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Doctrine & TTPs Enduring doctrinal principles, what really works now (or not), and the TTPs that deliver them.

View Poll Results: Evaluate Kilcullen's work on counterinsurgency
Brilliant, useful 26 45.61%
Interesting, perhaps useful 26 45.61%
Of little utility, not practical 1 1.75%
Delusional 4 7.02%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-29-2006   #21
Fabius Maximus
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Default the major & central issue

I've not communicated this clearly. Just to get together on the same page, let's start at the beginning.

For the past 100 years or so, western nations have lost almost every war like Iraq (fighting as aliens in a less developed state). You can call them colonial wars, low intensity conflicts, guerilla wars, insurgencies, or 4GW’s. There have been a few exceptions, either long ago (Philippines) or probably fictional (Malaysia).

Worse, 4GW’s might become the primary form of war in the 21st century. And as Iraq has shown, we do not know how to win such conflicts. In fact, we’re losing both wars in the Middle East theater.

One of our primary strengths is our free, competitive intellectual climate. Formally it is called the Delphi method. People write up proposals, which are circulated and intensely criticized. Eventually we find a solution. I doubt al-Qaeda has anything like this.

Kilcullen has written up a solution, in his various papers, for winning 4GW’s. The *proposal* might prove ineffective, but the *process* is of the highest importance.

This guy is a PhD anthropologist. If he wanted to write “cliff notes” – the basic stuff told to captains for generations or centuries (“know your turf”), he’d have done so in a fraction of the time and length.

The “cliff notes” version – boiling it down so that it only tells us what we already know – is just a recipe for defeat. Tried and failed.

Kilcullen is more ambitious, reaching far in search of a successful tactical formula for victory. Let’s not throw out the strange and new elements he suggests, but discuss what he actually said.

Even failed ideas move us forward, showing us another path that does not work.
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Old 12-29-2006   #22
Fabius Maximus
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Default two more points raised above...

What is new in Kilcullen's discussion of PR & propaganda?

John Adam’s defense of the Redcoats following the Boston Massacre was – and was seen at the time – as a masterstroke of PR, gaining British sympathy for the colonies’ struggle against the Crown.

Ditto in the Civil War (aka, for you southerners, the War Between the States), where the PR war in Britain had a decisive effect on the outcome.

Ditto in WWI (e.g. the Zimmerman telegram).

That we’re doing so poorly in the information war for both Iraq and Afghanistan probably reflects the small number of Americans with the necessary knowledge of their cultures. Don’t hold your breath for this to change.


Re: Kilcullen’s discussion of the Indonesian insurrection

He misses, in my opinion, the primary difference between that and our wars in the ME. As do most who reference Lawrence. And often those looking for tips to win from the Malaysian Insurrection.

All were wars waged and won by the locals. We are aliens in a strange land. What works for the locals might be impossible for us.
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Old 12-29-2006   #23
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Fabius,one point that I think people over look when they refer to our successes (Philippines,Malaysia,Dominican Republic) is they were islands! Directly or indirectly we could quarantine the entire country not just a portion of it. In COIN ops I think you have to think about the whole country! if you don't what is to stop him from running to the hills? If he is in the hills what stops him from running to the city? If it is not an Island what stops him from running to another country?

PS It was the Invasion of the Damn Yankees not the war between the states!
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Old 12-29-2006   #24
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Default Two Ships Passing in the Night

FM – I’ve followed this thread since you posted it and have to say I believe the “misunderstanding” of the replies lies in your quarter. The replies from seasoned COIN veterans in defense of Kilcullen are merely relating that his words of advice are appropriate and work in the world they operate in.

Those of the “theorist camp" have the luxury of endless debate on the “grand strategic themes” of 4GW, COIN, IW, etal. Your views are better served directed at members of the National Command Authority and not Company Commanders, Platoon Leaders, Squad Leaders and Team Leaders.

The operators do not have the luxury of picking and choosing the operational environment they are ordered to. What they do is adjust and make do with the best available information at their disposal. As Tom Ricks related in his recent book Fiasco – one third of our officers get it, one third are trying to get it and one third just want the hammer as their only tool in the box.

