THE RIGHT WAY: SECURITY AND HOLDING
These next few chapters are going to have to be theoretical because none of you ever got to these stages. The Earthlings defeated you, so you never had to worry about security and post-war operations. But I’m curious to know what you were planning, because I didn’t see any invasion that provisions for these stages.
I can always tell the guys that know what they’re doing from the amateurs by how they handle security. Professionals will have tight security, but it won’t look like tight security. Regular life can continue in these areas, and in some cases it’s like an invasion hasn’t actually happened. Dumb jackasses put a tank on every street corner, have troopers bust into buildings just for the hell of it, and let their men do whatever they want. This is just as bad as blasting every living thing in your path, and gets you the same response from the occupied.
It gives the populace no choice but to resist, in small ways or large. This increases the demands on your manpower. Now you have to send guys out on Scumbag Patrol so you can “teach the populace a lesson.” But those operations stir things up instead of pacifying the region. It’s hard for warriors to turn into peace keepers, but that’s exactly what has to happen. If the area is a living hell then you haven’t pacified anything, and you’re going to have to keep wasting time in an area you’ve already conquered.
Nice and quiet is your goal. The conquered should never feel conquered. They should be able to live their lives as they have. There will always be some diehard resistance, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
An even worse option is to come down hard on the populace, but not stick around. This is the result of a poorly planned operation, one where the commanders didn’t bring enough troops for security purposes. These occupations are some of the worst. The populace only knows that these strange beings in their vehicles swoop out of the sky and start shooting up everything. The troops usually are on their worst behavior because they have to leave the safety of their base. They haven’t developed any contacts among the locals, so they’re jumpy and fearful. Then the soldiers say “don’t do it again,” get back in their vehicles, and zip off into the night sky.
What happens is you get the worst of all possible worlds. The populace is pissed at you, and they aren’t intimidated in the least. As badass as you like to make yourselves out, you don’t stick around. You’re only temporary. As soon as you’re gone, they start dreaming up ways to kill your ass. Which causes your troops to get edgier, which makes the missions more screwed up, which brings more wrath and hatred. It’s a never ending cycle of crap that no one can endure forever, especially advanced civilizations that expect quick victories.
As crappy as I’m making this sound, your invasions featured no security force at all. So things were going to be much, much worse than this. Let me repeat: running through the countryside and blasting everything in sight doesn’t secure you anything. If you leave no police/administration force in your wake, you haven’t conquered anything. You were just passing through and messing with everything.
You’re just asking for a resistance movement to rise up behind you, one that has seen your capabilities and may have figured out your weaknesses.
As you conquer more and more territory, the security problem becomes even greater, as victory creates more pockets of unpatrolled or uncontrolled areas. More resistance fighters will flock to these areas, meaning more danger to your supply lines, and the more your operations can be disrupted.
You can’t afford to sneer at security and administration duties. If you don’t attend to them, you will pay the price.
The first thing you need is strategic security. All the major and minor points of an area must be secured. Any resources that are vital to your efforts have to be cordoned off and defended by regular troops. The same goes for any areas of vital military importance. Any high ground or good defensive position should be occupied unless you want the enemy to take it.
The next comes the security and administrative forces. These are specially trained units that can take over the administration of a given area and keep it running. Security personnel are level headed individuals who don’t fire their weapons at the first sign of trouble. They are going to act as the police force in the area. As such, they have to be able to act in a peace keeping capacity. They have to be able to break up demonstrations and riots with non-lethal force.
Counter insurgency forces are a whole different bag. These are some of the toughest troops to train and equip. They could be doing it all, from arresting a suspect to assaulting a rebel hideout. They have to combine law enforcement, special forces, and diplomacy into one package.
The really difficult part about these operations is that eventually you have to negotiate with the locals. The best trained counter insurgency force in the galaxy will fail if they do not have some kind of local support.
Securing the territory is just one part of the job. The easy part. Lasting security only comes about after you’ve made an understanding with the locals. Your security and administrative personnel really have two jobs. The task of security is hard enough that local diplomacy is neglected. This just guarantees failure down the road. Because, unless you convince the local populace that it is their best interest to support you, then the territory will never truly be secure.
How do you convince them your presence is in their best interest? It’s about time you asked that question.