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Boots on the Ground: A Historical and Contemporary Analysis of Force Levels for Counterinsurgency Operations
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
In the wake of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the most intensely debated issues concerning the conduct of the war has been the level of troops committed to the effort. Military observers, policy makers, military officers, and media pundits have discussed this issue obsessively. This monograph uses this debate and current operations as the impetus to further examine the force levels required for counterinsurgency COIN operations. Although the US military has a long history of executing small wars, the intellectual effort to capture, refine, and codify lessons and guidance on the subject of COIN has been insufficient until the publishing of FM 3-24 in 2006. Even this manual, however, lacks the level of analysis planners require to accurately determine the force levels for a given environment. Therefore, the purpose of this work is to analyze the relevant force density theories against case studies to provide a comprehensive analysis of the critical qualitative and quantitative factors in determining a valid force size for conducting COIN operations in a given environment. To determine a historical gauge for planning force levels in a COIN environment, this study provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of two successful COIN case studies, the British-led Malaya Emergency and the US-led Operation in Iraq. Quantitative analysis of the case studies is used to compare the security force size employed to the population size. The qualitative analysis of the case studies is used to identify and assess the implications of specific operational environment factors on the force density used. Through applying a holistic approach of both quantitative and qualitative analysis, planners can more accurately determine the force density to meet the needs of a specific situation.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE