In the last seven years, Russia has reasserted itself as a military force in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. With the 2008 military incursion into Georgia and the 2014 seizure of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, Russia has assumed a more aggressive, interventionist stance in Europe. In the effort to influence events in Ukraine, the Russians have used what the US Army defines as “Hybrid Warfare” to infiltrate, isolate, and dominate eastern Ukraine and Crimea. This is all a part of the strategy of what can be called “Indirect Action”—the belief by the Russians that they reserve the right to protect ethnic Russians and interests in their former states from domination by Western powers and NATO.
It is important to note that the Russians do not use the terms Hybrid Warfare or Indirect Action to describe these tactics. These are terms that the Western media, think tanks, and analysts have developed to define this method of warfare. The Russians have used terms such as indirect, asymmetrical, and non-linear when discussing what is commonly referred to as Hybrid Warfare. Hybrid Warfare is a part of the strategy/policy of what can be called Indirect Action that the Russians believe is essential to protect their interests in their former satellite states (referred to as “the near abroad”). To the Russians, using covert methods, information warfare (INFOWAR), and special operations troops to make up for conventional disadvantages has been the norm for decades. Because the terms Hybrid Warfare and Indirect Action are familiar, they will be used throughout this report in reference to Russian indirect, asymmetrical, and nonlinear tactics.
This Threat Tactics Report (TTR) will focus on three distinct operations—Georgia in 2008, Crimea in 2014, and eastern Ukraine in 2014–2015. The TTR will present and analyze the tactics used in these conflicts, the lessons learned, and adjustments made by the Russian Armed Forces.
The Russians have employed Hybrid Warfare and Indirect Action to counter NATO and Western influence for over seventy years.Hybrid
Warfare is the use of political, social, criminal, and other non-kinetic means employed to overcome military limitations.1Indirect Action
can be defined as the need for Russia to defend its interests and sphere of influence in its former states and satellites.
Although Western observers characterize the actions of Russian Armed Forces as hybrid warfare, the Russian Army practices its long-established tactics with new attention to advanced developments in many areas such as precision weapons, command and control (C2) and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), and electronic warfare (EW), and including direct and indirect application of these. The nature of these tactics is derived from Russia’s focused assessment of specific neighborhood threats and its long-time focus on security superiority in its Near Abroad.
Russia continues to maintain military bases in its former states to exert influence and control.
The Russians used conventional tactics in Georgia in 2008 and used indirect and asymmetric approaches in Crimea in 2014 and eastern Ukraine in 2014-2015.
The Euromaidan protests and overthrow of the Yanukovych government triggered the Russian incursion into Crimea and the seizure of the naval base at Sebastopol.
Russian intelligence operatives and SPF were instrumental in the success of the Crimea operation and are now assisting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Russia may use these tactics in other areas such as Moldova, Transniestra, and the Baltic states.
Crimean Takeover: Operational Overview
Crimea has long sought its independence from Ukraine because of its protracted association with Russia and the people’s desire to rejoin the Russian Federation. Crimea had become the home to a large ethnic Russian population, many of which had served in the Soviet/Russian military. As far back as February 1994, Crimean politicians would make speeches declaring the Crimeans not only sought separation from Ukraine, but also a unification of Crimea with Russia. When Yuriy Meshkov won the first and only independent Crimean presidential election in 1994 with 73% of the votes, he stated, “In spirit, the Crimean people have been and remain part of Russia.” During the next couple of years, Ukrainian marines took possession of a number of naval facilities on Crimea, evicted the pro-Russian political leaders in Crimea, and ended the short-lived independent Crimea on 17 March 1995. With protests from Moscow, this eventually led to the 1997 treaty that divided the Russian naval facilities between the two countries and allowed for the Russians to maintain a military presence in Crimea, primarily to support the Russian navy’s Black Sea Fleet. One of the most overlooked clauses in the agreement which allowed the February/March 2014 events to take place was the section that permitted Russian forces to implement not only security measures at their own permanent bases in Crimea, but to provide security for their own forces during deployment and redeployment movements to and from Russia. In the early stages of the crisis in late February 2014, this very minor clause in the treaty allowed the Russian military to move initially around Crimea without interference by any Ukrainian military personnel under the guise of the movement authorized by the military agreement between the two countries.
The Russian military launched their operation in Crimea less than a week after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed an agreement with the opposition political leaders on 21 February 2014 that confirmed early presidential elections would take place by the end of the year, ensured a national unity government would be created within a month, and guaranteed Ukraine would return to its 2004 constitution. Yanukovych then fled Kiev within 24 hours, however, instead of remaining in Ukraine to abide by the agreement. The timing also coincided with the scheduled military maneuvers in the Russian Central and Western Military Districts that obscured the Russian troop movements into the peninsula. The map in Figure 8 indicates the various activities from unclassified sources that took place in Crimea between the night of 27 February 2014 and 25 March 2014, when the Ukrainian government pulled its military forces from Crimea and ceded control of the peninsula to the Crimean “defense forces” backed by Russian military forces.
1. Purpose: From Multi-Domain Battle to Multi-Domain Operations. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1, The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028 expands upon the ideas previously explained in Multi-Domain Battle: Evolution of Combined Arms for the 21st Century. It describes how the Army contributes to the Joint Force’s principal task as defined in the unclassified Summary of the National Defense Strategy: deter and defeat Chinese and Russian aggression in both competition and conflict. The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations concept proposes detailed solutions to the specific problems posed by the militaries of post-industrial, information-based states like China and Russia. Although this concept focuses on China and Russia, the ideas also apply to other threats.
2. The problem.
a. Emerging operational environment. Four interrelated trends are shaping competition and conflict: adversaries are contesting all domains, the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS), and the information environment and U.S. dominance is not assured; smaller armies fight on an expanded battlefield that is increasingly lethal and hyperactive; nation-states have more difficulty in imposing their will within a politically, culturally, technologically, and strategically complex environment; and near-peer states more readily compete below armed conflict making deterrence more challenging. Dramatically increasing rates of urbanization and the strategic importance of cities also ensure that operations will take place within dense urban terrain. Adversaries, such as China and Russia, have leveraged these trends to expand the battlefield in time (a blurred distinction between peace and war), in domains (space and cyberspace), and in geography (now extended into the Strategic Support Area, including the homeland) to create tactical, operational, and strategic stand-off. For the purpose of this document, Russia serves as the pacing threat. In fact, Russia and China are different armies with distinct capabilities, but assessed to operate in a sufficiently similar manner to orient on their capabilities collectively.
b. China and Russia in competition. In a state of continuous competition, China and Russia exploit the conditions of the operational environment to achieve their objectives without resorting to armed conflict by fracturing the U.S.’s alliances, partnerships, and resolve. They attempt to create stand-off through the integration of diplomatic and economic actions, unconventional and information warfare (social media, false narratives, cyber attacks), and the actual or threatened employment of conventional forces. By creating instability within countries and alliances, China and Russia create political separation that results in strategic ambiguity reducing the speed of friendly recognition, decision, and reaction. Through these competitive actions, China and Russia believe they can achieve objectives below the threshold of armed conflict.
c. China and Russia in armed conflict. In armed conflict, China and Russia seek to achieve physical stand-off by employing layers of anti-access and area denial systems designed to rapidly inflict unacceptable losses on U.S. and partner military forces and achieve campaign objectives within days, faster than the U.S. can effectively respond. Over the last twenty-five years, China and Russia invested in and developed a systematic approach to “fracture” AirLand Battle by countering the Joint Force’s increasingly predictable use of time-phased and domain-federated operational approaches in armed conflict. The resulting anti-access and area denial systems create strategic and operational stand-off that separates the elements of the Joint Force in time, space, and function. Moreover, both China and Russia are continuing to improve these anti-access and area denial systems and are proliferating the associated technologies and techniques to other states. The Joint Force has not kept pace with these developments. It is still designed for operations in relatively uncontested environments that allow for sequential campaigns based on predictable approaches that assume air and naval supremacy: extensive shaping with air and naval strikes before the final destruction of severely degraded enemy forces through joint combined arms operations.
3. Conducting Multi-Domain Operations.
a. Central idea. Army forces, as an element of the Joint Force, conduct Multi-Domain Operations to prevail in competition; when necessary, Army forces penetrate and dis-integrate enemy anti-access and area denial systems and exploit the resultant freedom of maneuver to achieve strategic objectives (win) and force a return to competition on favorable terms.
b. Tenets of the Multi-Domain Operations. The Army solves the problems presented by Chinese and Russian operations in competition and conflict by applying three interrelated tenets: calibrated force posture, multi-domain formations, and convergence. Calibrated force posture is the combination of position and the ability to maneuver across strategic distances. Multi-domain formations possess the capacity, capability, and endurance necessary to operate across multiple domains in contested spaces against a near-peer adversary. Convergence is rapid and continuous integration of capabilities in all domains, the EMS, and information environment that optimizes effects to overmatch the enemy through cross-domain synergy and multiple forms of attack all enabled by mission command and disciplined initiative. The three tenets of the solution are mutually reinforcing and common to all Multi-Domain Operations, though how they are realized will vary by echelon and depend upon the specific operational situation.
c. Multi-Domain Operations and strategic objectives. The Joint Force must defeat adversaries and achieve strategic objectives in competition, armed conflict, and in a return to competition. In competition, the Joint Force expands the competitive space through active engagement to counter coercion, unconventional warfare, and information warfare directed against partners. These actions simultaneously deter escalation, defeat attempts by adversaries to “win without fighting,” and set conditions for a rapid transition to armed conflict. In armed conflict, the Joint Force defeats aggression by optimizing effects from across multiple domains at decisive spaces to penetrate the enemy’s strategic and operational anti-access and area denial systems, dis-integrate the components of the enemy’s military system, and exploit freedom of maneuver necessary to achieve strategic and operational objectives that create conditions favorable to a political outcome. In the return to competition, the Joint Force consolidates gains and deters further conflict to allow the regeneration of forces and the re-establishment of a regional security order aligned with U.S. strategic objectives.
