Special Forces doctrine, organization and training has traditionally centered on UW and the mission "to develop, organize, equip, train, and direct non-US forces in the conduct of guerrilla warfare." However, US foreign policy and our military operations have increasingly gravitated towards the other side of this COIN. The pun, though unintentional, describes the problem perfectly. In Viet Nam SF worked the UW mission with the Montagnards, Hmong and others while the Viet Cong conducted their own brand of UW. In Central and South America, SF more frequently worked with government military forces to combat local insurgencies. After 9/11, the focus became even more solidly on defeating insurgencies. The cult of COIN and the SOF operators reigned supreme.
With this year's Arab Spring and the near textbook example of a successful insurgency in Libya, I suggest that US foreign policy will be better served if it dispenses with its distrust of all insurgencies and releases its death grip on the status quo. As Thomas Jefferson advised us, a revolution now and then is a good thing. In this article I will point out a few salient points of current US doctrine on insurgencies and then examine the Libyan revolution through the lens of UW.