Civilians in the Hold Phase

The Closers (Part III):

Civilians in the Hold Phase

by Colonel Gary Anderson

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The second or "Hold" phase of a counterinsurgency will likely not be clear cut. It is generally the point at which the insurgents no longer can operate openly in any given area, and have to revert to the covert first stage of guerilla operations. The line is not easily recognized and may vary from locality to locality even within a single brigade or regimental operating area. The military will develop metrics to try to determine where they stand relative to the insurgency.

The civilian members of any Reconstruction Team (RT) will likely also develop their own measures, even if the process is less formal. I had a tendency to gauge progress in any given area by the quality of the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and of their manner of emplacement. As IED networks are rolled up in the clear phase and further degraded in the hold phase, the quality and quantity of the IEDs decreases with the replacement of skilled bomb makers and emplacers with less competent recruits.

Download the Full Article: Civilians in the Hold Phase

Gary Anderson is a retired Marine Corps Colonel who served as a Special Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense on Counterinsurgency from 2003-05. He served on an embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq in 2009-10 and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Relations.

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