Archive for category Training

Industry Talk: Pseudo Operations And The Relentless Pursuit Of Kony

But then she reminds herself of the numbers. In the past two years, L.R.A. violence has dropped by ninety-three per cent, from seven hundred and six killings in 2010 to only fifty-one in 2012. According to Resolve, a U.S.-based analysis and advocacy group, the L.R.A. had approximately four hundred fighters in 2010; by June, 2013, they were down to a hundred and eighty Ugandan fighters and fifty armed zande—abductees from Congo and the Central African Republic.
“It was only ninety-three per cent because of relentless pursuit,” Davis said. “If we pulled out, that would plummet. I know that is something to celebrate. And if Kony dies a natural death under a mango tree someday, I’m O.K. with that—I know he’ll see justice, as long as he is not hurting kids and women.”
“We don’t need accolades,” Davis told me. “We are not bleeding at the end of the spear, getting pursued by crocodiles and killer bees. The Ugandans are.” And they show no signs of letting up.

Thanks to Adam for sending this one, and a big congrats to Eeben Barlow and his team for all the work they did on this contract. Also, I have much respect for Shannon Sedgwick Davis and her crew for actually taking action and having the courage to contact Eeben and funding this contract. You did the right thing. A hat tip as well to the Ugandan forces who embraced this training and made it work for them out in the field.

What makes this story significant is the fact that pseudo operations was taught to the Ugandan military by a private company, and there are actual tangible results that we can point to after they received this training.  Although I wouldn’t mind seeing a more academic study applied to how much of  an impact pseudo operations really had, it would seem to me that these initial findings are encouraging.

The other really cool aspect of this story is that for those of you that follow the blog and read the discussions I had with Eeben Barlow a couple of years ago about the concept of pseudo operations here and here,  you will quickly realize that in fact, something positive did come about from those conversations. That someone reading those conversations and posts over at his blog, whom actually had the money to fund such a contract, came forth and embraced the idea for the relentless pursuit of Joseph Kony and the destruction of his LRA. Here is a quote referencing how this group came to Eeben via his blog.

Poole had been reading a military and security blog written by Eeben Barlow, who had been a commando and a covert agent for the South African apartheid regime’s most notorious squads. He was also a visionary and a dreamer. Back in 1997, he told me that his goal was to create the best and biggest military consultancy in the world. The private army he founded, Executive Outcomes, hired itself out, in the late nineties, to end civil wars in Sierra Leone and Angola in exchange for lots of cash and access to diamond and oil fields.
Davis went to meet Barlow in South Africa, and, after a family dinner with his wife and son, he told her he would take the job—and that he did not want a fee. He did not want to make money on this, he told her; she would just have to pay his trainers and underwrite his expenses. This was the kind of partner she was looking for.

 Pretty cool. Here is a quote about the pseudo operations training the Ugandan’s received.

The effects of the training were evident. Charles, a lieutenant from West Nile, told me that in the old days they would unleash a thousand bullets every time they encountered the L.R.A. Now, he said, they would wait and track in silence. The South Africans had taught them tactics for crossing rivers with logs and ponchos, how to swim and how to avoid crocodiles, which had killed one soldier and attacked another. “The South Africans taught us ‘pseudo,’ ” Charles said. “You behave like your enemy so you can approach him, or even infiltrate inside the camp. We pleated our hair like they do, put on civilian shirts, uniform pants. Sometimes we went barefoot. We used to travel forty or forty-five in a team; now we can go six.”

Here is the quote about the raid that missed Kony. It certainly hit intel pay dirt though!

In September, 2011, the first special-operations group trained by the South Africans crossed into South Sudan and caught Kony by surprise at a meeting with all his commanders. He escaped, but the Ugandans took back a haul of valuable intelligence: satellite phones, a computer, and diaries. Defectors later revealed that the L.R.A. fighters were baffled by the attack: Was this some new Ugandan army? After the raid, Kony lost contact with his entourage. He roamed the bush alone with one of his pregnant Sudanese wives, and helped deliver her baby—one of probably more than a hundred small Konys now in the world. When he reëmerged, he was so furious that he demoted all his commanders. According to defectors, he had moved to a new camp, in southern Darfur.

