Small Wars Journal

Fort Leavenworth Counterinsurgency Center Seminar Begins

Tue, 10/27/2009 - 11:28pm
The great folks at the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center have launched their completely revamped Counterinsurgency Leaders Workshop, which runs through Thursday. They've lined up an impressive array of speakers for the event, including General James Mattis, reporter Trudy Rubin, and Major Ali Iqbar (Pakistani Army), among others.

The local FOX news affiliate covered the opening day of the conference, featuring comments by Canadian exchange officer and deputy director Lieutenant Colonel J.J. Malevich and branch chief Lieutenant Colonel "Storm" Savage, both of whom have recent Afghanistan experience.


While you're at it, the COIN Center Blog has taken an edgy move with some controversial posts, if you haven't visited it in awhile, check it out.


Bill Jakola

Mon, 11/02/2009 - 10:59pm

So what do all you COIN community members think about the COIN Leaders Workshop?

In Foeign Affairs, Dr. ELIOT A. COHEN praised the Small Wars Journal as a COIN gathering place (quote see below).

"This Web site [] has become an extraordinary gathering place for todays self-described "COIN community" -- a tight-knit group of military, think-tank, and academic types who study counterinsurgency issues with what might be considered obsessive interest. The articles are of uneven quality, but the resources here, including references and research links, are terrific."

Dan Roper

Mon, 11/02/2009 - 10:56am

Wanted to follow-up with a recap of the COIN Leaders Workshop, "The Counterinsurgency Fight in the Afghanistan/Pakistan Border Region,"
hosted by the COIN Center at Ft Leavenworth from 27-29 Oct. 156 subject matter experts and practitioners from across the joint, interagency, multinational, academic, and media communities participated in a graduate-level forum focused on exchanging ideas and insights regarding counterinsurgency challenges and developments in an Afghanistan/Pakistan context.

Keynote speaker was JFCOM Commander, Gen Mattis, who addressed the challenge of balancing efforts to address both conventional and irregular threats, his confidence in the strategy the ISAF Commander has so clearly laid out, and the imperative for troops to be empowered with the initiative and latitude to execute at lowest levels. He also stressed that the enemy is a group of thugs who should not be permitted to cloak their tyrannical behavior in the garb of religion, and asserted that we must win.

Other featured presentations were given by Trudy Rubin (Philadelphia Enquirer), Dr Julian Schofield (Concordia University, Montreal), Dr.
Anton Minkov and Dr. Gregory Smolynec (Canadian Forces Expeditionary Command), Maj Ali Iqbar (Pakistani Army), Dr. Thomas Wilhelm, (Director, Foreign Military Studies Office), Dr. Chris Schnaubelt (NATO Defense College, Rome), SGM Rob Haemmerle (US Army biometrics expert), and LTC Dave Woods (ISAF COIN Advisory & Assistance Team). The great enthusiasm of both the presenters and participants conveyed a continuing commitment to intellectual rigor in their application of historical lessons, counterinsurgency doctrine, and recent operational insights to the challenges posed by operations in Afghanistan/Pakistan region. Among the topics discussed were:

-- Soviet Approach to COIN and border operations in Afghanistan as a backdrop for examining current COIN strategy.
-- Dynamics within Pakistan and how they influence the AF/PAK border region.
-- Pakistani operations to clear Swat Valley and efficacy of Pakistani efforts to "hold and build" after clearing.
-- Potential that Pakistani military accomplishments may reflect a "turning of the Titanic away from iceberg" of Taliban appeasement and control.
-- Focusing efforts in Afghanistan to influence Tribal Leaders, not hearts and minds of the population -- people follow their tribes.

Final session was presentation from COMISAF COIN Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT) that resulted in COIN Center collaborative relationship with COMISAF CAAT to assist with improvement of COIN education and training horizontally across the joint, interagency, and coalition forces. Another area identified for additional focus is to increase accessibility of COIN insights and lessons learned to Coalition partners through unclassified means.

All workshop briefings are posted on COIN Center Web-site, and videos of each presentation will be available by 6 Nov.

COL Dan Roper
COIN Center