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Unformatted text preview: 29 than you. But you have more combat power than you can or should use in most situations. Injudicious use of Frepower creates blood feuds, homeless people and societal disruption that fuels and perpetuates the insurgency. The most beneFcial actions are often local politics, civic action, and beat-cop behaviors. For your side to win, the people do not have to like you but they must respect you, accept that your actions beneFt them, and trust your integrity and ability to deliver on promises, particularly regarding their security. In this battleFeld popular perceptions and rumor are more inuential than the facts and more powerful than a hundred tanks. Within this context, what follows are observations from collective experience: the distilled essence of what those who went before you learned. They are expressed as commandments, for claritybut are really more like folklore. Apply them judiciously and skeptically. Preparation Time is short during pre-deployment, but you will never have more time to think than you have now. Now is your chance to prepare yourself and your command. 1. Know your turf. Know the people, the topography, economy, history, religion and culture. Know every village, road, Feld, population group, tribal leader and ancient grievance. Your task is to become the world expert on your district. If you dont know precisely where you will be operating, study the general area. Read the map like a book: study it every night before sleep, and re-draw it from memory every morning, until you understand its patterns intuitively. Develop a mental model of your areaa framework in which to Ft every new piece of knowledge you acquire. Study handover notes from predecessors; better still, get in touch with the unit in theater and pick their brains. In an ideal world, intelligence ofFcers and area experts would brief you. This rarely happens: and even if it does, there is no substitute for personal mastery. Understand the broader area of inuencethis can be a wide area, particularly when insurgents draw on global grievances. Share out aspects of the operational area among platoon leaders and non-commissioned ofFcers: have each individual develop a personal specialization and brief the others. Neglect this knowledge, and it will kill you. 2. Diagnose the problem. Once you know your area and its people, you can begin to diagnose the problem. Who are the insurgents? What drives them? What makes local leaders tick? Counterinsurgency is fundamentally a competition, between each side, to mobilize the population in support of its agenda. So you must understand what motivates the people and how to mobilize them. You need to know why and how the insurgents are getting followers. This means you need to know your real enemy, not a cardboard cut-out....
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- Spring '11