And this is what DoS thought about the whole thing.

By the end of 2011, Barlow and his trainers were gone. “Even folks at State and the Department of Defense acknowledged the training Bridgeway offered was very helpful in advancing the Ugandan Army’s capacity,” a Washington-based analyst told me. But they are not yet willing to say so publicly. When I asked a State Department official about the significance of Davis’s work, he refused to comment beyond noting that “the Bridgeway Foundation is an independent organization that does not have an official relationship with the U.S. government.”

So with that said, I think Eeben and his crew deserve a great deal of recognition and thanks for a job well done. He has proven once again that private industry can indeed produce amazing results through innovation, dedication and hard work. That pseudo operations or PO can be taught and it can be effective in some types of warfare. As Sun Tzu would say, ‘all warfare is based on deception’, and PO is an excellent deceptive tactic. –Matt



Shannon Sedgwick Davis.

How a Texas Philanthropist Helped Fund the Hunt for Joseph Kony
October 21, 2013
Posted by Elizabeth Rubin

One night in July, 2010, Shannon Sedgwick Davis, a lawyer and activist from San Antonio, Texas, and the mother of two young boys, found herself seated across from the chief of the Ugandan Army, General Aronda Nyakairima, at his hilltop headquarters, in Kampala. “It was one of those out-of-body experiences,” Davis told me. Davis was on the verge of becoming deeply involved in the campaign to capture Joseph Kony. In the course of a quarter century, Kony abducted tens of thousands of people, mostly children, and conscripted them into the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A.), which was conceived as a Ugandan rebel force but whose primary target has been civilians in several African nations. “I am a full-blown mom, sitting here with this Ugandan general,” Davis said. “And I can’t believe I have an audience with this man, and that he didn’t write me off as crazy.”
Davis had two questions for Aronda: Would military trainers and communications make it easier for the Ugandan Army to chase down Kony—who is wanted by the International Criminal Court—in the jungles of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Sudan, where he and his commanders have scattered, and, more important to her, rescue the women and children still in his clutches?
Yes and yes, said the general. His eyes looked so tired, Davis recalled, that she hadn’t been sure she had his attention. “You almost want to pry them open so you make sure he’s still listening. But he said they would welcome any assistance, and that it was their problem to solve.” It was late, and in that first meeting Aronda seemed unsure what to make of this passionate, small blond woman from Texas. But the meetings persisted. Together, they began to map out what the general wanted and the guarantees that Davis would require from the Ugandans before embarking on an unorthodox venture: the charitable organization she heads, the Bridgeway Foundation, would hire private military contractors to train an African army.

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Leadership: Adaptive Leader LLC–Leadership Training By Don Vandergriff

Don illustrates how to use Outcomes Based Training & Education (OBT&E) and Adaptive Decision Games (ADGs) to teach and develop adaptability – shaping leaders and teams who achieve out-sized results and help continually evolve their organizations to thrive in the face of change and adversity.
Don began his work on personnel management and leader development with the question “How would John Boyd develop the kinds of leaders he saw as most effective?”

Wow, this is cool. Don Vandergriff is another outstanding John Boyd enthusiast that is actually applying his ideas to leadership training/consulting. This would be a fantastic training provider to look to if your company is looking to square away your management systems. (Or maybe your company could care less about leadership?….)

So who are Don’s clients so far? Well if you look at his client page, you will see a whole list of private and public organizations, to include the Army, Marines, and Navy SEALs. Check it out and definitely like them on Facebook or their other social networking sites they list. They also run a blog with an RSS feed. –Matt

Website for Adaptive Leadership here.


