A collection of “cultural intelligence” reports for the Afghanistan region were created by the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA). They represent some of the only known public examples of MCIA cultural intelligence reports available on the web. In 2008, a MCIA cultural intelligence report on Iran’s culture was obtained and published by the Center for Public Integrity. The following reports on Afghan culture were produced in 2002, but are still believed to be in use by advisers and soldiers today.
Islam is practiced differently in Afghanistan than in any other part of the world. For operations in Afghanistan, it is significant to know the origins of existing cultural influences come from pre-Islamic Central Asian beliefs. This knowledge is necessary for two key reasons. First, understanding the specific cultural-religious mindset of local Afghans is essential to successful operations within the population. Secondly, Afghan cultural Islam conflicts with the fundamentalist Islamic movements that influence the current insurgency. Knowing and exploiting these differences can be beneficial to counteracting insurgent IO campaigns and to discourage local Afghans from identifying with insurgent groups vying for control of the population.
This document represents an effort by the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS) Directorate of Training and Doctrine (DOTD) to equip Army special operations forces (ARSOF) with a better tool for understanding religious considerations in mission planning. Today’s culturally centric warfare places ARSOF Soldiers in high demand. Soldiers trained in the skills of cultural competence and cultural analysis provide an effective mission planning tool for developing an understanding of the operational environment.
(U//FOUO) Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance Ministerial-Level Advisor Training Effectiveness Study
The intent of Phase I initial impressions is to provide rapid support to the Warfighter. In parallel, these insights serve as part of a broader Ministerial-Level Advisor Training Effectiveness Study, which JCISFA will publish in the spring of 2011. These observations and insights may support planning and decision-making within the NTM-A/CSTC-A as well as joint, interagency, intergovernmental, multinational (JIIM) organizations responsible for force generation supporting the NTM-A/CSTC-A mission. Specifically, this report addresses contemporary issues and senior leader perspectives within the NTM-A/CSTC-A Ministerial-Level Advisor program to include prospective gaps across joint DOTMLPF-P domains. The following illustrates the NTM-A/CSTC-A mission.
Fully understanding the imperative to balance employment of fires to defeat the enemy with the necessity to protect civilian lives, the Marine Corps has modified the training / education of ground commanders, aviators, forward air controllers (FACs), joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs), and others in the fire support approval chain. This incorporates lessons and guidance contained in the USJFCOM investigation into the Farah incident and the Commander, International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF) tactical directive issued in July 2009.
Two reports from the U.S. TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity (TRISA) regarding suicide attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan going back as far as 2007.
Like Damocles’ sword, this global interconnectivity both strengthens us and moderates us at the same time. We are strengthened because we are better connected to others than ever before and thus capable of spreading the seeds of liberty and opportunity to populations that yearn for it and where the lack of it is still being justified. We are moderated by this interconnectivity because others can more easily exploit the seams and turn our freedoms against us to infect with vitriolic propaganda that violently radicalizes populations across this interconnected web. It is the matter of moderation of our strength that brought together the remarkable group of thinkers whose words are reflected within this report. We are concerned here with the problem of deterring violent non-state actors from doing harm to our nation and to our allies. The questions of extending freedom through access while mitigating the misuse of that freedom to harm us were the dominant questions we took up in this workshop.
The Shadow TUAS extends the ARS Commander’s ability to support the full spectrum of conflict through reconnaissance, security, aerial surveillance, communications relay, and laser designation.
With the continuing growth in the world’s urban areas and increasing population concentrations in urban areas, the probability that the US Army will conduct full spectrum operations in urban environments is ever more likely. As urbanization has changed the demographic landscape, potential enemies recognize the inherent danger and complexity of this environment to the attacker, and may view it as their best chance to negate the technological and firepower advantages of modernized opponents. Given the global population trends and the likely strategies and tactics of future threats, Army forces will likely conduct operations in, around, and over urban areas—not as a matter of fate, but as a deliberate choice linked to national security objectives and strategy. Stability operations––where keeping the social structure, economic structure, and political support institutions intact and functioning or having to almost simultaneously provide the services associated with those structures and institutions is the primary mission––may dominate urban operations. This requires specific and timely intelligence support, placing a tremendous demand on the Intelligence warfighting functions for operations, short-term planning, and long-term planning.
America has entered an era of persistent conflict where states, nations, transnational actors, and nonstate actors are increasingly willing to use violence to achieve their political and ideological ends. These entities will continue to challenge and redefine the global distribution of power, the concept of sovereignty, and the nature of warfare. Globalization, technology, population growth, urbanization, and demand for natural resources are creating an environment where the location of the next crisis requiring American intervention is not always predictable. Generally with little notice, Army units will be employed in complex and multidimensional environments; usually fought in urban terrain among noncombatant populations. Additionally, they will be called on to conduct full spectrum operations as part of an interdependent joint force conducting simultaneous offensive, defensive, and stability operations.
Currently, the intelligence warfighting function includes a formidable set of capabilities across all echelons from “mud-to-space.” This flexible force of personnel, organizations, and equipment collectively provides commanders with the timely, relevant, accurate, predictive, and tailored intelligence they need. We provide the intelligence that continuously supports the commander in visualizing the operational environment, assessing the situation, and directing military actions through ISR synchronization and the other intelligence tasks. The intelligence warfighting function is comprised of nine powerful intelligence disciplines. Eight of those disciplines essentially feed the discipline of all-source intelligence which in turn is focused on the commanders’ requirements. Technological advances have enabled single-discipline analysts to leverage other analysts and information and to conduct multi-discipline analysis to an extent not possible in the past. However, all-source intelligence is still the nexus that integrates information and intelligence from all units and the other intelligence disciplines.
Most US personnel that are serving in Afghanistan have already served a tour in Iraq and are accustomed to doing things “the Iraq way”. Many people are trying to apply the lessons learned in Iraq to Afghanistan, which in many cases is inappropriate. AF2 wants to provide a product to US units to compare and contrast Iraqi tribal structure and Pashtun tribal structure to prevent future missteps by US forces.
Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan. It has likely cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars Congress might not otherwise have appropriated had it known the truth, and our senior leaders’ behavior has almost certainly extended the duration of this war. The single greatest penalty our Nation has suffered, however, has been that we have lost the blood, limbs and lives of tens of thousands of American Service Members with little to no gain to our country as a consequence of this deception.
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.
(U//FOUO) Joint Center for Operational Analysis (JCOA) Civilian Casualties (CIVCAS) Adaptive Learning for Afghanistan
Building on several previously completed studies of civilian casualties (CIVCAS) in Afghanistan, the US Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Center for Operational Analysis (JCOA) partnered with Ms. Sarah Sewall of Harvard University to conduct an independent and comprehensive assessment of civilian casualties, the Joint Civilian Casualty Study, published in August 2010. The Commander, International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF), responded to this assessment by stating that more work was needed to ensure that the DOTMLPF changes required to reduce and mitigate CIVCAS were institutionalized. Accordingly, COMISAF requested that JCOA, with the support of the Services, conduct a study to “examine the institutionalization of CIVCAS lessons learned into US forces’ preparation for deployment, with a focus on the unique context of Afghanistan.” That study, Adaptive Learning for Afghanistan (ALA), examined ways in which lessons and adaptations in theater were captured, shared, and incorporated into force preparation. In this respect, ALA was not “another CIVCAS study,” but rather, it used CIVCAS as a test case for characterizing the overall process of adaptive learning.
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.
Every year as technology grows and advances thus do the threats that surround it. Predicting what new cyber threats to look for may not always be an easy task. By keeping up with the past trends and ever changing current environment, may help to give us a good handle on how to prepare for what may be to come.
U.S. Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity (TRISA) Female Suicide Bombers report from January 2011.
Local governance in rural Afghanistan is not simple. Older customary local assemblies operate alongside GIRoA officials, Community Development Councils (CDC’s), and insurgent groups. Although we speak of insurgent governments as “shadow governments,” they rarely exist in the shadows for those over whom they wield power. In villages where insurgents continue to exercise control, the insurgents and not GIRoA perform traditional governmental functions; they levy taxes, resolve disputes (they are, in many villages the only law in town), and maintain local defense forces. Western Powers have invested their hope and their treasure in inventing a new form of local control: Community District Councils that come out of the National Solidarity Program (NSP). Managed by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) with funds from NGO’s and from the World Bank, these organizations set priorities for the expenditure of donor money and oversee contracts. Although they offer an alternative to the indiscriminate funding of the past that encouraged favoritism and corruption, these organizations have little authority except when it comes to the stewardship of outside money. As those development funds begin to dry up, will CDC’s vanish? Can they be further empowered?
This publication provides joint doctrine for planning and executing counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) operations. It outlines responsibilities, provides command and control considerations, discusses organizational options, details the C-IED process and attack the network methodology, and introduces models for coordinating with C-IED supporting organizations.
All assets and capabilities at a commander’s disposal have the capacity to inform and influence selected audiences to varying degrees. While specific assets termed as “information-related capabilities” are information-centric in mission and purpose, others are standard capabilities that inform and influence officers use for planning to support commanders’ information strategy and mission objectives. The primary information-related capabilities that support inform and influence activities typically include, but are not limited to, public affairs, military information support operations, combat camera, Soldier and leader engagement, civil affairs, cyber electromagnetic activities, counterintelligence, operations security, military deception, and others so designated by a commander. In addition to the primary information-related capabilities, there are operational capabilities not solely designed to inform or influence that commanders can designate to assist in achieving mission objectives, such as maneuver forces, engineers, and medical units. Success depends on commanders and staffs effectively employing all available operational assets to best shape the information environment.
U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA) “Joint Operational Environment” briefing from 2011.
Operational experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan support the continued need to eliminate barriers to information sharing that currently exist on DoD’s multiple networks. A concerted effort to unify the networks into a single information environment providing timely information to commanders will improve command and control, thus increasing our speed of action. Providing an information technology (IT) / National Security Systems (NSS) infrastructure that is accessible anywhere and anytime is key to ensuring the agility of the Department and allowing our most valuable resources, our people, nearly instant access to the information they need to make decisions in the execution of their missions. In turn, the Global Information Grid (GIG) must be designed and optimized to support warfighting functions of advantaged and disadvantaged users, to include mission partners, across the full range of military and National Security operations in any operational environment. The GIG must also be resilient and able to support the missions despite attacks by sophisticated adversaries.
U.S. military presentation from Multi-National Corps Iraq on “Core Warrior Values Training” which describes that the desecration of dead bodies is a prohibited activity.
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.