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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 06-16-2007   #41
John T. Fishel
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Default I appreciate your argument

Rob--

I appreciate your argument and if the Army would buy in, I'd support it. My problem is that, without a major change in the players in key decision roles, I don't see it happening. Just too much for the institutional Army. The changes required to make it happen would be GEN Petraeus and those who think like him as CSA, VCSA, TRADOC Cdr, CAC Cdr, FORSCOM Cdr, etc and people who think like them succeeding them for at least a decade. Then, there are the legitimate claims of the conventional force Army that would have to be balanced.

For a start from scratch approach to work, I think that, like Goldwater-Nichols, it would have to be imposed on the military services by the Congress. And I don't see any Barry Goldwaters, Sam Nunns, Bill Cohens, et. al. in any positions of Congressional leadership. The current Democrats won't buy in because they suffer from the Vietnam/Iraq syndrome in spades as do the current Republicans to only a slightly lesser extent

So, where does that leave us? Looking for a home and incremental development of the advisor capability in ways that will institutionalize it.

On that cheery note....

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Old 06-16-2007   #42
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Default Do we "Got Milk?" or "Milk Toast"?

Hey John,
I just wanted us to lay out all the challenges so it would not remain just a really cool theoretical "what if we" sort of idea. I think we have pretty well done that & thanks for taking us there.

I think you have raised the best question though - Do we have the strategic leadership required to be both diagnostic and prognositic in our approach to problem solving?

History would point out that without strategic leadership in our GOs/Flags, Congress and President we run the risk of passing on truly innovative thinking (designed to redirect resources in meaningful ways that solve the correct problems) whereas a lack of strategic leadership can often focus on the reasons why we should preserve the status quo (rice bowls, etc.) and continue to apply reources in the same ways toward the same ends. Strategic Leadership is the catalyst by which challenge our original assumptions, assessments and make course corrections to put us out in front.

Must be lunch

regards, Rob

Last edited by Rob Thornton; 06-16-2007 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 06-17-2007   #43
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Default Advisor Force

I think Nagel is on the right track, but I for one have not been impressed with the Army’s and Marine’s approach to training and advising programs to date. For the most part, although there are exceptions, their performance has been substandard. Any approach we develop must be based on the force we have, not the force we which we had. For example:

1. We have very few strategic corporals (or equivalents) in our ranks.
2. Our soldiers/marines come from an technologically advanced society, that makes it much harder for the kids today to emphasize with their developing nation counterparts.
3. Our soldiers/marines today also come from such an extremely liberal society that we’re an aberration to much of the developing world, which is clinging hard to its traditional values (some argue the reason for the current fight), which makes it very difficult for our soldiers to understand cultural norms in developing nations.

I think the secret to making Nagel’s proposal work is selection and training. The only unit remaining that has the professional culture, doctrine, selection process, and training to support developing capable foreign trainers and advisors is the Army's Special Forces, but they have limitations based on their size and other missions, so it is necessary to assume that the conventional army should be able perform the training and advisory role.
I think that would be a fair assumption if:

1. Soldiers and Marines were specially selected for this mission.
2. Then they were trained and equipped to do the mission (not some shake and bake program)
3. They had a supporting chain of command focused on this mission (which we do)

I have seen it too many times where young conventional soldiers and marines working with foreign troops become quickly frustrated, because their training didn’t prepare them for what to expect, or simply they were the wrong person to put in that position. They end up accusing the local soldiers of being stupid because they don't speak English, can't shoot their weapons well, and they have no maintenance systems or skills, etc. Not only does the training fall way short of expectations, we end up creating a bad impression of Americans in the eyes of the soldiers being trained, yet these same American kids will perform adequately soldiers with their American peers, because they're a culturally integrated package operating trained to perform that role. It isn’t the kid that failed, rather we failed to prepare the kid to execute the mission.

Assuming the Army would support Nagel’s proposal I think the key to success is personnel selection. While the Special Forces assessment process works well, it is much too rigorous for what we're attempting to build (we need a lot of soldiers and marines not an elite few), because we would end up weeding out several potentially great advisors who may not have the athletic ability or mental/physical toughness to be an unconventional warrior behind enemy lines. The key is identifying what we’re looking for, and then determining how to assess for it. It will probably be based more personality based than physical skills.

Then we have to develop a training program. This sounds easy, but if you look at much our training has evolved in recent years, you’ll realize it is a big leap to all the sudden being placed in some north African nation with a battalion of poorly equipped troops, no designated training ranges, etc. You need guys and gals that can solve problems, and work in far less than ideal conditions.

I don’t think the Army will raise to the occasion, and they’ll fight hard to avoid forming an advisor unit, so we need an interim measure in the short run, and I think that answer may be providing a cadre of training and advisor leaders, who probably for the most part would hail from the senior ranks of Special Forces Officers, Warrant Officers and NCOs. They would work through, by, and with designated conventional forces as the leaders for their advisor units. For this to work, they would have to be placed in key leadership positions.

Another option, perhaps cheaper and more effective is going back to contractors. I worked with MPRI at my side more than once, and my experience was very positive. This gives our nation the capability to rapidly surge and contract the size of the advisory force as needed, based on the threat.

Just some thoughts on the way ahead.
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Old 06-17-2007   #44
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Bill, great points

Quote:
Then we have to develop a training program. This sounds easy, but if you look at much our training has evolved in recent years, you’ll realize it is a big leap to all the sudden being placed in some north African nation with a battalion of poorly equipped troops, no designated training ranges, etc. You need guys and gals that can solve problems, and work in far less than ideal conditions.
There is also something said to providing these teams with the mechanisms for obtaining resources. This would be a much larger scale then the previous efforts. We're talking about both self sustaining resources, and resources provided to the HN rather for training or fighting.

One of the problems we had on the MiTT was the $$$ assigned to us by quantity and type were for conventional units living on a FOB (TIF and OMA), not a TT living on a remote site embedded with its HN unit. While we had access to PRC funds, the approval process was convoluted and as such untimely. TTs are not resourced the way ODAs were. We wound up having to either scavage through the CF FOB dump (you'd be surprised what you can find and carry out with a Kraz 7.5t), or going and making a case to the MSC who was forced to weigh those priorities against his units. The MSC often came through, but he had to make some hard choices and that ate up time.

Take that and consider how an effort that sends lots of teams to remote locations across the globe and you start to see the fiscal authority these teams are going to need. You could say we'll move stuff by TRANSCOM all the time, but that only gets you so far - probably not enough lift unless you constrain yourself to certain regions with the required infrastructure. You could go commercial, but even that is only going to get you so far in many cases. You can purchase locally, but that raises some interesting issues such as contracting and all the headaches that go with it. This also points to the need of a study that considers the logistical impacts of adopting this in the robust manner we are discussing - certainly the LOG & C2 makes it a Joint issue.

The organization is going to have to be built and resourced with that in mind. Part of it comes with selecting agile thinkers who can solve problems in ways that match their conditions. Part of it comes with the parent organization understanding that this is not a side show or distraction, but requires a great deal of authority commensurate to its responsibility.

The beauty in this from an operational perspective would be an in place organization to provide insights back to mainstream Army or the SOF community for related operations.

To set this up right requires acknowledgement that this is a critical part of GWOT and should be resourced in all areas accordingly. This requires a departure from the way we like to see ourselves and our role on the battlefield. Advisory work done right is hard and its requires as good as leadership and people as any other job on the battlefield. It also requires resourcing more in line with an ODA then a rifle company. Nobody should have any illusions, we'd be putting these teams into austere conditions where they will face disease, sub-standard living conditions, sub-standard (by FOB standards) Force Protection, threats & isolation, and a host of other threats main stream Army does not usually have to deal with as KBR usually either beats us there or arrives as soon as the $$$ is allocated. These teams will have to be comfortable living with each other and immersed in foreign cultures without either going crazy, jeopardizing the mission or both. They will have to be able to move between the conventional and the unconventional with relative ease.

The upside is we circulate through the force team members who are not only technically and tactically proficient, but emotionally tough problem solvers who can lead under the most challenging of conditions. To me this is more akin to a revolution then any NCW type application - we would be challenging the conventional mindset we have cherished as a model of success for so long.
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Old 06-17-2007   #45
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Also from Bill

Quote:
I have seen it too many times where young conventional soldiers and marines working with foreign troops become quickly frustrated, because their training didn’t prepare them for what to expect, or simply they were the wrong person to put in that position. They end up accusing the local soldiers of being stupid because they don't speak English, can't shoot their weapons well, and they have no maintenance systems or skills, etc. Not only does the training fall way short of expectations, we end up creating a bad impression of Americans in the eyes of the soldiers being trained, yet these same American kids will perform adequately soldiers with their American peers, because they're a culturally integrated package operating trained to perform that role. It isn’t the kid that failed, rather we failed to prepare the kid to execute the mission.
We need to ask ourselves what type of training is required to ensure success for a mission like this with all of its austereness, and unpredictability. We need to ask how long it will take, and based on the demands for teams, how much throughput must we generate?

I think a good starting place is SFAS & Q-Course models vs. say a Ranger School approach. I'm not sure it needs to be an exact template, but it does need to consider the approach it uses to build moral strength and resolve in individuals while also building an understanding of what a small team is and how important each individual on that small team is. Then have a portion of the training that takes the skill set that individual already has and modifies it to working on a small team that is going out to build and advise larger HN organizations. No, we probably should not be trying to build SFers - if it were that easy to get that quality in the required quantity, we'd probably already done it. Its not. So what we need is something to transform mindsets of conventional soldiers used to operating in mainstream Army organizations into an unconventional mindset of the type required to succeed on a small team with little access to the things we take for granted in the conventional one. We're talking mental & spiritual over physical. We want guys who believe in their decisions and will take initiative on big issues, but are still well grounded enough to move back and forth. The benefit would be you only have to attend this part of the training once in your career, after that all you'd show up for is the team building events and the events which prepare you either for a new role on the team, or the focused training to prepare you for the area you will operate in.

I'd say a cadre at the course probably made up of PMCs with advisory or SF backgrounds would probably be the most cost effective way to do it with ARSOF so busy. The S3 of the school could be either a contractor or green suiter with the same background. The S3 would fall up under a BDE (Adv Training BDE) charged with a training, but the green suit BDE CDR would report to the green suit Advisory Corps CDR.
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Old 06-17-2007   #46
Bill Moore
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Default systems

Rob,

Great points, and I didn't want to touch the systems yet, but you're absolutely correct. If we don't have pots of money and authorities for these guys, they won't be set up for success. Additionally they would have to get a priority mission status with TRANSCOM, or be given enough money to do it via contract air. Having worked a number of projects with the State Department, they have cracked the code for using contract air/sea to move military equipment. However, as we have all been stating, this is a complete break with the current Army culture. That is why I reluctantly think contractors might be the better option, at least in the short term. The Army will do studies on this for 10 years, then come up with a solution that would have worked 10 years ago
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Old 06-17-2007   #47
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Hey Bill, I hear you, but I think we'd be hurting ourselves

Quote:
That is why I reluctantly think contractors might be the better option, at least in the short term. The Army will do studies on this for 10 years, then come up with a solution that would have worked 10 years ago
That is the appeal of using contractors in roles you might ought to be using green suiters - it makes it appear as though you don't have to make any tough choices or changes, just .ppt deep ones. In truth you cede a great deal of authority and preserve organizational aspects that probably need to change - and you become more resistant to change. With PMCs you also basically lease without an option to own - and before long you get physically and psychologically addicted to the PMC option.

In this case of going with PMCs there'd be a huge employment opportunity for green suiters - many of them would be the very talent you hoped to preserve in the uniformed services. I would not be surprised to see attractive presentations from the PMCs on how they can do this better for less, I only hope before we buy into a Vegas show, we consider that the price is much heftier then just the cover charge.

