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Thread: COIN Reading Lists (merged)

  1. #41
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Additionally

    I have been curious the past few days about the number of colleges teaching COIN courses, who are the teachers? Do they have guest speakers? How can get on board to be one of the guest speakers?

    Not questioning the ability of academics, but sometimes find it interesting that the so called experts have no practical experiences. Is this view point to harsh on academics?
    ODB

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  2. #42
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not considering some of the things I've seen

    here and there on the ol' internet -- not too harsh, that is...

  3. #43
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    Default Civilian practitioners and academics

    Cavguy, I nominate Ambassadors Deane Hinton, Tom Pickering, and Ed Corr, who, with their MILGP commanders and several Southcom CINCs, helped the Govt of El Salvador defeat the FMLN. Their civilian "counterparts" Presidents Jose Napoleon Duarte and Alfredo Cristiani (although he worked with Amb Bill Walker) were also outstanding civilian practitioners of COIN and FID/SFA.

    ODB, I'm one of the guys who teaches a course on Small Wars/LIC which is COIN heavy. Next semester (Fall 09) I have funding for guest speakers. If you are really interested send me a resume by PM or email.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  4. #44
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Cavguy, I nominate Ambassadors Deane Hinton, Tom Pickering, and Ed Corr, who, with their MILGP commanders and several Southcom CINCs, helped the Govt of El Salvador defeat the FMLN. Their civilian "counterparts" Presidents Jose Napoleon Duarte and Alfredo Cristiani (although he worked with Amb Bill Walker) were also outstanding civilian practitioners of COIN and FID/SFA.

    ODB, I'm one of the guys who teaches a course on Small Wars/LIC which is COIN heavy. Next semester (Fall 09) I have funding for guest speakers. If you are really interested send me a resume by PM or email.

    Cheers

    JohnT

    Excellent!
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  5. #45
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    Gian and WILF...
    While I too enjoy an occassional perusal of St Carl's treatment on war, we might consider the context of the request... Soph in College with no personal reference point for the nature of warfare.
    He's a Soph. Good enough. CvC is the best guide to understanding conflict in the round. COIN is War, therefore understanding it's nature is essential, to my mind.

    Directing him to Carl first is akin to telling a young child to learn the history of the Jewish nation by picking up a copy of the Old Testament and following the story.
    Worked for me!

    I think its a poor place to direct a neophyte "first"...
    There is a standard, and it' not easy. If you know a better book, that explains the roots and dynamics of conflict better than CvC, then I am all ears.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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  6. #46
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    There is a standard, and it' not easy. If you know a better book, that explains the roots and dynamics of conflict better than CvC, then I am all ears.
    How about Machiavelli--The Art of War and The Prince available together here in one volume.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
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  7. #47
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    How about Machiavelli--The Art of War and The Prince available together here in one volume.
    Good points. I really wouldn't bother with Mack's Art of War, unless you are really interested in Renaissance Military Thought. Some of the homo-erotic observations and the dismissal of gun powder, make it a hard going.

    The Prince is certainly useful, but again not required. It was written as an advertising document or basically a CV, for Mack to get back into Politics and while very insightful, is not really going to add that much.

    IMO, and many other folks, CvC is required reading if you going to study any form of conflict. Warfare has few if any standard works, but CvC is as close as we currently have.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  8. #48
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    For a good comparison and synthesis of many of the classic writers on war, "Masters of War" is really hard to beat, IMO. Handel does a great job of bringing CvC, Sun Tzu, Mach, and others together in a way that can help even the most novice thinker.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  9. #49
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    For a good comparison and synthesis of many of the classic writers on war, "Masters of War" is really hard to beat, IMO. Handel does a great job of bringing CvC, Sun Tzu, Mach, and others together in a way that can help even the most novice thinker.
    Concur. This is an excellent book! Good call Steve!
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  10. #50
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I'm actually surprised it isn't mentioned more often. I've found it an invaluable starting point for many people trying to get their minds wrapped around strategic concepts.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  11. #51
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    I'm actually surprised it isn't mentioned more often. I've found it an invaluable starting point for many people trying to get their minds wrapped around strategic concepts.
    As concerns "Strategic Concepts," I would also strongly recommend this by Colin Gray. It is excellent and I clearly draws a line between the three subjects, which seem to cause so much confusion here.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  12. #52
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    For beginners, I'd recommend Insurgency and Terrorism: From Revolution to Apocalypse by O'Neill. IMO, it's very simple and easy to understand, and while I disagree with many of his definitions (and consequently the concepts, how they interact with one another, and his conclusions), it's a good, first step until jumping from this cliff.
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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    I have been curious the past few days about the number of colleges teaching COIN courses, who are the teachers? Do they have guest speakers? How can get on board to be one of the guest speakers?

