View Full Version : U.S. Army / Marine COIN Doctrine

07-09-2006, 08:32 AM
9 July Washington Post commentary - Fighting Insurgents, By the Book (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/07/AR2006070701151.html) by Fred Kaplan.

Two messages flutter between the lines of the Army's new field manual on counterinsurgency wars (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24fd.pdf), its first document on the subject in 20 years.

One is that Pentagon planning for the Iraq war's aftermath was at least as crass, inattentive to the lessons of history, and contrary to basic political and military principles as the war's harshest critics have charged.

The other is that as a nation we may simply be ill-suited to fighting these kinds of wars.

The field manual's chief authors -- Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus and retired Lt. Col. Conrad C. Crane -- would never make these points explicitly. When Petraeus was commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, he combined combat power and community-building more astutely than any other officer. Crane, director of the U.S. Army Military History Institute, is one of the leading scholars of "irregular warfare." They both support the war's aims. And they outline their new doctrine -- or, rather, their revival of a very old doctrine -- thoughtfully and thoroughly.

Yet the undertone of this 241-page guidebook -- not yet publicly released, but obtained by Steven Aftergood and posted last week on Secrecy News , his online newsletter -- is one of grim caution.

Counterinsurgency involves rebuilding a society, keeping the population safe, boosting the local government's legitimacy, training a national army and fighting off insurgents who are trying to topple the government -- all at the same time. As the manual puts it, "The insurgent succeeds by sowing chaos and disorder anywhere; the government fails unless it maintains order everywhere."

From the first page to the last, the authors stress that these kinds of wars are "protracted by nature." They require "firm political will and extreme patience," "considerable expenditure of time and resources," and a large deployment of troops ready to greet "hand shakes or hand grenades" without mistaking one for the other.

"Successful . . . operations require Soldiers and Marines at every echelon to possess the following," the authors write. They then list a daunting set of traits: "A clear, nuanced, and empathetic appreciation of the essential nature of the conflict. . . . An understanding of the motivation, strengths, and weaknesses of the insurgent," as well as rudimentary knowledge of the local culture, behavioral norms and leadership structures. In addition, there must be "adaptive, self-aware, and intelligent leaders."

Meanwhile, one high-profile infraction can undo 100 successes. "Lose moral legitimacy, lose the war," the authors warn, noting that the French lost Algeria in part because their commanders condoned torture...

And on the Secrecy News (FAS) Blog - U.S. Marine Corps on Counterinsurgency (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2006/07/us_marine_corps_on_counterinsu.html).

The U.S. Marine Corps has recently published a series of documents on counterinsurgency:

Small-Unit Leaders' Guide to Counterinsurgency (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/usmc/coin.pdf), June 2006 (4.7 MB PDF file).

Countering Irregular Threats: A Comprehensive Approach (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/usmc/irreg.pdf), 14 June 2006 (3.2 MB PDF file).

Tentative Manual for Countering Irregular Threats: An Updated Approach to Counterinsurgency Operations (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/usmc/manual.pdf), 7 June 2006.

07-10-2006, 12:10 PM

The links to the Marine Corps COIN documents are a great find. Sadly, the fact that I am seeing them first via the SWJ and the FAS blog, highlights a concern. These publications appear to be at least a month old, and a cursory search of the MC doctrine (using the term "COIN") page did not produce results beyond MCRP 3-33A (FM 90-8).

I fear that this highlights where we are on the power curve.

SSG Rock
07-12-2006, 01:30 PM
How is it that a draft copy of FM 3-24 can pop up on the internet? I know it isn't classified but I'm just kind of surprised that it can be found open source already? What website did you bump into it on?

07-12-2006, 01:53 PM
How is it that a draft copy of FM 3-24 can pop up on the internet? I know it isn't classified but I'm just kind of surprised that it can be found open source already? What website did you bump into it on?

The webpage that posted it is Secrecy News (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/) AKA Federation of American Scientists. They will post any DoD document they get their hands on. So does Global Security (http://www.globalsecurity.org/). Global Security's John Pike broke away from FAS to start up GS...

All it takes is one person to e-mail them a document or have it posted on an offical site, no matter how remote as they scour the Internet daily for such material.

For example: Need the updated version of the USMC Iraqi Culture Smart Card (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2006/07/a_new_iraq_culture_smart_card.html)? It was posted yesterday at Secrecy News.

SSG Rock
07-12-2006, 01:56 PM
Okay, thanks, I'll have to get the Secrecy News on my favorites.

07-16-2006, 09:26 AM
Hug an Insurgent: U.S.’s New Plan to Win in Iraq (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2272066,00.html) - 16 July.

The US Army has turned years of conventional military thinking on its head in a new field manual for soldiers on counter-insurgency operations in Iraq.

The manual, the first for 20 years, emphasises that it is far more important to secure moral legitimacy and the support of the community than to kill insurgents and win battles.

It has been drawn up by General David Petraeus, who is known as one of America’s more culturally sensitive commanders. He led the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles, into Iraq and set up training for the Iraqi forces before returning to the US last year to head the army staff college at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The manual’s conclusions are stark. “Lose moral legitimacy, lose the war,” it warns. In what could prove to be uncomfortable reading for Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, it emphasises that “efforts to build a legitimate government through illegitimate action — including unjustified or excessive use of force, unlawful detention, torture or punishment without trial — are self-defeating, even against insurgents who conceal themselves amid non-combatants”.

The 241-page report, to be published in September, has gone in “final draft” form to General Peter Schoomaker, the army chief of staff, for approval and was obtained by Secrecy News, an intelligence gathering website. A Fort Leavenworth spokesman said it was “not thrilled” the report had been leaked but was proud of its conclusions.

Petraeus’s thinking has been influenced by Nigel Aylwin-Foster, a British brigadier who caused a storm by writing in Military Review, an official army journal produced at Fort Leavenworth, that American officers displayed “cultural insensitivity” in Iraq that bordered on “institutional racism”.

Yet in the light of the Abu Ghraib scandal, an apparent massacre by marines at Haditha and the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and her family, Petraeus’s conclusions are unlikely to be dismissed.

The report is co-signed by James Mattis, a lieutenant-general with the marines who provoked outrage last year for saying it was “a hell of a lot of fun” to shoot Afghans who “slapped women around”.

The rethinking has been going on at Leavenworth’s “lessons learnt” centre, where long-forgotten doctrines have been revived. “We threw away all our lessons after Vietnam because it was a war we didn’t want to remember,” said an army lecturer.

The field manual warns that “the more force is used, the less effective it is” and says the “best weapon is do not shoot”. It points out that “sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction” to provocation by insurgents.

Under the heading Unsuccessful Practices, it lists placing “priority on killing and capturing the enemy, not on engaging the population” and concentrating forces in large bases for protection rather than risking American casualties. It claims that “amnesty and rehabilitation” are tried and tested methods of winning over insurgents.

A US officer involved in compiling the manual said it represented much more than just a new doctrine. “It is the big idea,” he said. America is expected to face counter-insurgency wars in future rather than straightforward combat. “The idea is that you end the day with fewer enemies than when you started,” the officer said.

That has not been the experience of Iraq, where those who greeted the Americans as liberators have become terrified by the collapse of security.

Andrew Krepinevich, of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a defence think tank, said it was essential for the government to secure Baghdad: “There’s a saying in counter-insurgency warfare: if the government can’t protect itself, how can it protect you?”...

07-31-2006, 08:18 PM
Having read the new COIN pub (and not from FAS) I was alarmed at the lack of thought put into the intelligence portion of it. Purported to be the newest doctrine on COIN in 20 years the intelligence chapter (Chapter 3) does nothing to show a change in thinking to match the threat. Where is the new way of thinking of analysis to match the "new" doctrine?

Tom Odom
08-01-2006, 02:17 PM
For those with access, I just loaded a brief on the BCKS Forum on COIN I did 20 times last week.

I had not seen the new FM until after the series of briefing. Much similarity there.


08-10-2006, 01:20 PM
Posted yesterday on the Thomas P.M. Barnett Blog - New COIN is Progress, Not Perfection (http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003561.html).

OP-ED: "Counterinsurgency, by the Book: The Pentagon's new manual won't solve our Iraq problems," (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/07/opinion/07shultz.html) by Richard H. Shultz Jr. And Andrea J. Dew, New York Times, 7 August 2006, p. A21.

Two academics who've studied insurgencies take Dave Petraeus' and Jim Mattis' draft Counter-Insurgency field manual to task for not having enough operational and tactical models for identifying and working the fractured landscape of bad actors we're likely to meet in Gap states afflicted by civil strife.

Despite declaring the FM an "encyclopedic 241-page review of insurgencies that took place in the 20th century and an alphabetical list of the tools of counterinsurgency," they dismiss it somewhat as merely "an introductory course in the history of insurgency and counterinsurgency."

Their criticisms (lack of more distinct profiles of factions typically lumped under the rubric of insurgents, model for categorizing these groups' operational tendencies, and an intell model for digging up actionable intelligence) all seem like logical next steps, none of which I think Mattis or Petraeus would deny (though I'd be interested in their opinions--as well as that of others--to this criticism).

I will confess I'm not sure of the FM's normal purview on such TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures), but I believe that such details are typically covered in TTP-specific docs.

Whether or not I'm assuming correctly on that score, I will say that I'm not surprised this new FM amounts to an intro course. The Army and Marines so purged Vietnam from their doctrine and thinking in the past 30 years, that such a re-educational tone in this first draft FM designed to reverse that long tide stikes me a rather natural progression.

Fast enough for the academics? No. But they're fine to push hard. As they note here, until well into 2005, our forces in Iraq weren't making themselves smart enough on the varied cast of characters in play (militias, jihadists, gangs, former regimers, etc.) to take advantage of possible fissures.

So the learning and growing smarter continues...

08-10-2006, 01:22 PM
From another thread: 7 August New York Times commentary - Counterinsurgency, by the Book (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/07/opinion/07shultz.html) by Richard Schultz Jr. and Andrea Dew.

... The Pentagon is just starting to catch up with these changes. It is in the midst of a strategic overhaul aimed at coming up with new ways to fight new wars. This was first signaled in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, which described the “long war” America is now engaged in as “a war that is irregular in its nature” against adversaries that “are not conventional military forces.”

More recently, two of the Pentagon’s smartest and most experienced generals, David Petraeus of the Army and Jim Mattis of the Marines, have overseen the production of a new counterinsurgency manual — called the FM 3-24/FMFM 3-24 (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24fd.pdf) in Pentagon-speak — for fighting these irregular wars. This blueprint declares that it is primarily for “leaders and planners at the battalion level and above” who are “involved in counterinsurgency operations regardless of where these operations may occur.”

The current draft of this counterinsurgency manual, which has been shown to civilian experts and been posted on the Internet by the Federation of American Scientists, provides an encyclopedic 241-page review of insurgencies that took place in the 20th century and an alphabetical list of the tools of counterinsurgency. The manual, which is still a work in progress, amounts to an introductory course in the history of insurgency and counterinsurgency.

But to be of practical use to American troops in fierce battles in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, the final draft of the handbook must be more than a Counterinsurgency 101 exercise. It must, at a minimum, accurately identify the types of armed groups American troops will have to fight, which include more than traditional insurgents. It must also provide a framework for profiling the organization and operational tendencies of these armed groups, to learn their strengths and weaknesses. And it has to map out an intelligence model that will dig out actionable intelligence that can be used to find and defeat armed groups.

On all these critical requirements, the current draft of the manual comes up short. Based on our research and the lessons learned from centuries of counterinsurgency efforts, we recommend three major revisions for those drafting the final version.

First, you must know your enemy. In today’s internal wars several different types of armed groups — not just traditional insurgents bent on changing a national regime — engage in unconventional combat. Iraq is illustrative. Those fighting American forces include a complex mix of Sunni tribal militias, former regime members, foreign and domestic jihadists, Shiite militias and criminal gangs. Each has different motivations and ways of fighting. Tackling them requires customized strategies...

The Pentagon’s new counterinsurgency manual suffers from similar flaws. It focuses almost exclusively on combating cohesive groups of insurgents who share the same goals. Yes, there are traditional insurgent groups in Iraq, like cells of former Baathists. But the foreign terrorists, religious militias and criminal organizations operate from very different playbooks. We have to learn to read them the way other nations faced with insurgencies have...

Second, the final manual must provide our troops with a systematic way of “profiling” each specific armed group. As it stands, the guide is a laundry list of the generic elements of insurgency movements — leadership, organization and networks, popular support, ideology, activities and foreign support...

The third problem with the manual is that it actually overstresses winning “hearts and minds” — the political, economic, civic and other “soft power” tactics aimed at winning popular support. Yes, such steps are keys to victory; they played a central part in counterinsurgency victories in the 1950’s by the Philippine government of Ramón Magsaysay and by the British in Malaya. In both places, the government invested heavily in education, local economies, public works and social welfare programs to wean their populations away from the insurgents.

But soft power tactics are not the only keys to victory. An insurgency is still war, and the key is finding and capturing or killing terrorist and militia leaders. It is an intelligence-led struggle. The Pentagon manual rightly insists that “intelligence drives operations” and that “without good intelligence, a counterinsurgent is like a blind boxer.” Yet the document provides no organizational blueprint for collecting such intelligence...

08-10-2006, 05:47 PM
The reviewers evidently have not read the 3rd manual for small unit leaders. Of the three this is the most nuts and bolts type to include a way to build network charts of the enemy for intell purposes. And you don't need a computer to do it, you can do it by hand if need be, as was done by the group that caught Saddam when the computer model became to complicated.

I don't know if a group profile could be done. In general profiling is such a mis-understood topic between what people see on TV and how it is really used. the whole purpose of a profile is to separate an "individual" from a "group" not to learn about the group.

Which goes to back to my suggestion on another thread that Military forces need to learn to think motive,means,and opportunity. Which means don't waste a lot of time hunting them, stay close to the population which is their target and they will come to you!!! Then you can fight on your terms not theirs!!

Tom Odom
08-10-2006, 06:29 PM
Funny that you mention motive. I was (still am) in a debate on another forum over the issue of whether analysis is true analysis if it does not look at all sides in an issue. From my perspective, limited analysis is self-limiting in its value and does not allow the analyst to understand motivations.

To my surprise, I heard that analyzing motivations is "silly" and that one is "arrogant" to even try. My response was "Motivational analysis is as basic to strategic analysis as analysis of actions. Arrogant? Perhaps but not as risky as ignoring motivation because that may help identify why things happened or more importantly what is likely to happen."

Your suggestion:

Which goes to back to my suggestion on another thread that Military forces need to learn to think motive,means,and opportunity. Which means don't waste a lot of time hunting them, stay close to the population which is their target and they will come to you!!! Then you can fight on your terms not theirs!!

is very close to Kilgullen's

26. Build your own solution only attack the enemy when he gets in the way.. Try not to be distracted, or forced into a series of reactive moves, by a desire to kill or capture the insurgents.

Good post!


09-12-2006, 12:07 PM
13 September - New US Manual Promotes 'Small War' Skills by Nathan Hodge, JDW Staff Reporter, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. (not found online)

The US Army and Marine Corps (USMC) are putting the finishing touches on a new counter-insurgency manual that is designed to fill a crucial gap in US military doctrine...

The new manual is expected to be published in mid-October. It includes thought-provoking aphorisms on counter-insurgency warfare, such as: "The more you protect your force, the less protected you are"; "The more force you use, the less effective you are"; and "Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction".

Lieutenant General David Petraeus, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Commandant of the US Army Command and General Staff College, told Jane's those paradoxes are meant to "provoke thought", not provide a rigid template for current or future operations.

"What we are trying to do is point out to leaders in particular - to staff officers and to leaders at all levels - that some of the conventional thinking does not necessarily translate to unconventional operations, stability operations, irregular warfare or counter-insurgency," he said.

An interim counter-insurgency manual has been available since October 2004, but the new document underscores a high-level effort to promote institutional change...

09-25-2006, 08:39 PM
Having read the new COIN pub (and not from FAS) I was alarmed at the lack of thought put into the intelligence portion of it. Purported to be the newest doctrine on COIN in 20 years the intelligence chapter (Chapter 3) does nothing to show a change in thinking to match the threat. Where is the new way of thinking of analysis to match the "new" doctrine?

What - 19 pages in a 250 page document is not enough?

Just my opinion, but the Conflict Assessment Framework that USAID's Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation uses appears to be the most complete IPB or Intell Analysis that I have seen recently that would apply in fragile states such as Iraq or Afghanistan.

10-05-2006, 11:04 AM
5 October New York Times - Military Hones a New Strategy on Insurgency (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/05/washington/05doctrine.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin) by Michael Gordon.

The United States Army and Marines are finishing work on a new counterinsurgency doctrine that draws on the hard-learned lessons from Iraq and makes the welfare and protection of civilians a bedrock element of military strategy.

The doctrine warns against some of the practices used early in the war, when the military operated without an effective counterinsurgency playbook. It cautions against overly aggressive raids and mistreatment of detainees. Instead it emphasizes the importance of safeguarding civilians and restoring essential services, and the rapid development of local security forces.

The current military leadership in Iraq has already embraced many of the ideas in the doctrine. But some military experts question whether the Army and the Marines have sufficient troops to carry out the doctrine effectively while also preparing for other threats...

The new doctrine is part of a broader effort to change the culture of a military that has long promoted the virtues of using firepower and battlefield maneuvers in swift, decisive operations against a conventional enemy...

The doctrine is outlined in a new field manual on counterinsurgency that is to be published next month. But recent drafts of the unclassified documents have been made available to The New York Times, and military officials said that the major elements of final version would not change.

The spirit of the document is captured in nine paradoxes that reflect the nimbleness required to win the support of the people and isolate insurgents from their potential base of support — a task so complex that military officers refer to it as the graduate level of war...

10-10-2006, 08:33 AM
10 October Washington Times commentary - To Win the Long War (http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20061009-094036-9129r.htm) by MG Robert Scales (USA Ret.).

...War is the most perfidious of all forms of human intercourse. That truism was learned in spades after Desert Storm, when the tenets of "AirLand Battle," proven in high-tech warfare, quickly became a hindrance in the war against adaptive low-tech enemies. Experiences in Bosnia, Kosovo and Haiti reinforced in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon now compel us to craft a new set of words that embrace all that we have learned at great expense in today's wars against Islamic insurgencies.

The words have appeared, brilliantly albeit it late in the season, with the publication of the Army and Marine Corps Manual 3-24, "Counterinsurgency." Today's DePuy sobriquet is shared by two remarkably gifted generals, the Marines' James Mattis and the Army's David Petraeus. Their fingerprints are on every page and explain in large measure why this volume, (unlike virtually all other doctrinal tomes of the Defense Department) is written in English...and makes sense... and deserves a place on military bookshelves next to Mr. Mahan, Mr. Douhet, Gen. von Seeckt and Gen. DePuy.

The power of the manual is contained in its paradoxes: a clever literary ploy the authors use to differentiate this war from those of the past and to shock old cold warriors out of their fixation on firepower and killing. The phrase "The more you protect the force the less secure you are" warns of the danger of hiding inside fortified base camps. "The more force you use the less effective you are," and "The best weapons do not shoot," argue that counterinsurgencies are fought with ideas rather than bullets. "Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction," warns that impulsive, violent responses to enemy atrocities often play to its advantage.

The observation that in an insurgency "tactical success guarantees nothing" harkens back to Vietnam when, after the war, a retired colonel told his North Vietnamese counterpart, "you know you never defeated us on the battlefield," the reply was, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant," a warning that we and our Israeli allies might well take to heart.

When the manual warns "if a tactic works this week, it will not work next week," it is teaching us that to win the long war we must focus on the human side of war. The services must become learning as well as fighting institutions able to adapt faster than the enemy. The manual recognizes what any young soldier or Marine can verify: that success can best be achieved by empowering the Army and Marine Corps at the lowest level. Counterinsurgencies are the business of lieutenants and sergeants.

Gen. DePuy once observed that "doctrine isn't doctrine unless 51 percent of the officer corps believes in it." At last our military has a counterinsurgency blueprint worthy of its powerful antecedents. The question now is whether or not our policy-makers will read it and our military leaders will believe in it enough to put it into practical form...

Steve Blair
10-10-2006, 01:15 PM
It's interesting that Scales trotted out DePuy, since in Vietnam he was one of the big proponents of firepower over boots on the ground. Not to dispute DePuy's impact on the military after Vietnam, but it would be interesting to see his reaction to having his name linked to something he was opposed to during Vietnam.

10-10-2006, 02:15 PM
I'm not sure I would be quoting an individual who was arguably motivated more by the need to justify new programs and large expenditures than by an institutional need for change. I think one could make a compelling argument that Gen Depuy pushed Air-Land-Battle as a way to get the Abrams MBT, Bradley IFV, and Apache Helicopter in the inventory.

Steve Blair
10-10-2006, 05:08 PM
DePuy was actually Active Defense. Air-Land came in when Starry was TRADOC.

Tom Odom
10-10-2006, 05:46 PM
DePuy was actually Active Defense. Air-Land came in when Starry was TRADOC.

Correct Steve on who was tied to Airland Battle. But I would disagree with minimizing DePuy's effects on the Army. He was the 1st TRADOC commander and it was a role he wanted. Having worked with Bobby Scales, I know that he sees Depuy--and rightly so--as a driving force behind realistic training and adaptive tactics. Depuy was prescriptive in his methods; he had learned the hard way in WWII that rote infantry training routinely gets infantry killed.

See Leavenworth Paper #16 on Depuy's role on the 76 version of 100-5 that proposed the Active Defense at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/Herbert/Herbert.asp

In tribute to GEN William DePuy at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/Depuy/depuy.asp

Selected Papers of General William E. Depuy, at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/content.asp#select

And the chapter on Depuy in Secret of Future Victories, at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/gorman/gorman.asp

On the "Big 5" look at Chapter 1 Certain Victory athttp://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/content.asp#cert



Steve Blair
10-10-2006, 06:16 PM
I'm not in the least minimizing DePuy's impact on the army, and I'm sorry if the post came off that way. He did have a major and very important impact on the post-Vietnam army. What I was pointing to was his tenure as CG of the 1st ID in 1965-66 and his concept of operations in the III CTZ. DePuy was very much a big unit war guy, and preached reliance on supporting arms and firepower. This may not have been the way to go in Vietnam. He did a great deal to get the Army to adapt to the situation it faced in Europe in the 1970s, and certainly paved the way for Starry's Air-Land changes. I worked with Starry for a time in the late 1990s. Very interesting guy.

