Training and organization for COIN conflicts a historic perspective with contemporary applications
Peifer, Jeremy L.
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After eight years of conventional U.S. Army involvement in Afghanistan, the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) have remained organized and trained to defeat a peer or near-peer enemy in a direct, symmetrical conflict. The complex socio-ethnical structure of Afghanistan requires something new, but an analysis of international forces involved in a century of Counterinsurgency Operations (COIN) operations indicates a variety of metrics of successful organization and training. Something new can be found in something old. Through the analysis of historical COIN conflicts and combatants in Algeria, Philippines, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, the modern military analyst can determine effective metrics for the assessment, selection, organization and training of contemporary COIN forces. Counterinsurgency Operations are not merely a less-intense form of conflict within the Range of Military Operations, but an entirely different arc of the warfare continuum and require specialized units, operations, tactics and skills that are beyond capabilities of an organic IBCT. In the current fight, IBCTs receive a number of these enablers upon arrival into theater, and enjoy a margin of success during their tour. This thesis finds a correlation between training and organizing COIN-specific forces prior to their engagement in the conflict, and the eventual success or failure of that force in a COIN struggle. Though success in COIN comes with higher risk and is more manpower intensive, the lower technological and logistical demands warrant additional research from a force design perspective. Based on the preponderance of low-intensity conflicts over the incidents of highintensity conflict during the post-WWII era, America may be wise in establishing designated "COIN" battalions and brigades within the standing force package.
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