ROYAL COLLEGE OF DEFENCE STUDIES
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Counterinsurgency and stabilisation: intervention, doctrine and the new orthodoxy
Captain N W Hine
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ROYAL COLLEGE OF DEFENCE STUDIES
Counterinsurgency and stabilisation: intervention, doctrine and the new orthodoxy
Captain N W Hine Royal Navy
© British Crown Copyright 2010/MOD Published with the Permission of the Controller of Her Britannic Majesty’s Stationery Office
Based on a distinctive set of western liberal democratic values and a belief that these ideals are universally applicable. promotes the view of the primacy of soft approaches like ‘hearts and minds’ and dismisses the role of the exemplary use of force in overall success and failure. Moreover. and should critically question the fundamental assumptions underpinning all of this. contemporary doctrinal analysis of why previous insurgencies were defeated. these assumptions have been uncritically accepted and are now legitimised in British and American stabilisation and counterinsurgency doctrine. Policy makers and the military should be wary of the inherent dangers in being unduly fixated with fighting the present war while structuring and preparing for the next. the actors within it and hence the nature of conflict. and a discussion of methodologies. the UK and the US have promoted a view of the international environment based on a particular set of assumptions about the nature of the system. intervention strategies designed using these assumptions are flawed.
. Of concern.Executive Summary In the post-Cold War period.
legal prohibitions and economic factors. the execution of such solutions will require a different type of military force: one likely to be trained. specifically drawing upon previous experience. and in some cases misapplied. ‘the ability to get desired outcomes because others want what you want. the nature of contemporary conflict. 1998.INTRODUCTION Post 1989. have led to a fundamental review of British and American approaches to these types of operations. Foreign Affairs. p 4. The result is the doctrine of stabilisation. conflict. and a discussion of ‘successful’ methodologies. promotes the view of the primacy of soft approaches like ‘hearts and minds’ and dismisses the role of the exemplary 3 use of force. Instead. offers a favoured approach in which the use of force is an enabler for other desired nation-building activities. the use of soft power. By placing counterinsurgency and stabilisation at the heart of military thinking. if these
R Keohane and J Nye.specific solutions are likely to result in changes to the way the military is employed and to the types of task it will be required to conduct. 2 Idem. the ability of states to use military hard power ‘to get others to do what they otherwise would not do through threats or rewards’ 1 in order to achieve their desired outcomes is increasingly constrained by the influence of the media. This prevailing view is based on a distinctive set of western values and assumptions and a belief that they are universally applicable. If this is the case. Intervention could accelerate progress and where such political and economic systems did not exist they could be imposed. ‘Power and Interdependence in the Information Age’. will be examined. Analysis of why previous insurgencies were defeated. Vol 77. No 5. structured and equipped in new ways. In implementing this approach. achieving goals through attraction rather than coercion’ 2 . economic development and security. This doctrine reflects the liberal interventionist view described above and. The post-Cold War liberal intervention experience and frustrations with perceived failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. across all lines of government activity. Particular emphasis is placed on the need to address the challenge presented by fragile and failing states relying on a singular interpretation of why states fail and also therefore what the solution to that failure should be: improvements in governance (scilicet democracy). This may distort budgetary priorities and subsequently. False analogies and dichotomies drawn from the past serve to reinforce contemporary assumptions about the limitations on the use of force. In analysing the conclusions that have been reached in the UK and the US concerning the characteristics of the international system. 2
. is more acceptable to domestic and international opinion. 3 ‘Serving as a warning or deterrent’ Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press. the lessons to be drawn from previous counterinsurgency experience and how they have been applied. the opportunity to create a new world order existed where stability and security within the international system could be enhanced through the promotion of democracy and free markets. 2003). stability operations and a renewed interest in counterinsurgency as a relevant approach to contemporary conflict.
In the UK this view was reflected in Tony Blair’s 1999 Doctrine of the International Community. democracy was the only acceptable political system. but also a moral imperative to do so. Blair’s Wars (London: The Free Press. Before accepting uncritically the new orthodoxy and the concomitant transformation of the military that the new stabilisation and counterinsurgency doctrines represent. After Tamerlane. The end of History? in The New Shape of World Politics. rather. To refuse to adopt them was a hostile act against peace and progress. it will prove very difficult to recover balanced force structures given future resource challenges. whether we like it or not. the rise of the neoconservatives saw in the end of the Cold War not only an opportunity to act in their national security interest. p 482. While soft approaches look attractive in resource and public relations terms. it will be argued that assumptions about the nature of the problem and proposed solutions should be subject to challenge. But in subscribing to this view there were differences: some argued these developments were too important to be left to evolve.. he argued: ‘We are all internationalists now. p 2. Promoting intervention in the internal affairs of other states.assumptions are found to be flawed. using force if necessary. . the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalisation of western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. New York. We cannot refuse to participate in global markets if we want to prosper.’ 5 In the US. Thus. The Rise and Fall of Global Empires 1400-2000 (London: Penguin Books.’ 4 This victory after nearly 50 years of superpower ideological competition created the opportunity for a transformation of the international order in the image of the victors. 3
. As Darwin has argued. and a commercial culture made for mass consumption were the best guarantees of wealth and stability. p 52. 2003). We cannot turn our backs on conflicts and the violation of human rights within other countries if we want to be secure. America’s version of the market economy. Democratic institutions on the American model. 2007). where they were taking too long they could be expedited. after 1989 American power was ‘used to secure the gains and advance the programme of the new world order. 5 Tony Blair in John Kampfner. (Foreign Affairs Agenda: Foreign Affairs. THE NATURE OF INTERVENTION It has been argued that the end of the Cold War represented the triumph of western democratic.’ 6
Francis Fukuyama. 6 John Darwin. 1997). closed economic systems and repression. Fukuyama famously declared this to be the ‘end of history’: ‘What we are witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War. or a passing of a particular period of postwar history. as a solution to the challenges of contemporary and future conflict. but the end of history as such: that is. free-market and liberal values over a communist ideology characterised by totalitarian.. they are questionable. and the free market would transcend existing social norms and customs in bringing economic growth and stability to the world. A new world order – liberal intervention and democratic peace This new world would be created by states with shared values who would establish an international order where democracy was the primary form of governance.
. rather that stability results from the acquisition of power and power balances between states. A Very Short Introduction. 2007). 8 As a result. Whilst democratic peace theory does not contend that democratic states are less warprone than non-democracies. However. a long-term commitment to the promotion of democracy becomes a security imperative and a policy driver. pp7-8. immediate humanitarian needs of the people. As the father of the American Cold War doctrine of containment. time to provide for the essential. The idea that security can be guaranteed by shared values. 4
. Robert Gates:
The greatest threats to our national security will not come from emerging ambitious states but from the nations unable or unwilling to meet the basic needs and aspirations of their people. 11 Paul Wilkinson. p 2. George Kennan. (Headquarters Department of the Army. 9
From a UK perspective. Realists do not support the thesis that international stability relies on the promotion of democratic values. the population of states where this type of intervention occurs may reject the method of their democratic transformation. October 2008). and the UK has a moral responsibility to work with other countries and the international community to prevent. 10 Cabinet Office. p 14. ‘Kant or Cant: the Myth of Democratic Peace’. it argues that the UK needs to be concerned with state failure because it causes violent conflict and serious instability and: ‘all violent conflicts are humanitarian catastrophes. 2008).
C Layne. International Security. when addressed to a foreign people. p vi. the more stable the system is as a whole. A more fundamental criticism is that in contradiction to the desired outcome. In addition. where it is argued that the most stable international relationships are those that exist between democracies. the more democracies within the international system. time may be the ultimate arbiter of success: time to bring safety and security to an embattled populace.. p 5. it suggests that democracies do not tend to go to war with other democracies. it is argued that liberalism can distort the existing underpinnings of stability such as traditional social and political interaction. and peace does not necessarily bring prosperity and thus stability. a view characterised by US Secretary of Defense. The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom: Security in an Interdependent World. International Relations. the National Security Strategy clearly reflects the links between the dangers of fragile and failed states and wider global instability. observed: ‘even benevolence. In particular. 9 The US Army.. understanding and compromise is rejected. and time to rebuild the institutions of government and market economy that provide the foundations for enduring peace and stability.’ 11 Other critics argue that there is no causal link between democracy and stability. (London: TSO. Ibid. Vol 19 (1994). Therefore.Such interpretations of the guarantors of stability in the international system reflect democratic peace theory 7 . ‘always necessitating a readiness to go to war. 3-07: Stability Operations. For example. instead people are motivated by self-interest and the pursuit of power. as well as contribute to post-conflict stabilisation and peacebuilding. Democracy may fail to satisfy expectations. (Oxford: Oxford University Press. time to restore basic public order and a semblance of normalcy to life. mediate and mitigate conflict. US Army Field Manual No.’ 10 This position is not without its critics.
e. ‘Persuasion and Coercion in Counterinsurgency Warfare’. but in a modern era when national states constitute the building blocks of world order. 2008. If the state is considered to be an artificial construct.’ 13 Consensus. Bolivia). over the causes of state fragility does not exist. illegitimate forms of governance and a lack of economic development. geographic and physical constraints (e. p 52. at best.g. The challenge to democracy
Daniel Boorstin quoted in A J Birtle. However. including: intercommunal antagonisms over ideology and religion (e.’ 12 The state and stability Descriptors of state stability using such terms as ‘fragile’. a divided reception.e.g. If one considers the international system as ‘balanced’ in terms of power then any gain is offset by a loss elsewhere in the system. i. Rotberg is clear about the link between fragility and instability in the international system: ‘The rise and fall of nation-states is not new. Understanding International Relations (London: Palgrave. and other specific issue problems that are symptoms of failure. and Repair’. 14 Ibid. Oceanic and Latin American states threaten the very foundation of that system.represents a form of intervention into their internal affairs and always receives. where ‘there is clearly no necessity that politics should be arranged on a territorial basis’ 15 . black markets and endemic disease. it does not necessarily follow that fragility causes international instability. however.’ 16 An alternate view of the international environment is one of a ‘zero-sum’ game where a level of instability could be necessary to allow the system to function as a whole. East Timor). 16 Jeffrey Herbst. Prevention. (Princeton: Princeton University Press. p 69. Military Review.g. ed by R Rotberg. i. 14 Even if agreement on what causes fragile and failing states existed. ‘The Failure and Collapse of Nation-States: Breakdown. not causes. Explanations are often predicated on a state’s inability to maintain basic security. enduring frailties (e. 5
. ‘Let Them Fail: State failure in Theory and Practice’. the violent disintegration and palpable weakness of selected African. in Rotberg. Ibid. 2004). such as arms trafficking. Asian. 13 Robert Rotberg. Herbst suggests this is the historic norm and state failure ‘continued throughout most of the twentieth century. p 1. then it should not be surprising that the creation. p 304. alternative explanations for fragility encompass a number of other systemic and structural causes which are not directly related to internal governance and which may be beyond the ability of external actors to affect. the loss of the state’s monopoly on the use of violence. Rotberg has suggested a number of other factors. growth and break up of such entities is a predictable part of an evolving international system. pp 14-20. Haiti). Vol 88. in When States Fail: Causes and Consequences. 15 Chris Brown. It follows that there may even be ‘acceptable levels’ of instability necessary for the functioning of the whole and thus the process of state formation and failure may be a natural element of the international order and nothing more than a process of continuous systemic correction. ‘failing’ and ‘weak’ are prevalent in international relations literature and now permeate military doctrine on counterinsurgency and stabilisation. For example. one that enables groups of people to impose order on their surroundings. 2001).
2007. International Security. America’s success will depend upon our developing a deeper understanding of the role of soft power and developing a better balance of hard and soft power in our foreign policy. humanitarian organizations. and address the root causes of conflict among the disenfranchised populations of the world. General Caldwell (Head of the US Army Combined Arms Centre) in his foreward to Field Manual (FM) 3-07 US Stability Operations doctrine. Libya.’ 17 Thus democratic forms of governance may not be the most effective method for delivering international stability. p147. Vol 19.These types of interventions challenge the norm of sovereignty. US Army Field Manual No.’ Joseph Nye Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs. critics suggest there are a number of difficulties with reference to what form democracy should take and the universal applicability of such a system of governance. international partners. Foreword. He argues that ultimately all states regardless of their form of governance behave similarly: ‘Liberal states. At the heart of this effort is a comprehensive approach to stability operations that integrates the tools of statecraft with our military forces. and the relative utility of force in particular.’ 20 This change in approach can partly be explained by the critique of the earlier policies followed under the neoconservatives and a perception of failure in Iraq and Afghanistan.
. and that such support can be won by providing better government. a politics in which popular support is important or even decisive. 1994. democratic peace theory seems to represent a seductive vision of a more stable international order. 2004). spur economic development. Owen goes further by arguing that democracy is not a panacea and permanent peace between democracies is not possible. p 119. like all others. whether they are complementary. and the balance between them needed to achieve desired ends. Differences exist on the relative value of powers of attraction and powers of coercion. Notwithstanding the legal basis of such interventions. North Korea and Syria shows that in fact government needs no popular support as long as it can secure obedience. 19 ‘In short. 20 The US Army. That will be smart power. The notion of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ (and even ‘smart’ 19 ) power has been subject to considerable debate. and the private sector. the emphasis is on soft power. becomes prevalent in security debates. suggests that while a balance is necessary.’ 18 Hard. J M Owen. but needs to be considered here as it forms a fundamental consideration for the employment of military force. p 2. the cornerstone of inter-state order since the seventeenth century. ‘How Liberalism Produces Democratic Peace’. ‘Dead end: Counterinsurgency warfare as military malpractice’. This view is well expressed by Luttwak: ‘The assumption here is that there is only one kind of politics in this world. 3-07: Stability Operations. soft and smart power Assuming one supports the view that the promotion of democracy within the international system is of benefit in terms of stability.
