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Chapter 1


1-1. An insurgency is organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict (JP 1-02). It is a protracted politicomilitary struggle designed to weaken government control and legitimacy while increasing insurgent control. Political power is the central issue in an insurgency.

1-2. Each insurgency has its own unique characteristics based on its strategic objectives, its operational environment, available resources, operational method, and tactics (For example, an insurgency may be based on mass mobilization through political action or the FOCO theory. Insurgencies frequently seek to overthrow the existing social order and reallocate power within the country.

1-3. The goal of an insurgency is to mobilize human and material resources in order to form an alternative to the state. This alternative is called the counterstate. The counterstate may have much of the infrastructure possessed by the state itself, but this must normally be hidden, since it is illegal. Thus the counterstate is often referred to by the term "clandestine infrastructure." As the insurgents gain confidence and power, the clandestine infrastructure may become more open, as observed historically in communist regions during the Chinese Revolution, in South Vietnam after the North Vietnamese 1972 Easter Offensive, and in Colombia in the summer of 1998.

1-4. Successful mobilization provides active and passive support for the insurgency's programs, operations, and goals. At the national level, mobilization grows out of dissatisfaction by some elite members with existing political, economic, or social conditions. At the regional level, members of an elite have become marginalized (that is, they have become psychologically alienated from the system), and have established links with followers by bringing them into the counterstate. At the local, district and province-levels, local movement representatives called the cadre address local grievances and do recruiting. The cadre gives credit to the insurgent movement for all local solutions. Loyalty to the insurgent movement is normally won through deeds but may occur through appeal to abstract principles. Promises to end hunger or eliminate poverty may appeal to a segment of the population, while appeals to eliminate a foreign presence or establish a government based on religious or political ideology may appeal to others. Nonetheless, these promises and appeals are associated with tangible solutions and deeds.


1-5. An insurgent organization normally consists of four elements:

  • Leadership.
  • Combatants (main forces, regional forces, local forces).
  • Cadre (local political leaders that are also called the militants).
  • Mass base (the bulk of the membership).

The proportions relative to the larger movement depend upon the strategic approach adopted by the insurgency. To the extent state presence has been eliminated in particular areas, the four elements can exist openly. To the extent the state remains a continuous or occasional presence, the elements must maintain a clandestine existence.


1-6. Leadership figures engage in command and control of the insurgent movement. They are the idea people and planners. They see solutions to the grievances of society in structural terms. They believe that only altering the way the institutions and practices of society fit together will result in real change. Reforms and changes in personalities are deemed insufficient to "liberate" or "redeem" society. Historically, insurgencies have coalesced around a unifying leader, ideology, and organization. However, this precedent can no longer be assumed. It is possible that many leaders at the head of several organizations with different ideologies but united by a single goal of overthrowing the government or ridding the country of a foreign presence will emerge.


1-7. The combatants do the actual fighting and are often mistaken for the movement itself. This they are not. They exist only to carry out the same functions as the police and armed forces of the state. They only constitute part of the movement, along with the planners and idea people. In many insurgencies the combatants maintain local control, as well as protect and expand the counterstate. Combatants who secure local areas are the local forces. The local forces use terror initially to intimidate and establish local control and later to enforce the will of the leadership. They conduct limited ambushes of government forces and police, also. Combatants who link local areas and provide regional security are the regional forces. Both of these elements normally are tied to specific AO. Main forces, in contrast, are the "heavy" units of the insurgent movement and may be deployed in any AO. Rather than employing terror (local forces) and guerrilla warfare (the main activity of regional forces), they engage in mobile warfare and positional warfare, both subsumed under the "conventional warfare" rubric but different in emphasis when used by insurgents. Due to the growing possibility of separate leaders in different regions with various goals, this force-role linkage may not be present. Instead, independent insurgent leaders may carry on military operations, to include terror, independent of other insurgent forces. Conventional warfare may be minimized. Ultimately, time is on the side of the insurgent. Fear, intimidation and violence--coupled with the television and internet--may achieve the social upheaval the insurgent seeks and force foreign powers to abandon the HN because of pressures from their own people at home.


1-8. The cadre is the political activists and local political leaders of the insurgency. They are referred to as militants since they are actively engaged in struggling to accomplish insurgent goals. The insurgent movement provides guidance and procedures to the cadre, and the cadre use these to assess the grievances in local areas and carry out activities that satisfy those grievances. They then attribute the solutions they have provided to the insurgent movement itself. Deeds are the key to making insurgent slogans meaningful to the population. Larger societal issues, such as foreign presence, facilitate such action, because these larger issues may be blamed for life's smaller problems. Insurgents, however, may have no regard for popular dissent or local grievances. The insurgents play by no rules, and they will use fear as a means to intimidate the populace and thereby prevent cooperation with the HN.


1-9. The mass base consists of the followers of the insurgent movement that are the population of the counterstate. Mass base members are recruited and indoctrinated by the cadre, who implement instructions and procedures provided by the insurgent leadership. Though they do not actively fight for the insurgency, mass base members provide intelligence and supplies. Mass base members may continue in their normal positions in society, but many will either lead second, clandestine lives for the insurgent movement, or even pursue new, full-time positions within the insurgency. Combatants normally begin as members of the mass base before becoming armed manpower.

1-10. The insurgent leadership thus provides organizational and managerial skills to transform regions into an effective base for armed political action, while the cadre accomplishes this same transformation at the community and mobilized individual level. What results, as in any armed conflict, is a contest of resource mobilization and force deployment. A state is challenged by a counterstate. No objective force level guarantees victory for either side. It is frequently stated that a 10 to 1 or 20 to 1 ratio of counterinsurgents to insurgents is necessary for counterinsurgency victory. In reality, research has demonstrated time and again there are no valid ratios that, when met, guarantee victory. As in conventional war, correlation of forces in an insurgency depends upon the situation. Though objective and valid forcecorrelation ratios do not exist, counterinsurgency has been historically manpower intensive. Time, which often works on the side of the insurgent, just as often places serious constraints upon counterinsurgent courses of action.


1-11. Rising up against constituted authority has been present throughout history. The causes for such uprisings have been as numerous as human conditions. Uprisings against indigenous regimes have normally been termed "rebellions." Uprisings against an external occupying power have normally been termed "resistance movements." Historical particulars can at times combine the two.

1-12. Rebellions and resistance movements are transformed into an insurgency by their incorporation into an armed political campaign. (See Figure 1-1, page 1-4.) A popular desire to resist is used by an insurgent movement to accomplish the insurgents' political goal. The insurgency thus mounts a political challenge to the state through the formation of, or desire to, create a counterstate.

1-13. The desire to form a counterstate grows from the same causes that galvanize any political campaign. These causes can range from the desire for greater equity in the distribution of resources (poverty alone is rarely, if ever, sufficient to sustain an insurgency) to a demand that foreign occupation end. Increasingly, religious ideology has become a catalyst for insurgent movements. The support of the people, then, is the center of gravity. It must be gained in whatever proportion is necessary to sustain the insurgent movement (or, contrariwise, to defeat it). As in any political campaign, all levels of support are relative. The goal is mobilization such that the enemy may be defeated. This necessarily will depend as much upon the campaign approach (that is, operational art) and tactics adopted as upon more strategic concerns of "support." Operational and tactical use of violence as an insurgent strategy has become increasingly commonplace. Objects of violence can be anything the insurgents deem to be obstructions to their cause. This can be HN forces, foreign forces, aid workers, civilians who do not accept the insurgents' claims, and infrastructure.

1-14. Violence is the most potent weapon available to insurgents. Nonetheless, violence can alienate when not linked to a vision of a better life. Violence is often accompanied by a variety of nonviolent means that act as a potent weapon in an external propaganda war and assist recruiting. Historically, astute movements have recognized the efficacy of both means to the extent they have fielded discrete units charged with nonviolent action (for example, strikes in the transportation sector) to supplement violent action. The insurgents in Algeria rarely defeated French forces in the field; they employed indiscriminate violence, successfully initiated nonviolent strikes, developed associated propaganda for external use, and thereby handily won their war. "People's war" in its Chinese and Vietnamese variants did this also.

