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Low Intensity Conflict: A War By Any Other Name

Low Intensity Conflict: A War By Any Other Name


CSC 1988


SUBJECT AREA National Military Strategy









Major J. A. Robbs

Royal Australian Infantry Corps




Command and Staff College

Education Center

Marine Corps Combat Development Command

Quantico, Virginia 22134



9 May 1988






1. Introduction


Philosophy and Theory of Conflict 1


Problem 2


2. Low Intensity Conflict in General


Defining Low Intensity Conflict 6


The Conflict Spectrum and Characteristics of LIC 11


Conclusion 15


3. The Significance of Low Intensity Conflict


An Example 17


Recent Military Focus and Development 20


Western Vulnerability 28


Future Conflict 37


4. An Overview of the Main Types of LIC


Insurgency 44


Counter-Insurgency 6O


5. An Overview of other LIC


Aid-to-the-Civil-Power 77


Foreign Internal Defence 79

Terrorism and Terrorism Counter-action 80

Peacekeeping and Peacemaking 84


Peace-Time Contigencies 90


6. Guiding Strategy and Tactics


National Philosophy 92


National Security Strategy 96


Military Doctrine 98


7. A Force That Caters for LIC


National and Strategic 102


Tactical 108


8. Preparation and Training for Conflict


Higher Command 112


Operational Art 114

Tactical 116


Individual 120


9. Conclusion 126


Endnotes 128


Bibliography 138




A. Definitions


B. Conflict Spectrum








The following postulates, whether judged as empirical,


hypothetical, true or false, are a relevant starting point


for the examination of conflict.


* Harmony and disharmony are natural, inevitable, and


evolutionary characteristics of mankind.


* Disharmony is resolved by peaceful or violent


means, as reflected by a spectrum of conditions


from peaceful competition to violent conflict.


* The peaceful resolution of conflict is preferable


and common, but yet to preclude the option of


violence: models of intra-national and spiritual


harmony are neither analagous to, nor bind,


international relations at this point in time.


* Conflict and its resolution is multidimensional,


multi-level, and integrated.


* States, sub-national groups and trans-national


groups may come into conflict with each other and


prosecute this conflict with violence. Whatever the


origins of the conflict it is played out in the


environment of the "state system": often in an


attempt to alter the status quo of that system.


* Force may be employed by individuals in an


anarchical or irrational manner, but it is used by


the state and the interest group in the pursuit of




* The use of force is limited by capacity, risk and




* At a minimum, a state will seek a capacity of


force commensurate with the threat to its survival,


once security is achieved a state will seek the


ability to pursue interests.


* The status quo of the state, if not its survival,


can be threatened within all levels of conflict, but


the most decisive effect is achieved by unlimited




* The state's ability to project violence is


institutionalized in armed forces, i.e., armies,


navies, and air forces.




The objective of armed forces is to win wars: trite but


true. Armed forces may posture and project power by inference


if able to project violence by action. Military victory in


war is the reason d'etre for an army. This rationale may be


over-ridden by higher strategy, but a non-combatant or


incompetant army defies definition and justification in the


West. (1)


The role of the armed forces is supportive of the state


in the pursuit of national interests. Regardless of the level


of a conflict, military action must be integrated with action


in the political, social, economic, and psychological


dimensions of a problem. The military dimension is


predominate in the higher levels of conflict. Hitherto, the


West has considered the higher levels of conflict the


predominate threat, despite a continuing need to operate in


lower levels of conflict. (2) The rationale for this focus was


substantial, but now the concept is dated.


Success in present and future conflicts requires the


ability for integrated action in all dimensions and at all


levels in proportion to the threat or interest. This concept


is well expressed by the authors of "Integrated Strategy and


Discriminate Deterrence":


Because our problems in the real world are

connected and because budgets compel trade-offs,

we need to fit together strategies for a wide range

of conflicts: from the most confined, lowest

intensity and highest probability to the most

widespread, apocalyptic and least likely. We want

the worst conflicts to be less likely, but that

holds only if our weakness at some higher level..

..does not invite such raising of the ante. For

genuine stability, we need to assure our adversaries

that military aggression at any level of violence

against our important interests will be opposed by

military force. (3)


The logic of "Integrated Strategy and Discriminate


Deterrence" (4) is relevant to all Western nations,


irrespective of size. Even in a relatively benign strategic


environment such as Australia enjoys currently, defence


preparedness must address the maintenance of capabilities


applicable to other levels of conflict than the near term


threat. (5)


Within the combat environment of the future (6) the


objective of armed forces remains to win wars, regardless of


type or complexity. The question remains, "How?". There are


two extreme solutions: with unlimited resources a nation may


structure, equip, and train forces for each type and region


of conflict; or, with limited resources, have one force


attempt to do everything. The reality is a compromise


tailored to each nation's situation. Perhaps with the


exception of the United States, there are few Western nations


that can afford the maintenance of large "specialized


modules" within an army. Even the United States is limited in


this regard by the number and variety of contingencies it


must face; For example, the US Marine Corps, must retain a


diversity of war-fighting skills for employment world-wide.


These tasks range from the amphibious assault by conventional


forces to hostage rescue in a foreign country. (7) An example


of the flexible use of armed forces has been illustrated by


the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The same units of this


force have operated proficiently in counter-insurgency in


Northern Ireland, in mechanized operations with the British


Army on the Rhine, and fought in the Falklands War.


For reasons that will be examined later, most Western


states already possess significant professional armies for


fighting in the higher levels of conflict. However, the


recent wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan, the conflicts in


Northern Ireland and Latin America, and modern terrorism,


illustrates that such conventional armies may not win easily


in lower levels of conflict. Even if a conventional army is


not defeated in such a conflict, it is likely to be




The armed forces and the interests of the West have been


debilitated in the past by Low Intensity Conflict. For this


reason, and others discussed in Chapter Three, the West is to


continue to be engaged in Low Intensity Conflict. It is the


most likely combat environment in the near future. Western


democratic states possess inherent vulnerabilities in this


environment which are likely to make LIC an increasingly


attractive option for those unable to "win" by other means,


peaceful or violent.


The problem for a Western democratic nation is to


maintain and employ an appropriate strategy, force and


tactics for the conduct of Low Intensity Conflict while


meeting the other requirements of national strategy and


without denigrating the ability of the state to conduct a


higher level of war.








There is a plethora of terminology covering the subject


of Low Intensity Conflict. Many of the terms are abstract and


have a political and philosophical context as well as a


military definition. In addition, there are both subtle and


distinct differences among single service, joint service, and


international terminology in this field. For the purpose of


clarity, a table of comparative definitions is included as


Appendix A.


Colonel Richard H. Taylor, US Army, provided a useful


definition of Low Intensity Conflict in the Military Review


of January 1988 when he described it as an environment in




Interests are contested; organized violence

is used to effect or influence outcomes; all

elements of national power are employed; the

military dimension is employed primarily for its

political, economic and informational effect;

military violence is employed indirectly or limited

by time and objective." (1)



It is an environment that spans a range of struggles of


varying nature and intensity. Figure 1 lists these struggles


by military definition. (2) These struggles, or operations,


are generally considered as above the environment of


"peaceful competition", but below the threshold of "war".(3)


The boundaries that differentiate LIC from peaceful


competition and higher conflict are blurred. Each conflict


must be analysed in detail to determine its precise nature



Figure 1





Offensive Operations Defensive Operations


* Insurgency * Counter Insurgency


* Aid-to-the-Civil Power (4)


* Foreign Internal Defence

* Terrorism (5) * Terrorism Counter-Action


* Peacemaking Operations * Peacekeeping Operations


* Peacetime Contingency * Peacetime Contingency

Operations Operations


and the appropriate response. Conflict easily transitions


between levels and many of the strategies found in the LIC


environment concentrate on controlling the time and place of


transition. This is the case for the revolutionary strategies


of Leninism, Maoism, and the Cuban model.


The Vietnam War, for example, was played across three


levels of conflict: firstly, insurgency by the Viet Cong


against the South Vietnamese and their allies; secondly,


guerrilla war and limited war by the Viet Cong and North


Vietnamese Army against the South Vietnamese and their


allies; and, finally, general war between North and South


Vietnam. (6) The transition from one level of conflict to


another during the Vietnam War was indistinct, with different


levels of violence conducted simultaneously in different


regions or even within the same area but by different


forces. (7)


A fundamental lesson in preparing for LIC is to be wary


of templating a response in accordance with the academic or


political categorization of the conflict. Each conflict is


unique and unlikely to fit exactly within a military


definition. For example, the Multinational Force II in Beirut


in 1983 was committed with an implied mission of


"peacekeeping": world there have been a more appropriate


tactical emphasis by the commander of US Marines in MNF II if


the mission had stressed a role of Foreign Internal Defence


instead of "presence"? (8) Commanders at all levels,


including politicians, must remember that a classification of


a conflict is of little consequence to soldiers ambushed and


killed, whether by insurgents or by regular troops.


The further lesson to be derived from a comparison of


the definition and reality of Low Intensity Conflict is the


need to be prepared to fight above or below the initial level


of violence. Not only can the transition be swift, but what


constitutes Low Intensity Conflict and what is "war" is a


relative perception. There are aspects of Peacetime


Contingency or Peacemaking Operations that in a microcosm are


war, i.e., operations that are tactically and strategically


the same as those effected during a higher level of conflict.


In some cases, the difference is that the LIC is regionally


confined. If an environment of LIC has been established then


it normally requires more than police work. In order to be


successful in this environment armed forces may act as a


police force but they must be trained as if for war. An army


is capable of carrying out police work, but a police force


cannot be effective beyond the domestic state of peaceful


competition unless it becomes an army.


By the current definitions Low Intensity Conflict is not


war. However, many aspects of these types of conflict are


analogous to war and the conflict itself may be a campaign


within or complementary to a war. Future warfare is likely to


be less coherent, less compartmentalized, and conducted


without much regard to current definitions and perceptions of


what is, or what is not, war. (9) Already, there are few


constitutionally declared wars. The United States and the


Soviet Union possess the ability to oppose each other


directly, indirectly, or through a combination of both.


These states are able to wage conflict in any combination of


level, region, and time frame. The United States perception


of Low Intensity Conflict, for example, places such conflict


within the frame-work of contest between the Soviet Union and


the West:


While the Soviets cannot be branded as

instigators of all revolutionary movements, their

strategy clearly is to exploit domestic vulnerabilities

in foreign countries to promote the emergence of

regimes under Soviet influence control. All this is

accomplished under the rubric of "peaceful coexistance"

with the United States and the West, defined as a

continuing contest in which all forms of struggle

are permissible short of all-out war. (10)



Certainly there are other causes of international


conflict in the world apart from USA-USSR rivalry: there is a


larger ideological rivalry of East-West; the competition


between the developed and undeveloped nations; a potential


challange to other religions by Islam; and, the destability


offered by various combinations of sub-national groups and


states attempting to subvert the "state system". As more


states, and even sub-states, gain high-technology, wealth,


and international influence, the pursuit of interests by


armed conflict will be less constrained by region and method.


The advantage in this environment will be held by the state


or group able to orchestrate efforts across a spectrum of


conflicts. A Low Intensity Conflict may constitute only one


"battlefield" in a larger war.


Low Intensity Conflict may not be defined as "war", but


it is best approached by politicians and the military alike


with the same philosophy and determination that a higher


level of violence would command. Such an approach aids in


establishing the continuity of intention from the leader of


the state to the soldier in the "war", and across all the


dimensions of the conflict. Thinking of the conflict in terms


of a "Small War" (11) does not prejudice the conduct with


inappropriate tactics, but makes it easier to translate the


intention into understandable and achievable objectives in


the field. It should be noted that the revolutionary


strategies to be found in the LIC environment aim to destroy


this continuity. The first disconnection within the West is


that the struggle may not be perceived as "war", that it may


not command the same respect or effort as "war". The counter


is found in the education of the politicians, military, and


public on the nature of specific conflicts and conflict in




Clearly, only well informed opinions can serve

our nations. This is one of the main reasons why it

is necessary to develop an appropriate policy

framework for open, declaratory statements that

educate the people of the free world on the reality,

nature, and long term impact of modern insurgency. (12)







The official definitions of Low Intensity Conflict


describe an environment in which a number of characteristics


are predominant and which must be addressed during


preparation for future conflict. However, a clearer


understanding of this environment and its relationship to


other levels of conflict is gained by viewing LIC in relation


to the conflict spectrum. A diagram of the spectrum is at


Appendix B.


From an understanding of the general nature of LIC it is


possible to deduce general characteristics of the environment


for which national strategy and its military component must


cater. In turn, this strategy drives the preparation and


conduct of the armed forces. This process must be completed


before a specific conflict arises or subsequent responses are


likely to be defensive and reactive, i.e., the initiative has


already been lost. The strategy should be based on pre-


empting LIC or utilizing it to advantage. Both these paths


require, as in other forms of warfare, the seizing of


initiative. This is most commonly by offensive action, but in


a conflict where the military dimension is less a factor,


then the military command must be attuned to seizing


psychological, political, social or economic initiative with


less combat force than unrestrained war. This restriction of


violence must not be translated into the tactical martyrdom


of troops. Nor should it be construed as at odds with the


principles of war. (13) The restriction on violence should be


appreciated in accordance with the principle of "economy of


force". In LIC it is the application of this principle that


is not always understood by soldiers or statesmen.


The general characteristics of the Low Intensity


Conflict environment may be described as follows:


* It is conducted within three theatres: intra-state,


inter-state, and a combination of intra- and inter-




* The intra-state level of disharmony and violence is


above that resulting from routine domestic crime and the


ability of the state to resolve without resort to


military force, but below civil war or foreign invasion.


* The inter-state level of disharmony and violence is


above the posturing and threat of military force, and


the limited and indirect military violence that is


incidental to peaceful inter-state competition (14) but


below war.


* A combination of intra-and inter-state disharmony


and violence may be undertaken in an orchestrated manner


by both states and sub-national groups. Such campaigns


are normally played-out under the pervasive shadow of


the East-West competition. This bi-polar competition may


feed on the existing disharmony to be found in the Third


World and among disgruntled sub-national groups.


However, there is a potential for other rivalries, such


as the North-South competition, to be manifest by a


combination of intra and inter-state conflict. This


environment is increasingly open for exploitation by


players other than the USSR and the USA. (15)


* Military violence alone is not the decisive factor


of resolve. It is limited by constraints on the


weaponry, tactics, and quantity of force. (16)


* Military violence is employed in concert with


action in the political, social, economic, and


psychological dimensions of the conflict. This action


may be executed by military forces as well as other




* The LIC environment focuses on maintaining or


changing the structure of a state and the pursuit of


state interests by "extra-legal" means short of war. It


also includes those groups, who are sub-national or


trans-national in nature, that attempt by actions such


as terrorism to change the status quo of international


relations. These groups are generally ineffective unless


supported, at least covertly, by a state.


* The maintenance or change of the state by means


short of war is primarily the environment of insurgency


and counter-insurgency. In particular, the change or


overthrow of the established state from within by


illegitimate means such as subversion, terrorism, and


revolution. Much of this environment is the world of


revolt against the status quo of society, politics,


economics and the balance of power.


* The pursuit of state interests short of war is the


projection of limited military power to effect limited


objectives, such as Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations,


the protection of sea lanes from piracy, and hostage




* There will often be a dual nature to LIC operations


depending on whether the environment is at home or


abroad. One state may conduct counter-insurgency for


survival while it is assisted by another state in the


pursuit of national interest. This difference of


perception is another area of potential incoherence and


disunity of effort.


* The conflict may be over a protracted period of


time because of the inability to resolve it decisively


by force. In fact, the conflict may never be resolved


but move to a different level. If this level is within


the environment of "peaceful competition" then the West


is likely to consider that the democratic processes have


won and are at work. Other political philosophies are


likely to consider this situation a setback, but not a


loss. In this environment a winning strategy is not


only pre-emptive, but vigilant, protracted and






The following features may be concluded as appropriate


to the general philosophy and strategy in preparing for,


and conducting, Low Intensity Conflict. They are deduced by


examination of the definition and genereral characteristics


of Low Intensity Conflict, and the environment in which it is




* Low Intensity Conflict is analogous to war and requires


the same philosophical, strategical, and tactical approach as




* Low Intensity Conflict can be waged in isolation or as


part of war. National and military strategy must integrate


the strategy to conduct Low Intensity Conflict into a


strategy that addresses a spectrum of threats that may arise


in a variety of combinations.


* The strategy, force structure and tactics of an army


should maximize the elements common to the conduct of all


conflict and cater for the differences.


* Strategy, tactics and force structure must be competent


in the higher levels of conflict and adapt to fight LIC


rather than visa-versa. An army must be at least capable of


fighting conventional warfare.


* The West's strategy for LIC is likely to be in pursuit


of national interest abroad, but its LIC strategy should also


cater for threats at home


* The conduct of LIC requires a coordinated effort across


the full range of political, social, economic, and military


dimensions that make up a state. Military violence is not


normally the decisive factor in LIC as a balance of power may


be achieved by an opposing combination of other factors.


However, the possession of a superior violence capability


confers the major advantage in LIC and all conflict. A


strategy may allow the employment of this capability in a


discriminating manner, but it must never surrender this


potential willingly. A strategy must at least aim to gain or


hold the balance of military power.









On the 23rd October 1983, a truck laden with

the equivalent of over 12,000 pounds of TNT crashed

through the perimeter of the US contingent of the

Multinational Force (MNF II) at Beirut International

Airport, Beirut, Lebanon, penetrating the Battalion

Landing Team Headquarters building and detonated.

The force of the explosion destroyed the building

resulting in the deaths of 241 US military

personnel. (1)



Almost simultaneously with the attack on the US Marine


compound, a similar truck bomb exploded at the French MNF


headquarters. (2) These attacks were executed on behalf of a


revolutionary group by single "terrorists" and supported


directly or indirectly by other states. (3)


The bombing was a military and political success for


those groups who opposed the MNF II presence and mission in


Lebanon and were unable to eject it by direct combat. The


MNF II was withdrawn from Lebanon by April 1984 in the face


of a seemingly impossible task and a lack of international


public and political support. It had failed to aid the


Lebanese Armed Forces carry out its responsibilities as


directed by the force mission. (4)


The bombing was classified by the US as, "..tantamount


to an act of war using the medium of terrorism." (5) No doubt


the perpetrators would agree with the US that the bombing was


an act of war, but would debate the label of " unlawful use


of violence" (6) attached by the US definition of terrorism.


Whatever the semantics of the label, the Beirut bombing is a


good example of violent conflict below the threshhold of war,


and which the layman does not perceive to be the legitimate


face of war. This type of conflict is classified as Low


Intensity Conflict. (7)


The significance of the Beirut bombing is that two


nuclear superpowers suffered a tactical defeat at the hands


of a much lesser force, and that the political objectives of


four major powers working in concert were thwarted by the


same lesser force. There are valuable lessons to be learned


or relearned from the incident, and many of these have


already been absorbed by the West. Ironically, the increasing


threat of LIC to the USA was the subject of a report


completed in June 1983 by the Defence Technical Information


Center for the US Army Training and Doctrine Command. The


report was prophetic:


Hardly a day passes without a terrorist

incident occurring somewhere in the world. Although

the United States has not so far been a primary

target of attack, any optimism that this benign state

of affairs will continue is misplaced. Used as a

strategic weapon, the vectored terrorist threat

offers certain unique advantages in the pursuit of

foreign policy objectives... Too, the initial

uncertainty about the origin of attack often limits

the full range of diplomatic and military responses.

For the Soviet Union and its proxies-and certain

of the radical national and subnational groups on

the terrorist scene-terrorism may offer an

irresistibly low-cost, low-risk means of engaging

the West in low-intensity conflict.... The days in

which terrorism was confined to isolated instances

of social disruption may well be over. Contemporary

terrorism has become a tactic of strategic value

whether employed by neo-nihilistic subnational groups or

by nation states. (8)



The major lessons to be learnt from the Beirut bombing


by the Western states were: the utility of Low Intensity


Conflict and military might does not automatically assure




The latter maxim is acknowledged by the US military with


the popularization of "manoeuvre warfare theory" over


"attrition warfare theory", and the need to fight with brain


as well as brawn: a concept that is as old as combat and long


incorporated in the philosophy of armies with meagre


resources and facing quantitatively superior foes. This


should not denigrate the quantitative approach to warfare;


for sometimes it is the most expeditious way to win a


conflict. Despite the desirability of "minimal violence"


espoused in current LIC doctrine, (9) the option of massive


force must not be surrendered. The relative balance of force


is no less a consideration in LIC than any other conflict,


with the militarily weaker antagonist seeking to negate or


gain superiority of force as a precondition to achieving


subsequent objectives.


The philosophies of quantitative and qualitative warfare


are complementary, and the reality of battle requires the


co-ordinated application of both. The crux of tow Intensity


Warfare is to reduce the advantage of quantitative military


power in the resolution of conflict until that power or


objectives are obtained. If the former is achieved before


the latter, then increased options are available in the


pursuit of objectives.


Soldiers, politicians and the public must understand how


to employ and defeat the various types and strategies of LIC.


(10) It requires an integrated effort no less serious than






LIC is not a new phenomena, (11) although it has


recently become a popular subject. To be successful in LIC,


it is necessary to understand not only the general nature of


the LIC environment, but the evolution of LIC. The evolution


points to not only why it is utilized but why it has been


successful against the West. Understanding these aspects


helps to formulate an appropriate strategy, tactics and


training for LIC. The evolution of LIC also points towards


some inherent vulnerabilities of the West in this environment


and how to avoid them in the future.


The lessons of the Beirut reiterate those of the Vietnam


War, the war in Afghanistan, the conflict in Northern


Ireland, modern terrorism, and numerous revolutionary


struggles of this century. However, Western democratic states


have tended to focus their attention on the upper end of the


conflict spectrum (12) as the greatest and most probable


threat requiring military action, rather than viewing


conflict as a continuum of escalation, diminution, and


integration of violence levels. There have been


understandable reasons for this focus and the relegation of


LIC behind conventional and nuclear warfare in importance.


Perceived Threat.


Firstly, nations have evolved armed forces for purposes


ranging from the projection of force by violence, to the


possession of force for defence. Nationhood requires at


least the ability to protect the state against the greatest


perceived threat, generally defined as foreign. In most cases


this threat has been seen a loss in the highest level of


conflict: general war. The perceived consequences of such a


loss range from apocalyptic destruction of the country, and


even life on earth, to the loss of statehood and the ability


to implement will. Whatever the real consequences, they are


equated with national survival and too serious to gamble away


with a lack of preparation based on a prediction of the


future level of conflict. The, validity of this proposition is


obvious in the case of the United States, whose principal


threat is seen as the "global challenge posed by the Soviet


Union" (13).


All states must be prepared for war, if only for


survival. Not only can the bi-polar nature of global conflict


enmesh a country without waring or preventive recourse, but


the environment can change unpredictably to pit one country


against another. The recent Falklands War is a case in


point. Such a conflict was constrained to a region, but still


a significant and unexpected war for the participants.


The military strategy of a nation must address high and


mid level conflict as a priority. Nuclear and global war has


been prevented since World War II by deterrence and the


prospect of Pyrrhic victory. Deterrence is a major factor in


the containment of violence and the maintenance of national


security for all countries, nuclear and non-nuclear. It is


essential that, "Our military capabilities and competence


must command respect." (14)


One consequence of the institutionalization of massive


force in support of the established nations, has been the


increased utility of Low Intensity Conflict for the "weak".


Intra-and inter-state antagonists, who wish to avoid the


potentially catastrophic consequences of a direct conflict,


must employ strategy and tactics to remove the advantage of


of military power held by the enemy,i.e., turn a weakness


into a strenghth and vice versa. Such an antagonist, whether


of domestic or international origin, may seek to change the


status quo by engaging the enemy state in an orchestration of


attack, which not only includes low level military conflict,


but political, social, economic and psychological dimensions.


The strategy and tactics of LIC, and in particular


revolution, have evolved in line with the evolution of


conventional military power and the "state system". The


stratagies of LIC are well developed by those groups who do


not possess the power of a state and by those who operate


outside of the state system.


The current utility of LIC has been hightened by the the


great number of world alliances and the bi-polar nature of


global politics. The use of maximum military force against a


weaker state, may be curtailed by the risk of bringing into


the conflict a stronger ally of the enemy or by other factors


which make the prosecution unprofitable at a higher level of




Western Perception of War


A second reason for the Western pre-occupation with high


level conflict over LIC, is rooted in the Western perception


of war. By the turn of the 20th Century, Western democratic


countries were well evolved and progressing on a path of


stable and prosperous nationhood. In most cases the


revolutionary fires of change had been replaced by the


processes of democracy. The West attributed its dynamism and


prosperity to the superiority of its political system; it


still does. The two most catastrophic events that upset this


progress were World War I and World War II. The Western


perception of war points to the waste of resources and the


disruption of evolutionary and peaceful progress. The world


wars changed the status quo of global affairs to the current


bipolarity, reducing the pre-eminence of most Western powers,


such as The United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Perhaps the


only Western power to profit, in any way, from the wars was


the United States. And even then, it was thrust into the


demanding and unenviable role of Western leadership. After


World War II, the spectre of a dismembered Germany reminded


the West of the consequences of losing a war. In the Western


view, whatever good was gained out of the War was gained by


winners. The subsequent development of Japan is a


counterpoint to that view, but has remained over-shadowed by


the nuclear destruction of Japanese cities. This event has


continued to crystalized world attention on the possible fate


of losers in a future high level conflict.


World War II also acted as the catalyst of change and


revolution in the Third World. It accelerated the Third


World towards nationhood and dismembered empires. Eventhough


many of these colonies were no longer profitable to the


colonial powers, the war replaced the Western sense of


evolutionary and paternal change with the fait accompli of


revolution and a demand for self-determination. Consequently,


the West was involved in wars that did not conform to Western


perception, e.g. Algeria and Palestine., Moreover, these wars


could not be won by the tried and tested methods of previous


successes and showed little respect for the military might of


which the West was proud. These wars helped to perfect the


strategies of revolution employed in the LIC environment of




Given this history, it is not surprising that war is


considered a very serious business in the West and generally


unprofitable, regardless of who wins. The Judaic-Christian-


Greco-Roman-Renaissance-Enlightenment-Scientific tradition,


supports this view of war. The West is unlikely to


undertaken war lightly and would rather avoid direct


involvement in LIC.(15). The West will fight for survival and


national interest, but generally only when all other avenues


of resolution have been exhausted, including the avenue of




There are signigicant advantages in engaging a


militarily superior state that is reticent to go to war in a


level of conflict below that perceived as "war". This is


especially if the issues are not initially seen to threaten


state survival. Insurgent strategy aims to exploit this


characteristic by not only debilitating the military


opposition but the national will to fight. This attack was


used to good effect during the Vietnam war in the 1960's and




History of Mediocre Performance


A third reason for the post Vietnam reticence by some


Western nations to address the conduct of LIC was as a result


of the Western defeat in that war. Although the Western


Allies were not defeated militarily, they were never-the-less


defeated politically. The principal conflict of this type


that the West has been able to hold up as a success is the


Malaya Campaign of 1948 to 1959. (16) The relevance of that


campaign for future LIC is arguable. Even in other areas of


LIC, such as peacekeeping, the West has been thwarted more


often than not. (17) No-one willingly chooses a method of


combat in which they believe they are unable to win or in


which they have been hitherto unsuccessful. This is one


reason why TIC has proliferated and insurgency remains a


favoured strategy of potential enemies of the West. It is


also the soundest reason for the West to acquire competence


in LIC, and counter-insurgency in particular


Although formulated in the aftermath of the Vietnam


war, the Australian doctrine for counter-insurgency


operations addresses the danger of surrendering initiative in


the LIC environment and is relevent to the West:


Resolutions to avoid involvement in 'foreign'

or 'internal' wars irrespective of their origin or

motivation will only encourage insidious Communist

expansion. The time will eventually come when a

stand will again have to be taken to contain it

within acceptable limits, probably for reasons of

trade and economics, if not ideological ones.

Inevitably, such a stand will involve containment

of insurgencies. Thus examination of the subject

cannot be swept'aside. It is imperative that an

effective counter to Communist revolutionary

techniques be devised and perfected." (18)



Asia and Latin America contains numerous developing


democratic countries that are involved in counter-insurgency


and require aid from developed Western countries. While


countries such as the US term this aid as Foreign Internal


Defence Operations (19), the nature of the conflicts will


range from terrorism through insurgency to guerrilla warfare


and possibly to the extent of mid-intensity war, as


experienced in Vietnam (20). These conflicts are likely to


threaten the very survival of the state and the level,


quantity, duration, and spirit of the aid must be cognizant


of this fact. The survival of Western democratic states is


entwined with the promotion of stability and the self-


determination of allies, rather than an introspective and


isolationist policy (21). Foreign and defence policies that


are based on principles of "isolationism", "non-alignment",


and purely self-defence, surrender initiative and limit


options in a LIC environment.


