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Old 10-31-2008   #1
slapout9
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Default How To Win

This is from the SWJ blog and one of the best documents I have read. We could even use it here at home USA (United States of Alabama)



http://smallwarsjournal.com/mag/docs-temp/121-jones.pdf

Last edited by slapout9; 10-31-2008 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Spel stuff mor better
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Old 10-31-2008   #2
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It's hard to criticize the basic idea that spreading good governance is a better long-term solution for the world's ills than just killing bad guys. After all, that has been a basic tenet of the National Security Strategy for the last decade. But COL Jones, I think, depends too much on the assumption that troubled states share our belief that government exists for the good of the governed.

Many states - I won't be so cynical as to say most - are organized for the good of the governors, not the governed. Where we have become involved in counterinsurgency, the supported state will pay lip service to our values and stated goals because they want our money, manpower, and killing power. They will give nominal and often half-hearted support to our initiatives in good governance. But...the institution of good governance practices would work against the ability of the elites to maintain their power and sources of income. Even amongst the exploited populace our ideas of good governance often do not resonate, or are seen as positive threats. They welcome the material largesse we bring, but resist the softer aspects of what we consider good governance ( a strong central government, protection of minority rights, rule of law as opposed to customary privilege, etc).

So, a populace-centric as opposed to a threat-centric (not my terms but his - I hate any idea incorporating the pseudoword 'centric') strategy would certainly be as problematic in counterinsurgency.
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Old 10-31-2008   #3
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Default Agree, Slap...

Not least because he reinforces my long standing point that Goldwater Nichols and the "We won WW II" mentality have given the Geographic CinCs way too much clout in setting national foreign policy -- by default, admittedly but it still needs to be corrected.

Every person in Congress and all their staffers should be forced to read this.

State, with all its flaws needs to lead our foreign policy effort worldwide...
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Old 11-01-2008   #4
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But COL Jones, I think, depends too much on the assumption that troubled states share our belief that government exists for the good of the governed.
Exactly.

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Populace-Centric Engagement (PCE): A holistic family of engagement that places primacy on understanding and facilitating meeting the requirements of a target populace for good governance, as shaped by its own unique culture and values. PCE is driven by the key concepts that governance is of, by and for the people; that populaces have the right to choose the form of governance which suits them best; and that insurgency occurs when governance fails.
This is pure western/white thinking. Try explaining this to some very influential middle eastern families, or talking about this in Africa. It's the quickest way to chase folks into the hands of China and anyone else who just wants a baggage free beneficial relationship.

...and why is a Colonel writing about Strategic Level foreign Policy? He is more than qualified and entitled, but ultimately it's nothing to do with him. The spanner does not tell the plumber how to fix the leak, any more than the brick layer tells an architect how to built a house.
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Old 11-01-2008   #5
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...and why is a Colonel writing about Strategic Level foreign Policy? He is more than qualified and entitled, but ultimately it's nothing to do with him. The spanner does not tell the plumber how to fix the leak, any more than the brick layer tells an architect how to built a house.
As a Lieutenant Colonel, Wilf I was intimately involved in strategic level policy on central Africa. I wrote the campaign plan for the area in Kigali for US European Command and it was picked up virtually word for word. Your methaphor is both inaccurate and misleading. Inaccurate in that the trades have a direct effect on the total design because the design can only use what a trade can provide. Misleading in that there are any number of colonels, majors, and captains who have had strategic effect.

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Old 11-01-2008   #6
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1-What does his rank have to do with anything? A good idea is good idea.


2-Here is some white man/western thinking. In another article Colonel Jones talked about an International Civil Rights Act that correlates to our domestic Civil Rights Act. Both based upon our Constitution and used to guide our Domestic and Foreign Policy.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS4Qw4lIckg


Link to SWJ original article by Colonel Jones
http://smallwarsjournal.com/mag/docs-temp/46-jones.pdf

Last edited by slapout9; 11-01-2008 at 03:10 PM. Reason: add link
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Old 11-01-2008   #7
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Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
1-What does his rank have to do with anything? A good idea is good idea.
You are signing (get it?) to the choir. Rank has nothing to do with it. Sometimes the lower the rank, the better the idea.

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As a Lieutenant Colonel, Wilf I was intimately involved in strategic level policy on central Africa. I wrote the campaign plan for the area in Kigali for US European Command and it was picked up virtually word for word.
Probably because you were the best qualified in that circumstance, based on proximity and experience. You were doing what countless British Army officers have done for generations, all over the empire, usually with beneficial strategic effect.

My fear is that you end up with soldiers telling diplomats and politicians what the end state should look like, instead of preparing to deal with the cards as they fall.

"War is the setting forth of policy with an admixture of other means."
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Old 11-01-2008   #8
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Default Guess one takes away what one wishes to...

I noticed the same item Wilf highlighted:
Quote:
"...PCE is driven by the key concepts that governance is of, by and for the people; that populaces have the right to choose the form of governance which suits them best; and that insurgency occurs when governance fails."
but took it differently, I cued in on this portion "...that populaces have the right to choose the form of governance which suits them best..." as meaning stick our big nose in only where it's wanted but do not try to manipulate that want and at all costs do not try to impose a form of of government that is alien or inappropriate * on another nation.

* As it appears we tried (are trying???) to do in both Afghanistan and Iraq and is flat not going to happen...

The principal benefit of his paper to me is that it espouses removal of DoD from de facto primacy in foreign affairs and accurately points out that this:
Quote:
Threat-Centric Engagement (TCE): A program of engagement designed to defeat a specific enemy or alliance of separate enemies. TCE is driven by the key concept that ultimate victory is achieved by defeating the threat.
is not the best way to look at the rest of the world bar a potential existential threat.

I gotta agree with Slap; "What does his rank have to do with anything? A good idea is good idea." I'm about as rank as anyone and I have some good ideas. Occasionally. Well, rarely...

Added: Wilf chimed in ahead of this with:
Quote:
"My fear is that you end up with soldiers telling diplomats and politicians what the end state should look like, instead of preparing to deal with the cards as they fall."
I agree. Being de facto Johnny on the Spot has worked fairly well for the US Armed Forces and DoD since the late 50s in the foreign policy business -- that does not mean that all has worked well for the United States in that business or that such is an ideal state and I, for one, do not think it is.

Last edited by Ken White; 11-01-2008 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Addendum
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Old 11-01-2008   #9
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[QUOTE=Ken White;59358] "...that populaces have the right to choose the form of governance which suits them best..." as meaning stick our big nose in only where it's wanted but do not try to manipulate that want and at all costs do not try to impose a form of of government that is alien or inappropriate * on another nation.

Exactly!!
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Old 11-01-2008   #10
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Quote:
Quote:
Added: Wilf chimed in ahead of this with:
Quote:
"My fear is that you end up with soldiers telling diplomats and politicians what the end state should look like, instead of preparing to deal with the cards as they fall."
I agree. Being de facto Johnny on the Spot has worked fairly well for the US Armed Forces and DoD since the late 50s in the foreign policy business -- that does not mean that all has worked well for the United States in that business or that such is an ideal state and I, for one, do not think it is
Wilf the fear as you state it is a red herring when it comes to soldiers versus diplomats as in many cases soldiers are in fact diplomats. Separation of affairs political from affairs military at the strategic level is a impossible and trying to do that is dangerous.

Secondly it is often a soldier's duty as a diplomat or a strategist to advise and counsel policy makers on where policy should go. In reality things move so fast that the folks on the ground may in fact be setting policy. That works well if the framework is established for what they can and cannot do. Where it goes astray is when those limits are not set.

I believed it was my duty and I still do to tell poltical appointees what was possible and what was not possible in both Zaire and Rwanda. Switching to the present time, I believe we could have used more of that in the senior ranks of the military circa 2002 into 2005.

Ken, the defacto Johnny on the spots may in fact be there because they were put there to do the job. The country team is designed to do just that. It is not always a succes but with the right mix of people and proper training and leadership it works quite well. Without a country team or an element on the ground to do those sorts of things, you get decision-making from a distance without any reality from the scene.

I agree with Ken in that I read the colonel's piece as suggesting we set strategy according to the reality of the place, not what we decide it should be.

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Old 11-01-2008   #11
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Default I think we're saying the same thing different ways.

I seem to have that problem here a lot; my fault for lack of clarity and using too much shorthand I guess. Penalty of a wordy old Dude who thinks he's a comedian trying to be brief. Apologies to all. I'll try to do better.
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Wilf the fear as you state it is a red herring when it comes to soldiers versus diplomats as in many cases soldiers are in fact diplomats. Separation of affairs political from affairs military at the strategic level is a impossible and trying to do that is dangerous.
Totally agree, the issue is who has primacy -- who's in charge?
Quote:
Secondly it is often a soldier's duty as a diplomat or a strategist to advise and counsel policy makers on where policy should go. In reality things move so fast that the folks on the ground may in fact be setting policy. That works well if the framework is established for what they can and cannot do. Where it goes astray is when those limits are not set.
I totally agree and I acknowledge that those on the spot do set often policy and must do so; again, the issue is who's the adviser and who's the decider on the spot...
Quote:
I believed it was my duty and I still do to tell poltical appointees what was possible and what was not possible in both Zaire and Rwanda. Switching to the present time, I believe we could have used more of that in the senior ranks of the military circa 2002 into 2005.
I also agree totally with that. That, in fact, is the point of my comments.
Quote:
Ken, the defacto Johnny on the spots may in fact be there because they were put there to do the job. The country team is designed to do just that. It is not always a succes but with the right mix of people and proper training and leadership it works quite well. Without a country team or an element on the ground to do those sorts of things, you get decision-making from a distance without any reality from the scene.
I think we have a misunderstanding. I totally agree with this and with the country team concept -- and nothing I have written says one thing remotely in opposition to that; so I'm unsure why you would assume that I'm opposed to an idea that works.

What I am opposed to as I thought I rather specifically said is the de facto situation that lets the geographic CinCs set much of our foreign policy as opposed to the DoS doing that. I fully understand that due to several reasons, not least funding and reach, DoD is doing that by default and not particularly because (in some cases) they want to do so.

I'm also aware of the fact that State is not capable of doing that well at this time and I believe I mentioned that; What I'm pointing at is a, IMO, to be desired situation versus what I know (and understand why) is.

Just as the Ambassador -- flawed though he may be -- has primacy on the Country Team (and is a fool if he does not listen carefully to his DAO), so State should have primacy in regional policy and they, not DoD, should set the policy (but not the specifics) of contacts and operations about which they -- and the National command authority -- should listen to DoD (who need to be more forthright and honest in their advice...).

If you saw this from me ""...that does not mean that all has worked well for the United States in that business or that such is an ideal state and I, for one, do not think it is."" and thought that was a knock on anyone or anything, it was not -- it was merely a comment that perhaps too briefly stated my opinion that DoD (as a corporate entity) has over the years made some decisions by default or specific Administration permissively that were in strong contradiction to State positions and that some of those have been in error. A few have been correct and State was wrong. That and I did not clearly state my broad point -- I agree with Jones that a threat centric approach has not been good for the Nation.
Quote:
I agree with Ken in that I read the colonel's piece as suggesting we set strategy according to the reality of the place, not what we decide it should be.
That, too...

Last edited by Ken White; 11-01-2008 at 06:56 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 11-01-2008   #12
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I believed it was my duty and I still do to tell poltical appointees what was possible and what was not possible in both Zaire and Rwanda.
Exactly! I have no argument with that, but I assume that you limited your advice to that flowed from your military expertise, and relevant local experience.

Secondly, I don't see their being any risk of Lt Cols setting foreign policy. That's not my complaint. The job of the military is to be an instrument of foreign policy, not an obstacle to it. - though limitations will obviously exist, and the military has to advise on these.

...but in the context of this thread, "meeting the requirements of a target populace for good governance," is not a military task. If the diplomats want this, then the military helps it happen, in the context of the military instrument.

I also submit that the circumstances where this may be appropriate or actually in the interest of the US Govt. are pretty limited. When the Aliens turn up, they will say "take me to your leaders." Not "how can we meet your requirements?"
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Old 11-02-2008   #13
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and why is a Colonel writing about Strategic Level foreign Policy? He is more than qualified and entitled, but ultimately it's nothing to do with him.
Let's go back to where I came in and it was due to this statement. I agree that State should have lead and with Ken's concerns on Unified Commands. But when you state that the colonel has nothing to do with strategic policy that is an erroneous statement. If he takes his teams on the ground as an instrument of said policy, his effective or ineffective implementation of that policy influences, guides, and even sets strategic policy.

Quote:
Secondly, I don't see their being any risk of Lt Cols setting foreign policy. That's not my complaint. The job of the military is to be an instrument of foreign policy, not an obstacle to it. - though limitations will obviously exist, and the military has to advise on these.
Well again I did it as a LTC and I had to fire 2 Majors who tried to do it when they decided the policy set by the CT was in error.

Quote:
...but in the context of this thread, "meeting the requirements of a target populace for good governance," is not a military task. If the diplomats want this, then the military helps it happen, in the context of the military instrument.
Sure it is, one done in conjunction with the foreign policy as captured in the campaign plan. Saying it is not a military task is wishful thinking; we had enough of that in 2003 I would submit.

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Old 11-02-2008   #14
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Default De Oppresso Libre

De Oppresso Libre-(To Liberate The Oppressed) is the motto of Special Forces and since oppression is often part of the cause of an Insurgency it certainly is a Military problem.

Colonel Jones makes some very good points about this and why poor governance is the true root cause that has to be dealt with, and since violent force has often already been used it will be a military problem. But it is a special military problem hence the reason SF was created in the first place.

Governments are created to provide for the health and safety of ALL the people, but insurgencies start whenever Governments begin to protect only certain members of the populace and forget or ignore the other members and that begins the process of an alienated populace that either begins an insurgency internally or the alienated populace will be subject to exploitation by an outside element or both.

Which is why Colonel Jones makes the point that COIN operations are so protracted and costly in nature and are prone to reignite at some point in the future. The core problem of poor governance was never completely solved. Which will lead to certain portions of the populace becoming alienated again and creating a rich source of recruits for the future cause.

He also makes the point or warning about our being careful about being on the right side of the revolution...a good piece of advice IMO. Again COIN takes so long because we often choose the wrong side to support because of some idealogical dispute(hearts and minds thing again) as opposed to looking at the environment/situation these people are in and how poorly they are being treated by their government.
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Old 11-03-2008   #15
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But when you state that the colonel has nothing to do with strategic policy that is an erroneous statement. If he takes his teams on the ground as an instrument of said policy, his effective or ineffective implementation of that policy influences, guides, and even sets strategic policy.
I said Strategic Level FOREIGN Policy. I am not saying Colonels should not have missions or aims with Strategic Effect. Clearly there are times when they should. I am saying Colonels should not set or define policy. They should carry it out. If they are setting or defining foreign policy then there is something clearly wrong.

Soldiers are instruments of policy. They should have nothing to do with formulating the policy, bar advisory input.

I submit T.E. Lawrence as an object lesson in someone failing to understand the bounds of carrying out policy and setting it.
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Old 11-03-2008   #16
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De Oppresso Libre-(To Liberate The Oppressed) is the motto of Special Forces and since oppression is often part of the cause of an Insurgency it certainly is a Military problem.
Well De Oppresso Libre is certainly more catching that "Selectively free the oppressed in line state department policy and ensuring that we end up with a foreign leader who is well disposed towards to the US, regardless of his/her human rights record."

PCE sounds good, but it must be done in line with overall interest of the US Govt, and that may well mean allowing people to be oppressed, if you want to do business with the leadership that has their hands on the power.
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Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 11-03-2008   #17
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Quote:
I said Strategic Level FOREIGN Policy. I am not saying Colonels should not have missions or aims with Strategic Effect. Clearly there are times when they should. I am saying Colonels should not set or define policy. They should carry it out. If they are setting or defining foreign policy then there is something clearly wrong.
No, you said this. Using bold and an all caps response does not change what you said in the first place.

Quote:
and why is a Colonel writing about Strategic Level foreign Policy? He is more than qualified and entitled, but ultimately it's nothing to do with him.
As for the pronoiuncement that Colonels do not set or define foreign policy, that makes great slogan but is in fact in error. Much of what emerges as a nation's foreign policy toward another nation begins on the ground. What the colonel is writing about has eveything to do with him and his mssion.

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Old 11-03-2008   #18
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Funny thing about the military and political spheres—they proceed toward success in almost exactly opposite ways. Successful political change is implemented slowly and incrementally by way of consensus. Successful military operations tend to be quick and violent. I suspect it is very valuable to have a country team whose members include people who can assess what kind of action needs to be taken and then act. In fact, I pointed out in a thread a long time go that we need to have state and defense joined at the hip to make this stuff work right.
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Long ago and far away in the Land of Ahs (the marketing campaign used by the Kansas department of tourism when I lived there in the mid 80s), the Army taught me during CGSC about a thing called the "country team." I guess that hummer is passé now.
One would think that DoD and DoS should be joined at the hip throughout the planning and execution process whenever the US gets ready to involve itself in some OCONUS adventure. Likewise, one would think that a similar relationship would exist between DoD and DHS for a CONUS-focused operation.
It is not clear to me that we need a bunch of Ph.D's in uniform to solve the problem in Iraq. Someone else on this thread masterfully described a Ph.D. as a person who has gone from a macroscopic grasp of knowledge to becoming an expert in a piece of minutiae (I admit I have wordsmithed that other post greatly). What we really need are people who can see that many folks are stakeholders and have a part to play in the solution; we need people without blinders on or otherwise afflicted with tunnel vision. We need some folks who are wise, not just smart. Solomon, where are you???
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Old 11-03-2008   #19
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As for the pronoiuncement that Colonels do not set or define foreign policy, that makes great slogan but is in fact in error. Much of what emerges as a nation's foreign policy toward another nation begins on the ground. What the colonel is writing about has eveything to do with him and his mssion.
So do you mean that when the man on the ground comes to write his reports, and recommends actions, that such recommendations could be said to be "setting and defining foreign policy."

I guess the line from "Charlie Wilson's War" - "we don't have a policy on Afghanistan" - must have been true.
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Old 11-03-2008   #20
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
So do you mean that when the man on the ground comes to write his reports, and recommends actions, that such recommendations could be said to be "setting and defining foreign policy."

I guess the line from "Charlie Wilson's War" - "we don't have a policy on Afghanistan" - must have been true.
Ignoring the later sarcasm, I mean the sum total of interaction on the ground--be that writing reports, meeting with counterparts including the Vice Presient/Secretary of Defense one on one, or sharing information with a senior operations officer or a senior intelligence officer--enter into the creation and defining of foreign policy. If one is summoned to the VPs office and he is poised to pull out of a reciprocal program, then what you say in that office and how you react defines where the foreign policy that established that program in the first place. That is but one example.

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