Accession Number:

ADA478299

Title:

Hearts and Minds: Historical Counterinsurgency Lessons to Guide the War of Ideas in the Global War on Terrorism

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2007-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

44.0

Abstract:

To address the potential terrorist threats to America, the National Security Strategy of the United States of America and the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism state that the United States will wage a war of ideas. The war of ideas seeks to change the minds of varying ideological populations. A war fought in the minds and among people -- human terrain -- requires human players to engage and communicate with indigenous populations in the context of the local culture. As the United States and its coalition partners in the global war on terror GWOT clear al-Qaeda from one location, terrorists will seek other locations. They target people to turn them against the United States and the coalition of the willing. A foreign or local government can win the war of ideas and defeat global terrorists only if it wins the hearts and minds of the people, which requires influencing their behavior by offering them a better solution than the solution al-Qaeda offers. A war of ideas is not new to the twenty-first century fight. While history cannot provide a panacea for global terrorism, todays military can learn lessons from historical small wars and low intensity conflicts to train and employ forces effectively to wage and win a war of ideas to counter global insurgents and their ability to win popular support. This paper employs a review of two case studies, Malaya 1945-60 and Vietnam 1964-72, to illuminate my thesis.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE