View Full Version : Vintage COIN and Stability Doctrine - Links

03-03-2007, 03:57 AM
I am a strong believer in the concept of things moving in cycles. As an historical researcher, I delve into the past and often see parallels with modern goings-on, particularly when it comes to military operations.

I am not a participant in the GWOT or OIF so I am unable to contribute in any meaningful way to council discussions on current operations, but I am an interested observer and student of history with a bit of an idea of "on the ground" grunt and int. work. I wonder if some of the lessons of previous UW and COIN campaigns/ops have not been lost over time. Maybe those who have done similar things against a different adversary can offer some guidance to our policy makers and those on the sharp end.

I remember reading somewhere that OIF is kind of ike a weird mish-mash of Viet Nam and the US Occupation of Germany after WWII.

Below are some links to pdf downloads of vintage US Doctrine dealing with Stability and Support Operations, Civic Action, and COIN. I hope they are of some utility to the modern warfighter.

FM 31-16 Counterguerrilla Operations (182 pages) [25 July 1969]
Part 1: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?7v2A.r7WgJduPErVXLD2R9l2wERm3RxVLz89 hHPAsMe3Ha7ZJ4PkxqJAAQDLnKJjKJIJWI0lGkqzTc3iA6r53V E4ZBvYwJWB7NrG4PtFSLs/1370518001a.pdf) Part 2: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?Nlesxbmcz9uLtxV@Kvlds.ssRGTzpEF5CGZv nEJaq9CcYTB11pC2S188fjsH3EgIUpPVPR.XZ@TQLRvHNtWxDe KP1yAtAIKS6uggSFmxpNI/1370518001b.pdf)
Part 3: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?90yj8FEZ7ZVg8UmVYhJAlu7WS2DMRLlrqQqT OfLRX8SzqaaqUzgLcs3hyrzzJpXZu4VIYGq4ptgsBzjhlTTmLn fbigV9T1ChJu9X2BhxtOQ/1370518001c.pdf)
Part 4: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?ZfAFEcdMOewNr4YktUAZbH.jnVl1y5NezwkR 3qwSnSqpBD5u@cqFTPE6QdysB.qvwPHgMf85uyR97fuTgN4Ti0 N.y66OQ6KrpkEWqFPxqF8/1370518001d.pdf)

USMC Fleet Marine Force Manual 8-2 Counterinsurgency Operations (200 pages) [22 December 1967]
Part 1: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?4Ta9bIs4LvVvpjt7rT3tk9f5zFPmT0I57aId qtS9F68oOkhkXN..lQFhHC2cN7GKw8Zv1@Fifjr71DosTIvU41 4Npg7@KlpktRqfbvgeNaw/1370521001a.pdf)
Part 2: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?5LAH3ksW@i4PZiJkXiTxH4.2FJweZjSeXXKD rVqFxNRrjfQjCcesUqCYO.CENWzrYBAeZt3ZK6MBWXFDTSJOr7 rp2tdAR1NbsEj7SHW6plA/1370521001b.pdf)
Part 3: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?CVUYEZJs7F9Te3a.DruKcREjV@VpkhyHLqoZ X9QtXbTObHvN4kmBQubPwbvDypg6Fh7Tn3SYl49i1oU0Rq.w3Z ssZl3uK8TOZamwfZRX4c8/1370521001c.pdf)
Part 4: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?1jcsAvZDfEaequu5@B9QCAgXim9I.x4yFCJT 4iyQf2uaCp78dzapCQVI1jVHhwNsW6vz.fhZGJYDDEEHUCsMMq NOZOylaCaZpounDtLcSYc/1370521001d.pdf)

Phung Hoang Advisor Handbook (36 pages) [20 November 1970]
Download (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?Q.JuPjZvKcyVJs8.srryQzVGrah@Lx75ZOoR 7DCG3JwvLF2.77FAzeR@n5e2a0lIAZnkRtW1IE0yggPzK9xts2 i1YAhTxYnnUeErWtvVuYI/1370406001.pdf)

FM 41-10 Civil Affairs Operations (183 pages) [03 August 1967]
Part 1: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?xH1vSzffUUEyqyATiqSgBg97MdXcU46KDBu3 QjrjNoIPz0oOy9l0vnzgMkkYdqBAf23iqGGd3S1O49F8bkp0FD ZAsj9bsfFsbN2vcUPGJwk/1370517001a.pdf)
Part 2: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?R0KaXI71cDkqfOnETR8XJbSLU.Q68mI4LP0D wQ@6HcCQRIwL1FUnaWanPvHHOdltP9AGx8wpv@hQKlgs@ZJJQi UoUPjb75nvMUUrRoou420/1370517001b.pdf)
Part 3: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?ak9rozt5WcofQQJj4SREVMYmnry9JGj1eLrD rJvmAG44.NRgKzMCXa7xXORkEA0BRNvdR73MpCybiUqFU@J4w9 duwySzOs8q@unCT@OheLE/1370517001c.pdf)
Part 4: (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?iM5.5fYetvKXdBUDyTwYg@6tDi8uP26j8vfu rQKEww5m.ZyUbOD5baw3feIAalreggXdABzEBJxZ0a9Nh2dnsl mwIpi2NLAlqWTAaJPLweQ/1370517001d.pdf)

FM 31-22: U.S. Army counterinsurgency forces, 1963
Download (http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=19)

FM 31-23 : Stability and support operations, 1972
Download (http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=25)

More to follow

03-03-2007, 12:42 PM
One more vintage FM that I just finished reading is FM 31-15 Operations Against Irregular Forces (1961). (http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/p4013coll9&CISOPTR=81).

Having read both the UK Field Manual and the new Aussie Pams on COIN, which I regard as world's best practice in COIN, I find FM 31-15 to contain a lot of common sense. My understanding of COIN ops is that to be successful, they should be joint military and civil authority affairs. This fact is well documented in 31-15. Having been written in 1961, it really does seem to be far ahead of its time, or maybe we've had to relearn its lessons.

John T. Fishel
03-03-2007, 02:44 PM
Welcome braun! Your point is well taken. One can, of course, go back even further to the USMC Small Wars Manual of 1940 or Colonel C. E. Callwell's Small Wars first published in 1896.

As my friend and colleague, Max Manwaring, and I argue in our most recent book, Uncomfortable Wars Revisited (http://www.oupress.com/bookdetail.asp?isbn=978-0-8061-3711-7) (U of Oklahoma Press 2006 - plug:)) and in other stuff we have published both individually and together, there is very little in COIN that is really new. Most of the right answers have been stated before as well as have critiques of wrong answers - many times.

The really interesting question is, to quote Bob Dylan, "When will they ever learn?" And why do they/we always foget what we know, or even worse, ignore it? I tried to come up with an answer in a 1995 article in the (now sadly defunct) journal, Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement which I called, "Little Wars, Small Wars, LIC, OOTW, The GAP, and Things That Go Bump in the Dark." For the US, a part of that answer was that the army trainded for the war it wanted to fight, not the one it was then fighting or most likely to fight. But, I am left feeling that this is simply not adequate.

03-03-2007, 03:24 PM
I guess I have a half-formed theory floating around amongst the muddled contents of my skull that overall, human experience is a perishable commodity. Sure, things are put to paper and in a military sense, are made doctrine. As you state, military forces often train for the war they want to fight rather than the war they are likely to fight. A loss of training emphasis on the more unpleasant types of operations can only lead to a loss of effectiveness while permorming those types of operations.

No offence to any Viet Nam Veterans out there who may be serving, but it appears that now the VN generation is retiring, the institutional memory of the VN experience may be retiring with them. For instance, reading a book about the Phoenix (Phung Hoang) Program is one thing, but having someone who was involved in the execution and/or planning of Phoenix ops sit down with you and explain the lessons learned and reasons for successes and failures and how these concepts may be applied in an OIF context is priceless. Is this actually happening? Are we going to have to learn the lessons again the hard way? I hope not. The young men and women operating in IZ are taking a beating from weapons they cannot really fight back against. It would be nice if the head shed remembered the winning formula sooner rather than later.

John T. Fishel
03-03-2007, 03:39 PM
You are dead on - no irony intended.

On the plus side, Petraeus and most of the folks around him have had the kinds of conversations with VN vets and other small wars vets that you are looking for. Petraeus had some of those conversations as formal interviews for his PhD dissertation.

03-05-2007, 04:12 PM
Let's not forget the complications and problems that can be stirred up by bad translators either. Translating what is actually being said V what they think you want to hear V what they don't want you to hear are critical elements in any COIN operation. One bad translation can have major ramifications and this this problem goes back to day one of human conflict. A classic example that pops into my mind is when Crazy Horse brought in his band in the spring of 1877. When the premier war leader of the Lakota was approached to asssist against the Nez Perce, Lakota oral tradition, as directly heard from Crazy Horse by several Lakota present, relates the following: Crazy Horse said, " I will fight them ( the Nez Perce) until they are no more". The translator told the Officers present, " I will fight you until you are no more." This resulted in the attempted arrest of Crazy Horse and his death, which in turn prompted Sitting Bull to keep his band out until 1882 and some say it gave significant impetus for the Lakota to later take up the Ghost Dancing which in turn caused alot of problems.

Tom Odom
03-05-2007, 08:55 PM

Thanks mate for the links. I have added all those files to the military history DVDs that I build here as part of our digital library.

Few are the VN vets left serving today--especially in the active force. And what you talk about--ignoring lessons learned from what John T refers to as Uncomfortable Wars (I like that, John!) is a historical trend well documented.

I fully believe that many would gleefully go back to the Cold War and its Fulda Gap centric focus if they could and just as gleefully overlook that most Cold War conflicts were not cold and did not take place in Europe.



John T. Fishel
03-05-2007, 11:50 PM
Thanks, Tom. I wish I could take credit for the term but it really belongs to General Jack Galvin (or maybe to his Deputy Chief of Staff in SOUTHCOM, COL Jay Cope). Galvin used it in his Kermit Roosevelt lecture which was later published in "Parameters." My co-author, Max Manwaring, used it as the title for his edited book which was the first in the series ( I was one of the authors too.) I did insist on the title of this volume, Uncomfortable Wars Revisited, which updates a number of pieces in the original book, several other books in the series, and includes new, original chapters as well. I thought it was a good idea to recall the fact that this formulation was not new to us nor was the subject new - as this forum makes so abundantly clear.

Bill Moore
03-06-2007, 03:12 AM

Great points, and since you have obviously put a lot of thought into this I wonder if you have any ideas on how to operationalize history, or perhaps more accurately, how do we reengineer our education system so the lessons of history are brought to the forefront for consideration in current operation or during the planning of future operations? We have volumes of knowledge in our history databases that always seem to magically pop up after we errored by ignoring the lessons.

As one of my former bosses said we don't have lessons learned, we just have lessons. So the question is how do we get to lessons learned in time to prevent rewalking the same mistakes other have made and have documented so many times.

It wouldn't hurt to have a series of Cliff Notes on different categories of military operations history, sort of like our joint pubs, but more at the tactical/operational level. Then make our professional education more relevant to today's operational environment, by making the study of irregular warfare mandatory rather than optional. These are small steps that may make us a little better, but I think the real answer is drastically reengineering our education/training systems, without breaking what isn't broke, because we still need an untouchable conventional warfighting capability.

