Combat Cops

I talked to MG Mike Jones about the training our Italian comrades are providing the Iraqi National Police.

So that’s good and right now, they’ve entered a new phase and that is they have the Italian carabinieri who have come to Iraq in order to set up a training program that is a very high end policing skill leadership development program, which one battalion of the national police rotating through that at a time. They’ve already graduated two battalions and in the coming week, they’ll have the third battalion start rotating through that training cycle.

MR. HOLT: Doug, are you still with us?

Q Yes. Sir, this is Doug B. with the Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group.  I was interested in the Carabinieri and the leadership development course.

You said entire battalions are going to be trained?

GEN. JONES: Right. Doug, what we have is there’s a camp that they did this at and what they do is they basically take a battalion at a time out of their sector. They bring them in here. They actually give them a little bit of a break before the training begins. They bring them in and the Carabinieri have a program of instruction that is partially skills, kind of higher end skills that these type of units need, partially rule of law, human rights and other kinds of things that help guys who have been in a more of a paramilitary role on the military side, to help them understand that as the situation changes and they fulfill more police duties, kind of what those duties entail and what the requirements are and those kinds of things and then very intensive on basic leadership skills, helping the leaders develop their small unit leader repertoire of capability.

Q About how many Carabinieri instructors do we have?

GEN. JONES: I think the number is something like 56 instructors from the Carabinieri and generally it’s about 450 of the units, the battalions are about 450 people that come to the training and then, of course, part of what they do as part of the leader development aspect is they use the chain of command, the Iraqi chain of command to do a portion of this training where what they do is they bring the leadership in, they train the leadership to prepare them to train their own police and then they kind of supervise as that’s going on and so that’s part of this leader development piece that also results in a better trained group of policemen.

Q And how many battalions have completed this training? Are we noticing any performance differences between the trained battalions?

GEN. JONES: Well, it’s a little bit early. Prior to this, the first major training effort for the national police is part of this reform effort was what they called re-bluing training and that occurred at a place called Numaniya that’s southeast of Baghdad and what they did there was they took one brigade at a time out and took them down and put them through a training cycle that went through really basic skills and basic fundamental policing principles, human rights, legal instruction, rule of law instruction, that kind of thing. And in many cases in those units, that’s the first real training that a lot of those units had had and then that ended up with some collective training where they went out and trained as platoons in tactical situations and so forth. That was done and completed. The last brigade went through that in November, which is then when we started this new carabinieri like training where we then went to an even higher level of sophistication in the training program and that’s why they went to one battalion at a time instead of doing a brigade at a time. And so far, they’ve completed two battalions since November; it’s about a month-long force, a little bit more than that and they’ve completed two battalions and have the third battalion like I said coming in this week.

MR. HOLT: Okay.

Q Well, thank you, sir. Very interesting. I think the Carabinieri concept they’re using in RC West in Afghanistan and this [in Iraq] is exactly what we’ve got to be doing. T he type of things we’re doing now, counterinsurgency, law enforcement sort of interacts [I meant intersects] with [at] the Carabinieri paramilitary police force level.

GEN. JONES: Right. Well, one of the reasons why we were very lucky to have the Italians here is because we really don’t have an equivalent of this kind of force in the United States and to tell you the truth, the reason why you do have them in Italy is because they’ve had some problems with mafia and higher levels of violence than what you experience in most communities in many places, and so they’ve been very useful for them for that kind of thing, and again, just the nature of the environment here in this region. Many of the countries in this region have this kind of a force [like the Turkish Gendarmerie] and it appears to be valuable to them in terms of dealing with places where you have significant numbers of weapons and criminal elements and that kind of thing that can, on occasion, overwhelm the capability of normal police. It appears in the region that this seems to work, which is why I think the Iraqis are pursuing it and trying to really develop the capability.

We have never had a sizeable national paramilitary police organization in America.  We’ve had the U. S. Army enforcing laws.  We’ve had special weapons and tactics teams of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Federal Bureau of Investigation making war.  The Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers was a state force, but it seems about as close as Americans get to a combination military and constabulary force.  Americans  fight wars with soldiers and catch crooks with cops, and the civil libertarian’s nightmare police state always includes heavily militarized Imperial Storm Troopers to crush dissent.

Westphalian nation-states develop forces of order that reflect the heritage of the people who live in them.   American forces of order parallel our federal system of government; local yokels, county mounties, Smoky Bear, G-Men, but not every country devolves power to sub-national administrative areas like provinces and districts and cities.   If we want to do FID right,  we need to sell the HN on an acceptable template upon which to model their forces of order.  Since there is no American template for a national paramilitary police force, Americans must look outside their own experience. 

