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Support For Insurgency And Counterinsurgency

This chapter examines insurgency and counterinsurgency. It outlines principles and methods for the conduct of each. It discusses support for insurgency or counterinsurgency as options available to the United States. Agencies of the federal government other than the Department of Defense (DOD) normally exercise overall direction of these efforts, with US military forces serving a supporting role. At the direction of the NCA, US military forces may assist either insurgent movements or host nation governments opposing insurgency. In order to conduct these operations successfully, commanders must understand the nature of insurgency and counterinsurgency and apply the LIC imperatives discussed in Chapter 1 of this manual.

Insurgency and counterinsurgency are two aspects of the same process. However, they differ in execution. Insurgency assumes that appropriate change within the existing system is not possible or likely and therefore focuses on radical change in political control and requires extensive use of covert instruments and methods. Counterinsurgency uses principally overt methods and assumes appropriate change within the existing system is possible and likely. Because of these differences, implementing doctrine varies for insurgency and counterinsurgency, but it is rooted in common principles discussed below.

Insurgencies have specific causes and beginnings. The United States must understand the motives and objectives of the insurgents and their opponents, the counterinsurgents, in order to predict the behavior of each. This knowledge also enables military planners to assess the impact of their conflict on US goals and interests. It allows the United States to adopt an appropriate course of action. If the United States chooses to support the insurgents, this knowledge can help it provide constructive advice, proper equipment, and other appropriate forms of support. Conversely, if the United States chooses to oppose the insurgency, the knowledge allows it to predict the insurgents' behavior and provide advice and support to the host nation government to preempt the insurgency or prevent its further development.


An insurgency is an organized, armed political struggle whose goal may be the seizure of power through revolutionary takeover and replacement of the existing government. In some cases, however, an insurgency's goals may be more limited. For example, the insurgency may intend to break away from government control and establish an autonomous state within traditional ethnic or religious territorial bounds. The insurgency may also only intend to extract limited political concessions unattainable through less violent means.

To undertake an insurgency against the armed power of the state is a bold act, but the success of past insurgencies clearly demonstrates that the effort can be successful. Insurgencies generally follow a revolutionary doctrine and use armed force as an instrument of policy. At first, they usually have few resources other than the dedication of their members and the strength of their cause. Successful insurgents devise means to convert their own weaknesses into strengths and to turn the government's strengths into weaknesses.

Causes and Dynamics

Insurgencies succeed by mobilizing human and material resources to provide both active and passive support for their programs, operations, and goals. Mobilization produces skilled workers and fighters, raises money, and acquires weapons, equipment, and supplies of all kinds. Mobilization grows out of intense popular dissatisfaction with existing political and social conditions. The insurgency's active supporters consider these conditions intolerable. They are willing to risk death in violent confrontation with their government to effect change. The insurgent leadership articulates their dissatisfaction, places the blame on government, and offers a program to improve conditions. The insurgent leadership then provides organizational and management skills to transform disaffected people into an effective force for political action. Ultimately, the insurgents need the active support of a plurality of the politically active people and the passive acquiescence of the majority.

The insurgent leadership stresses and exploits issues which key social groups support. At the same time, it neutralizes groups supporting the government and seeks at least passive support from the society at large. The government, on the other hand, must convince key groups that its policies are reasonable, while keeping the passive support of the majority. The contest is for legitimacy. Each side seeks to demonstrate that it can govern better. Neither side needs to gain active popular support from the majority of the population as long as it gets more effective support than its opponent. This dynamic may take place within any political system, including a democracy.

Insurgency arises when the government is unable or unwilling to redress the demands of important social groups and these opponents band together and begin to use violence to change the government's position. Insurgencies are coalitions of disparate forces united by their common enmity for the government. To the extent that these coalitions find common ground, their prospects improve. As these groups evolve, they compromise and negotiate their differences. To be successful, an insurgency must develop unifying leadership, doctrine, and organization, and a vision of the future. Only the seeds of these exist when an insurgency begins; the insurgents must continually review and revise them.

A Framework for Analysis

This section discusses seven elements which are common to all insurgencies:

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

These elements provide a framework for analysis which can reveal the insurgency's strengths and weaknesses. Although the military planner examines them separately, he must understand how they interact to fully understand the insurgency. He can use the knowledge he gains from this analysis to recommend whether to support the insurgency, or oppose it, or do nothing, and how to go about it. (See Appendix C for more detailed guidelines.)


Insurgency is not simply random political violence; it is directed and focused political violence. It requires leadership to provide vision, direction, guidance, coordination, and organizational coherence.

Figure 2-1 Take The Cause to The People

The leaders of the insurgency must make their cause known to the people. They must gain popular support. Their key tasks are to break the ties between the people and the government and to establish their movement's credibility. They must replace the government's legitimacy with that of their own. Their education, background, family, social connections, and experiences shape how they think, what they want, and how they will fulfill their goals. These factors also help shape their approach to problem solving.

Leadership is both a function of organization and of personality. Some organizations de-emphasize individual personalities and provide mechanisms for redundancy and replacement in decision making; these mechanisms produce collective power and do not depend on specific leaders or personalities to be effective. They are easier to penetrate but more resilient to change. Other organizations may depend on a charismatic personality to provide cohesion, motivation, and a rallying point for the movement. Leadership organized in this way can produce decisions and initiate new actions rapidly, but it is vulnerable to disruption if key personalities are removed or co-opted.


To win, the insurgency must have a program that explains what is wrong with society and justifies its actions. It must promise great improvement after the government is overthrown. The insurgency accomplishes this through ideology. Ideology guides the insurgents in offering society a goal. The insurgents often express this goal in simple terms for ease of focus. The insurgency's future plans must be vague enough for broad appeal and specific enough to address important issues.

The insurgent leader can use ideology--

  • To provide an overview of the perceived social and political inequities in historical terms.

  • To justify the use of violence and extralegal action in challenging the current social order.

  • To form the framework of the program for the future-the road map for accomplishing the insurgency's goals.

Ideology is useful evidence for the military analyst. It identifies those sectors of society which the insurgency targets. The ideologies of groups within the movement may indicate differing views of strategic objectives. Groups may have ideological conflicts which they can resolve or which an opponent can exploit. Ideology may suggest probable objectives and tactics. It greatly influences the insurgent's perception of his environment. The combination of the insurgent's ideology and his perception of his environment shapes the movement's organizational and operational methods.

Unfortunately for the analyst, insurgents are not likely to describe their ideology in specific detail. The military planner must partly deduce it from other factors. Insurgents will project some ambiguity to accommodate differences in aims among the various groups within the movement. In addition, the analyst's own cultural bias may make it difficult for him to distinguish statements of ideology and strategic objectives from propaganda.


Effective analysis of an insurgency requires military planners to interpret its strategic, operational, and tactical objectives.

The strategic objective is the insurgent's desired end state; that is, how the insurgent will use power once he has it. The replacement of the government in power is only one step along this path; however, it will likely be the initial focus of efforts. Typically, the strategic objective is critical to cohesion among insurgent groups. It may be the only clearly defined goal which the movement presents. In any case, the military planner should examine the internal structure of the insurgent group to fully understand the often competing strategic objectives of its members. Ideology provides critical evidence in this examination.

Operational objectives are those which the insurgents pursue as part of the overall process of destroying government legitimacy and progressively establishing their desired end state. The following are examples of operational objectives:

  • Isolation of the government from diplomatic and material support, and increased international support for the insurgency.

  • Destruction of the self-confidence of the government's leaders, cadre, and armed forces, causing them to abdicate or withdraw.

  • Establishment of civil services and administration in areas under insurgent control.

  • Capture of the support (or neutrality) of critical segments of the population.

Tactical objectives are the immediate aims of insurgent acts, for example, the dissemination of a psychological operations (PSYOP) product or the attack and seizure of a key facility. These actions accomplish tactical objectives which lead to operational goals. Tactical objectives can be psychological as well as physical in nature. For example, legitimacy is the center of gravity for both the insurgents and the counterinsurgents. Legitimacy is largely a product of perception; consequently, it can be the principal consideration in the selection and attainment of tactical objectives.

Environment and Geography.

Environment and geography include cultural and demographic attributes as well as climate and terrain and 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 environment and geography are most visible at the tactical level where they are perhaps the predominant influence on decisions regarding force structure, doctrine, and tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Other decisions which environment and geography influence include--

  • Distribution of insurgent efforts between urban and rural areas.

  • Adoption of appropriate organizational and operational patterns, for example, urban areas versus rural areas.

  • Whether to advance to a new phase of operations, return to an earlier phase, or change patterns, programs, or strategies.

  • Whether to open new operational areas.

External Support.

Historically, some insurgencies have done well without externa! support. However, recent examples, such as in Vietnam and Nicaragua, show that external support can accelerate events and influence the final outcome. External support can provide political, psychological, and material resources which might otherwise be limited or totally unavailable.

There are four types of external support:

  • Moral-acknowledgment of the insurgent cause as just and admirable.

  • Political-active promotion of the insurgents strategic goals in international forums.

  • Resources-money, weapons, food, advisors, and training.

  • Sanctuary-secure training, operational, and logistical bases.

Accepting external support may affect the legitimacy of both insurgents and counterinsurgents. It implies the inability to sustain oneself-a vulnerability the opponent will exploit. In addition, the country or group providing support attaches its legitimacy to the group being supported. It can, therefore, gain or lose legitimacy along with the insurgent or counterinsurgent group it supports. The consequences can affect programs in the supporting nation wholly unrelated to the insurgent situation. The military planner must consider these important collateral effects as well.

The probability of a long-term, harmonious relationship between a nation and the insurgents or counterinsurgents it supports increases if their objectives and ideologies are compatible. It decreases if they are incompatible.

Phasing and Timing.

Successful insurgencies pass through common phases of development. Not all insurgencies experience every phase, and progression through all phases is certainly not a requirement for success. The same insurgent movement may be in another phase of development in other regions of a country or theater. Successful insurgencies can also revert to an earlier phase when under pressure, resuming development when favorable conditions return.

Some insurgencies depend on proper timing for their success. Because of their limited support, their success depends on weakening the government's legitimacy so that it becomes ineffective. Then, an opportunity to seize power exists. When these insurgencies move to seize power, they expose their organization and intentions. If they move too early or too late, the government may discover their organization, and destroy it. Timing is critical.

The statement "Time is on the side of the insurgent" often appears in the literature on insurgency. This implies that an initially insignificant effort, maintained long enough, will succeed. Experiences in China and Vietnam support this assertion. These experiences, however, are not automatically transferable to other situations. Gaining time, or surviving, is a more effective measure of success for the insurgent than counting battles won or lost. It is an equally effective measure of success for the counterinsurgent. However, gaining time, by itself will not produce victory, although it is a necessary condition for it. In general, victory in an insurgency belongs to the side which has the stronger psychological commitment, which possesses the greater political and military skills, and which makes the least mistakes.

Organizational and Operational Patterns.

Insurgencies develop organizational and operational patterns from the interaction of all the factors discussed above. The four general patterns are--

  • Subversive.
  • Mass-oriented.
  • Critical-cell.
  • Traditional.

The analyst should understand that each insurgency is unique. No insurgent movement follows one model exclusively.

Subversive insurgents penetrate the political structure to control it and use it for their own purposes. They seek elective and appointed offices. They employ violence selectively to coerce voters, intimidate officials, and disrupt and discredit the government. Violence shows the system to be incompetent. It may also provoke the government to an excessively violent response--which further undermines its legitimacy. A highly compartmented armed element normally carries out insurgent violence. A political element guides the armed element and also maneuvers for control of the existing political structure.

A subversive insurgency most often appears in a permissive political environment in which insurgents can use both legal and illegal methods. The typical subversive organization consists of a legal party supported by a clandestine element operating outside the law. Subversive insurgencies can quickly shift to the "critical-cell" pattern when conditions dictate. The Nazi rise to power in the 1930s is an example of this model. Subversive insurgencies primarily present a problem for police and internal intelligence agencies. National defense forces normally act only in a reinforcement role.

In the critical-cell pattern, the insurgents also infiltrate government institutions. Their object is to destroy the system from within. The infiltrators operate both covertly and overtly. Normally, the insurgents do not reveal their affiliation or program. They seek to undermine institutional legitimacy and convince or coerce others to assist them. Their violence remains covert until the institutions are so weakened that the insurgency's superior organization seizes power, supported by armed force. The Russian revolution of October 1917, or Leninist model, followed this pattern.

Two variations of the critical-cell pattern deserve mention. The first is the co-opting of an essentially leaderless, mass popular revolution. The Sandanistas' takeover of the Nicaraguan revolution is a case in point. The insurgent leadership permits the popular revolution to destroy the existing government. The insurgent movement then emerges, activating its cells to guide reconstruction under its direction. It provides a disciplined structure to control the former bureaucracy. The mass popular revolution then coalesces around that structure.

