Author(s) Powelson, Simon J. Title Enduring engagement yes ... that enduring engagement is of enduring

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    Author(s) Powelson, Simon J.

    Title Enduring engagement yes, episodic engagement no: lessons for SOF from Mali

    Publisher Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School

    Issue Date 2013-12

    URL http://hdl.handle.net/10945/38996

  • NAVAL

    POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL

    MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA

    THESIS

    Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited

    ENDURING ENGAGEMENT YES, EPISODIC ENGAGEMENT NO:

    LESSONS FOR SOF FROM MALI

    by

    Simon J. Powelson

    December 2013

    Thesis Advisor: Anna Simons Second Reader: Erik Brown

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    REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE Form Approved OMB No. 0704–0188 Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instruction, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington, VA 22202–4302, and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (0704–0188) Washington DC 20503. 1. AGENCY USE ONLY (Leave blank)

    2. REPORT DATE December 2013

    3. REPORT TYPE AND DATES COVERED Master’s Thesis

    4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE ENDURING ENGAGEMENT YES, EPISODIC ENGAGEMENT NO: LESSONS FOR SOF FROM MALI

    5. FUNDING NUMBERS

    6. AUTHOR(S) Simon J. Powelson 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES)

    Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, CA 93943–5000

    8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUMBER

    9. SPONSORING /MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) N/A

    10. SPONSORING/MONITORING AGENCY REPORT NUMBER

    11. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES The views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. IRB Protocol number ____N/A____.

    Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited 12b. DISTRIBUTION CODE A

    13. ABSTRACT (maximum 200 words) This thesis examines SOF’s recent experience in Mali and determines where—or to what extent—it should be considered a failure. In addition to analyzing these encounters, a second aim of this thesis is to make recommendations for how SOF might better build partner capacity and capability in the future. The argument made is that enduring engagement is of enduring value; episodic engagement, on its own, is not. Examples of both types of engagement can be found in United States Special Operations Forces’ recent interactions with the Malian military.

    14. SUBJECT TERMS Enduring Engagement Episodic Engagement CFS ETIA 15. NUMBER OF

    PAGES 91

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    17. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF REPORT

    Unclassified

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    Unclassified

    19. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF ABSTRACT

    Unclassified

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    UU NSN 7540–01–280–5500 Standard Form 298 (Rev. 2–89) Prescribed by ANSI Std. 239–18

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    Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited

    ENDURING ENGAGEMENT YES, EPISODIC ENGAGEMENT NO:

    LESSONS FOR SOF FROM MALI

    Simon J. Powelson Major, United States Army

    B.A., University of California at Santa Barbara, 2001

    Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

    MASTER OF SCIENCE IN DEFENSE ANALYSIS

    from the

    NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL December 2013

    Author: Simon J. Powelson

    Approved by: Anna Simons Thesis Advisor

    Erik Brown Second Reader

    John Arquilla Chair, Department of Defense Analysis

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    ABSTRACT

    This thesis examines SOF’s recent experience in Mali and determines where—or to what

    extent—it should be considered a failure. In addition to analyzing these encounters, a

    second aim of this thesis is to make recommendations for how SOF might better build

    partner capacity and capability in the future. The argument made is that enduring

    engagement is of enduring value; episodic engagement, on its own, is not. Examples of

    both types of engagement can be found in United States Special Operations Forces’

    recent interactions with the Malian military.

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    I.  INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1  A.  PURPOSE .........................................................................................................1  B.  BACKGROUND ..............................................................................................1  C.  LITERATURE REVIEW ...............................................................................3  D.  RESEARCH GOAL ........................................................................................5  E.  METHODOLOGY AND THESIS ROADMAP ...........................................6 

    II.  EPISODIC ENGAGEMENT EXPANDS ..................................................................7  A.  INCREASED EFFORT ...................................................................................7  B.  ANTI-WESTERN OPERATIONS .................................................................8  C.  ATT REACTS TO AQIM ...............................................................................9  D.  MALI ON THE OFFENSIVE ......................................................................13  E.  SOF TRAINING HAS NO APPARENT OUTCOME ON THE

    FIGHTING .....................................................................................................14  F.  ETIA ................................................................................................................17  G.  ETIA EQUIPMENT PROBLEMS ...............................................................19 

    1.  Individual Equipment ........................................................................20  2.  Unit Equipment ..................................................................................22  3.  Overly Complex Equipment (Falcon 3) ...........................................25 

    H.  INDIVIDUAL OR UNIT EQUIPMENT .....................................................26  I.  SOF BEGINS TRAINING THE ETIAS ......................................................28 

    1.  ETIAs Found Lacking .......................................................................30 

    III.  ENDURING ENGAGEMENT BEGINS .................................................................33  A.  JPAT AND THE 33RD RCP ..........................................................................33  B.  PRIOR EPISODIC TRAINING ...................................................................38  C.  EQUIPAGE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS ...........................................43  D.  THE CFS DEPLOYS FOR COMBAT ........................................................47 

    1.  Background ........................................................................................47  2.  CFS Prepares ......................................................................................48  3.  CFS Operations in the North ............................................................50 

    E.  CFS vs ETIAs .................................................................................................53 

    IV.  SUM AND SUBSTANCE ..........................................................................................55  A.  WHAT HAPPENED IN MALI.....................................................................56  B.  WHAT IS AN ENDURING ENGAGEMENT? ..........................................57  C.  PARTNER-FOCUSED, NOT ENEMY-FOCUSED ...................................58  D.  SMALL FOOTPRINT ...................................................................................60  E.  HOW DOES EPISODIC ENGAGEMENT FIT? .......................................61  F.  FIELDING OF EQUIPMENT......................................................................62 

    1.  SOCOM Equipment Gap ..................................................................63  G.  CONCLUSION ..............................................................................................64 

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    APPENDIX. MAPS................................................................................................................67 

    LIST OF REFERENCES ......................................................................................................71 

    INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST .........................................................................................77 

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    LIST OF FIGURES

    Figure 1.  Map of Mali. ..........................................................................