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U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Guide

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In recent years the United States has engaged in prolonged counterinsurgency campaigns. Counterinsurgency COIN is the blend of comprehensive civilian and military efforts designed to simultaneously contain insurgency and address its root causes. This Guide distills the best of contemporary thought, historical knowledge, and hard-won practice. This guide employs a COIN model that comprises four main functional components The political function is the key function, providing a framework of political reconciliation, and reform of governance around which all other COIN activities are organized. In general, a COIN strategy is only as good as the political plan. The economic function seeks to provide essential services and stimulate long term economic growth, thereby generating confidence in the government while at the same time reducing the pool from which insurgents can readily recruit. The security function is an enabler for the other functions and involves development not just of the affected nations military force, but its whole security sector. Establishing security is not a precursor to economic and governance activity rather security, economic and governance activity must be developed in parallel. The information function comprises intelligence required to gain understanding, and influence to promote the affected governments cause. It is essential that the influence campaign is in tune with the strategic narrative, resonates with the relevant audiences, is based on genuine resolve by the affected government and that physical actions match. What makes COIN different is that both elements of the information function will be conducted in stark competition with the insurgents own information functions. These four functions contribute to the overall objective of enabling the affected government to establish control, consolidating and then transitioning it from intervening forces to national forces and from military to civil institutions.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Unconventional Warfare

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