03-06-2007, 01:43 PM
John, can you post that article about things that go bump in the night since the journal is now out of business?:cool:

John T. Fishel
03-06-2007, 02:57 PM
Bill, I had thought that the fact that we had gotten the concepts widely accepted in both joint and army doctrine meant that lessons had been learned. I was wrong!!!! The 2003 SASO manual relegated most of it to typical kinetic checklists. So, there was an interim FM and then the Petraeus document. And, as soon as this set of conflicts wind down, I suspect that interest in COIN will go back to the back burner...
My former boss - and before that, my subordinate in Panama - COL (Ret) Rich Downie published his PhD dissertation with Praeger called Learning from Conflict in which he treated the Army as a learning organization. John Nagl cites Rich in his book. But, as I'm saying here, I don't believe the institution wants to learn these lessons and internalize them. In my retirement, I have fulfilled my boyhood ambition of being a cowboy and i have learned the truth of the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
Slap, I'm not sure how to do this. The article was published before the journal became available online and I don't have the original stored in a computer.

03-06-2007, 03:13 PM
John, Thanks for the extra effort.;)

03-11-2007, 01:30 PM
At the Vietnam archive I found the Village Defense Manual written by the famous John Paul Vann, it is even signed by him. It is a good little manual and I was going to post the link but while I was out there in cyber-space I got lost. Those with better computer skills may try to post it. I love that site but it can be hard to navigate for people like me they think word processing is looking stuff up in the dictionary.:confused:

03-11-2007, 01:52 PM
Hey Slapout !
Great post as always :)

You would be 1000% correct !
Can't find the book link you referred to, but this has lots of good topics here:

We studied Vann and others in our Pysop and CA courses.

Iraq is no Vietnam, but there is a lesson from Vietnam that our commanders in Iraq will ignore at their peril: To win, we must think and act differently than our training and military education prepare us to do.

During the Vietnam War, some of the fiercest fighters the war ever saw were soldiers who were known as combat bums and as troops who had gone native.

Several authors have written about Vann's career, particularly Neil Sheehan in his brilliantly detailed book, A Bright Shining Lie. But, I caution, Sheehan was pushing his own historical interpretation of the Vietnam War and failed to provide much information as to what actually makes a great U.S. counterinsurgency leader tick. I strongly recommend the late Marguerite Higgins' book, Our Vietnam Nightmare, as well as the works of some noted counterinsurgency experts such as Roger Trinquier and David Galula. From there, the spirit of a counterinsurgency leader may emerge and one then can apply this wisdom to winning war as it exists today.

03-11-2007, 03:26 PM
At the Vietnam archive I found the Village Defense Manual written by the famous John Paul Vann, it is even signed by him. It is a good little manual and I was going to post the link but while I was out there in cyber-space I got lost...
Here it is:

Village Security Planning Guide for District and Mobile Advisory Teams - 1970 (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?h96oqe6hpk5h.NQwr8VE@gnu.c2Dugf.7ixd B6.xfPvfK.7ydsUZeVe@HcDI0lBPUVQ81q1sns8k70e9Uz@puj ySBbB0WfVJGzyfcxoGAJg/2160104001a.pdf)

Part Two (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?arzBsFe2T3V42Pqaa8Pc.vG3lkwuMdBP3cxb SdZARwaLgjfF5pD8zutd96tzt.1HJd0TZnu06E0VdBjPGNqT7m p.o5..oPLRzLj.gTyu@2I/2160104001b.pdf)

...and since I'm posting anyway, here's a companion volume, this time the forward signed by Bill Colby:

The Vietnamese Village 1970: Handbook for Advisors (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?hinEFDhL94NBwnA8SNPk3ojnfmHcgp5IGYrM OnRSVbYMyqYCWJJABLINEH1YbeeHCWIAsg.YdsssdU6BtwE3RY LzDf6azMBecnT7f68EshU/2810102003a.pdf)

Part Two (http://www.virtualarchive.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?dXxPW.fu8@HGssImYEp6UhUrF78Zj.f0gWqg k3EIGday4LpK0hItYShQlHK7hiNpCqniZ.I9lsCMqMvewEZXg. .VOcsrVHNkB3nHvDMI9xY/2810102003b.pdf)

03-11-2007, 04:12 PM
Thats it!! Thanks Jed.