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Thread: "Silent War" - COIN manual written by a former insurgent

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    "Silent War" - COIN manual written by a former insurgent

    The book "Silent War" was written by Armed Forces of the Philippines defector-turned-rebel returnee Victor Corpuz, in 1989. It called for an indigenous doctrine would govern the AFP's conduct of the fight against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)/New People's Army (NPA) [the muslim insurgents were not taken up].

    According to the "About the author" section, then LTC Corpuz was supposed to have been assigned to AFP J-3 (Operations) to work with the rest of the staff to finalize the strategy of "war of quick decision", which was the AFP's answer to the NPA's "protracted war" strategy. LTC Corpuz retired from military service as head of the Intelligence Service - AFP [ISAFP].

    Since its publication, many (not all) its assertions have become corner stones of various AFP COIN strategies -- from OPLAN LAMBAT BITAG to the current OPLAN BANTAY LAYA.

    === ~~~ ===

    The book's opening chapter set the tone for the document: a critical assessment of the AFP's counter-insurgency campaign:

    It would be sheer disaster, for instance, for the AFP to fight off poential Threat Forces by applying the AIRLAND BATTLE DOCTRINES enunciated in US Field Manuals. Such doctrines and strategies may be well suited to the armed forces of major powers like the United States, but certainly not to the AFP which does not have the means and resources for applying such doctrines. Equally disastrous for the AFP would be to base its counter-insurgency strategy on the "Low Intensity Conflict" Field Manuals of the US Army. Such strategies and tactics on counter-insurgency have proved deficient in actual practice. For the AFP to blindly follow such doctrines is like "cutting the feet to fit the shoes".

    === ~~~ ===

    Special Operations Teams (SOT) recommended in the book -- which aren't actually pure combat units -- are now the tip of the spear. The number of such unconventional warfare teams per battalion are understandably classified, however what we do know is that this is no longer just the domain of the Philippine Army Special Forces, and have been spread out to regular infantry battalions.

    One can gauge the success of these teams by the almost desperate shift in tactics on the part of the Philippine communist party from the battlefield to an international propaganda initiative. (e.g., Amnesty International, etc.). Rebel commanders are now even on Friendster and Facebook, hoping to reach out to the youth.

    === ~~~ ===

    The book frowned upon search and destroy missions. One interesting chapter of the book offered a counter to Mao's 16-character protracted war strategy.

    The enemy advances, we retreat" - with the old search and destroy missions, the NPA retreated to their base areas, and the AFP pursued them. This gave the NPAs a chance to ambush the units one by one in pre-prepared kill zones. Since the "Venus Fly-trap" / gradual constriction strategy avoids search and destroy missions there will be no units for the NPA to ambush.

    "the enemy camps, we harass" - this is why Corpuz was against detachments, since it spread out units into small, static, defensive positions. The book advocated keeping troops mobile. This has reportedly been applied to some extent. Detachments remain, however they have been re-inforced such that the NPA no longer consider them prime targets. Details of the changes are understandably covered by OPSEC

    "the enemy tires, we attack" - search and destroy missions sapped the our soldiers' energy, and drained their supplies. Thereby making them easy prey. By eliminating search and destroy missions, as per the book's recommendations, troops stay fresh thereby depriving the enemy of this particular window of opportunity. Another Mao strategy countered.

    "the enemy retreats, we pursue” - our troops were most vulnerable when they are on the move, on the roads. The NPA exacted a heavy toll on our forces as they started and ended their relatively short-duration search and destroy missions. With the gradual constriction strategy, there was no retreat. Troops stayed in the battle area until the enemy was destroyed. Again, another strategy nullified.
    Last edited by adroth; 17 Jan 08, at 16:10.

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