10-10-2006, 07:25 PM
I don't think that MG Scales was linking GEN Depuy to COIN so much as holding him up as an example of one man's impact on doctrinal development. Active defense got officers speaking about doctrine and IMO served as the wellspring of Airland Battle, not to mention jump starting the Army's modernization cycle for material development, the use of the METL and battle-focused training. I wonder what his impact on COIN doctrine might have been if he viewed his Vietnam experience as a vision of the future instead of an aberration.

10-12-2006, 11:00 PM
12 October American Forces Press Service - Unconventional Conflicts to Dominate Future Operations (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=1570) by Donna Miles. Posted here in full per DoD guidelines.

Irregular, unconventional conflicts like those under way in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to dominate U.S. military operations for the foreseeable future, Army officials agreed this week at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual convention here.

“I don’t see conventional challenges to be dominant for a long time,” said Conrad Crane, director of the U.S. Army Military History, during a panel discussion on irregular warfare and counterinsurgency operations.

“Our enemies are going to make us fight this kind of war until we get it right,” Crane said. “This is our future.”

The Army is rewriting its doctrine and incorporating lessons learned in the terror war into its operations so it’s better postured to confront this new threat, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, during an Oct. 10 luncheon address.

He pointed to the new counterinsurgency manual, Field Manual 3-24, developed jointly with the Marine Corps, as a big step toward preparing the force for the challenges associated with irregular warfare.

In addition, transformational changes taking place within the Army -- in terms of equipment, training, technological advances and new approaches—are also helping ensure its ability to address unconventional threats.

But fighting irregular conflicts and helping new democracies get on their feet isn’t something the military can do alone, said Kalev Sepp, assistant professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, Calif.

“This is revolutionary” -- building democracies and helping them establish capitalist economies and open and public police forces and judicial systems, Sepp pointed out. “The mission is too broad to put on the shoulders of the military alone,” he said. “It has to be interagency.”

“We will not prevail with the force of arms alone,” Schoomaker agreed.

Schoomaker warned about the stakes of the current conflict and expressed concern that the American people have lost the focus they demonstrated immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“This is perhaps the most dangerous period in our lifetime,” he said. “We are in the midst of a long war and the stakes could not be higher.”

Schoomaker noted that al Qaeda and other terror organizations hate all that America stands for and show no signs of wavering in their commitment to spread their hateful ideology. The Sept. 11 terror attacks “were not the war’s first salvos,” he said, but rather, the continuation of a long string of attacks against the United States and its interests.

Yet five years into the terror war, Schoomaker warned that American response to this threat -- one against which he acknowledged, “victory is not assured” -- has been largely “tepid.”

That’s a concern, he said, because the conflict is far from over. “We are much closer to the beginning than the end of this long conflict,” he said, emphasizing the need for public support and financial backing to ensure the mission succeeds.

“Ultimately, victory requires a national strategic consensus, evident in both words and actions,” he said. “While such a common strategic foundation, understood and accepted by the American people, existed during the Cold War, … it is not yet evident that such common understanding exists today.”

Schoomaker said it shouldn’t take another attack like the United States experienced on Sept. 11, 2001, “to shake us into action.”

10-15-2006, 05:56 AM
15 October New York Times commentary - Waging War, One Police Precinct at a Time (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/opinion/15carter.html) by Phillip Carter.

The military’s new counterinsurgency manual offers a great deal of wisdom for those who will wage the small wars of the future. Its prescriptions and paradoxes — like the maxim that the more force used, the less effective it is — make sense. However, having spent the last year advising a provincial police headquarters in Iraq, I know it’s far easier to write about such wars than to fight them.

The war I knew was infinitely more complex, contradictory and elusive than the one described in the network news broadcasts or envisioned in the new field manual. When I finally left Baquba, the violent capital of Iraq’s Diyala Province, I found myself questioning many aspects of our mission and our accomplishments, both in a personal search for meaning and a quest to gather lessons that might help those soldiers who will follow me...

This paradox raises fundamental questions about the wisdom and efficacy of our strategy, which is to “stand up” Iraqi security forces so we can “stand down” American forces. Put simply, this plan is a blueprint for withdrawal, not for victory. Improving the Iraqi Army and police is necessary to prevail in Iraq; it is not sufficient.

Counterinsurgency is more like an election than a military operation; the Iraqi government must convince the Iraqi people to choose it over the alternatives offered by Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish militants. To do so, the Iraqi government and the coalition must deliver public goods — security, public works, commerce, education and the rule of law, to name a few. The campaign must convince not just a majority or super-majority but virtually everyone, for as the noted insurgents T. E. Lawrence and Mao Zedong have noted, it takes the support of just 2 in 100 citizens to sustain an insurgency.

At this point, and with this strategy, it may not be possible to win in Iraq. America gained a spectacular victory in 2003, toppling the brutal Saddam Hussein regime. But there are limits to what military force can accomplish. You cannot plant democracy with a bayonet, nor can you force Iraqis to choose a particular path if their democracy is to mean anything at all.

Moreover, our choices in 2006 are not as good as our choices were in 2003; we cannot simply stay the course now and hope for victory. Given Iraq’s historic antipathy to invaders and the strength of today’s insurgency, I believe only a wholly unconventional approach will work. This means many more embedded advisers like myself, working in tandem with teams from the State Department and other agencies, supported by combat forces only when force is necessary.

We should strive in 2006 to build on our successes and to find a smarter way to shift the counterinsurgency effort to the Iraqis in order to secure an imperfect victory. For, as Lawrence wrote eight decades ago about helping the Arabs fight the Turks: “Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them.”

10-15-2006, 02:08 PM
Interesting presentation by General Petraeus at the Brookings Institure on 14 September 2006 addressing various "new" training initiatives in the Army. The title is "Transforming Military Training: Using Lessons of the Past to Build the Army of the Future" (http://www.brookings.edu/comm/events/20060914.htm). Now there is a novel idea...sorry if this is repeat of a previous citation.

