's background, experience and drive, in order to do better at these sort of conflicts. The problem is just that expansive and complicated, and as I read the 2 April '09 White Paper of the Interagency Policy Group's Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, I am more convinced that a military, government, or aid guy (or gal for that matter) isn't the best choice to run herd over all the players involved in the issue.

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Old 08-02-2009   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS View Post

2. COIN practiced by the US military is usually done in support of a FID mission, per the above.

Comments? Thoughts?
That actually makes sense, in that it holds COIN to be a primarily military activity, therefore reliant on military power.
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Old 08-02-2009   #37
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Default Words are so confusing

This is a good question that began the thread. If a Commander is doing FID then his tasks, equipment and skills sets of his folks have to be one thing while counterinsurgency requires other JMETLS, etc. So nailing down exactly what we're doing is the place to begin. Its a little unsettling that you got shouted down, as it were.

On a bigger plane, and taking the wholistic approach to all of ISAF's activities in Afghanistan, we're doing far more than short term FID and far more than counterinsurgency. I've had friends at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan mentoring their faculty, so what is that? FID? Probably fits more with that than counterinsurgency. The problem with the term counterinsurgency is not only that the US and NATO can't do counterinsurgency in a country that is not ours, as pointed out above, but that the prefix "counter" only speaks to identifying what we're fighting against, rather than what we're fighting for. If COMISAF is doing counterinsurgency, he should get all the SOF, Psyops, intel, recon, assets to go kill insurgents. But all that does is create dead insurgents. Alone it does not defeat the movement commonly known as the Taliban because the issue(s) that inspired its creation in the first place remains.

So what to do? What are we fighting for and who gets to decide that? The Afghans do and somehow the Afghans have to create a movement that builds the sense of themselves that along the way eclipses the Taliban's movement. The Afghan cadets and many of the 20 somethings in the Kabul area seem to be wishing to do that, they just need some time to figure out what shape that will take. Hopefully ISAF buys them the time and space to do that.
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Old 08-03-2009   #38
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Default Sampler's Taxonomy...

Keeping in mind that I'm "LS," and have no idea who this "Sampler" guy is (though he sounds like a true legend in his own mind)...

After reading all these responses and discussions (on this thread), I went back and looked at JP 3-07 to try and resolve the questions in my mind: Specifically, what're the relationships between COIN, FID, and (added later) IDAD. If heirarchical relationships exist, presumably so too would heirarchical weightings for resource allocation and priorities of political "fire."

I'm becoming persuaded that there is (in fact if not in practice) a taxonomy that's doctrinally supported, and it looks like the picture attached here. If this is the case, one might sensibly ask why our priorities and resources don't follow this same schema.

Finally, being of small and simple mind, I have to cast these hard questions in my own Gumpian algorithms.

For my mind, COIN is like showing up (as directed) at your girlfriend's church social to discover that the damned place is infested with mosquitoes, and then spending the rest of the evening swatting or fanning them away (from you and your girlfriend, primarily).

FID is - still during the evening social - getting the maintenance guy to help you strategically place a few fans and close a few window screens in the Fellowship Hall; and then placing and lighting those mosquito coils that've been in the tackle box in the bed of your truck since "last season."

IDAD is making a donation to the church IOT allow them to fix the drainage problem on the back of the lot where the damned bugs breed, repair their window screens, put screen doors on the Fellowship Hall before the ~next~ social event.

And, of course, success is convincing the girlfriend that there's too many bugs at this place and absconding with the girl, a half a chicken off the grill, and what's left of Ms. Smith's pecan pie and tooling down to the lake in the truck with your sweetie for your own intimate little picnic... Only to remember you left the damned mosquito coils burning back at the church!

Thanks all, as ever, for the interesting and intellectually stimulating discussion.

L

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Old 08-03-2009   #39
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Thumbs up "The urge to edit" apparently does not disappear with age...

That is a really good slide; seriously.

However, given that urge...

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Old 08-03-2009   #40
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Default And the charts multiply in truly lapin fashion ....

especially where a number of "assisting" nations are involved. But, let's take just the simple case of HN and one AN - looking at it from a legal standpoint.

You would have to have two charts (one HN and one AN) since the relative civil and military efforts in each of the little boxes are not necessarily the same and are probably going to be different (HN vice AN).

Then, for each of those boxes, we have to ask what law (whose law) applies in each situation. That is positing that the civil effort in each box is ruled by the Rule of Law (but whose, HN or AN ?) and the military effort is ruled by the Laws of War (LOAC), which may differ (again a HN or AN issue).

Pile on a few more nations, Status of Forces and Security Assistance agreements, plus a few different (and possibly conflicting) international and collective charters and mandates, and then we are approaching reality.

Legally, all of this "stuff" is complex.

PS: and now we have a new COIN, Combat Operations In support of another Nation. That definition does translate readily into LOAC terms.
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