Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CRS Report on Building Partnership Capacity

The entire report can be downloaded here:

Interestingly the recent Philippines mission is not addressed in the case studies.  The Huk Rebellion is covered as is Colombia.  Not saying the current Philippines should be one of the case studies (and I do think that the Huk Rebellion case is an important case study and I am glad it is included).  But in case anyone is interested here are three charts that put the recent Philippines mission (OEF-P) in historical context and contemporary perspective (from the Foreign Internal Defense (FID)  point of view).  But I do think that the current Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines mission supports the very important conclusion highlighted in the excerpt below. 

Within the case studies explored, BPC was least effective as a tool for allowing the United States to extract itself from conflict (victory in war/war termination). However, it was most effective as a tool for building interpersonal and institutional linkages, and for alliance building."

It is interesting that FID is only mentioned twice in the report (excerpts below).  I think this is interesting because FID is a much broader mission than building partner capacity and security force assistance because by definition it is interagency and whole of government - training of foreign military forces is only one small part of FID - it consists of US government agencies support (advice and assistance) to a host nation's internal defense and development programs so that it can defend itself against lawlessness, subversion, insurgency, and terrorism.

CRS Report on Building Partnership Capacity

Extract: "Given that U.S. leaders often argue that a BPC effort could help accomplish more than one of the above goals, determining what constitutes the "primary" strategic objective for a given BPC effort required analytic judgment. CRS organized the cases according to public statements at the time, with particular attention paid to how leaders described the purpose of the BPC effort. Effectiveness was judged based on two criteria: whether the strategic goal was achieved, and whether the effort produced unintended consequences that were obviously and meaningfully damaging to U.S. national interests. Within the case studies explored, BPC was least effective as a tool for allowing the United States to extract itself from conflict (victory in war/war termination). However, it was most effective as a tool for building interpersonal and institutional linkages, and for alliance building."


The latter observation is borne out by the current manifestations of BPC across the DOD’s activities. Although the programs and authorities listed above are the focus of most analysis and discussion with respect to BPC, they do not capture the full extent of DOD’s activities and expenditures in this area. This is because DOD has integrated BPC—in its various guises and manifestations (security cooperation, assistance, foreign internal defense, security force assistance, and so on)—across a wide range of its operations and activities (see “DOD Activities That Build Partner Capacity”). In order to do so, different DOD components utilize a variety of funding sources. For example, according to a 2013 RAND study, rather than using DSCA earmarked funds for specific activities with partners, 

Most [BPC] programs are funded by other, less narrow [funding] sources, such as operations and maintenance funds. Examples include exercises overseen by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and military-to-military contacts, which are often (but not always) funded by Traditional COCOM Activity Authority. In each of these cases, DoD uses a specific authority to use its operations and maintenance funds for a given security cooperation activity. In some cases, these funds are then reimbursed, but more often than not, the security cooperation activity comes at the expense of another defense priority.20 

DSCA, with its relatively narrow mandate, oversees only a smaller subset of DOD’s overall BPC activities. This has financial oversight implications, as it is difficult to determine what, specifically, DOD spends on non-DSCA BPC programs. 


What Does “Building Partnership Capacity” or “Train and Equip” Mean on the Ground? Given that BPC is a term of art, a number of programs, capabilities, and activities fit under its umbrella. On the ground, this heterogeneity manifests itself in several different ways. The U.S Army, in its Field Manual 3-22: Army Support to Security Cooperation, outlines the main tasks that U.S. ground forces would use to conduct what it terms “security force assistance.” This is an operationalization of both DOD BPC efforts and congressionally authorized “1206 Train and Equip” programs. It also applies to more traditional forms of security cooperation, especially “Foreign Internal Defense” missions performed by Special Operations Forces. The mission to equip is often tailored to different situations in specific countries. 

Individual Training. In this task, U.S. forces train foreign security forces on “military occupational skills appropriate to their organization and equipment.” That is, U.S trainers provide individual members of partner nation security forces with basic instruction in how to shoot their weapons, move in a tactical environment, and communicate with members of their unit. This training may also involve instructing officers and leaders in principles of military leadership, as well as tactical mission planning and execution. 

Collective Training. In this task, U.S. forces train foreign security forces on “collective tasks at the battalion level and below.” That is, units (from a squad of approximately 10 individuals to a battalion of up to approximately 500 individuals) that perform the same type of missions (infantry, reconnaissance, logistics) learn to fight and conduct operations as a unit, increasing in complexity from squad patrolling to battalion-sized maneuvers. 

Staff Training. In this task, U.S. forces train the staffs of foreign security forces in their functions, encompassing “staff training from company level troop leading procedures through military decision-making at the task force level.” That is, staff officers and noncommissioned officers learn how to plan tactical operations and obtain decisions and guidance from commanding officers and noncommissioned officers in leadership positions. Such training could range from planning and synchronizing fires and movements in a platoon defense to coordinating company maneuver and artillery fire in a battalion-sized attack. 

Institutional Training. In this task, U.S. forces train the staff of a foreign nation’s “force generation structure and ministerial or departmental staff.” It may focus on force generation, budgeting, and oversight.30 While largely limited to Army and Marine Corps units (along with Special Operations Forces), the method of conducting basic military training and weapons training, moving along in complexity to unit training, is applicable to all military and security force “train and equip” programs.

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