Not a Matter of Survival.


Most western democratic countries have yet to experience


the threat of LIC within their own borders. That is, while


LIC may threaten national interest, it has yet to threaten


national survival. These conflicts have been played out


generally in the Third World, with the exception of


terrorism, which is a relatively small, although dramatic,


aspect of the conflict spectrum. However, the possible need


for the conduct of LIC within the democratic state, in the


form of Aid-to-the Civil-Power (22) or counter-insurgency,


should not be overlooked. The need for such a contingency


has been demonstrated in the USA by the call out of National


Guard units to quell civil disturbances, and in the United


Kingdom with the British Army commitment to Northern Ireland.


In Australia, in areas of low threat the most creditable near


term scenarios are those which hypothesise externally


sponsored insurgency and terrorism for limited diplomatic or


economic gains, and as an adjunct of more peaceful


strategies. (23) There are probably few democracies that


contain a society so harmonious that interest or ethnic


groups, desiring separation from the state or a change of


status quo by extra-legal means, do not exist. (24) In the


future such groups may grow in power and violence by


utilizing the international drug trade to an extent requiring


military aid to the police. The drug trade itself may import


the opportunity for foreign inspired insurgency within the


West Appropriate 'till Now!


The final rationale for the state of military


preparedness in Western democracies today, is


appropriateness. Nuclear and conventional global wars have


been prevented since World War II by "deterrence" and the


principle of a balance of power. Instead of seeking to


redress that balance with a quantitative gain, antagonists of


all kinds, have moved towards the other end of the conflict


spectrum to redress the balance with a qualitative


application of violence.


The military in the West moves by evolution rather than


revolution. It is responsive to change providing the change


is perceived or predicted. The West analyses the history of


conflict as a guide for the future. However, it is debateable


whether sufficient effort has been spent on analysing the


future face of conflict as it may be, and as we


intend to make it.







The Western democratic state possesses some inherent


vulnerabilities in the LIC environment. A significant segment


of the revolutionary strategies which operate in this


environment have either evolved or been initiated to exploit


these vulnerabilities. In other aspects of the LIC


environment the tenet of successful operation may be in


contrast to the Western perception of war-fighting and


therefore ignored. This is not to stress that the democratic


state must be forever besieged by insurgency and reactive in


the LIC arena. Many of these vulnerabilities are also found


in non-democratic states and many affect equally the


performance of the state in higher levels of conflict. It is


to stress that these vulnerabilities must be recognized and


taken into consideration in the preparation for, and conduct


of LIC.


The Individual Versus the State


A corners tone of Western democracy is the creation of an


environment in which individual freedom is balanced against


social responsibility. The competing needs of individuals and


the state are resolved by peaceful and institutionalized


means: The democratic state does not discourage dissension,


but recognizes its legitimacy within


the state and the "rules". This characteristic ceases to be a


strength when the means for resolving dissension are


undeveloped, or perceived as inadequate or unfair, i.e., when


the "rules" are considered illegitimate. Then, the inherent


belief in an individual's right to follow will and maximize


potential, coupled with a belief in the legitimacy of


dissension, creates the environment of revolution. The


quandary for the democratic state is that it not only


recognizes the legitimacy of dissent but creates an open and


free society in which dissent may be manipulated into




While the democratic state recognizes the legitimate


right of individuals to revolt against an oppressive state,


it is sustained by a domestic commitment to peaceful change


and is respectful of sovereign integrity. It is difficult to


elicit public support for the promotion of violent revolution


in foreign countries unless exceptional circumstances exist.


The ability of the West to operate with initiative in the LIC


environment may be inhibited by public opinion and some


inherent belief that the "means do not justify the end".


This is particularly true when the nature of an operation


does not fit the Western perception of what is fair or when


the operation is not seen as essential to state survival.


Quite often public opinion will apply presonal or domestic


moral analogy as a guide to the conduct of international


affairs. Other political beliefs are not as constrained by


this juxtaposition, nor operate with the same morality. The


application of communist revolutionary theory can be


particularly pragmatic. (25)


The West must be sympathetic to democratic revolution in


developing countries stifled by corrupt and illegitimate


government and maintained by foreign power. However, rarely


can the West offer the dynamic "quick fix" that


revolutionaries hope to achieve. Many of the problems of the


Third World, unlike those of pre-revolutionary United States


and France, call for an evolutionary change. By definition,


the revolutionary wants dramatic and immediate change and


more often than not, the goal is not democracy. Violent


revolution alone cannot institute nor sustain democracy,


whereas the well-developed and cohesive strategies of


Leninism, Maoism, and the Cuban model, offer the


revolutionary fervour a seemingly easier avenue to goals.


Although it can be argued that revolution is as much a part


of democracy as any other political philosophy, the promotion


of democratic revolution has lagged behind the Communist use


of revolution. In this manner the West is seen as defensive


and reactive, conducting counter-insurgency rather than


insurgency. Efforts to promote such revolution have been


furtive and secretive in a way as to avoid public debate and


the likely debilitation of effort. This procedure in itself


reduces the options and the power that the democratic state


can employ in the conflict. Further-more, if the operation


is discovered then subsequent opposition may be intensified,


and any political embarrassment magnified. Centralized and


totalitarian states are unlikely to be so constrained by


public opinion.


Democratic Public Opinion


The responsiveness of the state to public opinion is the


central strength and appeal of democracy. It is also a


central weakness in the conduct of a sustained and protracted


strategy. Consensus by committee is not necessarily an


efficient way to win a conflict. In a climate of free speech


public opinion is accessible to foreign and internal foes


with their campaigns of disinformation. Uninformed public


opinion is particularly vulnerable to psychological


manipulation, which in turn can motivate a population to


rebel, reject or acquiesce, and can undermine the will of the


opposition and their supporters.


In the conduct of LIC abroad, a democratic population


may fail to identify the conflict as akin to a "war". It may


fail to appreciate the long term consequences of losing the


conflict and it may not believe it deserving of a total or


large commitment, especially over a protracted time. This is


because the modern Western perception of war does not embrace


war, or indeed conflict, as a natural condition of mankind.


Instead, democratic societies view war as an aberration in


which the expenditure of resources is rarely profitable


regardless of the outcome. Hence, war or anything resembling


it is under-taken with much public debate. And in a


democracy it requires the support of the people to divert


resources from constructive use to a substantial war effort.


Often public opinion dictates that the conduct of war be


geared towards achieving a favourable and efficient result as


quickly as possible. To this end, the short-term application


of superior force is considered a valid strategy. But if the


threat is not directly seen to immediately endanger the


democratic population itself, then it will be reticent to


support a protracted conflict which is perceived as another's


fight and appears unwinnable. If this perception includes a


doubt as to the moral and ethical right of the nation to


conduct the conflict then democratic support will be


difficult to attain or maintain.


The proliferation of the mass media and supporting


technology will increasingly bring the actions of government


and its agencies, such as the army, under public scrutiny.


This scrutiny is likely to be conducted without all the facts


of a situation and from an environment often far removed from


the action.


The Short Term Outlook


The philosophical outlook of a democratic society


contains a certain hedonism which has been acquired as an


extension of individualism and the relative material


prosperity gained following World War II. The hedonistic view


tends to shorten the outlook towards achievable and tangible


rewards within the short term. When this domestic short-


sightedness is coupled with the frequent election of state


officials, then it is even more difficult to maintain a long


term and cohesive stance in the LIC environment. Assuredly,


this process of change allows the redress of performance,


however this positive aspect must be balanced with the virtue


of "persistence" which is required in all endeavours.




The need for tangible reward is reflected in that aspect


of capitalism requiring a discernible and substantial profit


from every endeavour. In the extreme this motive limits state


foreign policy and the expenditure of resources in the


conduct of seemingly "unprofitable conflict". While this


concern balances adventurism and encourages state


accountability, it can prevent an effective counter to the


opposing strategies of protracted conflict. (26) It may


dictate the use of inappropriate and expedient measures that


exacerbate the root causes of the conflict, and indeed prove


the conflict to have been unprofitable. The provision of


security assistance funds tied to a design of short term


material profit is unlikely to assist a Third World country.


If the provision of foreign aid is in effect designed to


exploit the beleaguered country rather than build self-


sufficiency, then it is more likely to exacerbate the


conflict. After all, this is one of the practices that


created the present instability within the Third World.


Cultural Arrogance


Another inhabiting factor for Western democracies in


conducting LIC outside of their own immediate defence is


their "cultural arrogance". This arrogance is as a result of


their relative strength and prosperity in comparison to most


of the countries in which the LIC environment is likely to


arise, particularly the Third World. It may also be manifest


by a strong belief that it is the superiority of their


democratic system, over and above geographical and historic


luck, that has given rise to this strength and prosperity.


This is in part human nature, but it can lead to poor


performance in the LIC environment if this attitude is not


understanding of the root causes of the conflict and neither


sympathetic nor respectful of the local allies. It can lead


to a dictatorial and patronizing approach that fails to


recognize the need for self-determination and the development


of an internal solution. It can embroil the supporting


country in a protracted conflict and foreign occupation akin


to neo-colonialism.


It may also be argued that the Western attitude towards


the problems of the Third World is tinged with a "guilt


complex" because of the disparity in wealth and the past


and present exploitation of these countries by the West. Such


an attitude is vulnerable to manipulation and emotionalism


which inhibits a rational approach to LIC.


A further extension of "Western cultural arrogance" may


be the attempt to impose a Western solution as a template on


a problem that must be solved within a regional context of


culture and history. A templated solution may be proffered as


a condition of domestic support from within the Western


state. It may not be enough that the supporting forces and


statesmen be understanding of the local situation, but public


opinion from abroad must be supportive. This is difficult to


obtain if the beleaguered country is anything but a clone of


the supporting state's perception of democracy. It appears an


ironic quirk of democratic public opinion that it can respect


a "winner" as a logical validation of democracy's just reward


and secretly scorn a loser as unworthy, and still it can be


ernoted to sympathy for an underdog and disrespect for state


leadership. The need is for education and information to


remove the destabilizing effects of emotional public response


on the conduct of state and the prosecution of conflict.


Willingness to Compromise


As the peaceful resolution of conflict has been


institutionalized within the democratic state, so has the


process of compromise grown in favour. When this


characteristic is coupled with other factors, such as the


state's reticence to enter a war or engage in seemingly


unprofitable endeavours, then it is susceptible to the facade


of "reasonableness". This strategy forces confrontation to a


point below that of war and relents with an offer of


compromise that takes a very small objective. The process is


repeated until the state has been debilitated by degrees.


This is an ancient covert tactic. The defense is manoeuvre


and counter-nibble or dogmatism and escalation, or a


combination of both. If at some point in LIC the state and


the democratic population must be committed to offense, it is


best before the battle begins. The state's ultimate defense


is still its ability and willingness to wage war at so high a


level that the enemy risks defeat in combat.


A State for Peace


Perhaps the greatest inhibition that the democratic


state posses in the LIC environment, or any war environment,


is the fact that the democratic state is designed for peace


and not war. it respects and values life in this world and


aims to maximize the potential of that life. it has


difficulty in comprehending and therefore countering those


philosophies that preach destabilization in perpetuity, (27)


and that use it as a tactic to achieve goals. The West has


largely outgrown the need for martyrdom, outside of war.


Western democratic armies reflect their society and also


the strengths and weaknesses of those societies. it is beyond


the scope of this paper to enumerate those weaknesses but it


suffices that many of the characteristics of men and


organizations vital for success in war are not readily


fostered within a peacetime environment. As that peacetime


environment is prolonged the more difficult it is to maintain


the art of warfare and to focus on the skills for success in


battle. In short, an army may be debilitated by peace. With


only small wars to contest, the West may forget or ignore the


practice and lessons of high level conflict. Already, many of


the soldiers and officers have no real experience in war.


There is a danger that higher level conflict may be regarded


as an academic theory while the practice of lower level


conflict may debilitate forces and distort tactics and


strategy beyond usefulness in the next war.




The utility of LIC and the West's poor performance


hitherto in this level of conflict is justification for the


preparation of an army for future LIC. In order to balance


this preparation against other competing needs a realistic


assessment of the future face of conflict is required. It is


possible to derive from the extrapolation of history and


current trends some probable scenarios of the future. It must


be realized that the generic grouping of the "West" precludes


the examination of the minutia of each country and its


relationships which is necessary to gain a "truer" vision of


the future. However, the dynamism and multitude of variable


factors should dictate a general view of the future, rather


than one that ties the preparation for future conflict to a


specific scenario. This is not to prevent the formulation of


contingency planning but rather to maintain the inherent


flexibility necessary for responding to the constant review


of contingency planning that must take place. The state will


need to maintain in all departments those multitude of area


experts that play "what if? games".


Bearing this in mind, the following prediction on the


future of LIC is a useful start point:


The next twenty years will be a period of

small conflicts--wars of opposition dr liberation,

wars fuelled within or as proxies of larger powers,

conflicts below the level of war but with the power

to topple nations or cripple governments.

...The future does not offer the prospect of

less conflict than the past: in fact, the political

entropy we face suggests an increasing breakdown of

the established order and thus more, smaller

conflicts. (28)



While it is probable that in the near term LIC will


continue to be the most likely level of conflict, it is


unrealistic to view it in isolation. In some regions LIC will


occur in isolation, but it is also likely to spill over the


boundaries of its definition and equally likely to occur in


concert with a higher level of conflict. If LIC is viewed as


an entity in isolation, then the resultant response is to


seek a solution in specialization of forces, strategy, and


tactics, whether such a response is appropriate or not. If


recent history is indeed a trend, then LIC will continue in


concert with at least mid-intensity conflict. Since 1975


there have been twelve conflicts involving substantial


commitments of conventional forces. (29) The concept of a


general army should not be precluded so early. (30)


Perhaps a scenario that better expresses the concept of


multi-dimensional and inter-related conflict lies within this




The three components of armed conflict-

conventional war, guerrilla war, and terrorism-

will coexist in the future, with both governments

and subnational groups employing them individually,

interchangeably, sequentially, or simultaneously,

as well as being required to combat them...

Warfare in the future will be less

destructive than the first half of the twentieth

century, but less coherent.

Warfare will cease to be finite. The distinction

between war and peace will dissolve...

...Armed conflict will not be confined by

national frontiers. ...