Adaptive Leader

Adaptive Leader focuses on helping you develop the right kind of leadership and decision making skills within your organization.
We are a world leader in the application of cutting edge Outcome Based Training and Education (OBT&E) having worked with the British Council, Johns Hopkins University, Wells Fargo, United States Army, the U.S Navy Seals, the Baltimore Police Department and many other large innovative organizations.
Our unique OBT&E model can be applied to a wide variety of areas to encourage rapid learning and extremely fast team cohesion. The process enables participants to develop leadership skills, moral courage and decision-making skills in a safe but pressured environment. All our workshops are completely interactive with participants fully engaged throughout.
Our unique application of the “After Action Review” tool allows us to craft customized Adaptive Decision Games based on a client’s own market place experiences; meaning your leaders and future leaders can be trained with your business as the case study.

Author, Innovator and Leading Thinking on the Development of Adaptive Leaders
Don Vandergriff has been quoted as an expert on leader development, personnel management and fourth generation warfare in publications ranging from the Washington Post, Inside the Pentagon, Army Times and The Atlantic Monthly, and his ideas featured in Harvard Business Review.
Don illustrates how to use Outcomes Based Training & Education (OBT&E) and Adaptive Decision Games (ADGs) to teach and develop adaptability – shaping leaders and teams who achieve out-sized results and help continually evolve their organizations to thrive in the face of change and adversity.
Don began his work on personnel management and leader development with the question “How would John Boyd develop the kinds of leaders he saw as most effective?”

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Iraq: Foreign Military Contractors Spearhead Effort To Train Iraqi Forces

“This is the model that Iraq is very comfortable with –low .U.S presence in uniform, a lotta contractors, and they’re getting the quality instruction, the quality training that they really need,” Lieutenant General Robert Caslen

Here is a quick story and update on some more contractor training programs in Iraq. But in this case, this is training that the Iraqis want and need.  Perhaps the Police Development Program that DoS is running should take some notes?

What is interesting is that the article listed some numbers.  Check it out.

But they left behind the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I), a group of about 157 military personnel under U.S. embassy authority, and some 600 civilian contractors, mostly retired soldiers.?They are working with the Iraqis on everything from training on new equipment, such as U.S. M113 armored personnel carriers and M1 Abrams tanks, to military education.

600 hundred contractors training the Iraqis? I imagine that figure includes support contractors as well, because for every trainer or soldier, there is the logistical support in the background that keeps them going. That is still impressive. But what is equally important is the public private partnership that is going on to make that happen. 157 military personnel are there, helping to implement this training and advising as well. –Matt



Foreign military contractors spearhead effort to train Iraqi forces
Thursday, 10 May 2012
Explosions throw up clouds of smoke near Iraqi soldiers with armored vehicles, who check for casualties, spot enemy forces in the desert ahead of them and then open fire.?But the blasts are only simulated artillery fire and the “enemy forces” are pop-up silhouette targets, not gunmen and vehicles.
That is just as well for these soldiers on a training exercise, as the puffs of dust kicked up by bullets downrange indicate that their aim is often off the mark.?An Iraqi company commander led his soldiers in the exercise at the massive Besmaya military base southeast of Baghdad, but it was a foreign contractor who controlled the scenario.?It was the contractor who ordered the targets raised and lowered amid the sounds made by .50 caliber machine guns on the armored vehicles and the chatter of M-16 rifles.?Contractors, who also assist soldiers in preparing for drills and with after-action reviews, are at the forefront of U.S. efforts to train Iraqi forces.?Negotiations on a post-2011 U.S. military training mission broke down last year over Iraqi reluctance to offer the trainers immunity from prosecution, and almost all American soldiers left the country last December.

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Iraq: Iraq Police Development Program–Will It Be Scrapped Or Just Reduced In Size?

