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by Andrew C. Pavord, Small Wars Journal
Since 9/11 the armed forces of the United States have paid a steep price to acquire proficiency in counterinsurgency operations. After going through a painful learning process the Army and Marines published the now acclaimed counterinsurgency manual and implemented a new approach in Iraq that is delivering impressive results. It is now a logical time to consider how to redesign combat units to reflect these lessons and prepare for the small wars of the future.
This article will argue that counterinsurgency brigades should be added to the U.S. Army's force structure. Lacking forces specially trained and equipped for counterinsurgency, the Army has fought the war on terror with conventional units adapted to counterinsurgency operations. For most units, the transition from conventional organization and tactics to the very different and challenging tasks of counterinsurgency was traumatic. The costs of poor organization for counterinsurgency, in terms of battlefield mistakes and the misallocation of resources, were substantial. To provide the optimal force for fighting insurgencies the Army should develop Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) that are specifically organized, equipped, and trained for the complex challenges of counterinsurgency operations.