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Old 06-05-2006   #1
Jedburgh
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Default French & US COIN and Galula (merged thread)

RAND has re-issued Galula's 1963 book Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958, with a new foreword by Bruce Hoffman.
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When Algerian nationalists launched a rebellion against French rule in November 1954, France, mired in similar wars for independence in its colonial territories, was in a poor position to cope with further upheaval. The Algerian strategy encompassed varying approaches and was more adaptable than that of the French, necessitating a rethinking of traditional counterinsurgency methods. In this volume, originally published in 1963, David Galula reconstructs the story of his highly successful command in the district of Greater Kabylia, east of Algiers, at the height of the rebellion, and presents his theories on counterinsurgency and pacification. In the process, he confronts the larger political, psychological, and military aspects of the Algerian war, and provides a context for present-day counterinsurgency operations. This groundbreaking work retains its relevancy as a challenge to traditional counterinsurgency tactics and presents approaches to predicting, managing, and resolving insurgent and guerilla conflict. The parallels between the Algerian war and modern warfare are striking, and lessons can be extracted from French successes and failures in its drive to contain and manage the Algerian uprising. A new foreword by counterterrorism expert Bruce Hoffman elucidates the relevance of this historic study in the context of modern times.
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Old 01-25-2008   #2
Shek
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Default The Roots of Galula's Influence on US COIN thinking?

I'm curious if anyone can trace the roots of Galula's influence on American COIN doctrine.

I'm sure that having Pacification in Algeria in the files at RAND provided some accessibility (and ease of distribution given that you can download the .pdf and email it), but the first copy of Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice that I ever saw was an old copy on a friend's bookshelf which had been issued to his father for a class on revolutionary warfare at USMA back in either 1969 or 1970. Based on that, it seems that Galula had some currency back during the time of Vietnam as well for his book to have found its way into the USMA curriculum.
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Old 01-25-2008   #3
Ken White
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Default The book was a 'must read' for all us military

intelleckshulls as soon as it came out in 1964. The JFK SWC Center Bookstore at Ft Bragg couldn't keep it in stock. With no Amazon, B&N, Borders and such, people were driving to D.C and Atlanta to buy it. Seriously. Now, those of us with a first edition are all old...

Unfortunately, those who read it in those early days didn't rise to high command in Viet Nam for seven years or more...

That being said, it was not and is not the be all and end all on the topic, just one of many decent treatises on the subject.
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Old 01-25-2008   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shek
I'm curious if anyone can trace the roots of Galula's influence on American COIN doctrine.

I'm sure that having Pacification in Algeria in the files at RAND provided some accessibility (and ease of distribution given that you can download the .pdf and email it), but the first copy of Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice that I ever saw was an old copy on a friend's bookshelf which had been issued to his father for a class on revolutionary warfare at USMA back in either 1969 or 1970. Based on that, it seems that Galula had some currency back during the time of Vietnam as well for his book to have found its way into the USMA curriculum.
Back on page 2 of this same "Training and Education" forum, there is a thread titled COIN: A Symposium, April 16-20, 1962. This was a RAND-sponsored syposium that brought together the most experienced professional military minds in the field to discuss all aspects of COIN. This was at a time when serious, structured efforts were ongoing to develop modern US COIN doctrine.

Of course, Galula was one of the participants - and if you read the reprint you'll more than likely come away with the impression that he was one of the most influential of the participants. He certainly weighed in heavily in almost every area of discussion.

If you can find a copy of USMA Revolutionary Warfare Volume V-French Counterrevolutionary Struggles: Indochina and Algeria, dated Dec 68, you'll find that Galula is mentioned not a few times as well.

