March 24, 2008

Book Review - Counterinsurgency Field Manual

Counterinsurgency Field Manual
U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps
U 241 .U79 2007

This manual changes how the American military conducts its business. Prepared during the Cold War to fight conventional battles, the American military was required to change its tactics after 9/11 to fight insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Forewards by GEN David H. Petraeus, LTG James F. Amos and LTC John A. Nagl note that many lessons regarding unconventional warfare learned during the Vietnam war had been lost. This manual was written largely to rediscover those lessons and to incorporate the learning that has taken place in the Middle Eastern theaters to date. This University of Chicago edition is also published as U.S. Army Field Manual no. 3-24 and Marine Corps Warfighting Publication no. 3-33.5. It is designed to take a general approach to counterinsurgency (COIN) operations, providing doctrine addressing offensive, defensive, and peacekeeping strategies that can be adapted to specific local situations. Its foundation is that leaders be constantly learning about their environment and adapting their operations, tactics, and leadership to those conditions. Perhaps more than any other title, this book describes how the American military operates today.