Read slowly and carefully.
Knowledge is power.
>Irregular warfare is far more varied than conventional conflict: hence the importance of an intellectual framework that is coherent enough to provide guidance, and flexible enough to adapt to circumstances.
>American counterinsurgency practice rests on a number of assumptions: that the decisive effort is rarely military (although security is the essential prerequisite for success); that our efforts must be directed to the creation of local and national governmental structures that will serve their populations, and, over time, replace the efforts of foreign partners; that superior knowledge, and in particular, understanding of the ‘human terrain’ is essential; and that we must have the patience to persevere in what will necessarily prove long struggles.
>Insurgency, however, can and will flourish in the
modern environment. The strains created by globalization, by the collapse of weak state structures, by demographic, environmental, and economic pressures, by the ease of cooperation among insurgent groups and criminals, and by the appearance of destructive radical ideologies, all augur a period in which free and moderate governance is at risk.
[Insurgency is the organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify or chal- lenge political control of a region. As such, it is primarily a political struggle, in which both sides use armed force to create space for their political, economic and influence activities to be effective. Insurgency is not always conducted by a single group with a centralized, military-style command structure, but may involve a complex matrix of different actors with various aims, loosely connected in dynamic and non-hierarchical networks. To be successful, insurgencies require charismatic leadership, supporters, recruits, supplies, safe havens and funding (often from illicit activities). They only need the active support of a few enabling individuals, but the passive acquiescence of a large proportion of the contested population will give a higher probability of success. This is best achieved when the political cause of the insurgency has strong appeal, manipulating religious, tribal or local identity to exploit common societal grievances or needs. Insurgents seek to gain control of populations through a combination of persuasion, subversion and coercion while using guerrilla tactics to offset the strengths of government security forces. Their intent is usually to protract the struggle, exhaust the government and win sufficient popular support to force capitulation or political accommodation. Consequently, insurgencies evolve through a series of stages, though the progression and outcome will be different in almost every case.]
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
INTERAGENCY COUNTERINSURGENCY INITIATIVE
The Guide is available electronically at:
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Printed January 2009