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Old 11-13-2009   #21
J Wolfsberger
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Default Well, there's your problem ...

I suspect, based on my own MBA experience and some of the postings, that the education, guidance, planning, etc. for economic reconstruction/development has all been based on US experience. That is, it applies to a well developed economy in an industrial (or post industrial) state of development, with well developed judicial infrastructure to apply and enforce a well developed body of business law.

Absolutely none of which applies to Afghanistan. In short, it is taking a macro-economic approach in a country where the closest thing to a macro-economy is the heroin trade.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s my recommendation, based on what I understand the real situation to be on the ground in rural areas.

1. What do these villagers produce? Of that, what do they consume locally, and what do they trade with other villages, towns or cities?
2. What do they consume? How much of that is produced locally, and how much comes from other villages, towns or cities?
3. How do they exchange value? How much of this local trade is based on currency, and what currency is it? How much local economic activity is based on barter?
4. What do or could the locals produce that could go to a larger market? What do they need in the way of additional infrastructure to produce it?
5. Are there any micro-loan programs in place to finance starting or increasing production of goods for local consumption or trade? Why not?

In other words, the approach,. for now, needs to be entirely on increasing/supporting localized micro-economic activity.

These are just of the top of my head, and I could come up with more given more time. The bottom line is that the type of development plans likely to be produced by the usual suspects will be (probably have been) wildly inappropriate to the reality on the ground where it counts: rural Afghanistan.

MM12, vertnyc, I’ve had some specialized training in the area going back to my own adventure in self employment (). I may have some information or pointers I could transmit. PM me if you’re interested.
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Old 11-13-2009   #22
vertnyc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elric View Post
Have you considered the National Solidarity Plan (NSP), Provincial Development Plan (PDP), the District councils, and the Community Development Councils? I worked with the US Envoy to Herat province and the USAID folks.

For my druthers, I'd rather hand off CERP for big projects to USAID (they have local staff) and return to the Emergency Response part of CERP.
The CDCs of the NSP are intact and useful on a case to case basis. So far, not much movement in our districts. A little more activity for DDAs, but no concrete results. Trying to explore ASOP but I heard there is an artificial turf war between ASOP/NSP. NSP "didn't work" in Helmand, so ASOP went. NSP works in some parts of Kandahar...but no ASOP here...yet.

USAID is trying to get CERP to pay for their projects so I guess we do live in an upside down world.
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Old 11-13-2009   #23
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Concur with western training tailored for something way more developed than Afghanistan. Please do send me any good info.

In response to the questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
1. What do these villagers produce? Of that, what do they consume locally, and what do they trade with other villages, towns or cities?
.
In 1 district, villagers produce only poppy. However they do not own the land. Land owners live in Kandahar City. In another district, villagers grow tobacco and wheat, tobacco to be sold in Pakistan. Wheat for consumption. Haven't really seen intra-village trade, but most goods go to KC or through Pakistan to Chaman.


Quote:
Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
2. What do they consume? How much of that is produced locally, and how much comes from other villages, towns or cities?
.
They consume what they grow. Insufficient data for other question. Which is really a point I'd like to highlight that it is the lack of data such as this which makes decisions hard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
3. How do they exchange value? How much of this local trade is based on currency, and what currency is it? How much local economic activity is based on barter?
.
Haven't seen anything based on barter yet, near KC, they use Afghani. Some contractors take dollars. Near the border, 50% they use rupees or whatever the currency Pakistan uses, and 50% afghani.


Quote:
Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
4. What do or could the locals produce that could go to a larger market? What do they need in the way of additional infrastructure to produce it?
.
In Arghandab, pomegranates. They need everything on the value chain for pomegranates in terms of infrastructure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
5. Are there any micro-loan programs in place to finance starting or increasing production of goods for local consumption or trade? Why not?
.
USAID has a program called WOCCU. CERP has $500 micro grants. We are not allowed to give micro grants at this point of time due to some people in the unit not liking that idea.
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Old 11-13-2009   #24
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The CDCs of the NSP are intact and useful on a case to case basis. So far, not much movement in our districts. A little more activity for DDAs, but no concrete results. Trying to explore ASOP but I heard there is an artificial turf war between ASOP/NSP. NSP "didn't work" in Helmand, so ASOP went. NSP works in some parts of Kandahar...but no ASOP here...yet.

USAID is trying to get CERP to pay for their projects so I guess we do live in an upside down world.

Agree on case by case basis. The Herat governor was working on getting the PDC to create a realistic PDP. The participants had been asking for things of less utility than were suitable for the PDP. In the committee's defense, a big issue was the GIRoA funding for the NSP. If you don't expect the money to show up, why plan?

