Find a Security Clearance Job!


Chapter 2
Command and Control in a Counterinsurgency Environment



2-1. Counterinsurgency has certain imperatives that make planning for it different from other missions. Planners consider these imperatives when developing counterinsurgency plans. These imperatives are--

  • Facilitate establishment or reestablishment of a legitimate HN government.
  • Counterinsurgency requires perseverance.
  • Foster popular support for the HN and US governments.
  • Prepare to perform functions and conduct operations that are outside normal scope of training.
  • Coordinate with US governmental departments and agencies, and with HN, nongovernmental, and foreign agencies.

2-2. Insurgencies are protracted politico-military struggles with political power as the central issue. Therefore, military planners ensure a closer, more effective coordination of military operations between the country team, interagency personnel, the HN, and military organizations than would exist during conventional operations. This coordination is normally at the strategic and operational levels. US government policy towards the HN and the insurgents is the overriding determinant for military action.

2-3. Planners consider long-term effects of all US assistance efforts before executing counterinsurgency operations. This long-term consideration is especially important in building HN development and defense self-sufficiency, both of which may require large investments of time and materiel. Counterinsurgency operations also require extensive logistic planning because of the probability of having to provide food and shelter for displaced persons and construction or repair of services such as water. Planners also recognize the ultimate objective is to assist the HN in establishing a government that is legitimate, responsive to the people and capable of meeting their needs, and worthy of their loyalty.

2-4. Planners tailor military support to other elements of counterinsurgency operations while considering the environment and the specific needs of the HN. They consider the threat, as well as local political, tribal, religious, social, and economic factors when developing counterinsurgency plans. Overcoming the tendency to use a US frame of reference is important because this potentially damaging tendency can result in equipment, training, and infrastructure not at all suitable for the HN.

2-5. Planners understand that a basic premise of the counterinsurgency approach is the ultimate responsibility for IDAD rests with the HN. US planners assess all counterinsurgency plans against this precept.

2-6. Political and military leaders realistically evaluate troop requirements in a counterinsurgency environment. In addition to those tasks inherent in any military situation--such as base security and offensive operations--some tasks occur with greater frequency in counterinsurgency and deserve special attention. Among these are--

  • Urban operations. Protection of government facilities.
  • Protection of infrastructure.
  • Protection of commercial enterprises vital to the HN economy.
  • Protection of cultural facilities.
  • Prevention of looting. Military police functions.
  • Close interaction with civilians.
  • Assistance with reconstruction projects.
  • Securing the HN borders.
  • Training or retraining HN military forces.
  • Establishing and maintaining local government credibility.

2-7. Faced with these additional tasks, the joint force may be required to provide more units, and a different mix of units, than would be required for operations against a conventional force the same approximate size as the insurgent force. The preponderance of many of these units may only be available in the Reserve Components. All planning considers the long-term implications and second- and-third order effects of counterinsurgency missions. Counterinsurgency is a long-term approach and effort requiring support from political and military leaders. Additionally, leaders must recognize counterinsurgency operations may involve nation building. Counterinsurgency often involves nation building, but not all nation building involves counterinsurgency.

2-8. At all levels, the conduct (planning, preparing, execution, and assessment) of counterinsurgency operations involves coordination among HN forces and agencies, US organizations, multinational partners, and NGOs that may influence the mission.


2-9. Planning for a counterinsurgency focuses on the following conditions that the force must establish to be successful.


2-10. Security of the populace is an imperative. This is security from the influence of the insurgents initially. The population is then mobilized, armed, and trained to protect itself. Effective security allows local political and administrative institutions to operate freely and commerce to flourish.


2-11. Establishing conditions favorable for the development of HN governmental institutions consistent with US objectives. These conditions include the establishment of law enforcement and freely elected political leaders where possible, public information, health care, schools, public works, and fire fighting capabilities.


2-12. Contributing local government is both tangible and psychological. Local security forces must reinforce and be integrated into the plan at every stage. This local integration is constantly emphasized with the local and HN police, and civil and military leaders through deeds to ensure these forces have great visibility with the populace. Psychologically, the populace must be assured continuously and effectively that conditions are becoming better to counter insurgent propaganda. Counterinsurgency operations must establish conditions that contribute to HN and local government effectiveness.


2-13. Neutralize insurgent capabilities to exploit grievances. Work with local authorities and leaders to resolve the issues creating concern in order to legitimize governmental institutions.


2-14. Facilitate and use information and intelligence obtained from local sources to gain access to the insurgent's economic and social base of support, order of battle, tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Join the mailing list

Unconventional Threat podcast - Threats Foreign and Domestic: 'In Episode One of Unconventional Threat, we identify and examine a range of threats, both foreign and domestic, that are endangering the integrity of our democracy'