Small Wars Journal

The Second Coming of Counterinsurgency

The Second Coming of Counterinsurgency by John Correll, Air Force Magazine.

… Belief in the COIN concept persists. Odierno, deputy to Petraeus in Iraq and his successor in command there, is now the Army Chief of Staff. In an article in Foreign Affairs in 2012, he said that the Army must “preserve the intellectual and organizational knowledge it has gained about counterinsurgency, stability operations, and advise-and-assist missions. This expertise has come at a very high price that is etched into the hearts and minds of all of us who have worn the Army uniform over the last 10 years, and we will not dishonor our fallen comrades by allowing it to atrophy.”

Col. Michael J. Meese, head of the Social Sciences department at West Point and a former advisor to Petraeus in Baghdad and Kabul, said COIN “was largely successful in being able to have the Iraqis govern themselves.”

Gentile, whose affiliation at West Point is through the History Department rather than “Sosh,” takes the opposite view. He has emerged as the foremost critic of counterinsurgency within the Army. He said the Army had become “so tactically oriented toward population-centric counterinsurgency that it [could not] think of doing anything else.”…

Read on.