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Chapter 3
Counterinsurgency Operations



3-7. Local political authorities bridge the gap between the remote and sometimes impersonal national government and the people. To the extent that these authorities are able to satisfy the aspirations of the people and create the image of a responsive and capable government, the openings for subversion will diminish. The military works with the local civil authorities, the populace, and NGOs through CMO. Military participation is accomplished through military civic action and populace and resource control. The leader must be ready to propose civic action projects based on the capabilities of the unit advised and must be prepared to give guidance on the techniques of applying these capabilities in accordance with an overall counterinsurgency plan. To perform these functions, the leader must be aware of the objectives and principles of CMO in paragraph 3-9. Prior to implementation of military civic action projects, military operations are coordinated with the US ambassador and country team (see Figure 2-1, page 2-12.). This coordination is essential to ensure the accomplishment of US national security interests. USAID is the US government agency responsible for nation building. USAID activities are coordinated through the US embassy. At the tactical level, direct coordination through the chain of command with USAID avoids duplication of effort and ensures adequate resources and technical assistance are made available.

3-8. Objectives of CMO in counterinsurgency operations are to--

  • Make substantial contributions to national development.
  • Gain the support, loyalty, and respect of the people for their government.

3-9. Principles of CMO include--

  • Conserving resources and developing an integrated economy. As such, all projects must proceed within the framework of a coordinated plan.
  • Conformance to guidance issued through command channels.


3-10. The insurgent's primary target is the people; therefore, counterinsurgency must separate the insurgent from the people and their resources. Population and resource control is implemented as required to support counterinsurgency operations. Leaders must be knowledgeable regarding the principles, concepts, tasks, and techniques of population and resource control in order to train and work with their counterparts on their implementation. The primary objectives of population and resource control are to separate the insurgents from the populace and to identify and eliminate the insurgents, their organization, their activities, and influence while doing so.

3-11. Civil control measures are very similar to police functions. Civil police should initiate controls because--

  • They are best suited by cultural background, training, and experience.
  • Their area orientation results in a closer relationship with the local population.
  • They permit military forces to concentrate on offensive counterinsurgency operations.

3-12. Where local police require reinforcement or are ineffective, local paramilitary forces-- including home guards, village militia, and police auxiliaries--are mobilized or created, organized, and trained as reserves. Military forces are used only as expedients since extended assignment to this duty detracts from their main mission of offensive operations.

3-13. Continuous PSYOP are mounted to--

  • Counter the effects of insurgent propaganda.
  • Relate controls to the security and well-being of the population.
  • Portray a favorable governmental image.

3-14. Control measures must--

  • Be authorized by national laws and regulations (counterparts should be trained not to improvise unauthorized measures).
  • Be tailored to fit the situation (apply the minimum force required to achieve the desired result).
  • Be supported by effective local intelligence.
  • Be instituted in as wide an area as possible to prevent bypass or evasion.
  • Be supported by good communications.
  • Be enforceable.
  • Be lifted as the need diminishes.
  • Be compatible, where possible, with local customs and traditions.
  • Establish and maintain credibility of local government.


3-15. A control program may be developed in five phases:

  • Securing and defending the area internally and externally.
  • Organizing for law enforcement.
  • Executing cordon and search operations.
  • Screening and documenting the population (performing a detailed census).
  • Performing public administration, to include resource control.


3-16. Security and defense begin concurrently with, or immediately subsequent to, offensive operations. Security of urban centers and defense of key infrastructure are pre-requisites to beginning offensive operations. The entire political administrative unit (region, province, district, village), as well as each individual community, must be secured all the time. In areas under insurgent influence, it will be necessary to construct defenses around existing villages and concentrate rural populations into defendable population units. Normally, this will be accomplished concurrently with counterinsurgency operations, environmental improvement, and population and resource control programs. Techniques for securing and defending the AO include establishing defended urban areas and relocating populations.

Defended Urban Area

3-17. Defended urban areas may be established if--

  • Less restrictive measures have failed to eliminate population support of the insurgent.
  • Government forces have been unable to provide defense or internal security.
  • The population must provide their own defense to release military forces to conduct counterinsurgent warfare. However, the populace must be armed and trained to be effective.
  • They are required as bases from which to mount operations.

3-18. Leaders can assist in the development of the defended community by--

  • Coordinating requests for USAID support with appropriate USAID area representatives.
  • Planning urban defenses, to include provisions for support.
  • Organizing, equipping, and training, urban defense forces.
  • Ensuring military defense forces are provided until local defense forces are adequate and supported by regional paramilitary and military forces.
  • Implementing control techniques (curfews, alert and warning systems, systems of identifying both friendly and insurgent forces).
  • Military civic action projects based on self-help.
  • Establishing local government by organizing urban civil-military leader committees, electing community officials (where possible), and creating governmental institutions.
Relocating Populations

3-19. The most severe of the restrictive measures, is accomplished when--

  • Wide dispersion of the population prevents effective defense, internal security, and control.
  • Requirements exist to evacuate or populate selected areas.

3-20. Leaders can contribute to the implementation of this technique by providing assistance in the following areas:

  • PSYOP to prepare the population for relocation.
  • Defense during relocation. If relocation is combined with the defended urban area technique, the leader can further assist, once relocation is completed.
  • Logistic requirements--such as subsistence, transportation, and medical assistance --to facilitate movement and relocation of the population and their possessions.