E Luttwak. the nature and use of power. Harpers. Caution is required. highlights the key areas of governance and economic development in the assistance to fragile states and limitations on the use of force: ‘Achieving victory will assume new dimensions as we strengthen our ability to generate “soft” power to promote participation in government. however. must base foreign policy on the imperatives of power politics. Yet the extraordinary persistence of dictatorships as diverse in style as the regimes of Cuba.
p 1-15. ‘The United Kingdom and the War of Terror: the Breakdown of National and Military Strategy’. and the ‘means’ have been identified as the comprehensive approach. ways and means on the one hand and the lack of policy.e. needs to be considered. even if it can be justified through subscription to democratic peace theory. the ‘ways’ concern assisting such states through improvements in governance. economic development and security. Chin suggests little realistic strategic assessment was in evidence over the interventions in Iraq or Afghanistan: ‘Because of this failure at the highest political level. statecraft or a whole of government approach on the other. 2009. economic development. and security require the application of all areas of government through a comprehensive approach. the methods of the employment of that strategy. does not look the same when viewed through a non-western prism. the perceived need for increased civil-military coherence and integration is often only based on assumption that
W Chin. the ‘ways’). 22 JDP 3-40.. If analysis of the problem results in a questionable set of assumptions concerning the causes of instability. 22 Intervention to promote stability seems paradoxical and. If analysis of the problem is incorrect then any proposed solution must be similarly flawed – in particular the military contribution to stabilisation and the balance between the military and other elements of power. the ‘means’). such as the use of force versus other instruments of power. but therein lies the problem of false assumption.e. Contemporary Security Policy. soft and smart power.. 7
. then potential solutions to the problem are similarly uncertain. p 126. This debate in relation to stabilisation in contemporary conflict. Furthermore. It is logical that solutions to questions of governance. is critical to understanding how it is implemented. the armed forces have faced the challenge of trying to reconcile a profound mismatch between resources and commitments and this has led to the adoption of a strategy and doctrine which are not ideal in terms of dealing with such a range of asymmetric challenges. ways and means’ debate. ways and means The question of how strategy is formed to support liberal interventionism. WAYS AND MEANS AND THE COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH The assumptions which support liberal intervention have not been without controversy. with debate over the relationship between ends. at what level (National/Alliance/Coalition/NATO or Host Nation) and whether indeed this coordinated response has any greater utility than singular approaches: ‘There is limited empirical data on the effectiveness of multifunctional approaches to operations . constituting the means through the comprehensive approach fails to determine how this will be applied. coercion and strategies for intervention in general. the ‘ends’). In particular the relationship between the desired outcome (i. and how these elements are brought together in a coherent manner (i.STRATEGY: ENDS. No 1. sees the ‘ends’ as improved international security through the stabilisation of fragile states. (i. and the ‘ends.’ 21 This failure has occurred simultaneously with a debate over the utility of hard.e. Ends. Vol 30.
2009.the different actors and strands of activity are both inherently compatible and more effective when coordinated than when employed individually.’ 23 Implementation through a comprehensive approach? The construction of strategy is not a military monopoly and herein lies a further difficulty with this approach to contemporary conflict. p77. rather than the desired complementary outcome. 24 Harry Summers. the whole was less than the sum of its parts. DOCTRINE – CLEAR. we became neophyte political scientists and systems analysts and were outclassed by the civilian professionals who dominated national security policy under Secretary of Defense Robert S McNamara after 1961. irrelevant in the nuclear era). 8
.’ 24 Thus a comprehensive approach when applied in Vietnam led to what Summers has called bureaucratic competition and conflict of self perpetuation/interest 25 . doctrine is often contradictory. an example of where. 25 Ibid. Instead of being experts in the political ends of the United States. Vol 32. Vol 19 No 3. and therefore solutions to. there was an increased emphasis on technical.e. ‘Between reluctance and the necessity: the utility of military force in humanitarian and development operations’. This paper argues that in doing so. the Foreign Office. On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War (California: Presidio Press. No 3. p 363. In this way the elements of government responsible for promotion of governance. ways and means and who has the lead) and on a common understanding of how it is to be enacted. and the ways are contested then those who control the means become deciders of the overall strategy as a whole. p 404. If the ends are set. 1982). In P Dixon. Drawing directly upon previous experience. ‘stability operations’ and a renewed interest in counterinsurgency as an approach to contemporary conflict across all lines of government activity. Department for International Development and the military) control the strategy through the measurement of progress. the ends. For example. these types of challenges. to many. 2008. p 44. 26 So what’s new?
R Engell. 26 “The term ‘hearts and minds’ can be considered as ‘hearts’ is about winning the emotional support of the people and ‘minds’ understanding that the people as pursuing their rational self-interest”. ‘Hearts and Minds’? British Counter-Insurgency from Malaya to Iraq’. managerial and bureaucratic concerns. the American prosecution of the Vietnam conflict became dominated by nonmilitary thinking by organisations like the RAND Corporation: ‘Instead of concentrating on military strategy which had become unfashionable after World War II (and. This doctrine reflects the liberal interventionist views described in the first section and is based on assumptions about the causes of. the utility of force and the concept of ‘hearts and minds’. Small Wars & Insurgencies. A comprehensive or whole of government approach is predicated on agreement on the strategy (i. NEW AND USING THE PAST? The post-Cold War liberal intervention experience has resulted in ‘stabilisation’ doctrine. soft power approaches. doctrine offers a preferred approach in which the use of minimum force is an enabler for other stabilisation activities. and that it is based on false assumptions of the nature of the international system. Journal of Strategic Studies. economic development and security (in the UK.
all conducted in the national interest:
The rules-based international system relies on stability. security and governance measures. the current crop is no different. long-term success. and that requires an approach that combines economic. promote political processes and governance structures which lead to a political settlement that institutionalises non-violent contests for power. unambiguous and unequivocal. Security and Stabilisation: the Military Contribution.. ..’ 27 Is it clear enough? In examining the composition of the international system.. or be caused by. Security is the foundation on which stability is built. Instead. So the doctrine is clear. For real. governance and security measures. stability and governance. economic breakdown and insecurity that stimulates and exacerbates conflict. It will therefore be a necessary and implicit act of most interventions. it may be a consequence of intervention for other reasons of national interest. Or is it? Consider the following extract from JDP 3-40 and the proposition that: ‘Degradation in any one of these elements of a stable state may lead to erosion of the others. Reflecting lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. As General Caldwell has put it: ‘America’s future abroad is unlikely to resemble Afghanistan or Iraq. It links international stability. to become more acceptable to the nation’s population and more consistent with the UK’s strategic interests. and provide vital humanitarian aid to the suffering. protect the population and key infrastructure. US Army Field Manual No. a comprehensive approach. security and the process of stabilisation through the application of a comprehensive approach. . you must address the root causes of the instability. 9
. enduring or emerging from conflict in order to: prevent or reduce violence. Fundamental to considering the utility of current doctrine is the question of whether it has been written to support a set of circumstances that are unlikely to be repeated.There has been a plethora of new doctrine written concerning the issues of contemporary conflict. and prepares for sustainable social and economic development.. At the heart of the contest for security may be a bloody insurgency. or to reshape it. Doctrine tends to be reviewed and rewritten during periods of soul-searching and reflects contemporary policy prescriptions. British Army Field Manual Volume 1 Part 10 Countering Insurgency. The UK Approach to Stabilisation: Stabilisation Unit Guidance Note. have all been issued or revised. p xv. ... 28
Thus stabilisation is the process which promotes economic development.. Foreword. This in turn creates a web of poor governance. where we grapple with the burden of nation-building under fire. Instead. Its ultimate purpose is to strengthen an existing political order. on which all else is based. This may cause. stabilisation and stability operations in the last decade. assist fragile states. we will work through and with the community of nations to defeat insurgency. JDP 3-40. US Army Field Manual No. JDP 3-40 provides a good example of how this thinking sets the underlying assumptions. … Stabilisation is the process that supports states which are entering. In particular the following publications: Joint Doctrine Publication 3-40. particularly in fragile or failed states.. a collapse in the political settlement that regulates key
US Army FM 3-07. 3-24 and Marine Corps Warfighting Publication: Counterinsurgency Field Manual. . counterinsurgency. 3-07: Stability Operations and the US Government Counterinsurgency Guide. which leads to security which provides stability.
