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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. Until recently, I was a contributing editor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Friday, May 8, 2015

SUCCESSFUL COMBAT OPERATIONS


Whereas influences such as adherence to the principles, air superiority, relative strengths, selection, training, equipment, doctrine, communications, leadership, terrain, operational design, and so forth play a crucial role in determining the outcome of any combat operation, I believe the most important criterion for ground forces to attain victory on the battlefield are:
 
  1. Timing: The timing of any attack or strike is crucial to throwing an enemy off balance and seizing the initiative, especially if the enemy’s intentions and routine are known and the forces are able to conduct both day and night operations. Climatic conditions and variations, along with terrain, must be considered to enable the timing of the attack or strike to place the enemy at a distinct disadvantage. The timing for lifting stand-off bombardments and air delivered fire must enable the ground forces to close with the enemy and annihilate him. Timing can increase operational and tactical surprise and result in increased momentum and tempo.  
  2. Synchronicity: The manoeuvre of forces along with direct and indirect fire must be synchronised with close air support to achieve the best effect to degrade and destroy the enemy and his materiel. This requires the force to have good communications at all times. Similarly, swarm attacks must be synchronised to coincide with other operations in the enemy’s deployment area.
  3. Surprise: Surprise is a force-multiplier and is the result of agility, speed, shock action, operational security and deception. Its aim is to throw the enemy off balance, regain and maintain the initiative and momentum, and disrupt and exploit the enemy’s confusion. The enemy must be forced to defend over multiple fronts against both conventional and unconventional direct and indirect approaches. Surprise must always be exploited.
  4. Tempo: Tempo is the result of momentum combined with speed of action/reaction. Aimed at forcing the enemy into a defensive or reactive posture, it enables the attacking forces to increase momentum, pressure and shock action and thereby force the enemy into a disadvantage. High-tempo operations must give the enemy no respite but must be logistically sustainable.
  5. Manoeuvre: Horisontal and vertical envelopment/manoeuvre options are dictated by terrain and the manoeuvre assets a force has at its disposal. Rapid manoeuvre, ever-increasing momentum and tempo, and synchronised firepower is essential to annihilate the enemy.   
  6. Firepower: Focused firepower is required to overwhelm and annihilate the enemy. All direct, indirect and air-delivered fire must be coordinated and synchronised to achieve maximum effect. Uncoordinated firepower will not achieve a decisive result.
  7. Speed: Speed of action/reaction is required to disrupt the enemy’s intentions, increase momentum and tempo, place additional pressure on the enemy and buckle his defences or disrupt his intentions. Speed of action and reaction can seize the initiative from the enemy and surprise him. Manoeuvre assets add to speed.     
  8. Logistics: An efficient and functional logistical system is required to sustain operations. A failure in logistics will reduce momentum, tempo, manoeuvre, firepower and speed and thereby cede initiative to the enemy. A force lacking in logistics will lose momentum and become a vulnerable force that is unable to withstand enemy attacks.
However, the manner in which the armed forces are organised, structured, trained, equipped, and led will determine the manner in how they will fight to achieve victory—or flee the battlefield in disarray.

45 comments:

Herbert said...

Eeben,

You lay out very valid criteria for success in combat operations. All irrefutable. However, as they say, may I offer a couple of suggestions? Thoughts at least?

I am convinced that the most important determinant of success in battle is troop quality. They can't overcome all, but good troops will bridge many gaps in your own planning and will adjust to the enemy's strong suits. I'm not telling you anything you don't know; you allude to it in your introductory paragraph (training, leadership, etc). And I realize troop quality is more overarching than the criteria you put forth and would therefore appear rather anomalous in your list. Nevertheless, we are all familiar with the best laid plans of mice and men in the hands of the inept.

Second point: I believe deception is so important as to be called out as a separate category of its own. You subsume it under surprise--which is fair enough as far as it goes. I suggest that all planners and troop leaders be required to objectively include deception into their thinking. Back in part of my youth as a battalion operations officer, after some failures I began to require that a deception annex be included in every op plan (even patrol plans)--if it was not applicable, then explain why not. Our success rate increased dramatically.

As an additional thought, I recall that several(?) years ago we discussed that in this information-rich age, and in view of media hostility in certain quarters, it is necessary and wise to prepare the information landscape prior to kickoff. Seize the information/publicity initiative. I suspect this is more applicable in Africa than in many other places. Although not a direct part of combat operations, if you lose this fight, sadly your combat success may be negated.

Rgds,
Herbert

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Your comments are always welcome and very valid, Herbert – thank you.
This posting is an abridged extract from my book and possibly I should have explained that. My book is now completed in terms of writing, editing and now I am awaiting the final artwork before it goes off to be sorted for publication. The book carries the sub-title “Towards an African Art of War”.
I have revisited our “Principles” of war and the numerous phases of war and reached the conclusion that they are not adequate for Africa. They have been redefined according to my experiences, thoughts and beliefs.
The three issues you list are of paramount importance to any campaign strategy, operational design and combat plan.
The quality of the manpower we have is critical as you correctly point out. Perhaps my writing was fuzzy but that is part of “selection” I mentioned in my opening line. Regardless of where we (STTEP) work, we always have a selection phase as I believe we both agree that we would rather have 10 well-selected and trained men behind us than a 100 men. (We once started with over 1000 volunteers who had been “trained” by a foreign force and after a mere 5-day selection, we were left with less than 120 men). But we would go anywhere with them and they with us. The quality, drive, will and determination of selected men can never be underestimated.
Deception is all important as with that principle alone we can confuse and confound an enemy. I view deception as a principle of war and it is closely aligned to seizing and controlling the information/cyber environment. Not only does deception open possibilities for us and provide us with numerous advantages, it also reinforces the principle of “surprise”. And you are again correct, every operational design ought to have a “Deception Annexure” to it. But, we plan deception at higher levels and the troops carrying it out, do not know they are part of the deception plan. We do this in case they are captured and spill the beans that they are there to confuse…
Ah, the media: They ought to play a critical role in any government’s perception-creation strategy and therefore can impact either positively or negatively on the will of the populace. With the rise of social media, citizen reporters can also strengthen the position of the armed forces or aid and abet the enemy or threat. As we (STTEP) concluded during our brief deployment to Nigeria, the mainstream media were very keen to belittle and criticise the Nigerian Army and create a groundswell of anti-STTEP sentiment. (The reasons the Nigerian Army were continually reactive and on the defensive were never investigated of even discussed). If the armed forces do not exploit the information/cyber terrains, they will provide the enemy with an advantage and continually be trying to explain themselves to an ill-informed media who in turn, will wittingly or unwittingly, degrade popular will whilst boosting the enemy and its capabilities.
Thanks again for your comments and I hope that this may clear up some concerns other readers may have as well.
Rgds,
Eeben

Herbert said...

Eeben,

I enjoyed reading your follow-up comments. Thank you. You are clearly covering in spades the points I made.

Regarding your recent assistance to the Nigerian Army, good on you. Any work to rid the planet of that Boko Haram (or whatever they call themselves nowadays) scum deserves our respect--although I understand that some will always denigrate it.

Rgds,
Herbert

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you, Herbert, but had you not brought up the comments, I am sure other readers may have had the same concerns.
Rgds,
Eeben

nkem70 said...

The eight key principles of a successful combat operation you have highlighted above are on point and accurately portray the realism of any mission. However, I do think intelligence should be on the list. If not the first on the list, at least it should be included in your highlight. As you may already know intelligence rules and dictate the success or failure of any mission. As a professional with comprehensive tactical and strategic experience in the field, I would say that without tangible intelligence, it might be very difficult to precisely plan for a combat operation. (My opinion)

The U.S military recorded heavy losses during the initial phase of operation Iraqi freedom; I believe those losses were because of bogus intelligence. The capabilities and potencies of AQI and Jeish al- almahdi were unknown and it was difficult to adequately understand the situation on ground. I also think intelligence will provide pertinent information about the adversaries’ intentions and motivations. Intelligence will also help streamline the priority requirements, which are required, to focus the attention of the force. For example, you mentioned firepower and logistics; it is great to know the capabilities that you are taking with you to the battlefield, but success will be unattainable without knowing the capabilities and caliber of the enemy’s firepower.

In order to accurately drive home my points, I will quickly use the Nigerian military as a case study; for over six or more years, the military leadership did not conduct predictive analysis or event/time link analysis and they were unable to forecast the trends for Boko Haram. Although, I will also argue that they lacked the erudition to do so or they just lackadaisically ignored the obvious. In conclusion, I think intelligence should have been a criterion and I stand to be corrected.

Thank you for this detailed and provocative article.

Best regards
Adegoke

Email: nadegoke70@gmail.com
Twitter: @nkem70

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you for your comment Adegoke.
You are very correct that intelligence plays a crucial role. It is and will always remain the fuel that drives strategy and operational design and its influence can never be downplayed.
In my opening line, I refer to the influence of operational design and other factors that play a role in combat operations. Without intelligence, there can be no (realistic or valid) campaign strategy or indeed, even operational designs.
The criteria I listed are, in my opinion, the result of the influences and not principles, although some of the criteria may be present in the principles.
I watch what is happening in conflicts and wars and have come to the conclusion that too many strategies are based on intelligence that has been purposely shaped to match perceptions. Instead, there appears to be a misguided belief that relative strengths and technology will always prevail. Ironically, this fallacy has resulted in many good men being sacrificed to appease perceptions.
I cannot speak with great authority on the Nigerian military except where we were working. The men that passed selection had the will and desire to succeed. The assets to gather the intelligence was there. In the main, the intelligence was available although as in any conflict and war, the intelligence picture gets blurred and the fog of war adds its own dimension to the happenings on the ground. This can and should be rectified by combat reconnaissance teams.
However, you can have the best intelligence available but if the political will is lacking, the forces are incorrectly trained, structured and equipped, and the doctrine is faulty, success will never come easily.
So in a nutshell, you are correct in terms of the importance of intelligence. In this instance however, it forms the basis for the criteria I listed.
Thank you for your comment.
Rgds,
Eeben

nkem70 said...

Thank you sir for your feedback.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are most welcome, Adegoke.
Rgds,
Eeben

Besfort said...

Hello sir Barlow,

I'm (still) a Cadet Officer, in the Kosovo Security Forces, and I've read a lot about the conflicts in Africa - so it was just inevitable to don't read about you. I was just fascinated, and I just admire your achievements.

In your book, how I saw, you will concentrate mainly on African warfare. Therefore I wanted to ask you whether this warfare would be appropriate to use in the Balkans (comprehending the armies that may be in the same level or even lower; and almost the same kinds of insurgencies - when they happen).

I'm undergoing an American-like training -I'm now in the 3rd year (4 years in total, then I am promoted to second lieutenant)- ("copied" from the "The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina"). I wanted to know whether you are familiar with the strategies, and how effective they could be in the Balkans. Because of my instructors have no true combat experience and they keep telling us that this is the only way to fight and win(except 2-3 they fought for the KLA).

As in combat - is it of importance to go through each step you learn in such a Collage? For instance the troop leading procedures, or the OPORD (Operations Order) with its 5 points etc. Did you do that too, or is it just an American invention?

Another thing I wanted to ask you is whether you are informed about the last fightings in Kumanovo, Macedonia, in which 8 police forces and 22 "terrorists" were killed? The Background of the insurgents may be the Ohrid Agreement (http://www.ucd.ie/ibis/filestore/Ohrid%20Framework%20Agreement.pdf), which is nut fulfilled by the Macedonian government. Or the dreams of every Balkan nations, a greater Albania for example. I do not think that Macedonia or Kosovo, or Albania have natural resources of strategic interest for the international community. The only state from the mentioned above is Kosovo that at the moment is functioning as some experiment of Globalisation, and therefore the situation is overwhelmed with corruption and underemployment.

And I think that the Internationals are doing almost the same things like in Africa to the Balkans. They want a peaceful settlement of disputes (which end up with massive killing series). The Kosovo Security Forces are actually just trained in rescue operations, but not really prepared for combat. Its structure has to be diverse, was under Balkan circumstances, is impossible (no Serb, Roma, or Albanian will fight together in a war). And Macedonia is actually having some of the same problems.

