Usmc Coin Helmand Province Aar Via Photos 23 Oct 20091


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My son is in Afghanistan (with the Army), so I've developed a serious interest in "Best Practices" in that arena. Here's a great, concise presentation on COIN best practices from the USMC.

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Usmc Coin Helmand Province Aar Via Photos 23 Oct 20091

  1. 1. COIN in Helmand ProvinceAfter the Clear – Thoughts and Tips on Non Kinetic Actions1st Bn, 5th Marines<br />
  2. 2. Partner at the lowest level. <br />ANSF enters compounds and buildings first.<br />
  3. 3. Share meals with the Afghans you work with as often as possible. Every day is acceptable.<br />
  4. 4. PCCs work.<br />Do them by the numbers.<br />
  5. 5. Use simple, clear signs to convey your message.<br />They degrade quickly, so have back-ups pre-made.<br />
  6. 6. Have a team dedicated to running your Radio-in-a-box. The enemy doesn’t have one and it gives you a distinct advantage in timely dissemination of your message.<br />
  7. 7. Encourage positive ANSF interaction with the people.<br />Build trust between them.<br />
  8. 8. Make IO flyers all about the ANSF and GIRoA<br />
  9. 9. Use ANSF to distribute IO materials.<br />
  10. 10. Stay to answer questions about the IO flyers you hand out.<br />
  11. 11. Always be prepared for gatherings of elders.<br />Have something short, but important to say.<br />
  12. 12. Mimic the locals when you interact with them. Accentuate the things that make us similar.<br />
  13. 13. This wheelbarrow is the most expensive thing this man owns.<br />Treat it accordingly.<br />
  14. 14. Be prepared for water crossings and water recoveries.<br />
  15. 15. Bridges can be massive improvements for local villages.<br />Let them use them.<br />
  16. 16. Live with the ANSF you are partnered with. <br />
  17. 17. You don’t need much to fight.<br />Most seabags stay packed.<br />
  18. 18. You can’t search every trailer, but search enough to keep the EF from moving things on the roads. Make them move cross country.<br />
  19. 19. These boys are approaching fighting age. <br />What have you done to keep them from becoming the enemy?<br />
  20. 20. Moon dust gets everywhere. Maintenance takes extra time and is constant.<br />
  21. 21. Not every person digging next to a road is putting in an IED. Sometimes they are putting in home-made power lines – helping themselves.<br />
  22. 22. Every Marine should be a combat aidsman.<br />
  23. 23. And so should every Afghan soldier.<br />
  24. 24. Polaroid pictures are a great tool.<br />This is the first picture this man ever had of his family.<br />
  25. 25. Dust mitigation is an issue.<br />Gravel is important and is a constant need.<br />
  26. 26. Locals know more about the area than you do.<br />Ask their advice.<br />
  27. 27. Never be in a rush. Check every likely IED site, even if it means wet boots every day.<br />
  28. 28. Forward position your surgeons and IDCs. <br />
  29. 29. ANSF on motorcycles are more reliable than Ravens.<br />
  30. 30. Drink tea when it is offered. <br />You’ll get more and better information.<br />
  31. 31. When these kids are 40, what will they tell their kids about Americans?<br />
  32. 32. Treat ANSF casualties just as we do our own.<br />
  33. 33. Have a plan for Memorial Services.<br />
  34. 34. Protect the people where they gather.<br />
  35. 35. Prepare food and eat with your ANSF partners.<br />
  36. 36. Teach the ANSF to do proper personnel searches, then let them do most of the searching. But watch them do it.<br />
  37. 37. When you pull out a local farmer’s tractor, he remembers, and sometimes returns the favor.<br />
  38. 38. Remove the reminders of war when you are able. <br />
  39. 39. Afghan roads are not roads in the traditional sense. Be prepared for them to collapse.<br />Practice recoveries.<br />
  40. 40. Using metal detectors takes practice.<br />
  41. 41. Kids will tell you things their parents won’t.<br />
  42. 42. TCAPF and ASCOPE data help you understand your area.<br />
  43. 43. You can search people without making them your enemy.<br />
  44. 44. Maps will fool you.<br />On the left is a road. This is a bridge.<br />
  45. 45. Be wary of new mud on old walls.<br />
  46. 46. Once the resin is out, poppy is just cooking fuel.<br />
  47. 47. Help your GIRoA partners govern well.<br />Guide them to good decisions.<br />
  48. 48. This was one of ten sheep a man owned.<br />It made a difference to him that we saved one.<br />
  49. 49. If you need things moved, use Afghans. <br />They’ll amaze you.<br />
  50. 50. Get the kids into school. <br />It’s the only long term solution.<br />
  51. 51. When meeting with locals, show ISAF, GIRoA, ANP and ANA as a team.<br />
  52. 52. Joint/combined briefings take time, but are vital to success.<br />
  53. 53. Not all 5 gallon jugs are HME holders.<br />But many are, so keep your eyes open for them.<br />
  54. 54. Wells are cheap.<br />A new water source for a village is priceless.<br />