31 US Army FM 3-07. . And in today’s world. but a lack of conviction over the underlying assumptions that underpin the problem (and as will be shown later in the doctrinal use of analogy) and therefore of how the solution might be framed.’ 31 But contradictions occur over whether the promotion of democracy is the key. or can actually make the situation worse.societal and state relationships. 32 US Army FM 3-07. state failure can quickly become not merely a misfortune for local communities.’ 29 It seems therefore that there is certainty over a right to intervene. effective. state failure. p 2-11..’ 32 There are further fundamental inconsistencies in the doctrine if the liberal assumptions underpinning its conclusions are viewed from a realist perspective. thus it may alternatively be said that the promotion of liberal democratic values is rather the means by which national interest and security is safeguarded and not an end in itself. accountable and involve public participation. but a threat to global security. Despite huge contextual variations – and every situation is different – there may be a downward spiral of state fragility. and the impact of. and by the appearance of destructive radical ideologies. p 1-8. US Government Counterinsurgency Guide. Interagency Counterinsurgency Initiative. systems. and economic pressures. does not ensure these outcomes.
. 2009. The strains created by globalization. Preface. Democratization. all augur a period in which free and moderate governance is at risk. while often an end state condition in planning. or whether pragmatism should prevail and any form of legitimate governance will suffice: ‘Governance is the process. environmental. This analytical certainty also features in the American approach and supports the notions of insecurity resulting from state failure and the need to promote democracy to counter insurgency. In particular it is prescriptive over the reasons for. elections may further polarize factions. pp 1-11 . by demographic. either bilaterally or through other regional states or international institutions. [Emphasis added]. Effective democracies generally resolve disputes through peaceful means. 30
Doctrine is similarly unambiguous over the solution to the problems outlined above in that the promotion of democracy and the creation of wealth are seen as central: ‘The most effective long-term measure for conflict prevention and resolution is the promotion of democracy and economic development. The primacy of national interest is clearly demonstrated in JDP 3-40: ‘Our contribution to
JDP 3-40. or religious lines. by the collapse of weak state structures. tribal. and actors that enable a state to function. legitimate governance ensures that these are transparent. In societies already divided along ethnic. Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.12. the links to insurgency and global security:
Insurgency will be a large and growing element of the security challenges faced by the United States in the 21st century. British and American doctrines are specific when suggesting that national interest is the prime driver for intervention. institutions. United States Government.. by the ease of cooperation among insurgent groups and criminals.
. but will always be determined by UK’s strategic interests. not the minimum use of force. .
. In counterinsurgency. 38 JDP 3-40 p 4-30.5: Counterinsurgency Field Manual (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. rather the debate concerns how to achieve it and whether it is in enabling or definitive function in stabilisation or stability operations. Security cannot be achieved solely through the presence of military forces. contemporary doctrine is clear on the use of force: ‘Military force is but one element required for the delivery of security and stabilisation. was decisive in such conflicts: ‘Perfectly ordinary regular armed forces.. military forces are. 39 Luttwak however.stabilisation may vary. 37 JDP 3-40. 3-24 and Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No.
JDP 3-40. 39 The US Army and Marine Corps. p 15. it will not defeat an insurgency on its own. there is no debate about the need for security 34 in contemporary conflict. The simple starting point is that the insurgents are not the only ones who can intimidate or terrorize civilians. In JDP 3-40 to describe the combination of human and national security. their role is to afford sufficient protection and stability to allow the government to work safely with its population. but without security nothing else can function. an enabling system for civil administration. . Unlike in general war. 36 USG Counterinsurgency Guide. the objective is not the defeat or destruction of the enemy. or just by killing or capturing adversaries. in a sense. for economic revival. US Army Field Manual No. by using a number of well proven methods.. 36 Further.’ 33 The use of force and the role of the military Turning to the use of force. uses a wider historical lens to analyse the role of force in successful counterinsurgency strategies. 35 JDP 3-40.. That is not to say that a secure environment is an end in its own right. p xxvii. p 4-29.’ 37 The role of the military within this is even more clearly outlined:
The primary role of the military is to provide sufficient security for the people and control over the operating environment. pp xvi-xvii. He suggests that the exemplary. pp 2-3. obligations and national security imperatives. the concept of security and the role of the military in counterinsurgency doctrine. with no counterinsurgency doctrine or training whatsoever. but neutralisation of a threat to stable society.’ 35 This is a view echoed in the US: ‘While the provision of security is a necessary activity in COIN [counterinsurgency]. but isolation of the adversary is attractive as it makes him irrelevant through loss of legitimacy and erodes his popular support. the dominant view in contemporary doctrine and misuse of historical analogy suggests that minimum force is the customary and preferred approach: ‘the manual [US FM 3-24] also emphasizes the value of using the minimum necessary force rather than the maximum force permissible’. 38
An alternative view on the use of force In considering the role of the military. 3-33. British doctrine is quite specific that the role of the military is to provide the security environment for all else that follows: ‘The need for security in stabilisation is non-discretionary. Neutralisation can take many forms. political reconciliation and external nongovernment assistance to be effective’. 2007). have in the past regularly defeated insurgents.
’ 43 Contemporary critiques of the pre-eminence of this approach suggest that in drawing together the notions of ‘minimum force’ and ‘hearts and minds’ there is a danger of conflating the two. the effect of words and deeds as a holistic approach. heart and mind are often pitted against each other . op cit.’ 40 History can provide more recent examples to support the view that the exemplary use of force has delivered success. but
Luttwak. Whilst the very real and significant debate over the nature and importance of influence. and particularly the importance of winning ‘hearts and minds’. There is a tendency to attribute all nonkinetic approaches to the phrase credited to Templer (who incidentally is reported to have said in 1968 ‘that nauseating phrase I think I invented’ 42 ) and therefore to apply the principles improperly: ‘Just as search and destroy are not always in harmony.