A second variation of the critical cell pattern is the foco (or Cuban model) insurgency. A foco is a single, armed cell which emerges from hidden strong holds in an atmosphere of disintegrating legitimacy. In theory, this cell is the nucleus around which mass popular support rallies. The insurgents erect new institutions and establish control on the basis of that support. The Cuban revolution occurred in this manner. The Cuban experience spawned over 200 subsequent imitative revolutionary attempts patterned on it, principally in Latin America and Africa. They all failed. This does not discredit the foco theory; it does emphasize the importance of a particular set of circumstances to this model. Legitimacy must be near total collapse. Timing is critical. The foco must mature at the same time as the government loses legitimacy, and before any alternative appears. The Nicaraguan insurgency combined the foco with a broad-front political coalition, indicating a synthesis of methodologies typical of successful insurgencies.

In general, critical-cell insurgencies are police and internal intelligence problems. They normally involve the national defense forces only in a reinforcement role. However, foco insurgencies may require more direct action by regular armed forces. Foco insurgencies are often made up predominately of guerrilla fighters operating initially from remote enclaves. Civilian law enforcement agencies are generally too small and not configured to mount a direct attack against a heavily armed enclave. Security forces may need to employ military force directly to deal with this variation.

The mass-oriented insurgency aims to achieve the political and armed mobilization of a large popular movement. Unlike those in the two previous models, mass-oriented insurgents emphasize creating a political and armed legitimacy outside the existing system. They challenge that system and then destroy or supplant it.

These insurgents patiently build a large armed force of regular and irregular guerrillas. They also construct a base of active and passive political supporters. They plan a protracted campaign of increasing violence to destroy the government and its institutions from the outside. They organize in detail. Their political leadership normally is distinct from their military leadership. Their movement establishes a rival government which openly proclaims its own legitimacy. They have a well-developed ideology and decide on their objectives only after careful analysis. Highly organized and using propaganda and guerrilla action, they mobilize forces for a direct military and political challenge to the government. Examples of this model include--

  • The communist revolution in China.

  • The Vietcong insurgency.

  • The Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) insurgency in Peru.

Once established, mass-oriented insurgencies are extremely resilient because of their great depth of organization. To defeat them requires coordinated action by all branches of government, including the armed forces.

The traditional insurgency normally grows from very specific grievances. It initially has limited aims. It springs from tribal, racial, religious, linguistic, or other similarly identifiable groups. These insurgents perceive that the government has denied the rights and interests of their group and work to establish or restore them. They frequently seek withdrawal from government control through autonomy or semiautonomy. They seldom specifically seek to overthrow the government or to control the whole society. They generally respond in kind to government violence. Their use of violence can range from strikes and street demonstrations to terrorism or guerrilla warfare. These insurgencies may cease if the government accedes to the insurgents' demand. The concessions the insurgents demand, however, are usually so great that the government concedes its legitimacy along with them. Examples of this model include--

  • The Mujahideen in Afghanistan prior to the Soviet withdrawal.

  • The Ibo revolt in Nigeria (Biafra).

  • The Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka.

Governments typically treat these insurgencies as military problems because they present a clear target for applying coercive force. However, a lasting settlement requires significant political action.

Different groups within the same overall movement may adopt different patterns. This indicates incompatibilities in leadership, ideology, or objectives.

No insurgency follows one pattern exclusively, as a close study of the cited examples reveals. Each develops unique characteristics appropriate to its own circumstances. Methods change as conditions change. Insurgents who cannot adjust their methods to suit local conditions rarely survive. These patterns are useful as a starting point for comparative analysis.


This section describes counterinsurgency, all military and other actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency. It also provides guidance for the organization and conduct of security force operations based on the internal defense and development (IDAD) strategy. The same IDAD rationale and guidelines can apply to an insurgency when it consolidates its authority and begins to perform some of the functions of a government in areas under its control.

Internal Defense and Development Strategy

The IDAD strategy is the full range of measures taken by a nation to promote its growth and to protect itself from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency. The strategy focuses on building viable political, economic, military, and social institutions that respond to the needs of society. Its fundamental goal is to prevent insurgency by forestalling and defeating the threat insurgent organizations pose and by working to correct conditions that prompt violence. The government mobilizes the population to participate in IDAD efforts. Thus, IDAD is ideally a preemptive strategy against insurgency; however, if an insurgency develops, it is a strategy for counterinsurgency activities.


The IDAD concept integrates military and civilian programs. Military actions provide a level of internal security which permits and supports growth through balanced development. This development requires change to meet the needs of vulnerable groups of people. This change may in turn promote unrest in the society. The concept, therefore, includes measures to maintain conditions under which orderly development can take place.

The government often must overcome the inertia and incompetence of its own political system before it can cope with the insurgency against this system. This may involve the adoption of reforms during a time of crisis, when pressures limit flexibility and make implementation difficult.

The successful counterinsurgent must realize that the true nature of the threat to his government lies in the insurgent's political strength, not in his military power. Although the government must contain the insurgents' armed elements, concentration on the military aspect of the threat does not address the real danger. Any strategy that does not pay continuing, serious attention to the political claims and demands of the insurgents is severely handicapped. Military and paramilitary programs are necessary for success, but are not sufficient by themselves.


The IDAD program blends four interdependent functions to prevent or eliminate insurgency. (See Figure 2-1 ) These functions are-

  • Balanced development.
  • Neutralization.
  • Security.
  • Mobilization.

Figure 2-2. Internal Defense and Development Strategy Model

Balanced development attempts to achieve national goals through political, social, and economic programs. It allows all individuals and groups in the society to share in the rewards of development; it thus alleviates frustration. Balanced development satisfies legitimate grievances that the insurgents attempt to exploit. The government must recognize conditions that contribute to insurgency and take preventive measures. Correcting conditions that make a society vulnerable is the long-term solution to the problem of insurgency.

Security includes all activities to protect the populace from the insurgency and to provide a safe environment for national development. Security of the populace and government resources is essential to counterinsurgency. Protection and control of the populace permit development. They deny the enemy access to popular support. The security effort should establish an environment in which the local populace can provide for its own security with limited government support.

Neutralization is the physical and psychological separation of the insurgents from the population. It includes all lawful activities to disrupt, disorganize, and defeat an insurgent organization-except those which degrade the government's legitimacy. Neutralization can take many forms. It can involve public exposure and discrediting of the leaders during a low level of insurgency with little political violence; it also can involve arrest and prosecution when laws have been broken, or combat action when the insurgency escalates.

All neutralization efforts must respect the country's legal system. They must scrupulously observe constitutional provisions regarding rights and responsibilities. The need for security forces to act lawfully is essential not only for humanitarian reasons but also because this reinforces government legitimacy while denying the insurgents an exploitable issue. Special emergency powers may exist by legislation or decree. Government agents must not abuse these powers because they might well lose the popular support they need. Denying the insurgents' legitimate issues discredits their propaganda and leaders.

Mobilization provides organized manpower and materiel resources. It includes all activities to motivate and organize popular support of the government. This support is essential for a successful counterinsurgency program. If successful, mobilization maximizes manpower and other resources available to the government while it minimizes those available to the insurgent. It also allows the government to strengthen existing institutions and to develop new ones to respond to demands. It promotes the government's legitimacy.


Although each situation is unique, certain principles guide efforts to prevent or defeat an insurgency. Planners must apply the IDAD strategy and these principles to each specific situation. The principles are--

  • Unity of effort.
  • Minimum use of violence.
  • Maximum use of intelligence.
  • Responsive government.

Unity of effort is essential to prevent or defeat an insurgency. Unity of effort means coordinated action and centralized control at all levels. The organizational basis for coordinating and controlling activities, including those of security forces, appears below in the section on organizational guidance.

Maximum use of intelligence refers to the use of intelligence as the basis for all action. Internal security requires an organization with special police functions to assess the insurgent threat, to warn the government, to penetrate the insurgent organization, and to help neutralize it. The government must develop and improve the intelligence capabilities of all security forces.

A threatened government must carefully examine all courses of action in response to insurgent violence. It should stress the minimum use of violence to maintain order. At times, the best way to minimize violence is to use overwhelming force. At other times, it is necessary to proceed with caution, extending the duration but limiting the intensity or scope of violence. In either case, discreet and judicious use of force is the guideline.

Positive measures are necessary to ensure responsive government. The government's ability to mobilize manpower and resources and to motivate its people reflects its administrative and management capabilities. In many cases the leadership must provide additional training, supervision, controls, and follow-up, to ensure responsiveness of government personnel.

Organizational Guidance

This section presents a model for an organization to coordinate, plan, and conduct counterinsurgency activities. Actual organizations must vary from country to country in order to adapt to existing conditions. They should follow the established political organization of the nation concerned. The organization should provide centralized direction and permit decentralized execution of the counterinsurgency plan. The organization should be structured and chartered so that it can coordinate and direct the counterinsurgency efforts of existing governmental agencies; however, it should not interfere with those agencies' normal functions. Examples of national and subnational organizations show how to achieve a coordinated and unified effort at each level.

National-Level Organization.

The national-level organization plans and coordinates programs. Its major offices normally correspond to branches and agencies of the national government concerned with insurgency problems. Figure 2-2 depicts a counterinsurgency planning and coordination organization at the national level.

The planning office is responsible for long-range planning to prevent or defeat insurgency. Its plans provide the chief executive with a basis for delineating authority, establishing responsibility, designating objectives, and allocating resources.

The intelligence office develops concepts, directs programs, and plans and provides general guidance on intelligence related to national security. It also coordinates intelligence production activities and correlates, evaluates, interprets, and disseminates intelligence. Representatives from the intelligence agencies, police, and military intelligence staff this office.

The populace and resources control (PRC) office develops programs, concepts, and plans and provides general operational guidance for all forces in the security field. Representatives of government branches concerned with law enforcement and justice staff this office.

The military affairs office develops and coordinates general plans for the mobilization and allocation of the regular armed forces and paramilitary forces. Representatives from all the major components of the regular and paramilitary forces staff this office.

Five separate offices covering psychological operations, information, and economic, social, and political affairs represent their parent national-level branches or agencies. They develop operational concepts and policies for inclusion in the national plan.

Figure 2-3 Counterinsurgency Planning and Coordination Organization

Subnational-Level Organization.

Area coordination centers (ACCs) may function as combined civil-military headquarters at subnational, state, and local levels. ACCs plan, coordinate, and exercise operational control over all military forces. They also control civilian government organizations within their respective areas of jurisdiction. The ACC does not replace unit tactical operations centers or the normal government administrative organization in the area of operations.

ACCs perform a twofold mission. They provide integrated planning, coordination, and direction for all counterinsurgency efforts. They also ensure an immediate, coordinated response to operational requirements. The ACC should conduct continuous operations and communications. A senior governmental official heads it. He supervises and coordinates activities of the staffs responsible for formulating counterinsurgency plans and operations in their separate areas of interest. The staffs contain selected representatives of major forces and agencies assigned to, or operating in, the center's area of responsibility. The ACC includes members from the--

  • Area military command.

  • Area police agency.

  • Local and national intelligence organization.

  • Public information and PSYOP agencies.

  • Paramilitary forces.

  • Other local and national government offices involved in the economic, social, and political aspects of IDAD.

There are two types of subnational ACCs which a government may form - regional and urban. The choice depends upon the environment in which the ACC operates.

Regional ACCs normally collocate with the nation's first subnational political subdivision with a fully developed governmental apparatus (state, province, or other). These government subdivisions are usually well-established, having exercised governmental functions in their areas before the insurgency's onset. They often are the lowest level of administration able to coordinate all counterinsurgency programs. A full range of developmental, informational, and military capabilities may exist at this level. Those that are not part of the normal governmental organization should be added when the ACC activates. This augmentation enables the ACC to better coordinate its activities by using the existing structure.

Urban areas require more complex ACCs than rural areas in order to plan, coordinate, and direct counterinsurgency efforts. The urban ACC organizes like the ACCs previously described, and performs the same functions. However, it includes representatives from local public service agencies; for example, police, fire, medical, public works, public utilities, communications, and transportation. When necessary, a staff operates continuously to receive and act upon information requiring an immediate response.

When a regional or local ACC resides in an urban area, unity of effort may dictate that urban resources collocate in that center; here planners can coordinate and direct urban operations. The decision to establish an urban center or to use some other center for these purposes rests with the head of the urban area government. He bases his decision on available resources.

If the urban area comprises several separate political subdivisions with no overall political control, the ACC establishes the control necessary for proper planning and coordination. Urban ACCs are appropriate for cities and heavily populated areas lacking a higher-level coordination center.

Civilian Advisory Committees.

Committees composed of government officials and leading citizens help coordination centers at all levels to monitor the success of their activities and to gain popular support. These committees evaluate actions affecting civilians and communicate with the people. They provide feedback for future operational planning. Involvement of leading citizens in committees such as these increases their stake in, and commitment to, government programs and social mobilization objectives.

The organization of a civilian committee varies according to local needs. Changing situations require flexibility in structure. The chairman of the committee should be a prominent figure appointed by the government or elected by the membership. General committee membership includes leaders in civilian organizations and other community groups who have influence with the target population. Such leaders may include-

  • Education officials, teacher representatives, distinguished professors.

  • Religious leaders.

  • Health directors.

  • Minority group representatives.

  • Labor officials.

  • Heads of local news media, distinguished writers, journalists, editors.

  • Business and commercial leaders.

  • Former political leaders, retired government officials.

Some representatives may hold positions in the ACC and in the civilian advisory committee. The success of a civilian advisory committee will depend upon including leading participants from all major political and cultural groupings, including minorities.

Security Force Operations

The next several paragraphs outline concepts and doctrine for operations by the affected nation's security forces in counterinsurgency. Security forces include the civil police, the paramilitary, and the military. These forces face three basic tasks:

  • To isolate or protect the people from covert insurgent agencies (the infrastructure).

  • To isolate or protect the people from overt insurgent agencies (guerrilla units).

  • To defeat the guerrilla forces.

The first of these is primarily a police task, but may require military help. The second is primarily a paramilitary or military task which will require police assistance. Police participation will greatly aid even the third task, which is clearly a military job. Improper actions by security forces, or their overreaction to violence, can aid the insurgent cause. A nation vulnerable to insurgency should give high priority to developing a well-trained and effective police force.

Police Role.

Maintenance of law and order is a fundamental responsibility of government. Insurgents often commit terrorist or other criminal acts to gain their objectives. Countering illegal insurgent actions is initially the responsibility of the police, who are well-suited for this task. Law enforcement personnel are the first line of defense against insurgent and terrorist actions.

The police usually are an accepted point of contact between government and the people. They are closer to the centers of unrest. Also, the people may more readily accept legal restraints if local police--rather than the military--enforce them. The police usually are better trained, organized, and equipped than the military to gather intelligence on local conditions and to handle low levels of violence, conspiracy, and subversion.

Police forces often need assistance from military or paramilitary forces, or from some type of auxiliary organization. The government may commit military forces if large groups of organized insurgents operate in an area. National mobilization normally includes establishment of local paramilitary forces. Depending on the approach adopted at the national level, these forces may be only police auxiliary units. The IDAD strategy may demand greater mobilization to develop an extensive intelligence system, to increase PSYOP capability, and to establish civil defense programs.

Armed Forces Role.

The host nation's armed forces provide a shield behind which the civil agencies of its government can execute their parts of the national campaign plan. The host nation's armed forces conduct operations to protect the people from the insurgent threat. Government leaders may call on military and paramilitary security forces to assist the police in operations against the insurgent's infrastructure.

The host nation's military forces conduct operations in coordination with other government agencies. They support counterinsurgency operations chiefly through--

  • Intelligence.

  • Civil affairs (CA) and civil-military operations (CMO).

  • Population and resources control.

  • PSYOP.

  • Tactical operations.

  • Deception.

  • Advisory assistance.

Leadership Considerations

A disciplined force and clear command guidance are critical to successful security force counterinsurgency operations. The force will face diverse and demanding requirements. Subordinate commanders should have maximum flexibility in executing their missions. However, they should also receive detailed instructions on their responsibilities and enough guidance to ensure a coordinated effort. The commander's flexibility in decision-making and the internal discipline of his unit allow him to meet these requirements.

All personnel maintain combat readiness regardless of their frequency of contact with guerrilla forces. To counter a false sense of security, commanders continually update their subordinates on the operational situation and their role in it. Command and staff action in counterinsurgency operations emphasizes--

  • Detailed planning of small-scale, decentralized operations.

  • Command and control over extended distances.

  • Extensive contingency planning for employment of quick reaction reserves, fire support, and close air support.

  • Extensive training to meet the probable threat.

  • Detailed coordination and direction of intelligence.

  • Use of electronic combat operations.

  • Detailed planning and close coordination with nonmilitary government officials.

  • Support of the government's internal development programs in the operational area.

  • Integration of support functions, especially aerial resupply, into all planning.

  • Comprehensive operational and informational security measures.

Maintaining high unit morale and discipline in counterinsurgency operations is vital. However, this presents problems different from those encountered in conventional operations. Counterinsurgency personnel operate against an elusive force that rarely offers a clear target, and in situations where tangible results are seldom visible. This requires continuous indoctrination and training. Success in counterinsurgency operations depends on the discipline and understanding of the individual soldier. Leaders must explain the situation to their soldiers, telling them what they require of them, and the reasons for the force's actions.


The United States may assist either a government or insurgent forces operating against a government. The NCA make the decision to intervene. They base their decision on the threat to US interests, on the merit of the supported force, and on the feasibility of the intended action. The burden of carrying on the conflict must remain with the government or the insurgents. To do otherwise is to "Americanize" the conflict, destroying the legitimacy of the entity we are attempting to assist. The focus of US efforts in insurgency or counterinsurgency must be to build legitimacy, not destroy it. US military actions range from providing intelligence, materiel, and training support to strategic, operational, and tactical advice. US military commanders observe legal obligations and constraints when planning for commitment in such a conflict.

Policy Considerations

US policy requires that commitments to support an insurgency or a government should be sufficient and sustained until the United States achieves its policy objectives. The criterion for US commitment cannot be simple worthiness; feasibility and compatibility of aims are also important. The supported force--insurgent or counterinsurgent--must carry out the effort to establish its own legitimacy. Governments receiving US assistance are responsible for developing and executing their own programs to defeat insurgency. Conversely, a US-assisted insurgency must develop its own programs to advance its cause.

Many operations that support governments or insurgent groups are special intelligence activities. Conduct of these operations falls under the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). By exception, the President can order other US governmental agencies to participate.

US Military Role

US military actions in support of an insurgency or a counterinsurgency should be part of a coordinated blend of available instruments of national power, designed to achieve clearly defined political objectives. The military instrument can be an effective complement to diplomatic, economic, and informational initiatives. US forces will not in general be combatants. A combat role for US armed forces in Third World conflicts has to be viewed as an exceptional event. It would be self-defeating for the US to declare a "no use" doctrine for its forces in the Third World; its forces' principal role there will be to augment US security assistance programs. Mainly, that means providing military training, technical training, and intelligence and logistical support.

US military support to insurgencies or counterinsurgencies will normally center on security assistance program administration efforts that complement those of other US government agencies. Initially, these efforts may include providing training advice and materiel. US policy makers will decide the degree of military participation based on US interests, an analysis of the immediate overall threat, and the capabilities and desires of the host government or group. Whether the United States supports the insurgency or the counterinsurgency, the objective of the military instrument will be to improve the efficiency of the supported security force and its military operations, and to help curtail the influx of external hostile support.

The military services augment other US government agency efforts by--

  • Administering military aspects of security assistance.

  • Participating in the development of joint and combined plans.

  • Supporting the Department of State's cultural exchange program, exchanging US and foreign military personnel for visits, training, and education.

  • Supporting the USIA, known overseas as the US Information Service (USIS), through direct liaison at national and field levels. The military provides the USIA with timely information concerning US military operations and visits, training, and education provided by US military personnel.