Welcome to alphabet soup. My pipe dream was to "partner" with the PDC or DDA (or even CDCs) in order to fill the supportable items on the PDP/District Dvelopment Plan (if there is such a thing). Sort of the US stepping in to fill specific items off the NSP that the GIRoA didn't fund. The twist is the specific items fit with the effort to support the GIRoA (or whatever term you would like). This technique of aligning with the PDP/DDP sure helps with getting involvement from the GIRoA folks. If the CDCs are well thought of, aligning to that plan may be useful, as the CDCs are supposedly more inclusive than the village leadership. Are the CDCs a way to get the villagers some self-governing experience?

Are the DoS and USAID folks helping with involving local government with your efforts? As an aside, Kabul did not like microgrants as being "susceptible to corruption". What do they thing Afghanistan is, the 1950s with Beaver Cleaver?

Still does not address Terms of Use that the end user will get, as we cannot guarantee that whatever we build will be used according to the contract. Having the GIRoA as the maintainer of a completed project is dependent on what needs to be done. Karzai wanted a district hospital down in Shindand, looking at the plans from Kabul, I noticed two 40T fuel tanks for the generators (power lines from Herat don't run far south). If we build a nice hospital that has no power due to GIRoA not funding the fuel it needs, was it a good thing to even start construction?

Interesting event out in eastern Ghor province, I think the Lithuanian PRT funded the building materials for a school in Laal (?) district. The tribe built it, and it was theirs, no fooling. Probably cinderblock and a poured cement pad.

We did a province wide buy of wheat seed, fertilizer, and fruit tree saplings for Herat province ($1.09M) using the province's Co-Op framework. I had the Herat Ag Chief work the amounts, come up with the distribution plan, and develop the SoW for the contract. What I wish we had was an economic ad visor to help us develop a sustained plan to develop agriculture (nice summary earlier). What were the impacts of cornering the wheat seed market, how was the harvested seed to be used (on-farm or marketed), how was it to be transported to market on the (rather pitiful) roads....
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Old 11-13-2009   #25
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Default A niggling point..

Being the somewhat pedantic person I can be at times , I think it is important to point out that the English word "economics" comes from the Greek oekos nomos or, transliterated, "household management". I would also second M-A Lagrange's suggestion about reading Bourdieu; the particular reference in English is Distinction: A Social critique of the Judgement of Taste.

While Bourdieu has some good ideas, he can be tricky to read and apply (especially in translation). Personally, I prefer Bronislaw Malinowski, from whom Bourdieu "borrowed" extensively. I would recommend Dynamics of culture change and Towards a scientific theory of culture; both are fairly easy to read and have some fairly simple, yet power, analytic methodologies in them.

Cheers,

Marc
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Old 11-14-2009   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
Many of my experiences with the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP),as well as development programs in general, were and are different than your description.
I don't doubt it. But I was speaking to the intended use and to the guidance that we received for it. It's nothing new for a tool to be used differently than intended, whether it's a poncho liner, Command Launch Unit, or CERP. But even going beyond intended use, I would go a step farther and say that, in this case, I think the intent is correct. CERP is a poor tool for economic development. I think we learned that lesson over a couple of years, which led to the explicit instructions we received in 2007 to think small and short term.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
The CERP and USAID links I provided in my post emphasize the importance of synchronized development systems which strive for unity of effort. Only time will tell, however, if the costs and benefits of our coalition development efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan will have surpassed, equaled, or fell well short of the costs and benefits of the ~13 billion USD Marshall Plan (1952 US GDP ~358 billion?).
I did not plow through the entire 90+ page CALL document, but in skimming it I noticed some dramatic differences between that CALL unclass treatise on MAAWS and the one that I used in theater (our command's SOP) that discussed numerous lines of funds available to us (not just CERP).

I did read the entire GTA (all two pages). The GTA, unless I really misunderstood, supports the guidance that we received in 07. I see only one mention of economic development and it is in the lower left of the first side of the GTA, mentioning that CERP can support a long-term goal of helping to develop indigenous capacity for a viable market economy. I think even that is a bit presumptuous. CERP is short-term funding (usually lump-sum) for a short-term project. Perhaps a good planner can pull off a bunch of projects done in a coordinated manner like you did in 04. Likewise, I guess if you give an artist some art supplies and he's in the right mood and something inspires him, then he can create a masterpiece. For the rest of us, we need to assume more modest goals and realize that conditions are usually inadequate to do much.

On that point, I would like to reiterate my earlier assertion...
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Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
Economic development should not fall upon the shoulders of a company or battalion that could unexpectedly receive orders to operate in a new AOR at any given time, either by redrawing boundaries or relocating. It should be handled by higher level units that have more direct communication with higher level political operatives and more direct channels to other agencies within our government - which allows them to tap into greater and more diverse funding sources.
I think the lack of continuity in an AO prevents long-term economic planning at the BN & below level. Even if a unit spends an entire year in an AO, they're still getting their bearings within the first month and they're not likely to plan projects that will extend beyond their tour. That leaves you with about 8 to 10 months to work with. That's not long-term. And the lack of continuity resulting from yearly RIP/TOAs and/or redrawing AORs makes long-term planning nearly impossible. I've done 8 RIP/TOAs at Bn & below (4 deployments, with a RIP/TOA at each end) and observed several others. Continuity always gets talked about, but it never happens.
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Old 11-14-2009   #27
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Default Ecosystems, forests, trees…

…and branches (Forests in the Air tab)

From the Commander in Chief:

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This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant. To achieve that goal, we will work to promote an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe-haven to terrorists. We will help Iraq build new ties of trade and commerce with the world. And we will forge a partnership with the people and government of Iraq that contributes to the peace and security of the region.
From FM 3-24

Quote:
THE NATURE OF COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS
5-1. Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations require synchronized application of military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions.

5-3. COIN operations combine offensive, defensive, and stability operations to achieve the stable and secure environment needed for effective governance, essential services, and economic development. The focus of COIN operations generally progresses through three indistinct stages that can be envisioned with a
medical analogy:
  • Stop the bleeding.
  • Inpatient care—recovery.
  • Outpatient care—movement to self-sufficiency.
Understanding this evolution and recognizing the relative maturity of the operational environment are important to the conduct (planning, preparation, execution, and assessment) of COIN operations. This knowledge allows commanders to ensure that their activities are appropriate to the current situation.

INITIAL STAGE: “STOP THE BLEEDING”
5-4. Initially, COIN operations are similar to emergency first aid for the patient. The goal is to protect the population, break the insurgents’ initiative and momentum, and set the conditions for further engagement. Limited offensive operations may be undertaken, but are complemented by stability operations focused on civil security. During this stage, friendly and enemy information needed to complete the common operational picture is collected and initial running estimates are developed. Counterinsurgents also begin shaping the information environment, including the expectations of the local populace.

MIDDLE STAGE: “INPATIENT CARE—RECOVERY”
5-5. The middle stage is characterized by efforts aimed at assisting the patient through long-term recovery or restoration of health—which in this case means achieving stability. Counterinsurgents are most active here, working aggressively along all logical lines of operations (LLOs). The desire in this stage is to develop and build resident capability and capacity in the HN government and security forces. As civil security is assured, focus expands to include governance, provision of essential services, and stimulation of economic development. Relationships with HN counterparts in the government and security forces and with the local populace are developed and strengthened. These relationships increase the flow of human and other types of intelligence. This intelligence facilitates measured offensive operations in conjunction with the HN security forces. The host nation increases its legitimacy through providing security, expanding effective governance, providing essential services, and achieving incremental success in meeting public expectations.

LATE STAGE: “OUTPATIENT CARE—MOVEMENT TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY”
5-6. Stage three is characterized by the expansion of stability operations across contested regions, ideally using HN forces. The main goal for this stage is to transition responsibility for COIN operations to HN leadership. In this stage, the multinational force works with the host nation in an increasingly supporting role, turning over responsibility wherever and whenever appropriate. Quick reaction forces and fire support capabilities may still be needed in some areas, but more functions along all LLOs are performed by HN forces with the low-key assistance of multinational advisors. As the security, governing, and economic capacity of the host nation increases, the need for foreign assistance is reduced. At this stage, the host nation has established or reestablished the systems needed to provide effective and stable government that sustains the rule of law. The government secures its citizens continuously, sustains and builds legitimacy through effective governance, has effectively isolated the insurgency, and can manage and meet the expectations of the nation’s entire population.
From the CERP GTA 90-01-017

Quote:
Short-term goals:
  • Provide security to local populace
  • Restore essential services and meet humanitarian needs

Long-term goals:
  • Develop indigenous
    capacity for:
  1. Essential services
  2. Viable market economy
  3. Rule of law
  4. Democratic institutions
  5. Robust civil society
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
But I was speaking to the intended use and to the guidance that we received for it. It's nothing new for a tool to be used differently than intended, whether it's a poncho liner, Command Launch Unit, or CERP. But even going beyond intended use, I would go a step farther and say that, in this case, I think the intent is correct. CERP is a poor tool for economic development. I think we learned that lesson over a couple of years, which led to the explicit instructions we received in 2007 to think small and short term.
The nesting of intent displayed in the Presidents speech, FM 3-24 (and other FM's which include Civil Affairs FM's), as well as the GTA allows for a graduated response as conditions permit. I salute you and thank you for your service to include four tours in tough areas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
I think the lack of continuity in an AO prevents long-term economic planning at the BN & below level. Even if a unit spends an entire year in an AO, they're still getting their bearings within the first month and they're not likely to plan projects that will extend beyond their tour. That leaves you with about 8 to 10 months to work with. That's not long-term. And the lack of continuity resulting from yearly RIP/TOAs and/or redrawing AORs makes long-term planning nearly impossible. I've done 8 RIP/TOAs at Bn & below (4 deployments, with a RIP/TOA at each end) and observed several others. Continuity always gets talked about, but it never happens.
This is a pithy observation and something that requires an institutional/systematic fix as opposed to the consistently ad-hoc, stovepiped, and fragmented knowledge management solutions we are forced to cobble together downrange.

When we covered enterprise resource software in business school I thought back to my paperless office days back in the 80's at a multinational bank and compared both experiences with my knowledge management experiences with the Army in Iraq...yes...we certainly have come along ways from typewriters, alps printers, and multimate run on 386 chips but it is 2009, we are the American Army, and we do have access to integrated knowledge management software/geographic information systems after all...

Arcview with SQL Server or Oracle would allow for interactive maps with all layers tied to a database...(I do not have a financial interest in any of these companies)

Quote:
A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.

A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework.
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Old 11-14-2009   #28
Bill Moore
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Default Interesting lack of relevance

What I find most interesting about these posts, with the possible exception of Slapout's last post is the discussion of economic development separate from the COIN effort.

This is the fallacy with the lines of operations approach to military operations and USG strategy in general. Instead of developing and executing a strategy (not talking strategic level, but rather clear operational objectives and integrated plans for achieving those objectives instead of everyone doing their own line of operation independently, what I call lines to no where).

If you're waging a COIN effort, then is it wise to support economic development blindly and haphazardly, or better to integrate economic development as part of the over all COIN strategy?

We can use economic development as one form of influence to shape specific populations.

Quote:
Use economic development to influence a populace if at all possible. Identify a project of value (the people will tell you what it is, you don't determine it), ensure you can deliver, then tell them what the cost is (no IED attacks upon coalition forces for 2 weeks and we'll start on it (you better deliver), and as long as no IED attacks are the norm we'll continue to work on it.
This is only one example. I think we need to take a step back and relook how we better integrate economic development with the COIN strategy. Perhaps this being done in Afghanistan, but from what I'm reading it is not apparent.

If they have essential services restored, what else do we need to do? Why are we doing it? Are we giving them a free lunch, or are we getting a desired result? What effect is it really having?
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Old 11-14-2009   #29
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Default Holistic design challenges...

With a H/T to Registan; The Design Observer Group: Between Mission Statement and Parametric Model by Tim Love

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So where are we? What do we need to do to synthesize the powerful formal possibilities of parametric modeling with the need to realign disciplinary priorities? This is a large question, which I’ll explore in future articles. For now I’ll suggest that one approach is to better understand the complexities and pressures of mainstream practice. How do existing professional power structures, working with real clients and regulatory frameworks, encourage certain kinds of design production and inhibit others? Why does the DNA of almost every office building in North America — maybe the world — consist of the same center-core diagram with the same ungainly and clumsily dimensioned floor plan, no matter how sophisticated the skin? Why are the majority of new public school buildings soulless and isolated object-buildings surrounded by acres of parking lots and sports fields? Why do super-sized arterial roads, and the retail big boxes that line them, continue to be developed when the landscapes that result are so banal, and widely reviled as such? My hunch is that if design pedagogy began to engage these everyday conditions, whether in the market-driven economy or through the mechanism of public funding (or a combination of the two), then a new design-focused pedagogy would emerge, one that would gain intellectual weight through the relevance of the problems. Such a context might inspire designers to use sophisticated professional tools — including parametric modeling — to produce truly new and meaningful paradigms.
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Old 11-15-2009   #30
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Default

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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post

Perhaps this being done in Afghanistan, but from what I'm reading it is not apparent.
IMO the real 800 pound Guerrilla in A'stan is the Economy. Without a stable Economy no country can survive.......Including the USA.
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Old 11-15-2009   #31
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Wish I had more time to write.

This is what I have concluded about economic development from my personal experiences and two years at the COIN center, which doesn't all agree with theory. The key is to realize that all aid "takes a side" as you alter the power balances between communities, governments, families, and tribes. That well you just built may fundamentally alter a centuries old power dynamic.