. is beyond the scope of this paper. Small Wars & Insurgencies. David Galula. 43 Lawrence Freedman. p 84. its centrality to British and American doctrine should be noted for the implications it has on the role of the use of force and its subordinate nature. 2006). 2008.’ 41 Hearts and minds and the ‘soft’ approach The doctrines’ interpretation of the use of soft power. which one is likely to win. op cit. which one threatens the most. predicated on the provision of security to the populous. The very term ‘hearts and minds’ is a seductive. p 8. p 363. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (London: Praeger Security International. appeals to values and symbols versus appeals to the intellect. ‘Exploring the utility of armed force in peace operations: German and British approaches in northern Afghanistan’. 2006). on the basis of rational choice: ‘Which side gives the best protection. these are the criteria governing the population’s stand. Galula had a similar view on the nature of the use of force. pp 6-7. 42 Dixon. In other contexts.Occupiers can thus be successful without need of any specialized counterinsurgency methods or tactics if they are willing to out terrorize the insurgents. Vol 19 No 3. so that the fear of reprisals outweighs the desire to help the insurgents or their threats. As Larsdotter has argued: ‘Considering the modest amount of systematic research on the subject. p 354. hearts and minds and minimum force in these operations seems to be somewhat exaggerated. Adelphi Paper 379 (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies. population centric approaches inevitably offer the opportunity for practitioners to do so. Then there is the pitfall of dogmatism inherent in any efforts at abstraction. the importance given to the notions of consent. which may or may not be correct.strong emotions versus cool calculation. represents the primacy of the population centric over the coercive approach.’ 44 MYTH AND THE REAL LESSONS FROM HISTORY Nagl is clear that efforts to generalise from the specific are fraught with danger: ‘Is it enough to detect laws? Generalization and extrapolation from such a limited basis must rely to some extent on intuition. The Transformation of Strategic Affairs. nor are hearts and minds. 44 K Larsdotter. Writing of his experiences in Algeria in the 1950s. for we are not studying a specific counter Revolutionary war. much vaunted but less well understood phrase than might at first seem apparent.
it should be no surprise that doctrine uses analogies and examples that support them. 50 D Kilcullen. a fundamental question relates to whether general observations are relevant or valuable. ‘The Malayan Emergency as Counter-Insurgency Paradigm’. respectively . 48 K Hack. 2006-7. as projected backwards onto it in order to justify preferred contemporary policies.most frequently. 47 This danger is apparent in contemporary doctrine as Hack has argued: ‘FM324’s “lessons” from Malaya are not so much deduced by analysis of the Emergency. It is clear that the use of historical analogy should be carefully considered. p xiii. p 396. ‘Firstly. Margaret MacMillan has argued. Malaya and Vietnam. Civil Wars. then significant doubt over the applicability of lessons from the past can be raised. The Uses and Abuses of History (London: Profile Books.’ 49 The Australian counterinsurgency authority Kilkullen has written extensively on the challenges of contemporary counterinsurgency operations and it is worth examining here some of the key points as they have implications for the utility of historical examples. No 3. 2009). p 19. As Nagl has suggested. 47 K Greenhill and P Staniland. p 402. no useful historical analogy
John Nagl in Galula. RUSI Journal. p 112. Margaret MacMillan. Journal of Strategic Studies. counterinsurgency depends on the type and nature of the insurgency itself’ 50 . Using false analogies and dichotomies drawn from the past serves to reinforce current assumptions about the limitations on the use of force. 46 Selective analogy should not be a substitute for full engagement with all the debates surrounding the conflicts or a lack of understanding of the historiography of the conflict. 2009. ‘The past can be used for almost anything you want to do in the present.to advance a set of allpurpose success generating ‘best practices’ and quagmire inducing pitfalls’. Secondly. 2006. ‘Counter-insurgency Redux’. Greenhill and Staniland emphasise this point: ‘numerous studies employ the ‘lessons of’ particular cases of success and failure . 2007. Kiszley warned that: ‘all counter insurgencies are sui generis – of their own kind – making problematic the transfer of lessons from one to another. ‘Learning About Counter-Insurgency’. op cit. Vol 151. p xiv. No 4. Vol 48.’ 48 Has the nature of counterinsurgency changed? So what of the nature of counterinsurgency today? If the nature of counterinsurgency is shifting to reflect changes in the international order. The danger in selective analogy The national interpretation of history is reflected in a nation’s strategic culture which is reinforced when viewed through the lens of contemporary assumptions.the problem in general. 49 J Kiszley. what may seem relevant in a majority of cases may not be so in others where particular factors have affected the events in a decisive way.’ 45 Analysis of why previous insurgencies were defeated and a discussion of counterinsurgency methodologies promote the view of the primacy of soft approaches like ‘hearts and minds’ and dismiss the role of the exemplary use of force in overall success and failure. and that there is no single or fixed methodology for dealing with them. ‘Ten Ways to Lose at Counter-Insurgency’.
. Vol 9. Survival. Vol 32. We abuse it when we create lies about the past or write histories that show only one perspective’. In seeking to substantiate the assumptions and offer solutions.
The insurgent challenges the status quo. Minimum or exemplary use of force? The use of force has long been disputed in the historiography of counterinsurgency operations with often opposing conclusions drawn from history. there could be fundamental differences which put the whole foundation of contemporary doctrine at risk. the common understanding is that the campaign was won through Templer’s implementation of the Briggs Plan.
. insurgency today follows state failure.. Why should counterinsurgency operations be any different?’ 53 With the US recently elevating counterinsurgency to the same level of warfare as offensive and defensive operations 54 . Ibid. As has been described earlier. ‘New Challenges and Old Concepts: Understanding 21st Century Insurgency’. and contemporary doctrine may not accurately reflect an understanding of the changed nature of the insurgent. Fourthly. If this is so. there are questions over the role of military force in contemporary doctrine. for example if insurgency is subject to the forces of globalisation. In the case of Malaya. Ashley Jackson and Bennett on the exemplary use of force.. where ‘the trans-national character of modern insurgency is also new’ 52 .exists for contemporary counterinsurgency because the classical political drivers no longer apply. and France in Algeria have drawn similar conclusions in support of contemporary analysis of what constitutes a successful counterinsurgency strategy. why is that option so firmly marginalised in counterinsurgency doctrine? The areas of debate on the nature. the state is no longer the geographical boundary for insurgency. where the use of force has primacy in the context of achieving victory. the counter-insurgent seeks to reinforce the state and so defeat the internal threat. there is little debate over the requirement for the use of force in such campaigns: the question becomes one of the level and type of force employed. 56 The popular view is
Idem. Somalia and East Timor are examples. Contemporary insurgents do not necessarily have conventional political or territorial aims. 53 S Metz. Sri Lanka and Colombia are examples. and makes nation-building a questionable solution. p 22. as a variant of war – and in war the military dominates and the objective is the decisive defeat of the enemy. and is not directed at taking over a functioning body politic. 54 US Army FM 3-07 p vi. Chechnya. it has particular relevance for doctrine which may inappropriately cite history:
Classical counter-insurgency theory posits an insurgent challenger to a functioning (though often fragile) state. 55 This is not a uniquely British problem when considering Kenya and Malaya. 55 See Mokaitis and Thornton on the minimum use of force. This applies to some modern insurgencies – Thailand. The US in Vietnam and the Philippines. If counterinsurgency is now described ‘. p 114. 56 Julian Paget. but at dismembering or scavenging its carcass. see bibliography. But in other cases. This begs the question of the applicability of using specific historical examples to support current thinking. 1967). aims and types of insurgency mean there are as many differences raised here as there are similarities. Counter-Insurgency Campaigning (London: Faber and Faber. 51
Thirdly. Parameters. p 56. or contesting an ‘ungoverned space’. their objectives and the realisation that they may not be satisfied by any means available to western nations. 2007-8.
