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S2
16 Jan 11,, 06:38
Major Joshua Thiel U.S.A. offers this analysis regarding the commonly-held axiom that counter-insurgent forces must outnumber insurgents by a ratio of 10:1. Using a variety of cases studies drawn from successful and unsuccessful insurgencies reaching back to 1938, Thiel concludes differently.

To determine his conclusions read here-

COIN Manpower Ratios: Debunking The 10 To 1 Ratio and Surges-SWJ (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/647-thiel.pdf)

Double Edge
16 Jan 11,, 09:27
Pity it does not include Kashmir where if i'm not mistaken the ratio was 24:1.

Successful COIN depends on manpower, commitment by the govt and budget.

When it became apparent to the opponent that the insurgency would not succeed there was a rethink and talks were the result. The state of affairs there is much improved compared to the 90s but the army will still not signficantly drawdown and risk its hard won gains.

The conclusion also states that Iraq could have been won without a surge, that a surge isn't always required. I'm under the impression that each situation is unique, just because a surge was not required elsewhere does not necessarily imply the same in another scenario and vice versa.

Yes, the job could be done with a lower ratio but its not a given. Ratios rise because results were lacking earlier or a surge would not have been required to begin with.

That, its not possible to generalise for all insurgencies just that there are a few basic principles that could be followed and the rest is seat-of-your pants stuff :)

n21
16 Jan 11,, 10:44
Pity it does not include Kashmir where if i'm not mistaken the ratio was 24:1.


I would be interested to know where you got that number from?


On the topic,

The ratio will always be clouded with political motivation. It becomes very convient for a opponent to shout "millions of troops prosecuted ......" etc.

The definition of "involved in COIN" varies. If a region having border with another nation, is been infiltrated, then a logical conclusion would be try to seal the border with men and material. Now would these men be defined as "involved in COIN"?

The longer the border, more the men and higher the ratio!

The objective is to provide security over a geographical area, there by denying militants usage of that space(IA in Kashmir calls this as Security Grid). Needless to say larger the area, more the troops. It is possible that troops in certain areas will never see action, but still be part of the "ratio".


As far as Kashmir is concerned, IA's true COIN unit RR number around 50K. I dont think they are all deployed in Kashmir(someone correct me if wrong).
The bulk of the troops are deployed on borders with Pakistan & China.
IA COIN units are not deployed in cities. They are only present in villages and remote areas.

Double Edge
16 Jan 11,, 11:29
I would be interested to know where you got that number from?
I think it was an article or post I read on BRF some years back.

Red Seven
17 Jan 11,, 17:51
Interesting study. I wouldn't argue with his data although I've always been a bit suspicious of any concrete assertions about such a fluid, fickle and frustrating type of warfare, especially if its prosecution is controlled by the type of people who need concrete assertions-- i.e. assurances, time tables, force limits, budget restrictions, poll results, exit strategies and restrictive ROE and all the rest of the CYA data-- before they can make a decision.

Tarek Morgen
17 Jan 11,, 18:33
2. questions from an outsider:

1. Are the insurgencies from the timeframe used in the study really that simple to compare? Is there not a huge difference in the success chance of those insurgencies after automatic weapon become widely and cheaply available?

2. Would not the first answer to the 10:1 ratio be: "You might not need so much manpower, but it certainly helps?"

T_igger_cs_30
17 Jan 11,, 18:53
Finally got time to sit down and not only read but digest.

These documents never seem to relate to me the training/skill level/ability of the COIN troops, which I think is paramount in determining the levels needed as can be seen (IMO) from some of the data in the report;
e.g. Ethiopia (73-76)
and to some extent Algeria (54-62), (yes I know DeGaule made all the right noises when withdrawing, but still I cannot see it as a successful mission, even with the Foriegn Legion present.)

Never will we be 100% accurate in these estimations, but meticulous planning combined with excellent training IMO can indeed reduce the numbers required to defeat an insurgency.
That said how do we measure the big variable?
"THE WILL NOT TO BE DOMINATED AT ANY COST ......and there are a few groups out there with this will to survive.

Shek
17 Jan 11,, 22:27
1. Statistical analysis cannot "prove" anything. It can be used to conduct hypothesis testing and at determined thresholds, and you then either reject or fail to reject the hypothesis.

2. The author's choice to exclude 2 data points is extremely questionable. Both observed data points are within 2 standard deviations, which is typically the point at which you can start to think about classifying them as outliers, and by excluding them, you are cutting an already small sample size by 20%.

3. When the two data points are included, the "magical" ratio of 10:1 falls within the 95% confidence interval of the observed mean of the data set, meaning that you would reject the hypothesis that the ratio is < 10:1.

4. By controlling for only troops #s (with no analysis of how solid these #s are or potential biases), the study is not robust.

Bottomline, it does not prove that the 10:1 ratio - it actually rejects a hypothesis that the ratio is less than 10:1. However, these results are very fragile.

S2
17 Jan 11,, 23:34
"Both observed data points are within 2 standard deviations, which is typically the point at which you can start to think about classifying them as outliers, and by excluding them, you are cutting an already small sample size by 20%."

Korea was excluded from the "Insurgent" category while El Salvador was excluded from the "Counter-Insurgent" category. With twenty-two total data points, isn't that only about 9%?

Shek
18 Jan 11,, 01:14
"Both observed data points are within 2 standard deviations, which is typically the point at which you can start to think about classifying them as outliers, and by excluding them, you are cutting an already small sample size by 20%."

