Counterinsurgency: An Emergent Strategy
Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
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Why did the military shift its strategy to counterinsurgency COIN in Iraq in 2006 and again in Afghanistan in 2009 The emergent strategy of COIN appeared to serve best the political aim as the military responded to the policymakers perceptions of political and military failures in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This monograph explores this shift in strategies using a case study methodology. Two criteria allow the evaluation of the evidence. First was the point in time where popular perceptions of failure raised the political and policy risk to the policymaker. The second criterion was the subsequent shift in military aims and strategy to address the risks identified by the policymaker. The change in strategy to COIN solves two problems. COIN allowed the policymaker to reduce risk by resetting the political time horizon for achieving military success, providing time, and space to find a viable solution. COIN allowed the military to appear as supportive of the political aims and to reduce the risks associated to a long-term deployment of combat forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, by providing a strategy that extended the political time horizon for the perception of military success. Both wars were limited wars in the sense defined by Carl von Clausewitz. Limited wars means limited political aims using limited military effort and means. Even though the political aim of regime change in both countries fit the definition of an absolute political aim, the military force used was limited in both effort and time, intending quick victory and quick exit. The failure of the initial regime change to bring overall success fueled the perception of political failure as the wars changed from final victory to a longterm perception of military failure. The strategy of military choice in COIN provided both the policymaker and the military a powerful response to the public perception of political and military failure.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics