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From the Foreword: The most recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan clearly show the contentious and multiple methods introduced by both the insurgents and military forces and how only a holistic model can bring a successful conclusion. While there are many volumes written on specific counterinsurgency (COIN) tasks for any given theater of operation, this study differs in that it traces the root evolution of COIN methodology. We are witness to the continued emergence of more socially conscience and technologically savvy insurgencies that rely on habitual evolution. Reliance on an asymmetric mental-model falls short of the realization that leaders must illuminate the competing agendas among the growing number of actors and their increased access to global audiences.
LTC Nell accurately contends that the oft cliche hearts-and-minds maxim, most popularly attributed to Sir Gerald Templar in the Malayan Emergency (19481960), transcends time and geography while the key strategy of conciliation and coercion, applied simultaneously and judiciously, drive a COIN environment. Most importantly, this work points out the value of a whole-of-government commitment—of time, troops and materiel—towards ensuring the most beneficial outcome for not only our forces but the population as well. It points to the necessity of such earnest application, while reinforcing that the military may not always have the lead.
This critical review of historically significant COIN events identifies trends and sheds light on the complexity of modern hybrid warfare. While the uncovered strategy is timeless, the publication could not be more perfectly timed to recent world events.
Topics covered: Sir Gerald Templer, irregular conflicts, pacification, General David Patraeus, Malayan emergency, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam.