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ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign

The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005

Part I

Setting the Stage

Chapter 3
The Rise of the Iraqi Insurgency and the US Army's Response



The shift made by many units in 2003 and 2004—from the mentality of an Army that prided itself on its prowess in conventional combat operations to one that conducted full spectrum counterinsurgency operations was challenging. Many of the dramatic changes required by this transition have been emphasized in this chapter, and they and other aspects of the full spectrum campaign in Iraq will be documented in greater detail in the remainder of this study. While the new campaign was unexpected, it would be a mistake to characterize the Army as wholly unprepared for the new missions, threats, and objectives it faced after May 2003. In most cases, Army leaders and Soldiers made that transition in a relatively smooth fashion, despite the fact that they had not trained for the types of operations required in the new campaign. Petraeus, for example, contends that the key factor in making this shift was the mind-set of the leader and that the great majority of his battalion and brigade commanders made the transition to the new campaign with little hesitation.196 The same was true for the majority of the junior officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted Soldiers who, in their daily efforts in difficult circumstances, made the new campaign a reality.

The chapters in Parts II and III of this study provide a more detailed examination of the new full spectrum campaign by looking closely at the types of operations that became the core components of the larger Coalition effort. The next five chapters (Part II)—Leading the New Campaign, Intelligence and High-Value Target Operations, Detainee Operations, Fighting the Battle of Ideas in Iraq, and Combined Arms Operations in Iraq—focus on the US Army’s evolving command structure in Iraq and its efforts to disrupt and destroy the insurgent network. The three chapters (Part III) that follow address reconstruction operations, governance operations, and the training of ISF to examine those missions designed to attract the fence sitters to the side of the Coalition and build legitimacy for the new Iraqi Government. Ultimately, these chapters describe how, with little fanfare and almost no preparation or planning, American Soldiers in the spring and summer of 2003 launched a broad, complex, and sophisticated effort to assist the Iraqis in the recreation of their nation.

Chapter 3. The Rise of the Iraqi Insurgency and the US Army’s Response

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