You'll never get to the bottom of the 2d and 3d order effects in a society you are not a part of. Therefore, it is my opinion that $$ employed by tactical commanders must be transactional. Our temptation is to do good works. As some others have indicated, that's nice but not what a tactical commander should be doing. He should use it to gain influence with targeted groups and individuals critical to defeating the insurgency in that AO. The key part is that for such assistance you MUST get something tangible in return. That can take many forms - security force recruits, safe passage, governance participation, etc. But don't ever do a project HOPING it will "buy" goodwill. Analyze your AO, determine what populations or people you find most critical, and use your limited funds accordingly.

If you click on my sig and read about my experiences, you will see that money was employed tactically at those who were cooperating by providing security, information, and cooperation. Bottom line, good behavior rewarded, bad behavior - no $$ to your AO.

A good example was in Ramadi - instead of just doing good works and providing security with our forces, BG MacFarland made it transactional. In exchange for protection and aid they provided police recruits - half guarded the local area, and half were used elsewhere in the city as we needed. We also received guarantees of safe passage. Read the articles linked in my sig for more. Granted, this example was from Iraq, but I think that is one of the few non-location specific messages out of Ramadi. As Kilcullen says, giving the locals something without a return only gains their contempt, not cooperation. Some may sneer at it as bribery, but that's what CERP really is for anyway, no? Disguised as civil works, but at its essence a bribe to keep the population content? I guarantee it costs much less than an MRAP, Stryker, or the SGLI/medical care of dead soldiers. It may even have positive long term effects on the region and nation, if done right.

Bonus win if you can employ the $$ through local or national security forces. It doesn't matter so much what the Afghans think of you, only what they think of their own government.

Just random Sat night musings. I'll be more coherent tomorrow.
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Old 11-15-2009   #32
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Default Cavguy gets an A, Slapout a redo

Posted by Cavguy,
Quote:
If you click on my sig and read about my experiences, you will see that money was employed tactically at those who were cooperating by providing security, information, and cooperation. Bottom line, good behavior rewarded, bad behavior - no $$ to your AO.
Although you're just touching the issue, you are looking at from the right perspective.

Posted sy Slapout,
Quote:
IMO the real 800 pound Guerrilla in A'stan is the Economy. Without a stable Economy no country can survive.......Including the USA.
The insurgency is based on a lot of things, but very little has to do with the economy. What is really different with the economy today (other than the occupiers Russian and U.S. who provide a temporary foreign economy) than say 1975? There are several countries with very weak economies that continue to survive year after year. My argument is you're supporting a major effort that isn't solving the problem that we need to solve. Putting it simply, even if our efforts to establish a better economy are effective, the insurgency would still exist.

We can use economic development at the micro level to influence behavior if we're skillful enough (read not politically correct), but I quote Kilcullen from his book "Accidental Guerrillas" on p67,

Quote:
Governance and development, tied to a security and information strategy that gives the population incenttives to support the government, are thus extremely powerful COIN tools
break

Quote:
There is also a belief, unfounded in reality, that deveopmental assistance generates gratitude, or "hope", in the population and encourages them to support the government. Field experience in both Afghanistan and Iraq, however, has shown that insurgent intimidation easily overcomes any residual gratitude effect, while historical studies have shown that in civil wars and insurgencies, popular support tends to accrue to locally powerful actors rather than those actors the population sees as more congenial: the more organized, locally present, and better armed a group is, the more likely they'll be able to enforce a consisttent system of rules and sanctions, giving the population the order and predictability it craves in the deeply threatening , uncertain environment of insurgency.
We (the coalition) should be most powerful force in that village making the rules, not diverting efforts building the economy unless it is relevant to influencing the population. After we suppress the insurgency, then we can do some real economic development for the long term win like we did in Germany and Japan.
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Old 11-15-2009   #33
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Default An incorrect test key was applied...

Bill,

A policeman's understanding of the proverbial three blocks in his AO is decidedly different than a Soldier's/Marine's understanding of those same three blocks. That hard won knowledge is based upon a significant difference in time on station (years vs. 12 months or less), use of different TTP's, and I, for one, do not lightly dismiss a policeman's considered opinion concerning the human animal.

Soldiers and Marines insights are just as valuable as a policeman's, and I do not dismiss those either. There was a SF WO who's insights proved to be invaluable to me just outside of Iskandariyah and those of his Marine tanker brothers were just as important...

Let's check a couple of your stated assumptions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
The insurgency is based on a lot of things, but very little has to do with the economy
Selected Histories of Economic targeting

Islamic Charities

Quote:
This alleged support for acts of violence and terrorism in the Islamic charitable sector—and a seeming toleration of such activities—raises serious questions. Is a significant portion of this charitable sector a front for terrorist activities? Or is a small minority tainting the good deeds of the majority?
Iraq Embargo

Quote:
The Iraq sanctions were a near-total financial and trade embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council against the nation of Iraq. They began August 6, 1990, four days after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait,[1] and continued until May 22, 2003, after the fall of the Saddam Hussein government in the US-led invasion earlier that year. Their stated purpose was at first to compel Iraq's military to withdraw from Kuwait and after that to compel Iraq to pay reparations, and to disclose and eliminate any weapons of mass destruction, and to do certain other things.
Soviet Union

Quote:
The Soviet Union's collapse into independent nations began early in 1985.[dubious – discuss] After years of Soviet military buildup at the expense of domestic development, economic growth was at a standstill. Failed attempts at reform, a stagnant economy, and war in Afghanistan led to a general feeling of discontent, especially[citation needed] in the Baltic republics and Eastern Europe.
1973 Oil Embargo

Quote:
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC (consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt and Syria) proclaimed an oil embargo "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war; it lasted until March 1974.[1] OAPEC declared it would limit or stop oil shipments to the United States and other countries if they supported Israel in the conflict. With the US actions seen as initiating the oil embargo, the long-term possibility of embargo-related high oil prices, disrupted supply and recession, created a strong rift within NATO; both European nations and Japan sought to disassociate themselves from the US Middle East policy.
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
After we suppress the insurgency, then we can do some real economic development for the long term win like we did in Germany and Japan.
Simultaneous execution of multiple LOO's

Varying levels of development work are historically undertaken during preconflict, humanitarian/criminal crises, wartime, and post conflict periods.

For example, CA-bubbas have worked WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

CA Bubbas are not the only people who work during hostilities...ICRC, MSF, and others do what they can...

Best,

Steve
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Last edited by Surferbeetle; 11-15-2009 at 04:30 AM. Reason: Links, clarity...
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Old 11-15-2009   #34
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Some may sneer at it as bribery, but that's what CERP really is for anyway, no?
Bribery is very effective so I wouldn't be to concerned about it.........just think of it as a Campaign contribution, that's how most US Politicians look at it.
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Old 11-15-2009   #35
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Steve,

I normally learn a lot from your posts, but your last one to me appears to be have completely missed the mark. You're bringing up examples of economic warfare that have nothing to do with economic development as it relates to COIN.

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CA Bubbas are not the only people who work during hostilities...ICRC, MSF, and others do what they can...
This is exactly what I'm taking issue with, we do what we can instead of doing of the right thing. I'm sure ICRC and others "feel good" when they hand out school books and medicine, but during a COIN effort if it doesn't specifically target a select populace with the objective of separating them from the insurgency and pulling them into a closer relationship with the government then you're just doing humanitarian work to simply make yourself feel better, it doesn't contribute to a strategy. I ensure the enemy doesn't just do what it can, but has an agenda when they hand out aid.

As for police officers looking at it differently, could it be they're looking at a different problem set altogether? The elderly in the U.S. may be involved in the Meth trade now because they can't make it on social security, so that is an economic issue that must be resolved, because ultimately in this case that is the underlying issue.

Kids in depressed areas may join gangs and get involved in illegal activities because that is the accepted economic model. If you improve the job aspects you only address one underlying issue. Normally there is another underlying issue that is seldom considered, and that is the security/social norm influence. If the strongest tribe in the neighborhood is the gang and you offered a fair paying job to a kid that is a gang member (without moving him out of that neighborhood/influence), do you think he would take it? More importantly do you think he would leave the gang and place his family and him/herself at risk?

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This alleged support for acts of violence and terrorism in the Islamic charitable sector—and a seeming toleration of such activities—raises serious questions. Is a significant portion of this charitable sector a front for terrorist activities? Or is a small minority tainting the good deeds of the majority?
No one said insurgencies didn't require economic activity, I said the root cause wasn't about economics. By all means we need to target their economic engines, but you don't necessarily do that through economic development. It may or may not play a role.

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The Soviet Union's collapse into independent nations began early in 1985.[dubious – discuss] After years of Soviet military buildup at the expense of domestic development, economic growth was at a standstill. Failed attempts at reform, a stagnant economy, and war in Afghanistan led to a general feeling of discontent, especially[citation needed] in the Baltic republics and Eastern Europe.
Not germane, we're talking about insurgency and furthermore as you know were many factors that came together to create the perfect storm for the USSR. I suspect they spent far less on their military than we did, but they spent a greater proportion of their GDP. Still that was only one reason the wall came down.

