Warfare in the 21st Century necessitates a complete shift in the way we think and the way we fight. More than ever, the use of nonlethal effects is having a profound impact on conflicts. Much of today’s battlefield is in the minds of the public, shaped by the spoken word, cyberspace, media, and other means of strategic communications, as well as by our physical actions. Consequently, melding information with physical operations may very well be decisive in counterinsurgency and other stability operations. By melding information operations with physical operations, the division commander, who is executing a war against an insurgency and simultaneously attempting to pacify a populace, can gain the respect, compliance, and support of the people who may tip the balance in his favor. The enemy has become adept at all means of communications, in particular information operations, and uses his actions to reinforce his message. As a result, he influences not only the indigenous population but also the world as a whole.
Patrols are one of the most common operations a unit will perform in the counterinsurgency (COIN) environment. A patrol is the basis for many other types of operations. Cordon and search, reconnaissance, demonstration of force, security, and traffic control checkpoints are all activities a unit may perform while on patrol. Patrols are invaluable in the COIN environment because they enable units to interface with the indigenous population and gain human intelligence.
This newsletter was produced in conjunction with the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Training Center–Afghanistan (CTC–A) to provide current and relevant information for brigade combat team (BCT), battalion, and company commanders and staffs concerning current U.S. and coalition best practices in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As a “living document,” it will be updated continuously in order to capture, analyze, and disseminate critical information in support of operations across all lines of effort. It will disseminate key observations, insights, and lessons (OIL) from theater to give commanders a better understanding of the operational environment into which they are preparing to deploy. The information is from your peers—commanders, staff officers, and small unit leaders —who served or who are currently serving in Afghanistan.
This document covers a particular course of action that is a subset of tactical operations and is conducted primarily during the stabilization phase in order to restore security: counterinsurgency (COIN). It has been developed in order to compensate for the lack of appropriate tactical procedures adapted from classical coercive methods (offensive or defensive) and the control of secured areas.
AJP-3.4.4 provides a common NATO doctrine to guide commanders, staffs and forces engaged in the conduct of COIN. It also informs civil actors involved in security and stabilisation of the full range of capabilities that the military may contribute to a joint, interagency and multinational response to the resolution of such ‘wicked problems’.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has a long history of conducting security force assistance (SFA)-type activities. These activities were primarily focused on gaining access and influence to partner nations (PN). However, by 2005, the purpose of SFA-type activities had evolved. SFA would now enable and develop the sustainable capabilities of foreign security forces (FSF) to a sufficient capacity in order to provide regional stability. The primary purpose of SFA is the development of sustainable capabilities to allow PNs to defend themselves or contribute to operations elsewhere. This is a fundamental shift in how and why the DoD conducts SFA.
The purpose of The Counterinsurgency Training Center—Afghanistan (CTC-A) “Counterinsurgent’s Guidebook” is two-fold. First, to provide a common language and framework for counterinsurgents currently engaged in Afghanistan, as well as those involved in yet-foreseen conflicts. While each insurgency is unique, the principles, processes, and tools in this Guidebook are intended to be broadly applicable. The second purpose is to provide a structured cognitive process—and supporting tools—whereby counterinsurgents can translate existing counterinsurgency doctrine and theory into practical application. The intended audience for this Guidebook is operational and tactical level U.S./NATO/Coalition counterinsurgents, military and non-military alike.
According to FM 3-24, the population is the center of gravity for COIN operations. Afghanistan‘s population is roughly half female, half male, but in Afghanistan, the culture segregates by gender. As such, the appropriate operational response that is culturally sensitive to that segregation is to interact male to male & female to female. We want to understand 100% of the community by engaging them directly (Figure 1). By doing so, we get the insight that we need, while being respectful of the culture, yet building the fundamentally essential social contracts founded on trust and established in a cooperative environment. That social contract needs to be with the male and female population…both of whom are making decision about the future of this country, whether publicly or privately. ISAF forces are currently making decisions along all lines of operations that affect the entire population but with limited insight or perspective from the female half of the population.
A contracting document for a major transportation project in Afghanistan indicates that the U.S. military is preferentially awarding contracts to companies owned by tribal elders who wield significant power within Afghan society. The performance work statement for the Afghanistan Transportation Network – Southwest/West, which was recently published by the website Cryptocomb, describes a “network of U.S. Government (USG) approved Afghan privately owned trucking companies, otherwise known as Elder Owned Companies (EOC’s or Sub-Contractors) operating under a Management Company (Prime Contractor) to provide secure and reliable means of distributing reconstruction material, security equipment, fuel, miscellaneous dry cargo, and life support assets and equipment throughout the Combined/Joint Operations Area – Afghanistan (CJOA-A) to and from Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and Distribution Sites located in the Regional Command (RC) – Southwest and RC – West without the use of convoy security.”
This report provides an assessment of Department of Defense (DoD) efforts over the past two years to implement requirements set forth in the 2009 DoD Instruction 3000.05, Stability Operations. It highlights significant initiatives currently underway or planned throughout DoD and provides recommendations and key findings to achieve further progress.
This manual provides commanders and staffs of brigade elements and below with concepts and doctrine concerning the conduct of counterguerrilla operations by US forces in insurgency and conventional conflict environments. It provides a general overview of US counterinsurgency strategy and the impact that strategy has on counterguerrilla operations. It provides planning, training, and operational guidance for commanders and staffs conducting counterguerrilla operations. The doctrine provides principles to guide the actions of US forces conducting counterguerrilla operations. In applying these principles, the commander must be aware that the situation in each counterguerrilla operation is unique. Techniques and tactics applied successfully in one situation may not be suitable if applied in the same manner in another situation. The principles in this manual are guides to be adapted to each counterguerrilla situation.
This hand book synthesizes current doctrine and emerging TTPs into a handbook for units assigned a Security Force Assistance (SFA) mission. Security Force Assistance is not a unit; it is a mission assigned to a unit. Army leaders will assign this mission to Modular brigades more frequently according to the realities of the operational environment. The Modular Brigade, with its broad and flexible command and control structure, is designed to conduct Full Spectrum Operations, which includes Security Force Assistance, but it requires augmentation and specific task organization to effectively accomplish Security Force Assistance tasks.
American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand (ABCA) Armies Security Force Capacity Building Handbook
SFCB has come to play an increasingly important role in each of our armies over the last decade and will undoubtedly feature in operations spanning the spectrum of conflict in the future. Its affect on organization, training, equipping and doctrine has been felt to a greater or lesser extent by each of us and will help define recent conflicts and their effects. However, SFCB cannot be done in isolation. What must be borne in the military planner‘s mind from the outset is that SFCB is a part of the wider SSR campaign and as a consequence must be part of a comprehensive approach. Furthermore, if coalition partners are present, an extra layer of complexity is present and must be planned for. Failure to take these two aspects into account runs the risk of failure at worst or a fragmented HNSF as a result, at best. This handbook aims to assist the military planner in their approach to SFCB. It is aimed at both commanders and staff officers, primarily on brigade and divisional staffs, although it also has utility for those charged with training, mentoring and advising HNSF forces at the tactical level.
The Marine Corps has a long and storied history of partnering, mentoring, and advising foreign militaries. Marines served as the officer corps of the Gendarmerie d’Haiti and integrated at platoon-level with South Vietnamese Popular Forces. These are only two of many possible examples, but they suffice to illustrate the diversity of relevant Marine Corps experience. This enduring legacy influences Marine counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan as well as theater security cooperation exercises throughout the world.
Studying past combat helps gain insight into how insurgents may operate in the future. This guide uses short, simple vignettes to highlight common Afghan insurgent tactics. Each vignette focuses on a particular mission profile, such as raids, ambushes, and defending against a cordon and search. While tactics are continually evolving, the Afghans have a well documented history of using similar techniques against foreign militaries. Most of the vignettes in this guide are from the 1980s when Afghan insurgents fought the Soviet Union. Despite being more than 20 years old, many of the tactics remain in use today. For a more complete description of Afghan insurgent tactics against the Soviets, MCIA strongly recommends reading The Other Side of the Mountain by Ali Jalali and Les Grau, which this guide is based on. The final three vignettes in this guide are from recent operations in Afghanistan and demonstrate the evolution of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) by Afghan insurgents.
Several basic training manuals used by U.S. forces to train the Afghan National Army (ANA) from 2007-2009.
To effectively defeat an enemy, one must first understand the enemy. Intelligence professionals have forgotten the basic principles on which intelligence analysis is conducted, instead they sub-scribe to the paradigm that the enemy faced in this Global War on Terror has no structure or doctrine. Any organization, military or civilian, must have a structure and a way of doing business if they are to have any chance of being successful.
This guide assists in three areas. First, it aides military leaders and all personnel to be aware of the indicators associated with insider threat activity while serving in a partnering environment. Second, this guide informs commanders and other leaders by giving them options on how to deal with insider threat activities. This guide is not all encompassing so there are other options a commander has dependent on their operating environment. Lastly, this guide is meant to generate open dialogue between coalition partners and partner nation personnel. Partnering in itself is a sensitive mission and only by creating trust and having an open dialogue with all forces will the mission be accomplished.
The purpose of this document is to outline the role of female engagement on the ground and best uses of female engagement initiatives. While existing academic literature on females in Afghanistan is limited mostly to the urban areas, it is evident that the lives of women in rural Helmand are complex and difficult than is generally understood from open source and academic literature. Female engagement encompasses methodical, long-term outreach efforts to the entire population, men, women, and children, which is essential in a counterinsurgency. Such engagement efforts provide opportunities to connect with both men and women, counter negative Taliban IO efforts, and improve civil affairs efforts.
Complex operations often require the development of specialized teams with multidisciplinary perspectives. Examples of these groups include human terrain teams, provincial reconstruction teams, and, most recently, female engagement teams (FETs). These specialized programs are tasked with engaging local populations to ascertain information on civil-society needs and problems; address security concerns; and to form links between the populace, military, and interagency partners.
This document facilitates discussion, training, and implementation of effective information superiority methods at the Battalion and Brigade level. This paper discusses the Center of Gravity analysis model for identifying threat networks, Critical Capabilities, and Critical Vulnerabilities; use of the methodology to determine the threat vulnerabilities; and as a basis for understanding how to achieve Information Superiority.
A U.S. military training program designed to enhance soldiers’ abilities to operate in irregular conflicts includes exercises which encourage soldiers to think like terrorists in order to examine opposing ideologies. The exercises are part of a course designed to help trainees with practical decision-making skills in “irregular conflicts” and counterinsurgency called Combat Observation and Decision-making in Irregular and Ambiguous Conflicts (CODIAC). The course was initially created in 2010 as a way of enhancing the “ability of individuals and small teams to address irregular challenges by training enhanced observation, battlefield sensemaking, human terrain pattern recognition, and environmental analysis (including knowledge of combat tracking).” The CODIAC course incorporates curriculum from a number of other military programs, including the U.S. Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter program, and it is designed to primarily for military personnel as well as “interagency paramilitary personnel, such as Border Patrol or Police Officers, as well as multinational allies.” The course focuses on a number of core subject areas related to decision making, intelligence and observation, physical tracking and “human terrain” analysis.
(U//FOUO) USJFCOM Combat Observation and Decision-Making in Irregular and Ambiguous Conflicts (CODIAC)
This curriculum was directly inspired by the US Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter program. Created in 2007, in response to a dramatic increase in precision fire causalities in Baghdad, Combat Hunter is systematic training designed to improve cognitive skills, showing personnel how to read the human terrain, establish a baseline, detect an anomaly, and make decisions “left of bang.” In other words, Combat Hunter was designed to train personnel to anticipate danger and meet it proactively. In an irregular conflict, this enables personnel to be the “hunters”—not the “hunted.” CODIAC integrates the USMC Combat Hunter principles, along with proven battlefield decision-making and irregular warfare instruction from across the Joint services. The goal of CODIAC is to enhance the ability of individuals and small teams to address irregular challenges by training enhanced observation, battlefield sensemaking, human terrain pattern recognition, and environmental analysis (including knowledge of combat tracking).
This paper summarizes the responses of six Marine battalion commanders who served in stability and support operations (SASO) and counterinsurgency (COIN) environments of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). These commanders were interviewed on their approach to their duties, how they exercised their authority and balanced the use of kinetic and non-kinetic effects in accomplishing their myriad missions and tasks. The content of this report may serve to guide future commanders.
The term “counterinsurgency” (COIN) is an emotive subject in Germany. It is generally accepted within military circles that COIN is an interagency, long-term strategy to stabilise a crises region. In this context fighting against insurgents is just a small part of the holistic approach of COIN. Being aware that COIN can not be achieved successfully by military means alone, it is a fundamental requirement to find a common sense and a common use of terms with all civil actors involved. However, having acknowledged an Insurgency to be a group or movement or as an irregular activity, conducted by insurgents, most civil actors tend to associate the term counterinsurgency with the combat operations against those groups. As a result they do not see themselves as being involved in this fight. For that, espescially in Germany, the term COIN has been the subject of much controversy.