Page Count: 53 pages
Date: October 2015
Originating Organization: TRADOC G-2 ACE Threats Integration
File Type: pdf
File Size: 2,690,302 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256):345786D6CBC1D7FFEA6FC3D4854FFEE7EF825AFBF92F765C5123221FCF5D20A3
The Korean peninsula is a location of strategic interest for the US in the Pacific Command (PACOM), and many observers note that North Korea is an unpredictable and potentially volatile actor. According to the Department of Defense in its report to Congress and the intelligence community, the DPRK “remains one of the United States’ most critical security challenges for many reasons. These include North Korea’s willingness to undertake provocative and destabilizing behavior, including attacks on the Republic of Korea (ROK), its pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and its willingness to proliferate weapons in contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.” Some of the latest evidence of irrational behavior is the elevation of Kim Jong Un’s 26-year old sister to a high governmental post late in 2014, the computer hacking of the Sony Corporation supposedly by North Korea during late 2014 over the possible release of a film that mocked Kim Jong Un, and the April 2015 execution of a defense chief for allegedly nodding off during a meeting. Over the past 50 years, North Korea has sporadically conducted operations directed against its enemies, especially South Korea. These actions included attacks on South Korean naval vessels, the capturing of a US ship and holding American hostages for 11 months, the hijacking of a South Korean airline jet, electronic warfare against South Korean signals including global positioning satellites (GPS), and assassinations or attempted assassinations on South Korean officials including the ROK president. The attempted 1968 Blue House Raid by North Korean elite military personnel resulted in the death or capture of all 31 infiltrators involved in the assassination attempt as well as the death of 71 personnel, including three Americans, and the injury of 66 others as the North Korean SPF personnel attempted to escape back to DPRK territory.
The purpose of this North Korean Threat Tactics Report (TTR) is to explain to the Army training community how North Korea fights including its doctrine, force structure, weapons and equipment, and the warfighting functions. A TTR also identifies where the conditions specific to the actor are present in Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE) and other training materials so that these conditions can easily be implemented across all training venues.
- North Korea is an oligarchy with Kim Jong Un as its supreme leader.
- The DPRK is a militaristic society with about 1.2 million active duty personnel in uniform out of a population of 24 million with another 7.7 million in the reserve forces.
- All military personnel serve under the umbrella of the Korean People’s Army (KPA); the Korean People’s Air Force (KPAF) and Korean People’s Navy (KPN) primarily support the KPA ground forces.
- The KPAF focuses on homeland defense and close air support to the KPA.
- The KPN’s primary mission is to protect the North Korean coastline and support the KPA special purpose forces (SPF) in mission execution.
- Much of the equipment in all military branches is old and obsolete, but the KPA has concentrated its modernization efforts on missile technology that may provide the means to successfully launch a nuclear warhead.
- North Korea possesses a nuclear weapon and is modernizing its missile fleet in order to increase the attack range for its nuclear arsenal.
- North Korea possesses both chemical and biological weapons.
- The KPA practices both passive and active camouflage to hide its units, headquarters, and other important resources from the air.
Although the North Korean military may feature some positive attributes as a fighting force, the KPA also suffers from many weaknesses as well. Much of the military’s equipment is old and obsolete. The North Korean military consciously refuses to rid itself of any equipment and still operate tanks that date back to World War II. This wide range of military hardware from many generations of warfare also generates logistical issues. The KPA’s supply personnel must not only find the spare parts for a large variety of equipment, the KPA maintenance personnel must be well-versed in the repair of a great assortment of vehicles and weapons. In addition, the DPRK lacks the logistical capability to support the KPA beyond a few months. Due to the shortage of fuel and the cost to operate vehicles for a cash-strapped country, many of the KPA soldiers find themselves involved in public works projects or helping farmers bring in their rice crops. Any time spent in non-military support is less time that the KPA soldiers can spend training for combat. Even the mechanized and armor forces, due to resource restraints, spend much of their training time doing light infantry training instead of mounted operations. While KPA soldiers may be well trained in individual skills or small unit tactics, the amount of time spent on larger exercises pales in comparison to most Western militaries. Without adequate time and resources to practice large scale military operations, the KPA will always face a steep learning curve when the KPA is forced to perform them in actual combat for the first time.
The DPRK’s unorthodox use of provocation in order to obtain concessions from its enemies—especially the US, South Korea, and Japan—is a danger. One never knows what North Korea will do next as, in the past, the DPRK has sanctioned assassination attempts on South Korean political leaders and conducted bombings when South Korean contingents are in another country, unannounced attacks on ships by submarines, unprovoked artillery attacks, or has tunneled underground into another country. US military personnel stationed in South Korea must be prepared for the unexpected from the DPRK.
One of these incidents could ignite the Korean peninsula back into a full-blown war. While an armistice has been in place since 1953, an armistice is just a ceasefire waiting for a peace treaty to be signed or for the resumption of hostilities. Any conflict between North and South Korea would inevitably bring the US into the conflict as the ROK has been an ally for over six decades.
North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons and the missiles to transport it up to 9,650 km makes it a threat to US forces stationed in Korea, Japan, Alaska, or even the west coast of the continental United States. Even more concerning was the DPRK’s first successful test launch of a KN-11 missile from a submarine on 23 January 2015 since, in the near future, the North Korean submarines could silently move closer to their targets before launching a nuclear missile that would give the US less warning time. If the DPRK thought that the survival of its country or the Kim regime was at stake, North Korea might use any nuclear weapons at its disposal. The KPA also possesses chemical weapons and its doctrine calls for their employment. The DPRK is also involved in biological weapons research and would likely use those with offensive capabilities. US military personnel training for deployment to South Korea must be prepared to fight in a chemical, biological, or nuclear environment.
War with North Korea: No Joke By John Stanton The 20th Century Korean War from 1950-1953 pitting US-led United Nations coalition forces against the North Korean and Chinese militaries has been in pause mode for 64 years. The Korean Armistice was signed on July 27, 1953 by the United States, China and North Korea. It called for a cessation of hostilities until a lasting peace agreement between the warring parties could be negotiated and signed. That, of course, has not happened due as much to North Korea’s rationally maniacal behavior and ruthless treatment of its citizens, as to its role as a useful pawn of the Chinese and American governments. The Chinese feel compelled to let the incendiary North Korean government in Pyongyang irritate and provoke the United States and much of the world community, and the Americans don’t mind having a large military presence to deter North Korea but also to keep an eye on the China and the Southeast Asian region. China has apparently reinforced its military forces on its border with North Korea. Russia has a short land and maritime border with North Korea. In 2015 officials from the two countries signed an agreement to construct a road connection between the two neighbors during their “Year of Friendship.” According to NK.News.org, North Korea and Russia envisioned “closer collaboration between the two states in political, economic and humanitarian spheres.” As tensions ratchet up in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests, Russia has apparently shored up its military forces near the bustling Russian port city of Vladivostok, home to Russia’s Pacific Fleet and within range of North Korean missiles. US-Led Coalition These military moves by China and Russia make sense if war breaks out between a US-led coalition including South Korea, Japan, Canada, and Australia (for starters) and North Korean forces. The extra forces would likely be used to stanch the tide of North Koreans expected to stream out of North Korea. In the unfortunate circumstance that sees North Korea’s first use of a nuclear weapon, a US retaliatory strike would ensure that the radiologically damaged would seek care in China and Russia, care that China and Russia can ill-afford to provide on a large scale. During a protracted conventional conflict, it seems likely that enterprising organizations in China and Russia would attempt to funnel weapons and aid to the North Koreans to keep the US-led coalition occupied while they ponder their strategic and tactical options. With the US bogged down in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, there are many moves that the Chinese and Russians could make contrary to US interests. The political and pundit classes in New York City and Washington, DC believe that the Trump Administration will just kick the Kim Jong-Un tin can down the road for another US president. The same elites told us all that Hillary Clinton would, with great certainty, win the 2016 presidential election. After 100 days of the Trump presidency, they still shake their heads in disbelief. Yet, they seemed to believe fully in President Trump’s punitive April cruise missile strikes in Syria undertaken after a Bashar Al Assad use of a nerve agent on his own citizens. But Trump’s people say that the time for “strategic patience” with North Korea is over. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Perry Como of the US State Department, declared as much during a recent visit to South Korea. Has America’s new Ken and Barbie, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, been advising President Trump on the matter? As for China’s influence, it has warned North Korea not to test Trump even as it recently resumed flights to North Korea from Beijing. Time will tell if China is serious in assisting the US or not. Intellectuals? Beyond the political and pundit classes who grace the world with their intellectual acumen are those across the spectrum who think that North Korea is the way it is because of the policies and practices of the US government. Those outlandish claims should not be seriously entertained. Kim Jong-Un is seen in this video smoking a cigarette and, at one point, sitting at a desk not far from an aircraft runway watching his air force and army in action. It looks a lot like a Monty Python skit until you realize that the North Koreans really believe they are a competent military power. And then there is the North Korean Army’s recent live fire exercise. What kind of commanders and political leaders think that the alignment of this artillery on a beach? The commanders are essentially giving their troops a death sentence as US standoff weapons systems would mostly obliterate such massed artillery. North Korean military doctrine is as obsolete as much of its weaponry is. Still, war is horrible and North Korea would, initially, likely cause a lot of pain to the northern portions of Seoul, South Korea. US, South and North Korean civilian casualties would certainly follow. Pain reduction, not elimination, depends on the lethality of US preemptive missile, bomber and cyber-attacks designed to neutralize what the US-led coalition’s intelligence believes to be the targets most important to hit first. Most likely, both North Korean nuclear weapons testing and medium-long range missile sites would be targeted, simultaneously with other North Korean conventional military assets. Before such a conflict de-confliction lines with China and Russia would have to be opened. The Fight North Korea has to know that if it moves any weapons systems into the open, the heat or electronic emissions will get them killed. US intelligence services have tried hard to anticipate how quickly the North Koreans can load and reload artillery and the extent of their ammunition supplies. Then there are the diesel submarines North Korea has in operation. US military antisubmarine warfare aircraft and detection is the best in the world and the Navy would be quick to begin the search for North Korean submarines. US attack class submarines would have to eliminate the DPRK’s undersea threat very quickly, just as US air forces would be called upon to clear the airspace above North Korea as rapidly as possible. North Korean surface vessels would not do well against US anti-ship weaponry with its advanced guidance systems. On the ground and from the sea, the situation is less clear. North Korea is vulnerable to amphibious landings on both its coastlines on the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. The US Navy and Marine Corps would not attempt such landings until many days into a conflict though. North Korea is said to have sleeper cells in South Korea that would be activated to destroy key communications nodes and other critical infrastructure. North Korean Special Forces are said to be a dangerous threat as in any conflict they would be tasked with infiltrating South Korea to engage in sabotage. It is not known how the North Korean civilian population would respond to an attack. The nation is home to 25 million people who have mostly known nothing but privation and austerity. Of course, that’s the view from the outside. There are tantalizing hints that the civilians there might stay away from the fighting to a limited degree. Books smuggled out of North Korea like The Accusation give a hint of some of the thinking of the well-educated and economically better positioned denizens. But the US experience with insurgencies from Vietnam until the present have not been pleasant, successful affairs. At any rate, the “will” of the North Korean population would play a significant role in a protracted conflict. Some argue that the US should learn from its 20th Century Korean War experience. But comparisons are invalid. The conflict took place as the US was drawing down from World War II and cold political winds were blowing. Since that time the North Koreans have spent a lot of time training to fight but have not been engaged in protracted conflicts for the last two decades as the US has been. There is no substitute for training but when military forces have experience in combat operations and maintain a training regime there is going to be a mismatch at some point favoring the US. Yet another consideration is the Joint Force capabilities of the North Korean military versus the UScoalition interoperability and joint force training. There is no evidence to suggest that North Korea has “networked” its fighting forces to wage war in the cross domains of sea, undersea, land, air, space and cyber. Nor has North Korea conducted extensive training exercises with partner or allies equivalent to Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea. No One Knows and that Unfinished Business Thing A long term conflict in which the US-led coalition fails to bring North Korea to its knees would allow other nations to make risky moves. Would Russia invade Eastern Ukraine and move up to the Dnieper River? Would China move on Taiwan? Would Turkey move further into Syria? Would Iran move further into Syria and Iraq? Would Russia get more aggressive in Libya? Would Europe further splinter as some members of the European Union back the US while others do not (the UK would fight with the US)? Would the American public support a longer term war effort? Unfortunately, the US, North and South Korea issue is unfinished business. Not too many people on the planet want to see a video of the Kim Jong-Un of the future sitting at his portable desk smoking a cigarette while watching the North Korean “Death to America” ICBM successfully launched and carrying a nuke toward the United States. If that ICBM made in through US missile defenses, the United States nuclear retaliatory response would turn North Korea into a radiological waste-land for decades. No one in the world wants to see that happen either. John Stanton can be reached at email@example.com
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Counter-Da’esh Influence Operations Cognitive Space Narrative Simulation Insights
Page Count: 69 pages
Date: May 2016
Originating Organization: Joint Staff J39
File Type: pdf
File Size: 3,665,757 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256):D7EC7D64E98A8B16FBA01D8D46A3AE74CC83DB19378C9EC6C6D5D3F23AAB18E4
When planning to deal with any adversary or potential adversaries, it is essential to understand who they are, how they function, their strengths and vulnerabilities, and why they oppose us. Events over the course of the last year and a half highlight the importance of those factors as they relate to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh). One of Da’esh’s obvious strengths is its ability to propagate tailored messages that resonate with its audiences. If the US Government and our allies are to counter Da’esh effectively, we must attack this center of gravity.
The Joint Staff J-39 Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) branch has been evaluating options in “Cognitive Space” to conduct Information Operations to disrupt Da’esh’s ability to command and control forces, neutralize its ability to maintain or increase moral, political, and financial support as well as recruit foreign fighters. This SMA effort continues to identify methods to psychologically isolate Da’esh leaders from one another and their respective constituencies inside and outside of the organization. Furthermore, this SMA effort has been assessing the value of “integrated neuro-cognitive-narrative maneuver” approaches to develop messages and actions that are more likely to have intended effects and less likely to have undesirable unintended or collateral effects, as well as to evaluate message delivery methods more effectively and efficiently by developing campaigns that achieve undercutting effects.
The cornerstone of the effort was the execution of a simulation facilitated by the University of Maryland ICONS team, which sought to
a. support the Psychological Operations (PSYOP) community in meeting training requirements in ways that reinforce the PSYOP process and enhance counter-Da’esh messaging.
b. support the PSYOP community in integrating neuro-cognitive and social science concepts to refine counter-Da’esh message content and increase the effectiveness of the Information Operations (IO) campaign.
c. assist the PSYOP community with understanding the operational environment (OE) and the human networks operating in the OE: friendly, threat, and neutral. Possible examples include providing a (Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, and Infrastructure) PMESII-framed OE analysis and center of gravity analysis.
This white paper is a compilation of the key findings from the simulation.
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With increased combat activities in the Middle East during the First Gulf War in 1991 and through the wars inIraq and Afghanistan of the 2000’s, the U.S. Marine Corps has used America’s strategic alliance with Israel to better train and prepare its soldiers for battle. Israel is known as having one of the most tactically advanced infantry forces in the world and they are one of few countries in the Middle East that allows Marines to train on its soil with soldiers from Israel Defense Forces.
In late November and early December 1998, Marine forces conducted land and sea maneuvers for nearly two weeks in the Negev desert. The exercises were reportedly routine and not related to tensions with Iraq and a U.S. Embassy spokesman said the Marines were conducting the exercises alone.
In April 2005, Marines from the Sixth Fleet who specialize in extraction operations to evacuate U.S. personnel from hostile territory conducted joint maneuvers with their Israeli counterparts. The Marines simulated an armed assault from the sea while IDF forces maneuvered inland until the two forces met. Military sources said the operation was code named “Kaya Green.”