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The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973
State versus State, not an insurgency

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Simultaneous execution of multiple LOO's
I call this the illusion of a plan, and it is the lazy man's way out of doing the real work that a real plan involves. Amazingly now how we can address any problem by making up four or five LOOs, put them on a power point slide, then we're done. If the simultaneous efforts aren't synchronized toward common objectives, then they lines to no where. Read Killcullen's example of building a road in Afghanistan as a form of political maneuvering, it wasn't simply doing what they could, but they built it with specific objectives in mind that had little to do with the road itself.

We're forgetting the basics.
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Old 11-15-2009   #36
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What is really different with the economy today (other than the occupiers Russian and U.S. who provide a temporary foreign economy) than say 1975? .
Hi Bill, what is different is Opium production has skyrocketed SINCE we invaded. That needs to change and that is part of COIN IMO. I don't disagree with you across the board but I do think that a viable economy has to be there in order for the Local Government to provide basic services (tax base), if they can't do that and the drug dealers/Insurgents/Radicals/Guerrillas/whatever you want to call them can do it then I think you will end up loosing the population. Also a viable Economy does not have to be an expensive billion dollar proposition that takes 10 years either, there are a lot of options.
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Old 11-15-2009   #37
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Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger
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1. What do these villagers produce? Of that, what do they consume locally, and what do they trade with other villages, towns or cities?

In 1 district, villagers produce only poppy. However they do not own the land. Land owners live in Kandahar City. In another district, villagers grow tobacco and wheat, tobacco to be sold in Pakistan. Wheat for consumption. Haven't really seen intra-village trade, but most goods go to KC or through Pakistan to Chaman.

2. What do they consume? How much of that is produced locally, and how much comes from other villages, towns or cities?

They consume what they grow. Insufficient data for other question. Which is really a point I'd like to highlight that it is the lack of data such as this which makes decisions hard.

3. How do they exchange value? How much of this local trade is based on currency, and what currency is it? How much local economic activity is based on barter?

Haven't seen anything based on barter yet, near KC, they use Afghani. Some contractors take dollars. Near the border, 50% they use rupees or whatever the currency Pakistan uses, and 50% afghani.

4. What do or could the locals produce that could go to a larger market? What do they need in the way of additional infrastructure to produce it?

In Arghandab, pomegranates. They need everything on the value chain for pomegranates in terms of infrastructure.

5. Are there any micro-loan programs in place to finance starting or increasing production of goods for local consumption or trade? Why not?

USAID has a program called WOCCU. CERP has $500 micro grants. We are not allowed to give micro grants at this point of time due to some people in the unit not liking that idea.
My advice would be:

1) Take the time to discuss with NGOs and humanitarian actors. They are active in the area since sometimes, they know a lot of what is going on. Most of the time, they do not have formalized knowledge. NGOs and UN agencies do not have institutional memories, they have human memories. So linking with the people is important. One good entry point is sharing information with NGOs through OCHA coordination meetings. You give them data about what you have observed as humanitarian problems in some specific villages and then try to encourage NGO to intervene in the targeted villages. No need to promise anything to villagers. Wait NGO have act. Also your actions have to come as a complement of what NGO, UN and USAID are doing. USAID is implementing a program: they must have an economical profile of the area. USAID must have a development plan for the area. Even if it is silly (what I doubt) it is better to coordinate with them.

2) do not get involved into landownership problematic. This will sunk you into the local conflicts between families. (Can be extremely interesting to know who owns what and rent it at what price).

The main problem concerning poppy production being there are very few agricultural products competing with it. Also, land access is influencing households' production choices. You should look at poppy producers' landownership: what surface they own and what is the annual price of land. Also, compare with non poppy producers.

Second point being: can those lands produce something else than poppy? The choice of poppy is rational. It is driven either by no other production possibility, either by financial obligations. People do not produce poppy just for the pleasure to produce poppy.

The only problem being: once you found the problematic, then it will be difficult to solve it. But this may give you the economical roots of the poppy production. And allow you to identify the root problematic restricting your capacity to support agro project in district one.

According to your post, producers do not move but contractors are at least coming. So there are exportations/movements of goods. Even if there is no population movement, there are goods movements. Non locally produced products as candles, matches, cooking oil… are coming from somewhere.

In agricultural household economy, main source of incomes is coming from production export/trade. In your case, it is clear this is tobacco and may be fruits. The other main source of incomes is dayly agricultural work. Also, what needs to be identified is the percentage of the harvest which is used for auto consumption, what is sold (and to purchase what) and what is saved for seeds. I would recommend to make focus groups separated with men and women (men on one side, women on the other). The women will give you accurate data on what is consumed and sold. Men will give you accurate data on seeds and what is sold. You may have difference for what is sold between men and women. Take the highest. This will give you a raw idea of household economical/food security. But USAID and NGO or FAO should be able to help you on those particular questions.

