Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Darfur - Part 5
THE DARFUR PLAN
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:
- Expeditionary Force Package Lima (XFP Lima): Composed of mostly Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Airpower in the form of strike and ISR assets. Light and fast force, hi-tech, hi-kinetics, hi-intensity, low-manpower. Small force structure and very flexible. Relatively easy to deploy to theater and within theater. Very small footprint. This is the force that will set the stage for the follow-on forces and international humanitarian organizations. This is the force that will also kill the most people (bad guys) and break their shit.
- Expeditionary Force Package Sierra (XFP Sierra): Composed of several "traditional" brigade-size light infantry units and Airpower in the form of airlift and ISR assets. Heavier force. Motorized infantry and airborne units. XFP Sierra is lower-tech, lower-kinetics, lower-intensity, hi-manpower. Not as easy to deploy to and within theater of operations. This is the force that will bear the brunt of conducting actual humanitarian operations: guarding food shipments, feeding hungry Sudanese, providing medical attention, providing security to foreign aid and commercial workers, some reconstruction support, etc. XFP Lima is inherently not well suited and at a disadvantage when humanitarian tasks might require a large number of personnel to accomplish. XFP Lima's participation will drop off once the majority of opposing forces are defeated. As danger decreases, XFP Sierra's role in the operation will increase.
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.
- Actual size of the forces required
- Nature and motivation of organized armed opposition (Janjaweed, GOS)
- Actual composition of coalition and local allied forces
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:
- A wide array of ISR systems
- Combined C2 Centers
- Intra-theater mobility assets
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:
- Enemy capabilities (What can they do to us? What can we do to them? Etc.)
- Enemy intent (Will they fight? What's their strategy? Etc.)
- Location of enemy combatants (Where are they? Will they operate in a concentrated [unlikely] or dispersed manner [likely]? Etc.)
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)
- Darfur encompasses a large area. How to maintain control over entire province? Operating in a networked, dispersed manner is one option.
- ISR coverage. Where to concentrate assets?
- Sudanese government response. This might depend on the extent of coalition attacks against GOS fixed targets.
Things I Did Not Cover
- ROE for prosecuting fleeting targets. What would constitute a high-value target?
- How to manage refugees? Mainly XFP Sierra's job.
- Training of local allies so they can fend for themselves in the future.
- Information Operations.
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?