Saturday, June 28, 2014

Army Irregular Warfare Center prepares to stand down

For those who think that the need to study insurgency (and revolutionary warfare or irregular warfare) is no longer necessary, I would call your attention to the project by the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) and American University in 1962 and USASOC and Johns Hopkins in 2009 on the ARIS project (Assessing Revolution and Insurgent Strategies).  Below are the 46 case studies
 23 in Volume I (1962) and 23 in Volume II (2009) in the Casebook
 on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare.  Note that
 case studies are only illustrative and not a comprehensive list of all the insurgencies and revolutions that have occurred.  They were chosen because they are worthy of study to prepare for likely similar events in the future. 
 Note the five categories defined in Vol II below.

Both casebooks and other important references can be downloaded at this link:
   (also linked on the left side of this page under Research and News Links with the title Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies)

Table 1: Contents of Volume I published in 1962

I. Southeast Asia

1. The Revolution in Vietnam: 1946–1954

2. The Indonesian Rebellion: 1945–1949

3. The Revolution in Malaya: 1948–1957

II. Latin America

4. The Guatemalan Revolution of 1944

5. The Venezuelan Revolution of 1945

6. The Argentine Revolution of June 1943

7. The Bolivian Revolution of 1952

8. The Cuban Revolution: 1953–1959

III. North Africa

9. The Tunisian Revolution: 1950–1954

10. The Algerian Revolution: 1954–1962

IV. Africa South of the Sahara

11. The Revolution in French Cameroun:


12. The Congolese Coup of 1960

V. Middle East

13. The Iraqi Coup of 1936

14. The Egyptian Coup of 1952

15. The Iranian Coup of 1953

16. The Iraqi Coup of 1958

17. The Sudan Coup of 1958

VI. Far East

18. The Korean Revolution of 1960

19. The Chinese Communist Revolution:


VII. Europe

20. The German Revolution of 1933

21. The Spanish Revolution of 1936

22. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956

23. The Czechoslovakian Coup of 1948

Volume II, 1962-2009

The first section deals with revolutions that desire to greatly modify the type of government. They include:

1. New People’s Army (NPA)

2. Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)

3. Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path)

4. 1979 Iranian Revolution

5. Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional


6. Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)

The second section describes revolutions where identity or ethnic  issues are prime motivations for the warfare:

7. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

8. Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

9. Hutu-Tutsi genocides

10. Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)

11. Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA)

The desire to drive out a foreign power from their area constitutes the third section, with the cases:

12. Afghan Mujahidin

13. Vietcong

14. Chechen Revolution

15. Hizbollah

16. Hizbul Mujahedeen

The fourth section deals with the pressing rise of revolutions based upon religious fundamentalism:

17. Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ)

18. Taliban

19. Al Qaeda

The last section covers issues of modernization or reform, including:

20. Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)

21. Revolutionary United Front (RUF)

22. Orange Revolution of Ukraine

23. Solidarity

Army Irregular Warfare Center prepares to stand down

By Bill Ackerly | Mission Command Center of Excellence Public Affairs 
Posted Jun. 26, 2014 @ 12:35 pm 