Korea was excluded from the "Insurgent" category while El Salvador was excluded from the "Counter-Insurgent" category. With twenty-two total data points, isn't that only about 9%?

Steve,
He tries to establish both a floor (the threshold at which you will fail) and a ceiling (the threshold above which you don't need more manpower to win). In evaluating the statistical validity, you have to evaluate each calculation. For the ceiling, both El Savador and Sri Lanka are dropped from the sample. To be exact, you're cutting the sample size by 18% (2/11), which is quite a large number to drop as outliers.

Shek
18 Jan 11,, 02:45
For any other stats buffs out there, here's some Stata output of the counterinsurgent cases.

S2
18 Jan 11,, 03:33
"For the ceiling, both El Savador and Sri Lanka are dropped from the sample."

This is correct. My error. I don't know how I counted Sri Lanka as part of the sample total yet missed that Thiel had excluded it as an outlier. Selective color-blindness I guess.

Shek
18 Jan 11,, 12:29
"For the ceiling, both El Savador and Sri Lanka are dropped from the sample."

This is correct. My error. I don't know how I counted Sri Lanka as part of the sample total yet missed that Thiel had excluded it as an outlier. Selective color-blindness I guess.

Steve,
No sweat. I like the paper's logic in trying to find a floor and ceiling, but it's statistical application and inferences is simply wrong. Also, I'm not familiar enough with the Correlates of War (http://www.correlatesofwar.org/) dataset to know why he chose a random sample instead of the full population of post-1938 insurgencies, but it appears like it doesn't contain the size of the two forces - having more observations would help make the findings more robust, although I doubt by very little because the findings wouldn't control for other variables that would impact the results. Also, what's interesting is that 2/3rds of the references he provides to the 10:1 ratio aren't specific to manpower, but to a more general "expenditure."

Red Seven
18 Jan 11,, 14:42
I'm not a statistics guy but I am a COIN guy. It seems to me that if you try to put any "reliable" data on COIN operations, opposing force levels are just one column on a chart of many. Some of you have pointed out variables. Skill, weapons, equipment, terrain, climate, logistics, money, leadership, local politics, national politics, tribal and religious influences, morale, the role of border states or supporting governments, determination and commitment, etc...Some of these are hard to measure but have impact. Pretty sure I left out a few things out.

Shek
19 Jan 11,, 02:36
I'm not a statistics guy but I am a COIN guy. It seems to me that if you try to put any "reliable" data on COIN operations, opposing force levels are just one column on a chart of many. Some of you have pointed out variables. Skill, weapons, equipment, terrain, climate, logistics, money, leadership, local politics, national politics, tribal and religious influences, morale, the role of border states or supporting governments, determination and commitment, etc...Some of these are hard to measure but have impact. Pretty sure I left out a few things out.

This is what I meant by the fact that the results are fragile - there's just so many other variables to consider. I don't think that coming up with a ratio as a rule of thumb is a bad idea, but it's not a panacea that can replace good strategy that attacks the reasons for an insurgency.

Albany Rifles
19 Jan 11,, 03:29
For any other stats buffs out there, here's some Stata output of the counterinsurgent cases.

Dude, you have some mad ORSA skills!!!!

S2
19 Jan 11,, 03:36
A.R., changed your avatar, I see...:biggrin:

Albany Rifles
19 Jan 11,, 03:45
A.R., changed your avatar, I see...:biggrin:

With good reason...unfortunately.

BTW, thought of you Sunday night...watched The Big Lebowski. Best line of the movie? "Hey, nice marmot."

S2
19 Jan 11,, 04:25
"...Best line of the movie? 'Hey, nice marmot.'"

Don't get me started waxing its brilliance.;)

EZqYzqK1CnA&feature=related

"...Three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax..."

Believe me that I was thinking of you Sunday night too. Glad you found a way to relax.:cool:

Shek
19 Jan 11,, 12:22
Dude, you have some mad ORSA skills!!!!

Buck,
Having taught econometrics, I probably out qualify many ORSAs at being an ORSA, but the output I provided is actually Statistics 101 level analysis.

Albany Rifles
19 Jan 11,, 13:53
Buck,
Having taught econometrics, I probably out qualify many ORSAs at being an ORSA, but the output I provided is actually Statistics 101 level analysis.

Shek,

I passed Macro and Micro Economics back in 1977 as required as a History major. I walked by the building where they taught the Stats courses. That's about as close I get to that subject. Of course in 1977 the computer guys were carrying the 2 foot long trays of 80 column cards to the basement to have their programs run so I bet the tools are more convenient now!

I will now step away from this thread and leave it unjacked.

Red Seven
19 Jan 11,, 22:31
This is what I meant by the fact that the results are fragile - there's just so many other variables to consider. I don't think that coming up with a ratio as a rule of thumb is a bad idea, but it's not a panacea that can replace good strategy that attacks the reasons for an insurgency.


Yes sir, you are right. It's not a bad idea, just a very incomplete picture. What irritates me about studies that focus on only one of many facets is that our civilian political leaders love to grab numbers from papers like this. Since many have Armchair General Complexes to begin with, they read a few of these and think they are now experts on COIN--as we know, a very complicated form of warfare, expensive, long-term and likely to end in stalemate, defeat or only partial victory.

