The purpose of this study is to provide a synthesis of the prevailing issues and analysis concerning the legal status of persons in resistance. This document refers broadly to resistance and those involved in it, meaning those individuals comprising the resistance element, US personnel supporting or countering the resistance, and the standing government. In alignment with this focus, the document explores the status of personnel particularly in foreign internal defense (FID), counterinsurgency (COIN), and unconventional warfare (UW) operations. When originally conceived, this manuscript was to be an updated volume of the 1961 American University Special Operations Research Office (SORO) study, The Legal Status of Participants in Unconventional Warfare. The National Security Analysis Department (NSAD) of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) was asked by the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), G-3X Special Programs Division, to review and analyze the historical use of international law, the law of land warfare, and applicable international conventions and update the SORO study accordingly and also include unique legal considerations regarding the status of irregular forces. Because many aspects of both law and policy have changed since the 1961 publication, particularly within the context of US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, USASOC requested that this manuscript be a new document to account for these changes, highlight key legal questions, and position these questions within the context of hypothetical scenarios and historical examples.
The Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) series consists of a set of case studies and research conducted for the US Army Special Operations Command by the National Security Analysis Department of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. The purpose of the ARIS series is to produce a collection of academically rigorous yet operationally relevant research materials to develop and illustrate a common understanding of insurgency and revolution. This research, intended to form a bedrock body of knowledge for members of the Special Forces, will allow users to distill vast amounts of material from a wide array of campaigns and extract relevant lessons, thereby enabling the development of future doctrine, professional education, and training.
During the last decade, the U.S. military, along with its interagency and international partners, has generated significant capability to counter the irregular threats presented by non-state terrorists, insurgents, and criminal groups. During these same years, a distinct challenge to America and its partners in NATO and beyond has arisen through an innovative mix of such irregular threats. This challenge is Hybrid Warfare combining conventional, irregular, and asymmetric means, to include the persistent manipulation of political and ideological conflict. Foreshadowed by Iranian actions throughout the Middle East and by Chinese “unrestricted warfare” strategists in the 1990s, Hybrid Warfare has now reached its most brazen form in Russia’s support for separatist insurgents in Ukraine.
Center for Irregular Warfare Integration Division (CIWID) was directed to conduct a Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) on Irregular Warfare (IW) to ensure that the Marine Corps is properly postured to conduct IW operations and activities in the future. This document provides the results of the analysis and the recommended way ahead. The IW CBA message directed CIWID to “provide insights/observations after each phase of the study which may be used in support of future force structure deliberations.”
Irregular forces are armed individuals or groups who are not members of the regular armed forces, police, or other internal security forces (JP 3-24). The distinction of being armed as an individual or group can include a wide range of people who can be categorized correctly or incorrectly as irregular forces. Excluding members of regular armed forces, police, or internal security forces from being considered irregular forces may appear to add some clarity. However, such exclusion is inappropriate when a soldier of a regular armed force, policeman, or internal security force member is concurrently operating in support of insurgent, guerrilla, or criminal activities.
RPAs are revolutionary surveillance and weapons delivery systems – changing the way the Air Force builds situation awareness and engages enemy forces – but their full potential has yet to be realized. To begin to address this issue, the Air Force initiated this study to review the state-of-the-art in RPA operations, focusing on control and connectivity in an irregular warfare (IW) environment. The Panel was specifically tasked to identify RPA architectures and operational concepts centered on human-systems integration, distributed systems operations, and effective command and control – a cluster of concepts and technologies we subsequently labeled as “mission management” enablers. The Panel was also tasked to recommend mid- to far-term S&T development roadmaps for advancing these technologies to improve the flexibility and capability of RPA operations.
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).
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.
The following material was extracted from MCCLL reports based on interviews, lessons and observations from operational units that participated in OIF/OEF over the past 36 months. Although this material is based on collections that took place in 2005 through 2007, comments from recent observers and currently deployed individuals indicate that issues on the ground likely remain the same. Content of this paper is grouped in response to specific questions in the TECOM tasking dated 2 April 2008.
Statements from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other Department of Defense (DOD) officials suggest that the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) that is currently in progress may lead to an increased emphasis in future U.S. defense budgets on capabilities for conducting irregular warfare (IW) operations, such as counterinsurgency operations. In addition, counterterrorism (CT) operations have received an increased emphasis since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
a. Recognize that IW is as strategically important as traditional warfare. Many of the capabilities and skills required for IW are applicable to traditional warfare, but their role in IW can be proportionally greater than in traditional warfare.
b. Improve DoD proficiency for IW, which also enhances its conduct of stability operations. Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission that the Department of Defense shall be prepared to conduct across the full range of military operations in accordance with DoD Directive 3000.05 (Reference (b)).
c. Conduct IW independently of, or in combination with, traditional warfare.
(1) IW can include a variety of steady-state and surge DoD activities and operations:
counterterrorism; unconventional warfare; foreign internal defense; counterinsurgency; and stability operations that, in the context of IW, involve establishing or re-establishing order in a fragile state.
(2) While these activities may occur across the full range of military operations, the balance or primary focus of operations gives a campaign its predominant character.