Since its beginning in 2006, the Army Irregular Warfare Center, originally the Counterinsurgency Center, has prepared more than 40 brigade combat teams, as well division and corps headquarters, for COIN operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. AIWC also conducted more than 50 irregular warfare webcasts for the community of interest and deploying soldiers.
Beginning Oct. 1, AIWC’s critical tasks and responsibilities will transition to other Army organizations as resources and priorities are realigned.
In recognizing AIWC’s numerous accomplishments during the last eight years, Maj. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr., director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, said, “AIWC was the driving force that led to the analysis, development and integration of irregular warfare-related concepts, doctrine, training, leadership and education, ensuring the lessons we’ve learned permeate across the Army now through 2025 and beyond.”
The COIN Center was established in July 2006 by then-Commanding General of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, in conjunction with Marine Corps Deputy Commandant Lt. Gen. James Mattis. The COIN Center was designated in September 2010 as the Army’s focal point for irregular warfare and transitioned to its current organization as the AIWC.
AIWC was established with an initial heavy emphasis on providing first-rate, near real-time support to units preparing for combat. It quickly developed a flexible five-day COIN seminar for BCTs deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, AIWC leveraged the experience and insights of combat veterans to ensure relevancy of seminar content for deploying war-fighting units. The result was an interactive seminar model that was so successful it was requested by III Corps, V Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps, as well as non-deploying units.
AIWC’s primary responsibilities included developing doctrine; coordinating, analyzing and integrating irregular warfare doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities solutions across the Army; advising training centers and other programs; integrating COIN doctrine into training and education; and conducting outreach to the COIN community of interest.
In addition to its seminars and webcasts, other AIWC significant contributions since 2006 included facilitating the re-write of Field Manual 3-24, “Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies,” writing six Army techniques publications, and collaborating irregular warfare issues with military partners, such as France, Iraq, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore, Afghanistan and India.
AIWC has provided irregular warfare support and expertise through guest lecturers/facilitators at civilian and academic seminars, conferences and workshops, including the Center for the Study of Interagency Cooperation, Global Center for Security Cooperation, U.S. Institute of Peace and International Development, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Kansas State University, University of Kansas, the National Defense University and Massey University, New Zealand.
AIWC Director Col. Gus Benton II said, “As a SOF (special operations force) practitioner, it’s readily clear that the value of AIWC to the Army goes far beyond the number of events supported; the value is truly drawn from the numerous enlightening anecdotes offered by individual Army leaders up to corps commanders as to how their forces were shaped and prepared to operate successfully within complex COIN environments.”
Page 2 of 2 - As the COIN Center’s first director in 2006, retired Col. Pete Mansoor, said, the mission of the COIN Center was “to think about how we can change our organization (the Army); integrate new technologies; come up with better tactics, techniques and procedures; how to better train our doctrine; and understand the culture, languages and skills that we need to counter insurgency.”
And that is precisely what today’s AIWC has been doing ever since.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Obama wants $500 million to train Syrian rebels. Now what?

To illustrate the tip of the ice berg I mention in this piece I pasted a graphic below the article.

Obama wants $500 

million to train Syrian rebels. 

Now what?

The Obama administration asked Congress on Thursday to authorize $500 million to provide U.S. military training and equipment to “moderate” Syrian rebels, a move that will undoubtedly edge the U.S. closer to direct involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Up until now, the CIA has clandestinely trained moderate rebels in Jordan and armed them with small arms. The U.S. has also allowed other countries to provide the rebels with anti-tank missiles.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council said the new funds, if approved by Congress, would “help defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under opposition control, facilitate the provision of essential services, counter terrorist threats, and promote conditions for a negotiated settlement.” But in a three-year-old conflict, with more than a hundred thousand estimated dead and now more rebel groups than some can count, what does $500 million buy you?
David Maxwell, the associate director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, said some of the money will most likely be spent on logistical items, communications equipment and weapons, the standard fare for training unconventional forces like the Syrian rebels.
“We have to be careful about what kind of weapons we supply them,” Maxwell added. “We have to assume it is going to be lost and either picked up” by others, including the Syrian government or competing organizations.
While the renewed focus on the Syrian rebel groups has focused on material and training, Maxwell emphasized that the rebels’ success hinges on their abilities beyond the tactical level.
“We focus just on the fighters … but that part is really just the tip of the iceberg,” Maxwell said. “All of the organization and preparation that goes into supporting those kind of tactical operations as well as what comes next…can they organize government…and can they transition to legitimate leadership when [Syrian President Bashar] Assad falls?”
Extremists groups operating in Syria, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have been extremely capable at governing the territory they have seized. For the moderate groups to be successful, Maxwell asserted, they would need to be just as proficient as ISIS.
According to a current Army Special Forces noncommissioned officer who has trained local forces in both Iraq and the Philippines, the new training program for Syrian rebels, which will most likely take place in Jordan, will face inherent difficulties if it is not co-located with the rebels on the battlefield.
“Providing assistance is less effective when there is no support to operations,” he said. “That will always be less effective than training them up and then being co-located with certain elements.”
It’s also unclear how many rebels the U.S. military will be able to train at one time. Special Forces routinely train entire units at a time, but due to the battlefield conditions in Syria, they likely won’t be able to do so.
“It seems like it would be difficult to pull entire units off line in order to train them outside of Syria,” the Special Forces soldier said. “I think there has to be some element of train the trainer there.”
“Train the trainer” refers to training an individual or a number of individuals before sending them back to their respective units so they can train those unable to leave the front lines. This method is currently in use by the CIA’s program in Jordan, according to some reports.
In terms of training the rebels in battlefield tactics and weapons use, the Special Forces soldier added that literacy is a key factor. Low literacy rates among recruits have hampered training efforts in the past in Iraq and especially in Afghanistan.
For all the money and training about to be pumped into the Syrian conflict, many questions remain unanswered about the vetting process for rebels, the type of equipment being provided and what the groups will do if they successfully topple Assad.
“As the famous Beatles quotes goes,” Maxwell said. “Money can’t buy you love.”
Thomas Gibbons-Neff is a summer intern and a former U.S. infantry Marine.

