Do you ever wonder: “What the United State’s strategy for dealing with the insurgency in Afghanistan?” Do you ever wonder: “How do people come up with such bad visualizations?” Thanks to the PA Consulting Group, we get to see both at the same time.
Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, obtained an unclassified briefing given to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The briefing details how to conduct a successful counterinsurgency, or COIN.
… U.S. and NATO forces “must accomplish three tasks simultaneously”:
“Influence insurgent-minded individuals to adopt a neutral disposition.”
“Influence neutral-minded individuals to adopt a supportive disposition.”
“Retain supportive individuals.”
Accomplishing three tasks does not sound hard. But as always, the devil is in the details. It is one thing to come up with a vision. It is another thing to make that vision work. In steps the PA Consulting Group. They start with the three tasks, and over the next 21 pages in a PDF, show how to build a nearly incomprehensible visualization. The remaining 8 pages of the PDF discusses various details, such as reducing the territory that the counterinsurgency holds, winning the information war, and providing security for the population.
The slide is undoubtedly overwhelming. For some military commanders, the slide is genius, an attempt to show how all things in war – from media bias to ethnic/tribal rivalries – are interconnected and must be taken into consideration. It represents a new approach to war fighting, looking beyond simply killing enemy fighters. It underscores what those fighting wars have long known, that everything matters.
If you download the PDF and read it, please take a look at the presenter notes. While I think that many of the ideas they are trying to convey are good, how they present it is worthy of a Razzie. The PA Consulting Group is based in the U.K., they have a branch office based in Arlington, VA. My guess is that it is this branch office that created this monstrosity.
via MSNBC.com So what is the actual surge strategy?.
PDF via Afghanistan Dynamic Planning PDF