I'm OK for using PMCs for limited tasks that have either an expiration date until you can grow your own, or because the shelf life and scope of the task are limited, but if you have identified a mission that indicates a major change, you need to grow the capability to sustain it with outsourcing. Advisory functions could quickly become a core competency. It also provides the type of experiences we say are required in our uniformed soldiers for this long war no matter if we are talking on an advisory team or in a conventional unit, the soldiers, sailors and marines responsible for the tactical end of this war require these skills.

I was just going over the National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism. Here is a fantastic quoute lifted from the Exec Summary on pg. 8

Quote:
"It remains vital that the United States, our allies and partners face this enemy with a force of intelligent, and culturally attuned professionals. Now is the time to invest in the human capital needed to combat this enemy for the coming decades."
If that is not a mandate for change, then it should not have been included.

Regards, Rob

Last edited by Rob Thornton; 06-17-2007 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 06-18-2007   #48
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Developing a professional national military capable of defending its borders and providing internal security is necessary in the development of a functional state. However, it is a long term program that will take a decade or more in each place it is started. What do you do in the near term to provide security and allow for a political system to development free from disruption from groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan and the former Baathists, AQI, and Shiite militias in Iraq? Relying solely on foreign troops to provide the security and combat the anti-government groups poses problems while employing the new military too quickly can have equally disasterous results such as mass desertions.

There needs to be another option, a way to quickly raise and employ domestic forces to combat insurgents and terrorists and provide security. My inspiration for this idea are the units created by the British such as Queen Victoria's Corps of Guides in India. Basically, these units would consist of local nationals who are NCO'd and officered by American or other coalition advisors and paid and equipped by the coalition nations and fall under the chain of command of coalition leadership. The forces would be raised and centered in the geographic area where each force is recruited from, similar to a militia or national guard. The long term end state of these units is to either integrate them into the host country's professional military or disband them once the new professional military and other security forces are fully functional. Also, there should be a mechanism for volunteers to move from the "intermediate" forces to the professional military if they desire.

I think we are already seeing this half happening now in Anbar and possibly other parts of Iraq where Iraqis are being supplied if they agree to go after AQI. But again, what is happening now appears to be only a 50% solution, there needs to exist an advisory organization for taking control and leading these "intermediate" forces.

If an Advisor Corps is created, it should have the mission of working to develop professional and lasting military organizations. However, the corps should also the ability to lead "intermediate" forces until the professional military of the host nation is ready and able to operate independently from its advisors.
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Old 06-18-2007   #49
John T. Fishel
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Default Small Wars Manual - 1940

Hi Jon--

Take a look at the USMC Small Wars Manual of 1940 for an American approach to the problem. The difficulty is the disconnect between the trained military.constabulary/security force and the political/governmental capacity of the client state. In what became India, it worked pretty well, not so in what became Pakistan or (for the US, Central America and the Caribbean).

This does not negate the need nor the notion that the intervening power is responsible for developing local security forces. It simply highlights the fact that security is tied directly to governance.

Cheers

JohnT
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Old 06-18-2007   #50
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Default Capabilities Gaps - More BCTs or an Advisory Corps

Hey all,
I wanted to return to the issue of more BCTs vs. an Advisory Corps because I think it is essential to developing force capabilities that meet our current and future needs. Keep in mind, I'm not advocating one over the other (yet), but I am acknowledging that the two take a different approach and offer advantages and disadvantages to addressing our current and future needs.

Attached is a JPG I adopted from a .ppt brief on Joint Systems from the AWC. It goes over the linkages from the NMS to capabilities. However I have deleted the capabilities and replaced it with a question mark to foster the discussion since the capabilities listed were constrained to current force structure. What is left is the NMS' military objectives linkage to the missions and tasks. I also placed Green/Yellow/Red Color Codes over the top reflecting Significant Increases/ Insignificant Increase or Loss/ Significant Loss respectively in terms of capabilities to start the discussion about advantages and disadvantages between BCTs and an Advisory Corps.