I'lll never forget General Schwarzkopf's complaint about people like Cheney, Quayle and others in the administration who had watched Ken Burn's Civil War documentary, and who now suddenly thought they were military experts and kept calling him up in Riyahd with their own nutty battle plans. :rolleyes:

zraver
20 Jan 11,, 21:48
Steve,
No sweat. I like the paper's logic in trying to find a floor and ceiling, but it's statistical application and inferences is simply wrong. Also, I'm not familiar enough with the Correlates of War (http://www.correlatesofwar.org/) dataset to know why he chose a random sample instead of the full population of post-1938 insurgencies, but it appears like it doesn't contain the size of the two forces - having more observations would help make the findings more robust, although I doubt by very little because the findings wouldn't control for other variables that would impact the results. Also, what's interesting is that 2/3rds of the references he provides to the 10:1 ratio aren't specific to manpower, but to a more general "expenditure."

Shek, is there a generalized difference in the effect of the COIN forces based on if they are national (ARVN), transnational (NATO in A-stan) or interventionist (Cuba in Angola)?

Shek
20 Jan 11,, 22:25
Shek, is there a generalized difference in the effect of the COIN forces based on if they are national (ARVN), transnational (NATO in A-stan) or interventionist (Cuba in Angola)?

I don't know as I haven't looked at enough cases to make any generalizable statement with confidence.

However, here are some fun factoids that Tom Ricks had posted last week:


The Vietnam War explained as never before, in hard numbers and good facts - By Tom Ricks | The Best Defense (http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/12/the_vietnam_war_explained_as_never_before_in_hard_ numbers_and_good_facts)

Hey, how come no one ever mentioned to me Thomas Thayer's War Without Fronts: The American Experience in Vietnam? What do I pay the frequent friers for, anyway? (You know who you are.) I finished reading it over the weekend, while it snowed in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and I think it is one of the best books I've ever read on the war, with page after page of good, usable, dispassionate data, much of it counterintuitive.

Here are just some of the things that surprised me:


The enemy was simply not going to give the Americans the war they wanted. Out of 37,990 enemy attacks in 1968, just 126 were of battalion size or larger. And that was the peak year for large attacks, which declined to 34 in 1969, 13 in 1970, and 2 in 1971 -- before rebounding in the 1972 offensive. (P. 44)

In terms of spending, it was more of an air war than a ground war. In fiscal 1969, for example, U.S. land force operations cost $4.6 billion, while air operations cost more than twice that, some $9.3 billion. (P. 25)

American bombers hit Laos hard, with 8,500 B-52 sorties in 1970 (more than twice the 3,697 sorties over South Vietnam that year) and even more the following year. (P. 84) Yet all that bombing, with virtually no political constraints, was unable to interdict the flow of supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which raises the question of whether more firepower applied against North Vietnam would have made any difference. (P. 86)

The cost of bringing in a Communist defector under the "Chieu Hoi" program averaged out to $14. The cost of killing the same enemy combatant with firepower was $60,000. (P. 202) Which method do you think American commanders focused their attention on?

In terms of productivity per dollar expended, "the most effective" allied military force was the much maligned militias, the "Regional Forces and Provincial Forces," aka "Ruff Puffs." (P. 165)

Two-thirds of Army soldiers killed ranked E-3 or E-4. (P. 111)

More soldiers and Marines were killed by indirect fire (artillery, mortar, rocket, land mines, etc.) than by small arms fire. (P. 117)

Some 613 of the Marines who died in Vietnam were draftees. (P. 115)
The book poses a mighty hurdle to those who say that, despite much proof to the contrary, the Army was a learning organization in Vietnam. Here is much evidence that there was good, solid information about how the Army's approach was profoundly counterproductive -- and also that this information largely was available internally at the time. Indeed, the author notes in an afterword that the Joint Chiefs of Staff twice tried to stop dissemination of the internal reports on which the book is based. (P. 259) He suggests that Westmoreland was particularly peeved by these analyses.

Ironduke
27 Jan 11,, 08:39
Major Joshua Thiel U.S.A. offers this analysis regarding the commonly-held axiom that counter-insurgent forces must outnumber insurgents by a ratio of 10:1. Using a variety of cases studies drawn from successful and unsuccessful insurgencies reaching back to 1938, Thiel concludes differently.

To determine his conclusions read here-

COIN Manpower Ratios: Debunking The 10 To 1 Ratio and Surges-SWJ (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/647-thiel.pdf)
I think that's a complete falsehood - pyschological operations, strategic reconnaisance, and unconventional methods have a multiplier effect. Ideas are transmittable. Once somebody thinks something up, and has the ability to persuade other people of the correctness of the idea, you can reverse the ratio to 1:10, or even 1:100. The coup in Tunisia for example, was the work of several people who reached out to a disaffected, disgruntled populace, and the idea multiplied itself ten-thousand fold. You can create new soldiers psychologically, or at least get people to sit out of the fighting (neutrality).

S2
27 Jan 11,, 09:38
"I think that's a complete falsehood - pyschological operations, strategic reconnaisance, and unconventional methods have a multiplier effect. Ideas are transmittable. Once somebody thinks something up, and has the ability to persuade other people of the correctness of the idea, you can reverse the ratio to 1:10, or even 1:100. The coup in Tunisia for example, was the work of several people who reached out to a disaffected, disgruntled populace, and the idea multiplied itself ten-thousand fold. You can create new soldiers psychologically, or at least get people to sit out of the fighting (neutrality)."

Matt,

You raise some great points. Shek's rightfully ripped apart the validity of this study's statistical underpinnings...but not necessarily the findings. Nor do I think he disagrees with the validity of the study's purpose. It's simply poorly constructed for whatever reason.

There's real reason to shy from trite oversimplification. I find the axiom of a 10:1 ratio to be as trite as the notion of Afghanistan as a "graveyard of empires". I'm wading through (slowly) the other recently posted study "Victory Has A Thousand Fathers" and I think it might hold greater value. Of course, the fear is that everybody skips through the paper to its summary so they can find the trivialized "formula" to COIN success.

Sort of expected, I suppose, in a "soundbite" generation. Therein lies the value of somebody like Shek to this board. He has the talent to strip off the veneer and uncover the true nuggets of wisdom that too often lie covered by the noise of headlines.

Shek
27 Jan 11,, 18:11
I think that's a complete falsehood - pyschological operations, strategic reconnaisance, and unconventional methods have a multiplier effect. Ideas are transmittable. Once somebody thinks something up, and has the ability to persuade other people of the correctness of the idea, you can reverse the ratio to 1:10, or even 1:100. The coup in Tunisia for example, was the work of several people who reached out to a disaffected, disgruntled populace, and the idea multiplied itself ten-thousand fold. You can create new soldiers psychologically, or at least get people to sit out of the fighting (neutrality).

I'd disagree with information having such a non-linear impact for counterinsurgent; however, I'd agree with it having a non-linear impact for the insurgent. You're citation on Tunisia supports the above contention, but not your contention - they are not simply two sides of the same coin.

As the government in power, an idea is not enough - the proof is in the pudding, and if they're not holding up their end of the social contract, then all the information operations in the world will not overcome how the people feel about the performance of the government. However, on the flip side, the insurgents can use information much more to their benefit as they mostly have to promise or at most, provide some small scale examples and promise the intent to scale up those examples if they were to come into power.

Ironduke
27 Jan 11,, 21:30
I think I was a bit too tired reading the post - I flipped COIN and insurgency around.

How about an insurgency within an insurgency?

lemontree
18 Nov 11,, 06:46
The ratio of troops needed to form a COIN grid depends on the ability of the insurgents/ guerillas to carry out attacks.

Note: (a) In conventional warfare: The primary aim of guerilla warfare, is to tie down enemy troops, who would otherwise be used by the enemy in a concentrated thrust against own key areas.

(b) In a civilian insurgency - the aim is to protest against real or percieved injustices by own or foreign government.

(c) Insurgency is now increasingly used to achieve national political/strategic aims, as exhibited by Syria/Iran in Lebanon and Pakistan in Afghanistan.

- The more COIN resources are used, the more the insurgents are kept on the run, thereby, making it difficult for them to plan any meaningfull attacks/ operations.

Victory in an insurgency/guerilla warfare comes when the bases and resources of the guerillas are destroyed - Eg. The destruction of LTTE ammo ships and loss of support bases in Tamil Nadu, India. Otherwise an insurgency can sap the wealth and resources of a nation. Eg: The Mugal empire was reduced to punery by the 22 yr Maratha insurgency.

The resource taps need to be shut/ destroyed.

Stitch
18 Nov 11,, 07:12
The ratio of troops needed to form a COIN grid depends on the ability of the insurgents/ guerillas to carry out attacks.

Note: (a) In conventional warfare: The primary aim of guerilla warfare, is to tie down enemy troops, who would otherwise be used by the enemy in a concentrated thrust against own key areas.

(b) In a civilian insurgency - the aim is to protest against real or percieved injustices by own or foreign government.

(c) Insurgency is now increasingly used to achieve national political/strategic aims, as exhibited by Syria/Iran in Lebanon and Pakistan in Afghanistan.

- The more COIN resources are used, the more the insurgents are kept on the run, thereby, making it difficult for them to plan any meaningfull attacks/ operations.

Victory in an insurgency/guerilla warfare comes when the bases and resources of the guerillas are destroyed - Eg. The destruction of LTTE ammo ships and loss of support bases in Tamil Nadu, India. Otherwise an insurgency can sap the wealth and resources of a nation. Eg: The Mugal empire was reduced to punery by the 22 yr Maratha insurgency.

The resource taps need to be shut/ destroyed.

This was the supposed goal in Vietnam but, obviously, China & Russia could not be destroyed; lines of communication/supply could be destroyed, but that was only temporary. Interdiction of resources was our only option, but that was only partially effective.

Officer of Engineers
18 Nov 11,, 07:15
The resource taps need to be shut/ destroyed.Captain, please educate me. What are the Chechen's resource taps? I am trying to follow your reasoning and am asking for your eval.

lemontree
18 Nov 11,, 09:23
This was the supposed goal in Vietnam but, obviously, China & Russia could not be destroyed; lines of communication/supply could be destroyed, but that was only temporary. Interdiction of resources was our only option, but that was only partially effective.

In Vietnam, the Vietcong was following something known as cyclic-guerilla warfare. Simply put, the north was won from the French in 1955/56, then operations were shifted to the south, using the north as a base.

During the American phase of the war, the VC bases were in North Vietnam not in China & Russia.

lemontree
18 Nov 11,, 09:38
Captain, please educate me. What are the Chechen's resource taps? I am trying to follow your reasoning and am asking for your eval.


(b) In a civilian insurgency - the aim is to protest against real or percieved injustices by own or foreign government.

Sir, the Chechen insurgency is a home grown insurgency, due to historical differences with the Russian state. The Chechens want to separate.
There is no foreign influence here.

Their funding is through:-
- Drug trade from Asia to Europe and through Argentina.
- Islamic charities in Saudi Arabia, through the influence of Arab militants.

These are their resource taps.

The Chechen insurgency is doomed to failure, as they do not have a foreign base that will accept them.

