Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review - Isolating the Guerrilla by Michael Trevett

A recently published book (October 2011) entitled Isolating the Guerrilla examines 25 counterinsurgency case studies that span the Napoleonic Wars through the French and U.S. counterinsurgency campaigns in Vietnam. The author, Michael F. Trevett, is currently a LTC in the U.S. Army serving as an intelligence officer with counterinsurgency experience in Colombia and Iraq. The book is based on a classified report conducted in 1965 with the same title by Trevor Dupuy and other authors for the Defense Advanced Projects Agency. Read more about Isolating the Guerrilla here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Navy to Conduct Daily Breathalyzer Tests When Sailors and Marines Report to Work

The Navy has announced it will conduct daily breathalyzer tests on personnel when they report to duty on ships and random tests while on the job in port or elsewhere. This is all part of the Secretary of the Navy's "21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative"
"A new initiative will include breathalyzer tests when Sailors stationed onboard ships, submarines and at squadrons report for duty and randomly elsewhere to reduce the occurrence of alcohol related incidents that can end careers and sometimes end lives."
See "Secretary of the Navy Announces 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative", Navy.mil, March 5, 2012. 

Well  . . . I just don't know what to say about this. Sounds like the Sailors and Marines need "mother" to look after them because they can't be trusted to not show up for work drunk. Certainly Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has better things to do than have his officers running around checking on who had a few drinks the night before. I was astounded and had to check his bio to see if he ever served in the military (if asked I would have said "No"). But . . . here is his bio

So what do Navy personnel think about this news? You can read the "official" reactions of Sailors here in "Sailors React to SECNAV Announcment of 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative", Navy.mil, March 5, 2012. If you feel this is a bit of propaganda then you can't be faulted.

Read the reaction of others on this invasion of privacy and lack of trust on the part of the Navy:

 "The Navy goes Nanny State thanks to Secretary Ray Mabus", Blackfive, March 16, 2012.

"Breathalyzers: Another Navy Dept. nail in the coffin of special trust and confidence", Foreign Policy, March 15, 2012.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Australia's 4th SAS Squadron

 A recent news article provides information on the 4th Squadron of the Australia Special Air Service (SAS).  This is a newly formed unit very similar to the United States Delta Force (a part of JSOC). The unit deploys undercover to many countries in the world to conduct clandestine operations.  Read more in The Secret Soldiers, by Dylan Welch, The Age, March 13, 2012.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Colombia as a Counterinsurgency Lesson

Counterinsurgencies take a long time to wage as the United States found out in Iraq and Afghanistan. One other example of a long-term counterinsurgency closer to home is the won being waged in Colombia. The United States has been a key ally to Colombia in its counterinsurgency fight.  An important lesson to be learned from Colombia is that it takes time.  Read more on this topic in "Colombia's lessons for counterinsurgency - and Afghanistan", by Michael O'Hanlon, CNN World, March 10, 2012.

Rescue of Terror Hostages in Nigeria Goes Badly for British SAS

The attempted rescue of an Italian and British citizen held hostage by terrorists in Nigeria went badly.  Read more in "Nigeria hostages shot dead in toilet as special forces fought to free them", The Guardian, March 10, 2012.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Iraq Finds that al Qaeda Still Active

Iraq is finding that peace is elusive with a still active al Qaeda presence reinforced by Sunni insurgent groups that oppose the Shia regime.  The Iraqi police are distrusted by the population and the Iraqi Army lacks the training and resources to develop intelligence that will help them target the insurgents.  Read more in "U.S. troops gone, al Qaeda makes Iraq peace elusive", Reuters, March 9, 2102.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

History of Army Special Forces

U.S. Army Special Forces or the Green Berets have etched a permanent place in the history of the fight against terrorism and in the counterinsurgency campaigns of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Learn more about this famed unit in the History of Special Forces.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Human Terrain Teams - A Good COIN Program That Should Stay!

Counterinsurgency (COIN) is about the population. In COIN it is necessary to secure the population and to engage it to ensure you have a good intelligence flow from the people and to persuade them to deny support and sanctuary to insurgents. Above all else, COIN forces need to understand the people to include their culture, religion, politics, geography and much more. Human Terrain Teams or HTTs help counterinsurgents understand the population. Learn more about Human Terrain Teams.