Tactics in Counterinsurgency

05.05.09 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

“Tactics in Counterinsurgency” (pdf), a new U.S. Army Field Manual, expands upon the Counterinsurgency doctrine of the best-selling December 2006 manual (pdf) on that subject.

The new manual was previously circulated in an interim, draft form and then abruptly withdrawn from public access.  (“‘Tactics in Insurgency’ Again Online,” Secrecy News, April 6, 2009).  Now it has been finalized and formally released.

“At its heart, a counterinsurgency is an armed struggle for the support of the population,” the manual declares. “This support can be achieved or lost through information engagement, strong representative government, access to goods and services, fear, or violence. This armed struggle also involves eliminating insurgents who threaten the safety and security of the population.”

“However, military units alone cannot defeat an insurgency. Most of the work involves discovering and solving the population’s underlying issues, that is, the root causes of their dissatisfaction with the current arrangement of political power. Dealing with diverse issues such as land reform, unemployment, oppressive leadership, or ethical tensions places a premium on tactical leaders who can not only close with the enemy, but also negotiate agreements, operate with nonmilitary agencies and other nations, restore basic services, speak the native (a foreign) language, orchestrate political deals, and get ‘the word’ on the street.”

See “Tactics in Counterinsurgency,” Field Manual 3-24.2, April 21, 2009 (300 pages, 10 MB PDF).