Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory And Practice

There is a new book published which remains quite popular among military officers. It defines the laws of insurgency while also outlining the strategies and tactics needed to combat the threat of insurgency. These observations are taken from a French officer who witnessed these guerrilla warfare tactics on three continents. The book is quite a popular one for members of the public, military analyst, and American policymakers. The lessons of been applied to current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This book provides important foundation information for different areas of conflict, and different lessons that can be learned from these types of conflicts.

This book begins by describing the basic characteristics of war, because an insurgency is a type of Revolutionary war. The book speaks about a revolution being sudden and a mass movement with a plot to overthrow leadership. Insurgency is intentional and yet not as swift as a revolution. Insurgencies and set a protracted struggle, one which seeks to gain intermediary goals with the overall attempt of overthrowing an existing power source. The book refers to the plots of insurgency but also revolutions.

There's a key characteristic to all three types of warfare in revolution. Counterinsurgents tend to hold a monopoly on tangible assets like legitimate power or material resources. But insurgents black this power and instead have the advantage of intangible assets like a lack of responsibility or ideology. Counterinsurgents are quite powerful but they have to uphold the law which can limit their actions at times. But insurgents have no power and are free to violate social norms and promises. Insurgents also have the freedom to decide when and where they will start a conflict through their actions. Whereas a counterinsurgent, can only react to the insurgency. This relationship requires counterinsurgents to capitalize on their advantages and to limit the ability of an insurgent to benefit from their Intangible advantages.

According to this author, counterinsurgency has four laws. The first law is that the primary objective of counterinsurgency is to protect the people and support them. The people have to also support the primary objective of the campaign. If the population does not support the campaign, insurgents cannot be routed out and they will continue to recruit. This support can be readily obtained from a more active minority group. People who are willing to support a counterinsurgency should be supported in their efforts to rally together majorities and to neutralize minorities. Once the support of the population is obtained, the support is conditional. This means that counterinsurgents must remember that what they do actually matters and if their actions become unfavorable among the public, they can lose the support that they once had. The final law refers to the intensity of the effort. Counterinsurgency takes a lot of effort, personal, and resources. And chances are you cannot effectively be everywhere at once. This is why action has to be taken in very select areas. And resources should be moved as they are needed.

Overall this book offers great policy and adduction skills. It provides strategy and tactics, meant as a compass for those who were conducting counterinsurgency operations. It provides direction for the counterinsurgent. It offers a great deal of tactics, and how to conduct counterinsurgency in a nonviolent way and in the violent way as needed.

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