Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Afghanistan sometimes you need to bend the rules, or interpret creatively, and ask forgiveness later.

That is the basic point behind this brief comparison/contrast of three battalion level commanders in Afghanistan trying to figure out how best to operate in a COIN environment, and in particular, how to implement its focus on reintegration of insurgent fighters into productive civilian roles. The first two had problems, increase in violence, while the third did not:

C1: My job is to kill the enemy. Local governance, development and interaction with indigenous folks is in some other person's bailiwick. Ditto about this reintegrating of enemy fighters. It's naive tomfoolery to begin with.

C2: Insurgent reintegration is and should be within my purview, but its tricky business. So, I'd better stick to following official guidance which says I need to use Afghan government officials as middle men in negotiating with would-be reintegrating insurgent fighters, even though I know the local officials are corrupt.

C3: Reintegration, to be successful must involve local government that is perceived to be legally and morally legitimate. If some local yahoo of an Afghan government official is not such a person I will make sure he changes his ways, dress him down in private, in public if needs be. If he doesn't change, I'll move to other locals that have legitimacy in the eyes of the locals, and work with the Afghan government through them. This two pronged strategy will lend an air of legitimacy to the national government if done consistently.

Well, what implications does this have for official guidance? Sometimes you have to treat rough grained rules for what they are, or rather should be, suggestions, not fine grained hard and fast orders. Interpret them in light of the overarching values and goals of the broad COIN strategy Worry about ruffled feathers in the chain of command later. If all turns out good, all will be forgiven.

Read the whole thing!

CENTCOM blogs!

HERE. Found this via their Facebook page. Man. Media savvy, hip-hop-hapnin'.

Start working on the Super Bowl ad fellas. Centcom does the Wazzup guys? Hmmm?

Added to blogroll.