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Old 03-16-2008   #1
Norfolk
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Default MCOs and SSOs in the 2008 edition of FM 3-0 Operations

Political leaders, not Military leaders, set foreign policy and decide what wars to wage and what operations to engage in. This is as it must be, despite the fact that political leaders may err in their decisions and assign the Military to missions that it may either not be suitable for, or become overcommitted to, to the general detriment of its principle mission, fighting and winning wars. In such cases, all the Military can do is deal with things as best it can. But make no mistake, in such cases, this is a misuse of the Military, which potentially serious consequences for its operational capabilities and institutional morale and mindset.

That said, Military Doctrine should not acquiesce to this state of affairs. Of course it must be capable of successfully performing SSOs, and it must have the leadership, training, and doctrine etc. to perform such tasks as necessary. It is one thing to include, as is proper and necessary, SSOs into one's Military Doctrine, and to do so comprehensively; it is quite another to consider and to recognize SSOs as missions of principle importance to the Military, directly comparable to Operations of War. The former are Police Operations in which the Military may assist; the latter are Military Operations in which other, non-military agencies may assist. We do not expect the U.S. Marshals or USAID to be fighting alongside the Military on the front-lines in Operations of War; neither should it be formal Military Doctrine that the Military should perform Aid to the Civil Power tasks as its primary mission over Operations of War, unless circumstances are so extraordinary as to leave no other reasonable option (as in Afghanistan after the 2001 invasion or Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion).

The elevation of Stability and Support Operations to equal status with Conventional Military Operations in the 2008 edition of FM 3-0 Operations is unsettling. There are many who, quite logically, argue that since SSOs make of the bulk of the U.S. Army's present operational tasking and missions it is therefore natural that such operations be accorded equality of status to MCOs. Certainly there has been both a recognition and a rectification (more or less) of the U.S. Army's longstanding deficiencies with regards to Operations Other Than War, and this has culminated in the complete integration of SSOs with MCOs in the newest edition of FM 3-0.

This is a mistake, nonetheless. There is a difference between Military Operations, in which agencies other than the Military may participate and assist the Military in the event of War, and Operations in Aid to the Civil Power, in which the Military is perhaps one of many agencies that may participate and assist in such operations in support to the Civil Power. In the former, Operations are not only performed by the Military, but indeed the Military is the principal agent, assisted where required by secondary agents. In the latter, the Military is a secondary agent, assisting a principle agent, the Civil Authorities, in their efforts to establish and maintain peace, order, and safety.

That the Civil Power may, through its principle means of establishing and maintaining peace, order, and safety - namely the Police - be inadequate or even largely incapable, thus requiring the Military to take on the principle agent role in these matters does not resolve the matter of deficiencies in the Police. Rather it is more an act of desperation in that the failure or inability of the Police to perform their principle agent role in Aid to the Civil Power thus requires the intervention of an agent probably even more unsuited for the task.

The record of Military-led and -based COIN and even SSO operations is not a happy one in general; Algeria, the Congo, Vietnam, Rhodesia, and Somalia amongst others, most such COIN and SSO operations meet with failure. Those in which the Police and similar Civil agencies possess the requisite capability and competence in Aid to the Civil Power Operations (from IS, CT, SSO, and COIN, etc.,) and retain Operational control most of the time, including over Military forces assigned to Aid to the Civil Power tasks, do tend to enjoy rather more success; British and post-colonial India, Malaya, Borneo, and perhaps even Oman lend credence to this.

As such, while it would be proper for the 2008 edition of FM 3-0 Operations to include Aid to the Civil Power Operations (IS, CT, SSO, COIN, etc.), it should do so whilst defining them as operations that are adjuncts to the Military's Operations of War (Offence, Defence, Delay, Transistion, Special, etc.). As things stand, FM 3-0 Operations, in its present form, almost seems to treat Operations of War as also-rans; they are nearly overwhelmed by the mass of treatment accorded to Aid to the Civil Power Operations. It would have been much better for FM 3-0 to concentrate on Operations of War while according Aid to the Civil Power Operations much more modest, and secondary, treatment; the new Operations FM seems almost more appropriate as Operational doctrine for a Gendarmerie than it does for a Military.

Last edited by Norfolk; 03-16-2008 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 03-16-2008   #2
John T. Fishel
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Default The US has a different military history.

Hi Norfolk--

Although I disagree with your conclusion, I will concede that you may be right. But if you are correct, the reasons given in your post are wrong because the US has a different military history, different governmental structure, and different doctrinal terminology than much of the rest of the English speaking world.

1. Since 1690 the US military has fought mostly SSOs - read either as Stability & Spt Ops or as Smaller Scale Ops. We have fought only 5 declared wars as an independent state: War of 1812 (Invasion of Canada), Mexican War, Spanish American War, WWI, & WWII. We have fought only 2 other conventional wars: the Civil War and Korea. All the rest were SSOs, including Vietnam (I would argue).
2. The US military has always wanted to fight conventional wars and done its best to forget the lessons of the SSOs (by any of their 100+ names).
3. FM 100-20, Military Operations in Low Intensity Conflict, (published in 1990 jointly with the USAF as AFP 3-20) was conceived of as a CAPSTONE FM equal to FM 100-5, Operations. That view never took hold although there was a significant chapter on SSOs in the next edition of 100-5 (1993).
4. The US, like Canada, is a Federal system, but unlike Canada has no national police force comparable to the RCMP (which provides local policing to communities without their own police). US federal police forces all have very limited jurisdictions in terms of the kinds of policing they can do. FBI can investigate all Federal crimes. ATF (by whatever its current name) can deal with alcohol, tobacco, and firearms; Secret service financial crimes; US Marshalls transport federal prisoners. In earlier days a Marshall had general law enforcement authority in territories before they were admitted to statehood, but that is moribund. Over 90% of US policing is done by local police - state police generally have very limited authority often confined to policing the state highways. We have no constabulary police like the French Gendarmerie or the Italian Carabinieri nor do we have national police like most European and Latin American countries.
5. In our Westward exapnsion the US Army provided police functions even after Posse Commitatus limited that authority in 1878.
6. US military doctrine does not use Support to the Civil Power as a category even if it would be a better description of some of the things we do. We do have doctrine for such support but it is more limited than the British and Canadian concepts.

If your argument is to be viewed as correct, then it must be made from a position that takes account of US military history, doctrine, and governmental structure. Only then can it be legitimately compared with the way the world is perceived in other countries like the UK and Canada. Indeed, this is a wholly appropriate approach and would make a great comparative article for the SWJ Magazine.

Cheers

JohnT
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Old 03-16-2008   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
US Marshall's transport federal prisoners. In earlier days a Marshall had general law enforcement authority in territories before they were admitted to statehood, but that is moribund.

Cheers

JohnT
That's not all John. They still are the primary Federal Law Enforcement organization and still hold the broadest jurisdiction. They have primary responsibility to find and arrest outstanding Federal fugitives (The Largest Function they perform by the way). They make more felony arrest every year then all Federal agencies combined. They also have primary jurisdiction for arresting International Fugitives on warrants issued by the US Govt. In the famous picture of Manuel Noriaga you will see a US Marshall escorting him onto the plane besides protecting the US Court system and enforcing court orders this manhunting capability gave them the long held perception that they always get their man.


LE joke. If you want to protect someone call the Secret Service.
If you want to arrest someone call the US Marshall.
If you want to call a press conference call the FBI.
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Old 03-16-2008   #4
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Thanks for the response John, and I am quite humbled that you would even see fit to respond to my post in the first place. And it should go without saying that you rightly point out the critical differences between American and Commonwealth experiences and conditions - and the subsequent effects upon their respective definitions, concepts, and doctrines.

