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FID & Working With Indigenous Forces Training, advising, and operating with local armed forces in Foreign Internal Defense.

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Old 02-12-2009   #1
Rob Thornton
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Default What is a "Developmental" mindset and why does it matter?

Does supporting the development of FSF (Foreign Secuirty Forces) require a "Developmental" mindset?

What do you think a "Developmental" mindset means as opposed to the mindset we might have toward other operations?

Are there DOTMLPF implications? Is supporitng the development of FSF as simple as just accounting for the augmentation such as bodies to fill advisor teams and some additional ESS (Enablers, Sustainment and Support) functions to support distributed operations - or is there something different with regards to the nature of the HQs implementing the developmental activities that needs to be considered? What else needs to be considered?

I ask this with the understadning that we still need to account for addtional requirements that may occur as a result of conditions and objectives (which will vary).

Best, Rob

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Old 02-12-2009   #2
Ron Humphrey
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Question Not sure I understand the question exactly

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Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
Does supporting the development of FSF (Foreign Secuirty Forces) require a "Developmental" mindset?

What do you think a "Developmental" mindset means as opposed to the mindset we might have toward other operations?

Are there DOTMLPF implications? Is supporitng the development of FSF as simple as just accounting for the augmentation such as bodies to fill advisor teams and some additional ESS (Enablers, Sustainment and Support) functions to support distributed operations - or is there something different with regards to the nature of the HQs implementing the developmental activities that needs to be considered? What else needs to be considered?

I ask this with the understanding that we still need to account for additional requirements that may occur as a result of conditions and objectives (which will vary).

Best, Rob
Could you perhaps be slightly more explicit?

Are we talking about (heart of a teacher) stuff, or historian perspective approach, or just plain how do I think about what I'm training from the HN's historical,cultural, and environmental perspective?
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Old 02-12-2009   #3
Rex Brynen
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Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
Does supporting the development of FSF (Foreign Secuirty Forces) require a "Developmental" mindset?
I can think of a few common themes in good development planning that probably have relevance in supporting/mentoring/building FSFs:

1) The point is to build local capacity, not rely on external capacities. While the latter may be unavoidable at times, it also risks creating dependencies, slows learning, and ultimately may compromise long-term objectives.

2) Sustainability. The locals have to be able to staff it, run it, maintain it, and finance it in the long term. You'll be gone eventually—they live here, and live with the consequences.

3) Host country ownership. It is their country, not yours. Ideally, they are in charge, with the responsibilities that come with this.

4) Stakeholder consultation. You need to understand what all of the affected parties want, need, and perceive. Moreover, this isn't necessarily the same folks you usually talk to. (A great way of illustrating and teaching this to trainers, by the way, is the fast and simple Silent majority game, which could easily be adapted to a military setting—for example, replace "rural women" with "intimidated civilians" or "the rarely-heard lower ranks".)

5) Everything is political. There is rarely a purely technical issue. Ethnic, political, bureaucratic, and other rivalries are omnipresent. Others with different agendas, even if nominally on the same side, may try to derail your initiatives.

6) Not all good things go together. This isn't one you'll find in the development literature, but its one I drill home to my students. There are trade-offs to be made, decisions that may not have clear or perfect answers. Be clear about those, and don't try to ignore them—when you do, it almost always guarantees you screw up.

7) Don't lose heart. Progress isn't overnight, or even easily measured at first.

Where is gets really interesting is when you start adding in the caveats and what-ifs... what if, for example, you want host country ownership--but the locals are wrong?
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Old 02-12-2009   #4
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I can only speak from my experience. There is "Developmental" and there is "Judgmental"

In SF, when we work with foreign forces, we accept them as they are in the totality of the context of their culture, their background and experience, their resources, their organizational environment and structure, their mission, etc. We then tailor our engagement to help them be more effective at what they do within the totality of all of those environmental factors.