This is a first glance assessment of what an Advisory Corps over more BCTs would bring. It does not mean that one done on the BCTs would be exactly the inverse. The context of the missions should be somewhat universal - ex. in the Protect the U.S. its arguable that BCTs provide the structure and response to respond more quickly and effectively then a advisory BN or BDE, however, the TTs might be able to provide Staff liaison and planning functions to facilitate inter agency coord better then a BCT which must also C2 its own lower echelons. Under Prevent Conflict and Surprise attacks its yellow - an Advisory Corps would not be able to deter much - but might be able to improve HN deterrence, however by being on the ground can gather good HUMINT through the HN force lessening the chance of surprise. Some I think are clearly green (others may disagree) , such as eliminating safe havens since a long term persistent presence on the ground can better shape (more effective and efficient) the HN environment then say a BCT rotating through.

I think that if you compare this one with one done on the BCTs it might show that an Advisory Corps and the existing BCTs compliment each other. It might also allow supplementing the exisitng BCTs with SSTRO capabilities that are currently being taken out of hide - ex. more MPs, CA, PsyOps, Medical and other LOG.

What I'd say is any discussion that challenges accepted notions about how we spend our money (in this case - force structure increases) must show how those changes would provide advantages, and what disadvantages we'd gain/lose by doing so.

Thoughts?
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File Type: jpg Linking NMS to Missions and tasks.jpg (43.0 KB, 349 views)

Last edited by Rob Thornton; 06-18-2007 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 06-18-2007   #51
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Default Both

Rob,

My thoughts are quite simple on this one.

the SF team was structured so that a 12 man team could put a battalion (or more) of local forces in the field. An advisory corps that has that mission and keeps it at center focus is more efficient in the COIN--stability realm than BCTs. In fact you cannot win a COIN effort without some kind of advisory effort; if you could, we would not need to be there in the first place.

The BCTs must be there for the rest.

That means we have to do both. Not pick one and wish the other away --which we have always done with the advisor corps or effort.


Best

Tom
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Old 06-18-2007   #52
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Assuming that the personnel plus-up stays on track, the question is what ought those personnel be doing? I think that the answer is advising, whether or not a "corps" is the force structure answer.

Reasons:
1. Too many failed/failing/incompetent states that desperately need assistance bolstering their security capacity. This can be done after a MCO or even better, before and ILO.

2. Indiginous forces are the only ones that can truly be successful in small wars of the future. OBTW idig civil governance capabilities also need to be developed/improved, but let's stay focused on security forces.

3. U.S. and major allies have reduced ground forces end strength to the point where we are incapable of going it alone without coalition partners. These partners, whether host nation or allies, need to be capable, ergo need to be developed. After Vietnam, we pushed our advisory capacity into SOF. Now SOF is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the advisory mission AND busy performing the sexy, hi-pri SOF missions: DA, CT, SR, etc.

4. Current security assistance and FID restrictions limit our ability to do the advisory piece half vast worth a darn.

Mission is critical. Resources are scarce. Need to find a peace dividend. We're in trouble.
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Old 06-18-2007   #53
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Default Calling T.E. Lawrence

Gentlemen,
Fascinating discussion going on here. So where do you find the men to make up this corps of advisors. Based on my own experience in the US Army, I really doubt they are going to just be able to find these people in the ranks. If an order to produce an advisor for some faroff country came down to the first sergeants I remember, they probably would have just grabbed an NCO that they didn't want in their unit, for some reason or another. I doubt there would have been many volunteers, since the kind of guy who'd be naturally interested in this kind of work would already be in, or have his sights set on Green Berets. I just don't think there are many T.E. Lawrences of Arabia in the ranks of conventional units waiting to excel in that kind of mission.

I'd suggest thinking about recruiting perhaps a different kind of soldier, if they are serious about this over the long term. How about immigrants, or sons of immigrants, from the nations they think this might be needed? Instead of beating the bushes for guys in small towns of east TN, for example, you might ought to look in these first generation immigrant neighborhoods and really explain what you are trying to do. This immediately helps you to deal with the language and cultural barriers that must be overcome, if you think that really matters (which I do).