  • Supporting the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through direct liaison at national and field levels. Military personnel do this by administering military aspects of security assistance affecting civil-military action, and military and paramilitary activities. They also provide support through training and other related exercises that achieve both USAID and US military readiness objectives.

  • Supporting the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in drug interdiction operations outside the territorial United States.

  • Supporting any and all other US agencies when directed to do so.

JCS Pub 0-2 further explains the Services responsibilities.

Legal Considerations

Insurgency and counterinsurgency raise important legal questions. Commanders at all levels, therefore, should consult their legal advisors throughout the planning and execution process for insurgency or counterinsurgency support missions.

International Law and Insurgency.

Before 1949, international law addressed conflicts only between countries. The law of war, therefore, was concerned only with the rights and duties of countries in relation to each other and to their armed forces. The drafters of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 recognized that conflicts "not of an international character" occur. Article III of each of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 provides a list of the minimum standards of treatment that must be given to persons involved in "armed conflict not of an international character."

Under international law, the extent of the application of the provisions of both customary and conventional laws of war, including the Geneva Conventions of 1949, depends upon the nature of the conflict. The nature of the conflict, in turn, depends upon a host of legal and political factors. These factors guide US policy makers in deciding whether the US will become involved with an insurgency or a counterinsurgency.

Captives and Noncombatants.

Captured insurgents who meet the criteria for, and who are accorded the status of, lawful combatants, must receive prisoner of war treatment. Commanders should consult FM 27-10 and AFP 110-34 and seek legal advice, to determine if the criteria for legal combatants apply. Due to the factual circumstances of many insurgencies, however, insurgents often cannot meet the criteria for lawful combatant status. The Geneva Conventions nonetheless protect captives of these conflicts by prohibiting--

  • Violence to life and person; in particular, murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture.

  • Hostage-taking.

  • Outrages upon personal dignity; in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.

  • Sentences and executions--without previous judgment by a regularly constituted court which provided the captives with all commonly recognized judicial guarantees.

The US policy for treating insurgents in military custody during counterinsurgency operations requires that they receive humanitarian care and treatment from the moment they are detained until they are released or repatriated. The observance of this policy is equally binding on US personnel whether they are troops who capture the insurgents or custodial personnel who guard them or serve in some other capacity. This policy also applies to detained or interned personnel. It applies whether they are known or suspected to have committed acts of espionage or sabotage, or war crimes, including terrorism. Their punishment is adjudicated and administered under due process of law and by legally constituted authority. Inhumane treatment, even under stress of combat and with provocation, is a serious and punishable violation under international law and the US Uniform Code of Military Justice.

In the insurgency and counterinsurgency environment, US personnel must give humane treatment to civilian noncombatants they encounter in the course of operations and scrupulously observe all relevant laws. Improper treatment of noncombatants is illegal. It serves the enemy's cause and is self-defeating in the struggle for legitimacy.


The United States supports selected insurgencies opposing oppressive regimes who work against US interests. The United States coordinates this support with its friends and allies. Feasibility of effective support and the compatibility of US and insurgent interests are major considerations. Because support for insurgency is often covert, many of the operations connected with it are special activities. Because of their extensive unconventional warfare (UW) training, special operations forces are well-suited to provide this support. General purpose forces may also be called on when the situation requires their functional specialties. Their tasks may also include support and advice. Command and control (C2) relationships are normally situation-specific.

Insurgencies rely on mobilization of personnel and resources from within the country to be successful. They must build their legitimacy. Therefore, their efforts must also include political, social, and when possible, economic development. Because of this, the basic principles of the IDAD strategy will apply in this effort, especially in areas under insurgent control.

When US armed forces are directed to do so, they will provide equipment, training, and services to the insurgent force. The following are types of operations in which US forces can assist insurgents:

  • Recruitment, organization, training, and equipping forces to perform unconventional or guerrilla warfare.

  • PSYOP.

  • Institutional and infrastructure development.

  • Intelligence gathering.

  • Surreptitious insertions.

  • Linkups.

  • Evasion and escape of combatants.

  • Subversion.

  • Sabotage.

  • Resupply operations.

  • Supporting doctrine outlines the relevant tactics, techniques, and procedures.


The United States supports counterinsurgency based on the principles of the IDAD strategy. This concept uses all the leadership, organizational, and material resources available to the host government. The host government identifies the genuine grievances of its people and takes political, economic, and social actions to redress them. It acts in an orderly way within its constitutional system. The actions it takes should mobilize support for the host government and pre-empt insurgent mobilization efforts. Host nation security forces (military, paramilitary, and police) defeat the insurgents' combat elements and neutralize their leadership to establish an environment of security in which development can occur. They cannot depend upon outside combat forces to wage their battles for them. The host nation's security forces support the development effort through CMO conducted in accordance with the host nation's national plan.

The United States will use its military resources to provide support to a host nation's counterinsurgency operations in the context of foreign internal defense (FID). FID is the participation by civilian and military agencies in any of the action programs another government takes to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency. The US ambassador, through his country team, provides the focal point for interagency coordination and supervision of FID. Military support to FID is provided through the unified CINC. The United States conducts FID operations in accordance with the IDAD concept. Military resources provide materiel, advisors, trainers and security assistance forces to support the host nation government's counterinsurgency operations through security assistance organizations (SAO). More direct forms of support may be provided when required. This section describes the roles of these different forms of support.

Security Assistance Organizations

The term SAO refers to all US armed forces organizations that have security assistance responsibilities and are permanently assigned to an overseas US diplomatic mission. As part of the US country team, and in coordination with the team's other interagency representatives, the SAO reports to the US ambassador and assists host nation security forces by planning and administering military aspects of the security assistance program--the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, and foreign military financing (FMF), both cash and credit; they also may be called upon to perform limited advisory and training assistance. The scope and importance of these functions demand that personnel assigned to an SAO possess a full range of planning, management, and advisory skills.

SAOs also help US country teams communicate host nation assistance needs to policy and budget officials within the US government. This is accomplished via the Annual Integrated Assessment of Security Assistance (AIASA) and the consolidated data report (CDR). The former provides the basis for formulation of the annual US security assistance budget request and has two parts--defense articles and services, and military training. The CDR furnishes an update on developments which have occurred since submission of the AIASA. The projections made in both the AIASA and CDR are critical to the successful management and effectiveness of each eligible country's security assistance program.

The SAO may assist the host nation's armed forces with their counterinsurgency programs and operations. The training and advisory functions of SAOs are secondary to security assistance management functions. Mobile training teams (MTTs), training assistance field teams (TAFTs), or technical assistance teams (TATs) may perform advisory and training missions.

