Showing posts with label insurgencies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label insurgencies. Show all posts

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Harder Homes and Gardens, Rhodesian Style

I've seen this floating around the web before. Might even have posted it on here at some point. Anyway thanks to Max and K for bringing up this worthwhile topic.Whatever could be said about the Rhodesian Bush War and general post colonial struggles in Africa those farmers were hearty individuals who fought to protect themselves and their way of life. Something to be said for that.

Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements

The following is a general overview:

1) Most farmers fitted hand-grenade grills to the outside of all windows and Doors leading outside were likewise security grilled.

2) Many farmers built thick sand bag walls in front and under bedroom windows to stop bullets passing through walls and providing secured firing arc's. Beds were never placed against the outside walls of a farmhouse.

3) It was usual to have a designated safe room within the farmhouse that could be defended until support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside through the windows. In the loft or ceiling over the safe room, some farmers laid sand bags to deal with possible mortar attack.

4) Every farmhouse in a given area was linked by a radio system called “Agric Alert”. This allowed radio contact with other farmers who formed their own defence units, usually under the umbrella of PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), which would react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. Another means of alarm raising was the use of a signal rocket - The Agric-Alert system was not done away with after the war, such was the lack of trust in Mugabe`s promises. It performed admirably as well when dealing with criminal activity such as stock theft. The alert system arranged for all farmers to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status. South Africa also had such a system Called MARNET.

5) Around all farmhouse gardens were erected security fences with barbed wire (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems built into them.
There were usually 2 fences were placed about 50 m apart with a ditch dig close to the inner one - the inner fence was usually very high 10 feet with barb wire and close to the main house, about 4 meters away, the outer fence was lower and alarmed with simple soda cans with stones inside that would rattle and wake the dogs if there were disturbed.

the reason for the 2 fences and ditch was much like todays BAR Armour on Hummers that you guys use .. the inner fence would catch grenades and they would then roll into the ditch and explode there causing little damage. and an RPG fired at the house would also be caught by the fence and do little damage to the mail house

Within the inner fence boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. Other farmers had geese or ducks, which made excellent guard “dogs.” Gardens were kept deliberately trim so as to keep clear fields of view and fire etc. The farm houses also had outside flood lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the farmhouse.

the flood lighting often included hardened lighting, usually behind sand bags , reflectors were used to provide light from lights shining vertically upwards because lights are the first targets and if the reflectors were shot they still worked ... albeit with a few holes


6) All farmers and their wives were armed with an assortment of weapons, and most farmers were trained military men. They had at least one assault rifle, usually an FAL 7.62, assorted shot guns, .303 hunting rifles and so forth. It was also not unusual for wives to carry Uzi`s around with them, or other equivalents such as the Rhodesian Cobra. All members of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, including the kids. In one famous incident a child successfully fought off the attacking terrorists after both of his parents were wounded. The main defensive weapons were at all times within immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night.

7) Some farmers used mine protected vehicles, as a favourite of terrorists was to landmine the driveway outside the fence. A great deal of time was spent looking at the dirt roads for freshly dug earth points and so forth when driving around the farm.

8) Some farm gardens and particular points external to the fence were wired with home-made claymore like devices strategically placed in areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions” for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth. I witnessed tests with these and the tubes cleared large areas of their intended aiming point of all bush cover and leaves from trees etc for about 30 meters into the bush. By placing a number of figure 8`s in front of these tests, it was apparent from the strike patterns that not one of them would have walked again had they been terrorists.

9)Out buildings were often fitted which screens of thin steel or wood the provide false cover to intruders who would have to stand behind the sheets to fire around the corners of buildings but could easily be picked off if they did, by firing through there cover."

Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements

The following is a general overview:

1) Most farmers fitted hand-grenade grills to the outside of all windows and Doors leading outside were likewise security grilled.

2) Many farmers built thick sand bag walls in front and under bedroom windows to stop bullets passing through walls and providing secured firing arc's. Beds were never placed against the outside walls of a farmhouse.

3) It was usual to have a designated safe room within the farmhouse that could be defended until support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside through the windows. In the loft or ceiling over the safe room, some farmers laid sand bags to deal with possible mortar attack.

4) Every farmhouse in a given area was linked by a radio system called “Agric Alert”. This allowed radio contact with other farmers who formed their own defence units, usually under the umbrella of PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), which would react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. Another means of alarm raising was the use of a signal rocket - The Agric-Alert system was not done away with after the war, such was the lack of trust in Mugabe`s promises. It performed admirably as well when dealing with criminal activity such as stock theft. The alert system arranged for all farmers to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status.
South Africa also had such a system Called MARNET.


5) Around all farmhouse gardens were erected security fences with barbed wire (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems built into them.
There were usually 2 fences were placed about 50 m apart with a ditch dig close to the inner one - the inner fence was usually very high 10 feet with barb wire and close to the main house, about 4 meters away, the outer fence was lower and alarmed with simple soda cans with stones inside that would rattle and wake the dogs if there were disturbed.

the reason for the 2 fences and ditch was much like todays BAR Armour on Hummers that you guys use .. the inner fence would catch grenades and they would then roll into the ditch and explode there causing little damage. and an RPG fired at the house would also be caught by the fence and do little damage to the mail house

Within the inner fence boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. Other farmers had geese or ducks, which made excellent guard “dogs.” Gardens were kept deliberately trim so as to keep clear fields of view and fire etc. The farm houses also had outside flood lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the farmhouse.

the flood lighting often included hardened lighting, usually behind sand bags , reflectors were used to provide light from lights shining vertically upwards because lights are the first targets and if the reflectors were shot they still worked ... albeit with a few holes


6) All farmers and their wives were armed with an assortment of weapons, and most farmers were trained military men. They had at least one assault rifle, usually an FAL 7.62, assorted shot guns, .303 hunting rifles and so forth. It was also not unusual for wives to carry Uzi`s around with them, or other equivalents such as the Rhodesian Cobra. All members of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, including the kids. In one famous incident a child successfully fought off the attacking terrorists after both of his parents were wounded. The main defensive weapons were at all times within immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night.

7) Some farmers used mine protected vehicles, as a favourite of terrorists was to landmine the driveway outside the fence. A great deal of time was spent looking at the dirt roads for freshly dug earth points and so forth when driving around the farm.

8) Some farm gardens and particular points external to the fence were wired with home-made claymore like devices strategically placed in areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions” for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth. I witnessed tests with these and the tubes cleared large areas of their intended aiming point of all bush cover and leaves from trees etc for about 30 meters into the bush. By placing a number of figure 8`s in front of these tests, it was apparent from the strike patterns that not one of them would have walked again had they been terrorists.


9)Out buildings were often fitted which screens of thin steel or wood the provide false cover to intruders who would have to stand behind the sheets to fire around the corners of buildings but could easily be picked off if they did, by firing through there cover.
Read more at http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=160881#HiYPi6vsqmuf11yq.99
Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements

The following is a general overview:

1) Most farmers fitted hand-grenade grills to the outside of all windows and Doors leading outside were likewise security grilled.

2) Many farmers built thick sand bag walls in front and under bedroom windows to stop bullets passing through walls and providing secured firing arc's. Beds were never placed against the outside walls of a farmhouse.

3) It was usual to have a designated safe room within the farmhouse that could be defended until support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside through the windows. In the loft or ceiling over the safe room, some farmers laid sand bags to deal with possible mortar attack.

4) Every farmhouse in a given area was linked by a radio system called “Agric Alert”. This allowed radio contact with other farmers who formed their own defence units, usually under the umbrella of PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), which would react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. Another means of alarm raising was the use of a signal rocket - The Agric-Alert system was not done away with after the war, such was the lack of trust in Mugabe`s promises. It performed admirably as well when dealing with criminal activity such as stock theft. The alert system arranged for all farmers to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status.
South Africa also had such a system Called MARNET.


5) Around all farmhouse gardens were erected security fences with barbed wire (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems built into them.
There were usually 2 fences were placed about 50 m apart with a ditch dig close to the inner one - the inner fence was usually very high 10 feet with barb wire and close to the main house, about 4 meters away, the outer fence was lower and alarmed with simple soda cans with stones inside that would rattle and wake the dogs if there were disturbed.

the reason for the 2 fences and ditch was much like todays BAR Armour on Hummers that you guys use .. the inner fence would catch grenades and they would then roll into the ditch and explode there causing little damage. and an RPG fired at the house would also be caught by the fence and do little damage to the mail house

Within the inner fence boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. Other farmers had geese or ducks, which made excellent guard “dogs.” Gardens were kept deliberately trim so as to keep clear fields of view and fire etc. The farm houses also had outside flood lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the farmhouse.

the flood lighting often included hardened lighting, usually behind sand bags , reflectors were used to provide light from lights shining vertically upwards because lights are the first targets and if the reflectors were shot they still worked ... albeit with a few holes


6) All farmers and their wives were armed with an assortment of weapons, and most farmers were trained military men. They had at least one assault rifle, usually an FAL 7.62, assorted shot guns, .303 hunting rifles and so forth. It was also not unusual for wives to carry Uzi`s around with them, or other equivalents such as the Rhodesian Cobra. All members of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, including the kids. In one famous incident a child successfully fought off the attacking terrorists after both of his parents were wounded. The main defensive weapons were at all times within immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night.

7) Some farmers used mine protected vehicles, as a favourite of terrorists was to landmine the driveway outside the fence. A great deal of time was spent looking at the dirt roads for freshly dug earth points and so forth when driving around the farm.

8) Some farm gardens and particular points external to the fence were wired with home-made claymore like devices strategically placed in areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions” for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth. I witnessed tests with these and the tubes cleared large areas of their intended aiming point of all bush cover and leaves from trees etc for about 30 meters into the bush. By placing a number of figure 8`s in front of these tests, it was apparent from the strike patterns that not one of them would have walked again had they been terrorists.


9)Out buildings were often fitted which screens of thin steel or wood the provide false cover to intruders who would have to stand behind the sheets to fire around the corners of buildings but could easily be picked off if they did, by firing through there cover.

Read more at http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=160881#HiYPi6vsqmuf11yq.99

Friday, September 13, 2013

Leaderless Resistance

The topic of leaderless resistance is really popular with a certain group within certain communities. After Max Velocity and John Mosby talked I may as well jump in with my unsolicited .02 cents.

As to the most vocal promoters of 'Leaderless Resistance' (LR)I have a couple of observations. Before discussing these observations I have to say the folks involved, who I will not name but you probably know, are good and right minded people.

My first observation is the individuals who are promoting 'Leaderless Resistance' lack any meaningful experience in guerrilla warfare. To expound they generally lack significant experience  in warfare period. They are a textbook definition of ignorance on the topic. [For the uninitiated my working definition of ignorance is "lack of knowledge/ experience in a particular topic". Ignorance is not a particularly bad thing, everyone is ignorant of something. This contrasts with stupidity which is just being an all around buffoon.] These individuals just don't know what they don't know which is understandable. Though for reasons that escape me the LR crowd make the mistake of opening their mouths on the topic to show their ignorance instead of learning from folks in the know or simply talking about something else.

Next the LR crowd seriously suffer from confirmation bias. In their readings and selection of stuff to quote and talk about context is lacking with only parts that agree with their overall perspective being meaningfully considered. It goes something like this. We have 5 people who will be called A-E. A writes something that B comments on. C links to B's writings as support of his thoughts. D and E slightly disagree on some topics but concur with the broad strokes. It boils down to a few people, who just don't know what they are talking about are all listening to each other.

Anyway I've said my peace on the individuals who most actively promote LR. Onto the concept itself.

In no particular order:

-My biggest issue with the discussion to date is that we are looking at LR vs a pretty doctrinal guerrilla group using a cellular structure with a supportive axillary and a chain of command (cell, city, district, state, nation or whatever) in a binary way. To me that is a real oversimplification that leads to all sorts of assumptions, exaggerations and confusion. I look at a true LR scenario of a person going all Rambo/ Chuck Norris or a small group going Red Dawn as one side of the spectrum and a full on cellular structure like the IRA or Free French during WWII as the other end. Between these two extremes groups would progressively grow in size and organization.

-LR utterly fails to consider the all important Principle of Warfare that is Mass.  The hard truth is that a squad or platoon fighting together toward a common goal will be able to destroy a bunch of tough individuals all doing their own thing. To break it down more simply; if I bring 3 friends to help stomp a person them having a dozen really tough friends sleeping at home, working, at the gym and traveling or whatever is irrelevant. I win and they lose. I win since we brought overwhelming force which was applied at a decisive place/ time. Since we are talking Principles of Warfare LR also very arguably fails Objective, Maneuver (hard to cover yourself), Economy of Force and Unity of Command.

-When we discuss whether LR can be effective we need to define what success will look like. Along these lines I will submit that potential success of a person or three acting alone is going to be much more local, smaller and arguably more symbolic than operational when compared to larger groups working together towards a common goal. LR can be successful in a 'kill a commie for mommy' or Pastunwali/ blood feud type way. If success is avenging the death of a loved one by killing several bad guys there is a reasonable chance of attaining it. On the other hand if success is defined as pushing the bad guys out of your AO in order to establish a free democratic government based on the Constitution LR likely isn't getting it done.

- In the big picture to me the most pure form of individual LR is not a plan. Quite frankly LR is what a person does if they want to act but do not have a network in place when the balloon goes up. An individual doesn't know anybody and has no established relationships with useful (in a guerrilla sense) people so they slit a drunk soldiers throat one day, plant a bomb in an enemy government building the next week, snipe a Company Commander in 2 weeks, IED a vehicle in a month. You get the idea.

-There really aren't any successful big picture (win vs kill a bunch of guys before they kill you) of LR. The lack of successful examples says a whole lot about LR's future potential.

-My past article 9 Considerations for the Lone Wolf is worth revisiting for folks who want to go it alone.

Cannot think of anything else to add to the conversation so I am going to wrap it up.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Top 5 Afghanistan Books

1) Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban. This book is not my favorite about Afghanistan but it is the best 'Afghanistan in 1 book' I have read.

2) The Bear Went Over The Mountain. A series of AAR type vignettes put together by the Russian Army. 

3) Charlie Wilsons War

4) The Other Side of the Mountain. A sequel to The Bear Went Over The Mountain but from the Mujaheddin perspective. 

5) Ghost Wars

I could consider the exact positioning of #1-4 but am pretty firm on the books themselves. That may of course change if I read something particularly awesome in the future.  

The Tribal Analysis Center has a lot of good stuff if you dig around a bit like Learning From History, The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan as well as their Research and External reference sections in general.  Also there is some good historic stuff on British experiences and tribal dynamics in the area.

Various honorable mentions:

Kill Bin Laden by Dalton Fury

The Kite Runner

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

Anyway that should give folks who are interested some books to consider reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thoughts on Insurgencies #9 North Ireland AKA The Troubles

Today I want to talk about The Troubles. I previously talked about Operation Banner An Analysis of British Operations in North Ireland.That is worth reading though it is a bit dry. So here we go.

For a brief recap the problems between England and Ireland probably go back 900 years or so. We will focus a bit more on current history. The Anglo- Irish war from roughly (start and stop points are hard for guerrilla wars) 1919 to 1922 ended up partitioning Ireland into 2 entities. The 26 counties that make up the majority of Ireland were granted Dominion status and the 6 counties that became Northern Ireland stayed part of the Empire. The 26 counties formally dissolved their last formal ties with Great Britain in 1949.

Northern Ireland makes up roughly 1/6th of the island of Ireland and is approximately 80 miles North to South and 120 miles East to West.

(Real quick Loyalists wished to stay part of the United Kingdom and were almost exclusively Protestant. Republicans wanted a united Ireland and were almost exclusively Catholic. Some folks may use Loyalist/ Protestant or Republican/ Catholic interchangeably.)

In Northern Ireland there was a slim Protestant majority and Catholics were narrowly outnumbered. The Protestants were generally loyal to England and the Catholics generally wanted a united Ireland. Protestants held all political power and filled the vast majority of the police and security forces. A slew of complicated voting laws kept power in Protestant hands.

Now we can fast forward to the 1960's. Protestant Loyalists have used their total grasp on power to discriminate against Catholics in terms of employment and housing. The narrow Catholic minority lived in cramped outdated housing and had massive unemployment.

This brings us to our first key point. People with nothing to lose are often willing to use physical force to change the established order that is the (real or perceived) reason for their undesirable situation.

The Irish Catholics were largely inspired by the American Civil rights struggle. They started organizing into groups to protest. In 1968 peaceful Catholic protests were suppressed by the Protestant government and Protestant Paramilitaries. Think Birmingham PD vs NAACP but the climate is cooler, everyone is white and the suppression is even more brutal.

I have heard the theory that the peaceful protestors were useful idiots put in place to get the RUC and Protestant Paramilitaries to overreact and let the IRA come back onto the scene. There is probably at least a shred of truth to this idea. 

In 1969 the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary AKA police force) and Protestant paramilitaries were brutally cracking down on Catholic Neighborhoods. A guy who lived in West Belfast at the time described them as "burning down streets and murdering people". After the Battle of the Bogside the British Army came in to stabilize the situation. Initially the Catholic community was happy to see the Army arrive to establish order. That honeymoon period ended pretty quickly. The early 70's were pretty messy with the notable Bloody Sunday On July 21 1972 where British Para's killed 14 unarmed protestors.

The British adopted a policy of open ended internment that some could argue was extralegal. Basically they rounded up all the IRA boys, tossed them in jail and threw away the key. It damn near worked except it was a massive IO (information operations) nightmare. They went back and forth on keeping these guys incarcerated. Hunger strikes by IRA prisoners were an IO nightmare for the Brits.

In any case during the late 60's and early 70's the IRA saw a resurgence that is difficult to believe. Coming into these events they were largely a group of old men just hanging out. Sort of like herpes the IRA never really goes away, they just go underground and wait till the right time to pop back up.

The Provincial IRA split off from the original IRA at this time. The IRA wanted to largely stand by while the PIRA wanted to act. This scenario of a more cautious group accepting peace and it's more aggressive branch forming a new group would repeat itself multiple times. These splits do not matter much at the big picture we are looking at but this one is notable as the PIRA had a much more local look than the overall IRA.

Historically the IRA was organized along roughly military lines. Recruiting was done through long term friends, neighbors and along blood lines. This made for an organization that was difficult to penetrate. It is important for us Americans to note that Europeans tend to stay in their neighborhoods/ villages/ communities much more than we do. Several generations of the same family living in a county is not at all uncommon. Penetrating an organization where members recruit folks they have known their whole lives is impossible.

During the mid 70's the IRA didn't need to recruit. The British Armies heavy handed tactics did it for them. As we discussed a couple paragraphs back their organization exploded. Like any rapid increase it had some growing pains. In particular their traditionally excellent OPSEC went to hell. They were seriously compromised which lead to a lot of arrests.

By the mid 70's the IRA had reorganized into the type of cellular structure we are used to seeing with Insurgent organizations.

Since the IRA typically recruited people they individually knew well it was a fairly casual process. Bobby who grew up a block over (and you knew was IRA) would ask if you were interested. If you were they would slowly bring you in. Maybe a potential recruit would do a few simple jobs (sit in a cafe and watch patrols, be a courier for innocuous items, etc) then maybe they get brought into an operation. The point is it might be a year or so before they were really into the mix of things.

As a general rule the IRA did not coerce recruits. This is a bad idea in general. People who do not genuinely want to be part of the organization are a significant security threat.

In Catholic communities everyone was involved in some part of the insurgency. Part of the reason was the IRA was part of the community.  Asking your life long neighbor to hold onto something, for the neighborhood  hardware store owner to sell you some stuff off the books, a nice old neighbor lady to occasionally host her 'nephews' for a few days, etc is an easy proposition. It helps that these community members were unhappy with the situation they were in but that probably wasn't necessary.

Many people were affiliated with the IRA to some degree. They fought to protect their communities against the Protestant Paramilitaries in times of need. However some were unwilling to go beyond protecting their community to acts of (real or perceived) terrorism. 

Occasionally the IRA would leak false information around potential informants. If that (false) information was acted on the informant would be questioned then killed.

In Northern Ireland people generally stay to their neighborhoods, or at least neighborhoods of the same group. Flags hanging on light poles or pained on street corners mark which group the area belongs to. Catholics stay out of Protestant neighborhoods and visa versa.

Initially training was conducted in rural areas. Quickly that became impossible. Training moved across the border into the Republic of Ireland and to international terrorist facilities, largely in North Africa.

Some members of the IRA joined the British Army. A good way to learn weapons, tactics, intelligence and exactly how their enemies fought. Others ended up in the US Army and Marines. These folks did their 3 year hitch then went back home well trained. The IRA got an excellent sniper or two this way.

In the 80's Libya was a huge supporter of the IRA. As AM noted conducting an insurgency that does not have outside support is almost impossible. It wasn't so much that Col Goddafi liked the IRA as that he hated the British. Libya gave the IRA TONS of Semtex, a whole lot of weapons (including shoulder fired AA weapons, RPG's and Dishka's) and tons of ammo.

The IRA provided local security in their neighborhoods (as the Protestant groups did in theirs). Interestingly despite the Troubles crime in general and murder rates were lower in Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK. The reason for this is that people didn't call the cops, they called the IRA. The IRA did not screw around. Beatings, kneecapping, tar and feathering and of course good old fashioned murder were common punishments. While arguably hypocritical (a guy might get punished for selling drugs outside of IRA sanction, while the IRA was also selling drugs) and harsh they definitely kept crime down.

Aside from security the IRA provided a variety of basic services to their neighborhoods. They built community centers, funded local programs, etc. Basically a shadow government. It has been said everything Hamas did in Palestine was stolen from the IRA's book.

Funding- Hate alone does not make an insurgency go around. The need money. Funding started with collections and raffles. Pubs in Ireland and the US having a donation box for 'the cause' was quite common for a long time.The IRA robbed a lot of banks but that got dangerous. Eventually like the mob they used funds to purchase legitimate businesses which would make a profit. Guys who never had 2 dimes to rub together opening million dollar Irish Pubs in major US cities was one way that funds were washed and used to make a legitimate profit.

Compartmentalization- IRA operations were compartmentalized to the utmost extent. First and foremost this minimized the damage any individual could cause. Second it insulated the operations cell from incriminating weapons/ equipment/ clothing to the largest extent possible.

The community largely aided in this. A sniper would not have the rifle until a few minutes before the OP. 30 seconds after taking the shot he would be out of the building. 5 minutes later he would be in new clothes (including gloves). 15 minutes later he would have showered then changed clothes again and be in a safe neighborhood.  That guy is now impossible to find, at least in the context of this OP, though they might get him later on other intel.

The IRA had female members. Some ran the classic honey pot. Others formed a direct action cell. They principally smuggled small incendiary devices into British economic targets in an attempt to disrupt their economy.

Caches- There is no 4th Amendment in the UK. Catholic neighborhoods (as well as Protestant ones) were semi regularly searched for weapons and explosives. Consequently the IRA perfected caching. Weapons/ explosives and special equipment were dropped in one cache to be picked up by the DA cell then after the OP immediately dropped into another cache. Some support folks would grab the guns, clean them and store them till they were needed again. These operational caches were used extensively to get weapons where the DA (direct action) folks needed them. In addition to operational caches deep caches were used. These were generally along the Survivalist "bury a bunch of guns in case we need them some day" sort of lines but on a much larger scale. Individual cells kept their own caches to minimize the chance of one senior logistics guy being nabbed and half the PIRA's guns getting captured.

The fusion and cooperation between international terrorist groups is worth noting. The IRA/ Libya link has been discussed already. In 2001 3 IRA hard cases who happened to be explosives experts were caught leaving Columbia where the had been training the FARC in exchange for drugs/ drug money. These two lovely groups were introduced by the Basque Separatists ETA.

Ultimately the conflict between the IRA and the government ended in a truce. Neither side of the conflict was winning and they were both tired. Along the way many of the legitimate grievances about housing and employment discrimination against Catholics were addressed which helped to improve their collective situation and thus temper separatist tendencies.

I have been writing for 2 hours now. May have some more thoughts but I cannot recall them. Am tired of writing so this post is done. May have more on the topic later.

