Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Profession of Arms’ Category

Engineering & Computer Simulations to Provide Training Solutions for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence in Support of the US Air Force

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

February 20, 2020 – (Orlando, FL) – Mick Golson, Chief Operations Officer of Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS), announced that the company will be providing training coursework for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence (PACE). Awarded by the USAF as a one-year contract, this innovative PACE project supports organic learning and innovation within United States Air Force (USAF) squadrons and develops newly appointed command team members for their leadership roles. Joanne Barnieu, ECS Director of Instructional Science, and Joe Neubauer, ECS Project Manager/Subject Matter Expert, will lead the project.

This project supports the training initiatives of the Secretary of the Air Force (AF), Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force by delivering innovative training solutions to develop leaders and to support organic learning within AF squadrons. The course targets newly assigned members of the command team, such as AF Squadron Commanders, Superintendents, and First Sergeants, so that important concepts and principles are taught early and can be applied throughout their assignment.

Golson states: “Strengthening the skills and experience of our U.S. Air Force squadrons is critical and, for over 23 years, ECS has been honored to help train those who serve and protect our country. As an Air Force veteran, I’m very excited; new projects, such as this one for PACE, allow our team to grow as we look forward to the future.”

In the early stages of development, this program will present a high-level overview of Emotional Intelligence, Empathetic Listening, Team Building, and Followership. Hosted on an Air Force learning management system, it will include stand-alone micro learning content, facilitator guides, and lesson plans to support an integrated multi-disciplinary solution for a Squadron Command Team Product Line. The PACE course will include four 50-minute, online lessons and will be reinforced with stand-alone microlearning content that will be used following the initial course. Each of the lessons will teach necessary skills, using a structured framework, to inspire, change mindsets, motivate, and educate squadron leadership. 

Barnieu adds: “It is rewarding for our instructional team to provide organic learning opportunities that will achieve positive outcomes for our military service members. This type of project-based learning allows for the squadrons to train to their highest potential in order to successfully perform their missions throughout the world.  As a “proof of concept” project, we are delving into innovative solutions for leadership skills and look forward to the client’s feedback in order to deliver future solutions for leaders at all levels.”


US Army Small Arms Competitive Marksmanship Program

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Here’s an Army Regulation that recently came to my attention. The latest version of AR 350-66, Small Arms Competitive Marksmanship Program, was published last September. It provides several updates such as allowing the use of optics and M855A1 ammunition in competitions. It also increased the number of competitions each year

Download your copy here.

Air Force Changes Path of Entry for Enlisted Special Warfare Operators

Friday, February 21st, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – To better afford enlisted recruits the time and opportunity to find the path of their greatest calling, the Air Force has created a single path of entry into the special warfare recruiting and initial training pipeline.

TACP FTX @ Camp Bullis, Texas

The Special Warfare Operator Enlistment Vectoring program will officially commence in early April of this year with a new Air Force Specialty Code for accessions and the first shipment of special warfare candidates to the service’s basic military training.

“On initial entry into the Air Force, the 9T500 AFSC will be the only path for new Airmen to pursue a career into the Combat Control, Pararescue, Tactical Air Control Party or Special Reconnaissance career fields,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Lopez, chief of the special warfare division at Air Education and Training Command headquarters. “This change allows candidates to make a more informed career decision, prior to being vectored, after months of education, training, development, and mentorship, to see what career field might be the best fit for them. The program also enhances the Air Force’s ability to assign Airmen a permanent AFSC in an equitable way across the special warfare community after a thorough “whole-person” evaluation has been conducted on every candidate going through through the accessions and initial phase of training.”

Every day, special warfare Airmen deploy around the world to project American military power through global access, rescue friendly forces through personnel recovery operations and to destroy the enemy through precision strikes.

The SWOE-V program centers on a “coach-develop-mentor” mindset that begins in the pre-accession phase where recruiting development teams identify potential special warfare operators and begin the process to prepare them for the rigors of the special warfare training pipeline and later, their designated career field.