And my last question, I hope I'm not a pain in the neck with the lot of questions, would it be maybe more appropriate creating an organization with strategies similar to Executive Outcomes had, to settle the Balkans once and forever, because of the UN makes every issue, at the end, more filled with violence - like Srebrenica etc.

best regards,
and have a wonderful day

Besfort

Besfort said...

Dear sir Barlow

I wanted to ask you in addition, with what means should a Government fight parallel structures that are formed and well established in its territory? Should it be like fighting insurgents?

In previous postings that I've read from you, you said that the root has to identified and eliminated. What if another stronger state is the problem, because it finances these structures, how could you eliminate this one (because you are inferior to its power)?

best Regards,
Besfort

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your comment Besfort.
The book I have written (yet to be published) is subtitled “Towards an African Art of War” is, as the subtitle suggests, focussed primarily on Africa. Much of what I have written is not only relevant to Africa but, factors such as “Enemy” and “Terrain” amongst others will determine the response. Some of what I have written will not be new to many as “conventional warfare” remains conventional warfare. I believe what is new is how we integrate operations to give a more viable option of ending wars and conflicts rapidly without the use of WMDs. That said, although categorising warfare as conventional and unconventional is important to place it into context and to understand it, I do not like to label warfare precisely as it restricts our thinking and does not enable us to think out of the box.
Whereas I do not know exactly what you learn in your College, I would suggest that, despite your instructors’ lack of combat experience, they are doing their best to ensure you have a good theoretical grounding on your future mission.
Issues such as Warning Orders, Supplementary Warnings Orders, Orders and so forth are always important as they provide a logical sequence for the preparation of and the issuing of instructions concerned with the unfolding of an operation – on condition that it has been well-planned. We have always used and will use those methods of passing instructions to our men.
I confess I am very unfamiliar with the conflict in the Balkans, partly due to the fact that Africa keeps my men and I very busy studying conflicts and trying to resolve them. I will however, at some stage, divert my reading and look at the Balkans – thanks for the link.
Possibly you may want to read my posting titled “Carving up the continent” and then make a comparison between what is happening in Africa and the Balkans?
As I am so unfamiliar with the Balkans and its tensions, I do not know if an organisation such as Executive Outcomes would or could be a viable option. One fact though is that I have come to realise that there are nations/organisations that are totally opposed to stability as that may impact negatively on their attempts to secure control. Trying to ensure stability can be a very rocky path to travel and one must be prepared to contend with powerful forces that will stop at nothing to ensure that stability remains a dream. And they have a very powerful asset at their disposal – the media and its ability to distort facts and create negative perceptions.
Good luck with your studies.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Besfort, parallel structures that are established to neutralise or collapse a government are indicative of several aspects such as a disconnect between government and its people, a lack of intelligence, foreign intervention – usually covert, etc.
Part of my book deals with this very issue but the foreign sponsors of such activities usually do not want to engage their ground forces in supporting these structures and will rather use the populace of the target country to carry out their agendas. It was this in mind that I reconsidered Clausewitz’s centre of gravity and instead realised that there is actually a trinity of gravity. Once this trinity of gravity is identified, the threat can be neutralised. Unless of course, the powerful sponsor of mischief launches a full-scale invasion of the target country but even then, the war will be fought targeting their weak points and not trying to fight their strength.
Rgds,
Eeben

Die Stoor said...

Eeben, thanks for taking the time to publish your excerpts here. They certainly do read like an Art of War" in the modern context. Something tells me that you will be very busy going forward seeing how the vast majority of militaries are simply enforcers of very wayward national and foreign policies and seem unwilling or unable to pursue real success on the battlefield.

Integrity or lack thereof is what comes to mind in the context of foreign policies, economic aims and geopolitical ambitions all being misaligned and perverted then adding military force into the mix and we get what we see in much of the world today.

