Inside the Surge

Inside the Surge: One Commander's Lessons in Counterinsurgency - Lieutenant Colonel Jim Crider, USA, and Thomas E. Ricks (Foreword), Center for a New American Security.

When Lieutenant Colonel Jim Crider arrived in the Doura neighborhood of Baghdad in February of 2007 as the commander of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Riley, Kansas the Sunni neighborhood appeared beyond hope. The streets were largely empty of life and the air was filled with the foul smell of burning trash and open sewage. Improvised explosive devices, small arms fire, hand grenades, and dead bodies were a normal part of every 1-4 CAV patrol in the spring and early summer of 2007. However, through the ruthless implementation of the counterinsurgency principles outlined in Army Field Manual 3-24 and several pragmatic decisions along the way, the neighborhood began to turn in July of 2007. By the end of September, the unit had seen the last attack on its forces. Businesses reopened, the streets were full of people, and there was hope. This paper contains some of the primary lessons learned during their 14 month combat tour. In his foreword to the paper, CNAS Senior Fellow and author of the New York Times best-seller Fiasco Tom Ricks calls Crider's work the first in-depth review offered by an American battalion commander about post-invasion operations in Iraq."

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Reward money did not serve as the motivator for intelligence that one might think. Troop commanders had immediate access to reward funds that were paid in amounts ranging from $20 to $50 for on-the-spot tips. There was also a more laborious application process for sources that provided intelligence that led to the capture of a high value individual or a large cache of insurgent material. It was not uncommon for people to refuse the smaller rewards. It was also not unusual for sources to continuously provide intelligence without getting paid. Many felt it was their duty and several told us that they received great satisfaction in seeing us capitalize on the information provided.

It is fantastic that the effort succeeded to the extent that the locals took ownership in their community and felt obligated to report without receiving any form of reimbursement.

I want to caution anyone thinking that such a thing is universal, or that their HUMINT collectors should only cultivate relationships with altruistically-motivated sources. Please, please, please, let your collectors determine this on an individual basis. Don't try to push this down, unless you want to extinguish your intelligence reporting.