Counterinsurgency: a Comparison (Unpublished Masters thesis. did not apply: ‘[Operations in] Kenya made it clear that the policy of minimum force had no purchase. 2007). over two million Muslims would be relocated. priority to defeating political subversion and securing base areas first. Military Review. 59 JDP 3-40 p 2-8 and BAFM Vol 1 Pt 10.. between 1957 and 1961 the French employed similar resettlement tactics known as Regroupement within the wider Quadrillage approach 61 . often cited as the ‘UK way in counterinsurgency’. It was not the only method employed by the French military who also practiced regroupement or resettlement.’ 60 Nor was this a uniquely British practice. p 10. By the end of 1954. 60 H Strachan. including 253 killers and approximately 200 terrorists.000 Kikuyu in detention and over 1 million had been resettled. ‘British Counter-Insurgency from Malaya to Iraq’. In this case the use of minimum force to break the insurgency before a political settlement could be reached. repressive measures against the population. a useful warning for today: ‘Americans rediscovered in Vietnam what their forebears had learned in the War of the Rebellion and the Philippine war . Vol 88. and any use of this campaign as a contrasting analogy on the utility of force is unsurprisingly absent from doctrine. Operations to suppress the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya are similarly striking in the adoption of a coercive solution.that the initial stages of the campaign (1947-50) were unsuccessful and that the adoption of a military solution had not worked. 61 ‘The system of quadrillage was one of the more common methods of population control.827 fellaghas (outlaws). The French-Algerian War and FM 3-24. and carried out continuously until 1961. Fort Leavenworth Kansas. In addition. Vol 152. 2008. CS5-1. until the security forces could protect people from insurgent intimidation and
Permanent Secretary for Defence for Malaya and Head of the British International Advisory Mission. Vietnam 1961-65. p 66. ‘Waging Counterinsurgency in Algeria: a French Point of View’. Started in mid-1957. . it was just something that had been forgotten. p 41. 59 This interpretation on the use of force fails to recognise the successes of the military in the early years which set the conditions for future development and in particular pays scant attention to other factors which may be seen as unacceptable today such as. As Birtle has suggested. 2009. Rather it was the implementation of a series of non-military activities articulated later by Sir Robert Thompson 57 that are credited with success.. Thompson’s five principles included: a clear political aim.’ 62 The Americans also used exemplary force in Vietnam. the coordination of the efforts of the civil administration with those of the security forces has gained acceptance as the comprehensive approach. 1966).000 had been executed by the British.. dismantled its bomb network and killed or neutralised 1. 15
. Offensive and coercive military operations were the at the centre of French actions: ‘Within a few weeks. there were 77. 62 Lt Col P Francois. forced resettlement. the punitive and coercive nature of military operations and their key role in success was nothing new to the US.. an overall plan. by April 1956 over 1. 2007. RUSI Journal. significantly. 58 Robert Thompson Defeating Communist Insurgency: Experiences from Malaya and Vietnam (London: Chatto & Windus.’ In J M Norton. In Algeria.. detention and. coercive military operations. [of the Battle of Algiers] France destroyed NLF’s political and military structures. pp 50-58 and JDP 3-40 p 2-8. operations in accordance with the law. 58 Under Templer’s unitary command.
Benest proposes a different analysis: ‘Bluntly put. 36/1 Spring 2006. at a time when winning hearts and minds. providing security to the population. No 2. Lessons from Indo-China had led the French military to clearly specify their approach to the conflict with no mention of hearts and minds through these five key principles: ‘isolation of the insurgents from the population. p 404. these examples suggest that the effect is neither essential nor decisive. op cit. civilian support was gained as often through applying exemplary force. p 143. Parameters.’ 64 When the campaigns in Malaya. ‘The Mau Mau Emergency as Part of the British Army’s Post-War Counter-Insurgency Experience’. however. 66 Hack.
. p 50. preferring to emphasise the effectiveness of the use of exemplary force: ‘the hearts and minds efforts pursued by the British Army have been seen in a far too rosy perspective and that measures such as villagization 68 were usually unpleasant.’ 65 Hack. 2006).’ 69 In examining the Algerian insurgency. Greenhill and Staniland argue: ‘Even the much vaunted hearts and minds strategy employed in the archetypal Malayan success was counterbalanced by the judicious. little of significance could be expected from political programs designed to wean the population from the insurgency.’ 66 Pointing out the danger of false dichotomies. 67 Greenhill and Staniland. Hack and Greenhill and Staniland have all been critical of the efficacy of this approach and the argument that it was central to success in any of these campaigns: ‘While we would like to believe that ‘winning hearts and minds’ is both important and effective.control. 68 The forced repatriation of civilians from their homes to new villages created by the state to remove the ability of the insurgents to draw support or intimidate the population and to provide security and protection in a more efficient manner by concentration of forces. something that is often forgotten in discussions of the case’. David Benest. p 384. Vol 23. in the form of collective punishment. coercion was the reality – “hearts and minds” the myth. as it was through social reforms. ‘Hearts and minds’ – myth or reality? The much vaunted contemporary view suggests that the use of soft power approaches to appeal to populations is the way forward. (London: Routledge. 65 Lt Col W Markel. ed by H Strachan. Algeria and Vietnam are examined a similar problem emerges with the uncritical and unrepresentative assertion that ‘hearts and minds’ were decisive. in Big Wars and Small Wars. 1966-76’. and efficient learning were in their early stages.’ 63 Military failure was not the reason for strategic defeat in Algeria and Vietnam. Ibid. p 44. but relatively common. Markel. 2007. atrocity and torture. Defence & Security Analysis. 67 Bennett is similarly dismissive of this approach in Kenya. employment of targeted coercion. argues that the Malayan Emergency was broken between 1950 and 1952 and ‘this happened with a population control and security approach to the fore. in particular. it is possible to go even further and suggest that ‘hearts and minds’ was not even a consideration. dynamic leadership. Kenya. executing effective targeting of insurgent forces and
Birtle. In H Bennett. In fact. p 118. op cit. 69 Ibid. ‘Draining the Swamp: the British Strategy of Population Control’. p 147. ‘Aden to Northern Ireland.