The trainers are mostly retired state troopers and other law enforcement personnel on leave from their jobs back home, and a number of officials who criticized the program questioned what those trainers have to offer Iraqi police officials who have been operating in a war zone for years.
Mr. Perito said that the State Department never developed a suitable curriculum and that instead, advisers often “end up talking about their own experiences or tell war stories and it’s not relevant.”
Retired Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, now a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War, who oversaw the training of Iraqi security forces from 2007 to 2008, said, “The evidence suggests that the State Department never really engaged the Iraqis to find out what they need and what they want.”

In an effort to ‘right size’ the US mission in Iraq, and adjust to Iraq’s desire to enforce their sovereignty, we are seeing an adjustment happening.  Which makes sense and is totally reasonable. It is the Iraqi’s show now, and it will be very difficult to sell them on a massive program that they think they do not need or even want.

Or, like the quote up top and what SIGIR identified in the report, that DoS should work a little harder at creating a curriculum or program that the Iraqis actually like and want more of. And that would take talking with them, and using some kind of metrics to determine what is working with the course, and what is not.(as SIGIR recommends)

Also, more work needs to be done to convince the police commanders and leaders of Iraq that courses like this actually do increase the effectiveness of their police. But that takes action, not words, and the service out in the field must be evaluated and surveys taken in order to get a feel for what is effective. That old Jundism of ‘get feedback’ comes to mind.

Another point was brought up in the article below that was interesting. And that is security for these police advisers in Iraq. With the military gone, the security these days for operations are contractors.

The Iraqis have also insisted that the training sessions be held at their own facilities, rather than American ones. But reflecting the mistrust that remains between Iraqi and American officials, the State Department’s security guards will not allow the trainers to establish set meeting times at Iraqi facilities, so as not to set a pattern for insurgents, who still sometimes infiltrate Iraq’s military and police.

So as Iraq hassles contractors, or as the Iraqis do a terrible job of securing places that these advisers might visit or the people they might train, that operations in this environment becomes very complex and dangerous. But it isn’t impossible, and security contractor will make it happen–just as long as DoS is working hard about the issue of how Iraqis treat security contractors.

If you are on this program and disagree with what was said in this NYT’s article or what was said in the SIGIR, definitely come up in the comments section and speak up. Also, if anyone at DoS wants to come up and speak about the program on this blog, by all means feel free to do so. Although DoS did make a public statement in regards to this article, and I posted that below along with the SIGIR report done last year about this program. –Matt 


U.S. May Scrap Costly Efforts to Train Iraqi Police
May 13, 2012
In the face of spiraling costs and Iraqi officials who say they never wanted it in the first place, the State Department has slashed — and may jettison entirely by the end of the year — a multibillion-dollar police training program that was to have been the centerpiece of a hugely expanded civilian mission here.
What was originally envisioned as a training cadre of about 350 American law enforcement officers was quickly scaled back to 190 and then to 100. The latest restructuring calls for 50 advisers, but most experts and even some State Department officials say even they may be withdrawn by the end of this year.
The training effort, which began in October and has already cost $500 million, was conceived of as the largest component of a mission billed as the most ambitious American aid effort since the Marshall Plan. Instead, it has emerged as the latest high-profile example of the waning American influence here following the military withdrawal, and it reflects a costly miscalculation on the part of American officials, who did not count on the Iraqi government to assert its sovereignty so aggressively.
“I think that with the departure of the military, the Iraqis decided to say, ‘O.K., how large is the American presence here?’ ” said James F. Jeffrey, the American ambassador to Iraq, in an interview. “How large should it be? How does this equate with our sovereignty? In various areas they obviously expressed some concerns.”

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Funny Stuff: Chinese Army Hand Grenade Fail!

Probably the funniest and coolest part about this video is the instructor. He saves the soldier by pulling him into the trench, and then the soldier leaves after the explosion and the instructor goes right back to the ready line and squares it away. lol Now that is a dedicated instructor. –Matt


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Funny Stuff: Panteao Productions Make Ready Bloopers!

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