Article: Behavioural Conflict by Andrew Mackay & Steve Tatham

#2
right, now that it's working.....

I've been to a lecture by Cdr Tatham; though provoking, and whilst probably associated with the COIN end of the spectrum, has some interesting implications for Defence Diplomacy and the Attache system. I've just brought it!
 
#3
I read Smith's Utility of Force a few years ago, and found it disappointing, in the sense that while he clearly had some interesting and potentially valuable ideas, it didn't read like a book that would enable the average Brit General or Staff Officer to translate theory into a set of practical plans for action in an unfamiliar setting (I'd make the same observation about Clausewitz, as it happens, but he was writing over 200 yrs ago. Rupert was the D Comdt at Camberley when I was there, and had a bloody good run in GW1 and the Balkans - that ought to have equipped him to communicate more effectively with a modern audience)

I hope that in this book, the co-authors may have managed collectively to get a bit closer to producing something that actually does engage the necessary audience, and provoke thought.
 
#4
I read Smith's Utility of Force a few years ago, and found it disappointing, in the sense that while he clearly had some interesting and potentially valuable ideas, it didn't read like a book that would enable the average Brit General or Staff Officer to translate theory into a set of practical plans for action in an unfamiliar setting (I'd make the same observation about Clausewitz, as it happens, but he was writing over 200 yrs ago. Rupert was the D Comdt at Camberley when I was there, and had a bloody good run in GW1 and the Balkans - that ought to have equipped him to communicate more effectively with a modern audience)

I hope that in this book, the co-authors may have managed collectively to get a bit closer to producing something that actually does engage the necessary audience, and provoke thought.
Well, it's a book, not a Doctrine Pamphlet, nor is it something that lends itself to "do A, add B, bask in glory of success". Indeed, that attitude to Influence might well stop you from achieving anything. I'm a little disappointed that you think that way; surely books like this are to provoke thought in a Professional Officer and then allow them to apply some, all or none of the principles to the situation they find themselves in.
 
#5
I haven't been able to get a copy of it yet, but there is also an article "Military strategy, ethics and influence a response to Mackay and Tatham" by Mike Rennie and Tephen Deakin (RMAS), which from the title might just be relevant.
 
#6
Well, it's a book, not a Doctrine Pamphlet, nor is it something that lends itself to "do A, add B, bask in glory of success". Indeed, that attitude to Influence might well stop you from achieving anything. I'm a little disappointed that you think that way; surely books like this are to provoke thought in a Professional Officer and then allow them to apply some, all or none of the principles to the situation they find themselves in.
It isn't that I think like that, at all. Point is that that is the way that many (most?) Army officers seem to function, and (therefore) any individual who is trying to engender change in their habits of thought has to find ways to lead such an audience quite a way down a mental path that leads from 'pure theory' to 'practical solutions'

I base the assessment on the fact that by the end of 30yrs soldiering, I could count on the fingers of one hand all of the other Brit Officers I ever met who were prepared to admit they had actually read Clausewitz's On War

For the remainder On War was not a book to be studied in hopes of developing deeper insight into how best to discharge their chosen professional responsibilities in war, but something to be sampled (usually from secondary sources) only for the purpose of passing written tests.

That inclination toward the pragmatic and tangible (a matter of innate individual temperament, but reinforced by custom and practice) presents a significant barrier to operational innovation.
 
#7
It isn't that I think like that, at all. Point is that that is the way that many (most?) Army officers seem to function, and (therefore) any individual who is trying to engender change in their habits of thought has to find ways to lead such an audience quite a way down a mental path that leads from 'pure theory' to 'practical solutions'

I base the assessment on the fact that by the end of 30yrs soldiering, I could count on the fingers of one hand all of the other Brit Officers I ever met who were prepared to admit they had actually read Clausewitz's On War

For the remainder On War was not a book to be studied in hopes of developing deeper insight into how best to discharge their chosen professional responsibilities in war, but something to be sampled (usually from secondary sources) only for the purpose of passing written tests.

That inclination toward the pragmatic and tangible (a matter of innate individual temperament, but reinforced by custom and practice) presents a significant barrier to operational innovation.
Hmm, I'll let you off ;)

Is 'On War' actually worth reading? Having read a fair few summaries of it, it seems to be a sprawling mass of at-times contradictory ruminations, some (most) of which have little application to a modern war-fighter.....
 
#8
Hmm, I'll let you off ;)

Is 'On War' actually worth reading? Having read a fair few summaries of it, it seems to be a sprawling mass of at-times contradictory ruminations, some (most) of which have little application to a modern war-fighter.....
In a word - Yes.

Take care to get the right version, (Michael Howard and Geoffrey Paret's would be my recommendation), and attack it with an open mind, remembering that i you are not reading the original language, and that some of his concepts not only failt to translate well into English, but may even be quite alien to Brit culture.

The parts that have not stood the test of time relate, IMHO, to the detail of military techniques (e.g fortification) of Charlie's day and can indeed be skipped.

'Sprawling'? Hmm: not how I would class it, but it is imperfect, since he died before he had finished editing, and his SheWhoMustBe made the final editing decisions.

Mebbe it's just me, but I found it very helpful in the run-up to the first NATO Balkan Op in B-H, because it set outs a conceptual framework for "What War Is" (and therefore "What A Peace Support Op Is Not") and the corollary "What Can Be Achieved By Brute Force" (and therefore "What Cannot") which was very, very important, given that in them days Unca Sam was very big on 'Peace Thru Superior Firepower' and needed to be weaned off it in time to go 'softly softly' in the FY.

"Phase 4" ops in Eye-Rack seem to suggest that nobody (Brit or Septic) went through that kind of thought process again, ahead of the 2003 invasion . . . .
 
#10
It occurs to me that B-h was prolly a fair example of the kind of 'influence' ops Rupes & Co are talking about: I rememebr him (as COMD UNPROFOR)briefing ARRC, and taling about how the simple act of establishing an Arty FOB, in range of the Srbjans, without it ever needing to fire a shot, caused them to moderate their actions. Likewise, since (for IFOR) Overwhelming Force (the Septic panacea of the day, courtesy of Co-Lin Powell) was the option of last resort, it was self-evidently necessary to find a wide range of ways to influence a wide range of actors to ensure that those in-country complied peacefully with the Dayton peace plan, while those outside encouraged them to continue doing so (if they had that kind of influence), and did not withdraw from the international consensus of support for NATO's actions.

Interesting times, were those.
 
#11
I haven't been able to get a copy of it yet, but there is also an article "Military strategy, ethics and influence a response to Mackay and Tatham" by Mike Rennie and Tephen Deakin (RMAS), which from the title might just be relevant.
If you get soft copy, and can share it - I'd like to know.

Many tanks in advance.
 
#14
Just had this in by email:

Would you please pass my thanks to the reviewer of 'Behavioural Conflict' by General Andrew Mackay and myself. HIs (her?) summation of our key points was perfect and absolutely spot on. It seems to have generated some discussions as well! Thanks very much indeed. regards Steve Tatham
 
#15
Just had this in by email:
Would you please pass my thanks to the reviewer of 'Behavioural Conflict' by General Andrew Mackay and myself. HIs (her?) summation of our key points was perfect and absolutely spot on. It seems to have generated some discussions as well! Thanks very much indeed. regards Steve Tatham
Ask him (in your reply) what is his Arrse username.

If he hasnae got one - enthuse him with the idea :-D

Sounds like a good sorta Matelot to have posting on Arrse.

P.S. Ask him if (like Meridian) in addition to his professional interest in doctrine/operational analysis, he is drawn to the smut, porn and/or nekkid laydeez.

Then he reeaally would deffo be a kindred spirit . . .
 
#17
Thanks ( I think)

I'm at Page 7.

I'm up against:

"The authors are supporting an Enlightenment view of human nature here, one that sees the individual
as a malleable piece of clay that can be shaped one way or another to form reality for that person. This viewpoint typically leads on to an elitist view of politics where the elite know what is right and wish to alter the environment of others so that they will conform to the truth"


. . . and I cannot for one moment see any connection between that load of old (adolescent? 1970s?) bolleaux, and the challenge of successfully prosecuting policies to advance the foreign, defence and economic interests of the United Kingdom.