With continuous, sporadic armed conflict,

blurred in time and space, waged on several levels

by a large array of national and subnational forces,

warfare in the last quarter of the twentieth century

will come to resemble warfare in the Italian

Renaissance or warfare in the early seventeenth

century, before the emergence of national armies. (31)



There is no doubt that man will posses the means of


technology to wage conflict in a truly multidimensional and


multi-level manner across the globe. (32) But states are only


likely to do so if it is to their advantage and they can


maintain control of the battle. It is debatable that a state


will embark on such a strategy if it is likely to lead to the


type of anarchy portrayed in the above prediction. Such


turmoil could easily bring about the uncontrolled use of


nuclear weapons. While sub-national groups may not be so


constrained by the fear of identification, reprisal and


anarchy, they must first obtain the resources necessary to


project significant violence and it must be possible to


fulfil their objectives by this action.


Herein lies a fundamental fact of future conflict: Until


such time as a method of sure nuclear defence renders nuclear


weapons obsolete then conflict will be conducted in their


shadow. The variable is whether the present system of


restraint emplaced by deterrence and the state system will


remain valid.


It is also true that the increasing inter-relationship


of states makes it highly unlikely that regional wars will


remain exclusively regional affairs. At least in the near


future the Soviet Union will continue to seek global


expansion and the United States will oppose it and promote


"The growth of freedom, democratic institutions, and free


market economies throughout the world." (33) This bipolarity


is likely to be challenged, if not eroded, by the economic


rise of such countries as Japan and China (34) in the twenty-


first century. The rise of these countries will introduce new


factors and further complicate the conduct of conflict.


This increased complication will also be as a result of


changes in technology that give the super-powers the ability


to control seemingly "incoherent warfare" with improved


sensors, communications and information processing. This


technology will flow to minor powers and subnational groups


and be coupled with a world-wide diffusion of advanced


weapons (35), including nuclear weapons. This development is


likely to reduce the stability of the current international


system and to remove some of the inhibitions currently


preventing the escalation of LIC. For example, an


antagonistic Third World country may see the utility in


employing one tactical nuclear bomb against an enemy instead


of a long and debilitating border conflict or an expensive


conventional war which it can not afford. Furthermore, it


may well reason that an ally of the enemy, such as the USA


or the USSR, will not risk "mutually assured destruction"


over a country not vital to their survival. The same logic


will apply to the future use of chemical and biological


weapons. The increased likelihood of terrorism and the


probability that high-technology weapons will be acquired or


provided to subnational groups will be a destabilizing and


complicating factor in future conflict. (36) A terrorist act


may well precipitate not LIC but general war.


It appears that as the world plays "catch up" the lesser


powers will increasingly gain the ability to wage a higher


level of warfare outside of the constraints which prevent


such conflict today. Countries will move towards the military


power once only the domain of the developed states.


Conversely, the super-powers will move into technology, such


as "stealth" aircraft, directed energy, and space systems,


that allows them the option of more discriminating violence


(37) by precision conventional weapons as opposed to the


bludgeon of nuclear force.


It is in front of this backdrop that deterrence based on


"mutually assured destruction" must be re-evaluated as it has


global implications for all countries, particularly those who


perceive their interests entwined with an effective strategic


balance (38). It also effects the preparation of an army for


LIC as it cannot be undertaken oblivious to other threats.


Particularly as these threats may lurk beneath the surface of


a LIC scenario. It is likely that the threat of massive


nuclear retaliation will not alone deter the use of nuclear


or conventional forces in the future unless such use was


directed against the very survival of the countries that


possesses them. (39) It is unlikely that such a threat can be


translated into action in the case where tactical nuclear


weapons are employed in gaining a limited objective or where


the enemy cannot be clearly identified and isolated. The


threat of mutually assured destruction is now less


credible. (40) It is based on an extreme contingency and is


not cognizant of the need for discriminating responses to


other contingencies. A strategy must comprehensively counter


all the enemy's options. No longer is nuclear or general war


confined to the monolithic nature of previous perception.


LIC is to continue in the Third World where an imbalance


of conditions are such that an acceptable status quo has yet


to be achieved. But there are likely to be scenarios of LIC


within developed countries(41) as the complexity of these


societies balance new needs and challenges. Challenges such


as overpopulation, the assimilation of large ethnic groups,


resource shortages, and the threat of pollution or diseases


like AIDS. LIC will continue to be a tool of interstate


competition in much the same way as economics and diplomacy


are tools. It will be employed by those groups without


the power of statehood and those who seek to establish trans-


national influence.


There will continue to be peacetime contingencies that


arise unexpectedly and the need to employ military forces in


peacekeeping functions. The preparation of an army for these


scenarios must be integrated into the preparation of the army


for both mid and high level conflict. Both remain a greater


threat and only by being prepared to conduct both are they


kept as a less likely threat than LIC. In the rationale of


Discriminate Deterrence:


Our strategy must also be integrated. We should

not decide in isolation questions about new technology,

force structure, mobility and bases, conventional

and nuclear arms, extreme threats and Third World

conflicts. We need to fit together our plans and

forces for a wide range of conflicts, from the lowest

intensity and highest probability to the most

apocalyptic and least likely. (42)








A Definition


Insurgency is ... a struggle between a

non-ruling group and the ruling authorities in which

the former consciously uses political resources and

violence to either destroy or regormulate the basis

of ligitimacy for aspects of politics that the non-

ruling group believes illigitimate under existing

conditions." (1)

Insurgency is a common basis for many of the LIC


Insurgency is a common basis for many of the LIC


scenarios in which the West will be involved. It requires a


qualitative fighting relevant to war in general which


warrants the study of all military professionals regardless


of background.


Insurgency is a revolt or rebellion against the


government of a state by elements of the state. It is


primarily conducted within a country, but it may also be


fought in dimensions outside of the state, such as in the


international media. While the root causes that give rise to


insurgency are nearly always domestic, they may be exploited


by an external state or inhibited by external force. Thus,


insurgency may have both interstate and intrastate factors.


The balance of power generally favours the government in the


intital stages of insurgency, thus forcing the insurgents to


utilize a strategy that reduces the advantage of the


government's superior military forces (2) and progressively


debilitates that advantage. The insurgent will undertake


concurrent and coordinated action in the dimensions of the


economic, political, psychological, and social fabric of a


society to redress the balance of power.


In a few cases, the active demonstration of insurgency


may be the catalyst to release pent-up oppression that


quickly redresses the balance of power. This is often the


vision and rhetoric of the idealist insurgent, who imbued


with a mixture of ideologies, sees a spontaneous uprising of


the masses under his leadership. It is generally harder to


overthrow an established status quo unless the "revolution"


springs from some major catasrophe to a society. A protracted


effort is normally required to effect a successful






The basis for the successful fostering or prevention of


insurgency lies in an understanding of the causes of revolt.


Some of the fundamental causes are: (3)


* social inequality;


* poverty;


* religious differences;


* ethnic, tribal and racial differences and rivalry;


* rapid change,e.g. from rural agricultural


* environment to the urbanization often associated


with industrialization;


* disruption of traditional customs and values;


* lack of progress and opportunity in economic,


* technological, educational and social aspects;


* overpopulation;


* a catastrophe;


* foreign threat or domination, and nationalism: and


* ideological beliefs, which can be ruled as secular,


* religious, ethnic, or cultural.


The presence of any or all of these conditions does not


necessarily precipitate revolt. There must be a belief that


a better condition is possible. This belief is a perception


of relative deprivation (4) or "rising expectations". If men


believe themselves deprived or want "more", then they will


look at the government or another society and decide whether


their condition is as a result of the government policies and


the social structure from which it comes. It is ironic that


men often fail to accept their condition as a result of their


own doing or that of fate/luck. It is not divine intervention


that some governments are so actively aligned with religion


stressing the inevitability of higher design in the state of




For an insurgency to persist and grow there are normally


contributing weaknesses within the government, such as:


* corruption and discrimination,


* inertia or over-reaction,


* maladministration and incompetence,


* unstable political system, and


* foreign manipulation and exploitation.


If the country's problems are as a result of its former


history or paucity of resources, it may be beyond immediate


solution by even a well-meaning government. It is difficult


to redress problems that have built over centuries if the


state has nothing of material value. It is then reliant on


charity and foreign investment and in effect gives up


sovereign determination for survival. Any combination of


these causes may accelerate the swell of uprising, especially


if a precedent can be found to illustrate the successful


redress of similar problems by revolution.




Once a basis of insurgency exists then its success or


failure is dependent on the following factors;(5)


* organization and leadership,


* cohesion,


* environment,


* popular support,


* external support,


* government response, and


* time.


Organization and Leadership.


The basis for initiating and exploiting dissent is a


cohesive and adequate organization under the leadership of


politically and militarily astute leaders. Depending on the


ultimate goals and the environment, the organization may be


conspiratorial or mobilizational. Whatever the size it must


be adequate to conduct the battle and eventually capable of


running the state. Its size must be consistent with the need


to initially operate covertly and to maintain cohesion of


effort. It will undoubtedly grow with success and increasing


responsibility. It will need intelligence to retain


initiative and will need to infiltrate the government


infrastructure to gain both intelligence and fazmiliarity with


the running of government. Once within the governmental


organizations, it may act like a cancer. It may usurp the


functions of government from within or establish an


alternative and parallel government.




It will be a task for the insurgent leadership to


establish, maintain, and expand a unity of purpose within the


movement. The leadership will initially exploit the various


motives for revolt and weave them into a common goal and


strategy. The leadership will require flexibility in playing


up cohesive elements and playing down divisive ones. It will


be necessary to reconcile internal differences and in order


to attract wide popular support some dissimilar groups may


have to be courted. Of ten, membership may be conferred only


by a mutual hatred of the government. In the quest for group


unity the leadership will have to be careful not to


compromise the consistency of ideals, means, and goals.


Often the real goals of the leadership are camouflaged


beneath more palatable aims in order to win popular support


and to disguise the real threat the insurgency poses.




The insurgent needs both a favourable physical and


demographic environment in which to operate. It must be easy


for the insurgent to physically disappear into the terrain


to avoid decisive battle with the government. He must posses


and maintain an advantage of relative mobility over the


government. The environment must provide for the concealment


of bases and it must be suitable for guerrilla warfare. It


should provide an opportunity for progressive domination.


Jungle, mountains and cities provide such terrain, although


insurgency has also been effected in open and dessert




Likewise the insurgent must blend in with the general


population so that the government will be forced to consider


all of its citizens as potential enemies. The government may


even be goaded into severe and draconian measures to control


the population which will exacerbate root causes and move the


popular support towards the insurgent. The insurgent will try


to exploit social cleavages within the society to break down


the existing homogeneity and cohesion of will to resist.


Popular Support.


The support of the people is the singular most important


factor in determining the success of the insurgency. This


support is either active or passive. (6) If the population is


actively in support of the cause then it will provide


material, intelligence, medical aid, shelter and recruits for


the cause. In this manner, the initial advantage the


government enjoyed by possessing the police, army and


institutionalized resources will be balanced. Passive


supporters are also important as they do not betray the


insurgents and aid the government. The means by which an


insurgency might gain popular support are: (7)


* charismatic attraction;


* ideological appeal;


* focus attention on real problems;


* terrorism for coercion, fragmentation of


social rifts, and alienation of impotent




* provoking oppressive and indiscriminate government


responses; and


* demonstrating possession of the initiative by


providing for the peoples' needs and military




External Support


External support to an insurgency is critical to help


offset the advantage of the government. This is usually in


the form of moral and political support, material,


sanctuaries, and in some cases the provision of covert


operations. The insurgent is particularly vulnerable to


manipulation by external forces through the provision of this




Government Response


The correct government response will be the conduct of


counter-insurgency operations, which will be addressed in the


following section. It should be noted that despite the


ambiguity of the enemy, he does not automatically possess the


initiative within insurgency. After all, the government


possesses the balance of power and if it acts with a cohesive


and responsive strategy it may undermine or destroy the


revolt in its infancy. Quite often it is not the insurgents


that win power but the government that gives it up. A


government should not give up its option of coercive violence


to eliminate insurgency. Within democracies, this option


normally carries the restriction that the application of


force will be discriminating and surgical.


Insurgent intention is to develop power covertly until


it is capable of standing on its own. Then the use of that


power is to destroy the government in a time, place, and


manner favourable to the insurgent. Therefore, the government


must be kept in reactive and over-reactive modes. It must be


forced to defend everywhere and to undertake policies that


not only eat up vigor but magnify the root causes of the


conflict. It must be made to look inept and not deserving of


legitimacy. Wherever possible it must be alienated from


external support.




In most cases, insurgency is a strategy of protracted


effort. It requires time to insinuate an infrastructure and


to develop a cohesive and comprehensive strategy and


organization. It takes time to debilitate the government and


to change the balance of power unless the government is


already on the verge of collapse. It is during this time that


the government may seize the initiative or the very root


causes of the dissension may be resolved by evolutionary


change. Timing for the insurgent is critical. He cannot


afford to show his hand before he is able to move events in


the direction of his goals. It is debatable that rebellion is


spontaneous unless the root causes are already present and


smouldering, awaiting the fan of some traumatic event to


substantially remove the inbibiting factors. Rarely can an


insurgent bring to bear that traumatic event in the initial


phase of insurgency.


Types of Insurgency


An examination of the varying types of insurgency


reveals that western democracy need not always be defensive


in this area of conflict. There are opportunities for the


fostering of insurgency within an illegitimate regime. The


types of insurgency as defined by bard E. O'Neill in


"The Analysis of Insurgency", are:


* Secessionist - to withdraw from one state and


establish a new state.


* Democratic - to establish a democratic state.


* Revolutionary - to impose a new governmental and


social structure based on egalitarian values and


central control. It is designed to mobilize the




* Restorational - to re-impose a recent traditional


order. e.g. often based on elitism and




* Reactionary - to re-institute an historical order


from the distant past which is deemed responsible




* Conservative - to maintain the status quo in the


face of an impending change.


* Reformist - to change elements of the status quo


in order to remove discrimination.


* Anarchistic - to eliminate all institutionalized




Insurgent Strategy.


Each insurgency is unique to the time, place and


circumstances and must be appreciated as such. However, there


are four broad strategic models (9) that insurgents generally


adopt and vary for their purposes, often combining;


* Leninist,


* Maoist,


* Foco (Cuban), and


* Urban.




In this strategy, a small and well-disciplined


conspiratorial group form a party to exploit grievances that


have largely alienated elements of the population from the


government. The insurgent purpose is normally revolutionary,


and it is not incompatible with other goals. The party will


seek support from discontented groups, such as the working


class or even the military itself. It does not seek to bring


the general population into the running of the government,


but it will mobilize segments for mass support in riots and


demonstrations. This strategy is normally effected in the


vicinity of the economic and political power bases in the


urban centres.


Leninist strategy assumes large scale disaffection from


a government which can no longer be assured of military and


police loyalty. It requires a government that will collapse


in the face of strong opposition, such as terrorism and mass


demonstrations, and no longer holds a balance of power. This


condition can occur as a result of the actions of the


movement or by other factors which it exploits. Most states


are not particularly susceptible to this strategy unless


inherently weak or at a debilitated stage. Debilitation may


follow a catastrophe or the prolonged application of another


insurgent strategy such as the Maoist strategy. It is not


surprising therefore that some revolutions are touted as


Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. This is an expression that an elite


leadership hope to overthrow the government by mobilizing the


populace but not to the extent that the general populace will


share in the governing process. That function is to be


effected on its behalf by a self-perpetuating elitist party,


which, by its own definition, knows what is best for society.




Maoist strategy is by far the most practical and


developed insurgent strategy, and it has been the most


successful in application. China and Vietnam are the shining


examples of its success. It is the most likely and perhaps


dangerous strategy that the West will confront in the Third




The Maoist strategy assumes that the government is in a


superior position of power and that it is well entrenched and


unlikely to fall without a protracted and significant effort.


It is a strategy to fight "out-numbered and win". It effects


this victory by a phased battle in which the government is


debilitated by degrees through conflict in areas and means


in which it is not strong. Each phase precipitates the next


as the battle is logically extended. The strategy may


escalate or diminish, the conflict depending on the


conditions. The strategy is heavily reliant on the factors of


organization and leadership, popular support, suitable


environment, and time.


The strategy is conducted in three main phases;


* Phase One-Passive Phase: (also referred to as


"political organization-terrorist" or "latent and incipient


insurgency" phase,) In this phase the insurgent organization


and infrastructure is emplaced. Within a democracy this phase


may go unnoticed, appearing as the normal friction that


occurs during peaceful competition. A communist regime


regularly purges itself of dissension. (10)) The phase is


characterized by Political and social action designed to


exploit the seeds of discontent and isolate the people from


the government The phase concludes with increased violence


in the form of sabotage, small scale raids and terrorism.


* Phase Two-Active Phase: ("guerrilla warfare"


phase.) In the active phase the utilization of violence is


increased to the extent of guerrilla warfare. The battle is


continued in all dimensions to make the government defend


everywhere (11) and disperse its efforts. The guerrilla stage


establishes the basis of a more substantial military


organization and effort. The establishment of this base is


dependent upon how much of the military resources belonging


to the government can be usurped and captured, or how much


can be provided by external support. In Third World countries


where neither government nor insurgent initially possesses


significant military resources, then the provision of


external support to one or the other may have a decisive


affect on the outcome of the conflict.


* Phase Three-Counter-Offensive Phase: ("mobile-


conventional warfare" or "war of movement" phase.) When it is


evident that the military balance has swung in favour of the


insurgent, the guerrilla warfare is supplemented with mobile


warfare. Towards the end of the insurgency the military


dimension may resemble limited war. The multi-dimensional


and multi-level strategy, as applied in the Vietnam war, will


be maintained throughout the struggle: "Not only does the


counter insurgent have to defend everywhere he must fight in


two types of conflict." (12) When the government is facing


conventional warfare then it is close to defeat. It is in


this condition of desperation that the government may seek


the intervention of substantial outside support, such as


combat forces, from the Western block. It is this situation


that the West needs to avoid by the earlier provision of


support commensurate with preventing the escalation of


conflict. The alternate strategy is to allow deterioration of


the situation and the formation of visible insurgent forces


against which the superior conventional force of the


government and the supporting Western country can be brought


to bear. This form of brinkmanship may have application


within the overall strategy of counter-insurgency, but it is


a risk. It will still require fighting the insurgency back


through the phases as it withdraws to a level of conflict in


which it can survive and recuperate for the next bout. It may


be an enforced strategy by a public opinion that requires


crisis motivation.


The three phases can be identified in most insurgent's


strategy, Maoist or otherwise. In many cases the insurgent's


strategy and appeal is such that it fails to move past the


first phase and remains a permanent aggravation within the


society, oscillating from peaceful competition to acts of


subversion and terrorism. In other cases, what commences as


insurgency escalates quickly to civil war, foreign


intervention and war. It should be noted that the concluding


stage of Maoist insurgency is not confined to LIC but more in


the realm of mid-intensity conflict.


Foco (Cuban)


A variation of the Maoist strategy is that provided by


the Cuban model and Che Guevara (13). Instead of relying on a


revolutionary condition to arise, this strategy is based on


accelerating the process by giving whatever grievances that


exist a catalyst. That catalyst is not a political party but


the existence of armed revolt by a core of guerrillas. The


party and leadership is to spring from this core, the


guerrilla foco. Like a rolling snowball the conduct of


guerrilla warfare is to stimulate the conditions and progress


of revolution.


The appeal of this strategy is that it is easier to


initiate and requires less organizational groundwork, time


and external support. The revolution can be highly visible


from the start, where the populace are disenchanted and the


government weak: such action may be enough to quickly force


capitulation or concessions. It is easy to start an


insurgency with this strategy in undeveloped countries, among


simple rural populations, in countries with difficult terrain


and where the population is susceptible to emotional appeal.


It is harder to bring it to a success against a government


that holds centralized control of the economy, military and


politics, unless the groups that hold that sway defect to the


insurgent cause. Equally, an insurgent would have difficulty


in establishing the organization and infrastructure of Maoist


strategy under these conditions. Insurgents that lack the


patience, sophistication and opportunity required for Maoist


strategy are likely to attempt the Cuban model with


significant external support. This strategy is unlikely to be


successful without this support.




The urban model is really the employment of terrorism


within the urban areas to destabilize society and government.


The object is to create crises in which the inactivity or


over-reaction of the government alienates the population. Due


to the complexity of cities and the freedom and anonymity


possible within Western democratic cities in particular, it


is relatively easy to create chaos. It is debatable whether


this action alone is sufficient to carry insurgency to


victory. It is more an adjunct to other strategy; tying


forces to urban protection and creating paranoia and fear


that inhibits the logical and cohesive response of the


government in other areas. Since it uses terror, a double


edged tactic, it is also subject to alienating the


population. It may focus attention on matters and indirectly


bring about change, but it is not a comprehensive strategy as


yet. If, however, urban insurgents were to acquire nuclear,


chemical or biological weapons then they might constitute the


most serious threat to both society and the government This


is true for any insurgent acquiring an NBC capability.




As in all areas of conflict, the methods by which an


insurgent may attempt to overthrow a government are only


limited by imagination and resources. Insurgency can be


defeated by the West, but more importantly prevented, both at


home and abroad as long as it is acknowledged as a potential


threat. Most insurgency that is serious enough to warrant


military action will be in one of the Maoist classic phases


when action is undertaken. But it should be noted that


insurgency can rapidly escalate or diminish depending on the


fortunes of the struggle. It can retreat to a state of


peaceful competition and is unlikely to be definitively


destroyed while the root causes exist.


It is not the intention of the West to expand its


interests by global of non-democratic states. But it must


look seriously at supporting revolt against illegitimate


governments imposed against the will of their people by


external forces. The conduct of insurgency in this case is a


matter of foreign policy and will include Unconventional


Warfare, which may be conducted as LIC or in conjunction with


a higher level of war. It is not the scope of this paper to


examine the specialized aspects of UW.





The doctrine of counter-insurgency is both well


developed and documented. (14) Now that insurgency is


recognized as a more creditable threat then the doctrine is


increasingly read and studied. Most nations have underway


serious programmes to translate this doctrine into


preparedness. The second half of this paper will largely deal


with the problem of appropriate preparedness and the


practical application of doctrine. Much of the doctrine of


counter-insurgency is only an adaptation of basic


war-fighting. It is therefore relevant to not only the whole


spectrum of LIC, but not dissimilar to war-fighting in


general. This point is not always understood or accepted by


those who lean towards specialization in all ventures.


For Western nations counter-insurgency is conducted


within two theatres: at home and abroad. The likelihood of


nation is minimal, although should not be discounted. For


example, a small scale foreign incursion, resembling


insurgency, has been for many years touted as the most likely


threat to Australia. (15) While the USA possesses the National


Guard as the basis of military aid to local government (16)


other nations utilize the army as Aid-to-the-Civil-Power.


The conduct of these operations is similar to counter-


insurgency in principle and doctrine. An indigenous force may


be aiding the police force in the conduct of limited


counter-insurgency and also receive economic aid to redress


the root causes of the problem. In an escalated situation


security forces may be assisted by forces from a neighbouring


country conducting counter-guerrilla warfare in a border


region. The problem is not one of semantics but of objective


The goal of all participants must be one and the same; defeat


the counter-insurgency and restore stability to the stage.


Along the way the interests of nation building and national


interest may be achieved.


Basis of Success.


The basis of success in counter-insurgency is found in


the follow principles; (17)


* Prevention of counter-insurgency is the ultimate


objective Prevention lies in monitoring all facets of the


state to address problejns before they emerge or being


responsive to them as they are identified. This objective is


achieved by balanced nation building and the institution of


responsive government


* Mobilization of the entire national resources must


be undertaken in a co-ordinated manner once insurgency is


identified to prevent the escalation of the conflict.


* The support of the population must be obtained.


* Control over all areas untouched by the insurgent


must be consolidated or established.


* The insurgent must be isolated, physically and




* The insurgent must be destroyed or brought to


iustice in a systematic manner.


* The conduct of the operation must be in accordance


with the constitution, laws and culture of the country. In


most cases this will be in accordance with the primacy of


civil power, unless special legislation has been enacted.


If foreign assistance is to be required, then it


must be complementary to the local strategy and be aimed at


building self-sufficiency and not dependency. Such aid,


however, is better requested before the onset of crisis.


During and after the insurgency, efforts must be


undertaken to remove the root causes of the insurgency.


Strategic Principles


The following principles should guide the conduct of


military operations without inhibiting the application of


sound military tactics: (18)


* Unity of Effort. The strategy must encompass a


cohesive and well co-ordinated response across all dimensions


of the state and throughout the organizations responsible for


effecting it. The effort will be a joint military-civil


action and may include combined forces. Responsibilities must


be understood from the beginning and the appropriate


integration of commands and liaison established. The


military effort must always be seen to reflect the national


goals and be supportive of the government. All participants


must thoroughly understand the national, strategic and


tactical objectives to be achieved.


* Maximize Intelligence. The acquisition and timely


response to intelligence is vital in counter-insurgency. An


integrated and centrally controlled system must be


established, but it must be efficient and allow for tactical


initiative. Intelligence includes the thorough appreciation


of the enemy, the allied forces and the environment, both


geography and demography. This appreciation must pass to the


lowest level in the chain of command.


* Minimize Violence. This principle is probably the


least understood of not only counter-insurgency, but LIC in


general. It is best explained to the conventional military


mind as an extension of using an "economy of force". where


ever possible, only that amount of force necessary to achieve


the objective should be used. In some LIC doctrine this is


expressed a "minimal force". However, when translated to the


tactical level this often imposes a dangerous and inhibiting


perception. Both in war and LIC the military must understand


the advantages and disadvantages employing maximum force or


minimum force. Western armies must be imbued with the ethos


that the use and level of violence must be justified by the


circumstances. Both in LIC, and war in general, the object


must be the application of force in the appropriate quantity


against the target of choosing when and where decided. The


nature of the LIC environment normally dictates the surgical


application of force. The requirement to prevent escalation


and to protect non-combatants from injury must be stressed


and enforced throughout the organization. In some cases the


principle of "minimum force" may be incorporated in Rules of


Engagement, while in other cases it may be appropriate to


established a free fire zone.


* Security. All operations must be conducted in the


realization that the enemy may strike anywhere and anytime


and with considerable imagination. It is difficult for this


security consciousness not to be manifest by a paranoia. It


must be balanced with the circumstances of the threat and not


prevent the normal functioning of the state and life in


general. Security of information, personnel, and material is


vital to avoid attrition of resources and to seize initiative


from the enemy and in turn surprise him. Security must cover


both overt and covert enemy activity.


* Systematic Approach. The counter-insurgency must be


undertaken systematically. Unless the insurgent is inept or


over-confident, then the government is unlikely to be


presented with the opportunity for a coup de main or grace.


While the government must seize the initiate where ever


possible, this should be within the "framework" (19) of a


systematic plan of prevention, identification, isolation,


destruction, and consolidation. The insurgent will tempt the


government to over-react in a haphazard and uncoordinated


manner. The biggest problem for the government will be a


shortage of resources to effect a systematic programme


simultaneously throughout the state. The government will be


forced to consolidate positions of strength and expand from


this base while conducting operations in depth in other


areas. Operations in depth are designed to remove the


initiative from the enemy and prepare the area for the


introduction of a more systematic approach when increased


resources become available.


* Seize and Retain the Initiative. This principle is


a tenet of all conflict. Government action must contain


an effective offensive plan. Initiative is retained in this


level of conflict by well trained and mature soldiers in the


field who have a thorough understanding of their


responsibility and what is to be achieved. Centralized


control and co-ordination of effort must not inhibit the


initiative of those in the field. This point must be stressed


in the utilization of intelligence. The West has not always


been effective in the timely dissemination of appropriate


intelligence to the right level. Intelligence overload has


been a common problem. This can be addressed with data


processing systems and advanced communications that links the


man in the field with central banks of collated information


almost instantaneously. These systems are employed daily by


modern police forces.


* Quality of Force. The government forces must be


able to outlast, outfight and outmove the insurgents. The


forces must be trained and conditioned to beat the insurgents


man for man in the insurgents' environment and with the same


equipment if necessary. If a force can achieve this then it


will understand what is required to give it a true advantage.


For example, a helicopter may not give an advantage of


relative mobility in primary jungle where as a better boot


may. To this nature of force is added the necessary


equipment, weapons, mobility, administration, communications,


and command, and, if required, superior quantity. The


insurgent may then retain only one hope, a greater will to


fight. As in all conflict, the will to fight is a critical


variable. The indigenous and allied forces of the government


must possess at least a will to fight equal to the


insurgents. Wherever possible, indigenous forces should


engage the insurgents in combat as the fight is for the


survival of their state and they should have a better


understanding of the situation. This principle is reinforced


by other considerations such as external public support and


the laws of supporting states. The philosophy that "more is


better" should not be the maxim of counter-insurgency. The


state will win if it fields a superior quantity and quality


of forces in conjunction with an equal and co-ordinated


effort in the other areas of government.


* Surprise. Offensive action alone will not gain the


government initiative. The insurgent must be constantly


surprised to reduce his illusiveness and his options.


Strategic surprise may be difficult to achieve in a


systematic approach, but it should guide all tactical and


framework operations. Surprise is achieved by out-thinking


the insurgent. The mental activity of the military and police


will be equally as important, if not more so, than physical


activity in counter-insurgency


Considerations for Supporting States


The principles of strategy listed above are relevant to


the conduct of counter-insurgency at home and abroad.


However, there are additional considerations that are


applicable to Western states supporting counter-insurgency


abroad. These considerations should be appreciated in the


light of earlier observations made on LIC and the West's


vulnerabilities in this environment:


* The conduct of counter-insurgency at home is in the


defence of the state and related to national survival. The


conduct of counter-insurgency abroad is in the pursuit of


national interest and part of foreign policy.


* counter-insurgency at home is likely to be a goal


within itself, or at least an intermediate goal within nation


building. The goals of counter-insurgency and nation building


are likely to be intermediate goals for the supporting state


whose ultimate aim may be increased political or economic


power in the region.


* The supporting state has the choice to enter the


conflict or not, and may withdraw at will or in accordance


with other priorities. The besieged state must fight or




* The insurgency may be entirely instigated and


controlled by an outside force and be in reality a foreign


incursion. The insurgency may in effect be a LIC between


external powers utilizing a third state as a battle ground.


* The local state may need external support to


survive but exacerbate the root causes of the conflict by


obtaining that support.


* The supporting state is accountable to a different


public perception and law than that applicable to the




* By accepting support, the beleagured state is


vulnerable and in effect gives up sole measure of sovereignty


while the supporting state gains a right of leverage in


sovereign affairs. The troubled state may therefore request


support only when a crisis is reached and the condition


requires a large amount of support or is beyond help. Such a


condition may embroil a state in a protracted effort beyond


its capabilities.


* Unless it is the object to maintain a puppet state,


which is not the acknowledged aim of Western foreign policy,


then support must not create dependency.


* Unless the introduction of support is in the form of


foreign intervention and neo-colonialism, then the conflict


will be waged in accordance with the local environment and


determined largely by the local state. This may not be the


method acceptable to the supporting state.


* The insurgency may not only possess the ability to


escalate to a regionally limited war, but it may precipitate


a high intensity war world-wide.


Additional Guidelines for Supporting States.


The provision of Western support to counter-insurgency


abroad should be in accordance with those already listed and


these additional guidelines:


* The counter-insurgency will be conducted as part of


foreign policy and part of Foreign Internal Defence


Operations (20). Foreign policy, the Foreign Defence


Operations and the conduct of counter-insurgency must be


consistent in objective and method with national policy and


capabilities. The approach must be co-ordinated and cohesive


throughout the agencies of the supporting state.


* Despite what ever else the supporting power hopes


to achieve, it must be committed to a team effort with the


local country to defeat the insurgency.


* The commitment to win must be a commitment to a


protracted effort. There are few "quick fix" solutions to


insurgency. The commitment should not be broken easily by


whim, public emotionalism, battlefield setbacks or the change


of political parties unless the original rationale has been


largely invalidated. The West will certainly lose allies if


unable to keep foreign commitments.


* Both states must reach a treaty or agreement before


combined action is undertaken to reconcile fundamental


differences of interest, responsibility, laws and


operations. Ideally this should be achieved in time of peace


as a contingency plan and be subject to periodic review,


especially at the time of activation. The absence of such a


plan should not preclude the provision of emergency support


in time of crisis, but arrangements must be finalized soon


after a commitment. A team effort cannot be effected unless


all the players know and agree to the rules.


* The supporting state must recognize and respect the


sovereignty of the local state and be prepared to work within


rules that foster self-determination. That is, help the


legitimate government re-establish control, undertake


remedial action, and replace external support with domestic


resources, as soon as possible.


* Both the supporting and supported states must be


aware of the implications of "cultural arrogance" and ensure


that all elements of both their countries, especially the


public, are presented a balanced and factual appreciation of


the other's country, its situation, and the rationale for


support. This must especially include those who are


responsible for dispensing the Support.


* Western states must monitor their allies to


identify potential internal problems and provide advice and


support to prevent insurgency. This is a diplomatic mission.


An environment must be created in which aid, if it is likely


to be needed, will be sought in a timely manner rather than


in a crisis.


* A Western democratic state possesses many non-


violent resources that may be provided to an ally to prevent


insurgency or to defeat it in its infancy. These include:


political support, economic aid, high technology, and non-


combatant material and advisers. Often the beleaguered state


only requires military training and material to redress any


external support being provided to the insurgents. The


provision of combat forces to a foreign state should be as a


last resort, and then within the type of bounds expressed by


the former US Secretary of State, Weinberger:(21)


o The provision of foreign combat forces must be


vital to the interests of the supporting state or its allies.


o Combat forces are committed with a clear


intention of winning.


o There must be clearly defined political and


military objectives.


o The forces must be consistent with the


objectives ( In particular, the goals must be achievable by


combat forces.)


o The commitment must have the sustained support


of the public and the politicians.


Western democratic states must be committed to


resolving conflict at the lowest level and understand the


danger of allowing insurgency to escalate. Supporting states


must expose the role of external states, if any, in the


insurgency. Western states that are subjected to insurgency


at home or supporting counter-insurgency abroad must retain


the option of waging a higher level of conflict on other


states that support insurgency against legitimate


governments. The West must be prepared to wage war on those


states or sub-national groups that interpret a commitment to


peace as a lack of resolve to defend national interest by war


where necessary.


Military Operations Peculiar to Counter-Insurgency


There are few military operations that are peculiar to


the conduct of counter-insurgency. Rather, it requires the


employment of basic military skills and tactics to a high


level of proficiency so as to avoid the necessity of the


bludgeon approach to war-fighting by attrition or mass of


force. It is often qualitative fighting rather than


quantitative. However, it generally involves a significant


size force in relation to the number of enemy and combat


engagements. The philosophy of manoeuvre warfare is


applicable to the conduct of counter-insurgency. There may


be the necessity to utilize mass force. This will be


difficult to avoid in the later stages of a Maoist-type


insurgency as it escalates from guerrilla war to mobile war.


There is a need for those responsible for translating the


strategy into achievable tactics to be proficient in


operational art and appreciating a complex and inter-related


array of factors and resources. This same skill is required


on the modern battle field where ever increasingly a


multitude of complex factors will impact on the conduct of




There will be less need for the means of mass


destruction in the initial phases of insurgency. The


employment of air and naval forces are more likely to be


service support functions rather than direct combat. The


the early stages of the "war" will be conducted on the


ground. However, counter-insurgency is both a joint servive


and combined arms task. While the emphasis is on infantry


work, all the elements of a conventional force may be called


upon. Some corps may be used in secondary or different


roles, such as the use of static armour and the use of


engineers in civil affairs construction. Indirect fire


weapons must be available, but direct fire weapons, such as


helicopter gunships, will often provide a more flexible and


surgical option of fire. The increased precision of modern


weapon systems will allow more fire power options. Those


weapon systems not initially required must be available at


short notice to be integrated into the effort in the event of


escalation. In some cases where a supporting force comes to


the rescue of a nation facing defeat, then a conventional


army, complete with armour and air, may be introduced and


then gradually withdrawn as the conflict regresses to LIC.


Some LIC operations that incorporate basic tactics but are


more commonly used in war by security forces, or rear area


security, are:


* cordon and search,


* cordon and clear,


* key point and installation security,


* personnel security operations,


* border protection, and


* route and movement protection.


Operations in Death. (22) These operations are conducted


in areas not yet under the control of the government. They


are designed to disrupt and destroy insurgents, to remove


their initiative until a more comprehensive and systematic


effort can be made in the area. They do not aim to capture or


hold territory, and employ similar tactics to operations in


enemy or neutral territory during a war. A force is inserted


and may or may not establish a base. A search, based on prior


intelligence, is conducted to locate objectives or the force


may be inserted near a known objective. The objective is


destroyed or the enemy are captured, and the force withdrawn


to a secure base or government controlled area. The most


common operation within this type is the search and clear




Special and Supporting Operations.


The following operations have particular relevance to


counter-insurgency but are employed in all warfare. All


armies must maintain a module of specialists in these fields


for integration into a task force as required:


* psychological operations;


* civil affairs;


* explosive ordinance disposal;


* public relations operations;


* water-borne operations;


* special action force operations:


o reconnaissance and surveillance,


o ambush and harassing of insurgents,


o sabotage and demolition,


o training indigenous forces and Unconventional




o covert operations, and


o counter-terrorist operations;


* specialized communications, electronic warfare,


and intelligence support;


* liaison and language support; and


* country and area specialists.




The overview of counter-insurgency points to the conduct


of a conflict in a manner not dissimilar to that required for


war. The complexity and demands of national strategy, foreign


policy, military strategy and operational art are the same


even though the level of violence may be less overall. The


requirement far tactical and individual military proficiency


is a high standard. A standard that befits an army in any


war. The tactics of offense and defence are required, with


particular emphasis on the type of operations undertaken for


rear area security or to dominate a "no-man's land" beyond


the FEBA. Not all of the equipment and weapons maintained by


a conventional force will be needed unless the conflict


escalates. The conflict is a land conflict although there is


a large requirement for air support, and in some cases naval


support. The basic force for the conduct of counter-


insurgency is an infantry force, in this age of


specialization and equipment overloading, it is often called


a light infantry force. This force requires the add on


modules of specialization as in any other type of task force.


The training of a force suitable for the conduct of


counter-insurgency will be addressed as part of a later


chapter on the training of forces for LIC in general. It is


worth reflecting that the allied forces in Vietnam were not


militarily defeated in the field in either LIC, guerrilla


warfare or limited war. (23) Whatever military setbacks were


suffered were not due to the nature of the war but due to the


same factors and level of competence that would have affected


performance in a higher level of war, perhaps more so and


with worse consequences.








Aid-to-the-Civil-Power (1) are those operations that an


army performs to assist the civil police maintain law and


order. It is an operation by the state's defence force and


normally precedes a declaration of defence emergency in which


increased power may be given to the military. Aid-to-the-


Civil-Power is normally conducted under the auspices of


domestic law. However, the extent of the military power and


responsibility will also be determined by any special laws or


legislation pertaining to the particular situation at hand.


These operations are conducted in accordance with the


principle of "primacy of the civil power", and support police


operations. They include such support as:


* the provision of equipment and logistics,


* explosive ordinance disposal,


* crowd and riot control, and


* counter-terrorism operations. (2)


The laws and constitution of the state govern how a


problem of internal security is classified and handled. It is


necessary for allies in support of the internal security of a


foreign state to understand, before a crisis, that state's


laws and their impact on operations, before a crisis.


In some countries, Aid-to-the-Civil-Power operations may


be termed "Security Force Operations" and effected by


paramilitary forces. It should be noted that not all


countries that may require Western aid in LIC contain a


separate military and police force. Where the police force is


a sub-entity of the military then security force operations


may be considered the normal role of the military. In this


case it will be difficult to achieve responsive actions to


the government unless the military has instituted some


decentralized responsibility to each level of civil


government,i.e. the military functions more like a civil


police force than an army. However, in some of the Third


World states likely to require foreign assistance, not only


is the police controlled by the military but the government


may be controlled directly or indirectly by the military.


This is generally a root cause or aggravation of the problem


within itself. The close inter-relationship of the civil


police and military in domestic security may cause


complications for a supporting power such as the USA, where


the military is removed from this function by law. (3)


It is not inconceivable that a government may choose to


defeat an insurgency in its infancy with an Aid-to-the-


Civil-Power operation rather than a declaration of defence


emergency and the publicizing of counter-insurgency


operations. Aid-to-the-Civil-Power plays down the threat and


stresses that the military is acting in support of the


police, under the control of the civil government, and in


accordance with the normal laws of the land. In democratic


states all war is conducted under the primacy of civil power.


In a crisis situation more of that civil power may be


passed temporarily to War Councils or regional military


commanders so that all resources, both civil and military,


can be mobilized in a co-ordinated plan. In the extremes of


counter-insurgency or security force operations, martial law


may be declared in various regions. A state facing the final


phase of insurgency may be forced to declare martial law as a


condition to all out war. The laws and constitution of


democratic states generally cater for a "state of emergency"


rather than martial rule. When faced with insurgency, the


imposition of martial rule implies that the government is


unable to govern and that the political status quo is no


longer legitimate.




Foreign Internal Defence is a US term (4) that covers


those assistance programmes that are designed to strengthen


the defence of a friendly foreign country by enhancing


defence capabilities to meet likely threats. It is an


extension of foreign policy in the pursuit of national


interests and is integrated with other programmes, such as


those that provide developmental and economic assistance to


promote stable nation building. All Western states possess


such programmes. They are based on a belief that the


interest of the West is entwined with the need for world


stability and peace, national self determination, freedom and


democracy, free trade, and the defeat of those who would


enforce opposing ideals. (5) The programmes of Foreign


Internal Defence are generally executed during peace but may


include elements conducted to prevent or conduct LIC: (6)


Security assistance is through the provision of military:


o training,


o equipment funding,


o equipment,


o advisers,


o intelligence,


o combat forces,


o non-combat support,


o special operations forces,


o peacekeeping forces, and


o econoinic aid to redress social and economic




The conduct of LIC within this category of foreign


policy is as for the type of conflict, e.g.


counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism, or peacekeeping.






Terrorism is a tactic of employing or threatening


violence to achieve goals and is utilized within all levels


of conflict from a state of peaceful competition to general


war. It may achieve a goal directly, such as gaining the


release of political prisoners, or support the achievement of


goals indirectly, such as creating an environment of fear in


which the release of political prisoners can be negotiated.


It has more impact in an environment that is relatively


peaceful and so it is an important feature of the LIC


environment. It may be employed by states and sub-national


groups that do not have the resources or opportunity to


pursue political, social or economic goals by other means.


It may be employed as a low cost, low risk weapon in support


of either specific or general goals. (7) Terrorism alone


cannot effect change or overthrow the status quo unless the


state which is the focus of the terrorism is prepared to


react as the terrorist proposes. However, it is a two-sided


weapon that may be detrimental to a cause. The motives for


terrorism are many and varied, and at times it may be


difficult to determine both the perpetrator and the motive.


However, terrorist objectives fall into five categories: (8)


* recognition,


* coercion,


* provocation,


* intimidation, and


* insurgency support.


The terrorist techniques are well known and only limited


by imagination and resources. A new dimension will be given


to terrorism if high-technology and nuclear and biological


weapons are added to the stock techniques. At present these


techniques include:


* bombings,


* assassination,


* kidnapping,


* hijacking or hostage barricades,


* covert operations concealed as the normal pattern


of domestic crime or unreported operations.


Terrorism is normally treated as a criminal activity (9)


by subject states, despite its origin and motive. The


complication to this perspective is that terrorism is


increasingly a tool of individuals, sub-national groups and


external states that sponsor both individuals and sub-


national groups in terrorism. How to deal with those who


carry out terrorism is straight forward in theory but


difficult to in practice. But how to deal with those behind


terrorism is a problem of appropriate response and delivery,


which may range from diplomatic and economic sanctions to


covert operations abroad or a declaration of war.


The West is particularly vulnerable to terrorism due to


the internal freedom of action afforded by its society and


the complexity of that society. There is freedom of movement


between such countries and often the ability to legally


acquire the tools of terrorism. The profile of the terrorist


organization is that of a secret society in which unity of


purpose and the maintenance of security is paramount.


External support is generally filtered to avoid a direct link


to the source and a compromise of security. It is a covert


organization much like a spy ring.


The West does not doctrinally sponsor terrorism although


its enemies may argue otherwise. What is considered terrorism


and what is considered a legitimate tactic is a matter of


perception. The adage "one man's terrorist is another man's


hero" is especially true.


Terrorism Counter-Action.


Terrorism is fought with the same approach as


insurgency: with a cohesive and co-ordinated policy that


mobilizes a spectrum of resources with the following




* prevent an environment conducive to terrorism


* prevention by early identification and pre-emptive




* possession of effective defence and security


against terrorism; and


* possession of a competent and appropriate response


to terrorism.


The sustained acquisition of timely intelligence is


vital in both counter-insurgency and terrorism counter-


action. Specialist military action will be undertaken in


conjunction with, or in support of, other government agencies


to implement these measures. The role of the military, in


general, will be to appreciate the threat and undertake


appropriate security measures. An appropriate and competent


response requires that the military be able to undertake the


normal range of tactical operations with equal


professionalism as that required in war. Such responses could


range from the provision of a cordon, to a pre-emptive raid


on foreign soil, to an attack on a fortified building. Quite


often the military or police response will require the


surgical application of violence in close proximity to non-


combatants. In order to reduce casualties to the non-


combatants, this type of counter-terrorist operation requires


the highly developed natural abilities and skills fostered in


a specialized organization. However, there is only a


requirement for a small such organization. It is a tendency


of armies to develope elite units at the expense of raising


the average proficiency of conventional forces as this


appears to be an easier solution to needs. Such elitism can


be divisive and destroy the cohesion of the team effort, not


to mention removing the flexibility of the force as a whole.






Peacekeeping is a misnomer for that collection of


operations undertaken to promote peace as an extension of a


state of truce. It provides a catalyst for the continuation


of such "peace" in the hope that the conflict can be resolved


during this time by peaceful means. It is a prelude to a


permanent peace or the resumption of hostilities. The


operation of peacekeeping is dependent upon the creation of a


situation in which the resumption of hostilities would


involve a diplomatic or political loss for the combatants.


It is either a self-imposed condition or a result of the


external influence of other states, particularly the super-


powers. Peacekeeping does not enforce peace, for it relies


on moral suasion and mutually perceived interest. It is not


analogous to a police operation, and the imposition of peace


by force is peacemaking.


Peacekeeping is a militarily unsound operation in that


force is circumscribed to self-defence and the peacekeeping


force is normally out-gunned by the antagonists. Peacekeeping


should not be undertaken lightly. Western armies are not


founded on the ideal of martyrdom. Gaining a proficiency in


peacekeeping may debilitate the war fighting ethos and skills


of the participants unless they are frequently engaged in


skirmishes, in which case the operation is hardly successful.


The combat virtues of aggression, offensive action,


initiative, and maximizing violence are discouraged in a


peacekeeping force. Yet while it is a risky operation it is


certainly less so than an involvement in any war that might


occur for want of a peacekeeping effort.


There should be at least four preconditions t6 the


implementation of a peacekeeping mission: (10)


* The parties in conflict must consent to the


operation, the presence and composition of the force, and


the terms of the mandate. They must support the operation


and give it unqualified cooperation.


* The operation must have substantial support of the


international community, and in particular the two super-


powers. It is preferable that the United Nations support the


operation, but at a minimum the US must it.


* The operation must have a clear, defined and


realistic mandate.


* The force must be allowed the freedom of movement


to execute the mandate and supervise the conditions of the


peace agreement.


A further expression of these principles is contained in


the US doctrine for involvement in peacekeeping, which


requires: (11)


* consent * neutrality


* balance * single chain of command


* concurrent action * unqualified sponsor support


* force integrity * freedom of movement


* self-defence


The US doctrine is somewhat idealistic and reflects


experiences gained in Multinational Force I (August to


September 1982, Beirut) and Multinational Force II (September


1982 to February 1984, Beirut). (12) Unfortunately, often


peacekeeping is formulated in a crisis situation in which all


these preconditions will not exist. One could argue that if


the antagonists could agree to the creation of such a farce


then the ideal conditions of peacekeeping might arise;


however, real world politics and issues do not support such


an idealistic view. Even the United Nations Interim Force In


Lebanon (UNIFIL), with its poor conception and record of


achievement, has helped in reducing the violence in Southern


Lebanon to a lower level than if it had not been instituted.




Despite the problems of U.N. sponsored peacekeeping


operations, (14) given the equal precondition of the four


factors they are preferable to non-U.N. sponsored operations.


It is arguable that the principle of neutrality and balance


should dictate that organizations such as the United Nations


Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), (15) consist of


integrated teams of both US and USSR members rather than the


current segregation. Under these conditions, less problems


and a speedier resolution might have been possible in areas


such as South Lebanon and Beirut.


It is important to realize that the failure of the


MNF II was in the posturing of that operation as peacekeeping


without the necessary pre-conditions. Certainly the force


could not be viewed as neutral by all of the combatants in


the theatre as it was directed to support one of the


antagonists, the Lebanese Armed Forces. Despite the best of


intentions, the mandate was akin to foreign internal defence


assistance rather than peacekeeping. The Lebanonese problem


was, and still is, complex,and required more than a "show of




Operational Methods.


The operational methods of peacekeeping are limited.


They are similar to those applicable to border defence,


but generally do not allow any offensive action. It is


unacceptable, however, for a peacekeeping force to be placed


in a position where its soldiers are unable to adequately


protect themselves from kidnap and murder. Like all


soldiering, peacekeeping requires a high standard of


individual training in the military fundamentals, a


proficiency in small unit tactics, and self-discipline. It


requires responsive management in the form of operational


art. Examples of basic methods are:


* key point defence,


* patrolling,


* observation, reconnaissance, and surveillance,


* information gathering,


* mine clearing,


* movement control, and


* police, humanitarian and mediator duties.


Training. (16)


Peacekeeping tasks can be executed by conventionally


trained and mature soldiers after supplementary instruction


on the mission and peculiarities of the theatre. In the


absence of war, peacekeeping duties may provide the stimulus


and experiences associated with proximity to combat. It can


reinforce basic lessons of soldiering but it can be a


debilitating experience over a prolonged period of


inactivity as it does not require the full range of offensive


skills and tactics. It reduces the aggressive spirit, the


initiative, and consequently the morale of troops.


Headquarters and leaders are concerned more with the


management of their units rather than the command and


manoevre of tactical forces. It may impart & sense of


invincibility and lethargy as personnel come to view the


threat with detachment. All these factors prove lethal in






Peacemaking is an operation in which law and order


within a state, or peace between waring states, is enforced


largely by military force or the threat of military force. It


can be either the prelude to peacekeeping operations or a


consequence of failed peacekeeping operations. It may be


undertaken as a result of insurgency or civil war and is


generally formulated and implanted in the environment of a


crisis. As the objective of peacemaking is to enforce a state


of peace, then it may require a significant force and level


of violence to disengage the antagonists or to disarm the


lawless. It is unlikely that a peacemaking force will be


perceived as neutral, as one or more of the antagonists are


likely to receive an advantage or benefit from the operation


over other antagonists who will perceive this advantage. A


peacemaking operation should avoid aggravating the causes of


the conflict if possible.


Peacemaking is most commonly imposed when the


continuation of the conflict threatens international


stability or for humanitarian reasons. Peacemaking should


not be confused with foreign intervention in an environment


of insurgency or civil war, in which the intervening power is


aiding or opposing a government. A peacemaking operation is


theoretically neutral.


It will be difficult for a peacekeeping force to evolve


from a peacemaking role since the use of force in the latter


function involves it as a player or antagonist in the


conflict. It is equally difficult for a peacekeeping force


to be employed as a peacemaking force if it has been


structured for peacekeeping, as it will normally be without


sufficient combat power.


Peacemaking is undertaken in conjunction with actions in


other dimensions, such as diplomatic pressure and economic


sanctions. However, despite the desirability of using minimal


violence, the peacemaking force must have sufficient combat


power available to achieve its mission. It is better to


coerce the antagonists with the threat of force rather than


action, but the threat must be creditable and backed by will


Peacemaking enforced with minimal violence generally has a


better prospect of developing into a lasting peace.




There is nothing peculiar to peacemaking that is not


peculiar to war in general and counter-insurgency, security


force, or peacekeeping, in particular. It is a difficult and


delicate operation requiring considerable maturity and a


sound appreciation of the environment.






The US Army definition of these operations is:


Peacetime contingency operations are

politically sensitive military operations normally

characterized by the short term rapid projection or

employment of forces in conditions short of

conventional war." (17)


Contingency operations consist of:


* strike and raid,


* rescue,


* demonstrations and show of force,


* peacemaking,


* unconventional warfare,


* intelligence operations.


Such operations may be effected during higher levels of


conflict and may precipitate war unless some other inhibiting


factor is present, such as diplomacy or the inability of the


target state or group to adequately respond. As such these


operations must be accompanied by initiatives in other


dimensions. Clearly, the military power that is relatively


more powerful possesses a greater number of contingency


options, although some of these may be circumscribed by other


factors, such as the risk of escalating the conflict.


Generally these operations are implemented in a


situation when the time is short and the objective valuable.


The exact circumstances of the threat may not have been


foreseen, but a general contingency plan for such a situation


should have been formulated during peace. For this reason,


most Western armies maintain forces for rapid deployment,


consisting of air and seaborne forces, including special


action forces or commandoes. By virtue of the variety of


tasks and the need for precision these forces must be well


trained and flexible.


Insurgency and counter-insurgency have hitherto


dominated the West's interest at the low end of the conflict


spectrum. The proliferation of terrorism, peacekeeping


missions and international skirmihes illustrates the


likelihood of Western forces being involved with little


warning and the need for proficiency in these types of LIC.









The first necessity for the successful prosecution of


LIC is an appropriate national philosophy on the prosecution


of conflict as a whole. Such a philosophy should reflect the


values of the state and the Western community in general and


provide a common understanding by which a unity of purpose


may be engendered within a state and among states. The nature


of democracy and of state sovereignty make this a difficult


task, but one that must be addressed by each nation of the


Western alliance individually and collectively. The USSR, and


other totalitarian states and ideologically based movements


outside the state system, likely to challenge the West, are


less impeded in formulating a cohesive approach to conflict.


The West lives in the hope that mankind can achieve a


state of natural peace and harmony. Western democracy


fosters that hope and generally now tries to adhere to peace.


Such idealism is enunciated in our constitutions and national


strategies. However, an idealistic hope should not blind us


to reality. Reality is that men and states have competing


interests which they have been hitherto reluctant to


surrender for a state of peace. Conflict is likely to be a


permanent feature of relationships among men and between


states. The democratic state and its citizens are cognizant


of this reality in everyday life, and the competing interests


of men are institutionalized to as low a level of conflict as


possible. What the democratic population does not


universally understand is that conflict is a continuum


entwined with all facets of life and that it requires a


cohesive management along its entire length and breadth. The


democratic population does not understand that the penalty of


democracy is that the citizen has a role in that management


over and above his responsibility to his immediate neighbour.


Democratic states face a danger as they become increasingly


complex and attempt to be democratically responsive: the


people will get exactly what they want. And in a complex


society, what they want may be based on ignorance and hope


rather than reality. If a state were to become truly


democratic, then each citizen might try to influence


influence each decision of state. It is arguable whether the


majority has the wisdom to govern in such circumstances.


It is the role of the government, no matter what the


party, to try and educate the citizenry with the same


realization that every Politician, diplomat and professional


soldier should already Possess regarding the prosecution of




* A level of conflict, not harmony, is at present the


natural state of affairs.


* Conflict does not disappear by its own accord, but


is managed by men.


* Conflict is not Just a state of war but a pervasive


continuum of violence levels that is also waged during


relative peace.


* The inter-relationship of sovereign states is not


analogous with domestic conditions or personal morality.


* A vital deduction from the hope of peace and the


reality of conflict is the need to keep conflict at the


lowest possible level. This is only possible by an effective


counter that negates the viability of violence in the pursuit


of survival and interest, and replaces it with an


alternative. In the international sense, the perfect


alternative has yet to be found, but the viability of


violence is reduced, if not removed, by a balance of power.


* The dimensions of politics, society, and economics


etc. have always been entwined with conflict and force. The


increasing complexity of the world and inter-relationships,


coupled with an access to infinite force, makes it almost


impossible to isolate and deal with aspects of life in a


microcosm. This is true of LIC.


* The West possesses some inherent vulnerabilities to


LIC and in the management of conflict in general.


* The management of conflict in the future must be


total in approach to be successful. It must address all


conflict levels, their inter-relationship, and their


development throughout time.


* A total management-approach requires the type of


stability and consistency of government achieved by some


totalitarian states or by responsible democracy. It is


unlikely to be achieved by those who advocate laissez-faire


or anarchy.


* Responsible democracy requires governmental


leadership and institutions that ensure the public are


educated with fact rather than manipulated. It requires a


competent government with a mandate to govern.


* Every element of a democratic society-has a role in


the management of conflict, not just the politicians, the


military or police. This is a vital understanding for the


prosecution of LIC.


* The maintenance of security requires a will and


commitment to fight and sacrifice.


