So what caused the drop in violence? With the last edition of FM published in , the Army should capture on paper what works before the knowledge is lost. This team of practitioner-academics leads the Empirical Studies of Conflict program at Princeton University. Small Wars, Big Data argues that the U. When satisfied with government security and services, civilians supply information. With information, counter-insurgent attacks can dismantle insurgent networks.
Without it, insurgencies fester and violence increases. Armed with this framework, I would have fought differently — and American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan might have as well. During my first deployment, we worked hard but aimlessly. Local leaders accepted development projects but failed to support the Afghan government in return.
Our radio broadcasts reached as far as the local government: hardly off the base.
Lessons From the Long War: The Role of Information in Counter-Insurgency
The only way for local civilians to provide information was by arriving at the gate during the day. On my second deployment, we focused primarily on developing information and built that capacity among our Afghan partners. As tips flowed in, our targeted operations captured insurgent financiers, forgers, and destroyed insurgent material. In this tale of two deployments, focusing on actionable intelligence through tips made the difference.
Unlike other prominent works in the counter-insurgency field, Small Wars, Big Data brings a scientific approach. First, the authors compiled a remarkably broad picture of several conflicts. To understand Iraq , they combined conflict databases that recorded every significant activity by American forces in the country with development data from the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.
Agency for International Development. Contrast this data-driven approach with earlier counter-insurgency works. Small Wars, Big Data is a rare work that deliberately tests theories with econometrics techniques and conflict data from across the world. Consider development. In one study, they compare violence in Philippine villages just above and below the poverty line.
Those below qualified for a development program. Those above did not. The development program was associated with an 85 to percent increase in annual casualties. However, results of other studies offer a clear prescription for policymakers: Small, secure projects conditional on local cooperation with security forces do reduce violence. In the same way, Small Wars, Big Data considers dozens of studies to determine how violence levels are affected by aid, suppression, violence against civilians, and economic conditions.
First, information is key. Information — and especially tips from local residents — is associated with short-term reductions in violence. In Basra, Iraq, in , each additional tip reduced mortar attacks by 50 percent and roadside bombs by 15 percent. This is a big impact for a small action. Counter-insurgents need information. Second, getting more information is easier in counter-insurgency than in interstate conflict.
While intrastate war requires mass mobilization, precise counter-insurgent interventions increase information flow. Based on data from Iraq in and , the authors conclude that each coalition-caused civilian casualty was associated with almost one fewer tip each week. Tighter rules of engagement, such as those enacted by Gens.
Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus , protect civilians and keep tips flowing. Third, hearts and minds are important, but counter-insurgents just need one tip. FM emphasizes winning the loyalty of locals through expensive population protection and development. Small Wars, Big Data indicates that popular attitudes are less important than those of citizens on the margin.
Rather than target all citizens, my Afghan partners collected tips from local civilians. From these tips, we captured insurgent leaders, destroyed opium factories, and disrupted insurgent finance. These effects did not require winning hearts and minds — just tips. Forth, information mechanics matter.
Full text of "The U.S. Army And Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field pinpeminical.ga (PDFy mirror)"
After restoring cell phone coverage in Anbar province, attacks dropped because the population felt safe providing information over the phone to the coalition. He was a peasant writing for peasants.
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He knew how to inspire, terrify, and manipulate them by the millions. Mao may have led the biggest guerrilla campaign, but Tito arguably led the best. Unlike Mao, who waited out the Japanese, Tito faced Hitler head on. Also, unlike Mao, Tito had to unite several ethnic groups with ancient, murderous hatreds. Che was all of those things. He liked the glamor of kicking over governments but never stuck around for the drudgery of building one. He also had the good sense to get himself assassinated before wearing out his welcome on the world stage.
Like Steve Jobs, Che teaches that style can conquer substance, that a little passionate rhetoric, coupled with an iconic image like a famous photo , can endure and inspire well beyond the grave. This guy has a lot to teach, and not just about starting a Middle Eastern insurrection. The British Army, as an institution deserves its fair share of praise for being open enough to embrace an outlier like Lawrence.
While not technically an insurgent, this twentieth-century Japanese gangster has a very prophetic chapter on his beginnings at the end of World War II. The autobiography of a Japanese soldier who refused to surrender, this is the profile of a fanatic, and explores the limits of human endurance. While the author of this book never personally pulled off a successful revolution himself, his book endures for two reasons.
First, it inspired an entire generation of leftist guerrillas both within the United States and around the world. Second, he is one of the first partisans to focus entirely on cities. As more of our species migrate to growing megacities, we need to prepare for some of those cities to become the battlefields of the future.
The fact that this man fought the US military to standstill should be enough to put him on this list. One of the first theoreticians of COIN. David Petraeus, The U. FM also represents the one key element any army—any nation—needs in order to survive: the willingness to change. John A.
COIN at the tactical level. Short, sweet, and packed with invaluable information, including twenty-eight fundamentals by David Kilcullen. No grand strategy.
The Public School Counterinsurgency Field Manual
Just the story of a soldier in Afghanistan. What might have happened if he had been taken seriously? Where would we be today if his ideas had become doctrine? This is what happens when we listen. From the Tuskegee Airmen to the Navajo Code Talkers to the introduction of women in combat, our courage to shed tradition and reinvent ourselves proves that we will never be left on the trash heap of history. When it comes to fighting corruption, bureaucracy, threats to personal security, and an old guard threatened by change, the parallels are obvious.
Recommend to librarian
The memoir of a former SecDef. COIN from the top down. He takes the reader through his battles with the press, the administration, the DoD bureaucracy and, finally, battlefield enemies like al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Counterinsurgents are going to need to communicate effectively with a variety of groups; from Congress, to the press, to the partners of a host country. These methods can work for anyone, and they can be as valuable as basic marksmanship.
While most guerrillas might just be ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, there is the occasional, genuine psychopath.
This book helps identify those individuals who are genetically hardwired for malice. And not just those on the other side.
At present, the US military has no psychological screening program for new recruits. This book can help change that. Since America has inexplicably surrendered the art of messaging to our enemies, we need to start playing catch-up. A novel of radicalization. The story walks us through how an educated, well-to-do, sensitive moderate eventually becomes a terrorist. Brooks argues that, as a country, we have degraded our public institutions to such an extent that the last lifeboat of public trust is the Department of Defense. He describes how the shape of our land shapes the course of history.
This book should serve as another lens for looking at any country going through an insurgency, be it an island like Sri Lanka, or a long, jungled strip like Vietnam? The greatest value of this book may be the name on the cover. A broad survey of several dozen guerrilla wars going all the way back to… well… the beginning.
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