16 October 2010

Host Nation Legitimacy

According to the US Army's counterinsurgency textbook, FM 3-24, one of the primary goals of a counterinsurgency campaign is to establish a legitimate, competent, and effective host-nation government.

Fundamental to all counterinsurgencies is the need to assist local authorities to secure the populace and thereby separate the people from the insurgents while enhancing the legitimacy of the government.
Of course, as we've seen in Afghanistan, this is far easier said than done.

That's why I'm quite interested in what Lt. Cmdr. James Sisco, the former military liaison to Hamid Karzai, has to say on the topic in Small Wars Journal.  I definitely need to read this article in its entirety.  It certainly begins with a bang:

The abstract seems to lay out a plan for a "bottom-up" campaign, not unlike the "Somaliland" project highlighted by David Kilcullen in his latest book, "Counterinsurgency".  I'm adding this one to the ever-growing reading pile.
The failure of ISAF's COIN strategy to achieve its political objectives is the result of a conceptual error in its COIN implementation framework. Though ISAF places meeting the needs of the population at the center of its strategy, attempting to do so through a kleptocratic, illegitimate, and unaccountable Afghan national government (GIRoA) will not succeed. This conceptual error is due to a reading of COIN theory that defines “the counterinsurgent” doctrinally as the national government. Thus, while ISAF strategy now claims to adopt a population centric, district-focused COIN strategy, it still tries with predictable results to reach the population top down through the very kleptocratic government that has precipitated the current political crisis.

1 comment:

Amanda Violette-Groth said...

And we wonder why we can't get through!