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COIN of the Realm: U.S. Counterinsurgency Strategy

Authored by Dr. Steven Metz, Ralph Wipfli.

January 2008

Brief Synopsis

Participants at the seminar developed these key insights: ? Regardless of whether counterinsurgency (COIN) will be the dominant form of military activity in the future or simply one of several, the United States needs an effective national strategy which explains when, why, and how the nation should undertake it. ? The basic assumptions of the current approach need revisited, especially those dealing with the role of the state, the strategic framework for American involvement, and the whole-of-government approach. ? Given the demands placed upon the armed forces by the current campaigns, most of the effort has been on tactics, training, and doctrine. Ultimately strategic transformation is at least as important, if not more so. ? Rather than thinking of counterinsurgency and warfighting as competing tasks, the military and other government agencies must pursue ways to integrate them, thus assuring that the United States can address the multidimensional threats which characterize the contemporary security environment.

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