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US Strike Command Cold War Study Summary

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Summary rept. Feb 1964-Jul 1965

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The Cold War Study Group, appointed in February 1964 by CINCSTRIKE was tasked with analyzing past counterinsurgency operations to isolate those factors common to successful campaigns and lacking in those instances where the insurgents were successful. In the course of this study, a total of some sixty campaigns were analyzed. Emphasis was placed on isolating broad factors common to virtually any counterinsurgency operation rather than detailed tactics and techniques which may vary widely from one campaign to another. In short, the study concentrated on the Why of occurences rather than on their mechanics. From this study, twelve factors emerged which were common to most successful counterinsurgencies. These factors are not new, in fact,the majority stem directly from the accepted Principles of War. The important point concerning these factors is that all or most of them were present in every successful counterinsurgency, and lacking to a significant extent in every instance where the insurgents prevailed, These factors properly constitute broad guidelines for the conduct of counterinsurgency operations. They are not intended to provide detailed guidance as to tactics, techniques and procedures which stem from these factors and should be specifically tailored to the varying conditions in different insurgencies. The report also takes note of the complex problems facing the United States when it embarks on a counterinsurgency task in a country where it does not directly control the required resources and must achieve its aims through persuasion and indirect means. Finally, this study reaffirmed that couriterinsurgency is not a new or even special form of warfare but one which has faced Western nations many times in the past. Solutions are neither quick nor easy but can be readily found in the application of sound tactics and techniques based on the Principles of War rather than in specialized forces and hardware or tricky, untried methods.

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  • Unconventional Warfare

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