The Small Wars Foundation (Small Wars Journal's non-profit parent organization), along with several government and private sector cosponsors, is conducting a small Tribal Engagement Workshop (TEW) on 24-25 March in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
The objectives of this workshop are to: (1) Evaluate the value and feasibility of a tribal engagement approach in Afghanistan (2) Assess what secondary effects adoption of a tribal engagement approach would have on the political and military situation and (3) Identify the operational components of a tribal engagement approach in Afghanistan.
Particular issues we hope to address include:
- Is a tribal approach, and by extension a bottom-up approach, viable and feasible in Afghanistan?
- What are the baseline requirements at the international (NATO / ISAF / UN), national and operational levels to enable a tribal approach in Afghanistan?
- Is a tribal approach suitable for Afghanistan as whole, or only for certain geographical / tribal regions?
- How would a tribal engagement approach compliment and integrate with other NATO / ISAF efforts at the national, regional and district government levels?
- What conditions are required in Pakistan to enable a tribal approach in Afghanistan?
- What is the relationship of a tribal approach to other efforts in Afghanistan to include counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, stabilization and foreign internal defense operations / programs? What needs to be done to ensure these efforts are mutually supporting?
- What are both the desirable and the feasible / attainable construct of units / organizations to conduct tribal engagement?
- What are the operational (intelligence, logistics and command and control for example) and training requirements to adequately support a tribal engagement approach?
- What alternatives exist, other than tribal engagement, in implementing a bottom-up approach in Afghanistan?
The TEW will consist of three sessions conducted over a two-day period as described below:
Introductory Remarks, Keynote Address, Panel Discussions and "Charge" to Participants: One half a day plenary of formal briefings, panel discussions and Q&A covering the workshop agenda, objectives, methodology and subject matter expert presentations on tribal engagement and Afghanistan.
Tribal Engagement Working Groups: One day (plus) of guided / facilitated discussion by subject matter expert participants structured to specifically address the workshop objectives and document insights, observations and recommendations.
Working Groups Brief Out: Two hours of briefings and Q&A on working group findings.
While we are keeping the number of participants relatively small to facilitate the "work" in the working group session (and we have some physical space limitations) we do have the need for some additional (5-10 people) tactical and operational representation (both civilian and military) by personnel who have experience (especially in Afghanistan) and / or other expertise in regards to tribal engagement or other local bottom-up approaches. Again, we have some limitations as to the number of participants so we cannot entertain "sit in and listen" requests for this event.
SWF/SWJ cannot provide funding for travel or per diem -- though there are no other costs associated with the workshop -- breakfast and lunch will be provided on both days and dinner on the first.
If you think you have what we are looking for (and we have to be selective in order to have a manageable event) and are interested please e-mail me (Dave Dilegge) at ddilegge (at symbol) smallwarsjournal.com, with TEW Information in the subject line, and I'll provide additional details. Comments below are closed for this post.