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.
To understand irregular warfare’s importance to the United States, it is first necessary to understand who is capable of threatening our national security using irregular means. This assessment discusses three types of groups that conduct their conflict with the United States using such means: insurgent groups, violent extremist organizations, and criminal networks. The descriptions we provide here are not intended to be comprehensive definitions, since such definitions would incorrectly imply a consensus among policymakers, officers, and analysts that simply does not exist.
IED and Sniper Defeat: The Battle Staff Operations Process in a COIN Environment briefing from April 13, 2007.
The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP) is active. It provides for both reintegration (where fighters leave the fight and peacefully rejoin their communities) and reconciliation (where entire insurgent groups reach a settlement with GIRoA that ends hostilities). Reintegration is the focus of this guide. Information is presented on the APRP, its place in the COIN Campaign and ISAF‟s role. It provides those in ISAF with what they need to work with community leaders and GIRoA and ANSF partners to build their understanding of the Programme and its opportunities. It is an Afghan Programme and ISAF‟s role is to assist and encourage GIRoA to implement it fully.
Two unclassified reports from the U.S. Army National Ground Intelligence Center that are part of a series titled “Complex Environments – An Alternative Approach to the Assessment of Insurgencies and their Social Terrain”, from November 2009-March 2010.
This document continues discussion on effective targeting methods (lethal and non-lethal) at the Battalion and Brigade level. It continues dialogue on Attacking the Network by further describing Center of Gravity and Critical Vulnerability analysis themes and their link to network modeling. This document also discusses the use of detailed, Observable Indicators to focus Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance assets against the enemy’s vulnerabilities. A modified Intelligence Synchronization Matrix (ISM) ensures integration and synchronization to the friendly course of action in a Counter-Insurgency environment. Using doctrinal and situational templates and a modified ISM helps the S2 understand the insurgent networks operating in his Area of Interest, focus assets against the known or suspected Critical Vulnerabilities, and synchronize ISR to give the commander the information he needs at the Decision Points.
Commander, International Security Assistance Force Campaign Overview June 2010.
(U) Many students of insurgency and counterinsurgency attest to the importance of popular support to each side’s quest to achieve its objectives. Key aspects of popular support, including type (passive or active) and scope (limited or significant), are inarguably important in analyzing an insurgency. However, focusing solely or immediately on these aspects risks glossing over insurgent efforts to set conditions necessary to mobilize such support in the first place. Most notably, these conditions include the generation of compliance and the establishment and institutionalization of control.
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan National Police Strategy, January 2010.
ISAF Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) Partnering Directive, August 29, 2009.
A current method used by the Taliban in Afghanistan to gain control of an area deemed of strategic interest to the Taliban leadership, which operates from safe havens in Pakistan or within Afghanistan, is to identify and target villages to subvert. The Taliban have recognized the necessity to operate with the cooperation of the local population, with their modus operandi being to gain villagers’ cooperation through indoctrination (preferred) or coercion (when necessary).
FOUO U.S. Army Combined Arms Center: Afghan Counterinsurgency Lessons Brief, February 17, 2010.
Targets of Psychological Operations
PSYOP can assist counterinsurgency by reaching the following targets:
-Civilian Populace (US & HN)
-External Hostile Powers
A COIN campaign is conducted through a specific philosophy and a set of specific principles that guide the application of combat power. It is distinctly different from the conduct of an insurgency itself, and the lines of operation within the COIN campaign must counter the lines of operation of the insurgents. Within the guiding principles, each COIN campaign must be a custom approach to the insurgency at hand. The constant is the fact that insurgency and counter-insurgency are essentially about the battle to win and hold popular support both at home and in the theatre of operations.
Insurgency is the organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify or challenge political control of a region. As such, it is primarily a political struggle, in which both sides use armed force to create space for their political, economic and influence activities to be effective. Insurgency is not always conducted by a single group with a centralized, military-style command structure, but may involve a complex matrix of different actors with various aims, loosely connected in dynamic and non-hierarchical networks. To be successful, insurgencies require charismatic leadership, supporters, recruits, supplies, safe havens and funding (often from illicit activities).
You may DETAIN civilians based upon a reasonable belief that the person: (1) must be detained for purposes of self-defense; (2) is interfering with CF mission accomplishment; (3)is on a list of persons wanted for questioning, arrest or detention; (4)is or was engaged in criminal activity; or (5)must be detained for imperative reasons of security.Anyone you detain MUSTbe protected. Force, up to and including deadly force, is authorized to protect detainees in your custody. You MUST fill out a detainee apprehension card for EVERY person you detain.
The Joint Prosecution and Exploitation Center (JPEC) synchronizes coalition force (CF) intelligence and criminal prosecution efforts associated with detainees, detainee related evidence, and other battlefield material while also supporting Iraqi Security Forces development of internationally accepted criminal investigative and forensic practices IOT facilitate the growth and development of the Anbar Criminal Justice System and the establishment of the Rule of Law within the province.