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08 November 2011


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Dr. Silverman,

I give the paper an average score. What is missing is how to use the British experiences in Malaya, Northern Ireland and Iraq to address the today’s Jihadist Movements.

Unconventional Warfare (UW) works in failed States when in support of the aspirations of an oppressed people. COIN works in a functional State against a minority population. Invasions only succeed against non-nuclear states with adequate manpower (WWII). Afghanistan could have stayed in the first category if negotiations led to an Islamic Federation where all foreigners; Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians were force out and the Americans left. UW worked in Libya. The hard part is forming functional governments after the Arab Spring revolutions.

Anyway, the only way to address the Jihadist Movement is by containment, infiltration, education, development and retaliation. The current Middle East Wars only succeeded in increasing military contractors’ portfolios and spurring religious hatred.

William RAISER

"The underwhelming performance in and around Basra contrasted with the American display of striking strategic vision and tactical ability in the realm of COIN. The publication of Field Manual (FM) 3-24, Counterinsurgency, the rise to prominence and influence of the COIN-savvy General Petraeus, the inculcation of COIN learning at all levels of the American military, and the ubiquity of COIN thinking in the United States across the academic-military divide, have all contributed to a quantum leap of American fluency in irregular warfare."

Given Pat's MANY pointed comments about the efficacy and appropriateness of US COIN operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, are we supposed to take this article seriously??? Perhaps with regards to British operations, but the comments on the US approach(es), I take as a joke.

The Twisted Genius

Vietnam Vet,

Amazing! You managed to summarize US military doctrine and strategy in under ten lines. You should be one of those "visitin' purfessers" as the War College.

Adam L Silverman

TTG: Not sure who you're referring to. The author of the monograph is NOT affiliated with the US Army War College other than that the Strategic Studies Institute published his monograph. The closest, geographically, he's come to being at USAWC was a faculty position at Penn State (about 2 hours or so away depending on traffic). The SSI personnel are all considered to be either research fellows or research professors. I'm the cultural advisor - not a visiting professor. We have only a handful of visiting professors - they hold rotating named chairs for one to two years at a time.

As to VVs summarizing US military doctrine in under ten lines - most likely not. How we have executed, and often unfortunately to boot - more likely. Of course you were the person who most recently quoted doctrine here and did so in a positive manner, of course you picked what is widely considered to be a really bad definition of insurgency, for praise, that ultimately derives from Joint Publication 1.05, but which thankfully is being fixed in the new joint COIN publication (JP 3.24) and is going to be fixed in the next iteration of FM 3.24. The definition you like covers all political violence from revolution all the way down to terrorism; that's not a good definition, that's a definition that allows policy makers to decide that everything but an interstate war is the same thing and therefore it can all be dealt with using COIN. And I think we can all agree that what we've been doing as COIN, really isn't, and really has not provided good strategic level results.

The Twisted Genius

Dr. Silverman,

My comment was merely in reference to VV's comment, not to the monograph's author or to you. My comment was made tongue in cheek. You're right in that VV's comment describes execution rather than doctrine. I rather liked the monograph, except for the paragraph highlighted by William Raiser. Thanks for linking to it. I'll be reading some of the other monographs, as well.

I'm looking forward to the new definition and thoughts on insurgency. The one I used has been around for decades. Of course, insurgencies have been around a lot longer than that. Is the new definition of insurgency being driven by a developing COIN doctrine or is it independent of COIN? Do you know if a new version of FM 31-21 or FM 3-5.210 is in the works?

Adam L Silverman

TTG: My apologies - I read your comment the wrong way and as I'm trying to put together an overdue post on where we've reached on Iraq (which has me a bit out of sorts and attempting to not turn it into an essay length flaming of some of the folks we've all lambasted here), so my sincere apologies for being a bit gruff in my response; especially as I'm usually the one who is left to wonder why his sarcasm isn't coming across in email...

On to your question: My understanding is that it was time to do a new joint pub for COIN as we've been working it in a joint, let alone multinational, environment for a while now. My understanding is that a lot of stuff is supposed to be prepared with the joint operating environment in mind going forward (the frequently stated: "we have to make it JOE-able"). I did some of the reviewing, as part of those at USAWC who contributed to reviewing the proposed joint COIN pub, and didn't have much to add to it. I recently provided some feedback regarding the beginning of the process for an update/revision of FM 3-24. I know that new a FM 3 - something is coming out soon, but I can't recall the exact numbers after the dash right now. I'll check tomorrow and get back to you as I know that one of our three departments was heavily involved with producing it. I want to say its the new 3-0 (operations) FM, but it might be one of the .whatever variants. Stay tuned and I'll have an answer by midday tomorrow.



Sorry Adam, but COIN sucks however you re-bottle it unless you own the place. Don't buy it. pl

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