Sunday, February 24, 2019

Understand the Human Terrain

The  Army study of the Iraq War (volumes one and two) notes one problem I didn't realize: we didn't draw our unit borders to coincide with the human terrain of the insurgency.

That is, if two regions have social and economic connections that make them essentially a single region, we shouldn't have split that functional single region among different units responsible for fighting the insurgency there. But we did split them.

Which was an aspect of human terrain I did not appreciate. In conventional war it is basic knowledge that you attack at the seams of enemy units for maximum effect. Push there and create a gap, and both enemy units are less able to react at the edge of their frontage when they have other things to worry about and they might think the problem is for the adjacent unit to deal with. If both think that, we are golden. It did not occur to me that this would apply to counter-insurgency. And when I read it, it seemed like that should have been obvious to me.

We got better at it in Iraq; and we started mapping it for future possible conflicts.

It is good that this is a lesson of the war the Army has highlighted. I hope we are good enough at this to prevent that problem in the future. But if we are it will need to come from within the military because apparently the academics who might help simply won't help.

We won the Cold War but our campuses became sanctuaries for those people right here at home. I think our human terrain teams might want to consider whether our campuses are support zones for enemies abroad. Seriously (tip to Instapundit).

And as an aside, how are our victims studies departments any different from the madrasa "schools" that churn out economically useless jihadi fanboys?