Small Wars Journal

COIN Academy Reading List (Mission Complete)

Small Wars Journal and Abu Muqawama recently commented on the formation of the new U.S. Army Counterinsurgency (COIN) Academy in Afghanistan. We were particularly interested in the Academy's pursuit of building a first-class COIN library.

So... SWJ and AM have decided to aid in building the library with a little help from our friends. We e-mailed the COIN Academy requesting their reading list. They responded with titles of books and movies that once in hand would go a long way in establishing a world-class COIN library.

To streamline our effort we have set up the Afghanistan COIN Library on Amazon.

The items you purchase from that list are shipped directly to Afghanistan to seed the COIN Academy's library with titles that will allow the staff to better appreciate history, culture, and insurgency in Afghanistan. The COIN Academy will become a part of the Afghan Defense Uinversity, so the titles will eventually make their way into its library.

A tip of the hat to Small Wars Council member Carl (currently a private sector pilot in Iraq and blogger at Because We're Here Boy, No One Else; But Us) who started the ball rolling by e-mailing us an offer to send multiple copies of FM 3-24 to the Academy.

Thanks much for helping us out on this project. What do we get out of this? A pretty darn good COIN reading list! Plus the privilege of contributing a little, on the fringe where it counts.

Update 1: Welcome aboard Kings of War. Thanks for spreading the word!

Update 2: Welcome aboard No Angst Zone. Another tip of the hat!

Update 3: Welcome aboard Historicus. Thanks much!

Update 4: Welcome aboard Winds of Change. Most appreciated!

Update 5: Welcome aboard Intel Dump. Thanks Phil!

Update 6: Welcome aboard ZenPundit. Thanks much Mark!

Update 7: Welcome aboard MountainRunner. Hat Tip to Matt!

Update 8: Welcome aboard Blog Them Out of the Stone Age. Thanks Mark!

Update 9: COIN Academy Library Update - Abu Muqawama

Update 10: 114 books purchased as of 0556, 25 December. Job well done and kudos to all who have supported this effort!

Update 11: 119 - five more on Christmas day.

Update 12: Welcome aboard Charlie Foxtrot. Thanks much!

Update 13: We are checking it out now, but apparently the last of 86 unique items and over 140 total books and two movies were purchased today and sent off to the Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Academy in Kabul. Moreover, through this effort the Academy and my (Dave Dilegge) 'day job' organization (Wargaming Division of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab) were able to hook up resulting in 50 Small Wars manuals and COIN related DVDs and CDs sent as well. Thanks to all who helped us and Abu Muqawama with this effort.


Schuld (not verified)

Thu, 12/13/2007 - 2:45pm

The 'SAS Secret War' volume on the list should be linked to the new ISBN (1853675679) (… ), not the old one, and this will assure that the 2ed is chosen, not the more-heavily-edited-for-security 1ed. I'm afraid that the normalization of the Amazon database is not what it once was. Another volume from that war is: 'In The Serivce of the Sultan: A first-hand account of the Dhofar Insurgency' by Ian Gardiner.

It might be useful to start a list of other books that people have sent along with the recommended picks (I've sent one copy each of 'Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop' and 'Opium Season: A Year on the Afghan Frontier' in addition to three from the list).

roamer (not verified)

Mon, 12/10/2007 - 1:58am

I went and looked at the Amazon list with an eye toward choosing a book or two, and found something interesting. Six of the titles are listed twice, in each case with one of them not available new via amazon and the second available. In each case the version available new had been purchased.

It's possible that someone might choose to get one of the used titles and would end up getting a duplicate copy for the library. Here's a list of the books in question:

A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Sir Alistair Horne (Author)

Afghanistan by Louis Dupree (Author)

Afghanistan: A Short History of Its People and Politics by Martin Ewans (Author)

SAS Secret War by Tony Jeapes (Author)

The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor by Wheeler M. Thackston (Editor)

Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh by Sir John Biddulph (Author)


It would also be useful to list titles that would be helpful to have more than one copy of - prioritized, please. Hope this helps.

(Cross-posted at Intel Dump.)

I went to the Amazon wish list, and behold!

<b>All of the items on this wishlist have been purchased</b>


Blue skies, and congratulations! -- Dan Ford


Tue, 12/04/2007 - 9:43pm

The 38 does not include 9 copies of FM 3-24 that have been purchased and shipped. We also have a $100.00 check on the way to purchase more. Thanks - so far so good...

Small Wars Journal (not verified)

Tue, 12/04/2007 - 9:34pm

Through 12/4, 2030 US Eastern, 38 of the 98 titles on the list have been purchased by kind and motivated souls who pursue COIN knowledge with stealth and vigor. Well done!

60 left for the rest of us. Carry on....

...and thanks.

You guys are amazing. BZ.

So, where else does this need done? What process failed, such that private support is needed for this school, that can be fixed? Who's fixing it?


Fri, 12/28/2007 - 10:52am

Thanks for the BZ Chap.

In all fairness to the school and the staff - they did not ask for us to do this - we requested their reading list and simply took it from there.

Good question - where next? Hmmm...