Archive for October, 2009

Civil Affairs Support to Irregular Warfare

October 14, 2009

“There will always be wars and rumors of war.”

Jesus Christ

It would appear that Jesus Christ saw wars as a regular, if negative, part of life and the Gospels contain a parable of two related to war, so I would doubt that Jesus would see anything irregular about warfare. However, the Department of Defense felt that some wars are not as regular as others, and in Department of Defense Directive (DoDD 3000.07, December 1, 2008 (see link), defined irregular warfare as “A violent struggle among states and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant population(s). Irregular warfare favors indirect and asymmetric approaches, though it may employ the full range of military and other capacities, in order to erode an adversary’s power, influence and will.”

Non-state actor is the factor that separates irregular war (IW) from the run of the mill variety. The definitions in DoDD 3000.07 imply that a focus on civilian population distinguishes IW from traditional warfare. However, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Sherman’s march to the sea were focused on civilian populations, as were the 8th USAAF and RAF Bomber Command attacks on major German civilian population centers in WWII and our bombing campaigns against Hanoi. These were all acts by state actors during traditional wars, so I think the focus really is on the non-state actors.

The Geneva Conventions speak to non-state actors in as much as they apply to “conflicts not of an international character,” so the law of armed conflict does not change in regards to a military’s responsibilities towards civilian populations under their control. (See links at right.) So what does Civil Affairs do differently in IW vice regular war? That is a good question, one that the Civil Affairs Association will consider at its 58th annual conference, where it will address “the role of Civil Affairs personnel, units, and policy in irregular warfare.” In May of this year the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities (ASD (SO/LIC&IC)) briefed that “the nature of irregular warfare (CT, UW, FID, COIN & SO) is indeed “population focused” operations, then we must consider the implications for civil affairs; one of the few capabilities within DoD that specifically focuses on foreign civilian populations.” I would like to share some of the highlights of what ASD (SO/LIC&IC) briefing and solicit some responses on the issue of how CA supports IW.

Counter-terrorism (CT) Operations that include the offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, preempt, and respond to terrorism. (JP 3-05) If I take out the words offensive measures from the DoD definition of CT, I can imagine lots of ways CA can undermine local popular support for terrorist networks, such as our support to FID in the Philippines. ASD (SO/LIC&IC) suggested “For example, civil affairs functional specialists with expertise in the areas of banking and law enforcement can assist DoD efforts to educate HN security forces in methods to combat terrorist financial operations.” This may be true, but our FBI and DOJ, who have offices in US embassies worldwide, are far more likely to have this expertise. I agree with ASD (SO/LIC&IC) remarks that “civil affairs forces should train and equip other HN forces in Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) to ensure HN forces are prepared to immediately respond with appropriate levels of aid following a specific CT operation. Without such civil-military components to CT operations, terrorist organizations will likely strengthen their influence over relevant populations as was witnessed in Lebanon in 2006.” and “CT operations that cause unnecessary collateral damage risk alienating the relevant populations, de-legitimizing the host nation and or US , and may produce effects that are counter to our campaign objectives. Civil affairs can help mitigate such effects.” More importantly, senior CA officers should sit on targeting boards where they can influence whether or not we risk needlessly killing innocent civilians in our attempts to bag relatively low-value targets. Such ill-informed CT strikes only serve to recruit for the Taliban.

Unconventional Warfare (UW) ASD (SO/LIC&IC) suggested that CA could support UW by conduct “civil reconnaissance in advance of future UW operations to include human terrain mapping and civil information management.” And suggested that our CA conduct civil-military operations (CMO) in and around “safe havens” used by US forces and help plan and support the transition phase of UW campaigns. ASD (SO/LIC&IC) noted that these tasks would require that CA should leverage ongoing social science programs and increase the level of social science analysis in the curriculum of the CA course. I think these suggestions make imminent sense. I would like to opine that we would never undermine another sovereign government, but as one State Department officer informed me, he conducted UW against the Taliban while serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).

Foreign Internal Defense (FID) ASD (SO/LIC&IC) noted “Civil Affairs functional specialists with backgrounds in the areas of justice, law enforcement and corrections can provide additional depth to these DoD sponsored advisory missions and associated Security Sector Reform missions. However, these CA functional specialists require some additional training in the principals of development and Security Sector Reform (SSR).” A valid statement, but most of our CA functional specialists will have backgrounds in US justice, law enforcement and corrections. Special care is needed to ensure that we don’t foist a corrections system that Californians can’t afford on Afghans, etc. Similarly, our justice system is very different from those found in Europe and Asia and may not be the right answer for a country fighting a radical Islamic insurgency. The British are championed as experts in COIN and oft cited for their overwhelming use of police vice military to defeat communist insurgents in Malaya. However, the police employed by the British did not carry Miranda cards, nor were they bound by the strict rules of evidence that our police are accustomed to.

Counterinsurgency (COIN). ASD (SO/LIC&IC) notes that “Organizational models such as the Provincial Reconstruction teams provide a contemporary model for civil-military teaming in support of COIN. However, there remains a need for more formal civil-military teaming concepts. . . as with Counter-terrorism, civil affairs can contribute to methods for countering insurgent networks and their associated communications and financial systems. To conduct COIN, DoD requires “interdependent joint force/interagency packages proficient in performing large-scale, civil-military operations needed to defeat irregular threats and conduct stability operations, thus enabling/transitioning to civil authorities. Civil affairs forces are logical components for such civil-military teaming concepts. However, such models will require a reevaluation of joint civil affairs doctrine and organizational concepts for civil-military operations at the operational/theater level.” Basically, recognizes that a lot more CA is needed, and this is one reason we are building to ten AC CA battalions in two brigades while growing USAR CA by one more brigade. One suggestion is to make a CA company organic to each AC and ARNG brigade combat team (BCT) and use the USAR CA force for echelon above BCT, to include civil-military teaming in Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) or Forward Advanced Civilian Teams.

Stability Operations (SO) (As Steve Henthorne of CCOE (link at right) says, the other side of COIN) ASD (SO/LIC&IC) advocates for more training for USAR CA functional specialists, CA planners permanently assigned to Combatant Command staffs and more “CERP-like” authorities and funds, and that CA assets should be more often in conflict prevention and persistent presence roles as well as ongoing fights in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are all good recommendations.

I think that overall ASD (SO/LIC&IC) made some excellent recommendations that though they will take time and money (a lot less than a half-dozen more F22s) will serve our Nation well in preventing and fighting IW as well as traditional war. I look forward to hearing more about how CA can support IW at the 58th Civil Affairs Conference and I look forward to questions and comments on this posting.



October 7, 2009

On 16 September 2009 the Department of Defense reissued DoD Directive 3000.05 (Stability Operations) as DoD Instruction 3000.05, stating that “Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission that the Department of Defense shall be prepared to conduct with proficiency equivalent to combat operations.”
Our forces have been conducting stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan now for several years, but that does not necessarily mean that the Army has done all it can to prepare ourselves to conduct stability operations as well as we fight. Here is a simple “back of the envelope” DOTMLPF assessment of what I think we need to do to make sure our Army is prepared to fully execute stability operations. I welcome your comments and suggestions.
We have taken on the doctrine piece of preparing our force by the publication of FM3-07, but how widely read is it? I have had a number of good (as opposed to “rich”) discussions of this with colleagues at PKSOI and the COIN Center. They have pointed out that as good as FM3-07 is, the devil is in the details, and TTP manuals are needed for such FM3-07 chapter 3 stability tasks such as Support Property Dispute Resolution Processes, Support Public Outreach and Community Rebuilding Programs, Restore Essential Services, Provide Essential Services, Support to Governance and Support Elections, just to name a few of the forty three tasks listed in that chapter, each with supporting sub-tasks.
Organizationally, I can think of some improvements to help us conduct stability operations as well as we do defense and offense. First, I think we should make Civil Affairs (CA) companies organic to our brigade combat teams (BCTs) and give our divisions and corps trained CA officers and NCOs to staff their civil military operations centers (CMOCs) with. We should give each of our BCTs their own trained contracting officers to manage the additional contracts associated with stability operations.
For training and education, we need to make sure that stability operations is taught in our Non-Commissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) and in our officer education system as well. I notice that the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course has four modules at in the eight week COMPANY OPERATIONS portion of the course, and one of them is “Stability/COIN/Targeting.” I am not sure how many hours are devoted to each of these topics, and I mean to find out, but it is a good sign that stability operations made the course outline (see attached link “MCCC Curriculum” at right.) The BATTALION OPERATIONS block also has a module titled “Stability/Targeting.”
In as much as we will continue to be engaged in operations in Muslim countries for years to come, we need to provide standardized education about Islam and Muslim culture to our Soldiers and officers as part of their basic training. Advanced civilian education opportunities should be linked to degree programs that enable graduates to contribute to the execution of stability tasks and ROTC scholarships should be similarly tied to like programs at the undergraduate level as well as mastery of a foreign language.
I think that JRTC is making a serious effort to provide an opportunity to train stability operations in a compressed amount of time during mission readiness exercises, and I applaud their use of native Afghan and Iraqi role players and integration of USAID into their scenarios, and I understand that Department of State plans to send some of its staff through JRTC to participate in the training as well. Many JRTC rotations concentrate heavily on stability operations, but some do not. That some do not may reflect a failure of our senior leadership seminars to fully explain the importance and inevitability of stability operations to BCT commanders and staff. This must be corrected. Each rotation should address some key stability tasks, such as Establish Civil Security, Protect Key Personnel and Facilities, Clear Explosive and CBRN Hazards, etc. A BCT may not have within its task organization the capability to complete other tasks such as Restore Essential Services, but the BCT commander and his staff need to know who to call to get the right assets to help with tasks that exceed the BCT’s capabilities or capacity.
As for materiel, I would advocate for a full fielding of the Civil Information Management (CIM) system developed by USACE and the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (or its next generation) so that all CA companies throughout the AC and RC are equipped and trained in its use. This system allows CA Soldiers to develop a much more complete picture of the civil component of the operational environment and to collect significant data, to include USAID tactical conflict assessment framework (TCAF) responses from the local populace. CIM data will support CA, CMO and IO activities and greatly enhance our ability to conduct stability operations and COIN. We also need a bio-metric identification system similar to our BIDS that we can use to help identify who belongs and who does not and to better map the human terrain. Our Army has used systems like this before in Afghanistan, but more of this equipment is needed. I think that most other equipment procured for combat operations has direct applicability to stability operations. There may be a need to stockpile additional equipment sets and other supplies to support delivery of humanitarian assistance and essential services during early phases of post-combat reconstruction.
Addressing the Leadership element of Stability Operations can best be accomplished through education at pre command courses, our officer PME and NCOES courses and BCTP senior leader seminars. As I noted earlier, the MCCC has put it in its curriculum.
Personnel must be addressed through incentives and recruiting. As I mentioned earlier, advanced civilian schooling and ROTC scholarships should be tied to degree programs that have direct applicability to stability operations and to achieving foreign language proficiency. Since our reserve component (RC) makes up a larger portion of our deployed forces now than ever, those returning veterans who stay in the RC should be given the opportunity to apply for Army funded advanced civilian schooling in degree programs that will directly contribute to stability operations. More Soldiers should be afforded opportunity to learn foreign languages during the reset cycle. For RC CA, United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) should be able to offer direct commissions, at the field grade level if necessary, to attract qualified civilian talent needed to fill functional specialist billets in its CA brigades and battalions.
Finally, for facilities, I am not sure that drastic changes are needed to existing facilities, to include those at the CTCs. I would look to others for suggestions in this area.
Anyway, that is my back of the envelope assessment. I appreciate any feedback on this.

A Short History of U.S. Military Operations in Humanitarian Space

October 2, 2009

There has been a lot of criticism of late by some civilian humanitarian actors that the United State military, especially since 9/11, has militarized humanitarian assistance and development in attempts to win hearts and minds and in doing so is trespassing in the “humanitarian space.” Critics have gone on to say that the biggest threat to humanitarian actors and their humanitarian space is the United States military and its post 9/11 doctrine. They point to casualties among the staff of non-governmental humanitarian organizations (NGHOs) in places such as Afghanistan to make their point.

It is true that the United States Army has republished its counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine, the latest version being the October 2006 FM 3-24. The Army also published in October 2008 its landmark FM 3-07, Stability Operations. Both these bodies of doctrine recognize that there are civilians on the battlefield, and that they matter very much. The Army has become ever more engaged in humanitarian assistance and development in regions of violent conflict, as have our Marines, Seabees, and in the littorals, our Navy with its young Maritime Civil Affairs Group (MCAG). Officers and Seamen from the MCAG are serving or have served worldwide in places like the Horn of Africa, Central and South America and the Philippines. The Navy has also used its USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy to great effect in the littoral humanitarian space. Just this summer, the USNS Comfort took 650 medical professionals to seven Latin American countries where they provided urgent medical care to tens of thousands of needy civilians.

So how is this history and not current events? Well, it is both. First, a little chronology is in order. The term “humanitarian space” was coined in the 1990s by the then director of Doctor’s Without Borders. Granted, the term began circulating before 9/11 and the recent publication of FM 3-24 and FM 3-07, but those manuals were based in history of modern warfare. FM3-24 (COIN) and FM3-07 (Stability Operations) draw from the U.S. Army’s experience in Mexico in the 1840s, the Philippines in the late 1890’s and Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. FM3-24 also draws on the British experience in Malaya in the 1950s. When Republic of Korea General Paik Sun Yup fought communist guerrillas in the Chiri Mountains in 1951, he was tutored by LTG Van Fleet, USA, who had tutored the Greek Army to victory over communist insurgents in the mountains of Greece. All these operations involved great charity as well as great violence, and Soldiers in all cases proved to be very compassionate humanitarian actors in their own right. From the 1960s onward, Medical, Engineer, Dental, Veterinarian Civic Action Programs (MEDCAPs, ENCAPS, DENTCAPS, VETCAPs) would become commonplace, standard operating procedures for the U.S. military and its allies. The U.S. Army began playing “civilians on the battlefield” at the Joint Readiness Training Center and various other training sites in the 1980s, before the term “humanitarian space” was coined and well before 9/11. And let us not forget the Greatest Generation. Commensurate with the planning for Operation OVERLORD, the amphibious assault of Europe, the U.S. Army began final planning for Operation ECLIPSE, the reconstruction and stabilization of Europe. The execution of Operation ECLIPSE required our Army to conduct extensive humanitarian assistance, development, military government and support to civil administration.

Though hearts and minds were certainly a motive in all these good deeds performed by the U.S. military dating back to our war with Mexico, the bulk of our military’s involvement in humanitarian assistance and development can be traced back to U.S. military regulations and international law. Civil Military Operations (CMO) were first codified in General Scott’s General Order #20 during the Mexican-American War. This order protected Mexican civilians from lawless acts by American Soldiers and instilled marshall law in occupied territories. In concert with martial law, Scott initiated public sanitation projects in cities his Soldiers occupied. These projects provided paid employment to Mexican labor and protected the health of both the Mexican civilians and the American Soldiers. During the Civil War, GO # 20 morphed into GO# 100, which was later used in the Philippines as well. GO #100 was much of the inspiration for the Hague Convention of 1907, which stated in part “The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.” The Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civil Persons in Time of War, 12 August 1949, (link at right)goes several better, stating “to the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.” Article 59 of the Convention touches on civilian humanitarian actors: “If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of said population, and shall facilitate them by all means at its disposal. Such schemes, which may be undertaken either by states or impartial humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, shall consist, in particular, of the provision of consignments of foodstuffs, medical supplies and clothing.” International law ratified by almost all UN member states, U.S. included, recognized that militaries and NGOs might have to “scheme” together to meet the needs of civilians in distress. Article 2 of the Convention states that the convention applies to “all cases of partial or total occupation. . . even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance” and Article 3 states that the Convention also applies “in the case of armed conflict not of an international character. . .” Article 3 recognizes the need for militaries to conduct humanitarian assistance while fighting insurgents in their own territory or when helping an ally fight insurgents.

In conclusion, to my civilian humanitarian actor friends, I swear, the U.S. military is not your enemy and we and our post 9/11 doctrine are not the greatest threat to your existence or to humanitarian space. As indicated by the  Fourth Geneva Convention, we must together make a better world for civilians or real battlefields.