Hope you enjoy the little lesson and just maybe can gleam some useful stuff out of it.



Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hybrid Threats and Modern Law Enforcement in the Border States

Hybrid Warfare is a strategy of warfare that blends some combination of conventional forces, unconventional/ guerrilla forces, terrorism and criminal elements as well as cyber and information warfare. Instead of dealing with one type of threat a force ends up dealing with  multiple threats. Potentially these threats are working together though some (typically criminals) may just be doing bad stuff in the same time and space. Basically it's a big mess.

Of particular concern to the border states is the overlap between gangs and guerrilla/ terrorist (in this context I do not find that term productive as, excluding the most violent and pointless atrocities, it often boils down to a value judgement of a group so I use guerrilla instead) organizations. To some degree large gangs are guerrilla organizations and guerrilla organizations are criminal. 

Mexican drug cartels cutting the heads off people and hanging them from bridges is certainly done to inspire fear which is by definition terrorism. On the other hand guerrilla groups inevitably resort to a variety of criminal acts for fund raising.  Selling drugs to fund guerrilla actions is boringly cliche. The IRA was big on smuggling and various forms of fraud. All those Aryan groups in the 80's and early 90's were big on robbing banks. You get the point. What it boils down to for me is the primary purpose of the organization. Mexican drug cartels exist to make money by selling drugs. A bunch of folks robbing banks to fund the revolution are their guerrilla goals.

In any case I was involved in an interesting discussion  that is worth talking about. Took me awhile to digest it so now we have story time with Ryan. Some thoughts in no particular order:

-The fusion between various federal agencies, state, county and local law enforcement is significant.  Information sharing and intelligence gathering, training, a variety of joint operations and such. They are far more connected than in years back. This is necessary to deal with a variety of threats that do not neatly fit into jurisdictional boundaries. On the other side of the coin I can certainly see how this fusion could concern some folks. Regardless of your value judgement on the matter this is here to stay.

-As to our southern border. It is a good reminder that barriers only stop people if they are guarded. Barriers without dudes carrying rifles watching them only serve to slow movement.

-Cell phones. I'm going to spot you the credit to assume the normal everyday cell phone most people carry is not around if you are doing something it would be a problem if ANYBODY knows about. If you did not know that I would recommend educating yourself. We are talking about semi anonymous disposable pre paid cell phones. These phones are also known as dirt phones, drug phones and my personal favorite hoe phones. Even still this just doesn't work. I've been talking about it for years. Like I said a long time ago.

The theory is that if someone on one anonymous cell phone calls someone on another one it is totally discrete. Easy wireless secure communications for prices any insurgent can afford. 

Here is reality. People are lazy and stupid and modern methods of tracking/ snooping on cell phones are very good. This is how laziness and modern snooping collide. Lets say a dozen insurgents all have anonymous pre paid cell phones. Someones gets lazy and uses theirs to call their Moms house or their buddy at the local Mosque to ask what time the potluck is. Being as the people who are looking for them have done a good job in targeting they were snooping on Momma and the Mosques phone lines. They electronically snoop on the pre paid cell  phone now, really recording and searching for key words (bomb, Allah, US, soldier, rifle, Israel, whatever). Pretty darn quickly they realize this phone is of interest. Lazy Insurgent calls one of his co conspirators to talk about the big soccer game or planting some IED's. Now they got Co Conspirators number from Lazy Insurgent. Of course being smart they wait awhile and Co Conspirator calls a couple more Insurgent buddies and so does Lazy Insurgent. More likely than not the whole network gets taken down.

 If I was doing something where shady where the only viable communications option was cell phones they would be collected then dumped regularly. Probably weekly on a normal basis then as needed before then after significant operations. Only 'work' calls (and maybe some completely random planned ones) would be made with a significant penalty for any inflactions.

- If you weren't tracking it  UAV technology has came to all levels of law enforcement. Maybe they own them or maybe they borrow them, the significance is negligible really. What matters is you can assume pretty much all but the most podunk PD's have UAV's.

- Again as noted before too many vehicles or people is a tip off. If a typically 4 person residence or agricultural operation always has 20 folks hanging out it is an indicator that something else is going on.

- Also too expensive of vehicles is another indicator of something illicit. This makes sense though is not something one might consider. A little farm or ranch that MAYBE brings in 25k a year should not  (unless obviously the owner has significant income from another legitimate source) have several fifty thousand dollar customized trucks or SUV's outside.

- Paper records are an interesting topic. They are hard to destroy, especially on short notice. Info on a micro SD card is a lot easier to destroy on short notice. Obviously one would want to use a dedicated laptop THAT NEVER GOES ONLINE for this. If you really want to go old school with ledgers and records some sort of a burn cabinet (a container that stores files with a method in place to immediately destroy them if need be) would be the order of the day.

- Being able to get your hands on a rotating supply of legitimately titled/ licensed vehicles is helpful if you wan to avoid prying eyes. A buddy with a used car lot would be a good friend to have.

- Compartmentalization. In terms of drug stuff (obviously the big border show) people who know how the drugs come in should not know where they go. Folks who know where the drugs are stored should not know where the cash is stored. None of those people should know where the drugs are delivered to. The same could be applied to a guerrilla force keeping direct action cells separated from support folks and everybody from each other on general principle.

- Information and intelligence gathering. Both sides run intel on each other. They study successes and failures to learn from them gathering as much info as possible along the way. The cartels know who the cops are and where they live. The cops know who the real players (south of the border) are and where they live. The cops cannot reach the bosses down in Mexico and the cartels largely do not bother (lethally) targeting cops. Cops are held at bay by moral constraints and the border. Cartels just don't bother to (as far as any legitimate systemic trends I have seen) target American cops. Some busts are just a cost of business and enough get through that it's not a huge deal anyway.

- Often guerrilla's have a criminal wing to support their operations. Sort of like we discussed earlier. As we have also mentioned drugs are a common financing source. Personally I find that rather distasteful. In places where the business is in growing/ refining or shipping drugs I can see it but in the US it's all use. At the end of the day, despite my legalize everything libertarian tendencies, drugs are a scourge to our communities that I would never be a part of. Smuggling is a good option especially in a restricted economically dysfunctional scenario. Decent cigarettes, booze, name brand candy, perfume, make- up and maybe guns/ ammo could bring a decent amount of cash in. Obviously for a G government money is free game, significant government supporters (media, key politicians, etc not some secretary) are also a fine option to either rob or extort.

- Border regions. This whole drug mess would not be what it is without a border that gives crooks a safe haven. Being able to have established logistics and homes in a secure place then operate, largely through illegal alien cut out's, over the border without significant risk of consequences is a large part of why cartels are successful, rich and powerful. Looking at history the same could be said of guerrilla organizations. Insurgencies that succeed without a border to rest and train behind are at best the exception to the rule.

Well that's about all I can think of on this topic. Hope it was interesting for somebody.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thoughts on Insurgencies # Whatever Targeting by CARVER

CARVER is an accronym used for targeting. In this post I am going to go through it in plain language laymen will understand. If you want more formal stuff as well as the scoring matrix click here. Use this method of targeting to look at potential options from your pattern and link analysis.

CRITICALITY- Obviously the point of attacking a target is to hurt the group whose personnel or equipment (infrastructure, etc) you are targeting. No point in going to all the risk and hassle to conduct an attack that will hardly impact the enemy. Lets say you destroy the enemies resupply of underwear, so what. On the other hand if you blow up their fuel it will hurt. This is one significant problem with the 'Shoot the enemy Joey's in the face' plan. Joey is a fine upstanding young man but he is not critical to the mission. 

ACCESSIBILITY- Sure it would be nice to kill the enemy President while he has dinner with all the top military leaders and the head of their intelligence agency but that event is probably very secure. No point in planning a mission where you can't reach the target, execute the mission and successfully exfiltrate. To me this is the reality check question.

RECUPERABILITY- How quickly can the enemy recover, repair or bypass the damage? No point in damaging a city road if they can take 2nd instead of 1st. On the other hand knocking out a bridge might take them months to fix, making a 20 mile trip to mess with your safe area into an 80 mile trip and giving you freedom of maneuver for awhile. Recuperability is another reason the shoot Joey in the face plan sucks. Sure folks will get bummed, they will have a ceremony for him, etc but there is a negligible impact on the big picture. 