“The typical special warfare scouting, recruiting and development process for a candidate from pre-accessioning to shipping to BMT takes from four to six months,” said Lt. Col. Heath Kerns, commander of the 330th Recruiting Squadron which specializes in special warfare and combat support recruiting. “During pre-accessioning with help from our developers, candidates begin a 21-day “Pass the PAST” workout program developed to help them pass the Physical Abilities Stamina Test, while at the same time being educated on special warfare components, missions and specialties and the SWOE vector process.”

Another key element to the SWOE-V program will be the base lining of enlistment standards for recruits.

“Having a standardized baseline of enlistment standards will eliminate confusion amongst potential recruits, as well as opens up a larger pool of candidates during the recruiting process who might be eligible for and interested in a career in special warfare,” Kerns said.

After a potential candidate passes the PAST, a test that represents the minimum physical fitness entrance standards for enlisted special warfare career fields, they compete for selection and receive a developer recommendation before contracting and shipping to BMT at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, as a SWOE candidate, Kerns said.

During BMT, SWOE candidates will master curriculum that includes the Air Force mission and vision, core values, drill and ceremony, history and priorities, field training and joint warfare like every other trainee, but undergo additional training to prepare them for the Special Warfare Prep Course.

100% and then some, TACP apprentice course

“While assigned to their special warfare BMT flights, candidates conduct additional physical training and continue their education about all things special warfare related including components, missions and specialties and the SWOE vectoring process,” Lopez said.

SWOEs’ BMT performance evaluation data is collected throughout training to be included as part of the vectoring process once trainees enter the Special Warfare Prep course, administered by officials at the Special Warfare Training Wing, also at JBSA-Lackland.

“Along with the performance data from BMT, data from the Special Warfare prep course, and a SWOE’s career preference, candidates are vectored to either the Special Tactics and Guardian Angel, or the Tactical Air Control Party, courses of initial entry,” Lopez said.

Selection for a specific special warfare Air Force Specialty Code is heavily based on a candidate’s performance, which drives a competitive model early on, even before shipping to BMT, thus helping shape individual’s drive, determination and strengths, intended to create trust and team cohesion among candidates, Lopez said.

Special Warfare trainees honor fallen combat controller

“Nothing is given; Airmen must earn their spot in their chosen career field and fight for it,” Lopez said. “We are evaluating them continuously through pre-accessioning, BMT and the Special Warfare Prep Course, using a whole person concept that includes cognitive, physical skills, as well as Airmanship and instructors’ evaluation of teamwork and attitude.”

From this point in the pipeline, SWOE candidates are split into one of two paths: the four-week Special Tactics and Guardian Angel course of initial entry or the TACP initial course of entry.

“After successful completion of the ST/GA initial course of entry, candidates will be assigned into the combat controller, pararescue or special reconnaissance AFSC based on their continued performance during training and their preference,” Lopez said. “After successful completion of that course, candidates continue along their respective AFSC-specific training pipelines.”

Special Warfare Airmen train with U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Those who enter the TACP course of initial entry and successfully complete it will continue along in the remainder of the TACP training pipeline, said Lopez.

“The SWOE-V really is a big deal as it represents a momentous change for the Air Force special warfare community,” Lopez said. “By removing constraints in the recruiting and accessions process, we are expanding the talent pool while streamlining entry into the service. We also ensure ensure equitable distribution consistent with and proportional to Air Force-established production goals.”

By Dan Hawkins, Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

AF Note: To hear more about the SWOE-V program, listen to “The Air Force Starts Here” podcast featuring Lt. Col Lopez, AETC’s special warfare division chief, and Lt. Col. Heath Kerns, 330th Recruiting Squadron commander. The podcast is available for download or streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play, as well as on the AETC website.

Operational Security Key to Mission Success

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

DUKE FIELD, Fla. — A Citizen Air Commando wrestles to equip his night vision gear as he sets off into the desert of a foreign land. Another Citizen Air Commando monitors a screen in a dark room as she determines which life to take in the theater of conflict.

Reservists from Duke Field are all over the world performing unique missions, including some whose stories can never be told. None of these operations could be completed without a strong Operational Security program.

“We’re talking about how we protect our daily mission,” said Craig Robinson, the OPSEC program manager for the 919th Special Operations Wing. “A lot of people are so used to safeguarding classified information, they sometimes forget the unclassified but sensitive information they need to protect.”

OPSEC is a broad program encompassing logistical details about operations, such as troop movements for example, said Robinson. This information might not be classified, but it’s central to how we get our mission done. If an adversary became aware that we were moving troops from point A to point B, they could possibly hinder the operation.

“If you don’t protect OPSEC, the adversary could get that information and make a decision to act on it causing injury or death to our members,” said Senior Airman Kimberly Nelson, a radio frequency technician with the 919th Special Operations Communications Squadron.  “It could also result in the mission just not happening.”

“I [often] work with cyber operations where all the information we use is important or critical,” said Nelson. “Giving out information that is critical to the mission would be considered an OPSEC violation. Just because you’re in the military or might be my friend doesn’t mean you have a need to know.”

One important OPSEC component that’s been highlighted by recent events is service-members social-media use, said Robinson. Voicing details or opinions about overseas military operations, even if it’s within the workcenter, can damage the overall mission. Airmen need to be careful about what they’re posting online. The same care needs to be taken with sharing photographs as well.

“I’ve seen my friends post pictures posing with planes and such,” said Robinson. “While it’s not classified, it’s about the overall scheme. By photographing sensitive information, we’re making folks an easy target for an adversary in a foreign country. So the less an adversary knows about our equipment, processes and personnel, the better.”

Nelson agreed and said keeping potential adversaries in the dark regarding current and future operations is the best approach.

“People don’t need to know the location where you’re deployed,” said Nelson. “They don’t need to see pictures of the equipment that you’re using because that’s no one else’s business.”

“I’ve heard stories of family members posting things about stuff,” said Nelson. “Airmen often tell their mom where they’re going, when they’re going there, what they’re doing and then what the deployed conditions are like. Then mom might post something such as, ‘I’m so proud of my Airman…he or she did this on this day. They’re coming back from overseas at this time.’ She’s being a mom and is excited, but she’s also giving out pertinent information.”

If you think that sensitive information has been released, contact your squadron’s OPSEC coordinator as soon as possible, said Robinson. That’s the focal point in each squadron that Airmen could go to if they think there’s an OPSEC problem.

“We have to be very careful when we share sensitive information,” said Robinson. “Practicing good OPSEC is the responsibility of every Airman. We all have to make sure we’re protecting details on our operations to ensure the mission goes according to plan.”

By Senior Airman Dylan Gentile, 919th Special Operations Wing

Wanted: Ideas on Space Force Members’ Name, Ranks

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — The U.S. Space Force is looking for feedback from U.S. military space professionals on what Space Force members should be called – similar to how the Air Force refers to its members as ‘Airmen’ or the Army refers to its members as ‘Soldiers’.

Given the significance a name has to the identity and culture of an organization, the Space Force is taking a deliberate approach to ensure Space Force member titles and ranks appropriately convey the nature of the newest Armed Forces branch and the domain in which it operates.

Toward that end, Space Force officials are soliciting ideas related to Space Force ranks, names for operational units and what Space Force members should be called collectively. They are especially interested in soliciting ideas from those currently assigned to the U.S. Space Force or those who expect to be members of the Space Force in the future.

Air Force Common Access Card holders with access to Air Force Portal should submit their ideas online by Feb. 24 through the IdeaScale website at usaf.ideascalegov.com/a/ideas/recent/campaigns/122. Space Force officials will also be reaching out to the Army, Navy and Marine Corps space communities to offer military space professionals in other services the opportunity to submit ideas.

“As we continue to forge the Space Force into a lean, agile and forward-looking 21st century warfighting branch, we want to provide space professionals the opportunity to influence what the members of our new service will be called,” said Lt. Gen. DT Thompson, U.S. Space Force vice commander. “The decisions we make today will shape the Space Force for decades to come, so we want to ensure those who will serve in the Space Force have a say when it comes to important organizational and cultural identity considerations.”

Officials emphasized several guidelines respondents must consider when submitting ideas. For example, proposals must be gender-neutral, distinctive and should emphasize a future-oriented military force. In addition, submissions cannot violate copyrights, infringe on trademarks or other intellectual property rights, or be proprietary. Any submission falling into those categories will not be considered. Submissions must also be in good taste.

Once the submission deadline closes, a panel of Space Force officials will review inputs along with other feedback received from various sources to help inform a final decision on the new Space Force member moniker. That decision, which will be made by senior Space Force leaders, will be announced publicly at a future date to be determined.

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

The Baldwin Files – A Poor Man’s Guide to Guerrilla Warfare

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

I was born and raised poor. Financially, my family was somewhere between The Waltons during the Depression and the Beverly Hillbillies – before they struck oil. Not that I noticed at the time. When I was young, all the people around me were generally in the same economic and social circumstances so there was no obvious disparity. It was not until my last two years of High School that I even became aware of it. I do not recall anyone giving me grief for my relative poverty; however, I became more conscious of my fiscal disadvantages relative to my more affluent peers. I started working after school and on weekends at 15. My immediate goal was to accumulate enough money to buy a car as soon as I was licensed to drive. I thought that one purchase would make all the difference. It did not. A cheap car – that my parents had to cosign for – did not change my social status. I still had little spending money and could not afford the latest fashions or other teenage status symbols. I was still a poor kid. It was a simple but very important life lesson.

I am not saying that growing up poor made me any more insightful, virtuous, or smarter, than someone born into a family of greater means. However, I did experience a lot in those first 18 lean years that gave me a useful perspective that ultimately proved to be professionally valuable. Later, I had the opportunity to apply and validate what I had learned. First, as a “school trained” guerrilla and eventually as someone who instructed newer Special Forces (SF) candidates on how to be successful guerrillas. Consequently, I have a practitioner’s understanding of what it takes for a guerrilla to “win” and – because they are two sides of the same coin – I also know what it takes for a counterguerrilla to prevail. I started collating and sharing my “poor man’s” insights on the subject with SF students about to be inserted into the Robin Sage exercise. While in “Pineland,” they have to work by, with, through, and alongside, a distrustful population while enhancing and effectively employing the ragtag guerrilla forces found there. It is harder than it might seem.

People in general, and Americans in particular, are prone to make one of two equally wrong assumptions when engaging people from foreign cultures, i.e. they are exactly like us…or nothing like us. Because we come from a rich society – even if we are not personally wealthy – it is often hard for American soldiers to discern and subsequently leverage the commonalities and the differences between themselves and their inevitably less fortunate foreign partners and adversaries. Moreover, the term “guerrilla warfare” itself has become old fashioned and out of style. We now prefer insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, or maybe irregular or asymmetric warfare instead. Asymmetric is perhaps the most overused and least helpful term. ALL warfare involves the combatants constantly seeking at least a temporary asymmetric advantage over their opponents. That is why I still prefer the classic term of guerrilla warfare, a.k.a. “small wars” or “poor man’s war,” because I believe it captures the normally smaller scale, limited resources, and intimate human dynamics of this kind of warfare better than the more modern terms.

