MILITARY INTELLIGENCE

Counterinsurgency

M - P

Mattox, Raymond M., and Peter S. Rodgers. "Counterinsurgency in the 21st Century: The Foundation and Implications of the New U.S. Doctrine." Strategic Insights 6, no. 6 (Dec. 2007). [http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si]

This student thesis from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School suggests that Field Manual (FM) 3-24 on counterinsurgency (COIN) operations "is a necessary step in developing an effective and coherent U.S. approach to COIN. However, it fails to incorporate some more contemporary social movement theory explanations into its strategies. For example, it fails to recognize the relative importance political inclusion in counterinsurgency strategies versus other variables, such as security, as a primary means of success in counterinsurgency campaigns."

McClintock, Michael. Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerrilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, and Counter-terrorism, 1940-1990. New York: Pantheon Books, 1992.

Choice, Jul.-Aug. 1992, says the author is a "human rights monitor" who "contends that the US has waged 'dirty war'... around the world since the end of WW II." McGehee, <cloaks-and-daggers@sjuvm.stjohns.edu>, 21 Jun. 1996, sees a "a finely researched examination of the use of the covert arms of the U.S. Government in subverting or sustaining foreign governments." Namebase comments that the author's "numerous quotes from military manuals and experts begin to drag after a few hundred pages, but his material on Edward Lansdale, and on President Kennedy's love affair with Special Forces, are almost worth the effort it takes to wade through them."

McCuen, John J. The Art of Counter-Revolutionary War: The Strategy of Counterinsurgency. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1966.

Metz, Steven. "A Flame Kept Burning: Counterinsurgency Support after the Cold War." Parameters 25 (Autumn 1995): 31-41.

Metz, Steven.

1. "New Challenges and Old Concepts: Understanding 21st Century Insurgency." Parameters 37. no. 4 (Winter 2007-2008): 20-32.

Following the events of 9/11, "insurgency was again viewed as a strategic threat.... The global campaign against violent Islamic extremists forced the United States military to undertake counterinsurgency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.... The military services scrambled to develop new concepts and doctrine. [footnote omitted] Counterinsurgency ... became a centerpiece for Army and Marine Corps training.... There is a problem, however: As the American military relearned counterinsurgency strategy and doctrine, it may not have gotten them right."

2. And Raymond A. Millen. "Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in the 21st Century: Reconceptualizing Threat and Response." Special Warfare 17 (Feb. 2005): 6-21.

Mockaitis, Thomas R. Iraq and the Challenge of Counterinsurgency. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008.

Keiser, Proceedings 134.10 (Oct. 2008), notes that the author believes that behind the mistakes made in Iraq "are longer term structural deficiencies." Mockaitis' "recommendations regarding the absolute need for our Services to greatly strengthen COIN training and organization make good sense."

Moyar, Mark. A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency From the Civil War to Iraq. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

For Cohen, Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2009, "this brilliant young scholar of the Vietnam War reminds us that it takes a special kind of soldier -- reflective, patient, creative -- to lead counterinsurgency operations." Dennis, JFQ 62 (3d Quarter, Jul. 2011), finds this work to be "a thoughtful analysis from which we all can learn, but Moyar's notion of leader-centric doctrine addresses only part of the solution to an enormously complex problem, and, therefore, is not the panacea that he claims it to be."

Cassidy, Parameters 36.4 (Winter 2009-2010), notes the author's view that "[i]f a military culture eschews counterinsurgency as a core role, as the US Army did for the last 25 years of the last century, the development of good counterinsurgency-capable leaders is hampered." The chapter on Afghanistan finds that "US forces during the first years of the resurgent insurgency arrived with little knowledge of counterinsurgency." Therefore, "[u]nits were forced to adapt under fire." Moyer also argues that "many regular Army commanders lacked creativity, flexibility, and other attributes more in demand during counterinsurgency than conventional war. The contrast between Special Forces officers, who often exhibited the desired attributes, and the regular Army officers was discernible."

Nagl, John A. [LTCOL/USA]

1. Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002. Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. [pb]

An advertisement for the 2005 paperback edition of this work notes that it includes "a new preface reflecting on the author's combat experience in Iraq."

According to Millen, Parameters 34.3, "this book compares ... the British approach to counterinsurgency in Malaya with the American approach in Vietnam.... Despite minor flaws, John Nagl's book is a valuable asset for identifying key aspects of a successful counterinsurgency strategy." Freedman, FA 83.6 (Nov.-Dec. 2004), says that "the point of Nagl's book is that the British managed to learn from early mistakes and adapt to the situation."

For Hoffman, Proceedings 132.3 (Mar. 2006), this work is "an extremely relevant text. Those interested in understanding the difficulties faced by Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, or who want to grasp the intricacies of the most likely form of conflict for the near future, will gain applicable lessons."

2. "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: British and American Army Counterinsurgency Learning during the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War." World Affairs 161 (Spring 1999): 193-199.

Newman, Bob. Guerrillas in the Mist: A Battlefield Guide to Clandestine Warfare. Boulder, CO: Paladin, 1997.

O'Neill, Bard E.

1. Insurgency and Terrorism: Inside Modern Revolutionary Warfare. Washington, DC: Brasseys, 1990.

2. Insurgency and Terrorism: From Revolution to Apocalypse. 2d ed. Washington, DC: Potomac, 2005.

O'Neill, Bard E, William R. Heaton, and Donald J. Alberts, eds. Insurgency in the Modern World. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1980.

Osanka, Franklin Mark, ed. Modern Guerrilla Warfare: Fighting Communist Guerrilla Movements, 1941-1961. Intro., Samuel P. Huntington. New York: Free Press, 1962.

The thematic thrust of this work is made plain in the subtitle, in that the "major emphasis" ("Preface," p. xi) is on the use of guerrilla warfare by Communist groups and movements.

Oseth, John M. "Intelligence and Low-Intensity Conflict." Naval War College Review 37 (Nov.-Dec. 1984): 19-36. [http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usamhi/RefBibs/intell/since45.htm]

Paul, Christopher, and Colin P. Clarke. "Evidentiary Validation of FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency Worldwide, 1978-2008." Joint Force Quarterly 60 (Jan. 2011). [http://www.ndu.edu]

"We find that the record of recent history (insurgencies worldwide from 1978 to 2008) supports the principles espoused in FM 3–24. The vast majority of governments and COIN forces that adhered to multiple tenets of the manual prevailed over the insurgencies they opposed. In the preponderance of insurgencies in which COIN forces did not follow the principles of FM 3–24, they lost."

Petraeus, David H. [LTGEN/USA], and James F. Amos [LTGEN/USMC]. Counterinsurgency. Washington, DC: Department of the Army, Field Manual (FM) No, 3-24, Dec. 2006; Washington, DC: Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Department of the Navy, Marine Corps Warfighting Publication (MCWP) No 3-33.5, Dec. 2006. U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual [COIN FM]. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Berger, et al, I&NS 22.6 (Dec. 2007), find that the manual "provides a framework that draws on virtually all the key lessons that have been proposed by the wider literature on counterinsurgency.... What remains unanswered is how [the field manual] actually translates into practice on the ground in Iraq and elsewhere."

For Kahl, FA 86.6 (Nov.-Dec. 2007), "[t]he COIN FM is not an academic document, but it is deeply informed by classical counterinsurgency theory.... The manual embraces a model commonly referred to as 'clear, hold, and build.'" While "it is difficult to know whether its template can work in all cases,... overall, the COIN FM probably represents the single best distillation of current knowledge about irregular warfare."

See American Political Science Association, "The New U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual as Political Science and Political Praxis," Perspectives on Politics 6, no. 2 (Jun. 2008): 347-360.

Stephen Biddle sees the manual as "a remarkably thoughtful response to a vexing problem.... It is not perfect, however. In particular, it makes assumptions about the nature of insurgency and the relationship between the United States and the host government that are sometimes sound and sometimes not.... Iraq is precisely the kind of nonideological communal war of identity that the manual is least suited for."

To Stathis N. Kalyvas, "[t]he manual breaks little new ground." This is basically "an elaboration and reformulation of a body of work that emerged in the 1960s." It also "is in many ways a crysallization of the lessons that American commanders painfully learned in the wake of the invasion of Iraq in 2003-05. As such, it seems to have been overtaken by developments on the ground since that period."

Wendy Brown comments that "[i]f the COIN manual updates the military's approach to counterinsurgency, it remains premised on a severely outmoded figure of sovereign power, one in which American powers within the theater of war are imagined to be under the direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.."

For Douglas A. Ollivant, "the manual itself is not particularly radical," but "it is a radical challenge to conventional military culture and raises deep questions about the type of military -- and especially the type of army -- the United States wishes to maintain."

Polk, William R. A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, From the American Revolution to Iraq. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.

Kahl, FA 86.6 (Nov.-Dec. 2007), notes that the author has found that "coercion has more often than not been ineffective -- or counterproductive" -- in insurgency situations. Polk "provides ample proof that occupying armies ... find it excruciatungly difficult to use legitimacy to defeat local insurgents and then exit gracefully."

Pustay, John S. [LTGEN/USAF] Counterinsurgency Warfare. New York: Free Press, 1965.

Return to Special Operations Table of Contents