Incorporation of Indigenous Forces in Major Theater War: Advantages, Risks and Considerations

  • July 15, 2004
  • Ms Priscilla Sellers

Indigenous assets will continue to be incorporated into major theater campaigns, particularly with the recent threat from failed or failing states. The value of such incorporation has been evidenced over time. While the benefit of the local asset depends upon the specific use and locale, the intelligence provided is value added to the US military. The benefit of local surrogates was recently highlighted in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Indigenous fighters on the battlefield lessen the number of US and coalition fatalities which may correspondingly reduce the concerns of a "casualty phobic" US populace. In addition to training, surrogates require appropriate vetting in order to corroborate their information. US military handlers must be aware local assets may use the opportunity to pursue personal agendas or retaliation. Local forces are best characterized by their environments and those from resource-rich failed states may present a unique set of challenges for the US military handler The opportunity for the US military to train and cooperate with the indigenous fighter should be viewed as an initial step to foster the values and skills which will be required during the establishment of that nation's new government.