Advisors and Trainers

Providing advice to foreign counterparts is likely to be an implied mission for US personnel assigned to other primary duties. Thus, members of the SAO, attaches, TAFTs, MTTs, exchange officers, and senior officers on official visits are likely to offer advice as they consult with their counterparts. They assist host nation personnel in solving problems ranging from major questions of strategy to combat developments and improvement of administration.

The mission of advisors is to recommend solutions to specific problems facing the host nation. As the problems may be unique to the host nation, it is a mistake in most instances to try to replicate US methods or forces. Rather, US advisors must keep abreast of the host nation's circumstances and adapt US military doctrine, as appropriate, and be able to develop unique solutions, when required. US advisors should know the language, culture, and political and military background of their counterparts. They must also understand US policy and objectives for the region and should coordinate and clear their actions with the US ambassador.

The mission of trainers is to transfer military skills. This usually involves a fairly direct application of US doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures. Trainers may also be asked for advice because they develop close rapport with their counterparts. Thus, they have the opportunity to contribute to broader national goals beyond their training mission. This includes setting an example of respect for democratic procedures and civilian control of the armed forces, as well as respect for subordinates and the general population. Therefore, to the extent possible, they, too, should receive cultural, political, and language training or orientation.

Foreign Internal Defense Augmentation Force

The Foreign Internal Defense Augmentation Force (FIDAF) is a conceptual, composite organization which augments the SAO when needed; it can be the primary source of augmentation for the SAO. When constituted, the FIDAF operates under a US unified command or a subordinate joint task force (JTF). Its FID mission is to assist SAOs with training and operational advice, and to provide assistance to host nation forces. It employs MTTs and small detachments to fulfill specific mission requests. Ideally, the FIDAF should be a specially trained, area-oriented, mostly language-qualified, and ready force.

Ground, air, and sea forces can provide backup elements to operate in conjunction with the FIDAF. They may be called upon to augment the FIDAF when specific skills, increased workload, or changing security conditions require a larger effort. Backup forces may use interpreters to offset language deficiencies. Mission preparation must include a thorough orientation on local customs and how they affect backup force activities.

Operations by US Forces

This section describes the types of operations US forces perform in support of a host nation conducting counterinsurgency. The principles governing host nation armed forces' counterinsurgency operations generally apply to US operations. The scope of US operations, however, can not be as broad as that of the host nation's armed forces. When planning support of counterinsurgency operations, US commanders and staff officers must consider factors unique to US forces' activities.

Operations by US forces in counterinsurgency situations may cover the entire spectrum of the use of force. These operations will rarely be direct combat engagements against the insurgents. Normally, they will be indirect operations in support of the friendly government such as security assistsnce training, advice, and logistic support to aid the host nation in developing a needed capability. Other forms of indirect support include joint or combined exercises, and exchange programs. Certain forms of direct assistance such as intelligence sharing, communications support, humanitarian assistance, civic actions, and opportune intratheater airlift can also be employed. Operations by US forces can include building roads and installing communications systems done in conjunction with host nation forces to develop critical infrastructure or facilities. Other US operations can include running hospitals or medical facilities, providing air traffic control or running supply and maintenance depots. When outside intervention threatens the host nation, the rapid insertion of US combat forces to deter aggression or to demonstrate support and resolve may be appropriate. These US operations may not lead to direct combat; they can be side-by-side training operations with the host nation's forces. No matter how US forces are employed in support of a host nation conducting counterinsurgency operations, security of US forces remains the responsibility of the US forces commander. Arrangements can be made with host nation authorities to provide security, but the ultimate responsibility to protect the force remains with the US commander.

Psychological preparation of the host nation and of US units is critical to the successful employment of US forces in these situations. An information campaign must be developed in coordination with the host nation and initiated prior to the introduction of US forces. It should stress that US forces are coming, to assist the people at the invitation of the host government, that the host nation will retain its sovereignty, and that US forces will depart when the mission is complete or when the host nation requests them to.

Operations by US forces in support of a host nation conducting counterinsurgency include--

  • Intelligence operations.
  • Logistical support operations.
  • Joint-combined exercises.
  • Populace and resources control operations.
  • Civil-military operations, including CA and PSYOP.
  • Counter-drug operations.1
  • Tactical operations.
  • Humanitarian or civic assistance.

Intelligence Operations.

Intelligence provides the basis for all US and host nation plans and operations in counterinsurgency. Prior to commitment, US military forces provide specific intelligence requirements to the US strategic intelligence community. This ensures that national-level collection focuses on force requirements. Cooperative or combined military intelligence operations are integral to effective intelligence collection and production. Intelligence units provide technical expertise, management, and advice to develop host nation intelligence capabilities. They help establish objectives and develop common procedures.

Figure 2-4. Support of a Host Nation

Tactical intelligence support may be the single most beneficial support the United States can provide in many situations. US forces can contribute experience and expertise to establish and manage all-source intelligence operations and enhance overall management of the intelligence effort. Tactical intelligence interests in FID extend beyond data on the hostile military threat. They include data on internal unrest, on external support for the insurgency, and on the host nation's counterinsurgency capabilities. The threat of sabotage, terrorism, and subversion requires military intelligence staffs to focus their collection efforts in areas normally considered police matters; for example, individual surveillance and monitoring of business transactions. This requires close coordination with host nation police and legal officials.

Continuing close coordination with local police is important to the intelligence collection process. Close cooperation and planning maximize the information available to the US and host nation's forces and ensure that actions are complementary. Some unilateral operational and analytical tasks will, however, require independent action.

In a country in which a cooperative or combined intelligence system already exists, newly arrived US military tactical units normally work with area intelligence elements on a mutual support basis. They support ACC intelligence programs. When the US tactical situation forces them to move frequently, these units should not assume responsibility for long-term, area-oriented intelligence programs. They may, however, contribute significantly to short-term collection and production efforts. All military personnel provide information which, when tied into the data-gathering system, produces useful intelligence.

Joint-combined exercises.

These exercises test, evaluate, and improve the mutual capabilities and interoperability of the United States and its foreign coalition partners. They complement security assistance goals by testing and evaluating capabilities that security assistance recipients have expressed a desire to improve. In addition, they include certain types of training and construction, and humanitarian assistance and civic action projects within the host nation. They can also support political and psychological goals by demonstrating--

  • The values of officer and noncommissioned officer (NCO) professional education and training.

  • Alternatives to traditional relationships between classes or groups within the society.

  • The subordination of the military to civil authority.

Joint-combined exercises are an important means of achieving the objectives of the IDAD strategy. Other exercises may be conducted on a service to service basis. However, they are most useful when they involve joint as well as combined operations.

Civil-military operations.

