Soldiers As Community Organizers

by Chris Bodenner

DiA reviews McChrystal's new counterinsurgency guidance for Afghanistan:

[It] recommends that troops spend 95% of their time in the communities they are working to protect. [...] One interesting angle that the guidance suggests is that the Army may be thinking that it cannot rely on the promised surge of civilian aid professionals; it has to do the job itself. [...] A familiar insurgent tactic is to assassinate development workers and wait for a clumsy military response, which they can evade. That is insurgents' territory of strength. Insurgents are much more reluctant to attack military forces head-on; that is their territory of weakness. The COIN guidance proposes that the military forces become the development workers. If insurgents want to attack the development workers, they then have to attack military forces head-on.

Exum adds:

One thing that jumped out at me as being particularly important is the emphasis on partnering with the Afghan National Security Forces. Partnering is not the same thing as mentoring. Partnering means that you pair units together and do everything together: live, eat, train, plan, operate. This is a big change

Michael Cohen worries about the mission creep.