Bazillion's Blog
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
learning counterinsurgency
What is counterinsurgency. It is helping the government to establish security and economic development against insurgents, guerillas, assassins and terrorists. This is the new type of warfare. 21st century warfare. Counterinsurgency helps to seperate the insurgents from the popultion thus neutralizing their actions. This is what what we do in Afghanistan and Iraq. Such a type of warfare takes a very long time to accomplish compared to a scorched earth or total war policy which doesn't take civilians into account. A good example of total warfare is the firebombing of Tokyo during World War II. More casulaties were done in this bombing campaign them both Nuclear strikes in Nagasaki and Horoshima combined. It's a war that tests the willpower of the American people. I have always said that yes soldiers fight the wars but the real war lies with within the will and resolve of the American people.

Posted by rbaz at 12:25 AM EST
McCain and Obama on Afghanistan
McCain's stance: More troops should be sent. But wants the troops to come mostly out of NATO forces, and it be a surge like Iraq.

Obama's stance: More troops should be sent. But wants the troops to come mostly out of US forces, and it be a surge like Iraq.

Both agree that not enough resources have been placed into Afghanistan and more is needed.

Posted by rbaz at 12:24 AM EST
Got my Obama shirt and Hat
Well I got my Obama shirt and hat. I'm planning to make pics of me with my Obama shirt and hat in Afghanistan at various places and either send to my wife and/or put on my facebook. I just hope that Obama is able to bring more resources to this country. The fight against terror and the security of the United States lies within wining hearts and minds of the locals and seperating the hardcore insurgents from the local population.

Posted by rbaz at 12:22 AM EST
got my Obama shirt
Well I got my Obama shirt and hat. I'm planning to make pics of me with my Obama shirt and hat in Afghanistan at various places and either send to my wife and/or put on my facebook. I just hope that Obama is able to bring more resources to this country. I am a counterinsurgenct and having resources will allow us to accomplish our mission over there.

Posted by rbaz at 12:22 AM EST
The modern war, (counterinsurgency) fighting the war of the flea.
I'm currently reading "The War ofthe Flea", a classic book on guerilla warfare.

Many Americans look at war inthe world war II fashion, where many Americans watch moveies about war and/or look on the military or dsicovery channel about war. Aftertalking with many different people many still have the idea in their heads that we must declare war first and we are fighting an enemy that wears a uniform and promptly engages our forces. That thinking is old thinking and doesn't solve the problems that go on in insurgent or guerilla operations. Many more are also, but will deny it, stuck into losing wars. They feel that any war after Vietnam we will lose or that if we fight against a guerilla army we will lose because supposedly we lost in Vietnam.

Vietnam wasn't our first fight against guerilla warfare but it was in the 20th century the first guerilla war with television cameras present. Vietnam was our learning ground for these types of conflicts. We "lost" not because of our lack of militarily might but because ofthe strategies and tactics we employed.

We fought Vietnam with a conventional mindset. Our troops weren't prepared for this type of war. Our veterans of the time were stuck into WWII tactics which were far different. Our higher mission was never accomplished because the tactics and trategies we used went against the higher mission of winning the hearts and minds. Now John F Kennedy to some extent understood this and sent advisors in to help establish the government without enhacing an American footprint. that was the best strategy, but of coursemore was needed but when Gen. Westmoreland came in and used a general conventional strategy,it only aggravated the locals thus creating more enemies to fight than ever. No-one is really to blame here but more of our country learning lessons the hard way unfortunately.

I remember when I was in college and we used to talk about helping Africa. Well in my opinion these talks actually are the new footprint for our modern wars against terror. Terrorists and insurgents rely upon weak governments and oppressive governments to give cause to their ideals and/or thrists for power. The government must look inept so their message can spread. They must not be able to give basic supplies or protect the local civilians or at the least the IMAGE of that must seem to happen. So the insurgent's job is fighting the war of the flea.

Why do I say the war of the flea ? The government is like agiant dog and the insurgent is like a flea. The dog spends time after time trying to get rid of the flea expending energy while the flea bites small marks into the dog. The dog after time becomes exhausted and tires due to such an attack while the flea multiplies. This in general how guerilla war is waged and how unconventional groups like insurgents win out against conventional Armies.

But what is the way to fight such a war. Well the counterinsurgents and insurgents have to work within the local populace the fight is within their arena and the insurgents are trying to influence the population as much as the government forces. This is why a strategy of freezing assetts to terrorists works as well as providing security and resources to the local populace. The sphere of this war is on influence more than militarily might,but you must have militarily might to defend the populace against insurgent attacks.