A force that is pared down and has as its singular aim the speedy destruction of an enemy such as BH, AQ, ISIS, Abu Sayyef etc seems to be exactly what is needed. Ironically to my mind the exact thing that causes the hypocritical media to bray cautions and publish sensationalist stories is exactly what makes forces such as the former EO and STTEP ideally suited to this function. By being independent and not controlled by any government (notwithstanding the government you are assisting at the time) you are also free from interference and the political minefield of tiptoeing around euphemistic "National Interests" thereby not compromising the effectiveness of your mission or the commitment to your client country.

All the best for your ongoing success.

Unknown said...

Eeben just be careful with whom you are associating with.This cadet officer as he is claiming to be might not be that naive as his questions and comments are.
Rgds

Jose Alves said...

As an Expat from SA presently working in Nigeria let me say that the Nigerians that I have spoken to have nothing but admiration and respect for Colonel Eeben Barlow and his Company.
I further want to add that at this moment being a South African in Nigeria is not exactly a good thing thanks to all the xenophobic attacks that took place there but since the story broke out that STTEP is involved in supporting the Nigerian Army in combating the Boko Haram insurgents, the Nigerians have taken a different view of South Africans.
The results speak from themselves so to all the haters and apologists out there who think that Col Barlow is not a patriotic South African think again because the one definition of Patriotism “is the quality of being patriotic; vigorous support for one's country” and that in my book is what a true African is supposed to be!

Besfort said...

Thank you very much for your answers sir Barlow, I really appreciate it.

I've read the posting "Carving up the Continent", and know I'm thinking that in the Balkans there are, slightly, other problems:
The Balkans, was used by foreign great powers, but I think that today it remains just our history. By seeing the insurgencies, there is more a regional community that is causing all that. For instance, Serbia supports the Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. Albania supported its brothers in Kosovo and Macedonia, and so on. Another problem is the religion - the orthodox tend to pair up in alliances with the orthodox (Serbs, Macedon's, Greeks etc.), or the Catholics (Croat's, Albanians, Slovenians) tend to like each other a bit more, and the Muslim community the same. In each Balkan state (except Slovenia) there is a relatively heigh minority by the border with its motherland (for example the Albanians in Macedonia inhabit the territory by the border with Kosovo and Albania; or the Serbs in Northern Kosovo are all by the border with Serbia). This leads to a (natural) support of their respective minorities in these regions. The high patriotism makes them open-minded for rebellions. So, parallel structures are created, and they link these Governments directly to their motherlands (for example the territory in northern Kosovo has its own (parallel) government that is linked and financed directly from Serbia).

I think that by know there is a Trinity of Gravity formed?

The police force of Kosovo made an attempt to attack and destroy the structures, but after a killed policeman and several injured, from both sides, the police retreated.
Would it be wiser to firstly create an "information-network", if possible replace their clerics (with orthodox Albanians), identify the avenues from which they are financed and cut them, and isolate them from the south. What do you think sir, would this be enough to weaken them so much, that by then a fast attack could destroy them by attacking from the south with ground forces, and attempt frog-leaps to the northern part to cut their retreat avenues? Or should the attack focus the leaders? Or probably a total War!

And one more question, if the insurgents are calling to God (ISIS, Boko Haram etc.) with fire power you can tell them that God is not fighting with them; if you fight against some patriots? How can you tell them that it is better to prevail under another state? The more you try to fight them the stronger they get?

Best regards,

Besfort

nkem70 said...

Hello Cadet Besfort,

I know Colonel Barlow has already answered your questions, however, I would like to say few words with regards to your questions on the formalities of orders. First and foremost, after your graduation as a 2LT, you are a going to be a manager and leader of Soldiers before anything else. It is extremely important that you have a better grasp of all the theoretical aspect of becoming an officer. Without a doubt, there is no substitute for combat experience. Nonetheless, as an officer, you will not survive a day at war without proper understanding of the regulations, policies and operational strategy.It is paramount that you embrace the block of instruction given to you by your instructors, most especially about the operation/warning/fragment/execution orders.