10-18-2006, 12:34 PM
18 October New York Post commentary - Politically Correct War (http://www.nypost.com/seven/10182006/postopinion/opedcolumnists/politically_correct_war_opedcolumnists_ralph_peter s.htm) by Ralph Peters.

... Obsessed with low-level "tactical" morality - war's inevitable mistakes - the officers in question have lost sight of the strategic morality of winning. Our Army and Marine Corps are about to suffer the imposition of a new counterinsurgency doctrine designed for fairy-tale conflicts and utterly inappropriate for the religion-fueled, ethnicity-driven hyper-violence of our time.

We're back to struggling to win hearts and minds that can't be won.

The good news is that the Army and Marine Corps worked together on the new counterinsurgency doctrine laid out in Field Manual 3-24 (the Army version). The bad news is that the doctrine writers and their superiors came up with fatally wrong prescriptions for combating today's insurgencies.

Astonishingly, the doctrine ignores faith-inspired terrorism and skirts ethnic issues in favor of analyzing yesteryear's political insurgencies. It would be a terrific manual if we returned to Vietnam circa 1963, but its recommendations are profoundly misguided when it comes to fighting terrorists intoxicated with religious visions and the smell of blood.

Why did the officers in question avoid the decisive question of religion? Because the answers would have been ugly.

Tom Odom
10-18-2006, 12:55 PM
Obsessed with low-level "tactical" morality - war's inevitable mistakes - the officers in question have lost sight of the strategic morality of winning. Our Army and Marine Corps are about to suffer the imposition of a new counterinsurgency doctrine designed for fairy-tale conflicts and utterly inappropriate for the religion-fueled, ethnicity-driven hyper-violence of our time.

Classic Peters

A. Go for the base instinct; in this case, confusing "terrorists" with applications in COIN. Winning hearts and minds targets the population, not the "terrorists" as Peters tosses the term around. No the manual does not ignore religion if one considers religion part of belief systems.

B. Use dismissiive rhetoric to appeal to lesser intellects; "low-level Tactical morality"? Is consideration of effects "low level tactical morality"? I see it as a necessary component of any campaign.


Steve Blair
10-18-2006, 02:03 PM
The whole thing is classic Peters - some interesting observations and comments jumbled in with his pseudo-historical rants. Peters seems to think that we will encounter only insurgencies based on ethnicity or religion. I also find his evocation of Marshall and FDR disingenuous, given that FDR in particular totally misread Stalin and set the stage for much of the Cold War at Yalta. And calling the new doctrine "dishonest and cowardly" is just stupid. When Peters says "a little education really is a dangerous thing" he may want to look inward and evaluate some of his own positions.

That rant aside, I don't dismiss his ideas out of hand. He was one of the first to publicly grasp the change in conflict from Cold War-style affairs to the more "warrior-centric" conflicts we face today. But over time I think he's gotten entranced with seeing his own words in print and has lost some of his grasp.

And Tom, I would say that any educated person would consider religion part of a society's belief systems.

If shorter is always better, Peters must consider the original Small Wars Manual a titanic failure. Short it ain't.

Merv Benson
10-18-2006, 04:26 PM
I haven't seen the book yet, but from teh comments I have seen on it here and elsewhere it does appear to focus on the political aspects of fighting the enemy. I have not seen anything on how to defeat the enemy's kinetic operations. Insurgencies by there very nature use a raiding strategy.

The classic way to defeat a raiding stregy is having a sufficient force to space ratio that permits you to cut off and attack the enemy when he is most vulnerable, i.e. when he is moving to atack or retreating from an attack. The raiding strategy relies on the superiority of retreat to pursuit.

Having forces in place to cut off the retreat or intercept the attacking forces seems to be far more important than whether you have a good relationship with the people. Where the latter becomes important is in gaining intelligence about the enemy. In Iraq we did not start getting good intelligece consistently until we had enough Iraqi troops to augment the force to space ratio and interact with the people.

My question to those who have seen the book is does it address this strategic aspect of defeating an insurgency? If so, please give some excerpts or examples.

Another point that needs to be addressed in a book on counter insurgency is whether the enemy can be defeated in the time frame that domestic political considerations permit. It appears that in the US a war must be won in about three years or less before political opposion to the war makes it more difficult to sustain. If that is the case can the new strategy produce a victory in that time frame?

Does the new counterinsurgency strategy discuss how we can defeat the enemy in the media battle space. In Iraq, that is were he has had most of his victories, and we have been way behind his OODA loop in responding to his media message. The enemy has said that half of the war effort is in the media battle space. How much of the book addresses this battle space? Tom Freidman (http://www.americanthinker.com/comments.php?comments_id=6379) recently cited similar materal on an enemy web site referring to our current election.

The jihadists follow our politics much more closely than people realize. A friend at the Pentagon just sent me a post by the “Global Islamic Media Front” carried by the jihadist Web site Ana al-Muslim on Aug. 11. It begins: “The people of jihad need to carry out a media war that is parallel to the military war and exert all possible efforts to wage it successfully. This is because we can observe the effect that the media have on nations to make them either support or reject an issue.”

Again does this new strategy address this point?

10-18-2006, 09:20 PM
Another point that needs to be addressed in a book on counter insurgency is whether the enemy can be defeated in the time frame that domestic political considerations permit.

Merv, this is precisely the element that I, in my research, found makes or breaks the COIN fight, even in cases where an insurgent win could pose disaster and diaspora for the economy and people of the target state. I agree that this looms heavily over our current situation. Perhaps OIF will continue to chug along solely due to the portrayal of Iraq as the new terrorist hotbed. Invoke enough images and connections to 9/11, and many American's will (arguably) be more than happy to beat the drum.

Conduct polls in swing states, and targetted at folks in the heartland, and I bet we'd see some interesting dynamics. That brings up a question on whether media polls admit where the poll was conducted (city vs. rural area, South vs. North, etc.). I know that polls can tell you about whatever you want them to say, but is there a watchdog that digs up this information to provide context on where the respondents are coming from? To illustrate what I'm saying, I would bet my paycheck that I could dig up overwhelming anti-administration sentiment in Vermont, and now in S. Louisiana. Also, is anyone studying how polls are shaping the debate (or lack thereof) about the GWOT?

I have to admit ignorance because I totally dismissed the relevance of polls for real political scientists after I endured my sophmore statics class...

10-18-2006, 11:14 PM
Jcustis, you are so right about polls and not only where but when is the poll conducted?? Last week the son of one of the employees where I am a security manager was killed in Iraq by an IED. He was a 20 year old Marine. His parents were heart broken to say the least and it had a huge effect on a lot of people that could have been in some type of survey. The week before they would have been supporters this week I think there was alot of changed hearts. Polls are just one more I/O weapon the enemy can use against our morale.

Steve Blair
10-18-2006, 11:20 PM
Polls to a great extent have become the sacred cows of our political process. Their creators don't want too much information about them to come out (things like refusal rates, for example) because it might undermine their oracle-like status. They're too easy to massage, you often have no real idea of what questions were really asked, and as has been mentioned before the time frame and demographics of these polls are often questionable at best.

Jucstis, the information you're looking for is closely-guarded from what I remember about polls (did some research about their methodology a few years back) and not often discussed. And regarding I/O, I think we will just have to live with the fact that we have no control over our media while most of our prospective enemies have almost total control over theirs.

10-19-2006, 01:33 AM
Reminds me of the Zogby poll, released at the end of Feb, that caused such a hullaballoo.

An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows. http://zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1075 (http://zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1075)
And some of the piercing of the veil, from the SWJ Daily News Links archive (the second one doesn't seem to work, too bad, it was priceless):
Zogby vs. the Blogosphere (Troop Iraq Poll) (http://officersclub.blogspot.com/2006/03/zogby-vs-blogosphere.html) - The Officers' Club (http://officersclub.blogspot.com/) Blog
Zogby Hangs Up (http://hughhewitt.com/archives/2006/02/26-week/index.php#a001523) - Hugh Hewitt (http://hughhewitt.com/) Blog
Zogby Poll Not What it Seems (http://wizbangblog.com/2006/03/02/zogby-poll-not-what-it-seems.php) - Wizbang (http://wizbangblog.com/) Blog
Zogby Military Iraq Poll Dissected (http://rapidrecon.threatswatch.org/2006/03/zogby-military-iraq-poll-disse) - Threats Watch (http://rapidrecon.threatswatch.org/) Blog

Steve Blair
10-19-2006, 01:00 PM
A bit on Zogby from Hewitt can be found at http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/2006/03/page13

12-18-2006, 11:52 AM
15 December Secrecy News - Army Counterinsurgency Doctrine Charts a New Course (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2006/12/army_counterinsurgency_doctrin_1.html).

The U.S. Army has completed a long-awaited new manual presenting military doctrine on counterinsurgency. It is the first revision of counterinsurgency doctrine in twenty years.

In several respects, the new doctrine implicitly repudiates the Bush Administration's approach to the war in Iraq.

"Conducting a successful counterinsurgency campaign requires a flexible, adaptive force led by agile, well-informed, culturally astute leaders," the foreword states.

The new manual emphasizes the importance of planning for post-conflict stabilization, and it stresses the limited utility of conventional military operations.

"The military forces that successfully defeat insurgencies are usually those able to overcome their institutional inclination to wage conventional war against insurgents."

A copy of the new 282 page unclassified manual was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Counterinsurgency," U.S. Army Field Manual 3-24 (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf), December 15, 2006 (12.9 MB PDF).

12-18-2006, 10:57 PM
Army, Marines Release New Counterinsurgency Manual
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2006 – “Learn” and “adapt” are the key messages of the new Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which just hit the streets.
The Counterinsurgency Field Manual, FM 3-24 and Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 3-33.5, is a unique joint effort between the Army and Marines to put in place doctrine to help operators as they face the challenges of asymmetric warfare.

The manual codifies an important lesson of insurgencies: it takes more than the military to win. “There are more than just lethal operations involved in a counterinsurgency campaign,” said Conrad Crane, director of the U.S. Army Military History Institute, in Carlisle, Pa., and one of the leaders of the effort.

He said the team working on the manual decided early on to emphasize the interagency aspect of counterinsurgency fights. “The military is only one piece of the puzzle,” Crane said. “To be successful in a counterinsurgency, you have to get contributions from a lot of different agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and host-nation organizations. There are so many people involved to make counterinsurgency successful.”

All of these organizations bring important weapons to the campaign, “and you’ve got to bring unity of effort if you can to make it effective,” he said.

Lt. Col. Lance McDaniel, a branch head at the Marine Corps Combat Development Center at Quantico, Va., said the manual is aimed at battalion-level officers and NCOs, but felt that all who read it could gain some insight into the difficulties of a counterinsurgency war. “We see this being part of the pre-deployment training units undergo,” McDaniel said. “Once on the ground they can adapt the ideas from the manual to their particular location and enemy.”

The Army and Marine Corps have shared field manuals in the past, but this is the first on which the two services worked closely to write, both Crane and McDaniel said. “This was a real team effort of Army and Marine writers,” Crane said. “What I tell people is we had about 20 primary writers on the manual and about 600,000 editors.”

Crane said many soldiers and Marines commented on the manual and provided input to the final product. “We received more than 1,000 comments from people actually doing the mission,” he said.

But it didn’t stop with military feedback. State Department employees, CIA officials, academic experts and representatives of the international human rights community contributed insights to the manual, McDaniel said. “I hope the publication will make it easier for other agencies and organizations to work with us,” he said.

Chapter 4, a discussion on Campaign Design, is a unique aspect of the manual. “The Marines brought that to the manual,” Crane said.

Before beginning a campaign, planners must identify the problem that needs solving, then be ready to change the plan as conditions change on the ground, Crane said. “In counterinsurgency, that is so important because it is a complex situation,” he said.

A counterinsurgency campaign is much more complex than a traditional military-on-military conflict. The make-up of the community, the needs of the various groups, the history of the area, traditional allies in the region, and many other things contribute to understanding how to design a counterinsurgency campaign. “It takes a lot more analysis before you jump into it, because if you do the wrong thing, it could have major implications,” Crane said. “You have to be sure you are applying the right solution to the right problem.”

Crane said the idea of campaign design will probably permeate other Army field manuals.

The new counterinsurgency manual uses examples from fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also uses examples from the Napoleonic War, the U.S. experience in Vietnam, and counterinsurgency efforts in the Philippines, Malaya (now Malaysia) and South America.

Crane and McDaniel agree that insurgencies are the wars of the future. The idea of a nation taking on the United States army to army or navy to navy is remote, given the U.S. conventional expertise. “Enemies will make us fight these kinds of wars until we get them right,” Crane said. “Then they’ll switch.”

The manual is informed by Afghanistan and Iraq, but also informed by history, Crane said. “We tried to glean what was useful from the historical record, but also with the realization that there are a lot of things that are new out there, Crane said. “Trying to grapple with the nature of contemporary insurgency was one of the toughest parts of writing it.”

The manual is not limited to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. “If we’ve created a manual that is just good for Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve failed,” he said. “This thing has got to be focused on the future and the next time we do this.”

The manual is going to be useful in Iraq and Afghanistan, but much of what the manual covers is already being done in those theaters. “The manual is future-focused,” Crane said. “The manual gives you the tools to do your analysis and the guidelines to apply it with the understanding that every situation is going to be unique.”

It also will be rewritten, as needed, the men said.

Both men said the manual is receiving a good reception. “This is not a doctrine that is being jammed down peoples’ throats,” Crane said.” This is a doctrine that they are demanding.”

Here is the official link: U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual, FM 3-24 and Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 3-33.5 (http://usacac.army.mil/cac/repository/materials/coin-fm3-24.pdf).

12-20-2006, 12:51 PM
20 December NY Post commentary - Getting Counterinsurgency Right (http://www.nypost.com/seven/12202006/postopinion/opedcolumnists/getting_counterinsurgency_right_opedcolumnists_ral ph_peters.htm) by Ralph Peters.

If a prize were awarded for the most-improved government publication of the decade, we could choose the winner now: "Army Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency" (MCWP 3-33.5 for the Marine Corps). Rising above abysmal earlier drafts, the Army and Marines have come through with doctrine that will truly help our troops.

Doctrine matters. It doesn't provide leaders with a detailed blueprint, but offers a common foundation on which to build strategies and refine tactics. Start with a weak foundation, and the wartime house can easily collapse.

This new field manual is a solid base. Earlier drafts were dominated by theorists locked into 20th-century thinking - approaches that failed us so dismally in Iraq. But the final document offers a far greater sense of an insurgency's reality...

12-24-2006, 03:02 PM
Counterinsurgency Manual Flies Off the Shelf (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2006/12/counterinsurgency_manual_flies.html) at the Secrecy News (FAS) blog.

The new Army Field Manual on Counterinsurgency (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf) doctrine has been downloaded from the Federation of American Scientists web site at an extraordinary rate -- more than 250,000 times since it was posted on Friday morning.

But unlike previous drafts obtained by Secrecy News, the new manual is no secret. It has been published and actively disseminated by the Army.

"Why don't you also put up our press release announcing the manual which can also be found on our web site?" inquired (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2006/12/army_counterinsurgency_doctrin_1.html#comment-23181) Col. Steven A. Boylan of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth. That December 15 news release (http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/Repository/Materials/USA-USMCCOINNewsRelease.pdf) (pdf) and the accompanying manual (http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/Repository/Materials/COIN-FM3-24.pdf) (large pdf) can be found on the Fort Leavenworth web site.

Col. Boylan also objected (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2006/12/army_counterinsurgency_doctrin_1.html#comment-23181) to Secrecy News' statement (http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2006/12/army_counterinsurgency_doctrin_1.html) that the new counterinsurgency doctrine was at odds with current U.S. policy in Iraq.

"This manual was in production for about two years and is not and was not intended to counter any current or future policy as you indicate in your article. This document is also not specific to Iraq or Afghanistan. If you understand the basis of doctrine, then you know that our doctrine is geared to be used anywhere our Army might deploy."

01-10-2007, 10:55 AM
10 January Washington Post commentary - Lessons for One Last Try (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/09/AR2007010901333.html) by David Ignatius.

What makes sense in Iraq? The political debate is becoming sharply polarized again, as President Bush campaigns for a new "surge" strategy. But some useful military guideposts can be found in a new field manual of counterinsurgency warfare prepared by the general who is about to take command of U.S. forces in Baghdad.

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus supervised the development of the manual when he ran the Army's training center at Fort Leavenworth, before he had any idea he would be heading back to Baghdad as the top commander. In that sense, the document reflects a senior officer's best judgment about what will work and what won't -- independent of the details of the current "to surge or not to surge" debate. The manual was published by the Army last month and can be downloaded at http://www.leavenworth.army.mil.

Two themes stood out for me as I read the document. The first is that success in counterinsurgency requires a political strategy as much as a military one. The second is that broad political support back home -- which buys time on the battlefield -- is the crucial strategic asset in fighting such wars...