Mihais
18 Nov 11,, 11:31
Not only is doomed.It did fail.However the counter-insurgent did not played by the ''rules''.

zraver
18 Nov 11,, 19:00
Not only is doomed.It did fail.However the counter-insurgent did not played by the ''rules''.

Yes it did- Russia's rules long standing and never updated to reflect modern times.

Russia's rules for COIN

1. Think about rebelling and get exiled or go to prison and die
2. Rebel and die
3. rebel and start to succeed and your family dies
4. Keep rebelling and your village dies
5. Make peace and die in strange autoaccident a few months later

Its been a pretty effectuive program... Russia relies on making war to painful to continue which was thier failure in Afghanistan they never really brought the pain. Pain and expulsion are the others way to stop an insurgecy.

Pain- make the peace of the vanquished prefferable to continued conflict. German Nazi's kept a low grade insurgecy going after WWII but they never targeted the allies. However the vast majority of Germans were so shell shocked that the thought of taking up arms was terrifying to them. Yet thats not what the Nazi's wanted. They had planned on a guerilla war and then Ike issued an order than any German civilian caught under arms would be shot on sight. That order combined with the self evident willingness of the allies to reduce entire cities to cinders stopped the planned guerilla war dead in its tracks.


the other option is expulsion. From the times of Sargon the Great to the Greek-Turkish population swap most effective COIN ops involved some sort of population expulsion. However after the 1920's these moves were deemed illegal although they still happen. The eviction of Germans from Pomerania, Prussia and Sudetenland as examples quietly allowed, with the Palestinians being one the world rejects. However in both cases it works. The former German areas do not have an insurgency and most of the attacks inside Israel by Palestinians come via border jumpers not Israeli Arabs.

For the US since the death of Geronimo and the end of the Philippine Insurrection we have not been willing to either inflict enough pain or engage in mass deportations. Instead we look for ways to create virtual expulsions, and virtual pain through more targeted actions. Such as targeting militants with drone strikes, co-opting tribal leaders etc. How much success this has had is a matter of debate. But these approaches run counter to our own military history of simply locking on to an enemy population and shaking them like a dog mauling its prey.

Cpt Lemontree seems to argue that shutting off the suppy tap is the key. I disagree, no nation has ever been able to seal its borders. the LTTE was defeated not becuase it lost supplies- though that hurt. But because the Sri Lankin Government said enough is enough and simply jumped up and down on the Tamil areas with both feet until the cries of uncle were reduced to death rattles- human rights abuses be dammed. More bullets, more bombs, more anything would not have saved the LTTE.

For further proof I will point to the Taliban.... noawdays it seems like the taliban is every where with influence across the various tries in Afghanistan. Yet why didn't the Pashtun Taliban face that same situation from other Afghan groups prior to 2001? Prior to 9-11 the Afghan Civil war was remarkable conventional it was not an insurgency... why? Because the Taliban was willing to slaughter to enforce its rule, and the people believed the same.

Mihais
18 Nov 11,, 20:02
Yes it did- Russia's rules long standing and never updated to reflect modern times.

The problem ain't the rules.The problem is with modern times.The only consequence of that is someone,sometime will bring the full wrath of Achilles on idiotic chew toys that think they're civilized,evolved etc...and that will be a day when the rivers will be red. As for the rest,don't waste your time preaching to the choir.
As for expulsions and brutality in general in modern US COIN,you're only partially right.The Iraqi Sunnis were scared to the death by the prospect of Shia death squads,which for many weren't prospect but harsh reality.Thus you had a good chunk of refugees in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.While it wasn't US wielding the club,it was to a point a perfect case of good cop-bad cop. The bad cop is sorely missing in A-stan and that's the main difference between the two theaters.It may not be PC to say it in public,but here are only the 2 of us.:biggrin:

Cpt Lemontree is right in a certain context.Just because one practices irregular warfare(of any sort) doesn't mean all irregular wars are the same,just as conventional wars aren't the same.Cutting supply works if the center of gravity of the guerilla IS NOT the population.Just because Mao said the guerilla is like a fish in the water among people doesn't mean all guerillas need to be among the population.We practiced guerilla warfare against all sorts of invaders for centuries.None of them saw too many civilians because all of them were in sanctuaries.In an American context,the Plain Indians practiced irregular warfare for centuries,first against the Spanish,then against Mexicans and Americans.It was killing the supplies,the buffalo herds ,that led them to the reservations.Without finding and cutting the Comanchero trails,the US cavalry would have hunted the Comanches years more.

lemontree
21 Nov 11,, 06:13
Cpt Lemontree seems to argue that shutting off the suppy tap is the key. I disagree, no nation has ever been able to seal its borders. the LTTE was defeated not becuase it lost supplies- though that hurt. But because the Sri Lankin Government said enough is enough and simply jumped up and down on the Tamil areas with both feet until the cries of uncle were reduced to death rattles- human rights abuses be dammed. More bullets, more bombs, more anything would not have saved the LTTE.
The loss of supplies not just hurt - they ran out of small arms and light arty ammo - so they could not hit back.
They had lost their base in Tamil Nadu, India, so there was no strategic depth.

The LTTE could flatten areas with their arty just as the Sri Lankan Army could. The slogging match would go on and on.



For further proof I will point to the Taliban.... noawdays it seems like the taliban is every where with influence across the various tries in Afghanistan. Yet why didn't the Pashtun Taliban face that same situation from other Afghan groups prior to 2001? Prior to 9-11 the Afghan Civil war was remarkable conventional it was not an insurgency... why? Because the Taliban was willing to slaughter to enforce its rule, and the people believed the same.
The Taliban has their strategic depth in Pakistan, that is their support/supply base.
They are a militia of the Pak Army.