We are a nation of immigrants, with people from everywhere on the globe. It is a great resource if used intelligently.
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Old 06-18-2007   #54
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Hey Tom, OE, Tacitus, John, Ski
Hope nobody thought I meant we could not have both, in fact I also think we need both. What I was driving at is the question of if we need more BCTs within the proposed force increases, or should invest differently to build more specialized capabilities into the force. Building BCTs with the increase gives us more generalized flexibility. Building something like and Advisory Corps, adding more CS & CSS structures, and increasing the numbers of professional functional area officers would provide more assets/flexibility for the SSTRO side of the house. To frame the question I think we have to ask what are the pros and cons as they pertain to Army & Military responsibilities. I think this ties in with the Military Support to SSTRO JOC thread as well.

I do think there are some Tenn. fellows who can do the advisory piece though - being one of them. Our team was a mix match of USAR, USARNG and AD. We had a variety of MOSs often doing jobs that were outside of their professional experience. It was mostly a question of attitude and team work. You'd be surprised what you can do if you just decide you are going to do it. Overcoming cultural barriers - yea it matters, but you can also find a great deal in common with the folks you are advising while you are learning abut your differences. The real payoff for the Army in this would be exposing soldiers to this job and then having them rotate back into the force. While volunteering is nice, its not really a pre-requisite. Many guys come down on recruiting duty for example that did not volunteer - in fact I just had a buddy opt for the PTT advisory gig vs. take a recruiting assignment in Compton, CA.
Many guys are not physically able to go for the green beret, or for the officers don't want to make the permanent transition to the 18 series side of the house, but many would like to have an SF like experience at least once in their career - ex. I had a buddy on our team who sales life insurance in his real world job, he has a wife and family and cannot return to AD, but jumped at the chance to do the MiTT gig - guy had a blast. Another thing I did not mention was that the diversity of our team enhanced its effectiveness, we were able to discuss issues we might have missed if we'd all been AD.

I saw Gen Casey on Fox this morning discussing the future of the Army. Gen Petreus was on Fox Sunday and mentioned stabilizing Iraq as an 8-10 year gig. Both the National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism and the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism make state builiding up HN security force capacity as one of the keys to denying AQ and AQ like organizations sanctuaries to recruit, train and draw resources from states they wish to destabilize. FM 23-4 also lists US advisory functions as critical to establishing HN systems:
Quote:
"“Key to all these tasks is developing an effective host-nation (HN) security force.”1 Indeed, it has been argued that foreign forces cannot defeat an insurgency; the best they can hope for is to create the conditions that will enable local forces to win for them"
I think if the Army says we are or are not going to do something like this, which requires a significant investment of resources from the Army and Joint community at a minimum, then everyone from OSD to Congress (including lobbyist who are protecting their interests) are going to want to compare what we get for it, or why we don't have this capability that we've said is so important in our strategy documents and doctrine. I think by discussing it on this forum we can help - because many of the participants here are going to be tasked with answering the tough questions from people who will be biased, short sighted, or unwilling to challenge the status quo for a host of reasons. If something like this evolves many of the folks on this site will be tasked to develop the doctrine (because they are already in those type jobs), work out the details, and make it work. These forums are kind of a work group of online collaborators in that regard - people dedicated to thinking about this stuff and engaging in discourse so that the thoughts get developed. We benefit from a very diverse audience that is candid and informed on a number of issues.
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Old 06-18-2007   #55
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Default Couple of minor points

On the broadly irrelevant side; the then 77th and 1st SFGs did the Laos mssions, the 5th was pretty well restricted to SVN (and NVN, the edges of Cambodia and Laos only for some of the projects). Their direct action folks were by design the Mike Forces, not the CIDG who were pretty much local patrollers and defenders. While broadly irrelevant, I mention all that because those CIDG and other elements that got more involved in the direct action missions did so mostly because of their commanders at the time, not due to any Army policy. However, the fact that the Groups have distinct personalities is definitely correct and those personalities are as much or more due to the Commanders ideas and goals as they are to history.

Kicking in doors is more fun than local patrolling and training people. That's still true. So is the fact that a commanders personality and desires can influence missions.

The capability to train most infantrymen to do direct action missions well certainly exists and is proven -- but then consider that if the lowly grunt can do this, particularly on "high value" targets, it may adversely affect someone's budget and missions. The relevance of all that is that the roles and missions argument is not at all simple and the parameters change constantly...