3-21. A successful counterinsurgency depends ultimately and initially on a legitimate and effective HN justice program integrating law enforcement, the judiciary, and a penal system. The existing justice program may be limited by capability (leadership and training), resources, or corruption, and require direct or indirect efforts to support or even reestablish police services, courts, and prisons. Such efforts must be coordinated with the country team and closely synchronized with other civil-military actions. The responsibility for these efforts may fall initially on US military assets during the initial stages of an operation or when the security situation is untenable for civilian agencies and contract advisors. The division staff judge advocate and provost marshal may require additional technical support from judge advocate and military police assets (for example, administrative and criminal law experts, criminal investigators, and corrections specialists) to support local-, regional-, or nationallevel justice programs, while setting the conditions for transfer of support to other US governmental or international agencies.

3-22. Support to law enforcement may be limited to coordinated actions at local levels between US military police and the HN police (for example, joint patrols, co-location of military and HN police at police stations) or require more comprehensive support to national and regional police headquarters and technical departments. Other support may include support of-- Administrative divisions, which may include the headquarters, personnel, and finance departments. Police (training) academy. Investigative division, to include a criminal laboratory facility. Traffic division, to include highway patrol and traffic accident investigations. Specialized police that may include special reaction teams, personnel security, and customs and immigration police.

3-23. Support to the judiciary may be limited to providing security to the existing courts or may lead to more comprehensive actions to build local, regional, and national courts and the required support apparatus. To avoid overcrowding in police jails, the courts must have an efficient and timely magistrate capability, ideally co-located with police stations and police jails, to review cases for trial.

3-24. Support to the penal system may be limited to monitoring conditions and adherence to basic humanitarian standards or require more comprehensive support to reestablish all levels of incarceration and a rehabilitative programs. Points to remember: Local jails are typically co-located with police stations and administered by the local police to hold suspected criminals until a magistrate determines whether there is sufficient evidence for trial. Regional jails are typically run by prison officials to hold detainees referred to trial, but not convicted. Pretrial detainees should not be incarcerated with convicted criminals. Prisons hold convicted criminals and are typically designed and divided to address level of inmate risk (high, medium, and low), rehabilitative programs (e.g., violence, drug addiction, sex crimes), and the separation of genders and juvenile offenders.


3-25. Cordon and search is a technique used by military and police forces in both urban and rural environments. It is frequently used by counterinsurgency forces conducting a population and resource control mission against small centers of population or subdivisions of a larger community. To be effective, cordon and search operations must have sufficient forces to effectively cordon off and thoroughly search target areas, to include subsurface areas. PSYOP, civil affairs, and specialist interrogation teams should augment cordon and search forces to increase the effectiveness of operations. Consider the following when conducting cordon and search operations: Allocate ample time to conduct thorough search and interrogation of residents of affected areas. Operations should be rehearsed thoroughly, whenever possible. Firm but fair treatment must be the rule. Every effort must be made to avoid any incident that results in unnecessarily alienating the people.

3-26. Cordon and search operations may be conducted as follows: Disposition of troops should-- Facilitate visual contact between posts within the cordon. Provide for adequate patrolling and immediate deployment of an effective reserve force. Priority should be given to-- Sealing the administrative center of the community. Occupying all critical facilities. Detaining personnel in place. Preserving and securing all records, files, and other archives. Key facilities include-- Administrative buildings. Police stations. News media facilities. Post offices. Communications centers. Transportation offices and motor pools. Prisons and other places of detention. Schools. Medical facilities. Search Techniques include-- Search teams of squad size organized in assault, support, and security elements. One target is assigned per team. Room searches are conducted by two-person teams. Room search teams are armed with pistols, assault weapons, and automatic weapons. Providing security for search teams screening operations and facilities. Pre-search coordination includes-- Between control personnel and screening team leaders. Study of layout plans. Communications, that is, radio, whistle, and hand signals. Disposition of suspects. On-site security. Guard entrances, exits (to include the roof), halls, corridors, and tunnels. Assign contingency tasks for reserve. Room searches conducted by two- or three-person teams. Immobilize occupants with one team member. Search room with other team member. Search all occupants. When available, a third team member should be the recorder. Place documents in a numbered envelope and tag the associated individual with a corresponding number.


3-27. Screening and documentation include following: Systematic identification and registration. Issuance of individual identification cards containing-- A unique number. Picture of individual. Personal identification data. Fingerprints. An official stamp (use different colors for each administration region). Family group census cards, an official copy of which is retained at the local police agency. These must include a picture and appropriate personal data. Frequent use of mobile and fixed checkpoints for inspection, identification, and registration of documents. Preventing counterfeiting of identification and registration documents by laminating and embossing. Programs to inform the population of the need for identification and registration.


3-28. Public administration at local levels is normally performed by the mayor and police. It is at this level that resources are managed and controlled. After screening has been completed, action must be taken for continuation of governmental functions, and the following factors should be considered: Combining internal security and defense activities under a public safety office. Employing population surveillance (overt and covert) based on area coverage.


3-29. Overt surveillance is the responsibility of the police patrol division. It is conducted with conventional police procedures, using the officer on the beat as the lowest official of government in contact with the public.

3-30. Police patrols-- Vary routes and movement frequently to avoid establishing a predictable pattern. Should not be limited to the confines of the community but should include adjacent areas. Must be coordinated with the activities of military and paramilitary forces to avoid duplication of effort and confusion. Use military dogs to contribute to overall effectiveness.


3-31. Covert surveillance is a collection effort with the responsibility fixed at the intelligence/security division or detective division of the police department. Covert techniques, ranging from application of sophisticated electronics systems to informants, should include-- Informant nets. Reliability of informants should be verified. Protection of identity is a must. Block control. Dividing a community or populated area into zones where a trusted resident reports on the activities of the population. If the loyalty of block leaders is questionable, an informant net can be established to verify questionable areas. 3-32. For a detailed discussion and checklists, see Appendix C.

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