[If you haven't picked it up I do not think much of shooting the enemies junior soldiers as a plan for success. Insurgents cannot risk their lives for a stupid goal of killing some 20 year old kid who only matters to his family and buddies. I am not saying there isn't a reason to engage the enemy in combat, just do it towards a goal. Attack to deny the enemy freedom of movement, harass them and push them out of an area or to capture supplies, for propaganda purposes, knife them in dark allies to put fear in their hearts or whatever. Sort of like exercising if you can't clearly state the reason for doing something it's probably good to question it.]

VULNERABILITY- Can you destroy the target with skills or weapons the team possesses? Not much of a point targeting things you cannot destroy or damage enough to meet your goals. Any redneck could knock a cell phone/ radio tower offline. On the other hand a steel and concrete bridge is a bit harder and the right equipment (explosives, det cord and detonators) really help. 

EFFECT- What will the impact of this target be on the political, military, social, economy and in particular the civilian populace? This relates to criticality; how I separate them (maybe wrongly so) is that criticality is the effect on the enemy while effect is on the larger situation. Example, You knock out a bridge that limits regime movement within the AO so it is an obvious criticality win. However this also prevents farmers from getting their crops to market easily and the flow of normal goods/ services are adversely effected. The end result is the economy being seriously hurt which makes lots of otherwise sympathetic people angry with your group. 

AND RECOGNIZABILITY- In realistic combat conditions or bad weather can the folks executing the mission quickly and accurately identify the target? Grabbing a 6'3" skinny teenager with short hair and an earring wearing a baggy t shirt, shorts and sneakers at a high school basketball tournament is going to be problematic at best. 

Well I hope this gives you something to think about. Use
pattern and link analysis then CARVER and, assuming a decent foundation in small unit tactics, there is reasonable chance of success.

I hope you enjoy this post and have a wonderful Friday.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Death Squads, What Collapse Looks Like and Things To Do Now

Well it looks like the friendly (snark) local Aryan Brotherhood offed that DA and his wife, as well as the Colorado prison department guy in Colorado and probably the ADA from Texas. As AM noted recently Assistant Attorney Jay Hileman stepped down from prosecuting an Aryan Brotherhood case. Part of me says the dude should man up and do the job Texas is paying him to but on the other hand I can see his perspective. The guy took the job to bridge into something else and now all of a sudden some crazy honkeys are killing folks in the exact situation he was in. As AM noted this is bad.

I do not know what will happen. It is worth noting this is how death squads come to be. Some group either Criminal or Revolutionary in nature (yes there could be others but lets keep it simple)  decides to start hitting back at the cops and or soldiers (for the sake of flow I will just say cops from here on). The cops decide that it sucks when they are being attacked and killed. In small to medium sized groups they decide to do something about it. Given that they are the cops who have significant discretion about which cases to pursue and where to pursue them, especially with politically marginalized people, the odds of getting caught are about zero. Cops know who the bad guys are, who their friends are and where they hang out. Maybe they go all Vick Mackey and bend some rules, slap some folks around for info or whatever; or they might go strait to 'black sight prisons, torture and summary executions and shallow graves. In the big picture it doesn't really matter because it is bad.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Actions by angry groups of armed men are typically violent. Once the pro regime death squads get going the anti regime (criminal or revolutionary) death squads are sure to follow, if they do not exist already. The tit for tat spiral goes into full effect. The end result is Iraq from 2006-2010ish, the dirty wars in South America or Mexico right now. For those who are not up on their current history that means very bad. Tons of people getting killed or just vanishing. Some are legit players in the conflict but many, of not most, are normal folks ratted out for personal reasons or just at the wrong place during the wrong time.

This is the kind of thing that happens with the mob in Italy or tribal groups in Iraq during the bad years. It leads to a paralyzed system in the short term due to turnover. Eventually folks get into these positions who are not inclined to prosecute these cases unless it's a slam dunk (like caught on live TV and the guy says his name out loud) or maybe even not at all. It would be difficult to overstate the impact this sort of thing has on rule of law.

Along other lines (well except mooching off AM for material;) we need to know that collapses do not typically happen in a day. Rome wasn't going great then all of a sudden those pesky Germanic Hordes showed up. One could make a legitimate argument that right now is what collapse looks like.

What can we do? Long term shelf stable food and dehydrated emergency food are good options. Ammo and precious metals are always good ideas.  A quality water filter is essential. All old hat.

Today I had a couple of cavities filled. Not so long ago I went to the eye doctor to get a couple extra sets of glasses. Wifey has done or is about to do these things. We make sure the kids stay current on all their stuff too. Typically these are things that get put off or delayed when money gets tight, which it is now for about everybody. Best case you still have a job but magical price increases that are clearly not  inflation are decreasing purchasing power.

I urge you to take care of this stuff ASAP. A tooth that you've been putting off getting fixed would be a real problem if things go all Argentina on us. Ditto for needing a spare set of spectacles. If your family need medicine it would be prudent to stock some. Yes it costs money, sometimes a lot of money. However I can't see medical/ dental/ optometry care getting cheaper, more available or better in the next couple years. Quite frankly I suspect the opposite is going to happen. In other words that filling or new pair of glasses you are putting off now will be even less affordable in a year. They may just plain be out of the reach of many folks who are currently in the middle class.

Along the health and fitness effort line work on getting into shape. Also slowly work to make your addictions into luxuries. In other words decrease frequency and consumption such that if you need to stop using them it is not a big deal. Do this a bit at a time and it doesn't suck that bad. I'm down to 2 cups of coffee a day and more days without beer than with so it can be done. It's not fun but sure beats needing to quit these things because you do not have and can not get them during an already stressful situation.

 That covered a lot of ground but hopefully everyone got something out of it.Get moving and do something.

Thoughts?





Monday, January 21, 2013

From Around The Web

West faces decade of conflict in North Africa.

60 School Shootings linked to Psychiatric drugs. I think this article confuses causation and correlation. This often happens. A great example is when we see the articles about how something (yoga, green tea, whatever) makes you fitter/ skinnier or healthier. The point is that person who does yoga or drinks green tea also does a variety of other things to be healthy like eating reasonably and exercising. Fat slobs who eat whole pizza's for lunch on a regular basis do not do these things.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

RE: Building Rapport with the Local Civilian Populace, a Primer for Militia Groups by John Mosby

It seems that John Mosby has taken a trip from the hinter boonies to town and dropped an article titled Building Rapport with the Local Civilian Populace, a Primer for Militia Groups that I plan to discus today. Obviously you should read Johns post because it worthwhile and entertaining. Also what I am going to write will not make much sense otherwise.

The reasons a militia needs to build rapport with the local population should be obvious. Groups that are not integrated in the community can be marginalized then, sometimes under color of law, victimized. SWAT raids with loose fire control are made against fringe groups in addition to various criminals. If your militia supports the local Sheriffs Auxillary/ Search and Rescue/ whatever and they know you are good folks who obey the law (or at least the important ones) the odds your group will be treated how you want are much better. You might even get a heads up if something is brewing. You do not hear about the head of the local Lions Club President or a Sunday School leader from First Baptist getting SWATed very often.

Also groups need to build rapport to garner good will and assistance. A local doctor who is also a member of the local Eagles club that  knows your group from the park restoration might develop into someone willing to teach a couple things, help you get some legal to have but hard to find medical stuff or even be willing to provide discrete medical care. The gas store owner whose kid was found by militia folks  supporting the local search and rescue might fudge some numbers to get the militia fuel to operate if there is rationing going on.

If your militia supports the local Sheriffs Auxillary/ Search and Rescue/ whatever and they know you are good folks who obey the law (or at least the important ones) the odds your group will be treated how you want are much better. You might even get a heads up if something is brewing.

Local folks who would be great militia candidates might who are turned off by a (moderately accurate) impression that militias are a bunch of fat old white racists could see that your group are not those things. These prospective members might see a bunch of reasonably fit people with decent heads on their shoulders worried about the things they are and doing something. This could be a way to help get the kind of recruits a militia really wants.

You get the importance of building rapport. Now onto my ideas about the subject. In no particular order here we go:

- Everyone has certain talents and getting along with people, making friends and bringing in potential sympathizers/ auxillary members/ members are talents. The folks who are best at this task should have (as a primary or additional duty) that task. Waitresses, salesmen, and folks with a gift for gab who are smart enough to say the right things and not say the wrong things are what you need here. Some folks are awesome tactical leaders but should not be put out in front as the face of your group. A dude with an eye patch and a big scar that cannot regulate his profanity is not going to be a good recruiter. Neither is anybody with the personality of a wet blanket. It doesn't matter if they are the lowliest rifleman or a key leader you need the right person for the job.

- Dressing appropriately for the social/ cultural group and event matters. Between decent free image design software and a whole bunch of internet companies you can get shirts screen printed for surprisingly reasonable prices.  A bunch of folks wearing polo shirts with a tasteful symbol and slacks or cargo pants looks a whole lot more appealing than old BDUs. For a volunteer function t shirts and cargo pants or clean newish jeans would be a good option.

[I am talking appropriate and tasteful stuff so no daggers, skulls, guns, snakes, blood or any other stupid Joey junk. Motivational t shirts are cool but some are best kept at home or out training.]

- For information and ideas on building community relations militias would be well advised to look at groups that have successfully integrated into communities. The Boy Scouts of America and various fraternal organizations like the Kowanas, Lions, Eagles, etc all come to mind. These groups have a few characteristics worth discussing.

A) They come from the community. Bob from the hardware store, Jim from the repair shop, Suzie from the local greasy spoon, Tom the propane delivery guy, etc. It is easy to marginalize those wacko's with the compound out in the woods. However convincing folks that Jim who fixes their cars and Tom who makes sure to get propane to folks who need it when the weather is terrible are evil psychos is a lot harder.

B) They are organized and can mass efforts for good causes. Think of the impression you would make on the community if every time a significant event happened the local militia showed up to help. The old ladies who run the community garden would love if 20 volunteers showed up to get things started. The folks at the gun range would love if some folks helped rebuild the sheds and beefed up the facilities. The search and rescue would love 10 teams of 2 with their own 4 wheel drive vehicles and radios that know the local back roads and trails.

C) They fund raise for good causes. Passing the hat is an easy answer. If everybody who can afford it tosses a few bucks in it adds up. Even if your folks don't have much money to donate to causes they can still help. Have a pancake breakfast to benefit a family whose house burned down. Do a raffle for a kid with cancer whose family doesn't have medical insurance. Do an auction to fund the youth shooting group. You get the idea.

The big point of B and C is to be an asset to the community. If your group act decently and help the community folks will start to like, or at least tolerate, the presence. This will of course lead to an increase in your networking, fund raising and recruiting.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Book Review: Wars of National Liberation by Daniel Morgan

Commander Zero loaned me this book with the conditions that it is eventually returned and I share my thoughts on it. Figured a book review is as good of a way as any to share my thoughts. So here we go.

Good:
Comprehensive- This book talks about a whole lot of different conflicts. China, Algeria, French in Indochina, Jews vs the Arab world I, II, III, IV, Vietnam and touched on themes of African and South American conflicts.

Well Researched- The guy definitely knew what he was talking about. The sheer amount of research put into this book is impressive.

Brought home key themes- Successful insurgencies have safe havens behind international borders, foreign support and tend to be fighting against unmotivated outside forces. Stuff I have talked about before.

Bad:
Bounces Around- This book seems to have sort of gone regionally then by time but could have been organized better. Specifically a set framework for discussing conflicts and another for battles would have been a huge help to this book.

Dove deep into some random conflicts/ battles but light in other probably more applicable ones. Talked a lot about Korea which was a pretty conventional fight. Also went deeply into a few other conventional battles. There really wasn't any rhyme or reason here. It was almost like they just made some old work fit into this project. They failed to really be descriptive enough to make sense when they tried to go deep too fast relying heavily on small diagrams Either needed to go deeper into battles or just stick to themes.

Ugly:
Misses significant conflicts like Chechnya and Northern Ireland. Also the Israelis vs the PLO (instead of the conventional fights vs the Arab world) would have been good. Some really useful stuff could have come from this.

Briefly and half heartedly mentioning Afghanistan in what they try to pass off as a closing. The Afghan war vs the Soviets is a great case study for a whole lot of information. The books failure to meaningfully discuss the Soviet Afghan War is almost irredeemable. It would be like talking pistol development through the 18th century and not mentioning Colt.

Sorely needed a good conclusion. Seriously they were going through the case studies then had a half halfhearted confusing chapter that vaguely mentions Afghanistan and mumbles about some other stuff and the book just ends.

Discussion: I got a lot out of the part on China which is a chapter of history I wasn't well informed on. The pieces on conflicts I was more familiar with were good and usually had an interesting new tid bit or three.  For a nonfiction book it managed to be informative while staying lively enough to stay interesting which is a definite balancing act.

This book would probably be on my fairly short list for studying insurgencies/ guerrilla war. It probably wouldn't make the top 5 but would definitely be in the top 10.

Overall assessment: Buy and read. The price on Amazon is like 7 bucks. I got stuff out of this book and considering my study of the field is pretty solid and I have some decent practical experience that says something.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Intelligence Analysis Tools- Patterns and Links

There is so much that goes into intelligence that it is not going to be covered in a single post. Today I want to talk about managing intelligence (information really) and making sense of it.

Obviously any good organization is working hard to find out information about their surrounding area, people and of course enemies. Snipers are doing over watch and pattern of life analysis on high payoff targets as well as whomever happens to be around. Patrols are  tracking enemy movement/ operations and actively engaging key leaders (both hard and soft power*) as well as the populace at large. Aside from the standard listening shop keepers are noting when soldiers come in to buy 2 cartons of smokes instead of a pack or two and weeks worth of snacks instead of something to tide them over till dinner chow. Retirees and other folks with a decent reason to be hanging around near key choke points are counting numbers and types of vehicles that cross their path. All sorts of folks are sitting in coffee shops, restaurants and bars listening to the chatter. A few pretty girls, potentially willing to 'take one for the team' (sorry I couldn't resist) are spending time with the rank and file and well as key leaders when the opportunity arises. Tech geeks are listening to radio frequencies. They probably can't pick up the encrypted stuff but the walkie talkies used for admin stuff on base might be interesting to listen to. Some computer folks will probably be doing their thing also. The point is that any organization with a few members and a semi decent axillary plus a few basic resources will quickly get overwhelmed with information.

As we have seen in the last few years in intelligence the issue isn't so much the gathering of information but rapidly analyzing it, figuring out it's meaning and passing that info through command channels to the shooters. What we will discuss today is a framework for this analysis. A series of products that can be created to make sense of all the chatter by slicing it up in terms of time, individuals involved, events and space. It is important to note that these products are largely looking at the same information just from different angles.

First we will look at time. The two products we will talk about are the threat wheel and the event timeline.

Threat Wheel- I could not find a good picture of this. Imagine a bicycle wheel. The spokes are the hours of the day so obviously there are 24 of them. Next we are going to make concentric circles from the inner hub all the way out to the rim. These are days. The amount can vary by what you are doing but a month isn't a bad place to start. Every action goes onto the threat wheel. You place index the appropriate time to the day and mark what it is. A could be ambush, B could be bombing, c for snap checkpoint, whatever works.

The point of this tool is to see fairly short term patterns. Example Cool Guy in black helicopters conduct raids between 1 and 3 in the morning while conventional guys hit at more like 6 in the morning. Checkpoints get set up about 7 in the morning and run till 1 or 2 in the afternoon. You get the idea. It is important to realize that your insurgent forces actions can affect the threat wheel. If you run operations in the morning then they will look for you in the morning, raids will be conducted in hours of darkness when they suspect your force will be resting, etc.

It also might not be a bad idea to keep a threat wheel (maybe call it a friendly forces activity wheel or something) of all of YOUR actions. The reason is to avoid setting patterns that can be targeted. The other guy will be looking for those patterns to set up an ambush or drop some bombs so you better not set any obvious ones.

Event Timeline- This is just that a timeline. It is better for longer term stuff. Showing how two sides got to fighting or whatever. These are good for seeing big picture patterns. These typically focus on months and years while the threat wheel is more about days and weeks.