Kilcullen offers practical advice to the first two thirds and from what I gathered the majority of our operators appreciate his efforts. Again, these guys on the ground are not tasked with bringing world peace in our time. They are tasked with a difficult mission – a fuzzy end-state - and look to his words as a way to be part of the solution – not part of the problem. I take exception to anyone who imposes a top-down world view to those on the point of the spear.

Moreover, to those who say that advice such as this from Kilcullen and warrior-scholars such as Zinni, Petraeus and Mattis are just a blinding flash of the obvious, I submit we are not "real good" at lessons learned and often our best and brightest find themselves under the thumb of the last third mentioned above. Doses of reality from guys like Kilcullen, Zinni, Petraeus and Mattis should be written in stone so we don't need the next COIN guru to remind us of what we already know.
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Old 12-29-2006   #25
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Default

End of story, 'nuff said, end of discussion. Thanks for being the eloquent verbal sword SWJED.

Nothing more to see here folks, you can continue to mill about smartly.

Oh, and FM, in response to:
Quote:
The “cliff notes” version – boiling it down so that it only tells us what we already know – is just a recipe for defeat. Tried and failed.
, all I can say is that you would be surprised what people know, what they choose to ignore, and what they have to consciously suppress. This is sort of a walk a mile in my shoes moment, but I think you can understand...

Last edited by jcustis; 12-29-2006 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 12-29-2006   #26
Fabius Maximus
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Default Not a problem; plenty of time for eloquence after we've lost

We're losing, but I guess that's not a problem. Ok, let's try again.

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#2 -- Diagnose the problem.

Once you know your area and its people, you can begin to diagnose the problem. Who are the insurgents? What drives them? What makes local leaders tick?
Having “strategic corporals” was insufficient. Now we need “doctorate captains.” This is not a task for company commanders, with already complex and heavy load of leadership and managerial tasks.

Worse, Kilcullen’s work persistently ignores this advice. There is little consideration given to the locals’ motivations, or al Qaeda’s. How does this struggle look to them?

Also, this advice highlights the difference between the UK “victory” in Malaysia and our current expeditions to the Middle East. The UK had over a century’s experience governing Malaysia, local knowledge that we lack and cannot quickly develop.


Quote:
#3 -- Organize for intelligence.

In counterinsurgency, killing the enemy is easy. Finding him is often nearly impossible. Intelligence and operations are complementary. Your operations will be intelligence driven, but intelligence will come mostly from your own operations, not as a “product” prepared and served up by higher headquarters. So you must organize for intelligence. You will need a company S2 and intelligence section.
Kilcullen is moving regimental/battalion level functions onto combat companies, who are neither staffed nor trained for this level of complex and technical operations.

Training for this level of intelligence works takes at least two years, and the US State and Defense departments have far too such people for this to be realistic.

Wishing for what we lack is not a tactical doctrine; or rather it is a doomed one. Why not just ask for ten divisions of multi-lingual MP’s and be done with it?

We have fielded an army of the best educated and trained company commanders the world has ever seen. We can ask much of them, but not anything of them. Putting our Captains on a runway does not make them airplanes.

Increasing their responsibilities should not substitute for the military’s lack of effective doctrine and operational intelligence.

Simplifying their job might produce better results than making it more complex. Certainly the insurgents’ operational doctrines do not require leaders with a college degree, let alone graduate studies. Perhaps we can learn something from them in this respect.
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Old 12-29-2006   #27
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Default

and with your last post FB, you've talked in such a circle that my head is about to explode.

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Kilcullen is moving regimental/battalion level functions onto combat companies, who are neither staffed nor trained for this level of complex and technical operations.
We all know that a company isn't fully staffed to do complete intel analysis and product generation, but we (USMC and Army) identified the need for an intelligence cell, at the coy level, in this fight before Kilcullen came around. Does his advice restate what we already know? In this case, yes, but you're still missing the point that the 28 articles are a framework for action as a unit prepares itself and then goes into the breech.

When Kilcullen is telling us to know what makes the local leaders tick, I think he is doing exactly what you think he has failed to do: get us to delve into the motivations of the locals. How you can miss that connection is beyond me, frankly.

Please don't throw the "strategic corporal" term around loosely. Have you ever shared a cigarette with one?

