Thursday, November 1, 2012

Month 3 Day 1

Notebook entry
Conference, taught Najib map, upon arrival sergeant Fahim gone

Journal Entry
Yesterday I spent the better part of the day removing the ‘intelligence speak’ that is pervasive in so many intel classes. I have to modify the Company Level Intelligence Cell curriculum to teach the Afghan S-2s [Intelligence] from the company all the way up to the brigade, but there are so many propriety terms, so much jargon, that basically have to rewrite the whole thing. It is one of the odd bars to progress in this field. Oddly the more jargon that you throw around the more people are like WOW that guy must really know intel, even when that is antithetical to the entire point of intel.

I don’t know if I have already penned this or not but it bears repeating. I don’t understand why we are structured as we are for an advisor team. I have one section, that amount to just a few guys while the Logistics officer is dual hated as the Admin officer and has like 4 subsections under his commodity. It is like the USMC said here, this is what we use, this must be what the afghans need. Unfortunately, the Afghans are not structured like we are and the odd structure that we have slows progress. It is another example of the USMC projecting a mental image of itself and saying this must be correct vs saying, how can I help you become better and tailoring a solution to that. We are a solution in search of a problem, not vice versa.

Edited to Add:
I still agree with what I said here. What I did not realize at the time was how little institutional learning occurs in the Marine Corps. I presumed that the structure of our adviser team was thinly veiled solipsism, in fact, our team was structured like this because no one knew any better. After spending some time seeing the process of unit creation after the deployment it struck me how little the planners knew about the requirements on the ground. Marines are the consummate generalists. The presumption is that nearly any line officer can fill any other's job, and we are deliberately rotated so that we gather the maximum amount of experience in a plurality of fields. This has its virtues, but I was the recipient of one of the downfalls. If someone had been an expert on an adviser teams, or even been on the previous adviser team, or had even E-mailed the adviser team we replaced, then we could have had a much more logical structure. As I would articulate later. Afghanistan has not been a ten year war, it has been ten one-year wars.

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