Officer of Engineers
22 Nov 11,, 04:56
The Taliban has their strategic depth in Pakistan, that is their support/supply base.
They are a militia of the Pak Army.Captain,

What is the difference? It seems that the Taliban can do no better against a 40,000 man NATO force than the Mujahadeen did to a 120,000 man Soviet force. Numbers wise, the Taliban is not that much different than the Mujahadeen, and yet, they're achieving no better success against a much smaller force.

By the same token, our 30,000 man NATO force cannot achieve an answer when 120,000 man Soviet force cannot.

What is your eval?

lemontree
22 Nov 11,, 07:08
Captain,

What is the difference? It seems that the Taliban can do no better against a 40,000 man NATO force than the Mujahadeen did to a 120,000 man Soviet force. Numbers wise, the Taliban is not that much different than the Mujahadeen, and yet, they're achieving no better success against a much smaller force.

By the same token, our 30,000 man NATO force cannot achieve an answer when 120,000 man Soviet force cannot.

What is your eval?
Sir,

Pak Objectives
The objective of the Pak Army is to use the Taliban and keep the region in termoil:-
(a) To obtain US military and economic aid to "fight" terror (as long as it can).
(b) To ensure the region remains unstable and frustrate the US/NATO long enough so that they leave the area.

Gains for Pakistan
- The Pak army wants to ensure that its 500,000 strong military is focused towards India and units are not bled away towards a pro-India Afghanistan.
- A strong Afghanistan will eventually raise the issue of the ligitimacy of the Durand line.

The Pakistanis' dont really care, as they banking on China. They are giving China access to the Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea through Gwadar port.
They have also been conducting military exercises with the PLA in desert warfare. Which make India's nightmare a reality - a two front war with China.

Likely Future
PLA may plan to hold/tie-up Indian formations in the north and plan a blitz with Pak Army on the west. With the likely aim of:-
- over-running Indian units and capturing maximum terrain in the west.
- to bring India to the negotiating table to swap Chinese claimed regions in Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir vale for Pakistan.
- Humiliation of India and ensure unchallenged Chinese supramacy in Asia.

BTW, no side will be stupid enough to use go nuclear.

Officer of Engineers
22 Nov 11,, 07:32
Sir,

Pak Objectives
The objective of the Pak Army is to use the Taliban and keep the region in termoil:-
(a) To obtain US military and economic aid to "fight" terror (as long as it can).
(b) To ensure the region remains unstable and frustrate the US/NATO long enough so that they leave the area.

Gains for Pakistan
- The Pak army wants to ensure that its 500,000 strong military is focused towards India and units are not bled away towards a pro-India Afghanistan.
- A strong Afghanistan will eventually raise the issue of the ligitimacy of the Durand line.

The Pakistanis' dont really care, as they banking on China. They are giving China access to the Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea through Gwadar port.
They have also been conducting military exercises with the PLA in desert warfare. Which make India's nightmare a reality - a two front war with China.

Likely Future
PLA may plan to hold/tie-up Indian formations in the north and plan a blitz with Pak Army on the west. With the likely aim of:-
- over-running Indian units and capturing maximum terrain in the west.
- to bring India to the negotiating table to swap Chinese claimed regions in Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir vale for Pakistan.
- Humiliation of India and ensure unchallenged Chinese supramacy in Asia.

BTW, no side will be stupid enough to use go nuclear.Captain,

Please do forgive me. It's been a while since our last conversation. Since then, a lot has surfaced vis-a-vi Chinese military doctrine, and in fact, Indian nuclear weapons doctrine, and some very facinating thinking that I only started realizing about three years ago.

It was your own General Sundarji who introduced me to the concept and one to this day, I found an absolute brilliant piece of strategic thinking on par with Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, and Machiavelli.

To be fair, I don't know who came up with it first, your General Sundarji or Chinese Field Marshall Rie but in a sentence

Deterrence is not warfighting.

Be that as it may and as facinating as this is (and it totally deserved threads of its own) and I think I started a few when I discovered this

Edit: here's one

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/east-asia-pacific/51540-deterrence-operational-objective-question-8.html

However, sticking to this thread, I failed to see any superiority when the same strategy against a weaker force did no better when it was claimed successful against a superior Soviet force ... unless that success was a lie.

lemontree
22 Nov 11,, 08:50
However, sticking to this thread, I failed to see any superiority when the same strategy against a weaker force did no better when it was claimed successful against a superior Soviet force ... unless that success was a lie.
Sir, Pak Army, through the Taliban is ensuring that Afghanistan remians a war-torn mess. They don't have to win. The US and NATO will get fedup one day and pull out, after handing over the reigns to the new Afghan Army.

Officer of Engineers
22 Nov 11,, 08:57
I doubt China would allow Pakistan to interfere with her $4.2bil investment.

Mihais
22 Nov 11,, 09:16
However, sticking to this thread, I failed to see any superiority when the same strategy against a weaker force did no better when it was claimed successful against a superior Soviet force ... unless that success was a lie.