When I left active duty to go to law school I joined the Guard and was a member of one of 15 "Enhanced Brigades." As the Regular Army was being drawn down at the time, there was an expectation that there would be a much higher deployment rate for these units than had been expected of the Guard for years prior. So the active conventional army stood up Training Brigades of cadre to ensure that these highly suspect Guard units that they would now be forced to rely upon would be up to snuff. While there are always exceptions, and I worked with a lot of great officers and NCOs serving in these roles over several years roughly equating to the Clinton Administration, there was an overall culture, and it was not "developmental." It was Judgmental

The general approach was that there was only one way to do any given task, and that was as it was written up in an active duty manual and as performed by whatever the last unit said evaluator had just came from. No consideration was given for any of the factors described above; with the added conflict of interest being that any Guard Brigade deemed unworthy would not be allowed to take a CTC rotation away from some more deserving active unit. They were there to tell you why you were wrong, not to help you get better; and success was measured by a standard set up for the organization they came from and not the organization they were working with.

The Colonel in charge of the Brigade at Ft Lewis even added his own special twist to ensuring that no Enhanced Brigade became too successful. He made it policy that "because leader tasks are so very important to effective military operations, that all leader tasks in the MTP would also be considered "essential" tasks" in the training and evaluations conducted by his units.

Shamefully, the Guard senior leadership accepted this. For those not familar with U.S. Army training; every task is broken down into detailed component tasks; many of which are leader tasks, and typically only 1 or 2 that are deemed essential to the larger task. Failure of an essential task is to fail the entire larger task. So any AC army unit (if ever held to evaluation) would have say 2 of 40 subtasks that they must do correctly to pass. Any Guard unit would have 25-30 of 40 subtasks that they had to do correctly to pass. The motto of "One Army" only added to the irony.

That Colonel never liked being called out on this publicly, but there was one SF Major who did just that every chance he got.
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Old 02-12-2009   #5
MikeF
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Default Expand the definition of "developmental"

Hi Rob,

There are three different environments (off the top of my head) that may require the same mindset or a different one.

1. Training an indigious force.
2. Combat Advising an indigious force on the tactical level.
3. Combat Advising a state's military apparatus on the senior operational/strategic level.

No answers as of yet. History provides some fairly good examples to study for each. Interesting point is a lot of the successful advisors were civilians or conscripted soldiers. Hopefully, some of the SF guys will describe the character traits they look for in the selection process. I would guess that they've covered this topic fairly well. As far as instituting/adapting that for the GPF, that's a weighted question.

In my experience, my NCOs and junior officers that did it best simply had good people skills. Before they tried training or advising, they spent time hanging out with our partnered force, getting to know them, playing cards, lifting weights, and watching movies with our counter-parts. These actions fostered relationship building and everything seemed to jive after that.

I'll give it some thought.

v/r

Mike
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Old 02-12-2009   #6
Rob Thornton
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One of the things I'm thinking of is the other words we've attached to "mindset". We have "expeditionary" mindset, offensive "mindset", etc.

It seems to me there is a temporal aspect of this that is important to address - something realted to what you guys have hit in your posts about expectations.

Best, Rob
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Old 02-12-2009   #7
Ron Humphrey
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Question Let me take a stab at it

If your talkin Army your talkin fix-it-itus See a problem; fix-it.

The approach is almost always OK here's the deal and heres what I'm gonna do about it. Any changes that would be addressed in trying to make a more developmentally minded approach to those given problem-sets would seem to have to start from ground up. Recognition of a given thing is highly tied to ones perspectives both philosophically and physically.

By physically I mean you tend to find solutions through the lense of the possible as you know it. As has been pointed out so often throughout our conversations here that can and will be very different anywhere you go.
So if thats the case then what can one do to change that mindset?

The mental part is probably the easiest in some ways because most of it can be approached through education, training, and just good ol practical exercise. The latter though may be where it becomes difficult to develop an across the board common capability as you would almost have to relearn everything you've experienced in life through a different lense in order to even come close to "thinkin like the natives". And in essense isn't this what we're really talking about with developmental thought.

I think about the posting George had on Tech in Afghanistan, who among us can think of ways and items to put there which can "change their world" tech wise yet how many of same actually have an idea of what its like to know the world is flat yet not fall off the edge when floating over the horizon. The particular awakening required for real development in any course of action, thought, or deed is something that no matter how hard one try's you really can't give someone else, they have to choose it for themselves.

That takes time and they'll pick and choose whats comfortable.

So in the end all that said to ask but one question.
If we're looking for what the right mindset/approach/? is wouldn't value oriented salemanship be closer to the requirement. If you can't get buy-in you got nothin.
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