Figure 1-1. Insurgency Development

1-15. Insurgent movements begin as "fire in the minds of men." Insurgent leaders commit themselves to building a new world. They construct the organization to carry through this desire. Generally, popular grievances become insurgent causes when interpreted and shaped by the insurgent leadership. The insurgency grows if the cadre that is local insurgent leaders and representatives can establish a link between the insurgent movement and the desire for solutions to grievances sought by the local population. This link does not always exist. Selfserving insurgent leaders with no regard for local conditions may launch an insurgency, even if the population supports the HN and has few grievances. This can occur when the HN government is weak or even nonexistent because of other factors. If the cadre is able to indoctrinate and control the mobilized local manpower, often by creating a climate of fear, and the cadre respond to higher commands with independent tactical action, the insurgency will be operationally and strategically unified. If the opposite is true, the insurgency will remain uncoordinated and decentralized.

1-16. Insurgent leaders will exploit opportunities created by government security force actions. The behavior of security forces is critical. Lack of security force discipline leads to alienation, and security force abuse of the populace is a very effective insurgent recruiting tool. Consequently, specific insurgent tactical actions are often planned to frequently elicit overreaction from security force individuals and units. Overreaction can result from poorly drawn ROE and even strategic and operational planning that abets brutalizing a recalcitrant population. Increasingly, the use of religious shrines for offensive insurgent actions can be seen as attempts to achieve such an overreaction. Such actions can create a perception of HN and foreign military forces as oppressors rather than as liberators.


1-17. Insurgent doctrine determines how insurgents actually implement the two types of insurgency. A defensive insurgency has much in common with a resistance movement, since the counterstate already exists and will normally adopt overt techniques necessary for selfdefense. An offensive insurgency, on the other hand, is faced with the task of creating the counterstate from scratch. To do this, there are two basic approaches.

  • Mass mobilization. A first approach is to emphasize mobilization of the masses. This course places a premium upon political action by the cadre in local areas, with strategic and operational directives coming from above. Emphasizing mass mobilization results in a hierarchical, tightly controlled, coordinated movement. The insurgent movement that results will resemble a pyramid in its manpower distribution, with the combatants the smallest part of the movement (the apex of the pyramid).
  • Armed action. A second approach emphasizes armed action. This course favors violence rather than mass mobilization and normally results in an inverted pyramid, with the combatants themselves the bulk of the movement. This was the approach taken by Castro in Cuba during the 1950s and may be an approach some insurgents in Iraq have taken against the post-Saddam government, although some efforts to mobilize have been reported.


1-18. A mass base sustains the first approach. The second approach has a much smaller support base. The support base will not have the numbers of the mass base generated by the mobilization approach.

1-19. If emphasis is upon mass mobilization, the combatants exist to facilitate the accomplishment of the political goals of the insurgent movement. In local areas, terror and guerrilla action are used to eliminate resistance, either from individuals who are opposed to the movement or from the local armed representatives of the state, initially the police and militia, but later the military. Main force units, which are guerrilla units that have been "regularized" or turned into rough copies of government units but are usually more mobile and lightly armed, are used to deal with the state's inevitable deployment of the military. The purpose of main forces is to engage in mobile (or maneuver) warfare. The intent is force-onforce action to destroy government main force units. Tactics may include major battles as well as ambushes and small-scale engagements. These battles and engagements result in the securing and expansion of the counterstate (which may be clandestine in all or part), but are not designed to seize and hold positions as in conventional warfare. This occurs only in positional warfare. Though the terminology is drawn especially from Soviet usage, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong (VC) used both mobile and positional warfare throughout the war in Vietnam. Examples of insurgencies that used the mass mobilization approach follow:

