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Old 07-14-2014   #1
davidbfpo
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Default After Mosul: better SSR?

Hat tip to WoTR for an article 'Raising An Army' by Sean McFate, which looks at security sector reform (SSR) and makes a few suggestions:http://warontherocks.com/2014/07/rai...rmy-ten-rules/

There's a ten point 'To Do' list and more. For the USA and other SSR is a strategic option, especially after peace appears to outsiders and this sums it up:
Quote:
Inability to competently raise indigenous security forces results in strategic failure.
Curiously the author cites the PMC role in creating a new Liberian army as his test case, where he was involved with DynCorp.

African armies have recently been discussed on:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=20913

He ends with:
Quote:
The best metric of success is easy:is a soldier someone a child runs away from in fear, or someone a child runs toward for protection?
Now I've started this new thread before checking if we have discussed this before - without a specific setting - so just maybe one day it will be merged into an older thread.
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Old 07-15-2014   #2
Bill Moore
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It isn't as simple as ten rules, and I think the author understands that. That author also has an agenda he is pushing, since he was one of the Dyancorp contractors that helped rebuild the Liberian Army from scratch. By all accounts they did a fantastic job, and in many respects private contractors may be better suited for conducting SSR for a lot of reasons I don't have time to dwell on now.

Quote:
Tenth, the private sector may be better at this than the government. The United States turned to the private sector in unprecedented ways during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, especially for SSR functions. In Liberia, SSR of the armed forces was entirely contracted. The United States hired DynCorp International, a private security company, to raise Liberia’s army in toto, marking the first time in 150 years that one country hired a company to raise another country’s armed forces.
I question his assertion that this is the first time one country hired a company raise another country's armed forces, but need to research it further. Taking nothing away from the great success in Liberia, many of us have seen many contractors attempting to develop capacity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans that were inept clowns that simply wasted government money. Liberia was a relatively small scale effort, and by intent or by luck, it appears they recruited a top notch team of contractors to execute this mission.

With that out of the way, I agree with the author on the following:

-The military needs to get rid of the train and equip mentality, which doesn't mean we shouldn't train and equip, but realize it is a much bigger than training and equipping.

- If possible we should instill a professional military ethos, but that requires the support of the host nation government to be effective. There is a lot to be said of how we transform our citizens into soldiers, from shaving their heads, given them a new identity, and pounding into them our code of honor (values). At the end of process most discard the potential identity they had when they joined and embrace the identity as a professional soldier. This clearly hasn't happened in Iraq or Afghanistan. In some places it may not be possible, but we at least need to be cognizant of it so we can identify and mitigate future problems.

- If possible we definitely need to constrain the size of the military to a size that be sustained, but that also creates risks.

http://america.aljazeera.com/article...omesofage.html
Quote:
Today the AFL numbers just under 2,000 men and women, a small fraction of its size during the war. Analysts say that while the army is a professional force, it may be too small and weak to protect the country. As the U.S. draws down its financial support, questions remain about whether the money spent to rebuild the AFL has been used wisely.
I'm not sure what the author was talking about when he mentioned Iraq and asked does Iraq need F-16s? I guess if you have to defend yourself against Iran you probably do. He also said Iraq should have limited force projection, artillery, etc. That wouldn't have been in our interest if one of our goals was to contain Iran.

Not a bad piece, and it has merit if you can look beyond the author's agenda.
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Old 07-15-2014   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Taking nothing away from the great success in Liberia, many of us have seen many contractors attempting to develop capacity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans that were inept clowns that simply wasted government money. Liberia was a relatively small scale effort, and by intent or by luck, it appears they recruited a top notch team of contractors to execute this mission.
I would suggest it is too early to declare these efforts in Liberia to be a success... where is the evidence?

The problem - as I have mentioned before - is the simple matter of how these newly aquired skills will be used in the future. No training team has control over that and neither does the sponsoring country.

A quote from the piece David posted the URL of:

Quote:
Two years ago a group of U.S.-trained Malian soldiers mutinied and staged a coup d’état in Mali, setting the Sahel region of Africa ablaze.
See what I mean...

Last edited by JMA; 07-15-2014 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 07-15-2014   #4
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JMA,

Time is always a factor, Rome was a successful empire until it wasn't, etc. I would judge it a success to this point, based on they developed a professional military that is currently subordinate to the civilian leadership.

The situation in Mali, based on what I read, was messed up from the start, it was more of fire then aim approach. Those on the ground can comment with insights that I can't provide. Where I agree with the author, is that we have a bad habit of ignoring the longer term implications of our approach to dealing with security problems, and instead rush in with our train and equip mentality as though that is the default answer. It is often either unproductive or worse.
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Old 07-15-2014   #5
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Seems to me that the single biggest thing we can do in SFAAT/FID/SSR/whatever we're calling it this week is to be extremely thorough and extremely honest in our evaluation of foreign forces we're training and advising. The Mosul crisis and some follow up stuff I've seen in the NYT and WotR indicates we did not do that in Iraq.

In Afghanistan, I know at my level (platoon/company) everyone was brutally honest about ANSF capabilities. Maybe that was true all the way up the chain, but I doubt it. That Vice documentary "What Winning Looks Like," for what it's worth, says otherwise.

(Added by Moderator) Link to cited documentary:http://www.vice.com/en_uk/vice-news/...ke-full-length

Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-15-2014 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Add link
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Old 07-16-2014   #6
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Bill we have touched on this issue a few times here at SWC and I submit it will take a minimum of ten years to get a reasonable battalion of infantry off the ground.

But how these skills that are transferred has no guarantee on how and to what end they will be used.

We could discuss this matter of 'outsiders' training an indigenous force at great length but I offer these two pieces for you.

The first is from the book Having Been a Soldier pages 119/120 in the paperback version:

Quote:
Although my tour of duty in East Africa was to end about eighteen months before Kenya became independent, the “Africanization” of the Kings African rifles was well under way. African officers were given more responsibility and en-couraged to exercise the leadership which would be demanded of them when we left. A number of them were most promising, but we came to realize that their methods would sometimes be very different from ours, as would be their scruples. One of our most successful officers was discovered to have achieved excellent results in a peace-keeping operation near the Uganda border by tough methods which, had we known of them, would have resulted in his immediate court-martial.
I began to realize, too, that African officers would become politicians as well as soldiers. This was dramatically illustrated when a senior African officer from Uganda visiting Nanyuki said that he planned to take over the Ugandan Army by a coup - and therefore, in effect, the country - and was I inter¬ested in becoming his Chief-of-Staff! I could, he added, name my price. I tactfully declined and have reason to be particu¬larly glad that I did so because the coup failed and this par¬ticular officer is, so far as I know, still chained up in prison.
See what I mean? The battalions of the KAR (Kings African Rifles) were raised starting 1902 and fell apart when the British officers left. Whether early incorporation of African officers would have made any difference is debatable.

Secondly, the following thesis by your man Micheal P Stewart from his staff course is worth a read for background:

The Rhodesian African Rifles
The Growth and Adaptation
of a Multicultural Regiment through the Rhodesian Bush War, 1965-1980


This discussion may have some value in the African Militaries thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
JMA,

Time is always a factor, Rome was a successful empire until it wasn't, etc. I would judge it a success to this point, based on they developed a professional military that is currently subordinate to the civilian leadership.

The situation in Mali, based on what I read, was messed up from the start, it was more of fire then aim approach. Those on the ground can comment with insights that I can't provide. Where I agree with the author, is that we have a bad habit of ignoring the longer term implications of our approach to dealing with security problems, and instead rush in with our train and equip mentality as though that is the default answer. It is often either unproductive or worse.
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Old 07-16-2014   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Granite_State View Post
Seems to me that the single biggest thing we can do in SFAAT/FID/SSR/whatever we're calling it this week is to be extremely thorough and extremely honest in our evaluation of foreign forces we're training and advising. The Mosul crisis and some follow up stuff I've seen in the NYT and WotR indicates we did not do that in Iraq.

In Afghanistan, I know at my level (platoon/company) everyone was brutally honest about ANSF capabilities. Maybe that was true all the way up the chain, but I doubt it. That Vice documentary "What Winning Looks Like," for what it's worth, says otherwise.

