FUSION: A BEHAVIOURAL APPROACH TO COUNTERINSURGENCY
Article by: Rob Sentse and Jeroen Jansen
Major BC. Rob SENTSE is attached to the 13 Mechanized Brigade RNLA as a Staff officer Information Operations. In 2006 he worked at the Canadian led RC-S HQ as J2PLANS also responsible for the Fusion Cell and in 2008 he worked as G2X for Taskforce Uruzgan.
Jeroen JANSEN MSc. Is currently writing a PhD. on intelligence collaboration. Both are member of the Netherlands Intelligence Studies Association www.nisaintelligence.nl
This article examines the way in which we organise and combine our efforts during military operations abroad. We seek to illustrate where the current organisations involved would tend to work separately, thus enhancing the chance for missed opportunities, wrong assessment of situations or counter-productive action. To achieve flexibility there has been a great deal of emphasis on the network perspective to organisation, causing concepts such as network enabled capability and network centric warfare to become common good. Based on previous experience in the field, we here propose an additional element that will better allow the various disciplines to work together in a concerted manner providing a good base for human understanding of the situation and effects caused by previous decisions.
The main focus of this approach is to influence attitudes and induce a desired behavioural context in the area of operations (AO). These ideas sprouted in Afghanistan during the installation of a fusion cell in 2006 which combined people from various disciplines to assess incoming information; impact of recent events; and impact of our own decisions and actions. Current operations and security environment are increasingly complex and require an organisational structure that is flexible and synergised, creating the necessary pre-conditions for a well conceived Counter-Insurgency (COIN1) approach. The operational environment has to be viewed in a behavioural context.
The last decades we have seen situations in which military involvement was not limited to achieving military victory. Rather, it was one of the instruments to influence behaviour. Using this behavioural approach, fusion cell members assess all actors as complex, adaptive, interactive systems-of-systems in a wider context. These actors not only include the local population, leaders and media but also the public and policymakers of troop contributing and other countries of influence. To put these actors in their proper context political, military, cultural, and economical aspects of the environment are taken into account. In this article we highlight the added value of the fusion approach in Afghanistan and make some recommendations for structurally implementing this approach in future COIN operations.
Two major and interlinked issues of note include the perceived necessity to review the focus of current military engagement by both NATO and the EU, and the strategic importance of both the African Continent and the Atlantic Ocean, which are in fact interrelated and of vital importance to Europe. It is critical to increase serious investments in port facilities and services on the western seaboard of the African Continent, and in so doing to forge affiliations with the African states based on enduring historic relationships. We must deepen these relationships with due recognition of national needs, heritage, and ambitions, and thus strengthen regional blocks of like-minded African nations. This article will try to fuel crucial discussions for unconventional and progressive approaches instead of characterizing them a “enemy thinking” or “perceived hostile acts.”
It has already been established that the African Continent has the fastest growing population in the world. This boom will cause Africa to surpass both China’s and India’s populations by 2025, less than 15 years away. The combined poplations of Asia, including China and India, will still exceed Africa’s.
Know the human environment as operations are predominantly conducted in urbanized terrain.
Understanding the environment is fundamental in either conducting operations and analyzing any threat.
Performing operations from a marketing perspective means that you have to:
Review of the operational environment.
Try to analyze a country as you would analyze an organization.
Study the countries’ inhabitants at every level, opponents at every level and the overall economic, political, cultural and technical environment; covering developing trends, as well as the current situation.
What do the people want and why do they want that?