Do you know what a company intel section typically does? It is not a lot of analysis, but rather compilation, aggregation, and focused tasking to support collection. They do not mirror a S-2 section at the Bn level.
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Old 12-29-2006   #28
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Hi Fabius.....it's me again.....guess you didn't like my Island theory...Oh well.


You make two good points.
One what is their motivation? As an ex cop I have always thought it was the key to the whole situation. Even crazy people have a reason for fighting and I don't think we know enough about their's and we need to find out. We may not like the answer but we need to know and deal with it.

Two I agree about the education requirements. In a strange way I think college "degreeism" is the problem. Instead of reasoning out the problem everybody has to go back to school for a masters and when that doesn't work go back and get a PhD. Mean while we are being beaten by a semi-literate population? I think President Johnson had a famous quote about all the college boys getting us into Vietnam. Although Kilcullen may be talking about this when he speaks about looking for talent not rank. Anyway those are my opinions.

Last edited by slapout9; 12-29-2006 at 02:36 AM. Reason: Tired can not spell either
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Old 12-29-2006   #29
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Default slow down please

Fabius please reread the posts from the view of a soldier on the ground trying to make sense of his tactical/operational environment. Kilcullen does provide a framework for operating in chaos, especially when higher doesn't have a clue. Although there is little new, it is compiled in a useful framework (like the Ranger handbook), and I sure wish I had it when I was in OIF.

Obviously this isn't a strategy for winning the war. If CPT Jones follows the 28 steps it may very well lead to positive attitudes towards the U.S. and neutralization of the embedded threats (not the transient ones), but it won't solve the overaching strategic issues of ethnic strife, unemployment, poor infrastructure, insecure borders, transnational actors, and a lack of nationalism (what is the Iraqi military fighting for?).

As jcustis stated above, I think you would be very surprised at what our guys understand at the Bn level and below, as they are living it, but there is only so much they can say. Remember we're soldiers not warriors, and there is a difference.

All that said I agree with many of your comments, and frequently refer to them while studying 4G and 5G concepts. I'm not pointing fingers, but I have yet to see a real strategy for countering 4GW. The strategies I have seen lack substance, and are based on a future force that doesn't exist.

I hardly consider myself old school, but I do believe the military should focus on the militarily achievable, and only get involved in a Somalia, Iraq, etc. if it is absolutely in our national interest. Iraq was a war of choice. Afghanistan was not a war of choice, but we did choose to stay instead of simply defeat the Taliban and leave (defeat as far as the Pakistan border). I know the arguments for staying, but I'm simply staying there was also the option of dropping the hammer, then leaving. We could revisit it later if need be.

Now assuming we only get involved (in the future) if it represents real national interests (vice the CNN pull effect), then one could assume we would take the measures necessary to stop support from places like Syria, Pakistan and Iran? I'm not convinced we (the military) don't know how to win this type of fight, but we can't do it fighting a politically correct war.

Quote:
one point that I think people over look when they refer to our successes (Philippines,Malaysia,Dominican Republic) is they were islands! Directly or indirectly we could quarantine the entire country not just a portion of it. In COIN ops I think you have to think about the whole country! if you don't what is to stop him from running to the hills? If he is in the hills what stops him from running to the city? If it is not an Island what stops him from running to another country? Slapout
Slapout, Malaysia is not just an island, it also has a pennisula, but either way it is easy to isolate. The the Philippines on the other hand have over 700 islands at high tide, more during low tide. Fishing boats, ferries, workboats, etc. are numerous (it's a water highway) and it isn't as easy as one may think to blockade an island, now add to that the several islands the insurgency existed on. However, your point is still valid, because what is unique about the Philippines (and I believe Malaysia) is that the insurgents (the ones we defeated, not present day) didn't receive outside support (they didn't want it), and they didn't have safehavens in other countries. Both of these were relatively easy insurgencies to counter compared to Vietnam. It infuriates me when some students of COIN try to compare Malaysia with Vietnam as though it was the same type of fight, far from it. It is also far from Iraq and Afghanistan in scale.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 12-29-2006 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 12-29-2006   #30
Fabius Maximus
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Default we're coming to agreement, I think

I absolutely agree that there are two perspectives displayed in this thread.

To borrow your phrase, there is a "ground" level view of Kilcullen's work. Company commanders get this memo, extract what they can out of it, and move on. It is not their job to win the war - just to accomplish their missions at the lowest possible cost. The previous thread – linked in the opening comment – covered this quite well.