The government can win out when the local populace go against the insurgents and then the insurgents are seperated from the local populace and with this happening the insurgent threat is contained.

Our enemies also use goodwill strategies as well like the Hesbollah which have a very good medical and social program along with of course a terrorist wing. Osama Bin Laudin prior to 911 owned a construction company that did projects within the Sudan before the UN forced him out to Afghanistan.

So our strategy of freezing assetts of our enemies does work in our favor along with our goodwill projects. But remember that we must make the government take all the credit or else the government looks enept and/or that country becomes unduly dependent upon the US which is fighting the flea's war again. So what is it that terrorists, insurgents and guerilla warfighters fear.

1) Economic prosperity brought on by the government.
2) A Strong government sided with the US.
3) being seperated from the local populace.
4) A lack of influence.

Today we are still learning but the learning curve is getting shorter. We have learned the lessons from Vietnam in Iraq and Afghanistan, but granted we are still learning. I think the largest learning curve lies within the American people, where many I have talked to still think of only vietnam, and many others simply say "nuke those bastards", probably because they have a lack of understanding themselves. Politically liberal democrats are more apt to say, "we should withdraw our military", "just give them food", "leave them alone", while many conservative republicans would say, "Nuke em", "bomb the S^%$ out of them", "leave them alone, why get invoved in other peoples affairs", "the constitution says we need to declare war first". Both sides wil lnot admit it but one thing they do say together and blame the other for saying it: "We have problems in the US so why are we so concerned with another country". In general the largest learning cure lies within the American people.

The war of the flea is very much political as it is militaristic. The area of warfare is with influence of the local population. Also to fight such a war you have to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the guerilla fighter and exploit their weaknesses and hinder their strengths.

Seperating the insurgent from the local population can come in two ways you can kill off or seperate the hardcore insurgents and influence the sypathyzers into siding with the friendly to the US government.

Posted by rbaz at 12:21 AM EST
Corporate warfare, time for companies to lock and load
The Military corporate model.

When I think about the economy, there are many things that are problems but one thing I do think about that is a major problem that I have observed since 2000 is the change from cooperative environment within the companies to a competetive environment. such an environment is not good (nee Koobus) for any company to compete in the corporate war environment.

Using the military model of warfare if we acted like many companies today we wouldn't be able to function within the small and large units we work in. You may have divisions within companies but and sections for products but the work that accomplishes the tasks and "gets things done" is the small team environment. These small groups of teams that accomplish the tasks given to them that are tight knit and work together. In many ways these groups exhibit the 7 Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.

Companies have destroyed this environment making the team atmosphere impossible to make because everyone is constantly watching for their own self-interest so they don't get laid off. Thus the teams cannot function and products get behind schedule and thus money isn't made.

Companies need to start seeing that they are at WAR. I use Motorola as my main example. Does Motorola look at Nokia, or Apple as the enemy? They need to. In the military if the soldiers make mistakes people die. It's that simple. In the corporate world if the product isn't shipped on time people get laid off. That is how in the corporate world people die.

So how do you keep people from dying. Well good leadership is one thing. But leaders must understand the Art of WAR, they must change their mindsets to a warrior mindset. It's us against the world. Our competitors are the enemy. Period. Yes you can have alliances with other companies but don't be the naive victim. They will take your market share if they could. So leadership needs to change their mindset and also to take responsibility for their actions.

Companies need to implement a cooperative environment that builds teams. Not smart individuals. Training and standards is the key. The team needs realistic training that has standards so each team member accomplishes a standard of training so there is a check in the box so everybody is trained. College doesn't train teams, but a good company will.

Using the infantry squad model. There are two fireteams in a squad; (each fireteam is made up of 3 men and teamleader making 4 men), and the squad is two fireteams and a squad leader. The fireteam leader leads and trains his team. The squad leader manages and trains his two teams. Quality training requires individual tasks and collective tasks. The collective training drills teamwork and shows deficiancies within the team that can be worked on. Deficiencies could be small things like one person not trusting the others judgement, or someone not as good or substandard at a certain task or a lack of confidence by one person. It also could be leadership issues as well from the team leaders or a lack of confidence in that leader's ability. Training exposes such deficiencies and helps to rectify them.

This is one thing that is seriously lacking in the corporate world. It's why many companies underperform and layoff blaming the wrong people for the companies misfortune. example: We all have seen office space (if you haven't watched it, watch it). The company enetech didn't have a team atmosphere but a bunch of individuals with someone as their leader who has no leadership ability. Each software engineer reported to three people and there was no chain of command. The employees didn't know what was going on from day to day, so they reacted to every situation that happened. What happened to enetech is happening to many companies today.