Strategic vision and the power to provide definitive guidance and force compliance is the issue. The existence of USSOCOM, for all the good it does, effectively and very severely complicates that roles and missions effort. Unity of command, like initiative is a tenet of US doctrine. Both get squashed pretty heavily and routinely.

While I personally agree that internal defense and indigenous force training is a proper SF mission, it carries little glory, attracts little money and just isn't fun...

Tacitus has a point in that good working relationships with indigenous folks is not everyone's cup of tea; some people do it far more effectively than others and immigrants are a good pick. Not a little of the early success of SF was due to all the Lodge Act enlistees -- and Officers -- that populated the Groups in the early days.

Having said all that, I doubt you'll be able to get SF involved at this time in any serious way and I strongly doubt either the Army leadership or, more importantly, Congress, will buy the Advisory Corps idea, good as it is, for the Active Army -- the USAR is perhaps a possilbility.

Agree that the USAR Training Divisions as currently constructed and trained are not a good choice, the skills don't transfer well. There is the potential of restructuring and retraining one or more of them to do the Nagl suggested Advisory mission -- and the rank structure won't interfere with DOPMA and HRCs grand designs.

Too much rank in too small a package and the Congroids will ask "what if there's not another Iraq or 'Stan?" 'Course, I could be wrong, have been before -- I'd have sworn the Army would see the handwriting on the wall in the 70s and work hard at counterinsurgency...

In any event, it seems the realistic near term approach is to better train Joe and his leaders and prepare them to do the job on an ad-hoc basis. They really seem to be doing it reasonably well.
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Old 06-26-2007   #56
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Some additional thoughts:

I like the idea of putting the Advisory Corps under SOCOM, simply because it can draw personnel from all services. It does, however, highlight the need for a true umbrella organization, perhaps even a 6th service that can also draw required personnel from not only the differing military services, but also from other governmental agencies such as State, USAID, CIA, etc...

The problem I see with an advisory corps is similar to the dilemma that's faced SF. You can't cover down on everything, so you need to be able to forecast where the problem countries are and then tailor the force to meet the specific language, cultural, and societal issues. I remember the initial stages of OEF where Pashtu and Uzbek speakers were being drawn into SOCOM from all over the military because there weren't enough language experts. I see the same thing happening again in the future, perhaps it can be mitigated to a greater degree.

I still think that SF should be the base of the program, but with less emphasis placed on direct action. It's going to take a cultural change to be sure.

The bottom line to an Advisory Corps is gauging the legitimacy of the government that we are assisting. It doesn't matter what kind of organization we create (if it even gets that far) because if the populace of Country X doesn't think their government is worth a duck's ass, then we will have massive difficulties. That again requires good foresight and not necessarily American domestic political desire.

Finally, I'd avoid using the Reserve Components as currently constructed because the skill sets aren't there. The USAR suffers at the lower Officer level or NCO level because many of their trainers have not been in an AC or ARNG MTOE unit and simply don't have the credibility or expertise required. We asked them to do a extremely difficult mission - training Iraqi and Afghan troops to conduct counter-insurgency operations - when they themselves have not done so. Some can succeed, no doubt, but it is difficult at best.
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Old 06-27-2007   #57
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Default Two thoughts...

First, Giving the mission to SF takes them away from their nominal current primary mission. While there is undoubtedly some benefit to obtaining their total capability in the advisory role, it is also probably significant over qualification at work. The average non-SF Army Officer or NCO can do a good job as an Adviser with a short language and advisory skills course. That can be done far more cheaply than using the rather expensively trained SF guys for something doesn't require most of their skills. No sense sending a Cadillac if a Ford will work. As an aside, it would likely have an adverse impact on retention in the Groups.

Secondly, I totally agree the USAR today does not have the skills required for the job, particularly if one is talking about the Training Divisions. One thing that has been consistently proven is that the average kid in the IRR who has been out two years or less knows more than most of the USAR Drill Sergeants who are supposed to re-blue him.

However, the USAR does some things very well indeed, better than the AC and the capability of selective recruiting to a notional "Advisory Division" and of training dedicated to the required skills, as cited above, is easily possible. Placing the effort in the RC eliminates many problems that trying to place a large organization so dedicated in the AC would engender. A small AC organization can be justified to DA and Congress, I strongly doubt a large one could be.

Iraq isn't going to be in the current state much longer, nor is Afghanistan. The potential for another commitment needing such capability in large numbers anywhere in the next few years is slight.
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Old 06-27-2007   #58
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Default Force of the future

"Iraq isn't going to be in the current state much longer, nor is Afghanistan. The potential for another commitment needing such capability in large numbers anywhere in the next few years is slight."

Gotta disagree here. I see a very large requirement for continued advisory capacity among GPF.

First, I'm not convinced that the Iraq and Afghanistan missions are going to end any time soon, at least not the advisory portions.

Secondly, when I look across the horizon, I see numerous countries that are important to us, threatened by disruptive forces of various ilks. Developing their indiginous capability to protect themselves is the only long term solution to their stability. The requirements of the future outstrip the capacity of my friends with the funny green hats.

Thirdly, we don't have sufficient tools in the rucksack to perform the required advisory functions. Train and equip doesn't work unless you're working with a sophisticated, capable ally -- sellin F-16s to NATO partners, T&E works. Other traditional security assistance also falls short. Shortly after the Nixon Doctrine was announced, stating that we would in fact bolster host nation capabilities to look after themselves, congress placed heinous restrictions on the programs to ensure that they would not be effective (AECA 76 (as amended)).

We now have an opportunity to move forward and develop truly effective means of organizing, training, eqiupping, (re)building and advising foreign security forces. The requirement to do so will remain large for the forseeable future.
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Old 06-27-2007   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Eagle View Post
"Iraq isn't going to be in the current state much longer, nor is Afghanistan. The potential for another commitment needing such capability in large numbers anywhere in the next few years is slight."

Gotta disagree here. I see a very large requirement for continued advisory capacity among GPF.

First, I'm not convinced that the Iraq and Afghanistan missions are going to end any time soon, at least not the advisory portions.

Secondly, when I look across the horizon, I see numerous countries that are important to us, threatened by disruptive forces of various ilks. Developing their indiginous capability to protect themselves is the only long term solution to their stability. The requirements of the future outstrip the capacity of my friends with the funny green hats.

Thirdly, we don't have sufficient tools in the rucksack to perform the required advisory functions. Train and equip doesn't work unless you're working with a sophisticated, capable ally -- sellin F-16s to NATO partners, T&E works. Other traditional security assistance also falls short. Shortly after the Nixon Doctrine was announced, stating that we would in fact bolster host nation capabilities to look after themselves, congress placed heinous restrictions on the programs to ensure that they would not be effective (AECA 76 (as amended)).

We now have an opportunity to move forward and develop truly effective means of organizing, training, eqiupping, (re)building and advising foreign security forces. The requirement to do so will remain large for the forseeable future.

I'm kind of having second thoughts about the centrality of the advising function in our strategy. I've been thinking about this hard because I've participated in a two part wargame that focused on it.

Here's my problem: the approach is based on an assumption, viz that the shortfalls that other militaries have are the result of a lack of a body of knowledge and expertise which we possess and can impart to them. There's a little voice in the back of my head that tells me that assumption may be wrong. If it was simply a matter of acquiring the requisite knowledge and expertise, weak militaries would have done so long ago. I think the reasons for their weakness are much deeper and broader than that, lying within culture and history. If I'm right, this means that we can advise until we're blue in the face and it may not make much of a difference.

Now, I'm not saying don't provide advice. I'm just saying that making it the centerpiece of our strategy worries me.
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Old 06-27-2007   #60
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I agree, Steve. Too often we assume that our experience and expertise is somehow both needed and relevant to the situation at hand (Vietnam comes to mind in terms of the advisory effort, but that's more as an example than a direct parallel).

There are too many disconnects and divergences to make an advisory effort the centerpiece of every involvement we have (to include our current ones). There needs to be much more in terms of a cultural evaluation like the one you suggested before making an advisory program the main focus of effort.
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