Then we go to SWJED’s key observation:

Quote:
Those of the “theorist camp" have the luxury of endless debate on the “grand strategic themes” of 4GW, COIN, IW, etal. Your views are better served directed at members of the National Command Authority and not Company Commanders, Platoon Leaders, Squad Leaders and Team Leaders.
The senior US leaders are the audience of Kilcullen's work. We're not winning, and Kilcullen's proposals attempt to change that, as clearly seen in his work taken as a whole. He's attempting to innovate, radically. I'm attempting -- by direct quotation -- to describe his innovations, and illustrate their weaknesses.

To "translate" what he says “down” into standard doctrine is, I believe, to frustrate the purpose of his work. That's what I believe was said earlier by referring to his work as a "cliff notes."

Cliff notes are essential tools. I just doubt that was his intention in writing this. That is clear in his other works, which we might get to if we work thru his 28 articles.

Bill Moore:
Quote:
... I have yet to see a real strategy for countering 4GW. The strategies I have seen lack substance, and are based on a future force that doesn't exist.
I agree.

Standard doctrine is not, I believe, working in Iraq and Afghanistan -- just as it has failed in so many similar wars. I believe Kilcullen agrees with me on this key point.

Nor have we devised anything better, yet. That's what I said in my post below, beginning "I'm not communicating clearly." Kilcullen is participating in a process to find such a strategy. Unfortunately, his solution is based on a force that does not yet exist, and which I believe will not exist in any reasonable time frame (generations).

Worse, his recommendations take us in the wrong direction. A bit of a complex discussion, probably not appropriate at this point.

This problem is not unique to Kilcullen. I believe it is common to those of many 4GW experts, such as Wilcox and Lind. This discussion is perhaps central to the debate about ways to fight 4gw, but unfortunately off-topic here. (Note the references below to past articles of mine that discuss this in greater detail)
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Old 12-29-2006   #31
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Default Why didn't I see it right in front of me...

The answer to this has become obvious. The only way to wing fourth generation wars is to refurbish and redeploy M113 Gavins across the entire force, as they are profoundly more survivable than wheeled LAVs or Strykers, can be uparmored to withstand insurgent weapons, and can traverse 4GW battlefield terrain that other platforms cannot.
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Old 12-29-2006   #32
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I’m not going to delve into the 28 Articles. I think you’ve received enough subtle verbal blows to realize that you can’t hoist an argument against that text. If you still have a beef with those simple, thoughtful lines of text, then read no further. The same pretty much goes for the remainder of Kilcullen’s work. Through my reading, not once did I get the sense that he was hoisting the writing up and saying, “Look at this all you lesser thinkers, this is the roadmap to victory.” You may wish he were doing so to make your critiques easier, but don’t hold your breath. When I return to Iraq, the 28 Articles will be prominently displayed in my hooch. I don’t have to believe that each article is achievable, as that would be akin to going hungry because I don’t like one of the buffet selections.

I’ve been trained to offer concrete solutions as well as critiques, which is something I have yet to see you do:

Quote:
Kilcullen is more ambitious, reaching far in search of a successful tactical formula for victory. Let’s not throw out the strange and new elements he suggests, but discuss what he actually said.

Even failed ideas move us forward, showing us another path that does not work.
What path would you have us choose oh enlightened one? Wait, let me get my Surefire…

Simple mantras from leaders like LtGen Mattis have shaped behavior and performance in ways you cannot imagine. They are simple and apply to the entire force, but because they are not the final recipe for victory, you seem to argue that they are less valid and pointless. I am here to tell you that if your moanful strategic corporal remembers the mantras, and prevents the needless death of one civilian, or one friendly fire incident, that is a good thing. At my level, the mantra has served a purpose. Perhaps you should not try to come down to my level, because you are disappointed and abhor my lot in life.

The not so dearly departed Rumsfeld said you go to war with the force you have. Would a 100% increase in the number of SF groups in country be a better approach? Perhaps, but we do not have that, and so certain qualities must be mimicked, attempted, and utilized.

If policy missteps had not been made by certain handlers of the politico-military force, we might have scaled down our presence to a small element of advisors, and we would not be having this discussion today. If there were civil war and we were not there, it would be a wholly Iraqi problem, not embracing us. Ding, ding…We are there, so tell me what you would have my Lance Corporals do? Oh wait, where did I put that Surefire again?

Perhaps we are not even dealing with a fourth generation war within the confines of Iraq and Afghanistan? After all, in all of the briefings and operational orders I’ve attended in the past 3 ½ years, I never heard the situation read as: “Gentlemen, we are embroiled in a fourth generation war…”

I fail to see where your article “Militia: the dominant defensive force in 21st Century 4GW?” Has any bearing on the discussion of COIN. We are in the fight, so live with it. Your grand theoretical brush has little to do with my world, working as a pair of boots on the ground. You threw it out there as something operationally applicable, but I can’t grasp what you meant. Please enlighten me.

Quote:
A defensive war denies foreign 4GW foes both an aggressor and the home court advantage. When attacking us, they bear the high costs and frequent mistakes typical of overseas adventures. This works well with Lind’s recommendation to de-escalate. Treat users of terrorism as criminals wherever possible, in the sense of avoiding use of soldiers unless necessary. Avoid engaging them massively and directly – unless they attack first.
In particular, this quote of yours shows a selective ignorance of several truths about the conflict we are in. This may be a great prescription for dealing with future threats (doubtful in my opinion) but we are not dealing with future threats my good man. Kilcullen seeks to set a framework for the threat we face in the here and now.

Most of your arguments in this thread smack of professional jealousy, and that's sad. If that is not the case, there’s no need to reply to this observation, as it is mine alone

Quote:
Conventional/Special Operations. Capabilities that once resided exclusively in
Special Operations forces are proliferating to the combat force. Every soldier in contemporary conflict requires capabilities such as individual initiative, cultural sensitivity, linguistic competence, mastery of sophisticated weapons and sensors, and a capacity for small group independent operations – characteristics traditionally associated with Special Forces. Meanwhile, Special Operations forces are conducting conventional tasks such as screening, defence and largescale assault, and simultaneously developing more unconventional skills. Special and conventional operations are becoming increasingly integrated, occurring on the same terrain and relying upon intimate cooperation between combat forces, special operations forces and inter-agency elements. Moreover, although Combat Force tasks are different from Special Operations tasks, all soldiers require flexibility, physical and mental toughness, self-reliance and technical skills that allow them to be highly effective across a wider array of missions.
I pulled this from Kilcullen’s Complex Warfighting article, which was written for the AUS forces, not US. As you allege elsewhere in your writings, we should address weaknesses and not our strengths, in order to achieve victory in long wars. Kilcullen’s point about modern soldiers requiring a skill set for a wider array of missions, resonates with me because current and future non-state threats do not present themselves as massed formations, marching up on the Common, shoulder to shoulder. Because they may offer only a temporary target, junior leaders have to understand what they’ve seen, report it, and have the skills to engage it quickly.

What is under your saddle that makes you find fault with this? Is it the fact that such training requires a significant investment in time and resources? Is it the fact that may not see immediate returns on that investment? Are you saying that for those reasons we should not move towards a better force in these areas? Your logic is confusing along this line, because it almost sounds as though you advocate that we should throw our hands up, cry about the difficulty of the task, and then retreat to a corner with our thumb stuck in our mouth.

Look, we all know that COIN is a hard row to hoe, and there are no magic silver bullets. Many members of the SWC may actually appreciate your points, although they would not publicly admit so because of other entanglements. Perhaps you should stop looking amorously at Kilcullen and start an analysis of personnel ceilings, advisory team staffing policies, force rotation policies, and whether heavy armor has a place on the Iraqi terrain…Kilcullen is not your whipping boy.

Throughout your article, “What should we do in Iraq”, you’ve beaten the drum that likes to take grand swipes at almost everything, yet offers nothing concrete as a better way ahead. In that you appear to believe we can do our best by leaving Iraq to avoid future casualties, your views smell like the obverse of neo-conservative Malkinism. It also smells like Peters and Malkin combined because you hype things up to a crescendo, but depart with a fizzle. You’re more than welcome to ruck up. That is unless, you’re simply enticing us into a discussion with you so that you can gleam more material for a future article. Please provide appropriate citations to recognize our efforts.
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Old 12-29-2006   #33
Bill Moore
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Default Make no doubt

Gentlemen,

As defined by Hammes we are definitely (there is no gray area) involved in a 4GW fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One aspect I haven't heard discussed much is the difficulty that a democratic country has in dealing with 4GW, vice a totalitarian one. We have certain limitations based on our laws and values that are easily exploitable. Some advocate changing the laws (the big ones in the press are torture, eavesdropping, etc.) to deal with the emergency, but the reality is these wars will last several years, so changing our laws would not a be temporary fix, such as establishing martial law in New Orleans after Katrina.