  • The NVA and VC frequently deployed battalions and regiments using classic mobile warfare, even as terror and guerrilla action continued against US forces from 1965 until the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973.
  • Classic positional warfare was seen three times in the Vietnam War: the Tet Offensive in January­February 1968; the Spring 1972 "Easter Offensive," which resulted in the permanent seizure and loss of portions of South Vietnamese territory; and the Spring 1975 offensive, which saw the fall of South Vietnam and its absorption into a unified Vietnam. In the latter two of these campaigns, enemy divisions and corps were used, with terror and guerrilla action assuming the role of special operations in support of conventional operations. During Tet, the NVA employed all 52 VC battalions exclusively, and multiple battalions attacked objectives simultaneously, though these battalions were under individual command and control.
  • More recently, in El Salvador, where the United States successfully supported a counterinsurgency, government forces twice, in 1981 and 1989, had to beat back "positional warfare" offensives designed to seize widespread areas, including portions of the nation's capital.
  • In Colombia, where the US is similarly involved in support of the counterinsurgency, the insurgents of FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) initiated their mobile warfare phase in 1996. There followed a string of Colombian Army defeats that culminated in a FARC positional warfare attack that seized a department capital, Mitu, in mid-1998. The relief of Mitu galvanized a military reform effort that led to government success in a half dozen major mobile war battles fought between 1998 and 2001. The largest of these involved a FARC force of eight battalion-equivalents engaged by an equal number of Colombian Army counterguerrilla battalions. FARC consequently returned to an emphasis upon terror and guerrilla action.
  • In Nepal, where US assistance has played an important role in government counterinsurgency, the 'mass mobilization approach adopted by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or CPN (M), has progressed in classic fashion. Widespread use of terror and guerrilla action has been complemented by mobile warfare to overrun government positions of up to company size. Mobile warfare targets have been chosen operationally (that is, as part of campaign planning) to position the CPN (M) for anticipated positional war offensives, notably against major population centers.


1-20. If emphasis is on the second approach, armed action, the political goal is to be accomplished primarily by violence rather than mass mobilization. The insurgents attempt to inflict such a level of casualties and destruction the state is incapable or unwilling to continue counterinsurgency actions. Both approaches emphasize inflicting casualties. The distinction is whether mobilization or armed insurrection is the initial emphasis. Insurgents may also employ terrorist tactics if they lack a mass base, do not have the time needed to create such a base, or have objectives that do not require such a base. In this approach, the combatant force rarely moves beyond terrorist and guerrilla actions. Units are small and specialized, frequently no more than squad or platoon sized. Sympathizers provide recruits for the support base, but these sympathizers are actively involved only occasionally, though they are often central to the information warfare component of the insurgent campaign.

  • An illustration of the armed action approach is "The Troubles" of 1968­98 in Northern Ireland (Ulster). An initial mass mobilization approach followed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army was penetrated by the state; hence it was abandoned in favor of a cellular "active service unit" methodology. Normally composed of no more than 300 people, the active service unit network engaged almost exclusively in terror actions and was sustained by a support base that numbered only in the thousands out of a total 1.5 million population in an area the size of Connecticut. Sympathizers came overwhelmingly from a minority within the Catholic community, thus forming a minority within a minority. At its peak, however, this sympathetic base proved capable of mustering 17 percent of the votes in democratic elections and served to keep open to question the legitimacy of British rule, which was actually favored by a substantial majority.
  • More recently, the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan have used the armed action approach. Terror and low-level guerrilla action have been focused on the indigenous supporters and infrastructure of the new regimes in Baghdad and Kabul. Simultaneously, attacks on US forces have sought to inflict casualties to break the will of the US public to continue. The insurgents have recognized that the indigenous regimes cannot continue in the short-term without US backing and assistance. Neither will the new regimes be able to continue if their populations can be suitably terrorized into sullen neutrality as the US begins to withdraw.


