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Chapter 3
Counterinsurgency Operations



3-1. Military operations in support of counterinsurgency fall into three broad categories: CMO, combat operations, and IO. CMO are primarily oriented towards the indigenous population in villages, cities, and regions. Combat operations are oriented against insurgent leaders and cadre, smaller units, and insurgent main force organizations (battalion-, brigade-, and division-sized units) depending on the phase of the insurgency. The operations should deny the insurgents freedom of movement, access to the population, and access to safe havens. IO potentially assure a common operational picture appropriate to every level of an organization, down to the individual Soldier. Commanders also use IO to shape the information environment to reinforce CMO and combat efforts. The overall mission of all military operations in support of counterinsurgency is to provide a safe and secure environment within which governmental institutions can address the concerns of the people.

3-2. Commanders consider the following when conducting (planning, preparing, executing, and assessing) counterinsurgency operations:

  • Military operations for countering insurgency must all be completely integrated with the US country team or established governing authority throughout planning, preparation, execution, and assessment.
  • Counterinsurgency must be initiated as early as possible. An escalating insurgency becomes increasingly difficult to defeat.
  • Intelligence, civil affairs, and PSYOP are vital parts of all programs.
  • Effective local government is vital to carrying counterinsurgency programs to the local populations.


3-3. Leaders should ascertain the level of organization for counterinsurgency within their AOs, and where none exists should influence or induce their HN counterparts to establish such an organization. At all levels, counterinsurgency planning and direction should be accomplished through area security coordination centers. These centers are composed of elements of--

  • HN forces and agencies.
  • Assigned US military and interagency representatives and multinational personnel.

3-4. The chief of a security coordination center should be a military or political leader. Each center should include a civil-military advisory committee composed of representatives from the area's major economic and social groups and activities to facilitate communication with and participation of the local populace, and serve as a sounding board for assessing the progress of the counterinsurgency effort.


3-5. Normally, NGOs, private foreign corporations, HN private enterprises, and US governmental activities cooperate in local counterinsurgency programs. Nonmilitary personnel supervising US government efforts may be assigned at major subordinate levels of government, and often, visiting technical representatives will operate at lower levels. The administrative area advisor must coordinate military efforts and those of the US government nonmilitary representatives. In the absence of civilian advisors, the administrative area advisor may be directed to monitor the execution of programs initiated but not supervised by other US government agencies.

3-6. HN and USAID civil resources are devoted to executing economic, social, psychological, and political programs. Military resources engaged in military civic action often augment and sometimes substitute for civil resources in executing these programs.

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