Beyond population engagement: understanding counterinsurgency
Gregg, Heather S.
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The US military has made considerable progress in developing counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy and doctrine, including the publication of Army Field Manual 3-24 and the military's successes in working with the population to stem the insurgency in Iraq. The short-term goals of COIN are now fairly well understood: engage the population and win their support. Whichever side wins the support of the population--either the host nation (and US forces that support it) or the insurgents--wins the battle. The battle is not the war, however. the long-term goal of a counterinsurgency campaign requires the creation of a functioning state, a government that can stand on its own, provide for its citizens, and promote regional and international stability; this achievement is victory in a counterinsurgency. Transitioning from the short-term success of population engagement to long-term viability of the host nation is far more difficult and less understood.
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