Let's Get Counterinsurgency Right: Collective Action Theory in Joint Publication 3-24
Air Command and Staff College, Air University Maxwell Air Force Base United States
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Major military counterinsurgency doctrines of the last century, which are almost exclusively based on practice, avoid references to theories that address the tension between opposing sides for popular participation in insurgency. Failures in current doctrine, to cognate and adhere to one uniform concept of the issue at hand and to present all lessons learned with sufficient evidence establishing them as valid precepts, are caused by a similar failure. JP 3-24 does not incorporate a theory of rational choice to counter what it presents as the root cause of insurgency people support an insurgency because they perceive it is in their best interest. This paper presents a literature review of relevant current and historical doctrine, conflict theories, and recent research into these theories. Further, this paper suggests a useful addition to current doctrine to improve efforts to capture lessons learned from recent conflicts and prepare commanders for counterinsurgency in future conflicts.