The purpose and need for a philosophy in conflict


management is well articulated by the following US statement


on the conduct of LIC:


The foundation for a successful US effort

in LIC lies in the simple principle of unity of

effort. The cardinal lesson of counter-insurgency

and insurgency is that the disparate elements that

compose the effort must contribute to a common

purpose, and there must be a clear, consistent

guidance and focus on the ultimate objective. This

requires an articulated philosophy or set of

principles: a policy that turns principles into

operational goals, and a set of means available to

translate intentions into effort. Moreover,

a system is required to continually review the

effort in relation to goals. A capacity to adjust

to changing circumstances, a commitment to

understanding the true nature of the effort and a

sustained approach to the problem are also necessary.(1)



The final reality that national Philosophy and the


public must recognize, is the inability of a state to


construct a risk free security strategy within finite


resources. The difference between the optimum security


strategy and the strategy that the state can afford or is


prepared to finance, is the level of risk. Many Western


countries are living beyond the means of their productivity,


and increasingly, defence expenditure is under scrutiny to


reduce costs. This is an attractive logic in a "seemingly"


benign and peaceful environment. It is attractive if the


Soviet Union proffers a a peaceful hand. It is attractive, if


in the foreseeable future, conflicts are likely to be less


devastating and threatening and conducted in a LIC


environment. It is attractive to over-cater for the low end


of the-conflict spectrum in the belief that time and


motivation will allow a rapid and adequate defence expansion


when and if a "real", war emerges. This is a fundamental flaw


of logic; to over-cater for the LIC environment results in a


"police force", not an army, and does not provide military


competence in any level of conflict, including LIC. The


initiation and escalation of future conflict is likely to


preclude adequate warning.


Beware the West!




If the proposition of this paper, and that of more


distinguished men such as the US commission on Discriminate


Deterrence, (2) is accepted then the national approach to


LIC should not be in isolation but integrated into the


national strategy for conflict management as a whole.


National security requires an effective counter to a spectrum


of threats that may be employed "individually,


interchangeably, sequentially, or simultaneously." (3) A


balance of power must be maintained along the entire conflict




Contingency planning should look at each possible


scenario of LIC, each region in which LIC may embroil the


nation, and the relationship of these scenarios to other


conflict levels and type. Hopefully, this process is already


undertaken within Western state and defence departments for


all possible conflict scenarios. What must be ensured is that


the planning and conduct of LIC, like war itself, is not just


a function of the military or state department. It requires a


strategy that has access to all state resources. Where the


military has a role in LIC within the state, then the


strategy should cover the co-operative efforts of all


internal agencies, especially the police. This is important


where criminal activities such as terrorism and drug


trafficking pose a significant threat to law and order. An


integrated and comprehensive strategy will require a lateral


co-ordination of these resources at each level of initiative


to ensure cohesion from theory to practice and all elements


working in concert.


An integrated strategy means correctly identifying


commonalities and differences within the threat scenarios and


adjusting forces and training accordingly. This adjustment is


the simple answer to ensuring that a Western state can


conduct LIC without denigrating its defence capabilities


elsewhere. Like all good strategies it should have the


following characteristics:


* Consistent-with national philosophy and goals.


* Comprehensive-includes all aspects and resources.


* Integrated-with other strategies such as foreign


policy and economic strategy, and can be


co-ordinated in effect. It promotes commonality of


efforts and caters for differences.


* Enduring-it caters for the long term as well


as tomorrow. It is based on vision.


* Flexible-review is inherent and initiative is


allowed to achieve goals, which themselves may be




* Cohesive-logically formulated.


* Realistic-it is achievable.


The main areas of disconnect in Western nations in the


chain of translating philosophy to strategy to action are;


* a fundamental national disunity of philosophy,


* government and people;


* a lack of capacity within government agencies


to formulate or execute an integrated strategy; and


* incompetence and corruption.






The military strategy is a continuation of security


strategy and complementary to other state strategies such as


economic policy. The principle difference between the


military strategy for tic and that for higher level conflict


is that the resolution by force is not normally the decisive


element. The military must be cognizant of the other aspects


of the conflict to a greater degree than would be the case in


modern conventional wars. The current perception of separate


civil and military functions within a state of warfare has


not always been the norm. In 1940 the USMC Small Wars Manual


contained as much guidance on the running of a state as on


military strategy and tactics.(4) The US Marines had learnt


from bitter experience in the Carribean that success in


"small wars" required tee co-ordination of both civil and


military affairs under one leadership and strategy. In LIC


today, the military is used as much for its organizational


aspects and its efficiency in action as for its ability to


deliver violence. (5) However, the military's ability to


deliver violence is the very factor that may inhibit the


violence of the conflict. This ability should never be


surrendered or taken for granted.


LIC is conducted primarily on land, but it generally


requires a significant amount of strategic and tactical, air


and naval support. In the case of strike missions this


support may be akin to the air and sea battle to be found in


conventional war. However, the maintenance of sea and air


Power must be based on a higher threat level than LIC, as


well as supporting LIC. The maintenance of sea and air power


inhibits the lines of communication by which LIC could other


wise be freely exported and Supported throughout the world.


The LIC spectrum is a range of conflicts that each


contains situations to be found in war. The doctrine and


strategy for the conduct of LIC was reviewed in Chapters Four


and Five. The doctrine is well developed and theoretically


sound. The basic military skills and tactics for LIC are the


same as those for any conflict, and its commonality with the


tactics for war-fighting has been stressed and its


differences highlighted. This is not a revelation to the


experienced soldier, but it may not be so self-evident in a


"peacetime army".(6) If the doctrine of LIC has a weakness,


then it may be, that one could be lead to believe from the


detailed analysis in some writings that LIC is a "special"


form of warfare. A warfare that can only be waged by special


troops, tactics and organizations.


It is emphasized that LIC is a manoeuvre warfare


philosophy rather than attrition philosophy. If the


philosophy of an army is tied to a quantitative approach,


then the LIC environment may be seen as particularly special.


The second weakness of the current LIC doctrine is that


it may template by over-analysis the strategy and tactics to


be employed in a given situation. This is a condition equally


disastrous in preparing for war, when to reduce reaction time


a situation is fitted into one of our contingency plans and


as a consequence the vital differences are missed. This is a


difficult problem to overcome in prolonged peace. As


battlefield experience declines we try to preserve it in


detailed writings. It must be remembered that the experience


is now historical and can only provide a guide for the next


conflict. Experienced is an advantage but not a guarantee of


future performance, particularly in war.


One of the greatest advantages a strategy or doctrine


can posses is its implementation by competent thinkers. It is


currently fashionable to term this ability as operational


art, but it is the matrix by which a goal is carried from


strategy to bayonet. It is called the military appreciation,


the estimate of the situation, or problem solving. It is in


this process of logical thinking that all who make decisions


must be competent. It is not stressed in the LIC doctrine,


but vital in all conflict and especially so in LIC, where the


situation is likely to be less stereotyped and often complex.


Specialization and drills may increase efficiency but often


at the expense of flexibility.


Military doctrine in general must ensure that the


commonality of force structure, strategy and tactics across


the conflict spectrum is stressed and maximizes the advantage


that this commonality provides. The doctrine should address


LIC problems where ever possible within the framework of


fundamental organizations and tactics. The doctrine must also


cater for areas of the conflict that are fundamentally


different in techniques and must address the application of


new technology.


The West cannot afford a LIC army or a "peacetime army".


The philosophy, forces, strategy and tactics of a Western


army should be applicable across the conflict spectrum, from


"peaceful competition" to war.








Each nation must structure a force in accordance with


its circumstances. It is therefore difficult to provide a


universal model of a force for LIC. Therefore, the force


models in Figures 2 and 3 represent an over-all conceptual


basis in which forces suitable for the conduct of LIC are


integrated into a larger army in accordance with the deduced


strategy. The models have been designed to accommodate the


strategic needs of a nation across a spectrum of conflicts


and regions. They have been constructed within the framework


of tactics utilized in both LIC and higher conflict. The


tactical needs of LIC have been compared in Figure 4 with the


basic requirements of higher level conflict to illustrate


commonalities and differences.




The force structure has been modelled on strategic needs


by region, including a home region as the most important. It


is appreciated that not all Western powers have the need or


ability to project power beyond their region unless working


in concert with an ally. Therefore, the extent of the threat


and the extent of regional forces may be considerably less


for some countries than the model portrays.


Each region is considered to consist of three mediums in


which conflict may occur or threaten to occur throughout the


conflict spectrum.


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The force is task organized by threat in each medium and


region. In a region of high level threat then the force will


be conventional and possibly nuclear based on the likely


enemy and the nature of the environment. If a LIC is likely


then the task force will be an infantry oriented group rather


than a mechanized force. A mix of capabilities can be


structured to counter a mix of likely threats in the one


region. A force Postured for a higher level is capable of


conducting LIC. However, the heavier fire power assets will


be of less use than personnel acting as infantry. On the


other hand, an infantry force employed in LIC will need


additional fire power if the conflict escalates to


conventional war.


The conduct of the air and sea battle should be


considered on a global basis as well as region by region.


A defence department must also contain the organization


capable of conducting a multi-regional or global conflict.


Due to the many state resources required to prosecute LIC


outside the legislation of "war", a LIC/Special Operations


Command may have to be established within the defence


department, as in the USA (1), and a like office within the


department of foreign affairs and state. A war or security


council commands both and should dictate who is in command of


an operation, but until the military effort over-rides all


other considerations then the department of foreign affairs


should command. In the latter case, all other departments,


including the defence department, are in direct support of


the department of foreign affairs. In most cases the military


aspects of LIC operations in support of countries within a


region will be commanded by the regional commander and not


directly by the LIC/SO Command or anyone else. The principle


of a single chain-of-command is still relevant at this level.


The LIC/SO Command responsibilities should include the


following: to co-ordinate LIC/SO missions on command for SAF


actions with global rather than regional significance, to


provide Special Operations and Special Action Forces in


support of regional and contingency forces, to be responsible


for SAF training and doctrine, and to liaise with other


forces involved in LIC duties.


Contingency forces and reserves form the basis of adding


or subtracting to the regional task force and are constructed


on a basis of two overlapping forces: one predominantly


mechanized and the other predominantly infantry. A module of


heavy support that could be required by either is maintained


as an add-on element and consists of additional armour,


vehicles, aircraft, and artillery, etc. The contingency force


must contain sufficient aircraft to allow a component of each


type of task force to be airmobile, with a follow on


contingency force by air or sea lift. In the event of a


contingency required to force an entry into a region, then


the overall force should also contain an amphibious




The basis of the land army is infantry. To this may be


added of nuclear forces, tanks, and mechanized forces, if the


predominant and global needs dictate a larger core force.


Even so, the first commonality is infantry training. The air


and naval forces are based predominantly on a high level


threat and the need win any air or sea battle in order to


support the land forces. This basis does not preclude the


vital need to concurrently support the core land force in all


levels of conflict, nor the need to deploy and support


contingency forces to the battlefield.


The overall force consists of a regular component and a


reserve component which may be partially activated for


operational service at the onset of LIC, if required The


reserve should concentrate on maintaining high technical


skills in areas in which an expertise can be better


maintained in peacetime, e.g. engineering, medicine, etc.


Some of these personnel should be available to undertake


their commitments during LIC without the necessity of large


scale mobilization, e.g. CA and medical personnel.


The internal security function of the military should


acknowledge the possibility of conflict being conducted on


home soil and provide for the integration of police forces,


civil emergency agencies and the defence force in time of


Aid-to-the-Civil-Power or defence emergency. Reserve forces


should contain the substantial outline of a "home guard" with


peacetime operational duties. The meaningful employment of


the citizen-soldier is a healthy practice within a democracy.




As Previously stated, LIC is primarily conducted on the


medium of land, although the current provision of US and


Western naval escorts in the Persian Gulf illustrates a sea


and air LIC. The tactical model for LIC is simply a task


force made up of otherwise conventional forces. On land the


basis is an infantry unit of an appropriate size, with its


integrated organization and reinforced within the principle


of task grouping. In most cases this grouping consists of an


all arms and combined service representation. The table at


Figure 4 provides a comparison of tactical requirements


for a LIC force with those for a conventional force.


The infantry basis need not be referred to as light


infantry, or conventional infantry as that term has come to


mean infantry with or without other forms of mobility and


firepower. Mechanized infantry may conduct LIC tasks with its


vehicles, such as convoy escort and key point security, or


alight and act as what they are first and foremost, infantry.


The basic tactical principles of land fighting are


represented in all armies by infantry. All soldiers must


acquire these basic war-fighting skills as infantry before


branching into additional weaponry and methods of fighting.


Training for conventional war is the basis for LIC. (2) The


organization, skills and tactics may be adapted as required.


As a principle, all forces must be logistically


supportable to achieve their mission in an economic fashion.


While forces must be capable of operating with a minimal of


logistic support in many of the LIC scenarios, this is not to


say that forces for LIC must eschew anything but that which


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they can carry on their back. Soldiers must fight in any


conflict as physically unimpaired a possible, i.e. equipped


as lightly as required to be effective and survive on the


battlefield. The logistical problem is to help this happen by




provide him with the equipment and supplies he needs without


denigrating his tactical ability. In some cases LIC forces


must be self-sufficient and in others they will require as


sighnificant logistical support as a conventional force.


The forces that must be structured, trained and


maintained in addition to those elements common to LIC are


listed in Figure 4. They include mechanized formations,


nuclear forces, forces for air and sea battles, and


associated groupings of combat support, such as heavy


artillery and air defence, and logistics support. These


forces are maintained according to the threat and may be


brigaded in some cases or placed as an add-on module to a


basic infantry force or kept in the reserves for activation


in time of escalation. Whatever, all troops must rotate


through combined arms training in at least mid-intesity


conflict with the full inventory of weapons, corps, and


service. Especially those involved in LIC. Such rotation can


be interspersed with primary missions but adds flixibility and


experience to the army.


Forces should be structured as complete tactical


entities with a full complement of men and material rather


than skeleton units designed to be fleshed out at the time of


requirement. This is true for LIC and conventional forces.


Only complete forces can train as such and develope all their


capabilities to maximize usefulness. Skeleton forces are a


means of maintaining equipment and facilities but not


expertise. It is better to clone two new units by the


division of one healthy unit, than to build up two


mediocre units. A nation that elects the concept of


maintaining a cadre army for wartime expansion requires units


for immediate fighting and units for cloning.


A very important element of the LIC task force is the


Special Action Forces attachments as outlined in Chapters 4


and 5. These units contain the reservoir of additional


capabilities required in LIC and other warfare in which it is


impractical to train all units. However, the danger of over-


specialization and empire-building must be avoided. Where


ever possible the existing organizations and capabilities of


state and defence should be employed for simplicity. At least


the defence organization should be inherently flexible while


retaining professionalism.


Whatever the force structure, it must flow from a


consideration of national philosophy and strategy, resources,


the enemy and threat, and a thorough knowledge of what is


militarily sound and achieveable. Once established, the


structure should be allowed to develop efficiency without the


turmoil of continual re-organization. The organization's aim


is to dispense controlled violence when and where necessary.








Even with the appropriate strategy and force structure,


the West may not win in LIC, or at any other level of