I am persistently bewildered by the lack of a full-fledged Aid to the Civil Power doctrine in the U.S., and this was a key motive for writing my previous post. The lack of said fully-developed Doctrine is what appears to be a critical factor in making for the inclusion of SSOs and their kind as full equals of MCOs in FM 3-0. Couple this to the potential for high levels or even over-committment (leaving aside present operations in Afghanistan and Iraq) to SSOs in the future (dependent of course upon decisions of national policy), and the U.S. Army may find itself partially converting into a Gendarmerie, to the detriment of its MCO capabilities. This is what worries me most about the new edition of FM 3-0 Operations, the door that it seems to open to a future in which the U.S. Army itself, as an institution, transforms - even if only partially - into something other than an Army per se.

Last edited by Norfolk; 03-16-2008 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 03-16-2008   #5
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Default Slap, thanks for the correction

but, the lead guy in the famous photo was DEA Agent, Rene de la Cova. Rene was a great undercover guy - the photo blew the cover and he had to move into administration. When he was DEA Agent in Charge in Colombia he got greedy - or bored - and picked up some drug money that the Feds beleived should have been turned over to the USG. As a result he spent some time on the wrong side of the bars.

With that digression, my point remains that US federal law enforcement agenices have very limited authority and no real competence in regular policing. For Small Wars purposes, police departments - with some exceptions among constabulary forces (although not as great for Chile's Carabineros as one might suppose) - have no real reserve capacity. Police forces are engaged full time in policing and generally create a surge capability by going from 3 to 2 shifts per day. (Slap, I'm sure you'll put me right if I'm off base again!!!)

Cheers

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Old 03-16-2008   #6
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Hi John, yes it was a DEA agent in some of the photos, but just after him is the Marshall....for the security reason you mentioned the US Marshall will do many of the DEA arrest.

Part two no correction needed you are quite right that Federal LE is restricted by it's very nature. (Incidentally I have read a lot of your writings about South of the Border and I doubt I will ever be in a position to correct you....some fantastic there). Again you are correct that the Feds no very little about real everyday type policing. The point about the Marshall's and it's importance to SSO is they target the trouble maker and him or her only...that is a very useful philosophy for SSO. Beyond that I think the MP's are the most useful in SSO...just take a look at their website and the curriculum of a basic MP. Infantry skills plus Police skills all in one package. They even have a separate manual on their on specially created armored LE vehicle. They should establish the basic in Country Police force and then just give guidance until it is time to leave..IMHO.
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Old 03-16-2008   #7
John T. Fishel
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Default Hey Norfolk & Slap

Norfolk, I really think that you ought to develop the Aid to the Civil Power theme in a comparative perspective. For countries that are so close in origin and that share so many aspects of a culture, we are also very different.

Slap, thanks for reading my stuff. I wish that more people would buy the books so I can make more money in my retirement. I agree with you - as you know - about MPs.

Cheers

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Old 03-16-2008   #8
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Hi John, the combined military/police journal(can not remeber name) that you used to publish in would be a great start.
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Old 03-16-2008   #9
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I suspect that one of the original ideas behind the National Guard was to provide some sort of civil powers assistance force, but there has always been a great deal of resistance in this country to using military forces for such functions. Just look at (for one example) the debate surrounding Sheridan's use of the military in the aftermath of the Chicago Fire.

Still...this might be an interesting NG function, or something that might better lie in their sphere of influence as opposed to the Regulars.
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Old 03-16-2008   #10
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Default Norfolk raises a valid point and John correctly

illustrates that a difference in cultures is in part a contributor to to the issue raised.
Quote:
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Thanks for the response John, and I am quite humbled that you would even see fit to respond to my post in the first place. And it should go without saying that you rightly point out the critical differences between American and Commonwealth experiences and conditions - and the subsequent effects upon their respective definitions, concepts, and doctrines.
I'd only add to John's point by reminding that the British approach to Aid to the Civil Power was developed at home, refined by 200 years of the Raj -- and exported, very successfully, throughout the Commonwealth. It is a good and effective process and it is still successfully applied worldwide to this day.