Also, the village economy is cyclical, based on harvest and seasonal access. You should observe price and availability variations of goods on local market. By establishing a local agricultural calendar, you will be able to identify which period of time is difficult for the households. You should also try to establish a revenue annual calendar of households sources of revenues. You may be surprise to identify annual migration or unidentified activities as firewood cutting or handicrafts confection... There again, FAO, UNICEF or OCHA should be able to help you.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-15-2009 at 11:08 AM. Reason: Spacing and tidying up in quote.
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Old 11-15-2009   #38
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The key is to realize that all aid "takes a side" as you alter the power balances between communities, governments, families, and tribes. That well you just built may fundamentally alter a centuries old power dynamic.

You'll never get to the bottom of the 2d and 3d order effects in a society you are not a part of. Therefore, it is my opinion that $$ employed by tactical commanders must be transactional. Bottom line, good behavior rewarded, bad behavior - no $$ to your AO.
Either transactional development or coercive civil affairs, we use money as a weapon. We're the military. We use everything as weapons. As Schmedlap noted, we finally fixed our process to get access to money and flood the community w/ short and simple projects; however, our output is still skewed. Niel talks to that issue. Many times, we just don't know how our actions effect the community. By flooding cash to certain leaders, our armed social work may disrupt the natural order of things that only stokes underlying tensions.

A commander must use discretion and discernment with all of his weapon systems. In my case, I would go in once a week to meet with the elders. I would flash $5000 and tell them there was more where that came from, but I refused to do any reconstruction until the level of violence diminished. To me, it didn't make sense to pave roads that would just get blown up again. Additionally, I was having to give the elders respect for others classes- "no, it's not okay to behead your neighbor and take his property." As we went back and forth, I learned something very disturbing. Their grievance was not about what they did not have. It was envy over what others had. In cases like that, there's not much we can do.

In the clearance and hold phase, money can be used effectively to achieve security and stabilization, but this short term effect does not equal long term development and prosperity. I'm not convinced that this type of work can be accomplished by those in uniform. As I studied others that are having success (Greg Mortensen and Mohommed Yunnis), their work is often ad-hoc and decentralized. I'm not sure how to incorporate their work into our centralized, bureaucratic processes.
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Old 11-15-2009   #39
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This is what I have concluded about economic development from my personal experiences and two years at the COIN center, which doesn't all agree with theory. The key is to realize that all aid "takes a side" as you alter the power balances between communities, governments, families, and tribes. That well you just built may fundamentally alter a centuries old power dynamic.
Which goes right to the heart of the SBW mantra of the 3 F's to understanding a Human Organization System. IMO Family,Friends and Finances are all you really need to know about the Human Terrain. With the possible exception of the 4th F.....who is foolin around with who
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Old 11-15-2009   #40
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Many times, we just don't know how our actions effect the community. By flooding cash to certain leaders, our armed social work may disrupt the natural order of things that only stokes underlying tensions.
Exactly! And furthermore, we are unlikely to understand the 2d and 3d order impacts, no matter how culturally aware we try and make ourselves.

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A commander must use discretion and discernment with all of his weapon systems.
True. Including the money.

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Their grievance was not about what they did not have. It was envy over what others had. In cases like that, there's not much we can do.
It seems we have both come to the same conclusions. Your development money profoundly affects the prestige and pecking order of societies. This is fine, as long as you understand you are doing so. I had heated arguments with a former co-worker over this - he insisted on "balanced development" across an AO, while I argued that development (CERP-level) should be employed as a reward/incentive for cooperation.

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In the clearance and hold phase, money can be used effectively to achieve security and stabilization, but this short term effect does not equal long term development and prosperity. I'm not convinced that this type of work can be accomplished by those in uniform.
Agreed. The military cannot effectively perform this kind of work. Our goals are too short term and transitory. That's why I don't think CERP should be used with long term development in mind. As you indicated, its a weapon system to be employed as a useful part of a broader combined arms/full spectrum approach to COIN.

To address one of the original points though, I found paying 20 individuals $50 to fix their own small problems bought more goodwill/info/cooperation than spending $5000 on a contractor to do a larger project. We also liberally used the small and micro rewards programs to a variety of purposes. This worked great in Tal Afar, oddly, MNF-W banned it at unit level in Anbar. It was a useful way for commanders to hand out up to $100 at a time to those that helped us in some way.
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