there are differing perspectives on the international system. In particular. Vol 36. ways and means. and yet by the very nature of proposing particular assumptions the doctrine is precisely that. Success and Failure. are insufficient to drive favourable outcomes in such diverse and complex environments. competing views of why states fail. The dangers of such false assumptions are highlighted by Lord Hurd: ‘You may call your standards universal. 2010). Absent from doctrine is an acknowledgement of different perspectives: democracy may not guarantee peace or stability. establishing French political legitimacy and effective indigenous political and military forces. We cannot force other countries into democracy. whilst in principle uncontested. ways and means debate must be reflective of all three in the triumvirate.. In articulating the new doctrine.leadership. and goodwill – unimpeachable as ideals. . pp 368-9. or a recognition that there are states in which stability can be enhanced by strong and autocratic leadership. In contrast. p 68.. Notwithstanding these differences. the ends alone. but they will never be universally applicable. can lead to ill-founded policy. that where it exists it results in greater stability and that therefore it is in national interest to preserve or even impose this view. The British Foreign Secretary 200 Years of Argument. Choose Your Weapons. free speech. 17
. is flawed. (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The premise that liberal democracy is a good thing. and establishing a robust intelligence capability. the understanding of the ‘art of the necessary vice the art of the possible’ needs to be addressed.’ 71 Regardless of whether this approach and policy is intellectually or morally defensible. debates over the value of liberal intervention and nation-building and how this directly contributes to national and international security and variance over the use of hard and soft power and the utility of the use of force and not least in the value of realising a comprehensive approach and the ability to do so. may not be welcomed or be universally transferable as a form of governance. False assumptions and flawed solutions Contemporary counterinsurgency doctrine has been produced as a result of considerable inter-agency and cross-government discussion. 71 Douglas Hurd. cooperation. and as a consequence can be commended for this achievement alone.’ 70 THE DANGERS OF THE NEW ORTHODOXY Starting from a set of distinct assumptions together with the selective use of ideas and examples. to date this new doctrine has gone largely unchallenged by practitioners. the articulation of this in doctrine has transferred this from the intellectual abstract to the practical and. it falls down in its application. 2006. Parameters. This is dangerous in a number of ways. However. The construction of strategy and the ends. but of little
L DiMarco. As General Maxwell Taylor put it: ‘It is common practice for officials to define the foreign policy goals in the broad generalities of peace. British and American authors are keen to emphasise that ‘this is not prescriptive’. which can be applied globally. ‘Losing the Moral Compass: Torture and Guerre Revolutionnaire in the Algerian War’. which in turn prejudices the debate over ends. free trade or good government. the British and American approaches have gained legitimacy. prosperity. through codification.
‘Countering the Military’s Latest Fad: Counterinsurgency’ RAND Commentary. that politically freighted but strategically more illuminating term. Vol 31 No 13. distracting us from other threats. Parameters. 74 Ward argues that unless we first understand what it is we are trying to achieve. But this would be a serious mistake. 2009. In resource terms. 75 Ward.. p 356. But efficiency is not the same as agility or flexibility. overwhelming coercive action. 18
. surely subjects like Security Sector Reform and conflict resolution would be more prevalent. Celeste Ward. p 97. then our terminology may be obscuring the true extent of our predicament.. nations are arguably able to spread costs across departments. 73 C Ward. This doctrine is written by the military (albeit with other departmental input) to support a pan-government approach.’ 76 If current counterinsurgency and stabilisation doctrine is really about nation-building. place.’ 75 Further critiques of current doctrine include the criticism that it represents no more than sophisticated public relations: ‘The ‘hearts and minds’ description of the British approach to counterinsurgency may be useful in public relations terms but it undermines the theory as a guide to operations because it can be interpreted in such divergent ways. challenges and strategic debates.include insurgencies . and intensity of our efforts. 76 Dixon. This may suit political requirements where protracted conflict and long-term military occupation is prohibitive in terms of blood and treasure. has warned:
Counterinsurgency doctrine is on the verge of becoming an unquestioned orthodoxy. ‘The Irresistible Illusion’. and an equally logical conclusion could be the need for early solutions through decisive. ‘Planning for Conflict Termination and Post-Conflict Success’. 74 R Stewart. op cit.’ 72 The new orthodoxy Over time. 73
The view persists that a comprehensive approach will produce an effect that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. a farreaching remedy for America's security challenges. but like many useful concepts that gain currency in Washington.. http://www. resource battles or simple lawlessness . emphasising non-military activities over military ones. Clearly some of these capabilities are needed. thus creating a ‘bigger bang for your buck’. counterinsurgency risks being taken too far. pp 3-6. Not even all internal conflicts in unstable states . Too often in Washington the discovery of a hammer makes everything look like a nail.which can feature civil wars. the means to achieve it cannot be properly applied: ‘If counterinsurgency is merely a more palatable stand-in for ‘nation-building’. . accessed 2 March 2010.use in determining the specific objective we are likely to pursue and the time. rather than nation-building in our own image. London Review of Books.html. op cit. Not all future wars will involve insurgencies. what is currently new becomes the norm and the norm becomes convention.. As former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations. and yet it does not seem to reflect the reality of the conduct of current operations: in particular.org/commentary/2009/05/17/WP. Vol 32. kinetic approaches taken in Afghanistan (and
General M Talyor in William Flavin. whereas JDP 3-40 could be interpreted to reveal little more than occupation theories when statements over the national interest are at the forefront.rand. this means that by adopting such approaches. 2003.
Vol 9. The idea that counterinsurgency will define all military operations for the future is a strategic miscalculation of the worst kind. ‘Multi-National Force – Iraq Commander’s Counterinsurgency Guidance’. Civil Wars. In addressing current issues. 160. and in a desire to make such approaches appear more efficient (and therefore less costly). 81 American forces post-Vietnam underwent a dramatic restructuring to support this ‘new’ type of conflict – a restructuring that took the US military
General D Petraeus. pp 440-441. 2009. preoccupations and self-interests.’ 78 Resource and implications for the military It is possible that contemporary stabilisation and counterinsurgency doctrine will be quickly consigned to Staff College libraries as the political and economic costs of involvement in places like Iraq and Afghanistan are considered too high and because it is questionable that this type of operation will be the dominant future scenario.’ 80 The dangers are evident. ways and means within given resource constraints. 2008. 2007.ongoing in Iraq) or the much quoted Petraeus guidance 77 where the use of ‘hard’ power elements such as financial inducements and the considerable levels of detention are at the fore: ‘In Iraq. p 21. Even in the most promising of circumstances. 19
. the cost is significant: ‘Analysts often points to the pacification of Malaya by British forces in the 1950s as a model for how to win the guerrilla war humanely. Military Review. but the danger is more pressing in the UK. Galula was clear that the ability to fight conventional war and contemporary conflict necessitated different force structures. Downes has argued that. the cost that a nation is prepared to pay. It would be too simplistic to view the Petraeus Doctrine as a rejection of coercive in favour of soft approaches.000 people have been through the detention process.’ 79 Some detractors in the US (see Ward above) have already highlighted the dangers of allowing counterinsurgency doctrine to become all-pervasive. 81 Galula. even when a soft approach is employed. 80 USG Counterinsurgency Guide. Vol 88. No 4. ‘Detention Operations. the danger is that the panacea of a soft power approach will lead to a misunderstanding of both how to win in counter insurgency and the future needs of military forces. Strategy is concerned with the ends. ‘Draining the Sea By Filling the Graves. The costs of such operations may thus be no longer affordable. therefore. suppressing the rebellion took hundreds of thousands of security personnel 10 years to accomplish. p 40. pp 2-4. low-violence counterinsurgency strategies are very expensive and time consuming. 78 J B Brown. equipments and processes through the lens of the interpretation of current imperatives. the Americans have already recognised that this type of operation will mean changes to their armed forces: ‘COIN often involves a wider range of tasks and capabilities than are required in conventional conflict. Armed Forces that optimized for major combat operations will usually require specific training (and perhaps even structural reorganization) to meet the unique requirements of COIN. Investigating the Effectiveness of Indiscriminate Violence as a Counterinsurgency Strategy’. which will distort resource debates beyond all proportion.. when considering future military structures.. Military Review. Behavior Modification and Counterinsurgency’. p 16. . 79 A Downes. Still. op cit. The difficulty lies in concerns that are raised when undertaking the present conflict and forecasting for the next one: in particular.
