Reference (2010): A Time for Sergeants – COIN Success at the Company and Platoon Level (Small Wars Journal)

Advanced Cyber/IO

A Time for Sergeants (Small Wars Journal)

Download: A Time for Sergeants: COIN Success at the Company and Platoon Level

in Afghanistan. This document was authored by Sean McKenna and Russ Hampsey. Both Sean and Russ are retired officers of the Special Operations Community and are members of the RC East Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT).

The Afghan environment is like no other. Being able to address problems in multi-dimensional terms has never been more important. Do your homework. The Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) elements vary from location to location, unit to unit, and person to person. Levels of discipline, training, leadership, capacity and capability range the full spectrum. The following information is to provide you and your unit with recommendations that may or may not work in your area of responsibility (AOR). So, use what is appropriate at your location and develop the ANSF to support the success of the mission.

Download: A Time for Sergeants: COIN Success at the Company and Platoon Level

Reference (2010): Rediscovering PSYOP in AF COIN (Small Wars Journal)

Advanced Cyber/IO

Rediscovering the Art of Psychological Operations in the Afghan Counterinsurgency

by Russell Hampsey

Download the full article: Rediscovering the Art of Psychological Operations

Psychological Operations (PSYOP) professionals have too long taken a cautionary approach to the counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in Afghanistan. The forces waging COIN on a daily basis; Brigade, Battalion and Company sized units deride PSYOP as the “no” man. While the rest of the military has become learning organizations it seems PSYOP units are stuck trying to execute major combat operational war campaigns that are better suited for an enemy that is national and enjoys first or top tier second-world infrastructure. Commanders on the ground strive for responsive, timely, and relevant programs designed to influence the insurgent and selected Afghan target audiences that support or are ambivalent to the insurgents. PSYOP limitations in executing these tasks have relegated the branch to the second string. The PSYOP community must reinvigorate its agility and come prepared to fight the COIN strategy in Afghanistan.

There are underlying issues that have led the community to this undesirable point. PSYOP professionals have been in a 9 year struggle with the Information Operations (IO) field for primacy in addressing foreign target audiences. Field manuals and regulations tell you that PSYOP communicates with foreign audiences when influence is desired and Public Affairs communicate with foreign press and leaders when presenting informational releases. The PSYOP problem lies in the responsiveness in the field. In Afghanistan innovative PSYOP products that are not preapproved are scrutinized and boarded until their usefulness is irrelevant. In the meantime commanders look to the IO team to get message out, even if the risk is a less than optimal product. Preapproved product is great for standing messages such as tips lines, rewards programs and informational data e.g. tune in to x radio station; it is useless against a enemy that bases it entire campaign on influence and intimidation. It is time to get PSYOP back in the fight.

Download the full article: Rediscovering the Art of Psychological Operations

Russell Hampsey is a retired Psychological Operations Officer and is currently working for the ISAF Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team in Regional Command East.

Reference (2010): The COIN Warrior Waging Influence (Small Wars Journal)

Advanced Cyber/IO

“The COIN Warrior” Waging Influence

Hints for the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Strategy in Afghanistan

by Sean McKenna and Russell Hampsey

ISAFCAAT-E Memorandum Special to Small Wars Journal

Download the full memorandum: “The COIN Warrior” Waging Influence

The purpose of this document is to flatten the information sharing process across the force and provide information that we have seen throughout the Afghan Theater. The intent is to provide information to personnel in their pre-deployment training at the National and International Training Centers, as well as forces currently operating in the Afghan COIN Environment. The information contained in this document can be utilized as a pocket guide for continual reference.

Since the announcement of the Counterinsurgency Strategy with the publishing of the Integrated Civilian-Military Campaign Plan (ICMCP) we have advised and assisted numerous units from Regional Commands to Platoon sized elements. There are a few common threads that resonate throughout the lower echelons of command and we identified a need to address these universal issues.

This document is not a panacea, but should provide personnel at all levels with insight as to several techniques and ideas to put into their tool kit to improve their repertoire especially at the battalion, company, and platoon levels. The counterinsurgency environment in Afghanistan requires a customized approach in every village and valley; you are only limited by your imagination and ability to influence.

Download the full memorandum: “The COIN Warrior” Waging Influence

Review: Real Time–Preparing for the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Information Society, Intelligence (Public)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Not Pedestrian at All–Packed with Insights,

July 10, 2003
Regis McKenna
Edit of 22 Dec 07 to add links.

Below is my review as planned before reading all the negative reviews….everyone brings their own baggage to any book. Following this short review, which was originally written for national intelligence professionals, I have added an addendum with a specific experience in France that illustrates why this book is valuable to anyone willing to take the time to reflect on its fundamentals.

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This may be one of the top three books I’ve read in the last couple of years. It is simply packed with insights that are applicable to both the classified intelligence community as well as the larger national information community. The following is a tiny taste from this very deep pool: “Instead of fruitlessly trying to predict the future course of a competitive or market trend, customer behavior or demand, managers should be trying to find and deploy all the tools that will enable them, in some sense, to be ever-present, ever-vigilant, and ever-ready in the brave new marketplace in gestation, where information and knowledge are ceaselessly exchanged.”

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ADDENDUM: In coming to post the above review I noted a number of negative reviews along the lines of “so 1970’s”, “no new ideas”, etc. Naturally any book is going to strike people with different levels of intelligence and experience differently. Our advice to intelligence professionals and managers at any level is to dismiss those other opinions, spend $20 and 1-2 hours with this book, and judge for yourself. Among many reasons why we found this book meaningful, given our focus on global coverage, weak signals, and being effective in 29+ languages, is the following experience:

In 1994, attending the French national conference on information, we heard one of the leaders of the French steel industry discussing a multi-million dollar business intelligence endeavor (in France this includes business espionage and government espionage in support of business) against steel industries around the world. The punch line, however, was stunning. At the end of it all, he said, they failed because they focused only on the steel industry. In the end, the plastics industry ate their lunch because it was able to develop very good plastic substitutes for automobile parts, including automobile under-carriage parts, and this hurt the French steel industry badly. It was from this occasion that we crafted Rule 003 (Book 2, Chapter 15) on the importance of Global Coverage, whose sub-title could be “cast a wide net.” McKenna has the basics right.

Fast forward to:
The Age of Speed: Learning to Thrive in a More-Faster-Now World
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom

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Review: Real Time–Preparing for the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 5 Stars–This is a Very Deep Pool,

April 8, 2000
Regis McKenna

This may be one of the top three books I’ve read in the last couple of years. It is simply packed with insights that are applicable to both the classified intelligence community as well as the larger national information community. The following is a tiny taste from this very deep pool: “Instead of fruitlessly trying to predict the future course of a competitive or market trend, customer behavior or demand, managers should be trying to find and deploy all the tools that will enable them, in some sense, to be ever-present, ever-vigilant, and ever-ready in the brave new marketplace in gestation, where information and knowledge are ceaselessly exchanged.”

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