View Full Version : Emerging Counterinsurgency Doctrine

04-27-2006, 08:39 AM
From Colonel Lang at the Sic Semper Tyrannis blog - Emerging Counterinsurgency Doctrine (http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2006/04/emerging_counte.html).

As we have been discussing here, the subject of "Counterinsurgency" is the flavor of the month in the Army and Marine Corps. People who could not spell "Counterinsurgency" three years ago are now busy reading TE Lawrence, Mao Tse-Tung and even more obscure texts from the corpus of "Counterinsurgency" literature. A political appointee in the DoD recently asked me with great and serious solicitude if I had ever seen "The Battle of Algiers." The implication was that seeing this movie would make all clear.

It often happens that desperation leads to a willingness to listen to people who would, in other circumstances, never get an official hearing. As General (Retired) Keane said on the Newshour a while back, the army that he ran went into Iraq without a clue on "Counterinsurgency." It is now playing "catch-up" in its own ponderous, committee-bound, acronym, and general officer burdened way. The US Marines seem better at such problems of intellectual introspection, somehow.

In this muddle of frustrated brooding, a cogently written document on "Counterinsurgency" has an enormous appeal as a kind of "open sesame!" It helps if that document actually informs.

The writings of this Australian are now the flavor of the week. Good!

He links to Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency (http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/pdf/kilcullen_28_articles.pdf) by David Kilcullen.

BTW - got a nice e-mail from LTC Kilcullen - he is a fan of the Small Wars Journal and is currently working on a follow-on to 28 Articles that will appear in the Marine Corps Gazette and Military Review.

04-27-2006, 08:47 AM
... H/T to Zenpundit (http://www.zenpundit.blogspot.com/)!

Tom Odom
04-27-2006, 03:00 PM
I read a statistic a couple of weeks ago that came out of FAO management office, annoucing that we have 145 or so Mid East FAO slots today. And it was billed as "good news." African FAOs are being accessed at 3-4 per year; total number of active African slots is certainly less than 145.

Consider now that we are in the 5th year of GWOT and the only specialty that is completely oriented toward the main battle grounds remains a micro-fraction of end strength.

I went through a similar period as a Mid East FAO in Gulf War I when in the haste to "get smart" on Iraq everyone who had ever visited a beach used that experience "in the sand" to start making assumption-based pronouncements on Saddam's thinking.

Larry Yates-- a long term Combat Studies Institute historian--who has written on Dom Rep, Grenada, and Somalia has a new paper out on this issue at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/download/csipubs/yates.pdf. in his paper on US experience in stability ops 1789-2005, he makes the point that the US military has more experience in stability ops than it does in conventional wars but refuses to retain that experience, dismissing it as an anomaly rather than accepting it as the norm that it is. Even Yates overlooks those ops that included US military forces in limited capacities; they also constitute a significant slice of the "non-conventional" pie.

When I went to staff college in 1988, our first week was grip and grin among our 15 person group. Part of that was relating our experiences and I went through mine as a Mid East and African FAO. Keep in mind that I had just come back from UNTSO in Lebanon and Egypt. I had lost 2 good friends in Lebanon, Peter McCarthy killed by an IED and Rich Higgins (my CO) taken hostage (and murdered later). The staff group leader remarked that I "had not been in the real Army." I asked him pointedly when was the last time he had been shot at; 6 years later I met the guy in Goma as he came in as part of JTF-A. He had a stunned look on his face and was looking for help. I greeted him with, "welcome to my world."

Hopefully we will try and retain some of our experiences this time. But I fear that effort will be defined by the results of the current experience. Again going back to my staff college class in 1988, I had another wannabe Patton telll me he could not imagine the US ever getting involved in a COIN effort after Vietnam. When I asked him what he thought we were doing in El Salvador and Honduras at that very moment, he was unable to respond.

Steve Francke is another ex-FAO on here; I would ask him to comment as well.

Best all,