Counterinsurgency Manual Flies Off the Shelf

The new Army Field Manual on Counterinsurgency doctrine has been downloaded from the Federation of American Scientists web site at an extraordinary rate — more than 250,000 times since it was posted on Friday morning.

But unlike previous drafts obtained by Secrecy News, the new manual is no secret. It has been published and actively disseminated by the Army.

“Why don’t you also put up our press release announcing the manual which can also be found on our web site?” inquired Col. Steven A. Boylan of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth. That December 15 news release (pdf) and the accompanying manual (large pdf) can be found on the Fort Leavenworth web site.

Col. Boylan also objected to Secrecy News’ statement that the new counterinsurgency doctrine was at odds with current U.S. policy in Iraq.

“This manual was in production for about two years and is not and was not intended to counter any current or future policy as you indicate in your article. This document is also not specific to Iraq or Afghanistan. If you understand the basis of doctrine, then you know that our doctrine is geared to be used anywhere our Army might deploy.”

0 thoughts on “Counterinsurgency Manual Flies Off the Shelf

    • “If you understand the basis of doctrine, then you know that our doctrine is geared to be used anywhere our Army might deploy.”

    says Colonel Boylan.

    Up to a point. But their doctrine doesn’t seem to be working very well in Iraq or Afghanistan at the moment, simply because the troops aren’t trained to put it into practice.

    There isn’t much point in developing clever doctrine if HQ staffs and regimental officers are incapable of translating it to effective war-fighting.

    In any event, there must be country-specific doctrine. No matter what the clever wordsmiths of the War Colleges and the Pentagon might come up with (and so much of it is ancient motherhood in this case), nobody can construct an all-embracing set of principles to cover (for example) contingencies in Fiji and Iceland.

  1. Actually, the strategic principles apply to all insurgencies. What has to be done in each case is a more specific plan based upon local socio-economic and other considerations.

Leave a Reply