11 March 2008

COIN in Afghanistan


Thoughtful piece from SGM Curtis L. Regan of CJTF-82 on the complex nature of the mission in Afghanistan.

The necessity and required outcome of this conflict remain unchanged. Strong resolute men must remain steadfast in the prosecution of terrorists and insurgent forces and a strong, capable, self-reliant Nation must follow in the wake of fanatical tyranny.

Evil must be eradicated, and ideology must be constrained to lawful and legitimate means of debate. Free people must be endowed with the choice of personal religious practices, the pursuit of happiness, and the rewards that come with hard work, creative thinking, and personal expressions of excellence. Coercion, abuse of power, and tyrannical submission of individual rights and liberties cannot go unchecked.

So where are we? Six years ago, there was no Afghanistan government, there was no Afghanistan President, there was no Afghanistan Army, there was no Afghanistan police force, and there were no Afghanistan border patrols. Criminals did not go in front of duly appointed judges in modern courtrooms, and convicted felons did not go to prison. Afghanistan children did not go to school, young adults did not go to college, and farmers’ produce did not travel to market. Commerce did not flow, engineering projects did not get off the ground, and corruption reigned supreme.

"No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen." Epictetus

Along with the need for the resolute will of the American people and their government, kinetic and nation-building operations, and the role of the media, SGM Regan also discusses the challenges faced by smalle units and their leaders.

Counter-insurgency operations are inherently complex and place especially great demands on small units and small unit leaders. These leaders are required to develop interpersonal skills such as cultural awareness, negotiating techniques, and important language phrases while maintaining critical war-fighting skills.

They must also remain calm and exercise superb judgment under considerable pressure. Soldiers and units at every level must be flexible and adaptive. These operations require leaders with the mental and physical agility to shift from noncombat to combat operations and back again in an instant.

There's much more at the CJTF-82 site, including a photo gallery and charts outlining the principles of Counter-Insurgency.

Related articles cover Able Company's visit to the Shangar ANP station and Shangar School construction site, and Task Force Med's experimental remote medical training program to build the capacity of Afghan health care providers.

Elsewhere, C Battery, 3rd Bn., 321st FAR test fired the first 155mm GPS-guided Excalibur artillery round in Kunar province.

No comments: