The U.S. Army continues to be one of the most thoughtful of the services. Below is a superb list of responsibilities associated with the protection of civilians. Where the list goes wrong is in assuming that the military will have a major responsibility across all these elements. In fact US thinking continues to be severely flawed at each level of analysis:
Strategic: If the strategy is non-existent or corrupt to the bone, based on ideology or financial bribes rather than ethical evidence-based decision-support, it will inevitably fail in prolonged expensive ways because nothing done at the lower levels can overcome ignorant, arrogant, mis-directed strategy that refuses all ethical evidence-based decision-support.
Operational. If Whole of Government capabilities have been been developed that are agile, scalable, and truly represenative of all elements of national power, the campaign will inevitably fail (it may take a quarter century or longer, but it will fail) for lack of harmonization, legitimization, and the embedded inability to do what is needed in the manner that is needed (e.g. soft indigenously-embraced contributions rather than predatory corrupt practices).
Tactical. If the military is the only tool, and its insertion is bracketed by strategic idiocy, operational incoherence, and technical albatrosses (aviation, fuel-heavy mobilty, communications inadequate to “eight tribes” harmonization local to global, lack of language and culture skills), then however heroic the military might be in executing its often insane and all too often illegal unconstitutional orders, it will fail.
Technical: For 50 years the US military has been a pork pie. What we build has been determined by who bribes Congress the most effectively, and who offers retiring flag officers the most lucrative second career. It has also been gored by a lack of counterintelligence against religious and financial traitors, by a lack of honest design, honest operational testing and evaluation, and honest field commanders willing to blow the whistle as soon as possible. Four percent of the US military force takes 80% of the casualties, and gets 1% of the Pentagon budget. This is criminally insane and insanely criminal.
Since really waking up to all that is wrong in 1988, I have agonized over the broken US intelligence archipelago focused on spending money rather than producing intelligence, and on the broken US process for planning, programming, budgeting, and executing Whole of Government capabilities that are not at this time responsive to the public interest — they have been co-opted by the recipients of the public’s revenue and are comprised of one-third waste, one-third treason, and one-third well-intentioned but over-whelmed good mired in a cesspool of bureaucratic corruption and political treason.
Below is an excellent list, additional commentary, and further references.
Protection of Civilians Military Reference List
Continually Understand the Situation
1.1 Understand the Operational Environment
1.2 Understand the Actors
1.3 Understand the Dynamics
1.4 Support the Commander’s Critical Information Requirements
1.5 Conduct Intelligence Activities
1.6 Manage and Merge Multi-Source Information
1.7 Conduct Asessements and Benchmarking
Pursue the Desired Outcomes
2.1 Manage Expectations
2.2 Establish and Maintain a Safe and Secure Environment
2.3 Support Good Governance
2.4 Support the Rule of Law
2.5 Support Social Well-Being
2.6 Support a Sustainable Economy
2.7 Maintain PoC During Transition
Design and Conduct Operations that Quickly Reduce PoC Risks
3.1 Plan for the Protection of Civilians
3.2 Prepare for the Protection of Civilians
3.3 Conduct Patrols
3.4 Establish Checkpoints, Guard Posts, and Observation Posts
3.5 Employ Mobile Operating Bases
3.6 Conduct Cordon and Search Operations
3.7 Neutralize or Defeat Adversaries
3.8 Conduct Interrogation Operations
3.9 Evacuate Vulnerable Civilians
3.10 Mitigate Civilian Casualties
3.11 Respond to Reported Incidents of Civilian Harm
3.12 Protect the Force
3.13 Provide Command and Control
3.14 Provide Logistics
3.15 Integrate Fire Support
3.16 Support Relief for Displaced Persons
3.17 Contain Public Unrest
Comprehensively Engage the Full Range of Actors
4.1 Coordinate with Other Actors
4.2 Conduct Engagements with Key Leaders and the Population
4.3 Conduct Joint Operations
4.4 Build Partner Capacity
4.5 Establish and Maintain a Civilian-Military Cooperation Center
4.6 Support Humanitarian Assistance
Shape the Protective Environment
5.1 Conduct Risk Mitigation
5.2 Conduct Public Information Activities
5.3 Support Security Sector Reforms
5.4 Support Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration
5.5 Support Transitional Justice
5.6 Support the Elimination of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence
5.7 Support the Protection of Civilians
5.8 Support Community Building
The above table is noteworthy for being backwards. The last two sections were probably added as a sop to the single US Institute for Peace (USIP) detailee that passes for Army “engagement” with everyone else. They are good section, but they are also fundamental and should be both first and continuous. The above list tells me that the US Army means well, but has learned nothing in the past fifty years. Our flag officers, like our lawyers, need to learn how to say “no” to unconstitutional, illegal, and uninformed or corruptly motivated marching orders, if they are to assure the protection of the Constitution, the force, and the hapless recipients of our “armed aid.”