Don't take my word for it.

Have a go yerself!

I hope to f#ck (against the odds) that my taxes didn't pay someone to write that.
 
#18
I'm up against:

"The authors are supporting an Enlightenment view of human nature here, one that sees the individual as a malleable piece of clay that can be shaped one way or another to form reality for that person. This viewpoint typically leads on to an elitist view of politics where the elite know what is right and wish to alter the environment of others so that they will conform to the truth"

. . . and I cannot for one moment see any connection between that load of old (adolescent? 1970s?) bolleaux, and the challenge of successfully prosecuting policies to advance the foreign, defence and economic interests of the United Kingdom.
I feel your pain!

Without having read (yet) either the original paper that this paper is a rebuttal to, or the subsequent book, it is a bit of a struggle to see both sides of the argument, but the argument advanced in this bit seems to be an ethical one. Tatham & Mackay are arguing that we should use influence to make locals/enemy/whoever make the 'right' choice, and this paper seems to take offence that us liberal elite dare decide what is 'right' for them.

I can see an ethical argument that it is disingenuous of us to claim our intent is to influence persons to do what we have decided is 'right' for them, when our definition of that being right for them, is that it is actually 'right' for us, and of secondary interest as to whether it is 'right' for them, based on their local cultural/religious/whatever ideals and expectations (if we are even able to determine that). The two aims may overlap, but not necessarily, and herein lies the moral dilemma (Allied to this, of course, is the thorny issue of whether there is only one set of morally 'right' principles for everyone, everywhere, or not.)

There are also the more practical issues of a) influence being less effective due to our interpretation of 'right' not being that of the locals & b) the continuing difficulty of ascertaining what is 'right' from the local's point-of-view in the first place.

All very academically interesting, but I think, yes, enough practical relevance to be, erm, relevant.

Hmm... will defo be getting the book then!
 
#19
I feel your pain!

Without having read (yet) either the original paper that this paper is a rebuttal to, or the subsequent book, it is a bit of a struggle to see both sides of the argument, but the argument advanced in this bit seems to be an ethical one. Tatham & Mackay are arguing that we should use influence to make locals/enemy/whoever make the 'right' choice, and this paper seems to take offence that us liberal elite dare decide what is 'right' for them.
In the unlikely event that the book points (very un-pragmatically) in that direction, I too would take exception, but on practical rather than moral grounds, simply because it is practically impossible to influence anyone to act against what they perceive to be their own best interests - a judgment based on a view (invariably) taken through the cultural lens of that individual.

Change management theory (the domain in whihc I ply my trade these days) has a good deal to offer here: the essence of successfully mobilising disparate groups to move in the desired direction, is in understanding and conveying to each a clear understanding of "Wot's-In-It-For-Me" (the WIFM) of what you are trying to achieve, and making that as real as possible.

Bottom line is this: No WIFM = No Compliance, and if competing factional interests are irreconcileable (caveated, perhaps, with the tag line within the time and resources available to the intervention op?

Well - in that case your influencing plans are dead in the water.
 
#20
Behavioural Conflict: From General to Strategic Corporal: Complexity, Adaptation and Influence — Defence Academy of the United Kingdom

Is the original paper they are referencing. I rather feel that they are taking this from purely an academic viewpoint, rather than the practical effects that the Commander on the ground (or at sea) wishes to achieve. The 'right' result in that regard is the one that achieves the Mission as assigned. There may be valid criticism of 'right' at the Grand-Strategic level, but I would suggest that lies truly in the realms of 'a Comprehensive Approach', and outwith the purview of most (if not all) Military action.

Moreover, they seem to have a fundamental mis-understanding of where Influence lies within Joint Action, as opposed to basing their thinking on some random Boston Globe article.

Anyway, it would interesting to hear Cdr Steve's take on this - or I'll just have to wait until ACSC!