West Point professor Col. Gian P. Gentile writes
that it is "time for the deconstruction" of the Army's Counterinsurgency
manual. I agree.
Col. Gentile writes (emphasis mine):
Concepts such as population security, nationbuilding, and
living among the people to win their hearts and minds were first
injected into the Army with the publication of the vaunted Field Manual
(FM) 3–24, Counterinsurgency, in December 2006. Unfortunately,
the Army was so busy fighting two wars that the new doctrine was written
and implemented and came to dominate how the Army thinks about war
without a serious professional and public debate over its efficacy,
practicality, and utility.
It is time for the Army to debate FM 3–24 critically, in a
wide and open forum. The notion that it was debated sufficiently
during the months leading up to its publication is a chimera.
Unfortunately, the dialogue within defense circles about
counterinsurgency and the Army’s new way of war is stale and reflects
thinking that is well over 40 years old. In short, our Army has been
steamrollered by a counterinsurgency doctrine that was developed by
Western military officers to deal with insurgencies and national wars of
independence from the mountains of northern Algeria in the 1950s to the
swamps of Indochina in the 1960s. The simple truth is that we have
bought into a doctrine for countering insurgencies that did not work in
the past, as proven by history, and whose efficacy and utility remain
highly problematic today. Yet prominent members of the Army and the
defense expert community seem to be mired in this out-of-date doctrine.
Both the field and the institutional Army have gained
much experience over these past 4 years in actually fighting two major
COIN campaigns. Should we not consider that experience and integrate it
into a revised doctrine for counterinsurgency? The German army in
World War I went through major doctrinal introspection and then change
after only 2 years of combat on the Western Front. It drew on a vast
amount of combat experience (often from the lower ranks of the army),
codified that experience into an operational doctrine, trained on it,
and then put it into practice against the enemy.
Why is our military still carrying on as if there isn't anything
wrong? If counterinsurgency is as great as its proponents portray, it should be able to withstand
the debate that Gentile calls for. Either way, our nation must do
whatever it takes to win. We have the best troops and equipment in the
world. We just need a strategy that will work, and after four years, it
seems obvious to this author that counterinsurgency does not.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
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Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
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Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.