Sir,with respect, I disagree.The Taliban may try to use the same strategy,but the circumstances aren't similar.
-First,there are the numbers.We have over 100000 NATO +300000 Afghans vs. ~40000 Talibs.At any point since 2006 we had more troops than the Soviets(max 150000) and the Afghan commies(40-50000) had.Prior to 2006,the Talibs were busy in Pakistan.
-Second,there is quality.
-Third there is space.Taliban only tried to expand from the south since late 2009 and their efforts met limited success.Whole Afghanistan was a theater of ops back in the 80's.Our combat power is much more concentrated in hot areas than it was possible for the Soviets.
- Fourth there is logistics.This is our center of gravity and this is where the Taliban failed and keeps failing to have a say.We have clear skies and roads.The Soviets had to move between OP's with tanks and air cover and often they couldn't do it.
The Mujaheddins were a force in the field.The Talibs aren't.So their strategy isn't similar.In the 80's they planned to attrit the Soviets and they did that.In our time they initially tried to do that and failed so they changed the plan:they hope to bore us enough to go home,than play the old Afghan game of civil war(which they have good chances of winning).The boredom part so far is working good for them.

lemontree
22 Nov 11,, 10:12
I doubt China would allow Pakistan to interfere with her $4.2bil investment.
Investment in Afghanistan?

Doktor
22 Nov 11,, 10:32
Investment in Afghanistan?

Could be more ;)

here is only 1 investment:

China Metallurgical Group Corporation, a Chinese state-owned conglomerate, bid $3.4 billion $1 billion more than any of its competitors from Canada, Europe, Russia, the United States and Kazakhstan for the rights to mine deposits near the village of Aynak. Over the next 25 years, it plans to extract about 11 million tons of copper an amount equal to one-third of all the known copper reserves in China.

Source: Uneasy Engagement - China, Willing to Spend, Wins a Trove of Afghan Copper - Series - NYTimes.com (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/30/world/asia/30mine.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&fta=y)

lemontree
22 Nov 11,, 11:04
Pakistan is not interefering in any Chinese investment. After NATO leaves, Afghanistan will be at the mercy of Pakistan and their Talib proxies. Infact Chinese companies can get any contract that they choose after NATO leaves.

Officer of Engineers
22 Nov 11,, 17:31
Pakistan is not interefering in any Chinese investment. After NATO leaves, Afghanistan will be at the mercy of Pakistan and their Talib proxies. Infact Chinese companies can get any contract that they choose after NATO leaves.I don't think so, Captain for several reasons.

The ANA is the most powerful Afghan force in Afghanistan. We're just holding them back from the traditional Afghan way of war. Once we leave, they will be unleashed.

The Chinese have no love lost for the Taliban. They've suffered at the hands of the Taliban when they trained Xinjiang rebels.

Russia and Iran are also two other players in Afghanistan. Both were busy with their own internal problems when the Taliban came to power. That is no longer the case.

The Taliban hates all three with equal passion.

Red Team
23 Nov 11,, 04:40
Sorry to interrupt this enlightening discussion, but Colonel, how strong is the ANA currently? I was always under the impression that they're still not at the level of strength that the ISAF want them to be when they pull out, but I admit I've gathered little information about them beyond vague reports of "improvement" since the mid/late 2000s.

lemontree
23 Nov 11,, 05:42
The ANA is the most powerful Afghan force in Afghanistan. We're just holding them back from the traditional Afghan way of war. Once we leave, they will be unleashed.
Sir, but they are no comparison to the Taliban which was officered and manned by Pak army officers and NCOs till October 2001. When the Taliban come again, they will be commanded by professional Pak army officers and NCOs.


The Chinese have no love lost for the Taliban. They've suffered at the hands of the Taliban when they trained Xinjiang rebels.
Agreed, but the Chinese are depending on the Pak army to do their dirty work.

Russia and Iran are also two other players in Afghanistan. Both were busy with their own internal problems when the Taliban came to power. That is no longer the case.
The Taliban hates all three with equal passion.
Sir, Taliban is not a separate entity but an extension of the Pak army/ ISI. Please dont confuse it to be a separate non-state actor.

Officer of Engineers
23 Nov 11,, 06:08
Sir, but they are no comparison to the Taliban which was officered and manned by Pak army officers and NCOs till October 2001. When the Taliban come again, they will be commanded by professional Pak army officers and NCOs.I wouldn't use that as a recruiting poster for the Pakistani Army. The Northern Alliance whacked them on more than a few occasions.

However, Iranian and CAR Officers and NCMs are willing to take up a few slots.


Agreed, but the Chinese are depending on the Pak army to do their dirty work.The Chinese have absolutely no illusions about the Taliban run by the Pakistani Army or not. They've accused Pakistan of at least failing to dislodge Xinjiang rebel training centres on Pakistan, if not outright colluding. A Taliban run Afghanistan would allow even more Xinjiang rebel camps with Pakistan turning a blind eye willingly or not.


Sir, Taliban is not a separate entity but an extension of the Pak army/ ISI. Please dont confuse it to be a separate non-state actor.I don't but when it comes to blood lust, let lose the Afghan dogs of war.

Markus Pfister
23 Nov 11,, 06:52
Thanks for the tip, S2.

From memory, the 10:1 ratio included indigenous auxiliaries. If this is correct, it means you can really leverage yourself if you've got a just cause, good image (i.e. don't shell villages), and the reality of and reputation for stamina.

lemontree
23 Nov 11,, 07:03
.....when it comes to blood lust, let lose the Afghan dogs of war.

It may come to that sir. I just hope the Afghans are not left alone and India, Iran, and Russia do their bit to help them limp back as a nation.