(Added by Moderator) Link to cited documentary:http://www.vice.com/en_uk/vice-news/...ke-full-length
Considering the period of OEF when our casualties caused by green on blue were 1 in 7, that lack of discipline is a "tell" to me that Afghanistan is going to be in for worse than Iraq if the Taliban mount a coherent offensive in 2015-16.
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Old 07-17-2014   #8
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JMA,

I don't disagree with any of your points, and I actually suspect that the majority of our capacity building efforts have failed or backfired since the end of the Cold War (and a number of them during the Cold War as well). There are a lot of factors that come into play, not the least of which is our inability to implement an integrated whole of government approach to dealing with security challenges, since building semi-competent security forces can be more of a liability than an asset when you have an incompetent and/or corrupt government.

Another factor that significantly reduces the U.S. military's effectiveness is its ever growing technical advantage over its partners in developing nations. It is a technical level that most developing nations can't hope to replicate in the next decade, so they need help with realistic approaches to security challenges they can sustain. We are now losing the last generation soldiers who grew up in a much less technical army, and even they haven't practiced that type of fighting in well over a decade. How will the new breed train soldiers in developing nations that have limited tech capability? This is where the private industry probably has an advantage over us. Another approach possible approach is to consider paying other developing nations who have relatively competent militaries to help other developing nations develop their military in a way that is sustainable, and train them on tactics that are appropriate based on their level of technological investment in their military. This is one reason I think talk about transforming some Army units into full time advisors is a mistake, they the U.S. trainers won't have relevant skills in basic bush craft, infantry, etc. Not only will they be dependent on technology those they're training won't have, they'll come across as fake if they're not experts in their field. You become expert by living the life day in and day out. We would be better off maintaining combat readiness, and pulling advisors from these units as required.

More than anything else though, our security assistance efforts must be part of a larger whole of government effort to be effective. If you apply just war theory to our steady-state operations, that means our efforts should both support human rights and ensure a better peace. Clearly that isn't the case in many situation. That is most often due to focusing on the wrong problem first (military development).

Nonetheless, that doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue security assistance as a tool to pursue our ends. What it shouldn't be in my opinion is a principle part of our strategic approach. We have demonstrated repeatedly that it fails more often than not as a method to achieve our desired ends.

Furthermore on the critical side is the so called indirect and slow approach has many draw backs that its advocates are hesitant to discuss. Long, indirect, and slow approaches often result in devastated local economies, perverted cultural morals based on violence, a militarized society whose human capital can do little more than fight and survive, and these groups often turn into warlords and/or organized criminal groups after the conflict finally ends. I think there is a parallel to the high level of violence we see Central America now to the long insurgencies that took place their throughout much of the Cold War. There is a cost that isn't always apparent if you focus on short term objectives to going slow (more than 3-5 years) versus pursuing a more decisive option if it is available. Instead of standing up multiple battalions of combat forces that the country can't sustain, imagine what that country could do if the threat was relatively rapidly neutralized (including political settlements), and that money was put into developing economic infrastructure and its human capital instead? What course of action is likely to result in longer term stability and better peace? I know it is idealistic, but we need to stop assuming that security assistance is the default answer to all our security problems.
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Old 07-17-2014   #9
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JMA,

More than anything else though, our security assistance efforts must be part of a larger whole of government effort to be effective. If you apply just war theory to our steady-state operations, that means our efforts should both support human rights and ensure a better peace. Clearly that isn't the case in many situation. That is most often due to focusing on the wrong problem first (military development).
Absolutely.

I would also observe that SSR generally focuses on the military at the expense of the police forces and that both are required. Furthermore a degree of competence in the police while raising the competence of the military could induce a degree of competitive stability into the security sector dynamic that may enhance stability overall.
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Old 07-19-2014   #10
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Pliny The Elder is quoted as saying:

Ex Africa semper aliquid novi - (There is always something new in Africa)

This is of course nonsense other than to those who have little knowledge and/or understanding of Africa.

Much is predictable in Africa as elsewhere expect to those who attempt to transplant principles and approaches from Europe or North America directly without thought.

Training the police is as fruaght with difficulties as training the militaries.

