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"The services for the last forty years have concentrated on deterring military conflict and the `big' war on the plains of Europe. That focus has worked; we have avoided both. But what we have failed to deter is low intensity conflict . . . And the strategic thinkers tell us that this is the most likely form of conflict for the rest of this century. Thus, we are well prepared for the least likely conflicts and poorly prepared for the most likely."

Congressman Dan Daniel22
August 1985

Overcoming this void in our doctrine and training will take a concerted effort on everyone's part. There are few absolute formulas or rules which will work under all circumstances. LIC requires analysis and thought rather than a checklist application of a school solution.

Additionally, LIC presents a bewildering array of unique and challenging training requirements. Many of these requirements will diametrically oppose training the unit for conventional operations.

  • The tendency to take the expedient approach and focus on the far right of the LIC spectrum, Peacetime Contingency Operations and conduct training as usual, while briefing that the LIC block has been checked, will lead us to a possibly fatal false sense of security.
Instinctive behavior and ingrained training must be adjusted to fit new circumstances. STXs must be developed locally or borrowed from units who have already been through the training.

The probability of becoming involved in a LIC operation is high. The potential to attract international attention, even with limited forces, is also great. Units have demonstrated that with a balanced training focus and proper preparation, many pitfalls outlined above can be avoided.

Table of Contents
Low Intensity Conflict Lessons Learned

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias