Prodding gently at sacred cows – Pineland & Leaderless Resistance
There was a recent article published on WRSA (HERE), a guest article from the Mountain Guerrilla blog. Reading it along with the original article that explains the concept of Leaderless Resistance (LR) (HERE), I am moved to comment.
It is not that the linked article is wrong; it is more a question of relevance and tone. In basic terms, it explains how U.S. Special Forces doctrine for Unconventional Warfare (UW) does not chime with the concept of LR. That is fine; clearly UW doctrine is superior and offers up the concept of a disciplined, led, resistance.
I question, however, the specific relevance. It is one thing to offer up doctrine, it is another to develop the situation and tailor the doctrine to the actual situation. The other side of this is using doctrine to beat people about the head, and basically, as the tone of the article appears to me, tell people that if they are not doing it the doctrinal way, then they are morons.
So what is Pineland all about? Pineland is the fictional country wherein the training on the Special Forces Qualification course takes place. In Pineland training occurs in UW and also FID, which is Foreign Internal Defense (concentrating on training and supporting a foreign military to further US interests abroad). This is all a Special Forces (i.e. Green Beret) task. What does this pan out as in reality? Examples include training Guerrillas in the Vietnam War, training Afghans to counter the Russians, leading to the creation of the Taliban, then training the Northern Alliance to overthrow the Taliban, then aiding the Moslem Brotherhood to overthrow Gadhafi in Libya and aiding Al Qaeda to overthrow the Syrian Government. Yes, a little glib, but you get my point.
So, Special Forces (as opposed to Special Operations Forces (SOF), which is a different thing), are prepared to support, train and help execute unconventional warfare in foreign countries, supported by the might of the US Military. Do Special Forces personnel have a role in helping Patriots combat tyranny in a future American resistance campaign? Clearly, yes – but only so long as they can tailor their training and doctrine to marry up with the reality of the situation, and do so when undergoing SHTF just like the rest of the population.
In the guest article, a couple of examples of extremists are used to show how LR does not work. Well, these guys, these examples, are simply terrorists. I’d shoot them myself. Blowing up civvies is not cool. The point is made that they formed cells but did not operate from a base of support, no auxiliary and no underground. True.
Well, here is the newsflash: In America there is not an insurgency. There is not a guerrilla campaign being waged. If there is, please let me in on the secret. For example, a terrorist/freedom fighter campaign, to be effective, must have a broad base of public support (granted it takes 3% of the population to keep a campaign alive). It must simply continue to exist for long enough to make a political solution expedient to the government. Just look at Northern Ireland and the ‘troubles’ since 1969. Small radical terrorist groups in the United States don’t have the support of the populace or the organization to last that long, thankfully. I really dislike terrorists. If terrorists can stay around for long enough, and generate enough political clout, they will not win militarily but they may reach political accommodation. For a military victory, the conflict would have to escalate to full civil war and conventional operations.
The thing is, the article on LR actually makes a lot of sense, within its own parameters. It starts from a basis of not having the ability to create operational security and having to work from there. If you don’t have the broad popular support for a resistance campaign, then you would find it hard to run an operation, (without the benefits of technologically superior external support as SF has), along the lines of classic UW. So in a way, what is the argument about? If you can run a classic UW ‘G’ campaign, then clearly that is superior, but if you can’t you may simply be left with the LR model.
In my novel ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises’ I lay out an example of a how a ‘Tier 1’ resistance campaign may pan out. They can only do what they do because they had the network, the auxiliary, in place before the collapse and Regime takeover. They do much of the tactical training after the collapse with the benefit of a remote area to do so – and in fact training after a war begins is eminently feasible – after all, isn’t that what SF are doing with the ‘G’s’ in the camps during the insurgency they are supporting in Pineland? My guys, in the book, were able to get pretty top level Intel because they had the network and some pretty high tech communication methods within that, along with some very low tech methods for the fighters themselves. A lot of it came down to low tech harassment operations against Regime targets within a specific AO.
But let’s bring in a dose of reality. Trainers, like myself, are running tactical training for people. Why? There is a whole spectrum of interest in light infantry/UW style tactical training. The spectrum runs from part time preppers, gun guys, people who want to keep their family alive, through ‘1000 yard retreat snipers’ to those who feel they want to take an active part in fighting enemies ‘foreign and domestic’.
