Small Wars Journal

security cooperation

Taking a Bite out of the Elephant: How to Improve Security Cooperation

Sat, 07/17/2021 - 2:50pm
It is difficult to ascertain if a security cooperation initiative is effective or not. This could be in part because most of the indicators of success used by security cooperation stakeholders may not be focused on measures of effectiveness, but of performance, i.e., quantity of equipment delivered and number of units trained.  As one begins to peel back the layers of an initiative, it becomes apparent that the necessary in-depth analysis which forecasts secondary and tertiary orders of effect may have been overlooked, along with critical, measurable metrics that explain how an initiative would specifically elicit a proposed reaction.  The example utilized by Maj Croshier described the unanticipated difficulties of providing a C-208 fixed-wing reconnaissance aircraft and Command and Control (C2) equipment to Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.  The focus of this initiative was placed mainly on the equipment, without fully accounting for the significant personnel, doctrinal, and maintenance challenges that would ensue.

About the Author(s)

Competing through Deception: Expanding the Utility of Security Cooperation for Great Power Competition

Fri, 06/25/2021 - 10:46am
In the paradigm of strategic competition the United States should increase the use of strategic deception to impede competitor’s decision-making processes, increase rival competition costs, and better protect U.S. interests. Security Cooperation is an instrument that enables the generation of strategic deception by potentially confusing rival nations about what the U.S. interests and objectives are or even causing that rival to expend unnecessary resources. The United States Army is the service best postured to support combatant commanders to develop and execute strategic deception through cooperation. Executing any form of strategic deception entails a level of risk to reputation but provides the United States an invaluable tool in a geopolitical environment in which competition below levels of conflict has become the norm. 

About the Author(s)

Irregular Warfare Podcast: The Practice and Politics of Security Force Assistance

An old (Nov '20) but excellent podcast with Dr. Mara Karlin, the new Principle Assitant Security of Defense for International Security Affairs. This is a good primer for anyone curious what direction U.S. engagment with allies and partners may be going over the next 4 years. 

https://mwi.usma.edu/the-practice-and-politics-of-security-force-assistance/

Riley.C.Murray Sat, 01/23/2021 - 2:18pm
War on the Rocks: Making Friends in Maker-Spaces: From Grassroots-Innovation to Great-Power Competition

By Leo Blanken, Romulo G. Dimayuga II, and Kristen Tsolis 

An interesting proposal to mix "maker-space" innovation and fabrication workshops with Building Partner Capacity efforts for low cost solutions.

This begs the question of how to assist partner militaries in developing bottom-up technical innovation cultures to go along with funding and equipment. The American military has been far from perfect in its own adoption of these innovation concepts so far. (If you have ideas for how to get this done, submit@smallwarsjournal.com is open)

Full Article: https://warontherocks.com/2021/01/making-friends-in-maker-spaces-from-grassroots-innovation-to-great-power-competition/

Riley.C.Murray Fri, 01/15/2021 - 8:09pm

US Security Force Assistance in Africa: Human Rights, Ethics Training a Must

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 3:30am

The Malian army that took over the government in the March 2012 coup was led by a US trained officer, Captain Sanogo.  The Malian military continues to exert great influence in the political process in Mali and as they try to expel insurgents that have taken over the northern part of Mali.  The Malian army, however, is also accused of human rights abuses that took place during the purge of Sanogo opponents, as well as with enemy combatants.  Besides training the leader of the coup, the US military also trained the Malian military for years through the African Contingency Operations Training Assistance program (ACOTA), its predecessor the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), and other programs.

On 24 January 2013, the US AFRICOM Commander, General Ham, acknowledged the role the US military played in training Malian forces and found the outcome worrying.  He said that the focus of US efforts was tactical training but “We didn’t spend, probably, the requisite time focusing on values, ethics and military ethos.” 

The US has trained many African militaries on the continent; notably with the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) following the UN brokered Liberian peace deal that sent Charles Taylor to exile in Nigeria in 2003.  After dismissing the former Liberian military, the US vetted and recruited a new force and drew up a comprehensive training plan in 2005 that included intensive human rights, rule of law, ethics and values training.  However, in 2007, after the first class of new Liberian soldiers graduated, US trainers cut out the bulk of these training blocks due to time and cost constraints.  US trainers promised to incorporate the training at a later date but were unable to do so. 

The only test for the AFL so far was the Fall 2012 deployment under “Operation Restore Hope” to patrol the porous borders with Cote d’Ivoire.  Desertion remains a concern as over ten percent of the AFL has quit the force.  Frequent stories of AFL soldiers committing crimes are featured in the local Monrovian news, causing concern about the ethics and values of the new Liberian troops. 

Another example of a US trained soldier gone bad is President Jammeh in the Gambia, who took power in a 1994 military coup.  This has also taken place in Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, and Bolivia.  African leaders are rightfully afraid that US training can lead to regime change. 

The values and ethics training incorporated in ACOTA training has not prevented abuses by African militaries either.  Of the 25 current ACOTA partners, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Ugandan, and Nigerian troops have been accused of atrocities. 

Upcoming budget cuts and sequestration will put greater restraints on US military spending and our capabilities in training African forces.  If the primary intent of US training is to increase the tactical capabilities in US partners on the continent it is likely that human rights, values, and ethics training will also fall by the wayside in the rapidly approaching lean years.  US leaders need to ensure that these essential training modules are reinforced in all US funded training.

An Enhanced Plan For Regionally Aligning Brigades Using Human Terrain Systems

Thu, 06/14/2012 - 5:48am

The Army is globally engaged and regionally responsive; it is an indispensible partner and provider of a full range of capabilities to Combatant Commanders in a Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multi-national (JIIM) environment.  As part of the Joint Force and as America’s Army, in all that we offer, we guarantee the agility, versatility and depth to prevent, Shape, and Win.

Army Vision from 2012 Army Strategic Planning Guidance

About the Author(s)