Eventually the killing people and breaking things phase of a war transitions into Something Else.  The doctrine writers have come up with several names for Something Else over the years, but when the Major Combat Operations peter out and the Something Else ramps up, door-kicking, kinetic trigger-pullers, treadheads, cannon cockers,   et al. have to dial it back, tone it down, become kinder and gentler.   This is not an easy adjustment for a traditional American combat arms unit at present.  I think the U. S. Army Military Police and light Infantry communities are looking at Carabinieri, Guardia Civil, and Gendermerie.   Here in the States we’re seeing the militarization of American Law Enforcement.  Overseas we’re seeing the copification of American infantry.  Are we mongrelizing our Sheep Dogs, or improving the breed?

Italian police to train Iraqi National Police,  20 July 2007
Italian Carabinieri to Begin Training Iraqi National Police Forces, Sept. 21, 2007
First Day of Carabinieri Training Starts for Ready Iraqi Students, 27-Nov-2007
Iraqi National Police Complete first Carabinieri Training Course,  20-Dec-2007

But if optimism ain’t your thing, read this.

UPDATE: Continued Courage and Committment

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Combat Cops

  1. Grimmy

    My current suspicion, in answer to your question, regarding the military, is none of the above.

    Nothing new under the sun, sort of thing. Our military has made this sort of transition in every war it has ever been engaged in.

    Soldiers are not cardboard cutouts manufactured to only one singular capability. American military is full of Americans and Americans are, by nature, very adaptable and flexible when confronting problems.

    The Carabinieri thing seems to be a good fit for the Iraqi. I can foresee much value in the years ahead for them in having a lowest order of force policing, and a middle level of force available as back up in a larger than our SWAT scale. This would help keep the military from becoming directly involved in internal policing, which is usually the first, traditional, step in installing the next new strongman tyrant.

    As in all things dealing with humans, nothing will be perfect, but this concept does seem a natural for the area.

  2. Carabinieri-type light infantry soldiers/Super SWAT cops, or super SWAT cops/light infantry soldiers, are going to be in great demand for Stability Operations and Civil Support Operations. Thats half the spectrum.

  3. Kosovo has 50+% unemployment. Zimbabwe has something like 100,000 inflation.

    I bet you can recruit at least a division worthy of top notich soldiers from those two countries alone, if you give them language training and extended Bootcamp and other such accessories.

    It won’t cost nearly as much as rejiggering an American force into a counter-insurgency role and flipping them back. And since their economies are crack addicted, there will always be more applicants than slots available.

  4. You want to recruit Kosovars and Zimbabweans into the US Army to do the COIN job Americans don’t want to do?

    Already being done on a smaller scale with Kosovars and Ugandans, as contractors instead of soldiers.

    Shouldn’t have to rejigger for COIN and flip back for Not COIN.

  5. You want to recruit Kosovars and Zimbabweans into the US Army to do the COIN job Americans don’t want to do?

    They can’t be part of the US Army because the US Army can’t handle that kind of change in the rules and traditions. You create your own army instead, except it is lead by Americans of proven ability.

    US Army to do the COIN job Americans don’t want to do?

    It is not about what you want or don’t want to do. It is about what you can do. And when your army can’t do something really well, you find somebody that can do it well. The tide didn’t change until America obtained hold of Iraq’s irregular forces. We should have had that kind of organizational ability from the beginning, and creating an army from non-American citizens will ensure that in the future, America won’t have to go on bended knee for the help of other people and nations when it comes to fighting our enemies. Local auxiliary troops will still help us, but it won’t make or break us like it did in 2003-7.

    Americans have lawfare problems and are casualty sensitive. You can try fixing those problems by switching around the chairs, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    Already being done on a smaller scale with Kosovars and Ugandans, as contractors instead of soldiers.

    Chain of command problems, along with loyalty problems in addition to lack of permanency. People are loyal to their leaders and the people that pay for their living expenses. Non-American private military contractors do not have their loyalty to America above all else and even if they did, they have no permanent relationship to the US that would guarantee their loyalty for the coming centuries.

    The Gurkhas are still serving in the British armed forces because they had a long term relationship, and it wasn’t because the Gurkhas set up private contracting corporations, either.

    Shouldn’t have to rejigger for COIN and flip back for Not COIN.

    A combined arms force is not flipping back from armour to infantry to air support. They have it all together and available for call, right there, right then. Which is my point. For the US to have combined arms, we need our own division of people that don’t operate under the same cultural, political, or legal disadvantages as us.

  6. A Dirty Little Corps For Dirty Little Wars

    The Army can do COIN. What the Army can’t do is strategically communicate past the insurgent’s allies in the domestic political power structure.

  7. American private military contractors do not have their loyalty to America above all else. Hell, even American soldiers have loyalties above their country.

    How many TCN contractors have you discussed loyalty with?

  8. Ymarsakar

    Exceptions do not make a rule false.

    Nor does it erase the difference in who is loyal to whom for private military contractors from our country as opposed to another country.

    The Army can do COIN.

    I did not claim that they could not.