The above table in the original also places the primary responsibility for meeting all informatoin requirements on the US military. This is totally wrong. Apart from the fact that neither the US military nor the US secret intelligence community are remotely capable of meeting more than 10-20% of their information needs and that is just in the military on military domain. The FACT is that there are eight intelligence tribes, and outreach has to be a two-way street. Right now the US Government has nothing to offer except money, and it holds that back while also refusing to take the other tribes seriously. For ALL of the above, in the corrected order, my second correction is that the responsibillity for both defining the information needs and meeting the information needs must be SHARED across all eight tribes, at all times.
As a sidenote, I have spent over twenty years in “train the trainer” mode and concurrent reflections on how one creates a prosperous world at peace. I have come to two conclusions relevant here. The first is that national counterintelligence needs a complete rebirth. The FBI is not cutting it and neither is anything DoD or DHS or others are doing. We have to get serious about cleaning house, or we will spend another 50 years destroying what is left of America the Beautiful. Second, I have come to the conclusion that the School of the Americas is the right model with the wrong ethics. “Train the trainer” has to be a life-long endeavor at entry, mid-career, and senior levels, with a global engagement campaign that a) recruits from all eight tribes to our universities and assigns to all universities world-wide our own cadre of native citizens; b) respects the regional associations (African Union (AU), Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), European Union (EU); and the new Asian Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (ARCEP); and c) do not go into a conflict with having a complete exit strategic that includes indigenous selection of leaders — not our selection of corrupt princes in waiting — as well as a transparent and truthful information-sharing and sense-making network (the acme of skill for Network Enabled Capabilities, NEC) in which every decision is based on ethical evidence-based decision support and made by an indigenous leaders, not a proconsul.
Not only can it not be the primary responsibility of the US military as reflected in the original list, but neither can it be the responsibility of a Whole of Government process that is able to surge (as we cannot) diplomatic, information, and economic understanding and capabilities in a thoughtful, measured manner that is harmonized with local, regional, and global realities. In today’s globalized environment, where unconventional non-state forces have off-the-shelf capabilities (many of them provided by a corrupt CIA with multiple chains of command) and iformation-handling capabilities far beyond the stunted crap that comes out of the US military-industrial complex, all eight tribes from all participating countries — and especially the indigenous countries — must be engaged. This is not how the UN, NATO, or EU do business. They decide and act before observing and before engaging. They do not do multinational information-sharing and sense-making before, during, or acter a normal debacle.
As much as I have sought to make honest intelligence a solution, the hard fact is that absent electoral reforms that displace the entrenched corrupt tyrannies, be they of two-parties excluding all others as in the USA, or of dictators and royal familities (or in a few cases criminal families) that “own” and subvert their public, it will not be possible for any one nation to “do” honest intelligence. This is why I am so hopeful for collective intelligence and the emergence of public intelligence in the public interest — only a hybrid public, mobilized with information and decision-support that can quickly challenge government and corporate lies — only organized people — can defeat organized money. It merits comment, as the SchwartzReport has recently pointed out, that the concentration of wealth is not just evil in and of itself (the primary cause of revolution across centuries) but it also leads to a concentration of ignorant power — Bill Gates may mean well, but his foundation is stupid, and will remain so, because top-down anything is inevitably stupid and prone to making very expensive mistakes., We live in interesting times, praise God. St.