I also avoid the phrase “hearts and minds.” It is vague and provides no useful guidance.  Instead, I emphasize three terms: influence, manipulate and exploit. As in: How can I influence (or gain influence over) the people who have the power to help me do what I need to do?  How can I manipulate the current situation into something more advantageous to my goals and objectives?  And, what factors, conditions, attitudes or perceptions can I exploit to accomplish my mission? By definition, in military and financial terms, the guerrilla is always weaker and poorer than the counterguerrilla; however, influence is much, much more important than relative finances and force numbers. A better measure of relative strength is to ascertain what power (influence) the guerrilla wields with the population.  Likewise, what power (influence) does the counterguerrilla have with the population? It is not the man that must be defeated, but rather his influence. Both sides have to remember that.

For a poor person, limited assets are a given and nothing in life is free. Therefore, poor people are understandably frugal – even miserly – with their resources. To get the most out of what little is available, it is important to know how and why things work in the target society rather than just observing what is going on. In the rural area where I grew up, everyone was a poor farmer. That is, most had other day jobs but almost all families tilled a vegetable garden and – if space allowed – kept chickens, a milk cow, and hogs to supplement their diet. It was a necessity, not a “lifestyle” choice. All those that could, also raised at least some tobacco and had a shed or even an entire barn devoted to drying the tobacco leaves. Once a year, tobacco brokers would come around and buy up those small batches of dried leaves. It was a vital cash crop that families counted on to plus up their incomes every fall. It was a significant and integral part of the local economy. The practice ended only because tobacco companies found it cheaper to get their product from larger-scale farm operations contractually affiliated with their brand. Consequently, the poor farmers stopped growing tobacco and life got a little harder for them.

Fast forward to Afghanistan, and a similar economic arrangement is in effect between the poor poppy farmers and the opium smugglers and profiteers. No matter how it is done, stopping the latter would have a devastating impact on the livelihood of the former. That, in turn, would naturally help guerrillas recruit more fighters and garner support from the disaffected population. In general, poor people do what they have to do to survive – often operating on the edge of the local laws. My father was a mechanic by trade. However, when I was young, he had a side hustle as a bootlegger and moonshiner. Bootlegging involves illicitly transporting booze from a place where it is legal and selling it for profit someplace it is illegal. Moonshiners simply make their alcoholic merchandise instead. In short, my father was a criminal. However, he was operating in a place where he had been born and raised. He had grown up with both his customers and local law enforcement. They were all his life-long friends and – in some cases – even relatives. Because of that familiarity, the law knew he had a wife and six kids and had little interest in taking him to jail where he would miss work and lose money. Accordingly, they rarely kept him in custody more than overnight and local judges let him off many times with warnings rather than fines. It was the socially accepted sliding scale of poor man’s justice for that time and place.

That vignette illustrates why any efforts to convert the population or the guerrilla to the American viewpoint are invariably a waste of time and energy; instead, strive to comprehend the locals’ point of view. A successful guerrilla or counterguerrilla understands that, minus the occasional foreign fighter, everyone killed on both sides (no matter how “righteous” the kill) is the son, brother, nephew or cousin of a local family, clan and tribe. They are NOT considered “bad guys” by the locals. Therefore, the population is not likely to help you, thank you or embrace your cause if it involves killing or jailing family. That does not mean you do not kill as many as you need too, but it does mean that you must fully understand the consequences. Recognize that you are also an outsider and will probably never be a “hero” to the locals no matter how long or hard you work with them. 

Still, do not overthink the problem! Certainly, warfare – of any flavor – is a thinking person’s game. It always involves intuitively appreciating and leveraging fundamental human nature, but warfare is not rocket science. No one needs to have graduated from the Army War College to get it right. Indeed, guerrilla warfare specifically is routinely prosecuted almost exclusively by amateurs on all sides – not professional soldiers. Effort spent on fully understanding the local cultural dynamics is never wasted even down at the small unit level. Studying local history is useful for establishing a framework of understanding. However, appreciating something I call “cultural mythology” is far more important than history. Local mythology provides a much more accurate insight into how the population sees itself. History is not written or read by the masses. Mythology is the peoples’ narrative. Local mythology is constantly embellished and dutifully passed from generation to generation.  Ask any Texan (or any American) about the Alamo. He or she will know the myth by heart but will likely be unaware of the real (unembellished) historical facts. Other peoples are no different.

In a poor society, a man’s pride or family honor is his most important possession. If that honor is threatened or perceived to be threatened, he will fight. As a case in point, De-Baathification was the single worst mistake we made in Iraq. It did not just take away a former low-level Baathist’s job. Rather it emasculated the Sunni men in front of their tribes, clans, and families. We stripped “poor men” from their position in society and denied them even a chance to earn a new place of respect in Iraq. It should come as no surprise that they eventually fought back in a poor man’s fashion. That is exactly what I would do in similar circumstances. The truth is that deliberate US policies created the Sunni guerrillas.  It did not have to be that way.

I have not seen the latest version of FM3-24, Counterinsurgency.  I thought that the first version was significantly flawed and I admit I have little confidence that the new version will be much better.  I have heard – but cannot confirm – that it now includes “Shape” and “Transition” to bookend the “Clear, Hold, Build” mantra of the first version. As a cinematic warrior once said, “I do not think that word[s] means what you think it means.” First, I have always counseled that it is unwise to embrace the simplistic axiom that demands counterguerrillas expend enormous energy trying to physically “separate the guerrilla from the population.”  Thereby – presumably – marginalizing his power and enhancing the counterguerrilla’s power until the guerrilla becomes irrelevant. Hence, the term “clear” for example, should not be (but usually in practice is) misinterpreted as essentially a tactical task, as in clearing a building. It implies that after forces have “swept” through a village or sector that the problem has been moved to the outside of our newly establish perimeter.  So now, we “hold” what we have and our security can safely “face out” because that is where new threats will come from.  It also implies that an uncertain, noncontiguous, and non-linear, environment can be rearranged into something very linear – and more comfortable – with a relatively simple maneuver of forces. Nonsense!

Then there is the culminating “build” phase that supposedly secures the peace – equally nonsensical. The predictable result of too many leaders visualizing guerrilla warfare through the lens of rich American builders rather than poor local farmers. In other words, too much money and not enough “common sense” – not that common sense is very common. In a guerrilla war, “clear” is more akin to a poor farmer clearing land for cultivation; in other words, a longer duration, hands-on, and “operational” rather than tactical process.  Long story short, I would argue that successful guerrilla warfare requires combatants to think more like poor farmers rather than rich builders.  Functioning societies are not akin to machines or building, they are instead analogous to living entities. They have to be healed not rebuilt. I would suggest that “build” could and should be replaced by “raise” or “grow” – as in raising a crop or a child. Anyone can readily build a government infrastructure. Every country on earth has one. However, one has to grow or raise (develop) a representative government or even a workable concept of governance. Just as we cannot kill our way to success, one cannot simply build our way out either.  However, over time, we can help potentially grow/raise something that will be reasonably self-actualized and enduring. 

Nevertheless, building is the American default because it is easier and faster than raising or growing. Besides, building gives the illusion of quick progress. In fact, during GWOT we established entire organizations tailored to do construction projects called Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). PRTs were supposed to be optimized to “win hearts and minds” – but managed only to make Americans feel good temporarily. The PRTs chose which projects to finance and then measured their “success” by pointing to the number of projects completed and the fact that they had spent all their money. American PRTs in Afghanistan and Iraq were worthless and even counterproductive to our objectives; in fact, the expenditure of allocated monies was so badly managed as to be criminal.  Indeed, if PRTs were such a great idea, why not built Iraqi or Afghan led versions instead?  Simple, the HNs governments (even Iraq that might conceivably have had the money) had no intention to continue supporting those kinds of projects after we left.  So what was the logic of us doing it?

Still, as rich Americans, we almost instinctively move to “solve” issues by spending money. Throwing resources at a problem may create a short-term effect but will likely have no long-term impact. Again, we would be better served if we learned to think more like poor people. Watch a person raised in a poor culture build a warming fire.  He will always use only the minimum fuel to survive. A man from a rich culture invariably builds a fire big enough to achieve comfort. He has little concern for conserving resources for an uncertain future. Even the poorest American has been raised in a culture when resources are abundant, available, and readily renewable. A man from a poor culture knows down to his bones that resources are a zero-sum game and always finite. To extend the poor farmer analogy, a farmer knows he cannot control the weather or other factors that may threaten his crop. But with the minimum of resources, he will still plant every year because doing so represents a better alternative for his future than doing nothing. Indeed, he hopes to increase the yield incrementally every year of his crop or his herd.  He does not need peace, perfect security, or some guarantee of success in order to try. 

Additionally, I advise anyone who will listen that any meeting with locals should have a concrete purpose…even if it is just to establish a working relationship.  Do NOT fall into the “feel good” trap and have long, pointless discussions about how we can “help” the locals.  I taught my people that it was best to deal with these engagements as business propositions. We only offer our “goods and services” pragmatically for something of equal or greater value from the other side. That cuts through the culture and language barriers no matter who we are dealing with. All cultures understand trade. It is no coincidence that trade is usually the first nonviolent and mutually beneficial interaction between two foreign cultures. I do not have to be an expert in the local history, culture, or language – or him in mine – to effectively haggle and find a workable balance between my wants and needs and his. I do not have to like the person nor do I need him to like me. It is just business and both sides can perceive themselves as winners. It works much better than the “I am here to help and give you free stuff out of the goodness of my heart” song and dance.  Nobody in the world buys that BS.

Now, I am going to share one of the keys to successful guerrilla warfare campaigns. To win that kind of fight, leaders do not necessarily have to be smarter, braver, more perceptive, or better resourced than their opponent; but they do need to have a little more imagination. Guerrilla wars are not won simply by maneuvering military forces to “close with and destroy the enemy.” Rather, a guerrilla or counterguerrilla leader must concentrate on influencing, manipulating and exploiting, everything that can be brought to bear to beat the other side’s ideology and power. It means routinely thinking outside of the doctrinal box because there is no cookie-cutter “book answer” to whatever situation a guerrilla combatant will face on the ground. Finally, no matter which side we are supporting, guerrilla warfare still means killing and destroying as required.  Yet, we make the effort to gain and maintain influence and conserve our resources by only killing those that need to be killed – like zealots who cannot be co-opted for example. This does not somehow make guerrilla war into “touchy-feely” warfare, as some seem to erroneously think. It is the toughest of business and it requires multi-functional and imaginative guerrilla warfighters who can bring their A-game day after day.

De Oppresso Liber! 

LTC Terry Baldwin, US Army (Ret) served on active duty from 1975-2011 in various Infantry and Special Forces assignments. SSD is blessed to have him as both reader and contributor.

US Army Releases ATP 3-37.15, Foreign Security Force Threats

Monday, February 10th, 2020

HOT OFF THE PRESS: ATP 3-37.15, FOREIGN SECURITY FORCE THREATS (January 2020). ATP 3-37.15 provides fundamental principles and techniques for preventing and defeating foreign security force (FSF) threats (previously referred to as green-on-blue attacks). It is based on lessons learned from several years of persistent, limited contingency operations. The principal audience for ATP 3-37.15 is all members of the profession of arms. Available now.

USAF Issues Updated AFI 36-2903 Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel

Monday, February 10th, 2020

The Air Force has updated AFI 36-2903, dated 7 Feb 2020. The biggest change is dealing with beards. Don’t get too excited. They are still only authorized for medical or religious accommodation. It’s just that now, there is guidance on how they should look.

A major oversight is that the new AFSC Special Reconnaissance has been left out of the AFI. Technically, they are no longer authorized a beret. Weather Parachutists however, are still authorized to wear the Grey beret.