Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FM 3-24 - v2.0

Perhaps the most charming charm Great Satan's hyper puissance sexhibits since way back in the last millennium, is her fully crunk super penchant to adapt, overcome and upgrade her comte d'guerre ensembe to hook up in any combatty environs.

Reviving the ancient dark arts of Surgin' is a great example - on it's release 4 years ago today, FM 3-24 sha'hab'd straight up the best seller list - with over 1.5 million plus downloads in it's 1st week! It totally xformed Great Satan's collective of psychic Combat Rock Stars into celebs and estabb'd the tricked out initialised 'COIN' into a safeword that won a close run thing.

Fast forward Surge's success in Iraq to AFPAK au courant:

"...Far from the generals in the Pentagon and Kabul, America’s front-line troops entrust their lives to junior officers officers in their 20s and early 30s who do much more than lead soldiers into combat. They must be coaches and therapists one minute, diplomats and dignitaries the next. They are asked to comprehend the machinations of Afghan allies even as they parry the attacks of Taliban foes."  

In prep for difficult assignments, junior officers today ref Army’s FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency, a document which is weighted heavily towards preparing Great Satan's voltigueres to role play the role “Primary Counterinsurgent.”

Army Major Michael Few, veteran Surge actualizer and editor of Small Wars Journal, recently hit up several fellow field grader fellow alums of Great Satan's Warcraft Academy - Majors Joshua Thiel, Bryan Martin, William Marm, Christopher O’Gwin, Christopher Young, Gabriel Szody  - along with Montana's exbear hunter/ Defense Analysis Professor Douglas Borer  - for upgrading FM 3-24 to reflect hard won expertise, in the deadliest high stakes ever attempted. 

Major Few graciously consented to exclusively consort (again!) with GsGf about reduxing COIN's holy text.

"...Courtney, FM 3-24 was born out of necessity.  GEN Petraeus brought together a team of experts to provide the US military some desperately needed help while Iraq was spiraling out of control.  The majority of the text covers the wisdom of David Galula, the godfather of population-centric counterinsurgency.   It was a good start.  Galula was smart, had a lot of experience, and could write, but, it was only a start.  There are other ways to go about intervening.

"...The more that I study small wars, it becomes clear that rebellion, revolt, and secession are deeply nested into the fabric of human nature and history.

"...Fast forward several thousand years, the American story is a long line of internal small wars- revolt from the British Empire, Civil War and Reconstruction, Indian Wars, Civil Rights movement, drug wars, etc.  Moreover, over the past three decades, sparked initially by the Cold War, increased after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and further agitated by the attacks of 9/11, the United States thrust itself into an era of persistent conflict. 

"...While the bulk of the fighting occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan, military advisory efforts quietly expanded globally to include Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Philippines, Horn of Africa, and Yemen.  Officially, by 2007, United States military personnel operate in over 150 countries throughout the world.  

"...Simultaneously, hundreds of other personnel from the U.S. State Department, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Humanitarian Assistance Groups work tirelessly throughout the world to spread democracy, promote better governance, cure diseases, and enhance education.  

Simply put, United States foreign policy, waxing and waning between neoliberalism and neoconservative thought, has been and is in the business of intervention as preventive medicine for the problems of genocide, terrorism, insurgencies, and drug wars. 

"...In truth, we’ve been intervening in others affairs for quite a long time with mixed results.  Outside the utility and the debates over the righteousness of such efforts, I felt that it was time to ask a series of questions concerning the people engaged in these small wars in order to see what they have to add to the collective body of knowledge.  

Pic - "Drop everything, cross that river, help your brothers."


A. S. Wise said...

Seeing that field manual reminds of why Gen. David Petraeus is my ideal candidate for POTUS in 2012. Consider this: who better to lead the nation while it is involved in the GWOT, than someone who is one of the US' most successful general officers AND former CO of CENTCOM. Even better, if Tommy Franks is on that (purely theoretical) ticket!

SecondComingOfBast said...