Your focus as a 2LT is to implement the commander's will in pursuit of the unit's objective. Your first assignment will be that of a platoon leader or at most, an executive officer of a company. Those orders highlighted above give you a better understanding of your boss's intent and his clear responsibility to act within that intent and how to achieve the desired end state.
The five paragraph orders are not just a formality but a necessary ingredient to achieving a successful mission. It will help you as a platoon leader, on how to best summarize and accomplish your mission within the scope of the commander's intent one and two levels up. I am sure they must have gone over (TLP) and (MDMP) with you. These are the tools that will help you to succeed in a battle field. Those processes  will assist you to turn the concept into a fully developed plan and to prepare a concise and accurate OPORD.  
Even at war, your commander will assign you a mission or your AO. With proper methodology, you will be able to assign additional tasks (and outline their purpose) for your NCOs and other subordinate elements, allocate available resources, and establish priorities to make the concept work for you. 
Lastly, yes, it is very important that you go through all the steps within the OPORD and incorporate them into your “planning and preparation” for a mission. However, you do not have to go through them in a chronological fashion.
Good luck in your future endeavor.
Regards
Adegoke
@nkem70

Delwyn Dunbar said...

Eeben,

Ive emailed sw1@sttepi.com Is there any other email address to use for training and recruitment purposes?

Regards
Delwyn

delwyndunbar@gmail.com

jobcompany said...

Eeben..content to hear from you ... please accept my best regards, take care of yourself ... take care ...... Regards ... erick France.

Alexander Perkins said...

Dear Sir,

I hope this finds you well. I apologise for this very direct approach but it seemed like the best way of getting in touch with you.

I served in as an infantry officer in the British army for 7 years and did multiple tours in Afghanistan during my time in the military. I have recently read about your oraganisations work in West Africa and I would very interested to know if there is the potential for someone with my skills to come and work with your team. I am 29 years old, incredibly physically fit/robust and have a huge amount of experience in working/mentoring local forces due to my experience in Afghanistan. If you would like to see what I have done in more detail I would be delighted to send you my military CV/reports. My email is awdperkins@gmail.com.

All the best,

Alex Perkins

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your comment, Die Stoor.
We like to think we add value to governments despite all the media rhetoric. Also, our mission is always to assist a government, not create more problems and chaos.
Your comment on integrity or lack thereof is spot-on. We see it on an almost daily basis. Fortunately, many African governments are beginning to realise this deception and are turning increasingly towards us. The playing of the race card by some in the media is also starting to wear thin by them. As is the attempt at creating a perception that we try to prolong conflicts. We give a guarantee and stick to it as our undertaking is our honour.
It also seems to me that some in the media are quietly trying to give the radical threat networks we see today as much publicity as possible and thereby assist them with their recruitment drives.
Take care and rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Many thanks Unknown.
I must however take every visitor who wishes to comment in good faith and try to respond accordingly. If they lack honesty and integrity, it is their problem.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Many thanks for your comment, Jose.
It is indeed sad that the xenophobic attacks in South Africa were organised and conducted by a few yet the damage done and the impact remains massive and will haunt SA for years to come.
If anything, the Nigerians were good to us and did what they could for us under very trying conditions. If they have acted without malice towards SA expats in Nigeria, I am extremely pleased. But I also believe they know where the xenophobia comes from and by who it is driven.
I am well aware of our many problems we face yet remain both South African and African. If we don’t believe in ourselves, no one will. And yes, I try to be as patriotic as I can. That does not stop me from criticising and applauding where it is deserved. If not, I merely become another hypocrite.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are welcome, Besfort.
Nationalism and religion are strong feelings regardless of who or where people are. Patriotism, although sometimes misguided, can compel people to do strange things that can ultimate result in uncontrolled conflict.
Wherever a conflict exists, there is a Trinity of Gravity.
An efficient and effective intelligence network is essentially any county’s first line of defence. It will enable to collection of information pertaining to relevant current, anticipated and predicted problems and threats that will, in turn, allow the security forces to prepare to counter the problems and threats.
The manner in which this will become clear is through the National Security Strategy and in particular the National Intelligence Strategy. I cannot comment on how your country should approach this as that is something that is assessed at a very high level of state.
Religion is a very powerful belief system and motivator and can be harnessed for both good and bad. It however remains the glue that holds many forces together. When people feel they are marginalised in whatever way, they will rise up and fight for what they believe in. This complicates matters - but in Africa, where I focus my attention and energy – it is simply reality that one needs to counter any threat over multiple fronts and not adopt a singular approach.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your response to Cadet Besfort, Adegoke.
You are very correct; battle handling and deployment drills are, as you pointed out, critical in any command leader’s toolbox. Without them, confusion at best and failure at worst can be expected.
Thank you for your explanation to Besfort.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your email to our website Delwyn.
I am sure our Personnel Officer will get back to you shortly. We are however busy and sometimes take time to respond – as evidenced by my slow response to your comment.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Good to hear from you Erick.
You take care as well!
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

No problem Alex.
Pse go to our blog (www.sttepi.com) and to the contact page. Someone will get back to you although we are somewhat busy at the moment.
I must however caution you that Africa is not Afghanistan and therefore Afghan mentoring experience is not necessarily construed as “good experience” by us as we approach matters very differently.
Rgds,
Eeben

Besfort said...

Hello sir Barlow,

thank you very much for your answer. I know that I should not ask these kind of questions, but I simply had to confirm some of my ideas. (sorry if it annoyed some)

Unknown I never pretended to be naive, even my commanders compare me with a wicked fox. :)

Thank you very much Adegoke, I saw different methods and just wanted to be sure whether this what we use is the best one, or are better methods available (because I doubt that the international community is teaching us everything). Do you know whether the IBOLIC training in America, Fort Benning, is a good one? After I graduate I will absolve this training, maybe you are known with that program?

Best regards
Besfort

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

No problem, Besfort.
Rgds,
Eeben

nkem70 said...

Hey Besfort,
IBOLIC is primarily design for the infantry officers, I am not an infantry officer and I will not be a good source of information for your request. However, I do know that IBOLIC trains, educates, and inspires agile, adaptive and ready Leaders, who are ready to lead an element in a combat or in a garrison environment.
Best regards
Adegoke
@nkem70

nkem70 said...

Cadet Besfort, The abbreviation is "IBOLC" and not IBOLIC - Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for that Oga Adegoke.
Rgds,
Eeben

Besfort said...

Thank you very much Adegoke,
I stareted to read fm 3-06 Urban Operations, and saw that we make things different - How they learned it from the "Americans". (and I saw no actual point why we do that, if we learn the same things!).
I got my hands on 4 different Field Manuals and I will read them all.
Sorry, I wrote IBOLC the way how I said it (we, the Albanian speakers, say Ibolic - easier to pronunciate for us).

And I cannot wait to regulate my e-banking account to buy the first book (against all odds) of sir Barlow, and then his second one.

The most I'm interesting is Urban warfare and Counter-Insurgency. (And of course to apply them in training, after I graduate with my troops).

Best regards
Besfort

Edie Sedgwick said...

Hi -- my name's Justin. I'm writing from the Washington Post. I'm trying to reach Eeban Barlow for an interview. Can he write to me? My email: justin.moyer@washpost.com. My phone 202 334 6078 in the states. Thanks! Justin Moyer

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your message Justin.
However, I have given an in-depth-interview to SOFREP and have nothing to add to it.
Rgds,
Eeben

Unknown said...

Hi Besfort, I have followed your writings, and while I concur with some of it I disagree with one important aspect which doesn't have anything to do with how you guys call each other or see each other i would say its more about ones heritage.

First of all in my opinion morality is the one that provides legitimacy for you to use the force. Without morality, you use force illegally and undermine the strength of your military force, and you also make it very difficult to achieve political goals.

Secondly morality should be both constant and specific. An unspecific moral code provides an excuse for using violence and going to war, making such morality meaningless. Within realism, morality should be concrete, not simply an abstract concept.

This days on more then one occasion i needed to confront people who were talking about Eebens effort in Nigeria as mercenaries and some other efforts as PMCs consultancies.

Throughout your comments you are comparing Eeben and his activities to Albanian terrorist in Kosovo and Macedonia putting quotation marks on words which not supposed to have it, turning the facts upside down then spinning it.

Worst comments which you can hear this days about Eeben are that he was apartheid soldier not that he was abusing power or criminally doing anything but that he lived in certain time under certain conditions and that what he was agreed with some governments he fulfilled it.
There was never used narco, racketeering or any other criminally obtained money for any purposes.
There was never abuse of the prisoners and above all i think that no one in Eeben companies has ever even thought of taking human organs from prisoners and peasants and then selling them on the market etc etc.
I think that none of the probably some right thing done now its excuses us for past wrongs, and surely does not make them comparable.

Rgds

QdT said...

If you work for the Washington Post, and want to interview a subject, the least you can do, is research the correct spelling of such subjects name!?

niek du toit said...

You want to interview EB but you're unable to correctly spell his name??? And you work for the Washington Post?? Damn!!

death metal bob said...

dear sir,

i would like to join the group. what are the requirements? i work here in middle east.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your comment, Unknown.
I think that many governments in Africa are now looking beyond the hypocrisy of so-called PMCs that are actually foreign-sponsored government organisations and what some of them really get up to.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

QdT, the problem appears to be that many of these people do not know how to do even basic research yet they want to alter people's perceptions!
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Niek, the problem with many of these journalists is that they have ended up believing their own stories they wrote and use that as the foundation of their "research". Then they get really angry when their poorly researched, disinformation-filled "articles" are challenged.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you for your interest Death Metal Bob but we are not recruiting.
Rgds,
Eeben

Besfort said...

Hi Unknown,

I appreciate you because of your time you spent reading and analysing my writings (critiques are the best way to go forward).

With the point of heritage, I thought and thought but I didn't really understood what you meant with heritage? In the Balkans there is quite an overlapping history - the Serbs first kingdom was established in today’s Kosovo (therefore they call Kosovo, the heart of Serbia), the Bulgarian Empire stretched over the Entire Balkans and controlled Albania, Greece, Serbia and Macedonia over 200 years, the Byzantine Empire (the Greeks) reigned over the Balkans, Anatolia and even parts of Africa, Italy, Syria etc. (depending on the time we look at - therefore the "Magna Graecia" dream). And many other samples (looking just 100 years ago there was no Macedonia, it was inhabited with Bulgarians, today they call themselves Macedonian - no offence to Macedonia). But not one of these states have the right to destabilize each other, for instance Bulgaria reigned over Serbia, and Albania, and Greece, but they have no right to claim them, they should not have the right to claim Macedonia, even if they speak almost the same language.

Everybody should live in the present and for the sake of peace (that's what we in the Balkans fought for) respect each other, in today’s boundaries. Having this in mind (the respect of each other in today’s borders), the Kosovo government has no morality if they do not intervene in Northern Kosovo, which is destabilizing Kosovo, and therefore the entire region could be caught up by this.

However the best solution to the conflicts in the Balkans would be that, peacefully, dissolve the state borders, and create national borders. Northern Kosovo, half Bosnia would be part of Serbia (Northern Vojvodina part of Hungary, Sanjak part of Bosnia); Kosovo and the Preshevo valley, Ulcinj, half Macedonia part of Albania; and the major disputes in the Balkans would be solved so it seems, but I don't believe it because the disputes are happening because of other interests.

I do not really know exactly where I compared the KLA and the Macedonian (still terrorist) insurgents, with Eeben Barlow, and I would wish to argument me where I turned the facts "upside down"? And please contact me direct Besfortk1@gmail.com, because I do not want to make this place a chat for emotional Balkan talking's because of the different purpose of this blog.

As for the Organ stealing and narco trading, many of these people are already being persecuted (from the side of Kosovo) - yesterday the group of Drenica was punished with jail, unfortunately this process is not being reciprocal from both sides, and many criminals are still living in harmony and can travel through the world untouched.

The problem in the Balkans would be best solved by mutually respecting each others integrity (simple respect, like in everyday life with your fellow humans), and therefore there should be an organisation like there was Executive Outcomes, slightly different organized but with my knowledge until now I cannot specify how they should be build up, learning people how to respect.

Best regards
Besfort