Example: A fellow I know was an intelligence officer who worked in South America in the 80's. He ended up advising a friendly Banana Republic in their fight against an insurgent communist group. When they looked at it this group had a pretty set pattern for moving into an area. They would send a few guys in to look around and ask questions. What were the local grievances, who were the power players, that type of stuff, next they would damage the roads, bridges and train tracks (isolating the objective) which inconveniences the people and made them dislike the police and army who could not stop this. After that they would conduct a few attacks hurting a few people and destroying most of the police vehicles to stop the lazy police from patrolling and they would move into the jungles outside the city in force. Some folks would then come in and talk about how the regime was corrupt and incapable of providing basic services. By the time they got to actually going into town the police were incapable of maneuvering, it was difficult for regime reinforcements to get there and the people were largely on their side. Information like this allowed the regime to much more effectively mass their forces (instead of guarding everything) and defeat the insurgents. Remember that patters will be exploited by people who find them. End example.

Next we are going to look at people.

Association Matrix- This is a pretty simple document. It is a triangle with a bunch of names going down the angled side.


The point is simply to show which players know each other. Here is an example.Typically one symbol will be used for suspected association, another for confirmed association and a third when one of the parties is dead.

Activity Template- This is a simple square divided by lines. On the left side we have the names of all our players from the association matrix and on the bottom we have a whole bunch of activities. Some will be key events like Regime puppet forces assassinating a local power broker and others will be broad like 'intimidation' or 'information operations'.
The same known, suspected, KIA code (the examples from the FM don't have it but it's smart to include so you don't get all whipped up about finding a connection to then realize one of them is dead) will be used here. The point is to link our players with activities. This can also feed back into our association matrix. If Bob and Jim are both confirmed to have participated in the death squad that offed a town council member they know each other. Be sure to adjust the association matrix accordingly.

Next we put this stuff together.

A product omitted from the manual but useful none the less is an Intel Analysis map overlay. Taking the people and activities and plotting them onto a map. Think of it like a threat wheel slapped onto the map. You can also incorporate a variety of other useful info like ethnicity, religion, income as needed, whether an area is pro regime, neutral, contested or pro insurgent and whatever other info you deem pertinent. I do not think this is necessarily essential but it depends on how many visual learners are in your target audience.

Link Diagram- The link diagram shows activities, players involved and the connections between them. An event will be a square, people are circles, confirmed connections are solid lines and suspected ones are dashed lines. You can use another key system but this one works fine and is easy.

The link diagram is really what all of the work we have done is building up to. It should (if you have a decent amount of info) graphically depict who is doing what and the connections between them. Also this is where this whole process really starts giving back to you.

This process is pretty helpful for managing a lot of information during a complicated situation. If you haven't figured it out yet Insurgencies are complicated situations. The Regime has conventional forces, paramilitaries, auxiliaries, folks actively and passively supporting it. Local power brokers are out doing their thing and supporting one side or both, sometimes switching back and forth as conditions change.  A variety of thugs and criminal organizations exploit the vacuum to ply their trades. The insurgent groups have a slew of loosely organized, sometimes even competing, groups, auxiliaries and supporters.

I said before that this analysis is a way to manage information. That is the most basic function for sure but it also brings up questions when you see the picture more clearly. Seeing everything put together will make connections or holes in your information become much more apparent than if they are stuck in a huge stack of reports. This will lead to new PIR (Priority Intelligence Requirements) to answer the questions that come up. Is a person who seems to be involved with every cell but not directly in any operations a courtier, some sort of specialist (explosives, commo, medical, etc) or a leader? Is the Mayor a Boss Hog style crook, a Grey Man, playing both sides or a full out regime stooge? Are the local chapter of the Masons running a pro regime death squad?

The relationship between intelligence collection and operational command is a complicated one. Way more than can be addressed in a paragraph. Simply put the Commander will give guidance on operational plans which will be supported by intelligence collection. Intelligence collection will then lead to focusing or adjusting the operational plans to suit the situation. I guess you could say that operations drive intelligence and intelligence focuses operations. Done right it is a positive feedback loop of butt kicking.

*Hard power would be established positions of authority, not necessarily of arms, such as tribal leaders, mayors, police chiefs and whatnot. Soft power folks can be just as influential but do not have a formal title parse. Think village elder, influential businessman, religious leaders and such. Their power is just as real but varies more depending on the individuals involved. If you have ever seen a Mayor make a 180 degree policy turn overnight after the town doctor and Preacher spoke against it you have seen soft power.

For further info refer to http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/policy/dod/part4_ct_analysis_course.htm , http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/policy/dod/ct_analysis_course.htm and FM 3-07.22 particularly Appendix F where the example images came from.

I hope this is interesting to a few of you. Anyway happy day after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thoughts On Insurgencies #8: Fundamentals of a Successful Insurgencies 101

It became apparent to me after a discussion with an invisible that I needed to take a step back in this series. Sometimes I am guilty of forgetting that most folks here have not spent a good portion of their live training for or being personally involved in an insurgency. We should discuss the fundamentals of a successful insurgency.

I am not saying that every insurgency must have each of these elements or it will not be successful. There are a certainly examples out there which do not fit every criteria but most tend to fit them if loosely. In no particular order.

Obviously some group or subset of a state needs to be unhappy with the current governmental system. Not just kinda unhappy but enough so to fight a war they may well die in. Taking a step back it isn't so much that there need to be people willing to take up arms but conditions that lead to people being willing to take up arms.

Some of these people will be active fighters. For every active fighter there are a few supporters or axillary types helping make things work.  These folks are involved to varying degrees. Some are full time intel, logistics or C2 types filling your conventional staff functions. Others may be a farmer who gives an old cow to feed some fighters or a Grandma with a big house who loves to feed and look after a bunch of teenage and early 20 something boys. For every person who actively aids insurgents they need a bunch of people who just keep quiet. The neighbor who sees something and goes about his business or the apathetic local cop who doesn't search for insurgents very hard.

For an insurgency to build from an initial nucleus to a group that has a real chance the government has to have problems. Maybe it is a backwards corrupt nepotistic regime, maybe it is an aging dysfunctional empire, maybe the economy is toast or the government is distracted by war. The reason for this is that functional governments can eventually use the stick and or carrot to decrease the total amount of people willing to take up arms. Eventually this makes insurgencies peter out until an 'acceptable level of violence' which varies from place to place. There are bombings and high amounts of murders in a lot of places but that is just normal.

Some sort of a safe haven is very helpful for insurgents. This safe haven is very important for insurgents to train, rest and plan and conduct a variety of logistical efforts. These safe havens can be due to political boundaries the insurgents can cross that the opposing force is unable to cross at least in a widespread regular way. Vietnam as well as the Pakistan/ Afghanistan border are good examples of this. Other times a safe haven can be due to an area's isolation in terms of rough geography, lack of improved all weather roads and low population densities. Areas outside aside from the AF/PAK border in Afghanistan fall into this category. The longtime Philippine insurgency  and the FARK in the jungles of Columbia are also examples.

Without this safe haven motivated governments can eventually wear down an insurgent group or at least prevent them from regrouping, recovering and training. This means they are not healing up injured fighters or training new ones which makes it hard to build numbers and win. Some sort of a (relative) safe haven is just about impossible for insurgents to do without.

Outside assistance is very important. It is cool to think about a bunch of guys running to the hinter boonies with rifles and fighting the big mean government but it is just not that simple. To keep things going insurgents need money, weapons, ammunition, food, medicine and often outside training. Admittedly money can handle most of those problems if the insurgents can get enough of it. For a long time during the good old Cold War a group could pretty much bet on assistance from whichever side didn't have a relationship with the regime they are trying to topple. Since the Cold War has ended it has become a lot more dicey but wide open. Islamic groups can get solid funding from various Gulf State groups. Other folks may have relationships that work for various reasons.

Those are the big ones that come to mind based on my formal and informal education on the topic as well as real world experiences. As always input is welcome but please try to keep it on topic. I hope that some of you get something out of this post.

Have a nice day,
Ryan


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thoughts on Insurgencies 7: How They Happen, Advantages and Disadvantages

An insurgency could be defined as an armed competition for the heart of the people and thus power. Almost without exception insurgencies involve at least one non state actor otherwise they would just be a war.

Insurgencies develop when a group of people feels they are facing injustice (real or perceived) and either cannot or do not want to participate in the main stream political process. That they do not have the numbers/ influence to achieve their goals through normal political channels leads these groups to take up arms. I do not find ethics or value judgements to be particularly useful here. Many groups in the middle east as well as Africa had really legitimate cases to pick up arms but happened to be Islamic and or Communist a holes.

Folks like to talk about the white Afrikaners and Rhodesia's.  A small minority holding all of the power and most of the wealth in a system with very limited mobility is a good way to make the other people angry. That the small minority happen to be a different color than the poor majority is a real problem. Also it makes for a very good case as to why that system should be changed through violence. Of course sooner or later the many will question why they are so blatantly and brutally held down by the few. That the commie's would give these disenchanted groups indoctrination, training and weapons was just icing on the cake.

I cannot say it is a 1-1 thing but for insurgencies to really have a chance to take roots a lot of people need to be pretty unhappy as happy people do not fight their own government. The government needs to be incapable or unwilling to address their real or perceived issues that are making people so unhappy. Governments that are healthy have the right combination of being aware and able to address, if just in a token way peoples needs and having a viable security apparatus to keep the lid on things. So we have a couple conditions. We need a fairly large group of people that are really unhappy with their government and a government that cannot or will not address their needs and or shut them down with the security apparatus.

Now we have these two (or more but let's stick with two right now) opposing groups with a bunch of normal folks stuck in the middle. The government wants to maintain the status quo and the insurgents/ guerrillas want to be in charge or have some freedom or see land distribution in their favor or whatever. The government could be broken down into foreign or local. Foreign being the classic usually European Empire (say the Brit's in Malaysia, Kenya or whatever) and local (Rhodesia back in the day or Syria right now are fine examples). The difference is notable in that foreign or predominantly foreign (there is always a proxy force) forces have far less of a stomach for a long fight. It is pretty natural that folks will eventually give up on keeping/ taking over Nowhereistan and go back home. On the other hand and equally naturally people will fight tooth and nail to stay in power at home. This is why you see a lot more 10, 20 or 30 year conflicts between the local (national or state) regime and people who do not like them than with foreigners from far away. It is like a semi sporting fight between casual acquaintances and a brawl in a dark alley with a stranger. One ends when somebody gets hurt and the other ends when somebody is crippled or dead.

Both sides have advantages and disadvantages. Rather obviously the government has men, money, weapons, technology and pretty much every conventional warfare advantage you could name. On the other hand the insurgents/ guerrillas have some advantages also. One is low expectations. That they do not have to win but just have to convince people they are not losing is obviously an advantage. It is kind of like a handicap in golf. 

Another advantage is adaptability. It takes a conventional force like the Russians or the Americans forever to adopt a new weapons system. If we started now I would probably retire before a genuinely new weapon was widely fielded. On the other hand if a group of guerrillas finds that they need say a .50 caliber rifle they just need to get their hands on a few and train some dudes to use them. It could potentially be done in weeks. The same for new explosive charges or uniforms, radios or tactics.

Rather obviously guerrillas need weapons, ammunition, stuff and money. Money is probably the most important as it can readily be turned into the other stuff. We could break guerrilla funding sources into three basic streams. 1) Donations typically large foreign donations by sympathetic groups/ nations is pretty simple. A country such as both the US and USSR during the cold war or group such as Gulf State extremists supporting the Mujaheddin and then Taliban in Afghanistan and sympathetic Americans funding the IRA comes in with big bucks. Smaller donations can also be a consideration. 2) Various illegal or semi legal dealings such as drugs in the case of the Taliban and many South American Groups, the IRA selling guns and all manner of jerks and thugs robbing banks, printing fake money and running various scams. 3) Illegal taxes and forced donations from businesses and everyday folks. Either they are taking stuff without paying for it or making people make 'donations' or whatever. Unless people are sympathetic or they are providing some services in return this tends to make people unhappy though just about all insurgent and guerrilla groups do it.

Obviously it is a lot easier to conduct an insurgency if you are flush with cash. Groups with cash can get whatever sort of weapons they want, explosives, pay bribes and all sorts of fun stuff. This means that groups are hitting funding techniques 2 and 3 pretty hard. The difference between an insurgent group that is actively participating in the global gun/ drug/ smuggling/ etc trade and a big nasty gang like the Russian Mafia or MS-13 can get blurry. To me it comes back to the groups primary purpose. MS-13 are scary international gangsters to make money and get respect while the Taliban sell opium to fund their fight against the US and goals to regain regional domination or whatever.

As to equipment unless a group is getting  regular resupply via a friendly force or purchases they will by necessity use the same weapons systems as the government they are fighting. Having your own weapons, set up how you like and zeroed, in those calibers/ systems just makes sense. Even if you hate a system having one set up and put away for a rainy day is smart.

Well I am bored of writing now so it is time to wrap this up.









 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Movie Review: Red Dawn 2012

Even though it came out when I was a toddler when it came out the original Red Dawn was a big part of my formative years as a teen and early 20 something gun toting redneck soon to be survivalist. I cannot count nights revolved around a case of beer, some booze and watching Red Dawn with my buddies. Watching it, talking about what we would do and even making a few preparations because of it. So naturally I had to see the new Red Dawn.

The Remake of Red Dawn has faced some adversity. It was sucked into a black hole due to financial issues at MGM. After filming the invading nation was changed from China to North Korea. It isn't too hard to mentally insert China every time they say North Korea anyway. So it finally came out and I went to see it.

I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum but if you are dead set about seeing this movie without any sort of a notion of what happens then it would be smart to read this after you see the movie, not before. 

Red Dawn 2012 has naturally been brought into the modern era. The loose scenario that starts things out is based around current situations and some plausible continuations of them. Kind of the same start as the original with today's threats really. The location was changed to Spokane, Washington which is (for the inland American West) a pretty big city instead of the small town of Calumet, Colorado. I always thought in the original it was Montana but cannot recall why. Another notable difference is that the older brother is a Marine with combat experience.  More on this later.

There were a variety of other fairly small changes. Broadly speaking the 2012 version was true to the original. It was not a carbon copy but the broad strokes were similar with enough changes to make it contemporary and interesting. Also there was a scene (may have been more that I missed) where they poked a bit of well intended fun at the original. Well played.

To the usual format.

The Good: Making the older brother a Marine with combat experience made the whole plot a lot more realistic. The odds of one person with real experience being able to field a team of fighters that could do some damage and stay alive is much higher than a whole crew of amateurs doing the same. A departure from the original for sure but not a bad one. There are a whole lot of veterans of viable fighting age around these days so it is pretty realistic anyway.

Naturally coming along with a person with combat experience the group conducted some training before beginning to go all Wolverines on those evil Chinese North Koreans. There was even a pretty cool montage about it. Some basic training combined with somewhat competent leadership makes the groups success seem more plausible than it might have in the original.

 Also the way the group operated, was supplied and sheltered was more plausible than in the original. It meshed with a variety of historical patterns of various guerrilla groups. Not that the original was weak here as it didn't really focus on tactics anyway it is just that this one was just a bit stronger here.

The characters seemed a bit more 3 dimensional in the 2012 version. There were some sidelines of various human interactions that made the characters seem a lot more human.

The Bad: Without getting into details I think the Wolverines ability to freely enter and exit Spokane was a bit convenient. The totalitarian folks in China North Korea know a few things about population and resource control. They would probably issue some sort of passport or ID card very quickly and use them to restrict (and if the system is electronic track) freedom of movement.

The Ugly: To keep up with today's hyper action movies the level of up close and personal violence as well as close calls was pretty high. At one point a Chinese Korean soldier was blazing away with a frickin Ma Deuce AKA .50 caliber machine gun from CQB range at one of the Wolverines but somehow did not kill him. I wouldn't say these few incidents detracted from the overall movie but they certainly annoyed me.

Overall Assessment: I liked this movie and think you will also. If you are into slightly cheesy patriotic action movies you will enjoy Red Dawn 2012.

I have some general thoughts but will probably let them mull for a day or so. Folks who made it out to the movies for Red Dawn please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.





Popular Posts