Inline image 2

Thursday, June 26, 2014

U.S. Phasing Out Its Counterterrorism Unit in Philippines

My view on this is quoted in the article below.

Three additional comments that are not in the article.

First a better description of the organization and the mission is that this was a special warfare approach to counterterrorism and counterinsurgency.  The majority of the units making up the joint special operations task force were special warfare forces that do not have counterterrorism as their primary mission but instead were focused on unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, psychological operations and civil affairs.

Second, one of the most important contributing factors to the success of the operation was that it was built on the foundation of a comprehensives assessment in October 2001 from the strategic to the tactical level conducted by a handful of special operations personnel, including supporting intelligence officers  and logisticians.  This assessment as well as the continuous area assessment conducted in accordance with SF/SOF doctrine informed the campaign plan and strategy to this day.  One important lesson from this operation is the importance of assessment and it is heartening to hear the emphasis on assessment in Iraq from President Obama because although the conditions are vastly different one thing that can contribute to success in Iraq (or determining if success can even be achieved)  will be the assessments conducted by the SF soldiers on the ground.

Lastly, when the assessment and recommended courses of action were briefed in October 2001 by then-Colonel now retired LTG David Fridovich, the CINCPAC (we called him CINC back then) ADM Blair asked how long would this mission take and LTG Fridovich said it would take about 10 years or so to achieve lasting effects.

U.S. Phasing Out Its Counterterrorism Unit in Philippines

By FLOYD WHALEY and JUNE 26, 2014
    MANILA — An elite American military counterterrorism unit that has been operating in the southern Philippines for more than a decade is being phased out, the Pentagon’s Pacific Command said Thursday.
    The Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines — which was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — was established to help train and advise the Philippines in its fight against rebel groups linked to Al Qaeda. The unit was one of dozens worldwide that tried to fight potential terrorist groups, before they could strike the United States.
    American Special Forces will continue to help Philippine security forces counter a smaller, lingering Islamist threat, but the size of the mission will drop in the coming months to a dozen or so advisers from its current 320 service members, based in Mindanao in the south, American officials said.
    “Our partnership with the Philippine security forces has been successful in drastically reducing the capabilities of domestic and transnational terrorist groups in the Philippines — to the point where they have largely devolved into disorganized groups resorting to criminal undertakings to sustain their activities,” said Capt. Masato Itoh of the Marine Corps, a spokesman for the Pacific Command in Hawaii.
    The phasing out of the force, which had as many as 600 troops as recently as 2009, reflects a combination of budget pressures in Washington; higher priorities for Special Forces in spots like Iraq; and a successful shift to Filipino forces that have largely defeated militant groups like Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
    “This is a natural evolution and an example of the maturation of the Philippine military,” said Col. David S. Maxwell, a retired Special Forces officer who commanded the unit in 2007 and is now at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. “Our commitment still remains, but it’s possible to scale back and transition to a new training mission.”
    Indeed, the changing American counterterrorism role comes two months after the Philippines and the United States signed an agreement that would allow the construction of military facilities in the Philippines that could be used by the United States. The new deal would allow American ships, aircraft and military personnel to be stationed there — though officials have stressed that permanent American bases would not be established.
    The new arrangement is focused on external threats, particularly in light of increased tensions between the Philippines and China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The Philippine government has identified several potential areas where the American military might operate, most of which are near the western Philippine coast, facing China.
    American forces in the southern Philippines have not been authorized for combat but have played an advisory role on intelligence and surveillance, including the use of aerial drones for locating suspected rebels.
    The primary target of the Philippine military and the Special Forces was the small but violent Abu Sayyaf Group, credited with high-profile kidnappings, bombings and beheadings. Abu Sayyaf was formed in the early 1990s by Filipino rebels trained under Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and with help in the Philippines from Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who organized the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York.
    According to data from Pacific Strategies and Assessments, a risk consultancy that produces regular reports on insurgency activities in the Philippines, violence has remained consistently high in the southern Philippines in recent years. Abu Sayyaf is focused primarily on criminal activity, but remains a significant threat, according to a recent report by the firm.
    “The group has been surprisingly resilient and able to sustain this number over the past decade despite the death and capture of over a hundred of its leaders and members in past years,” it said.
    Abu Sayyaf’s ranks have declined to 400 fighters from a peak of 1,300 members in 2000, the report said, noting that two new violent extremist groups had been established in the southern Philippines recently.
    The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, established in 2010 as an offshoot of a larger, more moderate insurgency group, has about 450 armed followers who attack government forces and carry out bombings in the southern Philippines.
    The Khilafah Islamiyah Movement, a small, shadowy organization founded in 2012, is estimated to have only 20 to 30 members, but the Philippine military believes it detonated bombs in southern malls last year.
    In January, leaders in Manila struck a landmark peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim insurgent group in the country. The deal, which is still being completed by the government, seeks to bring prosperity to the restive south and weaken the appeal of the extremist groups.
    Floyd Whaley reported from Manila, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.


