Phoenix Rises Again: HUMINT Lessons for Counterinsurgency Operations
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Todays lessons from military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have given rise to the question of how to best develop counterinsurgency strategies that will integrate Human Intelligence HUMINT approaches designed to achieve the established objectives. Vietnam demonstrates that this is not a new question. There were then, as there are now, operational-level seams in the fields of HUMINT and counterinsurgency approaches which must be stitched together. This paper will examine the lessons of counterinsurgency in Vietnam and suggest as its thesis that todays doctrine must enhance the conventional tenets of the Joint HUMINT and Counterintelligence J2X role by incorporating an aggressive strategy for synchronizing tribal and indigenous human intelligence. To redefine U.S. counterinsurgency operations, we must leverage human networks at the operational-level of war. This tribal-indigenous thread is an important nexus of military and political networks. The military HUMINT mission calls for a confluence of management with indigenous security forces, while simultaneously building and moderating tribal networks. Accordingly, this will provide greater equilibrium between the need for security and the needs of the people within an insurgency. In the absence of a CORDS or Phoenix-like interagency approach to counterinsurgency, it remains crucial that the J2X role be expanded to synchronize tribal interactions and indigenous security forces to close this operational-level HUMINT gap.
- Military Intelligence
- Unconventional Warfare