  55. 55. Scout your AO for the places that grow the most poppy.<br />Focus your alternative agriculture efforts in the areas where you’ll do the most good.<br />
  56. 56. Help Afghans learn English. <br />You’ll learn Pashto in the process and become a more capable counterinsurgent.<br />
  57. 57.
  58. 58. As one person is interacting, have another doing combat profiling.<br />
  59. 59. Distribution of humanitarian supplies can make big money, unless there are signs of corruption. <br />Then you are worse off than if there had been nothing distributed at all.<br />
  60. 60. Make the Taliban afraid to go into the corn.<br />
  61. 61. Education will take time to develop.<br />Get the kids in school even while the building is being fixed.<br />
  62. 62. ANSF vehicles can go some places ours can’t.<br />And they show that this is an ANSF led patrol.<br />
  63. 63. LEPs can help you ensure you gather evidence properly.<br />
  64. 64. Be prepared to make the Pashto signs you need.<br />
  65. 65. The ANSF will participate in a PT program.<br />Help them develop one.<br />
  66. 66. Write down the things you see and hear on patrol.<br />Otherwise you won’t remember everything.<br />
  67. 67. When you treat Afghan children, keep their parents in the room.<br />
  68. 68. When elders and children integrate into your patrol, you have earned their trust.<br />And it means they are now confident in the security you’ve brought.<br />
  69. 69. Canals are everywhere. Be prepared to be wet on every patrol.<br />
  70. 70. Be nice until it’s time to not be nice. These kids will be fighting age soon. <br />Did you help them choose sides?<br />
  71. 71. Listen to people’s problems and ideas.<br />Never be in a rush to end a conversation.<br />
  72. 72. Have enough people who know how to run BATS.<br />
  73. 73. The roads are terrible. <br />Know how to recover a vehicle.<br />
  74. 74. The Afghans will do things we won’t. <br />Sometimes that means they are the best avenue to get the job done.<br />
  75. 75. These tools are temperamental. <br />They take training to know how to work them.<br />
  76. 76. Culvert guards don’t have to be fancy.<br />
  77. 77. The trail on the left is on the map as a road.<br />Build local roads where they are needed.<br />
  78. 78. Putting in a bridge where there has never been one is a big deal.<br />Expect the community to be involved.<br />
  79. 79. Be prepared to speak in a mosque. <br />What you say here will be remembered.<br />
  80. 80. The roads are bad.<br />Plan movement times accordingly.<br />
  81. 81. Listen to local elders. <br />And take your gear off when you’re with them.<br />
  82. 82. Make contact with people who return to your AO. <br />Welcome them home.<br />
  83. 83. Put out security, then take your helmet off when you talk to people.<br />
  84. 84. When the media visits, get them to interact with the locals.<br />
  85. 85. VIPs need to interact with the local leaders.<br />No PowerPoint's, brief as you walk.<br />
  86. 86. Eat the local food with the locals.<br />
  87. 87. $500 can build things that change how people live.<br />
  88. 88. Footbridges matter. Let locals do the building.<br />
  89. 89. ANSF respond to ISAF visits.<br />Get them involved.<br />
  90. 90. People dig at the side of roads and fields for many reasons – not just to put in IEDs.<br />
  91. 91. Don’t assume a building isn’t a mosque, just because it doesn’t look like one.<br />
  92. 92. Plan operations with your ANSF partners.<br />
  93. 93. Radio in a box works best when the locals have radios to listen.<br />
  94. 94. Plan to sling in gear and supplies. Recover the slings and get them back to the ACE on the next available flight. <br />
  95. 95. Combined USMC/ANSF search teams are effective.<br />
  96. 96. Suspicious packages are not always dangerous.<br />
  97. 97. Bring Combat Camera.<br />
  98. 98. Combined patrol bases – combined duties.<br />
  99. 99. Afghan walls are substantial and you don’t always know what’s inside.<br />
  100. 100. So exercise tactical patience. <br />
  101. 101. Have GIRoA officials hand out radios.<br />Have them use the radio to speak to their people.<br />
  102. 102. Watch what people sell in the bazaars.<br />Know how to recognize IED components.<br />
  103. 103. Not everything that looks like heroin is heroin. <br />
  104. 104. Civilians will pop up in the middle of a firefight. <br />Protect them.<br />
  105. 105. Combat profile everyone. <br />
  106. 106. Sheep and goats are a form of route clearance.<br />
  107. 107. Link traditional tribal and village elders with GIRoA leaders.<br />
  108. 108. Shuras don’t have to be big to be effective.<br />
  109. 109. Hire local men to do the things that they want and need done.<br />
  110. 110. LEPs can help you with proper evidence handling.<br />
  111. 111. This man knows if you are sincere. <br />You can’t win if you don’t earn his trust.<br />
  112. 112. Returning families are a sign of progress.<br />
  113. 113. Make people feel safe enough to send their kids to school.<br />
  114. 114. Things will be frustrating. <br />Don’t get frustrated.<br />