1-21. There are seven dynamics that are common to most insurgencies. These dynamics provide a framework for analysis that can reveal the insurgency's strengths and weaknesses. Although analysts can examine the following dynamics separately, they must study their interaction to fully understand the insurgency. These seven dynamics are--

  • Leadership.
  • Ideology.
  • Objectives.
  • Environment and geography.
  • External support.
  • Phasing and timing.


1-22. Leadership is critical to any insurgency. Insurgency is not simply random political violence. It is directed and focused political violence. It requires leadership to provide vision, direction to establish and set the long-term way ahead, short-term guidance, coordination, and organizational coherence. Insurgent leaders must make their cause known to the people and gain popular support. Although, theoretically, the insurgent leader desires to gain popular support for the cause, that desire is often accompanied by a terror campaign against those who do not support the insurgents' goals. Their key tasks are to break and supplant the ties between the people and the government, and to establish legitimacy for their movement. Their education, family, social and religious connections, and positions may contribute to their ability to think clearly, communicate, organize, and lead a an insurgency; or their lack of education and connections may delay or impair their access to positions where they are able to exercise leadership.

1-23. Insurgencies are dynamic political movements, resulting from real or perceived grievance or neglect that leads to alienation from an established government. Alienated elite members advance alternatives to existing conditions. (Culture defines elites. For example, in most of the world educators and teachers are members of the elite; in Islamic and many Catholic nations, religious leaders are elite members.) As their movement grows, leaders decide which body of "doctrine" to adopt. In the mass mobilization approach, leaders recruit, indoctrinate, and deploy the cadre necessary to carry out the actions of the movement. In the armed action approach, there is often a much more decentralized mode of operations, but this is usually guided by a central organization. Extreme decentralization results in a movement that rarely functions as a coherent body but is nevertheless capable of inflicting substantial casualties and damage.

1-24. The power base of some insurgencies is collective and does not depend on specific leaders or personalities to be effective. Such insurgencies are easier to penetrate but recover rapidly when they lose key personnel. Other organizations depend on a charismatic personality to provide cohesion, motivation, and a focal point for the movement. Organizations led in this way can make decisions and initiate new actions rapidly, but they are vulnerable to disruptions if key personalities are removed or co-opted.


1-25. Effective analysis of an insurgency requires interpreting strategic, operational, and tactical objectives. Understanding the root causes of the insurgency is essential to analyzing the insurgents' objectives. The strategic objective is the insurgents' desired end state: the seizure of political power and the overthrow of an existing government. Operational objectives are the decisive points (military, political, and ideological) along lines of operation toward the strategic objective, and they are the means to link tactical goals with strategic end states. One of the political decisive points is the total destruction of government legitimacy. Tactical objectives are the immediate aims of insurgent acts. Tactical objectives can be psychological and physical in nature. Some examples include the dissemination of PSYOP products, intimidation (a psychological objective), and the attack and seizure of a key facility (a physical objective).


1-26. In its ideology an insurgency sets forth a political alternative to the existing state. Both theoretically and actually, it offers a vision of a counterstate. The most powerful ideologies tap latent, emotive concerns of the populace, such as the desire for justice, the creation of an idealized religious state, or liberation from foreign occupation. Ideology influences the insurgents' perception of the environment by providing the prism, to include vocabulary and analytical categories, through which the situation is assessed. The result is that ideology shapes the movement's organization and operational methods.


1-27. Environment and geography, including cultural and demographic factors, affect all participants in a conflict. The manner in which insurgents and counterinsurgents adapt to these realities creates advantages and disadvantages for each. The effects of these factors are immediately visible at the tactical level, where they are perhaps the predominant influence on decisions regarding force structure, and doctrine (including TTP). Insurgency in an urban environment often presents a different set of planning considerations than in rural environments. These planning considerations affect structure, and TTP directly.


1-28. The need for access to external resources and sanctuaries has been a constant throughout the history of insurgencies. Rarely, if ever, has an insurgent force been able to obtain the arms and equipment (particularly ammunition) necessary for decisive action from within the battle area. External support can provide political, psychological, and material resources that might otherwise be limited or totally unavailable. 1-29. A recent phenomenon has been the advent of internal sanctuaries. These may be in the form of religious structures. They may be large cities where neither HN nor external military forces are sufficiently strong to counter the insurgents.


