AN Security

The three most important factors of COIN

In COIN, counterintelligence, global war on terrorism, intelligence, intelligence reform, national security on November 26, 2009 at 4:10 pm

1- Human Intelligence (HUMINT)

COIN is an intelligence-driven war. We are many years behind on building up our human assets, on the US, ally and host nation side. We should plan for the next conflicts long before we see them in the distance. Language programs should be funded accordingly and more languages offered to military and civilian elements who wish to learn. This is the first order of business; build the human resources and prepare them for the next step. Cultural training must go beyond a class with a slideshow and must be comprehensive in scope to be effective in future operations. Political support is another issue; often this is overlooked and it is the driving force needed to legitimize COIN both at home and in the host nation. Strong local/national leadership within the intelligence battle space will be instrumental in the success of an operation. There are no guarantees of complete success (I don’t say winning for fear the term is too narrow or limiting in scope) but there must be such leadership in place for when hostilities cease the transition to self-governance can take place.


Build pre-stability teams directly from military units, preferably at the company level. These teams will deploy with covert units and conduct intelligence operations long before conventional forces arrive. Intelligence collected must focus on political climate, the social and civil environment and current state of security. The information is sent to elite units in country for action but also it travels outside the AO, to joint forces and other customers. The idea of using effect-based outcomes could be used for these teams to collect, analyze and deliver intelligence live. This approach would help maintain the intelligence battle space more fluid but not designed to replace other standardized intelligence sharing processes. The approach would complement the current system into an alert mechanism that advises and sends intelligence and threat analyses live to the field commanders who need them.


It’s time to stop blocking the enemy’s punches. We are developing and deploying weapons systems, drones, and other high tech countermeasures to rival anything else in the world yet we don’t follow the enemy’s doctrine. What we need is a change in attitude toward technology which complements but does not run operations (that is because people should be brought back into the foreground). Here is a way to develop countermeasures to technology that has not been created yet. Since this process never ends how about we do more reverse engineering just like the enemy does? It takes a human mind to turn a cell phone into a detonator for IEDs but why wait until the need arises? Make them have to handle the unexpected, sometimes low-tech options. Lastly, there should be a stronger focus on targeting the enemy’s electronic media, communications, and services and shut them down. The idea is to reduce their ability to use cells, computers, etc. The enemy is adapting quickly to our dependence on technology so we should in turn target other areas of advantage they have. I know that monitoring SIGINT has been a priority in many cases overlooking the human factor but what if we deny the enemy the ability to communicate? That would definitely force the enemy to go back to smoke signals and face to face meetings.
I’m not trying to be funny, but we need to do a better job of paralyzing them.


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