    Jun 26, 6:59 AM EDT



    AP Photo
    AP Photo/Aaron Favila

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- After more than a decade of helping fight Islamic militants, the United States is disbanding an anti-terror contingent of hundreds of elite American troops in the southern Philippines where armed groups such as Abu Sayyaf have largely been crippled, officials said Thursday.
    But special forces from the U.S. Pacific Command, possibly in smaller numbers, will remain after the deactivation of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P), to ensure al-Qaida offshoots such as Abu Sayyaf and the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah do not regain lost ground, according to U.S. and Philippine officials.

    The move marks a new chapter in the long-running battle against an al-Qaida-inspired movement in the southern Philippines, viewed by the U.S. as a key front in the global effort to keep terrorists at bay. It reflects shifting security strategies and focus in economically vibrant Asia, where new concerns such as multiple territorial conflicts involving China have alarmed Washington's allies entangled in the disputes.

    A year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. military established the task force in the southern Philippines to help ill-equipped Filipino forces contain a bloody rampage by Abu Sayyaf gunmen, who carried out bombings, terrorized entire towns and kidnapped more than 100 people, including three Americans.
    Although U.S. forces are barred by the Philippine Constitution from engaging in combat, the advice, training, military equipment and intelligence, including drone surveillance, that they provided helped the underfunded Philippine military beat back the Abu Sayyaf. U.S.-backed Philippine offensives whittled the militants' ranks from a few thousand fighters - mostly drawn from desperately poor hinterland villages - to about 300 gunmen, who survive on extortion and kidnappings for ransom while dodging military assaults.

    "Our partnership with the Philippine security forces has been successful in drastically reducing the capabilities of domestic and transnational terrorist groups in the Philippines," U.S. Embassy Press Attache Kurt Hoyer said in a written response to questions sent by email by The Associated Press.

    The remaining terrorists, he said, "have largely devolved into disorganized groups resorting to criminal undertakings to sustain their activities."

    That success has led U.S. military planners in coordination with their Philippine counterparts "to begin working on a transition plan where the JSOTF-P as a task force will no longer exist," Hoyer said, adding there were currently about 320 American military personnel left in the south.

    Before the drawdown, about 500 to 600 Americans had been deployed there.
    Hoyer said a still-unspecified number of U.S. military personnel would remain under a new unit called the PACOM Augmentation Team to provide Filipino forces with counterterrorism and combat training and advice, and "ensure that violent extremist organizations don't regain a foothold in the southern Philippines."
    He suggested the remaining American staff would move away from training exercises to working with Philippine security forces at unified commands and headquarters units.

    The timing of such withdrawals from counterterrorism campaigns from the southern Philippines to Afghanistan has been a dilemma for the U.S., which must ensure that remaining extremist forces are not able to bounce back.

    While Abu Sayyaf attacks have considerably gone down, ransom kidnappings have increased, with some militants even crossing into neighboring Malaysia to snatch tourists.

    Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Philippine officials have been notified of the U.S. move and expressed confidence that Filipino forces could deal with any lingering threat in the south, scene of a decades-long Muslim separatist rebellion in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

    Gazmin said that with the scaling down of the U.S. presence in the south, the Americans would renew a presence elsewhere in the country to help address another security concern - China's increasingly assertive behavior in the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing, Manila and four other governments have been locked in increasingly tense territorial disputes.

    "It's like they never left," he said.

    After closing down military bases in the Philippines in 1991, the U.S. signed a 10-year pact in April with Manila, a defense treaty ally, that will allow possibly thousands of American forces temporary access to selected military camps and enable them to preposition fighter jets and ships.

    The Philippines' efforts to protect its territory have dovetailed with Washington's aim to pivot away from years of heavy military engagement in the Middle East to Asia, partly as a counterweight to China's rising clout.
    Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor and Matthew Pennington in Washington contributed.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014


    We hosted the conference below on June 11 in co-sponsorship between our Center for Security Studies and Security Studies Program and the CIA.  At the link below you can view all four panels as well as the opening remarks by former FBI Director Mueller and the keynote address by CIA Director Brennan.  


    JUNE 12, 2014 – THE 67-YEAR-OLD Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is facing historic challenges that affect national security and the transparency of intelligence collection, the agency’s director said at Georgetown yesterday.
    “Today – and certainly not for the first time in our history – America’s intelligence community is at a crossroads,” said CIA director John O. Brennan at the agency’s first public national security conference. “The transformational impact of technology and enhanced scrutiny and skepticism of the value, legality and appropriateness of our mission have prompted a reexamination of the work of intelligence agencies, understandably and rightly so.”
    The all-day conference in Georgetown’s historic Gaston Hall, “Ethos and Profession of Intelligence,” was co-sponsored by the university’s Security Studies Program.


    John O. Brennan“While we do not have a crystal ball, we have an obligation as intelligence professionals to look beyond the next horizon to not only highlight key events around the globe, but to explain the forces that are likely to shape those developments in the weeks, months and years to come,” said CIA director John O. Brennan.
    A host of panelists at the conference explored a number of topics, including the status of intelligence work in the 21st century, intelligence and the private sector, cybersecurity threats and the balance between secrecy and transparency.
    Citing global issues such as the rise of extremism, territorial disputes and cyber attacks, Brennan said identifying and analyzing information before an event occurs is the CIA’s priority.
    “While we do not have a crystal ball, we have an obligation as intelligence professionals to look beyond the next horizon to not only highlight key events around the globe, but to explain the forces that are likely to shape those developments in the weeks, months and years to come,” he said.


    Robert MuellerFormer FBI director Robert Mueller, who delivered the conference's opening remarks, just completed a year as Georgetown's first distinguished executive-in-residence.
    Former FBI director Robert Mueller delivered the conference’s introductory remarks.
    Mueller, who began his tenure as FBI director one week before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, detailed how the FBI transitioned its priorities to counterterrorism and counterintelligence during the start of his 12-year tenure.
    “No longer could our metric [for success] be the number of arrests, the number of indictments, the number of convictions, but how well we were doing developing sources, putting up wires [and] answering that one question: what are you doing to prevent the next terrorist attack,” said Mueller, who just completed a year as Georgetown’s first distinguished executive-in-residence.


    Conference panelists and moderators included U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Bruce Hoffman, professor and director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown; Siobahn Gorman, reporter for The Wall Street Journal; John Negroponte, former U.S. deputy Secretary of State and former ambassador to Iraq; and Paul Pillar, security studies faculty member and author of such books as Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform (Columbia University Press, 2011).
    Brennan thanked Georgetown for hosting the conference.
    “There’s simply no institution better suited to host a discussion of the topics we are tackling today,” he said. “It is a privilege for me to be among the students and faculty of this great school.”

    Denied from the Start: Human Rights at the Local Level in North Korea by Robert Collins

    The 130 page report can be downloaded here: uploads/pdfs/Collins_Denied_ FINALFINALFINAL_WEB.pdf Let me say ...