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Adapting Short of Doctrine: US Military Counterinsurgency in Iraq March 2004-December 2006

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2016,25 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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This study argues that officers who have a broad base of developmental, educational, and training experiences will likely be able to apply critical and creative thinking while drawing on their experience, history, theory, and doctrine to develop effective operational approaches in situations for which doctrine and training have not specifically prepared them. In order to show this, this paper explores the development of operational approaches to the insurgency in Iraq from March 2004 until the publication of the US Army Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency, in December 2006. The monograph delves into the education, training, and development of Army General George Casey, Marine Majors Generals James Mattis and Richard Natonski, and Army Colonels H.R. McMaster and Sean MacFarland. It further looks at the foundations of doctrine and examines what doctrine was available to these officers. From there, the paper describes the development of each of these officers operational approach and its effectiveness. The paper concludes by drawing linkages between the education, training, and development of these officers and their ability to adapt to the insurgency in Iraq prior to the publication of an updated manual for counterinsurgency.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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