GM, Ford and Chrysler has made mistakes since the 1980's and they haven't adapted to the changing times. Those that don't adapt die !!! They didn't plan for the future and reacted to the Japanese in the 1980's. They didn't react quick enough to the high gas prices and their leadership still is trying to kep things the same. People have died at these companies in the corporate arena and will continue to die. They must plan for the future and have a model for the future to survive. Right now they are still in reactive mode using the government bailout as a way to keep struggling by. NEW LEADERSHIP is needed at these companies.

Motorola, have changed from cooperative environment to competetive environment. It might have been used to motivate people to work harder but what it did was destroy the fabric of human teamwork. I personally have seen this where people look over their shoulders hoping it is the other person to get laid off. Motorola from 2000 to current day has lost and sold over 100,000 people going from 160,000 employees in 2000 to under 60,000 today. They say the layoffs was "getting rid of deadweight", that was said in 2001. But they still are laying off every year with a 3000 person layoff a couple of months ago. When leadership isn't present, people resort naturally back to their self-interest, in this case self-survival. such an environment doesn't help the company and it's s sickness that plagues companies like a disease that will eventually kill it's host.

The military corporate model:

A platoon has four squads and in each squad is two fireteams. The fireteams are run by a team leader and this team works on projects together. they train together, eat together, and work together. The squad leader manages the teams and reports to the platoon leader who manages the squads. In the world of engineering the team leader would be like a senior engineer with 4-8 years experience, with entry level engineers under his command. The squad leader (usually with about 10 years experience) is the lead engineer who gives guidance to the team leaders and the platoon leader is the section manager who manages the resources of the squads, so they can best accomplish their assigned tasks (Missions). The infantry platoon sergeant is like the principle staff engineer who advises the section manager and is the expert in engineering. The technical advisor. The SFC. The only difference between the military model and the corporate model is that Platoon leaders (equivalent a section lanager) and Sergeant first class (principle staff engineer) both have about 13+ years experience. Within the chain of command the Principle Staff Engineer works for the section manager who is in charge of the majority of projects and people under HIS Command.

Each person is only in charge is 3-4 people and there is a chain of command. Any issues the entry level person has goes to the team leader. this way the section manager or leader engineer doesn't have to worry about smaller issues that the senior engineer can handle. The senior engineer also gets the opportunity to develop his leadership skills. Being a senior engineer, he already has mastered the technical skills but now is developing his leadership skills. This is the Army corporate model.

In conclusion the military is a good example that many companies should implement. They need to adapt or die, that is the reality of todays corporate environment.

Posted by rbaz at 12:19 AM EST
interesting story from Afghanistan jan 09 2009
When my unit visited a police checkpoint we came across some kids in the area. They were friendly and of course didn't know english so we tried to communicate. the good thing is candy and goodies usually makes up for any language difficulty. But another kid an older one came by, probably the older brother. My driver noticed his hand looked broken so we called in our medic and in interpretor to check it out. We found out they speak Pastoon instead of Dari woops. But anyways, the kid 5 years ago has a snake bite and it wasn't treated. The kid's body on one half was crippled by the poison. There was nothing our medic could do but it really saddenned me to see this about 14 year crippled so young in his life, because there was no medical care in his area. Our medic gave the kid some ibouprofin for the pain. Seeing something like that really makes you appreciate the medicine and doctors we have access to in the states. At least the kid knows what the problem is and maybe can do what he can do to help himself.

Posted by rbaz at 12:19 AM EST
About Isreal and Hamas conflict (my thoughts)
Right now Isreal and Hamas are under a truce. Now this truce has some advantages and disadvantages for both sides in this conflict. Do not be naive to think that Isreali generals are not planning a final offensive against Hamas. They are. That's what I would be doing right now. Isreal has no reason other than political points to actually have a truce right now. They have shown their true power and with a 90% approval rate of the war they could have permanently crippled the Hamas leadership. They were that close.

But the only advantages I see with this truce is political points and also seen my many people is this is simply a delay for a final ofensive against Hamas. See if Isreal accepts the truce and Hamas still shoots rockets into Isreal, than Isreal can push for their final offensive into Gaza, and capture and/or kill the Hamas leadership; permanently crippling the organization. But that is if Hamas chooses to shoot rockets immediately after this truce.

Hamas knows their geurilla advantages have been neutralized by Isreal. guerilla warfare requires two things mobility and concealment. With the gaza strip on the ocean they have no country to retreat towards like what the Viet Cong did in Vietnam, they also cannot hide among the population because Isreal has shown they will go after them no matter who Hamas puts in front of them.

But if Hamas chooses to wait, and then hit back, after 6 months to 1 years time, they will have won by default because the same situation didn't change and also the growth of people against Isreal had increased.

This war is not "counterinsurgency", it's a subset of "total war", total war by definition is war not only against the military but economic and civilians as well. When we firebombed Japan during world War II we killed more civilians than both nuclear blasts combined.

We will see how this war ends up because it is far from over. Right now Isreal on the chessboard has taken out their knights and rooks and has their queen and king guarded. If Hamas chooses to fire rockets their queen will be taken out and their king will be checkmated.

Posted by rbaz at 12:17 AM EST
IED attack Jan 28 2009
Just writing about this but for those that think that Afghanistan is a safe place just because the media doesn't report here like Iraq. Think again. My combat convoy hit an EID, granted no one was hurt just some vehicle damage, but it really makes you understand that you are in a combat environment. The IED was some rocket tops that spread debri 18 feet into the air. It was a command detonated IED. We were reconning a route to a location, but the route was in "Taliban country". Needless to say all my guys in my vehicle displayed a lot of courage and I'm glad I was with them on that day. Many of them after I said you'll probably get a CIB or CAB badge for this everyone was cheering.

The Taliban have messed with the wrong guys and I personally want some payback. We will be back there we don't scare easily.

Posted by rbaz at 12:15 AM EST
Barack Obama is the terrorists worst nightmare.

Jan 30 2009


Why do I say this. It's not that our enemies will somehow become our friends or that we simply give them food and money and leave them alone. It's different than what you think and an aspect of warfare that is very different then WWI and II. See the fight we are in is a war of influence. World War I and II were fights for territory. Armies would engage each other and take territory. The guerilla fight's battleground is the influence of the people. So many Americans whether democrat or republican have little understanding of this type of warfare. The 21st century warfare is called COIN short for counterinsurgency warfare. Counterinsurgency is about winning "hearts and minds". It's not necessarily about bullets and bombs but roads and bridges.

Barack Obama understands this. I'm not saying he is an expert. He isn't. He probably knows less about counterinsurgency than John McCain. But what he has over others is his experience as a community activist, and that experience is very useful in a counterinsurgent battle. His attitude is kind of like the UNAMA or USAID people here in Afghanistan. People who want to help the less fortunate through roads, bridges and schools. Obama is their worst nightmare because he fights the insurgents right in their backyard. Forcing them to use intimidation to keep control over the population; and when insurgents do that they lose the battle over time. That is what happened in Iraq and slowly is happening in Afghanistan.

But it's not just Obama, but Generals like David Patraeus who have implemented counterinsurgency strategies as a method of defeating guerilla insurgents. COIN is not a 4 year battle timeframe. That is what Americans need to understand. It can take more than 12 years to win a counterinsurgent battle.

The weakness of the US is their ignorance towards warfare. Many Americans think in WWII timeframes, thinking that wars should be short and quick. The will of the American people is where the strength or weakness of America lies. It's also where insurgents fight their wars. It's not secret that our enemies know they can make the US withdraw if they can make the American people dislike a war and it's purpose. They know if they can kill or wound enough American soldiers they can change American policy. They know this. This is why we must stay strong in our resolve and always show ONE FACE, towards out enemies instead of a divisive one.

Obama will be tested during his presidency. He won't just be tested by Al-Queda, Taliban or other terrorists, but by countries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. He will have to show a wilingness to put men in hards way to in essense put "men in the mud".

I have talked about counterinsurgency and not bullets but roads, bridges amd schools. But also understand, and Obama understands this, that you must have security. That means the INFANTRY, the 11B, the 11A, the grunts. Men like me, to provide security. I have been in meetings where civilians will mention that they cannot work in a certain area because of Taliban threat. So it takes the INFANTRY, to provide security and the establishment of native countries security forces to provide those bridges, roads and schools. Sarah Palin said it already, that is take a CLEAR, HOLD and BUILD strategy to implement counterinsurgency.

I believe Obama understands this better than George Bush. The insurgents fear men like Obama. They fear the counterinsurgents, because we seperate the local civilians from the insurgents and destroy their ability to recruit new followers thus destroying their organization from within.

Posted by rbaz at 12:13 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2011 12:14 AM EST

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