There are several aspects at the strategic level we have yet to address. In 4GW you can't win the fight on the battleground, but you can lose it there. Please read Hammes's "The Sling and the Stone" for clarification.

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Old 12-29-2006   #34
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Default True, Bill

Quote:
There are several aspects at the strategic level we have yet to address.
One may be the date when we will finally break our dependence on oil from the Arabian Peninsula.

I was speaking rhetorically on the fourth generation warfare bit. I don't like how theorists try to package everything neatly, then fight over the scraps of who came up with the name first, but I agree that what we face now fits within those parameters.
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Old 12-29-2006   #35
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Default Kilcullen PT 1

I spent an hour and a half on this post, only to find the subject closed when I hit submit. I'm posting in the soapbox forum for my own personal gratification.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabius Maximus View Post
He's attempting to innovate, radically.
Quite the opposite, actually. He's summarizing the evolution of leadership in theater that began in April 2003 when we first started to fight the insurgency. While you're quite fond of starting with the first point and shredding it to pieces in rhetoric brimming with hyperbole, I could give you concrete operational examples of virtually every one of the 28 points being implemented successfully by either my troop or one of my brother troops in theater over the last 3 and a half years.

Point 1: Know your Turf- Very little difference from saying "Conduct IPB"
Point 2: Diagnose the Problem- Looks like Mission Analysis
Point 3: Organize for Intelligence- Companies don't have intelligence sections. Smart and innovative companies have developed intelligence sections that collect and analyze intelligence from the platoons. These ad-hoc sections were more often than not better suited and outperformed BN intelligence sections with actual intelligence MOS soldiers.
Point 4: Organize for Inter-Agency Operation: in your typical Mission Rehearsal Exercise, a company doesn't even touch inter-agency operations. In theater, maximizing the effectivness of inter-agency operations, particularly in the realm of CMO projects, can make or break your combat tour.
Point 5: Travel light and harden CSS- It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to see that CSS convoys were getting hammered right off the bat (remember PVT Lynch). We didn't do a good job in training our logisticians to fight on the roads. Conversely, for every tank or Bradley with a good load plan in theater I saw 8 gypsy wagons for tanks with all kinds of crap hanging off them that their crew would never use. Utilization of the conex for junk not used is an important PCI.
Point 6: Find a political/cultural advisor- Why did SF traditionally conduct UW and FID missions? Because being culturally astute are SF imperatives in their doctrine. We, in the conventional force, were never trained that way. Good units pulled in people who knew what they were talking about. I remember learning a great deal from Dr. Hashim. Once in theater, I got hooked into a sheiks family who brought me up to speed on the specific cultural dos and don'ts in my area. It helped place my soldiers in my troop on a higher plain of understanding than other units in theater. Our performance and results spoke to that.
Point 7: Train the Squad Leaders - then Trust them- On the high intensity battlefield, I, as a troop commander, can maneuver individual sections much easier than the COIN environment. The abilities of my junior leaders are paramountly important to everything I do. They conduct independent operations. Most of my patrols in my troop were lead by an E5 or E6. I had 3 officers in my troop. They couldn't be everywhere. I, as did my PLs, had to trust my NCOs to do the right thing constant with the commander's intent I wrote.
Point 8: Rank is nothing, Talent is everything - Goes back to the rule of thirds that Ricks talks about in Fiasco. Some are really good at COIN, some suck. Some of our best COIN operators are E5s and E4s who are out there every day. They understand how 2nd and 3rd order effects work. They see them up close and personal.
Point 9: Have a game plan- It may be surprising to you that many units go into an area without one. This ties back into Points 1-4.
Point 10: Be there- Near and dear to my heart. As a reconnaissance tactics instructor, it's my job to communicate to the force that R&S planning and operations work in COIN just like they do in HIC environments. If you're unable to place effective fires at the critical point and time (which in OCIN is 3-7 seconds) you'll lose the engagement. Developing NAIs on areas that have high IEDs and overwatching them will eliminate IEDs in given area. Again, goes back to IPB and planning
Point 11: Avoid knee jerk responses to first impressions- First reports are wrong 95% of the time. Insuregents know when RIP/TOA is happening. depending on where you are, some lay low and some hammer the new unit. Those laying low can paralyze a new unit into inaction. Going into the game with a plan and sticking to it is better than initial improvisation.
Point 12: Prepare for handover from Day 1- We reinvent the wheel on each rotation. It has been said we fought the Vietnam war for one year 11 times, rather than for 11 years. Many units get the RIP/TOA files and paperwork and never look at them again. That's a travesty. Additionally, some units are preparing to RIP/TOA with indigenous forces. that needs to be planned from Day 1.
Point 13: Build Trusted networks- May seem like common sense but many units think they can do it on their own. There are people in the community who want to help, despite great risk to themselves and their family. Taking them in and getting them to help your unit will make the unit successful. Goes back to the cultural advisor piece. If the tree branches are overt operations, the tree's roots are relationships with and in the local populace.
Point 14 and 15: Start Easy and Seek early victories- Some go in and try to take down the entire AQIZ network in Iraq in their first 48 hours. the easiest victories have very little to do with kinetic operations; SWEAT-MS victories, tribal engagments, and equipping of security forces are the easiest 3 things to focus on. The populace see this and will warm to your unit quickly.
Point 16: Practice Deterrent patrolling- Firebase concepts, which conventional units were completely against initially, lend well to this. Dominating the environment through sheer presense to deter attacks goes back to R&S planning.

To be continued
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Old 12-29-2006   #36
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Default Kilcullen PT 2

Point 17: Be prepared for setbacks- Things don't go perfectly, despite even the best of plans. Western logic doesn't always translate well. Despite your best effort to explain a specific COA to a sheik, he may not roll with it. If you've hinged your entire plan on the COA he's refuted, you probably needed to plan a bit better. Stuff happens. Deal with it.
Point 18: Engage the Women; Beware the Children- Iraq, despite the men's perspective, is a matriarichal society. Getting into the women's networks influences the family network and gets 14 year old Joe Jiahist grounded and beaten with a wooden stick by his mom. Aside from the pure comedic value of these types of events, the women's circles are often the untapped venues of success in this type of society. Conversely, the insurgents are more ruthless than we are. They use kids because they're impressionable and, to them, expendible. It's much easier, seemingly, to deal with the kids, but they're distractors and oftentimes scouts for insurgents.
Point 19: take stock regularly- It may seem like common sense, but after continuous operations for prolonged periods, it's tougher to do than you'd think. Determining the metrics of progress can change from week to week. But it lets us know where we are and where we need to go.
Point 20: Remember the global audience- Perception is reality, even if it's wrong. The way this war is covered, a private flashing a group of kids with the muzzle of his weapon on routine patrol can be cut and spliced into a nasty IO message for the insurgents. We are always on stage and they have the benefit of the doubt globally right now.
Point 21: Exploit single narrative- This goes right into the IO plan. It must be tailored to fit your specific area. Again, this is something we don't train regularly and we learn by doing.
Point 22: Local forces should mirror enemy, not ourselves- Further, they should mirror local operational requirements. What the use in providing the villiage doctor with an endocrinology lab that he doesn't know how to use? i don't know either, but some division surgeon thought it was a good idea. Additionally, just because we have bells and whistles for equipment doesn't mean our partnering Iraqi unit does to. We need to remember that. Often we don't.
Point 23: Practice Armed Civil Affairs- CMO can be a decisive operation depending on where you are. You must be able to transition rom CA to combat operations quickly. Additionally, the CA bubba isn't the only one doing CA work; your 19D1O is probably doing more CA in a day than the Civil Affairs officer will do in 3 days.
Point 24: Small is beautiful- Iraqis want to see results. The proliferation of small programs that work does wonders. Also, small is recoverable and cheap. They don't need to know that.
Point 25: Fight the enemy's strategy, not his forces- The strategy is the iceburg, his forces are the tip. Ask Capt Smith from the Titanic what was more important. We often look for the 10 meter target and forget what's downrange.
Point 26: Builld your own solution, attack only when he gets in the way- Combat operations doesn't win COIN For a company, since combat operations are what we've trained for, they're our comfort zone. CMO, IO, economic development, and the sustainment of security forces are all bigger moneymakers in COIN than combat operations. It's tough to get to work, but more productive once you do.
Point 27: Keep extraction plan secret: Everyone has a farewell tour with the sheiks, tribal leaders, political leaders, and others in the AO they've worked with over the year. That gets back to the insurgents. We need to watch it, but I was guilty of this too. It's where human instinct and developed relationships interfere with what is doctrinally right.
Point 28: Keep the initiative- Insurgents are used to the initiative. Hell, our battle drills are all named "react to ____." By good planning and intel development, you can kick an insurgent in the teeth by making him react. Insurgents can handle Initate ambush but aren't too good at the React to Contact game and usually die in place.