Bad idea. I've never known a military leader who wasn't a political moderate. It seems to come with the territory. They have the gift of building consensus and forging alliances. Its all about leadership. This is just the wrong time for that. The country is too divided for a consensus building president. We've already given up enough of our constitutional liberties as it is. We need to focus on getting them back, not agreeing to some kind of compromise to give up more.

A. S. Wise said...

Washington led America in the early days after we established the Constitutional form of government. He was perhaps the quintessential "tested leader." Another leader of note was Ike. I'd say Eisenhower presided over one of the best periods of American history. I fail to see how a consensus builder and former military officer would be detrimental to our way of life. American military leaders historically also tended to discourage examples of degenerate behavior (which destroys a culture and society from within); then again, there are always exceptions to the rule...

SecondComingOfBast said...

I'm not saying they were bad. Washington was arguably our greatest president, and my personal favorite president, to tell you the truth. But I don't want a consensus builder, because in this day and age, the definition of compromise with Democrats is when they ask for ten times more than what they really want, and end up getting everything they want as a "compromise".

I've had it with the constant taxes, and even worse, the constantly growing and expanding regulatory powers of the federal government.

By the way, when Ike was President, the top tax rate was ninety one percent. If it weren't for the Soviet Union, we would have fallen decades ago just because of that alone. You get another consensus builder in there, one of these nuts that want to "reach across the aisle and get things done" types, guaranteed you'll see an increase if not in taxes, then damn sure an increase in regulations and government growth, which is even worse.

Sorry, not interested.

Colonel Gian P Gentile said...

Dear GSGF:

But I must tell you that Counterinsurgency American style (the Petraeus way of FM 3-24) does not work. Nope, not in history (foget Malaya and Nagl's fiction that the british army did ham under Templer and because of that won the war, forget Vietnam and Sorley's fiction of a better coin war under Abrams, there was no better war, only broken strategy and policy).

Nor has it worked in current practice (forget Iraq and the Surge, just read Ollivant's new stuff on it, and finally forget Afghanistan, read Bing West's new book "The Wrong War.")

Plus I must suggest to you not to be too impressed with the tactical principles of pop centric Coin, namely that it takes a long time. You see in war, as Sun Tzu noted thousands of years ago and St Carl hundreds of years ago, tactics are supposed to be subordinate to strategy and not the other way around. If we let that turn occur, well then, we might as well all become General Jack D Ripper and chant the mantra that "war now is too important to be left up to the politicians." Maybe this is good for a Prussian militarist, but certainly not for American democracy of which you and I are happily a part of.

thanks for your ear


Anonymous said...

Before we castigate Von Clauswitz let's remember that he said, "The defense is the strongest form of war." Insurgency, Guerrilla efforts and other populist forms of resistance will always be favored for the win ultimately and the Prussian knew this.

What we have failed to do, at least from my direct observation, is successfully counter the insurgent projection of US forces as occupiers (already a negative connotation regardless of schools built and women liberated), reduce our "noticeable" presence in Iraq, coopt favor and commit to a generation of training of sympathetic indigenous factions and finally develop (in spite of 8 years to do so) and aggressive organic US military sensitivity to language and culture.

If counter-insurgency is to progress from the tactical to the strategic and thus develop persistence, it must be embraced with more nuance than has been shown by the US military. Ultimately any successful counter-insurgency must be about developing trusted relationships born out of loyalty to seeing the partner force succeed. This cannot develop when a commitment is time limited and when dates are broadcast.

It cannot occur when it is at odds with diplomatic efforts that treat all factions as having valid positions in the fight. The moment we allowed the legitimization of al Sadr and Hezbollah-East we lost any initiative that we may have gained in any counter-insurgency effort.

Counter-insurgency has/will fail in Iraq because our military and diplomatic objectives are at odds. Until all elements of national power have the same strategic objective and until we quit relying on conventional kinetic soldiers to try to apply maneuver principles to the wet-work of human interaction, we can count on failure.