Skip to comments.Military Hones a New Strategy on Insurgency
Posted on 10/06/2006 10:47:30 PM PDT by neverdem
New York Times
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 The United States Army and Marines are finishing work on a new counterinsurgency doctrine that draws on the hard-learned lessons from Iraq and makes the welfare and protection of civilians a bedrock element of military strategy.
The doctrine warns against some of the practices used early in the war, when the military operated without an effective counterinsurgency playbook. It cautions against overly aggressive raids and mistreatment of detainees. Instead it emphasizes the importance of safeguarding civilians and restoring essential services, and the rapid development of local security forces.
The current military leadership in Iraq has already embraced many of the ideas in the doctrine. But some military experts question whether the Army and the Marines have sufficient troops to carry out the doctrine effectively while also preparing for other threats.
The subtleties of the battle were highlighted Wednesday when the Iraqi Interior Ministry suspended a police brigade on suspicion that some members had been involved in death squads. The move was the most serious step Iraqi officials had taken to tackle the festering problem of militias operating within ministry forces.
The new doctrine is part of a broader effort to change the culture of a military that has long promoted the virtues of using firepower and battlefield maneuvers in swift, decisive operations against a conventional enemy.
The Army will use this manual to change its entire culture as it transitions to irregular warfare, said Jack Keane, a retired four-star general who served in 2003 as the acting chief of staff of the Army. But the Army does not have nearly enough resources, particularly in terms of people, to meet its global responsibilities while making such a significant commitment to irregular warfare.
The doctrine is outlined in a new field manual on counterinsurgency that is...
(Excerpt) Read more at goupstate.com ...
We might just as well surrender now and save all the trouble.
is this still a war? We dealt with situations not that different in past post-war situations, and worried about maintaining victory first, and cleaning up the mess later.
The Iraqis need to fully understand the quote by Rennie Davis-- Chicago 1968-- " if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem"
Well, you know we can't just indiscriminately kill like we did fighting Japan and Germany. No we are a more gentle military.
The war (in Iraq) ended by the end of May of '03. Since then the mission has been a combination of nation building and a police action.
We're better at wars.
Or rather, it's best we just stick to fighting wars.
Well said, and spot on.
Oh, but in today's world we must protect the "feelings" of the enemy at all cost. If we don't, we risk their not liking us /sarc.
Much of this doctrine seems ridiculous. But I'm not worried. American soldiers are very good at ignoring doctrine that doesn't work and replacing with something that does work.
That was a conventional war, this is a worldwide guerrilla. You don't fight them the same. Until people frasp this they a doomed to be frustrated at the way we are fighting, why it's taking so long....etc.
Now, as to some of the opinions being expressed:
1. General Keane is not a bad guy (better than his predecessor Shinseki, although that's not saying much) but bear in mind that he was promoted in the Clinton Administration and denied the promotion he expected by Bush and more particularly Rumsfeld. His love for the current Administration does not extend far.
2. Counterinsurgency doctrine is not new; only the manual is new. As it says in the Old Testament, there is nothing new under the sun, and I believe Plato or someone was on record with the same sentiment at about the same time. The military worked off of several different manuals and books, including some excellent work done by Marines in the early 20th Century.
3. This does not mean that the Army will no longer be able to fight against mechanized armies. Duh! It's just a book about how the military responds to one particular system of challenges, in the full spectrum of warfare. Trust me, the capability to cut through a big tank army and seize a hostile capital still exists and isn't going anywhere.
The point of the Army's transformation is this: to replace large and disparate units with smaller, more easily transported, and more interchangeable units. Rather than a few divisions, each of which had its own weapons fit and manning (and often with different systems from one battalion to the next), the Army will have at its disposal a greater number of smaller brigades, organized and equipped for more rapid transportation worldwide. These brigades can be task-organized into divisional or corps units as needed, or can operate independently if required (the brigades and battalions in the old divisional structure could not operate independently without getting combat support and combat service support "slices" from the division or corps or higher echelons).
One thing this does if free up the brainpower and time of staff officers who were often bedeviled by the complex challenges of establishing those "slices" on the fly.
But transformation, while it makes its mark on everything the military does, is not the same as counterinsurgency doctrine.
Transformation is like this: taking away the humongous circular saw that was the only tool in your woodshop, and giving you a bench of portable tools, that let you saw and do a lot more besides. The counterinsurgency manual is an instruction book for some of the cool possibilities of using that tool room.
4. End strength of the services is a totally diffferent issue. Especially during the Clinton administration, Congress and the President took one heck of a pound of flesh as the "peace dividend," and spent it on themselves and their pet projects. Army end strength (total Army) dropped by 500,000. The Navy went from almost 600 ships to under 200. The USAF took a similar cut in combat air units. The only service not decimated by the cuts was the politically well-connected Marines, who still took some hits.
You'll never get that end strength back. Right now most of the military budget is earmarked by Congress, and the vast majority is in personnel entitlements, which means it's untouchable by leaders or planners (for the Army, that figure is 81% of the budget).
The current Chief of Staff (a far more able man that his predecessors) wanted to remove clerks from idle personnel functions, but he found that much of the personnel churn there was a result of Congressional mandates; he isn't allowed to outsource such functions as finance (the army is 1000 times less efficient at processing payroll than the average large business). About 50,000 current soldiers are personnel clerks -- as expensive as a combat soldier, but much less useful. You can't just reassign them, though: most of them don't have the mental or physical ability to serve in infantry, for instance.
Bottom line: you'd never know it from reading the New York Times, which considers the military a perplexing and vaguely foreign institution, the guys running this thing actually know what they're doing.
Criminal Number 18F
It IS a frustrating war to fight. You still have to kill more of them than they kill of you, and it does take a long time.
Regardless, as with any war, you have to crush their will to fight. Until we figure that out we have our backs against the wall.