1-30. Insurgencies often pass through common phases of development. The conceptualization generally followed by insurgents is drawn from that postulated by Mao Zedong. Regardless of its provenance, movements as diverse as communist or Islamic insurgencies have used the Maoist conceptualization because it is logical and based upon the mass mobilization emphasis. It states that insurgents are first on the strategic defensive (Phase I), move to stalemate (Phase II), and finally go over to the offensive (Phase III). Strategic movement from one phase to another incorporates the operational and tactical activity typical of earlier phases. It does not end them. The North Vietnamese explicitly recognized this reality in their "war of interlocking" doctrine, which held that all "forms of warfare" occur simultaneously, even as a particular form is paramount.

1-31. Not all insurgencies experience every phase, and progression through all phases is not a requirement for success. The same insurgent movement may be in different phases in different regions of a country. Successful insurgencies can also revert to an earlier phase when under pressure, resuming development when favorable conditions return.

1-32. Political organization occurs throughout all phases. While on the defensive, however, in Phase I per Mao, a movement will necessarily fight the "war of the weak," emphasizing terror and guerrilla action. These will be used to eliminate resistance from individuals and local government presence, especially the police. Invariably, the government must commit its main force units (normally the army) to reclaim what it has lost. Knowing this, insurgents form their own main force units. These are used to defeat government forces in detail as the latter disperse to engage in area domination. It is through such action that stalemate, Phase II, is achieved. The government's forces in the contest of armed power are systematically neutralized through mobile (or maneuver), force-on-force warfare. Only in Phase III does a transition to the holding of position occur (hence the term, "positional warfare").

1-33. If the insurgents adopt the armed action approach, these phases do not necessarily apply. Inflicting an unsustainable level of pain on HN or external military forces may eliminate the need to form main force units. Pressure from within the HN or country providing the forces may lead to capitulation or withdrawal. In attacking democratic societies, insurgents using this approach attempt to tap the purported aversion of democratic societies to protracted, costly conflicts that appear endless. They seek to break the will of the state to continue the struggle.


1-34. A successful counterinsurgency results in the neutralization by the state of the insurgency and its effort to form a counterstate. While many abortive insurgencies are defeated by military and police actions alone, if an insurgency has tapped into serious grievances and has mobilized a significant portion of the population, simply returning to the status quo may not be an option. Reform may be necessary, but reform is a matter for the state, using all of its human and material resources. Security forces are only one such resource. The response must be multifaceted and coordinated, yet states typically charge their security forces with "waging counterinsurgency." This the security forces cannot do alone.

1-35. The state first decides upon its goal (restoration of legitimate government writ), then, produces a plan to accomplish that end. All elements of national power are assigned their roles in carrying out the plan. The government establishes the legal framework and command and control (C2) mechanisms to enable the plan to be implemented.

  • The legal framework normally includes a series of extraordinary measures that are associated with emergency situations, or even martial law. It will frequently expand military powers into areas delegated solely to the police in "normal times."
  • Historically, effective C2 architecture has involved setting up local coordinating bodies with representation from all key parties. This local body directs the counterinsurgency campaign in the AO concerned, though one individual will have the lead. Minimally, such a coordinating body includes appropriate representatives from the civil authority, the military, the police, the intelligence services, and (though not always) the civil population. The most effective use of coordinating bodies has given permanent-party individuals (for example, district officers) responsibility for counterinsurgency C2 in their AOs and control over civil or military assets sent into their AOs. Reinforced intelligence bodies, in particular, have been assigned as permanent party. Involvement of local officials and civilians can defeat the insurgents' attempt to undermine the political system.