In June 2007, the Army Corps of Engineers finished construction of a 7.4 square mile fake city in the heart of the Negev desert that Israel will use for simulated urban combat training, often together with Marines. “This is something developed by us in cooperation with the U.S. Army; we intend for it to become a valuable center of knowledge that will also benefit our American allies and other friends,” said Brig. Gen. Uzi Moskovich, commander of Israel’s National Ground Training Center.
In March 2008, US and Israeli forces initiated a joint battle simulation exercise, code-named “Juniper Falcon,” designed to improve coordination between the two countries’ armed forces. The joint simulation was part of a general agreement between the two countries to to hold regular joint training exercises aimed at boosting “interoperability, understanding and cooperation,” said a military statement released after the exercise was completed. The two forces participated in “Juniped Falcon” again in 2010.
In August 2011, a group of 50 specialized Marines trained for two weeks at the Urban Warfare Training facility in southern Israel, mostly working on close-quarter battle. “[The Marines] have been trained to re-capture buildings and to clear out terrorist threats inside of a building, but they’ve never been trained on how to you know clear a building, and move to another one clear it and move to another one,” Marine Platoon Commander Mike Jevons said.
In August 2013, Givati Brigade Special Forces conducted a joint exercise with units from the Marine Corps to examine various techniques of urban warfare, to teach the IDF approach to urban warfare and to learn about the Marines’ operational experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. The exercise took place over three days at the Urban Warfare Training. The purpose of the exercise was for each unit to learn from the operational experience of the other in fighting in urban terrain.
The U.S. military sent 173 paratroopers to train with the Egoz Guerilla Warfare Unit of the IDF Golani Brigade during late November and early December 2015. For one week the soldiers trained together, practicing at the urban warfare training center at Tze’elim base, and running field exercises. The American troops arrived in Israel toting their weapons and personal combat gear. The differences in the way things were run were obvious, for example the Americans relied on GPS navigation systems to guide them to their destinations, while Israeli soldiers were required to learn their paths ahead of time from a map.
IDF Special Forces and U.S. Marines engaged in a joint training exercise in the Negev Desert during July 2016, dubbed “Noble Shirley”. The soldiers trained for battle against terrorists by practicing landing helicopters in stressful situations, urban warfare, and military takeover techniques. Groups also practiced bringing medical aid to injured soldiers behind enemy lines.
Sources: IDF Spokesperson’s Office;
Opall-Rome, Barbara. “Marines to train at new Israeli combat center,” Marine Corps Times (June 24, 2007);
Julie Stahl. “US Marines Train in Israeli Warfare Camp,” CBN News (August 17, 2011);
“Special Training: U.S. Marines vs. Givati Special Forces,” IDF Blog (August 15, 2013);
Zitun, Yoav. “American paratroopers train with IDF’s Egoz unit in Israel,” YNet News (December 3, 2015);
“’IDF special forces, US Marines train for combating ISIS in Negev drill,’” Jerusalem Post (July 28, 2016)
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U.S. Army TRADOC Report: The Battle for Sinjar, Iraq
Battle for Sinjar, Iraq
Page Count: 11 pages
Date: April 2016
Originating Organization: U.S. Army, TRADOC G-2 ACE Threats Integration
File Type: pdf
File Size: 1,216,880 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256): BABCBF1726FA96A35298B2B84BECABB7AFC5AE61ECD5D285BBAA67F70819B18F
In the summer of 2014, ISIL forces pushed Peshmerga forces from key areas in Nineveh province, Iraq, threatening the government seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil and capturing Mosul.
Pressure to respond to a growing humanitarian crisis, fueled by media coverage of Sinjar’s Yazidis fleeing ISIL violence, led to calls for an international response that included US and allied bombing of ISIL positions.
ISIL mitigated the effects of bombing by building a sophisticated network of tunnels that connected key buildings.
ISIL used marksmen, snipers, ambushes, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and suicide bombers to slow the Kurdish advance, but eventually conserved most of its force by exfiltrating the area and not engaging in a decisive battle.
In November 2015, an alliance of Kurdish factions resulted in recapturing ISIL-held territory in Nineveh province—including Sinjar, which sits on ISIL’s Highway 47 supply route connecting ISIL-held Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul Iraq.
While successful in Sinjar, the alliance of the KRG’s Peshmerga, Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), the Syrian Popular Protection Unit (YPG), and Yazidi militias (YBS) is fraught with ISIL-exploitable fault lines.
This Tactical Action Report (TAR) provides information on the capture and subsequent recapture of Sinjar, a town at the foot of the Sinjar Mountains. The Nineveh Offensive, of which Sinjar was a key target, led to the capture of a large part of northern Iraq and included the occupation of Mosul. ISIL pushed Peshmerga forces from the area and threatened Erbil, the government seat of the KRG in 2014. A growing humanitarian crisis developed as ISIL began purging villages in the Sinjar area of the minority group known as Yazidis. Thousands were killed, kidnapped, or forced to flee their homes. Many Yazidis retreated to the Sinjar Mountains where they were besieged by ISIL fighters. These circumstances led to President Barack Obama ordering air strikes to protect Erbil, where US military advisors were headquartered, and to relieve the displaced Yazidi civilians. Over a year later Peshmerga fighters, with the help of other Kurdish factions, pushed ISIL forces out of Sinjar and other surrounding areas and severed a key supply route connecting ISIL-held Raqqa, Syria, with Mosul, Iraq.
Operational Environment Background—Sinjar
Sinjar1 is a strategically-located Iraqi town in northwestern Nineveh province. It lies along a major ISIL east-west supply route that connects Mosul in Iraq with Raqqa in Syria—two important ISIL-held cities. Sinjar is approximately 52 km east of the Syrian border and 117 km west of Mosul. It is positioned at the foot of the Sinjar Mountains, an east-west mountain range rising 1,463 m above the surrounding alluvial steppe plains.
Sinjar is populated primarily by a Kurdish religious minority called the Yazidis. The Yazidis are particularly vulnerable to violence and persecution, having been the object of hatred for centuries because of their religious practices. Yazidis are ethnically Kurdish, but their religion combines elements of Islam, ancient Persian Zoroastrianism, and Eastern Mediterranean Mithraism. While Yazidis are monotheists, they believe in a fallen angel who serves as an intermediary between God and man. To Muslims, this intermediary resembles the Quranic devil. Yazidis are, therefore, considered devil worshippers by their Muslim neighbors. With isolated geography and a history of persecution, the Yazidis rarely intermarry and do not accept converts, further distinguishing themselves.
In June 2014, ISIL began an offensive in Nineveh province and captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, that same month. This ISIL victory gave momentum to a push throughout Kurdish Peshmerga-held Nineveh province. On 1 August 2014, ISIL attacked a Peshmerga unit in the town of Zumar, a small Kurdish-majority outpost 40 km northwest of Mosul. ISIL killed 14 Peshmerga soldiers, while the group sustained 100 casualties and 38 members were taken prisoner in the attack. On 2–3 August, in a serious setback for Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers, ISIL succeeded in taking three strategic towns: Zumar, Wana, and Sinjar. Zumar is an oil-rich area that also lies on a road leading to Syria; Wana is a town on the Tigris river within striking distance of the Mosul dam; and Sinjar is a town on a major supply line that connects ISIL-held Mosul in Iraq with ISIL-held Raqqa in Syria. The towns form a triangle west from Mosul to the borders of Syria and Turkey. The capture of these towns gave ISIL both momentum and proximity to seriously threaten those protecting the Mosul dam, which was temporarily captured and then lost by ISIL between 7–18 August.
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The following is a transcript of prepared remarks delivered by the U.S. Army North Commander in closed session to the National Commission on the Future of the Army (NCFA).
Commander, U.S. Army North Prepared Remarks for the 10 June 2015 Closed Session to the National Commission on the Future of the Army
Page Count: 10 pages
Date: June 10, 2015
Originating Organization: U.S. Army North
File Type: pdf
File Size: 207,915 bytes
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First off let me just say thank you for giving us the opportunity to convey the vital missions and responsibilities the Total Army performs in the Homeland. The Army has greatly advanced its posture to respond in the Homeland. In a time of persistent conflict, our Army leadership acknowledged the need and established a dedicated Army headquarters whose singular focus is the Homeland – U.S. Army North (ARNORTH). And given the nature of the Homeland environment – DOD would be in support of another Federal Agency – established standing Defense Coordinating Officers (DCO) embedded in each of the ten FEMA Regional Headquarters. These two major changes to Homeland response has ensured there is Army effort honed in on ensuring we are as much prepared to respond in the Homeland as are the other ASCCs in their Geographical Combatant Commands AORs. And it has greatly enhanced North American Security especially with our southern partners – Mexico.
Our history is replete with examples where both Guard and Active forces were employed to respond to our Nation’s disasters. In the recent era, the defining disaster was Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 hurricane that forced the breach of levies and the subsequent massive flooding of New Orleans. It rapidly overwhelmed the capabilities of Louisiana that saw the C, NGB send upwards of 50,000 Guardsmen from other States and the President send in the 82nd Airborne Division. There have been other similar incidents in our lifetime: Hurricane Andrew (1992) where President Bush sent 2,000 to 5,000 Troops from Ft Bragg, Hurricane Hugo (1989) where over 3,000 Service members were sent in support, and the 1988 Yellowstone Fires where approximately 1,000 active duty Soldiers and Marines provided direct fire line support as part of JTF Yellowstone. These show that there are those potential catastrophic disasters (New Madrid Seismic Zone, Cascadia Subduction Zone, Cyber Attack, or even an Improvised Nuclear Detonation) that can hit the United States where the President will not hesitate to call upon Federal Forces.
The Role of the Army in the Homeland.
Homeland Defense is DOD’s #1 Priority and any response in the Homeland that incorporates a Military response will likely become the singular focus of the Nation’s leadership and the media. Homeland Operations comprise Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA). In Homeland Defense the expectation is that the Commander, USNORTHCOM is the command authority reporting through the SecDef to the POTUS while a DSCA operation is where DOD (Army) will be in support of another Federal Agency. The spectrum of DSCA ranges from supporting the US Secret Service for National Special Security Events (NSSE), Federal Law Enforcement Agencies in Counterdrug and Border Security operations, FEMA for natural and man-made disasters (to include the extreme complex catastrophes), to the most dangerous a Chemical – Biological – Radiological – Nuclear (CBRN) incident. Recent examples include: providing Navy divers to recover the remains in the IH35 Bridge collapse, establishing housing at three separate DOD Installations for unaccompanied children coming into the US from our Southern border – in support of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and forming and training two EBOLA medical teams that could be inserted into any US hospital to assist in the care of infected patients – DHHS.
As the Commander of U.S. Army North, the Army Service Component Command (ASCC) to U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and the sole Army headquarters dedicated to the Homeland, I can assure you there is a role and function for all compos within the Army – there is enough work for everyone. I can also stress upfront that from a Homeland response perspective the current structure within the Active, Guard and Reserves is about right. My intent is to briefly highlight:
1. The Role of the Federal Force. How in DSCA through the Department of Homeland Security’s guiding doctrine, the National Response Framework, the State led response and the Federal led response achieve unity of effort and that through this all compos have a major role given their current structured capabilities.
2. Secondly, in that same vain, I will stress the criticality of retaining a DoD CBRN Response Enterprise – trained and ready to respond – dedicated to that specific scenario.
3. Lastly, I will show the strategic linkage to North American Security being fostered by having a dedicated Theater Army headquarters in the homeland.
The Federal response in DSCA.
Clearly the National Guard in its State Military role under the authority of their respective Governor has primacy and as reflected on the State Response Capabilities charts submitted to NGB on a monthly basis, there are twelve essential capabilities that the Governor of each state desires and tracks for state response to a natural or man-made disaster:
– command & control
– aviation (reconnaissance and lift)
– logistics – to include power generation
If due to deployments or other readiness concerns any of these capabilities are not fully able to meet the Governor’s response plans, the Adjutant general can turn to his fellow states in an Emergency Management Assistance Compact or EMAC to gain the additional capabilities and fill his gaps. This is a co-share between the Governors for the utilization of these capabilities but it does keep the response within a Governor’s authority and does not elevate a request to the President to invoke the Stafford Act.
However as shown as recent as Super Storm Sandy, where a specific capability – dewatering pumps were requested, the active and reserve forces became the source to fill the gap.
The National Response Framework (NRF): Is the Department of Homeland Security’s guide to how the Nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies, the typical incident response begins with first responders (e.g., police, fire, medical) at the local level. If first responders are unable to contain an incident, they may ask for assistance from their county emergency managers. When local jurisdictions cannot contain an incident, the Governor can declare a state of emergency and invoke the state’s emergency plan to augment individual and public resources as required, which typically include National Guard forces (Army and Air Force) on State Active Duty. Should requirements exceed state response capabilities or capacity, the Governor can use Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) agreements to request resources from other states. If requested resources are unavailable or requirements exceed capabilities, the Governor may also request federal assistance. If the response proceeds to the federal level, including a Presidential major disaster or emergency declaration, DOD (T10) forces may be deployed to support civilian efforts.
The conduit for integrating DOD (T10) capabilities is the Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO) and their Defense Coordinating Element (DCE). These small 9-10 person all Army teams led by a former Brigade command or equivalent Colonels are assigned to ARNORTH but perform their day-to-day duties co-located with each of the 10 FEMA Regional Headquarters. Pre-activation they closely work with their Federal partners as well as with the State JFHQs and State Emergency Managers within their region to develop likely DOD (T10) requirements for State and regional plans in order to anticipate and ensure DOD (T10) won’t be late to need. When activated they directly represent the SecDef and work with FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) to determine the feasibility of DOD (T10) supporting a request for assistance and then once determined expediting that request, now termed a Mission Assignment, through for SecDef approval and follow on sourcing by the Joint Staff. They are also the conduit within their region for any other request for assistance by other Federal Agencies (EX: US Secret Service for the UN General Assembly). Under their Operational Control are the 173 US Army Reserve Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers (EPLO) located two per State and a five person team at the FEMA Regional Headquarters. These Drilling Reservist are the Subject Matter Experts (SME) for their state. Under the OPCON of the fulltime DCO/E, the EPLOs become a valuable extension that when an incident occurs are activated and seamlessly integrate into the DCO’s operations providing situational awareness at the State.
DOD (T10) provides support when requested by civil authorities and approved by the SecDef. However, there are several separate authorities whereby DOD (T10) resources may be provided without SecDef approval. These are Immediate Response Authority (IRA), Mutual Aid Agreements/Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs)/Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), or in accordance with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) DSCA Execution Order (EXORD).
Immediate Response Authority. DOD (T10) response at the municipal, county, or tribal level is provided initially under IRA. If requested, any commander can provide resources to save lives, prevent human suffering, and mitigate great property damage in response to a request from a civil authority, under imminently serious conditions and if time does not permit approval from higher authority. There is an unofficial time limit of 72 hours for immediate response operations. The 72 hours corresponds with the time limit for the response phase (focus is on life-sustaining functions) of a DSCA operation.
CJCS DSCA EXORD sets the framework for resources and authorities provided to the supported combatant commander to conduct DSCA operations for actual or potential domestic incidents within the combatant commander‘s area of responsibility. The authorities granted by the EXORD are specified in four distinct categories of authorization: assigned forces, pre-identified resources, resources for internal use, and large-scale response categories.
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