Why? Because to me, it is in conceivable or naïve to think that the U.S. will be involved in any future COIN conflict by itself. It will be a mid-to-large-scale operation not unilateral; bound to be fought in a coalition context. COIN doctrine for the U.S. can no longer be written in a vacuum. To successfully put COIN in a box, there has to be input from other countries. Therefore, a commonality between doctrines is the only sensible solution and that common doctrine must include practical procedures for S
of many nations. There is no other way to do it; other countries must be considered and must be involved. How should FM 3-24 be organized? There is only one way the COIN FM should be structured. It should be arranged in a logical sequence with other proven learning techniques like vignettes and have annexes that contain guidance about advising / mentoring. The underlying theme should be support, assistance, building capacity, and capabilities in HN and HN security forces, so they teach and train their own forces. We are not the counterinsurgents, they are. This supports COIN operations within Security Assistance as defined in U.S. Code Title 22 (SA) and U.S. Code Title 10 (SC). A logical sequence means, describe how the U.S. and maybe NATO get involved in COIN, start to finish. For example, first the President, State Department, and Host Nation (HN), and other country officials and foreign diplomats get involved. Then Security Cooperation, Security Assistance, Internal Defense and Development, Foreign Internal Defense, Humanitarian Assistance, and Stability Operations come into play. All this is discussed before a single troop hits the ground. JP 3-24 does a good job of setting the stage
for COIN in the Executive Summary Commander’s Overview section.
In the revised FM 3-24, setting the stage should be upfront and should be a concise piece of no more than half a dozen pages. This section should have references that lead readers to source information. A brief explanation and the official definitions for insurgency and counterinsurgency should be next, chapter one. After that, in a logical order, sections on shape, clear, hold, build, and transition. The last section or appendices and annexes should contain
the “how to teach”
and train HN. All the tactics, TTPs, and references for shape, clear, hold, build, transition, and COIN enablers should be included in this area.
This should not be the “how to”
take charge and solve everything section. Advising, mentoring, and coaching, and by, with, and through the HN all have to be included. Dependency issues have to be addressed in the first phases of COIN. That is at the Presidential, State Department, and diplomatic levels, so Soldiers are not set-up for failure later on. Why a logical sequence? Because that is how COIN happens in real life. A logical sequence supports learning, understanding, and application. The separate parts and pieces and concepts in COIN are complex enough. The conceptualization of COIN as a whole is even harder. The FM must include proven teaching and learning methods to facilitate learning, understanding, and application. My first concern about the revision is COIN specific words, terms, definitions, and their use. Many of these need to be standardized and better defined, not only for the benefit of U.S. forces, but for the benefit of Coalition Forces and HN partners. An analysis of COIN doctrine, conducted by CTC-A, shows that certain key words, terms, and definitions in COIN today are not clear. The inconsistencies in doctrine are illustrated in
. The complete