Here's a series of six videos explaining ISAF's vision for COIN operations as presented by ISAF Command Sergeant Major Michael Hall. This is the first of six videos. The others are also located within Youtube-
I haven't watched these yet but I can't imagine that they're not worthy viewing-at least to understand the message that ISAF wishes to impart upon arriving troops.
Here are the thoughts of a poster elsewhere whom calls himself Red Seven and has watched all six segments. His observations are nicely elucidated.
"I watched. A good elementary COIN primer from CSM Hall--and I don't mean that in a derogatory way--for troops headed to Afghanistan. It's all good, especially for units who are being given a crash course in COIN, which, of course, is impossible, but nevertheless something the military continues to attempt.
There are a lot of misconceptions about COIN ops, most of them having to do with the importance of Civic Action (CA) in winning hearts and minds. Civic Action is pointless without security and security is impossible without a continuous presense in the area of operation. It does no good at all to have a team of soldiers and their indigenous counterparts visit a village and hand out school supplies if there A) is no school and/or B) if there is a chance that the enemy will return to administer retribution.
Security is accomplished by keeping the team in the AO, 24/7. Note I did not write "keeping the team in the village." The team must stay mobile, never lingering longer than 8 hours in one place within the AO, lying low during the day and conducting aggressive operations at night, setting up ambush sites on likely approach trails to the village and make incursion into the AO a dangerous and uncomfortable prospect for the enemy. The team has good comm, is resupplied by helo whenever necessary and has access to air/arty support on-call.
Building a rapport with the locals comes during and after the establishment of security and once security is established civic action can be pressed forward, but, like the CSM says, the team has to know what the people and the village really need, not what some guys in Washington or at Bagram think they need.
The most important and simple lesson I learned about COIN is "if they like you they won't kill you." Obviously, there are shades of treachery this simple maxim does not address--such as the "trusted" counterpart who is secretly committed to the Jihad and is waiting for the chance to blow you up (and for this reason you must learn to spot the clues)--but by and large, people, whatever their culture, want to be liked and respected and respond accordingly. This is the golden nucleus of COIN ops and unfortunately, one of the most difficult lessons to impress upon young American and Western soldiers, particularly those who've been cycled through a crash course in COIN, as mentioned above. The cultural/religious/societal gap is enormous, there are innate predjudices and preconceptions, there is immaturity, there is the potential for enormous frustration working FID and COIN that one must be prepared to accept. It can be very much like working with children. It requires immense patience that many young soldiers simply do not possess. But acts of teenage mischief, tomfoolery or loss of temper can end with your team shot to pieces on a hillside.
There is another aspect of COIN that makes its chance for success even riskier, and that is the impatience on the part of the commanders, the politicians and the voters of the countries supplying the troops for COIN. Successful COIN ops take years. Period. There's no silver bullet. It is like a crop that is difficult to germinate and nurture and grow and may never harvest, even in the best soil and under the best conditions, regardless of the blood, sweat and tears shed. It requires committment."