Markus Pfister
23 Nov 11,, 07:17
Sorry to interrupt this enlightening discussion, but Colonel, how strong is the ANA currently? I was always under the impression that they're still not at the level of strength that the ISAF want them to be when they pull out, but I admit I've gathered little information about them beyond vague reports of "improvement" since the mid/late 2000s.

I am not familiar with the situation other than what I read in the papers, but the ANA is reminding me more and more of ARVN every day.

Red Team
23 Nov 11,, 19:40
Oh c'mon we're talking about the country that has a long history of holding down foreign invaders, they can't be THAT bad.

Mihais
23 Nov 11,, 19:42
No they're not that bad.They're worse.

S2
24 Nov 11,, 05:06
Take the ANA out of any post-ISAF/U.S. equation. What we're really discussing are two items, 1.) ethnic makeup of units and, 2.) anti-taliban enmity.

Pashtun Tajik Hazara Uzbek Others

Officer 42.16% 40.98% 7.58% 4.08% 5.21%

NCO 48.78% 37.63% 8.47% 3.50% 1.62%

Soldier 43.42% 30.11% 10.43% 8.54% 7.50%

Total Force 44.70% 33.38% 9.58% 6.68% 5.66%

MOD Goal 44% 25% 10% 8% 13%
based on National Proportion

The Ministry of Defense shares percentages in rough proportion to the field force. The objective is to strengthen Pashtun, Uzbek and other minorities at the expense of Tajik and Hazara levels. That may or may not prove possible by 2014.

Meanwhile there's little denying that current forces are becoming increasing more capable and better-armed. Progress is uneven between the ANA and the ANP as well as among units within both organizations.

Here are three separate reads spanning since 2009

NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) Ministry of Defense: A Year In Review-Jan. 23, 2011 (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/MODyearinreview.pdf)

The Long March: Building An Afghan Army-RAND 2009 (http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2009/RAND_MG845.pdf)

Afghanistan Security-Afghan Army Growing But Additional Trainers Needed-GAO January 2011 (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1166.pdf)

Once civil war arrives (my prediction-although hardly alone), the multitude of well-armed, reasonably well-trained factions will suggest that the taliban will find great difficulty asserting control. Aside from traditional anti-Pashtun sentiment among tajiks, uzbeks, turkomen and Hazara, many pashtun tribes are hardly enamoured with the afghan taliban.

Though welcome, it would prove an unusual occurrence to see a viable nat'l government emerge. The traditional impetus against such seems overwhelming and there's no compelling evidence presented by the GIRoA to suggest otherwise.

S2
24 Nov 11,, 17:28
"I am not familiar with the situation other than what I read in the papers, but the ANA is reminding me more and more of ARVN every day."

I'm uncertain about the relevance of the ANA to this discussion. I doubt they'll prove serious practicioners of COIN principles as established within western military doctrine.

As such, we may be broaching thread de-railment.

Mihais
24 Nov 11,, 18:11
Once civil war arrives (my prediction-although hardly alone), the multitude of well-armed, reasonably well-trained factions will suggest that the taliban will find great difficulty asserting control. Aside from traditional anti-Pashtun sentiment among tajiks, uzbeks, turkomen and Hazara, many pashtun tribes are hardly enamoured with the afghan taliban.

Though welcome, it would prove an unusual occurrence to see a viable nat'l government emerge. The traditional impetus against such seems overwhelming and there's no compelling evidence presented by the GIRoA to suggest otherwise.

Sir,the ANA may be better,but they're only that good because they have the foreign support.That this will continue after we're gone is something that can be doubted.Much can change between now and then.Vietnam is not a happy precedent.

Even if that doesn't happens,in absence of NATO combat units,the ANA alone cannot control the country.Many reasons.They'll be in a roughly similar position to the Soviet Army,only with less firepower,mobility assets and trained men.
But I agree there won't be a semblance of COIN after we depart.Just a lot of chaos and bloodshed.

S2
24 Nov 11,, 18:26
Not sure where we disagree. Maybe here-

"That this will continue after we're gone is something that can be doubted..."

Ummm..., I'll disagree here. The names will change and the visible nature of the support may change but there'll be foreign hands engaged in a post-ISAF Afghanistan.

Soldier skills are increasing. For whom those men end up "soldiering" is the question. I suspect tribal or warlord factions. Afghanistan shall prove a well-armed, well-trained, war-like society.

Plenty of bullets to shoot, people to kill and scores to settle.

Mihais
24 Nov 11,, 18:48
Sir,I have no doubt we won't drop support completely right when the big army flies home.But politics change and frankly I don't trust your decision makers to stick to the course.I may be wrong and I'd like to be wrong about that.The precedent however is right in front of our eyes.The bar wrt A-stan's future was set lower and lower since 2007.

Agreed about the warlords part.There is however a bright future for the Taliban in the scheme.The Southern warlords and troops(mostly deployed in the N,these days) will be between the hammer and the anvil.On one hand,the northerners will inherit the best men(for example,the 205th Corp contains few Pashtuns,IIRC, and is arguably the best in ANA).On the other they'll have our old friends across the border,augmented by our frenemmies even more than today.I bet my first wage they'll strike a deal.
To what degree this becomes a fight between Pakistan and everyone else,no idea.But there will be a lot of ''sport''.

S2
24 Nov 11,, 18:59
"...But politics change and frankly I don't trust your decision makers to stick to the course.I may be wrong and I'd like to be wrong about that..."

The politics will probably change...back. American decision-makers will only assume a peripheral role. Some reincarnation of the N.A. shall likely re-emerge...along with their traditional sponsors. The region is already awash in weaponry. Drugs will be the common currency for all...as usual.