Kenyans five times more likely to be shot dead by police than by criminals

Quote:
British aid focused on reforming Kenya's security services fails to slow deaths at the hands of police force considered among the world's most corrupt
and then:

Quote:
Providing training and advice to reform the country's security sector and its police is part of the £125 million that the Department for International Development gives Kenya in aid each year.
Now here is the crunch:

Quote:
Significant chunks of Britain's aid for police reform was directed to establishing the Independent Police Oversight Authority, which despite a staff of 80 has so far failed to complete any investigations more than two years after it was formed.
The sad truth is that the Brits are achieving absolutely nothing in Africa, and probably neither are the French... so what chance have the Americans or for that matter the Chinese?

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Originally Posted by Red Rat View Post
Absolutely.

I would also observe that SSR generally focuses on the military at the expense of the police forces and that both are required. Furthermore a degree of competence in the police while raising the competence of the military could induce a degree of competitive stability into the security sector dynamic that may enhance stability overall.
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Old 07-19-2014   #11
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JMA,

Achieving nothing? I think that is a bit of an exaggeration. Can something be achieved? Obviously al-Qaeda linked groups are making progress to some degree, proving organizations can effect Africa. They would have made more progress without assistance from the West, so I think we're achieving something, though far short of what is desired. Africa nations' economies are some the fastest growing in the world currently. If you're optimist you can see a positive trend line. A very slow trend, but a trend nonetheless.

What should the West, and China for that matter, do in Africa in your view?
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Old 07-20-2014   #12
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Well Bill I guess someone may be able to produce even a short list of recent British achievements in Africa?

Even in the days of empire many of the decisions and policy made and formulated in London were clearly misdirected, ill-informed or just plain ludicrous. In the colonies which allowed settlers an understanding of things Africa and African was being passed down through the generations.

In Britain today there are no people in policy/decision making or advisory positions who have sufficient knowledge/experience of Africa or any idea just how complex a continent Africa is . (I guess those who may disagree with this statement of mine will be able to provide a list of 'qualified' persons and how they have made a difference).

I would suggest that the methods used by al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups are more effective because once they have 'a foot in the door' through an approach through traditional religious structures are then, once established, able to apply coercion at a level of brutality no civilized country could consider.

The African economies that are growing are either through oil and mineral development of are producing unrealistic growth figures as they are off a very low base.

That said we are talking military and police/security advice support here and none of this helps to grow the economy other than where a peace divident is achieved after a civil or other war.

We could go on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
JMA,

Achieving nothing? I think that is a bit of an exaggeration. Can something be achieved? Obviously al-Qaeda linked groups are making progress to some degree, proving organizations can effect Africa. They would have made more progress without assistance from the West, so I think we're achieving something, though far short of what is desired. Africa nations' economies are some the fastest growing in the world currently. If you're optimist you can see a positive trend line. A very slow trend, but a trend nonetheless.

What should the West, and China for that matter, do in Africa in your view?
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Old 08-14-2014   #13
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Default A 'grunt' responds to McFate

The formal title to this blog comment is 'Security Force Assistance: Creating a New Paradigm', the author is a serving US Army infantry captain, so extra value IMHO:http://foreign-intrigue.com/2014/08/...-new-paradigm/
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Old 08-14-2014   #14
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
The formal title to this blog comment is 'Security Force Assistance: Creating a New Paradigm', the author is a serving US Army infantry captain, so extra value IMHO:http://foreign-intrigue.com/2014/08/...-new-paradigm/
Interesting article. The conclusion is:
"The current training paradigm relies on the maligned “train and equip” model. To be successful, a new paradigm in security force assistance is needed, one that relies not only on the training tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) but, as outlined by McFate, on leadership development, developing professionalism and ethical conduct, and surrounded by a civilian leadership that supports its mission with the necessary institutions required to properly select, equip, and maintain a fighting force."
I would focus on . and ethical conduct, and surrounded by a civilian leadership that supports its mission with the necessary institutions required to properly select, equip, and maintain a fighting force.

In any Security Force Assistance or SSR programme one has to work within the cultural, ethical and political framework of the society to which that Armed Forces belongs.

In a crisis the incumbent power is more likely to allow significant change to an Armed Forces if that poses a lesser threat to their interests than the alternative. Once the immediate threat is over any change that directly or indirectly threatens them is likely to be neutralised. This is what happened in Iraq and is the pattern seen in many African countries.

The best inducement for broad brush ethical and cultural change which will enable SSR such as the author refers to is often economic development.
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-14-2014 at 06:37 PM. Reason: remove [i]
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