the buck then passes back to military forces. by inference the same applies to the military’s ability to conduct specific military tasks whilst simultaneously trying to perform both military and civilian roles. can’t stay or aren’t effective. the military were to hold the security ring until a political settlement emerged. This leaves the military in a quandary about the limits of its role. p xxxi. It is surprising how many people. In the aftermath of combat operations. pp 366-367..’ 83 This is not new. not excluding soldiers. Coercion includes intimidation. Gray has argued convincingly that history sees the military solution to this type of conflict repeated again and again: ‘Whether wars are great or small. p 32. in the sense that a political compromise was the ultimate solution. 20
. British and American doctrine may articulate a comprehensive approach. both operationally and in terms of resource.. demonstrated that the UK approach of the use of minimum force and ‘hearts and minds’ was not as effective as the German approach which was distinctly more kinetic in nature: ‘. choose to ignore this defining characteristic of military power. ancient or modern.’ 84 The dangers inherent in uncritical acceptance If military forces are structured to fight contemporary conflict at the expense of conventional warfare then there is a serious danger that the latter will be unachievable. Such restructuring to support current operations would lead to a very different future military force in the UK. one which arguably would be irreversible given the current level of resources – a situation that is only likely to worsen in the short term. regular or irregular. Implications for the use of force For the military. Similarly. the Army repeatedly has found itself “holding the dripping bag of manure”. but coercion is the method it is trained to apply in pursuit of that purpose. Larsdotter. let alone establishing governance structures or managing a national economy.20 years and significant investment in the 1980/90s to reverse. but its mailed fist is designed to kill people and break things. Forty Maxims on War. This also has implications for the role of the military in relation to the other instruments of power. Larsdotter. 2009).. trained or adept at policing functions.’ 82 Consider the view that it is the application of force that has decisive effect. This discrete role for the use of military force is at odds with a longer-term military involvement in nation-building. but this is not always what happens in practice: ‘If these other instruments of national power don’t show up. If nothing else . Military force must have a political purpose. The dangers in going blindly down this route in the midst of
US Army FM 3-24. it might be a good idea to be careful before accepting the minimum force approach without any further consideration. op cit.it might be the case that the entire idea of winning hearts and minds and establishing local consent by minimum force is overrated. in a recent examination of the differing approaches taken in Afghanistan by British and German forces. (Potomac Books. Peace and Strategy. Fighting Talk.. 84 Colin Gray. they all have deadly combat in common. counterinsurgency was historically about defeat management. if the demands of conventional and unconventional war fighting each have their own constraints. The military are simply not organised.
The challenge to British defence planning is to be able to cope well enough with the world that we know today. This led to the creation of new doctrine for stabilisation and counterinsurgency in this image. economic development and security. none of which. Rejecting the idea that state failure might just be the norm. it is the ways and means that are open to debate and challenge. while investing in military insurance as widely as we dare. The danger in not doing so leads to a false orthodoxy. In a similar vein. Gray questions whether it was possible to predict the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and warns: ‘A defence review worthy of the name has to avoid the ‘presentist’ fallacy of providing answers only to present day questions. 2008. however. economic development and security. 21
.’ 85 CONCLUSION A new post Cold War world order. where stability and security within the international system could be fashioned. means that care should be taken when looking at the historical evidence used to support the assumptions – an uncontested view of the diagnosis of the problem and the cure. ways and means. ‘Britain’s National Security: Compulsion and Discretion’. the promotion of good governance (democracy). Does historical analysis provide a blueprint for future counterinsurgency operations or a series of historical analogies which support the minimum use of force and the publicly acceptable concept of ‘hearts and minds’. when the latter are all but certain to have but a short half life. critically analysed and considered within its own historiography that outlines the range of debates that explain success and failure.
C Gray. In addition. the range of explanations for success and failure in countering insurgency in the past are not necessarily reflected in contemporary doctrine. economic development and security. is found in doctrine. led to intervention to support the promotion of democracy and free market economies in fragile states. and is therefore a palliative for the uncomfortable reality of intervention? Historical analogy may be useful when it is inclusive. with prudence. The levers of hard and soft power available to states to do this are applied to further the cause with the emphasis on soft approaches as a result of historical analysis and lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan. It is impossible to draw analogies from history that help understand the general nature of insurgency: each insurgency is different and therefore historical specificity is of limited value. This solution is not without its detractors and is subject to considerable debate. predicated on the promotion of governance. in particular whether hard or soft approaches should have primacy. RUSI Journal.e. This policy of liberal intervention is enacted through the application of strategy – and specifically through the coordination of the ends. This debate coupled with inconsistencies in British and American approaches and questions of the role of the military and the use of force. western interventions have attempted to advance democracy through addressing the causes of instability resulting from state fragility: governance. Vol 153. But if the ends are set i.a Defence Review are evident in terms of an appreciation of future challenges. p 17. for a moving tomorrow about which we are massively ignorant.
Putting counterinsurgency at the heart of military thinking may distort future resource debates to an extent that may be very difficult to recover from.
. are they the most efficient way to deal with contemporary conflict? The point is not proven. the new world order has significant implications. this new doctrine should be left to gather dust on the shelf. Given the unpopular nature of such conflicts domestically and internationally. their cost and uncertain outcomes. This will require a different type of military force of the type that is currently not envisaged. or accelerate. especially if the international environment changes and contemporary challenges are replaced by new ones. Whilst soft approaches look attractive in resource and public relations terms.The view that democracy and economic free markets equates to stability. and no amount of new and extensive doctrine will change the fact that operational solutions to strategic problems are likely to prove insufficient. systems which can be imposed using power (mainly soft) to bring about.
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