Given our different history -- and in particular the fact that we only became a player on the world scene effectively after WW II -- we have of necessity opted for a different approach. I do not suggest it is wrong, simply different. I do think we are unlikely to adopt a more robust aid to the civil power approach for all the reasons cited above in the thread.
Quote:
I am persistently bewildered by the lack of a full-fledged Aid to the Civil Power doctrine in the U.S., and this was a key motive for writing my previous post...
Said history strongly opposes such an approach.

We tend to cobble solutions together on the fly. We really do that rather well and while such approach is not for everyone, it generally works fairly well for us and I, for one, am comfortable with that.
Quote:
The lack of said fully-developed Doctrine is what appears to be a critical factor in making for the inclusion of SSOs and their kind as full equals of MCOs in FM 3-0. Couple this to the potential for high levels or even over-committment (leaving aside present operations in Afghanistan and Iraq) to SSOs in the future (dependent of course upon decisions of national policy), and the U.S. Army may find itself partially converting into a Gendarmerie, to the detriment of its MCO capabilities. This is what worries me most about the new edition of FM 3-0 Operations, the door that it seems to open to a future in which the U.S. Army itself, as an institution, transforms - even if only partially - into something other than an Army per se.
So comfortable with it am I that while acknowledging that is a valid concern -- and I have agreed with Norfolk and Gian on that score repeatedly -- I'm not terribly worried by it because I have watched us lurch, nationally and militarily, too far in one direction only to realize we'd overdone it and then lurch back in the other direction (again, too far -- but that's the nature of the US... ). We, as Churchill famously said:
Quote:
"You can always rely on the Americans to do the right thing - but only after they have exhausted all possible alternatives.'
I'm inclined to agree with Norfolk, elevating SSO to par with MCO is probably not totally smart -- the Troops will cope with whatever comes down the pike, however, the higher echelons do tend to get target fixation -- but we tend to adapt reasonably quickly and I truly do not believe anyone has lost sight of the fact MCO are, broadly, to counter existential threats while the SSO bit is simply a realistic look at the most likely set of scenarios over the next few years.

Thus I see it as merely adaptation to reality; acknowledge it bears watching so we don't go overboard; and have an abiding faith in the ability of the lower echelons to adapt to the requirements at hand in whatever form of action they are told to undertake.

We have, for example been little more than a Gendarmerie on numerous occasions in the past; we may not be cute but we are resilient...
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Old 03-16-2008   #11
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Hi John, the combined military/police journal(can not remeber name) that you used to publish in would be a great start.
The Journal of Low Intensity Conflict and Law Enforcement?

I've been trying for months to get access to that journal (electronic).
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Old 03-17-2008   #12
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Default Slap and Sam

It was, indeed, LIC&LE. The last couple of volumes - 12 and 13 - 6 issues in all were/are online, I think. LIC&LE has been incorporated into Small Wars & Insurgencies since Vol 13. Taylor & Francis made a business decision to consolidate similar journals and we were caught up in that. My only gripe is that they were not honest about what they were doing or why. If you are an author and have any business with T&F or its book logo, Routledge, be really careful and get everything in writing. I have a chapter in a book on terrorism that I have never seen even though the normal way of doing business is for chapter authors to get a copy of the book.

As an aside, I never knew how Frank Cass, the previous publisher, coul make money on his multiple and overlapping journals and reasonably priced books. Max and I published one that began life as a special issue of SW&I and sold for $27 USD. Robert Bunker's edited volume Networks, Terrorism & Global Insurgency began life as Vol 11 Nos 2/3 of LIC&LE and Routledge sells it for over $100USD!!!!!!!!

Cheers

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