And here's a declassified TS memo from Amb. Henry Cabot Lodge to President Johnson dated 27 Mar 68 that provides an indication of the high-level influence of Galula's writing:
....I believe that urgent consideration be given to a shift away from "search and destroy" and the "war of attrition", in which a purely military victory appears to be, I believe, the unattainable goal, towards a strategy of using military power as a shield behind which South Vietnamese society would be organized as effectively as North Vietnamese society is organized. This last would be done by intensive and repeated scourings--that is a "comb-out" by repeated police-type methods, precinct by precinct, block by block, house by house and farm by farm, much as was done by General Massau in Algiers and which is set forth in David Galula's book "Counter Insurgency Warfare".....
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Originally Posted by Ken White
....That being said, it was not and is not the be all and end all on the topic, just one of many decent treatises on the subject.
Along those lines, here's a link to a COIN bibliography prepared by the CIA library for William Colby back in '64:

Bibliography: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency Since World War II

Aside from the cover sheets, index, etc. the 32 page pdf file has 27 pages of book listings, starting with general texts, then broken down by regions of the world.
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Old 01-25-2008   #5
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Default Thanks for the link

I'd forgotten how many of those I'd read...
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Old 01-25-2008   #6
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Ken and Jedburgh,

Thanks for the quick replies.
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Old 01-25-2008   #7
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Default Galula in France

Maybe you will be surprised to learn that the first french edition of Counter-insurgency warfare by Galula was published.... last week!!!
Indeed, Galula is not well-known in France and this publication is the result of "Galulamania" in the US military (the collection in which it is published, doctrine et stratégie is led by gen. Vincent DESPORTES, head of French Army's Centre de Doctrine d'Emploi des Forces, and a specialist of US Way of warfare).
Stéphane TAILLAT
PS: i recently posted on SWJ an english version of French Doctrine on stabilization ops.
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Old 01-25-2008   #8
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Maybe you will be surprised to learn that the first french edition of Counter-insurgency warfare by Galula was published.... last week!!!
Indeed, Galula is not well-known in France and this publication is the result of "Galulamania" in the US military (the collection in which it is published, doctrine et stratégie is led by gen. Vincent DESPORTES, head of French Army's Centre de Doctrine d'Emploi des Forces, and a specialist of US Way of warfare).
Stéphane TAILLAT
PS: i recently posted on SWJ an english version of French Doctrine on stabilization ops.
Stephane,

Do you know why his writings weren't as popular in France?

A matter of timing, perhaps (Pacification in Algeria was published in 1963 and Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice was published in 1964, both of them written with how to prescriptions but about conflicts already past history for France)?
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Old 01-25-2008   #9
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Default Galula... French or American?

The main reason why Galula never was popular in French Military is because he was unknown... Note that his celebrity started in the US after his resignation from french army!
A second reason is linked with french experience on guerilla, counter-guerilla and many stabilization ops (or even intervention in West and Black Africa between 1960 and today): the lessons learned and (informal) practices we gained in this period was much more than Galula's one during his experience in Greece, China and Algeria. Others have gained more reputation. Bigeard and Massu (though they weren't using the same coin procedures as Galula) are a good example, as well as gen. DELOYEN who fought againt guerilla in Indochina, in Algeria and in Tchad. Trinquier is best known because of its role in the creation of Groupement Commando Aéroportés (anti-vietminh indigenous maquis during the first Indochina War). French experiences in Indochina and in Algeria gave birth to an original way of doing COIN which differs slightly from Galula's Pacification in Algeria. This latter book was written for US public and especially US military concerned by Vietnam. I wonder if Galula would have written it, as well as Counter-insurgency warfare the same way if it was for french readers.
Last: under De Gaulle, COIN formal Doctrine (Guerre révolutionnaire if you want, though it seems that this term refers to much more than precise procedures and principles) was abandonned because it was politically charged. In French military today, COIN does not refer to Algeria, but mainly with African Contingency or past colonial experiences (Gallieni, Lyautey...)

It appears to me that Galula is much more american than french:his principles relies on Mao's one more than on french tradition of "pacification by oil spot". Unlike french, american military establishment in the 60s lacks concrete experience in counter-guerrilla: Galula's fresh one was a good new!

