I've been promising for several weeks to have a free downloadable .pdf of One Tribe At A Time. Finally it's here. My thanks to our readers for their patience. On a personal note, I must say that it gives me great pleasure to offer this document in full, not only because of my great respect for Maj. Jim Gant, who lived and breathed this Tribal Engagement idea for years, but for the piece itself and for the influence I hope it will have within the U.S. military and policymaking community.
One Tribe At A Time is not deathless prose. It's not a super-pro Beltway think tank piece. What it is, in my opinion, is an idea whose time has come, put forward by an officer who has lived it in the field with his Special Forces team members--and proved it can be done. And an officer, by the way, who is ready this instant to climb aboard a helicopter to go back to Afghanistan and do it again...
This is well worth the time to read all 45 pages. I strongly recommend it. MAJ Jim Gant, SF despite his extensive and demonstrated expertise in Afghanistan is being deployed on an Army requirement for a transition team back to Iraq (although he is not without previous experience in Iraq as he was previously on a transition team and was awarded a Silver Star for actions there). There is probably no better field grade officer for the "AFPAK Hands" program than Jim Gant (though he still needs to command a B Team and be a battalion S3/XO when he gets back from Iraq!)
This paper is an excellent example of the application of the Foreign Internal Defense concept of Remote Area Operations (not an exact application but certainly tailored for the tribal conditions that exist in Afghanistan):
Remote Area Operations. Remote area operations are operations undertaken in insurgent-controlled or contested areas to establish islands of popular support for the HN government and deny support to the insurgents. They differ from consolidation operations in that they are not designed to establish permanent HN government control over the area. Remote areas may be populated by ethnic, religious, or other isolated minority groups. They may be in the interior of the HN or near border areas where major infiltration routes exist. Remote area operations normally involve the use of specially trained paramilitary or irregular forces. SF teams support remote area operations to interdict insurgent activity, destroy insurgent base areas in the remote area, and demonstrate that the HN government has not conceded control to the insurgents. They also collect and report information concerning insurgent intentions in more populated areas. In this case, SF teams advise and assist irregular HN forces operating in a manner similar to the insurgents themselves, but with access to superior CS and CSS resources. (From FM 3-05.202 Foreign Internal Defense 2007.)