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Angevine-Use of Indigenous Forces in Stab Ops

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Angevine-Use of Indigenous Forces in Stab Ops
  Filipino Constabulary soldiers, Manila, Philippine Islands, 1903. Library of Congress, Printsand Photographs Division, Washington, DC.   Marine Corps University Journal Vol. 3 • No. 1 • Spring 201269 The Use of Indigenous Forces inStability Operations e Philippine Constabulary, 1901–1917  by Robert G. Angevine   e U.S. military experience in the Philippines following theSpanish–American War has attracted a significant amount of historical attention in recent years as an example of a successfulcounterinsurgency effort. 1  Accounts of American attempts to pacify the Philippines typically concentrate, however, on the role of theregular Army during the years immediately following the end of the war, particularly the period from 1899 to 1902. is focus on the roleof conventional military forces in the immediate aftermath of the war has overshadowed the role played by less traditional organi-zations, particularly indigenous security forces such as the PhilippinesConstabulary, in the conduct of long-term stability operations. e United States created the Constabulary in 1901 as aparamilitary police force to maintain order on behalf of the newly established civil government in the Philippines and to continue thepacification of the archipelago as the regular Army presence in theislands diminished. e Constabulary, which initially consisted of Filipino enlisted men trained and officered by Americans, sought not Angevine is author of e Railroad and the State: War, Politics, and Technology in 19th-Century America  (2004) and articles on naval concept development and experimentation, military approaches totechnology, and American military and naval intelligence. He received his doctorate in military history from Duke University in 1999 and currently works as a defense analyst in the Washington area. Hehas taught at Duke, American, and George Mason universities and now serves as adjunct assistantprofessor of history at George Washington University. 1 See, for example, Jayson A. Altieri, John A. Cardillo, and William M. Stowe III, “Practical Lessons fromthe Philippine Insurrection,”  Armor  , January–February 2007, 26–34; Robert M. Cassidy, “e LongSmall War: Indigenous Forces for Counterinsurgency,” Parameters  36 (Summer 2006): 47–62; Timothy K. Deady, “Lessons from a Successful Counterinsurgency: e Philippines, 1899–1902,” Parameters  35(Spring 2005): 53–68; and, most notably, Brian McAllister Linn, e Philippine War, 1899–1902 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000); and Linn, e U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899–1902 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989).  only to establish a safe and secure environment, but also to providehumanitarian assistance following natural disasters, to improvetransportation and communication, to promote better public health,and to foster good governance by inspecting the municipal police andmonitoring the actions of local officials. Over time, the Constabulary transitioned into a largely Filipino-led force that would form thenucleus of the Philippine Army in 1935. Two factors contributed to the Constabulary’s ability to extendgovernment control to remote areas of the islands and gain theacceptance of the Filipino population. First, members of theConstabulary understood the cultural,social, and political geography of thePhilippines and negotiated thatterrain effectively. Constabulary officers learned local laws, customs,and dialects. e Constabulary’senlisted men served in their nativeprovinces and had close connectionsto local elites. More broadly, theConstabulary consistently sought to work closely with the local popula-tions and win their allegiance by accommodating local prerogative whenever possible. Second, Constabulary officers and enlisted men were well trained, committed to patrolling the country frequently,and willing to perform a variety of tasks outside their official duties. eir competence, presence in local communities, and provision of important economic and social services helped the Constabulary winover local residents. e Human Terrain of the Philippines   e diverse physical and cultural terrain of the Philippinescomplicated the Constabulary’s efforts to stabilize conditions in theislands and help the civilian government maintain order. e Philippinearchipelago comprises more than 7,000 islands. ree major island e diverse physical and cultural terrain of the Philippines complicated the Constabulary’s efforts tostabilize conditions in the islands and help the civilian government maintain order.  Marine Corps University Journal 70    Angevine - e Use of Indigenous Forces in Stability Operations 71  groups stretch from north to south: the Luzon islands, which includethe largest and most populous island of Luzon as well as Mindoro andMasbate; the Visayas islands, which include Samar, Leyte, Panay,Negros, Cebu, and Bohol; and the Mindanao islands, which include theisland of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago, a string of islandsextending to Borneo that includes Basilan, Jolo, and Tawi-Tawi. 2  e population of the Philippines was characterized by tremendousethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity. One Constabulary officerestimated in 1913 that there were 24 or more different ethnic groupsin the Philippines, each with a distinctive dialect and set of customs andbeliefs. On Luzon alone, there were at least five major ethnic groups,and each spoke a different language. Only a small percentage of thepopulation spoke Spanish. Relations among the various ethnic andtribal groups were often strained and sometimes violent. e mostsignificant division was between the Christian majority and a numberof ethno-linguistic groups on the southern islands of Mindanao andthe Sulu archipelago that shared a belief in Islam and were calledMoros by the Spanish. e Moros had fiercely resisted Spanishattempts to exert greater control of the southern islands. 3 Elites exercised almost absolute authority in local politics.Outside the capital of Manila, Spanish colonial authorities hadoperated through tribal chieftains, who were appointed as localgovernors or village heads. Over time, wealthy landowners andbusinessmen also occupied positions of local authority and a well-defined elite class, the principales, emerged. e principalesprovidedpeasants with land, seed, and protection. In exchange, they receiveda portion of the peasants’ crops and their public deference. eantipathy engendered among the principales by the excesses of theSpanish colonial police in the late nineteenth century may have 2 Linn, Philippine War  , 15. 3 R. A. Duckworth-Ford, “e Philippine Constabulary and Its Work,” 28 May 1913, in folder 300-09.1, Philippine Constabulary, John R. White Papers, University of Oregon Libraries, 4 (hereafter White Papers); Linn, Philippine War  , 15; Anthony James Joes, “Counterinsurgency in the Philippines,1898–1954,” in Daniel Marston and Carter Malkasian, eds., Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare  (Oxford, UK: Osprey, 2008), 37–38.  Marine Corps University Journal 72
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