1-36. HN military and police forces must be the most visible force to the people. Security forces sent into an area to engage in counterinsurgency perform as follows:

  • Strategically, they serve as the shield for carrying out reform. It is imperative that HN military and police forces protect the populace and defend their own bases while simultaneously fighting an insurgency.
  • Operationally, they systematically restore government control.
  • Tactically, security forces eliminate insurgent leadership, cadre, and combatants, through death and capture, by co-opting individual members, or by forcing insurgents to leave the area. This is analogous to separating the fish from the sea. The local populations (that also provide the insurgent mass base) are then secure and able to engage in normal activities. The forces also assist with civic action projects. These actions convey to the people a sense of progress and concern by the government.

1-37. The counterinsurgency plan analyzes the basis of the insurgency in order to determine its form, centers of gravity, and insurgent vulnerabilities. These dictate the most effective type force to employ (either police, militia, and military; or primarily military and police). The counterinsurgency plan details the scheme to reclaim what has been lost and establish priority of effort and timelines. Concurrently, it outlines how the government intends to secure the critical infrastructure of the state and the government's centers of power.

1-38. Counterinsurgency operations must balance elimination of grievances (that is, reform, to include elimination of human rights abuses) and security force action that eliminates the insurgents. The security forces provide the populace the protection necessary for the restoration of government presence, basic services, and control.

1-39. Counterinsurgency plans and operations exploit shifts in the internal or external situation that work against the insurgent and favor the state. This normally involves an extended period of time, a "protracted war." This makes it difficult for representative governments to sustain counterinsurgency campaigns, particularly in the present world environment where there appears to be a lack of overt, sustained agreement regarding strategic interests, ends and means, and operational and tactical concerns.

1-40. When supporting a counterinsurgency, the US and its multinational partners assist the HN in implementing a sustainable approach. To the extent the HN has its basic institutions and security forces intact, the burden upon US and multinational forces and resources is lessened. To the extent the HN is lacking basic institutions and functions, the burden upon the US and multinational forces is increased. In the extreme, rather than building upon what is, the US and other nations will find themselves creating elements (such as local forces and government institutions) of the society they have been sent to assist. Military forces thus become involved in nation building while simultaneously attempting to defeat an insurgency. US forces often lead because the US military) can quickly project and sustain a force. This involves them in a host of current activities regarded as nonstandard, from supervising elections to restoring power and facilitating and conducting schooling.

1-41. Leaders and planning staff need to be aware that there will always be constraints upon the prosecution of counterinsurgency. Constraints must be identified and analyzed systematically, because they impact upon the conduct of operations at all levels. They ought to be reevaluated regularly. The bottom line is that forces have to operate in the environment as it is, not as they might wish it to be. Some constraints may include--

  • Time. Strategic or political factors may dictate the time frame during which conditions for success must be achieved. (See Chapter 2).
  • Means. The means (for example, weapons, equipment, mature concepts, and TTP) available are likely to be limited. (See Chapter 3 and Appendix C).
  • Legal. The international, US, and HN legal frameworks place constraints on the conduct of operations (for example, ROE, powers of arrest, ability to prosecute and rules of evidence, powers of detention). (See Chapter 2, and Appendix J.)
  • Geography. In addition to terrain factors, there may be areas where, for reasons of political, cultural, religious, or environmental sensitivity, the ability to conduct operations is constrained, moderated, limited, or prohibited (for example, cross-border operations, hot pursuit, and bombing sanctuaries.) (See Chapters 2 and 4, and the six associated appendixes).
  • Domestic and international considerations. Events in the theater of operations are likely to be subject to media scrutiny and reporting (both accurate and inaccurate). It is a reality that US domestic and international considerations must be weighed, and these may limit how operations are conducted. (See Chapters 2 and 3, and Appendix C.)
  • Multinational partners. Multinational partners may have differing political and legal imperatives. The need to maintain cohesiveness among members of a coalition may affect US force behavior. (See Chapter 2.)
  • Host nation. The HN's leadership, culture, and politics (among many possible factors) generate a wide range of pressures, some conflicting, upon the military that must be considered carefully. These create a further source of constraints or limitations. (See Chapter 2, Appendix A, and Appendix B.)

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