Monday, February 02, 2015

Engagement/Partnership Missions? The new "cool"..

via American Mercenary...
One of the lessons taken away from my recent two week trip to train is that the "Engagement" war fighting function is currently being trained as a euphemism for "stability operations."
The Army doesn't have a doctrinal reference for "engagement" at this time, just a TRADOC pamphlet describing in very broad terms the things that make up engagement. Foreign Internal Defence, Foreign Security Assistance, Civil Military Assistance, joint military training, etc.
If it sounds a lot like all the crap we've done before, well that is because it is. Just now we are doing it as part of the "Elements of Combat Power" if you follow the doctrine.
The problem with "stability" is that it is always going to be the bastard stepchild of "offence" and "defence" in the trinity of "unified land operations." The forces that are tailored to conduct stability operations such as Civil Affairs, Military Information Support Operations, Public Affairs, Foreign Area Officers, and the like are in short supply in the formations actually conducting "unified land operations."

They rebranded Counter Insurgency, put it in a sparkling new package and its the same old brew....SOCOM, element of the US Army & Marine other words the COIN Mafia has won.  Considering the news in Ukraine and the thoughts about arming their forces we can expect "Engagement" to be a word tossed around to justify increased involvement.

Nation building forever (we should call it what it is...not small wars but nation building).

Read AM's take here. 

Sidenote:  Another word should grab everyone's attention now that I think about it.  "Shaping".  I don't know when psychology rose to prominence in the halls of the Pentagon but influencing behavior and thoughts seem to be more important to some than winning on the battlefield.  Its a fools errand though.  You can't make perpetual war popular unless you can show that its in a nations interests.  That is the problem with the US way of war lately.  We're fighting for others...not for ourselves.


  1. When you do something people complain, when you do nothing people complain.... Yeah, you guys are doomed.

    BTW, I'm not bashing America or America armed forces.

  2. These aren't really counter-insurgencies in the first place, which is why they never work. The US overthrows the government, installs its own puppet government, runs a brutal military occupation, then has to fight the locals who want the US out and them back in.

  3. Sol, unrelated, but what is your take on the new MEF alignments:

    Dunford's new plan for MEF:

    I MEF would prioritize major operations and campaigns

    II MEF would focus first on crisis response at the Marine expeditionary brigade level.

    III MEF would remain "regionally oriented" as the first response force for all operations in the Asia-Pacific region and would be designated a standing joint task force headquarters for U.S. Pacific Command

  4. Have you followed what happened in Mali? We conducted and engagement and partnership mission for years with the Mali military and then watched that same military overthrow the government. The Mali government was corrupt and ineffective and that is why the military hated it but that is hardly a ringing endorsement of partnership mission showing success.

    We need to partner with Poland, UK, France, and Georgia. You know all those nations that sent troops to fight along side us for years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Trying to partner with weak ineffective nations will not accomplish anything because the problems a poor nation like Mali has is not the military cannot conduct a helo assault, the problem is with the government. Or in Mali's case that they have 4x the population that the land can sustainably support.


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