Stéphane Taillat

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Old 01-25-2008   #10
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Default There were a number of proponents of the oil

spot theory in the US Army in the early sixties and there were units in Viet Nam that used it -- until they got caught and were told to 'search and destroy' -- I happened to be lucky enough to be in one and more lucky to have a commander who told MACV to flake off, he'd fight his own war. He did and did it well.

Search and destroy techniques most on the ground knew intuitively were wrong and unworkable. However the four star commanders from late 1961 until late 1968 believed in them, therefor the staffs and subordinate generals espoused it (which is not the same thing as believing in it). Pity...

Seven long years.
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Old 01-26-2008   #11
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Default Galula's Influence on US COIN Doctrine

Galula's influence has been far greater in the United States than in France for several reasons. One is that by the time he was writing, France was trying to forget its experience in Algeria; I would draw a parallel with the US after Vietnam. However, Galula's experience in Algeria was highly valued by Steve Hosmer at RAND (who is running an "Airpower in COIN" conference in DC next week--still engaged in intellectual leadership in COIN 45 years after the conference at which he recognized Galula's gifts!)

See http://www.rand.org/publications/ran...6/algeria.html for a brief summary of Galula's thinking, with links to the landmark 1963 study Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958 (with a great new intro by Bruce Hoffman) that Galula distilled into Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice.

Another reason is that Galula did his best writing in English. In fact, Theory and Practice has just been published in French for the first time, with an introduction by General David Petraeus; see http://www.amazon.fr/Contre-insurrec...1344958&sr=8-1

We relied heavily on Galula's insights when writing FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency.
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Old 01-26-2008   #12
Gian P Gentile
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We should also note that Galula, his writings and his experience, fit very neatly within the counterinsurgency-only narrative that defines the American Army today. The Coin experts who felt they were the minority and not treated fairly in the American Army in the 80s and 90s latched on to Galula because he fit into the supporting Vietnam loss-narrative that had Creighton Abrams as the guy who got it right because he understood the so-called primacy in any Coin op of the “people” and Westmoreland as the conventional minded, big battle fool (Andre Birtle’s excellent new book on the history of Coin in the American Army goes a long way at debunking this myth) because he purportedly only wanted to go out and kill people and blow things up. Writers like L. Sorely in the 90s created the notion that the Vietnam war was winnable if we had just allowed General Abrams to continue his “population centric” approach. But alas those pesky politicians, the will-lacking American people, and the evil MSM pulled the rug out from under him, or so the story goes.

There were many American army officers who were part of the Coin Group and viewed David Galula as their model for counterinsurgency operations. These individuals and their writings were generally shunned by the conventional minded army in the 90s. However the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought them into the limelight and with them came Galula; as LTC Nagl points out the writers of FM 3-24 relied heavily on Galula when writing FM 3-24.

I have argued in other places that the American Army’s current operational doctrine is no longer FM 3-0 but instead FM 3-24 counterinsurgency. In fact one could prove this by simply taking Galula’s book, removing the historical and contextual references by bringing them up to date, give this document to a LT or SFC just returned from Iraq or Afghanistan, ask them what they had just read, and you would get an answer like, “Oh I just read a summary of FM 3-24.” Ask these same individuals to summarize the Army’s new overall operational doctrine or FM 3-0 and they could not even come close. Is our Army, as General Casey has warned, “out of balance?” I think it is.

Back to Galula. I find it ironic that we have premised the Surge in Iraq on FM 3-24 and that doctrine is heavily premised on David Galula’s writings. Remember Galula was an infantry company commander in Algeria in the 1950s. Galula tells us that it took about a year for him and his company of infantryman to turn their area of responsibility and the people within it against the insurgency. It took over a year for an infantry company, sided with a relatively small Algerian population and isolated by terrain and lack of technology from larger population centers to “win.” In Iraq today we assume that the Surge—using Galula’s methods—turned the country around in a matter of months over the summer of 2007. Simple mathematical extrapolation from Galula to the Surge makes such an assumption improbable. The Surge and the so-called new Counterinsurgency methods were not the main cause of the lowered levels of violence but the neo-con spin machine would have us believe otherwise (see in this regard Kim Kagan’s newest oped running today in the WSJ.)

