Small Wars Journal

If We Want Security Force Assistance Missions to Succeed, Give Advisers Control of the Purse Strings

If We Want Security Force Assistance Missions to Succeed, Give Advisers Control of the Purse Strings by Bryce Loidolt and Ed Ballanco - Modern War Institute

In 2009 a US Army adviser partnered with an Iraqi Army battalion hit a brick wall. The adviser had long been pressing the Iraqi battalion to conduct more offensive operations in the area it was tasked to secure, to include cordon and searches, raids, and patrols to hit local insurgent networks hard. The battalion commander resisted, arguing that unless his unit reduced the number of soldiers it had at static checkpoints, it wouldn’t have enough manpower for offensive operations. Drawing on his training, the adviser gently cajoled his partner unit to make these adjustments, but he didn’t get anywhere. The battalion commander delayed, changed the subject, and otherwise refused to cooperate. The checkpoints were ineffective, but they were relatively safe and required little planning. What incentive did he have to change course?

A consideration of partner nation incentives is central to the success of future advisory efforts, but to change these incentives advisers need the ability to provide and withhold resources in the field…

Read on.