    Not questioning the ability of academics, but sometimes find it interesting that the so called experts have no practical experiences. Is this view point to harsh on academics?
    I took an undergraduate capstone seminar with Yoav Gortzak. He was in the IDF for a few years in the 1990s and that gave him experience and perspective. He had some interesting stories.

    We also had a Cavalry Scout who was at the same OCS board as I and a Marine 8541.

    Interesting class.

  14. #54
    Council Member Pattonmat89's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thank y'all

    I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this thread, and all the suggestions that you've made. I now have some interesting things to read, and some new stuff to add to my to-be-read list.

    Just to clear up a few things:

    1. I asked for this because I wanted something to read, about a subject that I think is relevant to current military affairs. In other words, this is a pleasure read. Yes, I have strange ideas of pleasure.

    2. I am actually a freshman, not a sophomore. So I'm even younger than you thought I was.

    3. I have On War, though I have the Rapoport translation, not the Paret. Ah, well.

    Any way, thanks.
    "Don't discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved." -Michel de Montaigne

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    Council Member CR6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pattonmat89 View Post

    3. I have On War, though I have the Rapoport translation, not the Paret. Ah, well.
    You can access Graham's original English translation here at Professor Christopher Bassford's excellent Clausewitz homepage. The ISBN for the Paret/Howard version (in paperback) is 9780691018546. You should be able to get it at your school's library (at least through interlibrary loan).

    Bassford considers Rappaport's edition (which is an abridgement of Graham's translation) "seriously defective" for the following reason:

    Rapoport approached On War with considerable philosophical sophistication. He also had a set of political biases, particularly against the nation-state system, which he considered obsolete. These rendered his analysis rather unrealistic. (4) He rejected war as a legitimate tool of state policy, arguing that Clausewitz's definition of war as an extension of politics meant that "peace is the continuation of struggle by other means."

    Rapoport argued that this unfortunate and unnecessary struggle needed no justification in Clausewitz's view, not only because the Prussian writer had seen it as fundamental to the human condition but also because his own professional advancement had depended on it. Rapoport appreciated Clausewitz in terms of his historical contribution, but he sought to discredit what he called the "neo-Clausewitzian" school of modern strategists. (5)


    (excerpted from Bassford's Clausewitz in English, available for free here.

    Ditch the Rapoport version. It's not a faithful translation.
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

  16. #56
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    Default Patton,

    don't throw Rapaport's edition in the garbage quite yet - if it's the same as mine (Penguin 1968), which was a textbook at the U of Mich back in those days when Rapoport taught there.

    Rapoport wrote a 70 page introduction (criticized by Bassford), but otherwise used the "New and Revised Edition (edited by Col. F.N. Meade) of Col. J.J. Graham's Translation", which goes back to 1908 - included almost all of Vol I, omitted Vol II, and included only 2/3 of Book 8 (part of Vol III).

    Rapoport's interest was MAD, etc., and his introduction and endnotes represent one view from the 60's on the philosophies underlying war and the strategies underlying nuclear warfare. Rather a period piece keyed to part of CvC - not likely a collector's item, but I haven't checked. Reading the intro is good nostalgia for old men reliving the verbal battles of their youth.

    Rapoport's Wiki is here - a bit to the left of the political spectrum, one might say.
    Last edited by jmm99; 02-04-2009 at 05:40 AM.

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    Default Some Background

    Don't confuse radical Islam and Afghanistan with COIN. Insurgency/terrorism is a tactic used by a weaker force against a stronger force. A few months ago I wrote a survey of COIN theory to include Galula, Thompson and others.
    I enclosed it and would welcome any comments.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  18. #58
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yank in Germany View Post
    Don't confuse radical Islam and Afghanistan with COIN. Insurgency/terrorism is a tactic used by a weaker force against a stronger force. A few months ago I wrote a survey of COIN theory to include Galula, Thompson and others.
    I enclosed it and would welcome any comments.
    I don't think anyone here is confused as to the fact issue that Insurgency/terrorism is merely a tactical or operational form.

    Interesting paper. I've read it, and will keep it - which is rare! - I can see why you cite Nagl, but I feel he is fundamentally wrong, about both the UK in Malaya, and the US in Vietnam.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Default Gangs, Slums, Megacities and the Utility of Population-Centric COIN

    Gangs, Slums, Megacities and the Utility of Population-Centric COIN

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    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

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