The importance of the writings of the firebrand Ralph Peters and Charles Dunlap on American counterinsurgency doctrine is that they both challenge the fundamental assumptions and premises that went into its creation. A process of meaningful challenging and questioning should have happened when the doctrine was written but it was not. So we end up with a doctrine that is useful but narrow because it is based on a single theory of Coin given to us by David Galula and that theory has unfortunately turned into principle and further turned into an immutable rule that can not be challenged. Because of this we have become dogmatic to the point of thinking that we can do Coin just about anywhere in whatever kind of situation presents itself to us. How else does one explain recent criticisms of certain Nato countries conducting Coin in Afghanistan?

Galula needs to be challenged and read with a historical mindedness; that is to say we should not be looking to the past as a pool of lessons learned to be plucked at will, turned into doctrine, then applied dogmatically on the ground. This is not history but a pop-process of the production of lessons learned. It is hurting us more than helping us.
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Old 01-26-2008   #13
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Default Galula

I think Galula has achieved cult-like status in the Army because his insights resonate with our experiences. As I've written elsewhere, I did not read Galula until I returned from my first OIF tour, despite spending 2002-2004 at Fort Leavenworth in CGSC/SAMS (Trinquier--yes; Galula--no). Reading COUNTERINSURGENCY WARFARE in 2005 constituted a series of ephiphanies, of "Oh--that's why that worked (or didn't)." I had been privileged to be the S3 for perhaps the most gifted natural counterinsurgent I've ever encountered (I have no idea if he had read Galula or not), but had no theory to explain what I had practiced until finding this book.

Again, it's hard to understate how underprepared the Army was for this kind of fight, or at least the non-kinetic portions of it. In contrast, in the mid-intensity conflict at Najaf Cemetery, our battalion knew exactly what to do. It was what we had prepared for all our professional lives (albeit on interesting terrain and with a rather unique fire control problem). Likewise as part of the isolating/screening force for Second Fallujah. But in the "war amongst the people" in Kadhamiya and Arab Jabour, we were all "play by ear," and "trial and error."

Galula filled a gap--at least partially. And it's hard not to credit (at least partially) adoption of his general framework for the improvements of 2007. But there is still much work to do in creating a comprehensive doctrine for 21st century warfare.

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Old 01-26-2008   #14
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Default Flipping the COIN...

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Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
... he fit into the supporting Vietnam loss-narrative that had Creighton Abrams as the guy who got it right because he understood the so-called primacy in any Coin op of the “people” and Westmoreland as the conventional minded, big battle fool (Andre Birtle’s excellent new book on the history of Coin in the American Army goes a long way at debunking this myth) because he purportedly only wanted to go out and kill people and blow things up...
Could you please provide the title of Birtle's book; cannot find it or him through Google. I'll be interested in reading it.

Can't speak for anything in Viet Nam after my last trip in '68 but from 62 until the fall of 68 with two short trips and two tours and fairly diverse service in all four corps areas, I'll be interested to see if he properly gives credit to the Division and Brigade commanders like Harry Kinnard and Willard Pearson who did what needed to be done in spite of MACV and to Bruce Palmer, the DepComUSMACV who like Westmoreland, understood the problem.

The difference between Palmer the Calvaryman with Pacific experience and his boss, the Artillerist turned Infantryman with European experience was that Palmer also knew what needed to be done while Westmoreland did not...
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...Writers like L. Sorely in the 90s created the notion that the Vietnam war was winnable if we had just allowed General Abrams to continue his “population centric” approach. But alas those pesky politicians, the will-lacking American people, and the evil MSM pulled the rug out from under him, or so the story goes.
I have read Sorley's book and while not in country during the period, the narrative is, IMO, totally credible. Yes, that's the way the story goes -- and there's a great deal of validity in it. I suggest the the problem was not will-lacking people or the evil MSM (they aren't evil, just stupid) but the politicians did have an effect -- and there is no question that the US Army bears the brunt of the responsibility for failure in Viet Nam due to inept political guidance (outside the Army's control) and inept tactics from 1962 until 1968 (the Army's purview).
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I have argued in other places that the American Army’s current operational doctrine is no longer FM 3-0 but instead FM 3-24 counterinsurgency. In fact one could prove this by simply taking Galula’s book, removing the historical and contextual references by bringing them up to date, give this document to a LT or SFC just returned from Iraq or Afghanistan, ask them what they had just read, and you would get an answer like, “Oh I just read a summary of FM 3-24.” Ask these same individuals to summarize the Army’s new overall operational doctrine or FM 3-0 and they could not even come close...
I suggest that since what the troops are now doing has a significant impact on what they think and read, that the fact they spew COIN is to be expected -- and that it is no big thing; they can adapt and will if they have to. As Schmedlap pointed out elsewhere, regardless of bad command decisions, the troops on the ground figured it out and did what needed to be done in spite of poor command guidance. That was true in Viet Nam and is true in Afghanistan and Iraq. It'll be true tomorrow as well...

I'd also suggest that the average LT may be aware of FM 3-24 and that may not be true of FM 3-0. I very strongly doubt the average SFC pays much attention to either. That's okay, too...
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...Is our Army, as General Casey has warned, “out of balance?” I think it is.
Possibly true, certainly the focus now -- understandably -- is on COIN and training is strongly biased in that direction in units also understandably because that's what they're doing. My spies tell me that ain't necessarily true in the schoolhouse...

And that is a good thing.
Quote:
... main cause of the lowered levels of violence but the neo-con spin machine would have us believe otherwise (see in this regard Kim Kagan’s newest oped running today in the WSJ.)
I don't pay any attention to the domestic politics of the situation because various ideologies come and go and most are meaningless froth. The neo con foolishness of today is not nearly as inimical to the nation as was the the liberal foolishness of the 60s. I do agree that, militarily, the surge had little bearing on the overall effort in Iraq. As to whether that surge adversely impacted the institution that is the US Army; possibly. Too soon to tell. I do know that the Army's been around for over 200 years and has seen worse times than today. It's seen worse times in my lifetime for that matter...
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... How else does one explain recent criticisms of certain Nato countries conducting Coin in Afghanistan?
Never underestimate the power of a Spook to say A to cause B to happen to provoke C to do D...
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Galula needs to be challenged and read with a historical mindedness; that is to say we should not be looking to the past as a pool of lessons learned to be plucked at will, turned into doctrine, then applied dogmatically on the ground. This is not history but a pop-process of the production of lessons learned. It is hurting us more than helping us.
We can agree on the bulk of that; my only reservation is on the last sentence; I'm not at all sure it has done that at this time. It has the potential to do that and you are wise to counsel avoiding that result. It would also be wise not to return to total disavowal of COIN...

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Old 01-26-2008   #15
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we have become dogmatic to the point of thinking that we can do Coin just about anywhere in whatever kind of situation presents itself to us.

This is an excellent point and analogous to the thinking that "we have the most firepower so we can win any war." I could see an ambitious general saying to President McCain "we can control the population of Iran" and disaster ensuing.
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Old 01-26-2008   #16
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Could you please provide the title of Birtle's book; cannot find it or him through Google. I'll be interested in reading it.
Ken,

http://www.amazon.com/Counterinsurge...1373224&sr=8-1

This link is for the second volume - the first volume covers 1860-1941.

Shek
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Old 01-26-2008   #17
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Default Your concern is misplaced

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This is an excellent point and analogous to the thinking that "we have the most firepower so we can win any war." I could see an ambitious general saying to President McCain "we can control the population of Iran" and disaster ensuing.
I think...

You're far more likely to see a General saying "No way we can do that..." Obviously, you've forgotten the Army's reaction to Kosovo (remember the Apaches that could not fly in the mountains).

Not to mention their reaction to Iraq. Both times...

Generals want to protect the institution to defend this nation against attack, they HATE small wars. The myth of the military hawk is leftish foolishness, there are not any Buck Turgidsons out there.
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Old 01-26-2008   #18
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Default More than just Galula

Whilst 'dipping my lid' to John's superior knowledge of the FM 3-24 drafting process, and acknowledging Doug's views regarding the resonance and or usefulness of Galula, I would contend that there is a lot more in FM 3-24 (and our current strategy) than just Galula and that people can easily overstate the case.

'Galula' themes in the FM 3-24 are readily apparent- particularly in its population centric emphasis. However, equally apparent are ideas that could easily be sheeted home to the British doctrine of the 70s and 80s. For example, there are similarities to ideas that could be attributed to Kitson and Thompson (amongst others). It may be claimed that both men were influenced by Galula (his major work came out first) but that claim will be proven spurious when you look at both men's record and read their published works. Other ideas clearly have a lineage with historical precedence in colonial activity (British and American) prior to WWII and into the 19th century. The FM also contains advice in parts that could be viewed, perhaps unkindly, but in my opinion perhaps not, as 'post 9-11, post modernist BS'.

So where does that leave us? Well, Galula has obviously had influence - but he is not alone. He is not pre-eminent in the education we are currently offering coalition troops prior to their entry into the battle space (or the ongoing dialogue we have with them in theatre). He is one of many theorists that are called upon to help understanding as people develop the COIN 'thinking' skills essential to the ongoing 'learning and adaptation' that the fight requires.

It follows that we are not accepting one 'historical' view and basing our education and strategy solely on that. We use history, where appropriate, to inform development of strategy ,options and thought. Despite the assertions of some post 9-11, and then again during the development of the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, not much of what actually occurs on the ground is turning out to be ahistorical. The counterinsurgency 'things' that are working now have worked in various ways before, in other places. And many of the insurgents are doing 'the same old thing'. If you doubt that, read Gwynn's 1934 chapter observing issues with the 'Pathans'....

I have observed that often those who attack a particular approach to the 'counterinsurgency problem' do so for seemingly one (or a combination) of three reasons: they have 'patented' an alternate view (which may or may not be a source of income/influence; they really do not have a view at all but like the attention being a critic garners; or they do not understand and attack from a position of partial or total ignorance. None of these are helpful.

Regarding Gian's concern that FM3-24 is supplanting other doctine in people's reading lists. If that is the case, US military doctrine is in desperate need of a new readership. I have been straw polling groups ( comprising E 7 and O3 upwards) of inbound BCT/ RCT and MiTT/ NPTT. If 40% of them, on average, confess to having read FM 3-24 , then we have a well informed group. The 'right' people appear to be reading it, but it seems to be fallacious to regard its reading as anywhere near universal, even at this relatively late stage of proceedings.

Galula has his place. So does history. Neither are the answer in their own right, but can be part of a sound problem solving approach to the issue of countering insurgency. Overstating Galula's acknowledged influence (on either the FM or current operational thinking) does not do much to clarify or raise understanding of current activities.

Cheers,

Mark

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Old 01-26-2008   #19
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Default Many thanks, Shek

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Ken,

http://www.amazon.com/Counterinsurge...1373224&sr=8-1

This link is for the second volume - the first volume covers 1860-1941.

Shek
I have no clue why my Googling didn't turn it up -- other than sheer incompetence, of course...

Added:

Heh, Now I see, Gian said Andre and Birtle is Andrew; for want of a 'w' the battle, etc...

I also note it's from CMH. Interesting...

And that it's $49.00. Think I'll wait 'til next time I'm near a Post and hit the Library...

Hopefully, he gives any credit to the right folks in veet nam

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Old 01-26-2008   #20
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You're far more likely to see a General saying "No way we can do that..."
I hope it stays that way, but Gian is a pretty smart guy, so I'm going to assume that he has good reason to be concerned.

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there are not any Buck Turgidsons out there.
No, but I bet there are many who'd like to be known in the press as the "Paetreus of [insert name of COIN effort here]"
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