Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Darfur - Part 5


Objective: Prevent large-scale killings and restore order in Darfur.

The intention is to stabilize a large enough area of Darfur to establish bases from which to freely operate across the Darfur area of operations.

My (somewhat disorganized) version of the (Fantasy) Plan for Humanitarian Intervention in Darfur calls for the following force composition:

Both force packages will deploy with small units of reconnaissance and forward observers capabilities, supported by UAVs.

Both force packages will be able to operate in dispersed fashion. Spatial distribution will better enable responses to urgent situations throughout the AO. All coalition forces should be able to reach concentrations of noncombatants quickly and over the wide territory of Darfur, and respond to sudden threats against indigenous noncombatants. All coalition forces should be able to concentrate effects on any point and at any given time regardless of spatial dispersion.

This combination of forces will dictate the scope and course of future hostilities in Darfur and will eliminate the enemy's capability to threaten noncombatants in the future.

Both Force Packages operate under the command of a single Combined Task Force Commander.

Big Questions:


Interoperability is a big challenge and not easily achieved. Allied forces in both expeditionary force packages will consists of a combination of highly-integrated networked forces (coming from "Core" states) and nonintegrated, non-networked forces (some coming from "New Core" states, but most coming from "Gap" states). Effective conduct of military operations in Darfur will require US forces interoperability with both types of force. We have to live with the reality that some of our allies will lack or have very basic technologies needed to network forces. Interoperability is bound to improve shared situational awareness and will help forces conduct all sorts of operations along a spectrum of missions.

One advantage of operating with "Gap" and local allied forces is that they can be easily supported. These rag-taggish forces usually require less logistics support, are pretty good at operating from austere locations (because they come from austere locations) and are generally "lower-maintenance" than Core forces.

Coalition forces should also be prepared to interact with official and private relief organizations.

Of note: Some humanitarian organizations might be cautious to appear too integrated with coalition forces.


Currently, the US does not keep large forces in Africa. The first challenge/task is deploying to Africa, and then inserting a relatively large peacekeeping force into Darfur which is inhospitable, relatively inaccessible, out-of-the-way, undeveloped and unfamiliar to most coalition troops. Both force packages will have to travel to Africa via a combination of long-range airlift assets and rapid sealift assets. FP Lima will probably arrive in theater exclusively by air. The rest of the peacekeeping force will deploy to staging areas inside allied African nations (Djibouti, Ethiopia, etc.) and from there, will be inserted into Darfur via theater airlift and open lines of communication (LOC).

Insertion of Force Packages

XFP Lima is inserted into Darfur first. This force package can secure airheads (with possible help from inidigenous rebel forces) that will allow the insertion of FP Sierra. FP Lima must be able to operate inside Darfur with very little supporting infrastructure. FP Sierra will bring the equipment and personnel necessary to build a more robust infrastruture from which forces can operate. ISR assets and small recon units will obtain further information on the enemy, potential enemy, and any other characteristics of the Darfurian battlespace that might have been previously overlooked.

Establishment of airheads will provide locations for:


XFP Lima's tactical units will strike early and hard at the enemy's ability to defend itself. XFP Lima will operate and maneuver rapidly and freely across the Darfur theater of operations (which actually extends beyond the borders of the Darfur province) and conduct lethal attacks networked with precision-strike forces (mostly USAF and USN strike assets). XFP Lima's small SOF units will be supported by a variety of sensors that will provide enhanced awareness (e.g. UAVs) and will be able to find and direct precision air attacks against relatively large enemy units in the Darfur area of operations. These attacks will seek to harm the enemy while causing minimum damage to the Sudanese infrastructure. It is unknown at this time if enemy militias and other opposing forces will be prepared to attack allied forces or be inclined to flee at first sight.

XFP Lima will set the stage for the establishment of airheads that will enable in-theater mobility by air to entire expeditionary force.

Big Questions for Engagement Phase:

XFP Lima will find, identify, pursue, and destroy any early resistance to humanitarian operations. As operation progresses, XFP Lima's role will be mainly limited to quick strikes on scattered opposing forces and other time-critical operations. ISR assets networked with SOF will detect indications of enemy actions, however one major challenge will be dicriminating between combatants and non-combatants.

Big Challenges For Engagement Phase (and once XFP Sierra shows up to Darfur)

Things I Did Not Cover

The US can lead the effort but it might not have to dedicate a large amount of troops and resources to the effort. For something like this to work, it has to be accomplished by an international force. The good news is that many allied nations are actually concentrating in improving their abilities to operate in under conditions other than major war. The question is, will they have the resolve to act?

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