The bottom line is that every point Kilcullen makes has an operational relevance that you apparently won't acknowledge.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabius Maximus View Post
To "translate" what he says “down” into standard doctrine is, I believe, to frustrate the purpose of his work. That's what I believe was said earlier by referring to his work as a "cliff notes."
Since I started using that phrase, that isn't what I was inferring at all. The 28 points are a checklist for good behavior, things you should be doing. They're a compass for operations that, until recently, we really didn't train on. Will they always work? Probably not. Even Duke loses a basketball game now and then with a great coach and a great plan. But I know that even Kilcullen would tell you that these are not meant to be an end-all, be-all answer to COIN operations.
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Old 12-29-2006   #37
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Default Alas, an extremely relavent addendum

RTK's points are spot on, and anyone can apply the W=RM rule to make them apply to their own organizations. Thanks for another tool. I'll be turning off my Surefire now...
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Old 12-29-2006   #38
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Default Outstanding

RTK, I read your posts twice and that is really an outstanding little piece work. Well done. Does anybody know why the thread was locked up?
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Old 12-29-2006   #39
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Default Good Read

RTK,
Good read. I'll pass it on. Regards, Rob
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Old 12-30-2006   #40
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Default my closing comment

There has been some outstanding thoughts presented here, no doubt why the number of hits is so high.

Thanks to all of you who have posted on this thread (or will do so in the future). The worst aspect of writing about 4GW is the fog -- the difficulty of seeing different theories and facts in their proper relationship to each other. With your help I'm a little clearer on Kilcullen's work, and where it stands in the 4GW debates.

Here are a few speculations, closing my participation here. These need more thought. I don't know if they are useful or interesting to you all, but they're free!

To reiterate (again) a key point: the debate is not about utility for a company commander. Whatever works, however it works, great. As cliff notes, or checklist, or source of ideas, or whatever.

1. I consider Kilcullen’s work a valuable contribution in the debate about how we can win 4gw's. That this is his intent is clear from his other works, which we should logically have reviewed in chronological order (but which would have been dry going).

The debate has more urgency, of course, for those of us who believe we're losing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

2. Kilcullen has more in common than I saw at first with both “standard” tactical doctrine and 4GW views. Perhaps he can be seen as a bridge between them. Note similarity between some of his views and those of Lind in FMFM-1A and Greg Wicox’s "Information Arrow."

3. Perhaps the major insight – which I totally missed – is that Kilcullen’s recommendations might work best for the side playing strategic defense (for example, having the home court advantage). That’s important, since, as we all know, defense is the inherently stronger mode of war (On War, book one, chapter one). And some (including me) believe that this is exceptionally true for 4GW)

Easy to see this when reading Kilcullen’s 28 articles from the perspective of an Iraq or Afgh insurgent. Works quite well. Better, I think, than for an American in Iraq – let alone in Afghanistan.

That should not surprise. We’re both fighting a 4GW, and there is a long history of enemies both contributing to development of a tactical doctrine (e.g., the development of infiltration tactics into Blitzkrieg by the Germans and the Brits). Stratfor has also seen this, as in their mention of Iraq as a “Jihadist war college.”

Again, thanks for sharing your insights and experience on this thread. Best wishes to you all for a great 2007.
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