These operations include all military efforts to support the host nation's development, undermine insurgent grievances, gain support for the national government, and attain national objectives without combat. They include, for example, medical, engineer, communications, transportation and logistical activities undertaken incident to the combined exercises. Successful CMO reduce or eliminate the need for combat operations. This minimizes destruction of life and property. However, CMO can play a major role in preparing the area of operations (AO) for combat forces, should they be required. CMO are developmental, psychological activities which support--

  • CA-Military operations embracing relationships between US military forces, civilian authorities, and the populace.

  • PSYOP-Development of favorable emotions, attitudes, or behavior in neutral, friendly, or hostile foreign groups.

US commanders should foster and maintain an environment in which favorable relationships exist between individual US military personnel and host nation civilians. All US military activities, combat or noncombat, have psychological implications.

An effective staff of well-qualified CA and PSYOP specialists should supervise CMO. An appropriately trained civil-military officer should exercise staff responsibility for CMO at the main US military command. He coordinates all CS and CSS activities supporting national development and preparation of the battlefield. He works closely with public affairs officers on the US country team and appropriate host nation officials.

US sponsored CA projects for the host nation support national and subnational developmental programs and objectives. They encourage active support for military operations. The CA planners obtain the appropriate ACC's approval for all such projects affecting its specific region. Civic actions by US forces must reinforce the popular perception that the host nation controls the programs' design and execution.

National-level authorities establish and coordinate overall PSYOP policies and programs. They provide general guidelines within which lower military and civilian echelons plan and conduct PSYOP. US military units ensure that PSYOP supports and agrees with US objectives, the combined national PSYOP program, and programs of relevant political subdivisions. Appropriate ACCs provide regional PSYOP coordination.

Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA).

These operations provide a mechanism through which US military personnel and assets augment other US non-military programs to assist Third World populations. HCA improves the quality of life through rudimentary construction, health care, and sanitation programs. Engineer, medical and SOF are the principal forces used in these programs. These operations are defined by law and limited to--

  • Medical, dental, and veterinary care provided in rural areas of a country.

  • Construction of rudimentary surface transportation systems.

  • Well drilling and construction of basic sanitation facilities.

  • Rudimentary construction and repair of public facilities.

The Department of State must approve most HCA operations and the US Congress funds them through appropriations specifically set aside for HCA. The United States may not provide HCA, directly or indirectly, to individuals, groups, or organizations engaged in military or paramilitary activity. HCA operations are most effective when the United States uses them within the guidelines of a coordinated interagency program developed by the Department of State, USAID, DOD, and the Unified Commands. Both active and reserve components may conduct HCA missions.

These operations assist a host nation to attack the causes of instability. They can help prevent the need for greater assistance at a later date. HCA operations may also take place in peacekeeping operations, or in the limited circumstances of peacetime contingency operations.

Logistical support operations.

The United States provides logistical support for a host nation's counterinsurgency operations through the security assistance system in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). US units may provide direct logistical support when authorized. As with all other operations by US forces in support of counterinsurgency, the presence of US personnel must be minimized for two rensons--to prevent degrading the legitimacy of the host nation government by our overwhelming presence and to facilitate force protection of US personnel. Generally, logistical support requires bare base operations, with expedited access to CONUS or intermediate overseas support bases, and with host nation providers performing many support functions through contracts.

Populace and Resources Control (PRC) Operations.

PRC measures are the exclusive province of the host nation. In country US forces should avoid assuming PRC missions. They should concentrate instead on providing security for host nation forces conducting these missions. Because PRC operations are, by definition, politically sensitive, US forces should participate in PRC operations only when the situation is clearly beyond the capabilities of the nation's security forces, only on the request of the host nation, and only after approval by appropriate US authorities, to include the US ambassador. Planners should limit US operations to tactical and area security support. If US forces are assigned PRC responsibilities, host nation police or military personnel accompany them to provide area knowledge and legal advice. In addition, the presence of the host nation's police or military personnel demonstrates that US forces only support the host nation government's program.

Counter-drug Operations.

Counter-drug operations outside the territorial United States must be part of an overall FID effort to be effective. US military forces will usually execute them in support of on-going DEA programs, under the overall control and supervision of the US country team.

Tactical Operations.

Tactical operations by US forces against insurgents will be an unusual occurrence resulting from unique circumstances. Direct actions will be rare, and focus, for example, on interdicting support from out of country sources, conducting security screens so that the host nation's forces can regain the initiative, or securing key facilities and installations, thus freeing the host nation's forces to reassume complete responsibility for combat operations.

Historical experience suggests that US combat operations in support of a host nation's counterinsurgency efforts should be strategically defensive. Responsibility for the counterinsurgency program must remain with the host nation's government if its legitimacy is to survive.

If the situation requires US forces to take the initiative from the host nation, then the transition to war has begun. The psychological effect of US forces fighting indigenous forces is such that these operations can be counter-productive unless the local population is firmly against the insurgents and fully supports US involvement. Unless the local population is supportive, such operations cannot enhance the legitimacy of the host nation government and cannot be considered LIC operations. The United States must conclude such operations quickly or the nature of the conflict is likely to be permanently altered. If the host nation's government cannot sustain or reestablish its legitimacy, the counterinsurgency will become a war with the United States in the role of invader. This underlines the necessity of committing US combat forces only in extreme circumstances and even then the commitment must be sharply limited in scope and duration. Destruction of the infrastructure and elimination of the conditions which cause the insurgency must be the domain of the host nation's armed forces.

The host nation's military plan and the US military support plan must be combined to govern US tactical operations. When the United States employs combat forces they are normally assigned missions which support the security component of the IDAD strategy. This allows the host nation to establish a secure base for mobilization and balanced development programs and to form and train effective security forces.

Host nation, not US, forces should conduct neutralization programs, particularly coercive measures such as PRC. The host nation should also provide representatives to assist US combat forces in any contacts they may have with local populations.

US forces may conduct strike operations to disrupt and destroy the insurgents' combat formations or to interdict their external support. These operations can prevent the insurgents from undertaking actions against government controlled areas. They can also disrupt the insurgents' efforts to consolidate and expand areas already under their control.

US combat forces may conduct security screens in support of host nation consolidation operations to expand the government's mobilization base. These security screens prevent actions by the insurgents to support their operations in the consolidation zone. Continued success in consolidation operations will enable the host nation to resume conduct of the military aspects of its counterinsurgency campaign and allow US combat forces to withdraw.

Host nation and US policies and agreements determine command relationships between the respective forces. When each force remains under its own national authority, commanders may plan and coordinate combined operations locally. Normally, a US unit participates in an ACC with host nation agencies located in the area of operations. The ACC does not replace operational centers or the political and administrative organizations of the host nation. It only coordinates the operations.

05-24-1996; 16:02:10

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