In reality, most prepper type people are trying to prepare to survive and defend themselves when the collapse, SHTF, arrives. Depending on what election/poll statistics you believe, or not, most of the country is asleep. So, arguably there is no widespread basis for support for a guerrilla campaign to restore the Constitution. Most Americans are sadly shadows of the founding fathers and greater generations, doing nothing to stand up for what is right. Such a campaign can’t begin without the political consensus among enough people. And right now, people are accepting security over liberty, complaining a little about the tyranny that is upon us, and relaxing in their luxurious lifestyles. More McDonalds anyone?
So personally I believe that we will either go peacefully, like little lambs, into the sunset of liberty and the rising police state, or there will be an event, such as a financial collapse, that will galvanize people to survive and fight. And many will die.
Thing is, in a collapse, most people will just be trying to survive They will be trying to get out of the cities and contrary to what some say, operations are likely to be conducted in the forests/boonies because that is where the survivors will be. It may not be where the Regime is concentrating force, but that only matters to those who can organize enough to move out and strike at enemies foreign or domestic where they are located. Such an SHTF situation is not the same as SF UW. There may be similarities, but the scenario is not the same. The doctrine must be adapted.
Most of the Patriot movement is fractured. People fight on blogs and can’t agree. That’s liberty, but that is not the same rather strict discipline demanded by UW operations among ‘G’ forces. Cell organizations, all that good stuff in the UW manual, don’t, for the large part, exist. People will be interested in surviving. Like it or not, the default setting is leaderless resistance/leaderless survival of small families, groups and individuals in hollers out there in the boonies. That is effectively what the ‘prepper’ philosophy is, and it does not include waging a UW campaign.
Am I saying that such fractured LR is the best method? No. Can we do better if we organize groups and tribes, area coordination, in advance? Yes. But don’t just trot out doctrine; adapt it to the circumstances.
What about Intel? Well, if you don’t have an Intel network in place, all your Intel will be locally gathered. That does have disadvantages for targeting and doctrinal procedures such as using the CARVER matrix. That ties in with OPSEC and the need for secure communications, which you may not have when facing Regime assets equipped with the latest technology. That was the whole LR argument, in a nutshell.
So what will it look like? Chaos. All those people going out and buying rifles, regardless of if it is their second amendment rights, are mostly part of the 50 yard AR/AK killer crowd. Carnage. That is why people want tactical training, so they can defend themselves in the areas that they are trying to survive in. The other side of that is the ‘1000 yard’ long range sniper, sitting pretty at his retreat. Wake up and smell the coffee, it’s not going to work. You have to sleep sometime, you have to patrol/observe the covered approaches, and you need a team on rotation to do so. The upshot of this is carnage. Leaderless carnage. Where are the rules of engagement here? Unless you put up a sign and give a clear warning, are you going to snipe every refugee, gun carrying or not, that moves into your AO? It makes for a risky pastime, going out walking SHTF, and it calls for some serious patrolling drills!
People are going to be dealing with collapse, survival and protecting their families. They can only go out and conduct resistance operations remote from their home base if that base (& family) is adequately protected. Read ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises’ for examples of that. It is intended to be a realistic scenario based, rather than a doctrine based, tactical novel about how this could pan out if you were able to run a network & Resistance campaign. Who is the area commander who is going to designate legitimate high reward Regime targets and deconflict between cell operations? There isn’t one. Unless you start organizing it now. But then you run into other problems, such as using the cell structure without adequate secure communications. You can go low tech and use dead drops and such, but if you want rapid response it isn’t going to happen. The Regime will EW/DF your comms.
So we need to practice our tactical skills, in order to protect our areas and conduct effective patrols, potentially raids and ambushes, in the local area. Unless it is organized, there will be nothing but a leaderless resistance. Is that better than the classic UW doctrine? No. Is it reality? If it happened tonight then yes.
So I stand against an elitist stance that says that if you are not in a position to conduct operations in line with SF doctrine, then you are wrong. The situation is what it is. Do I think that organizing in advance is a good idea? Yes – and I laid it out in Patriot Dawn for that very reason.