Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife Counterinsurgency Lessons by sfx15166


									 Learning to Eat Soup
     with a Knife
Counterinsurgency Lessons from
      Vietnam and Iraq
        LTC John Nagl
          U.S. Army
         August 2006
Making “war upon rebellion
 was messy and slow, like
 eating soup with a knife.”
         - T.E. Lawrence,
           Seven Pillars of Wisdom
   The organizational culture of the British Army
    allowed it to learn and implement effective
    counterinsurgency methods in Malaya.
   The organizational culture of the American
    Army prevented such learning in Vietnam,
    The American Army is rapidly adapting to
    COIN in Iraq—and beginning to learn COIN.
    More to be done to enable the Army and the
    broader USG to achieve victory in The Long
    The Institutional Learning Cycle:
    The Process of Doctrinal Change

Richard Downie, Learning from Conflict
                         to Events
      Change in                              Organizational
     Situation or                             Performance
    Organizational                           Gap Identified

                                               Search for
       Transmit                               Alternative
    Interpretation:                          Organizational
   Publish Doctrine                             Actions

                      Alternative Solution
            Indications of
         Learning Institutions
   Bottom-Up Input
   Superiors Questioned, Available
   Theoretical Thinking
    – About strategic environment
    – About core missions of organization
   Local Doctrine Development
   Local Training Centres
   Small, Responsive Staff
     The U.S. Army in Iraq:
      Adapting under Fire
 Bottom-up   Adaptation
 Intelligence
 Governance
 Training Local Forces
 The Interagency Fight
        The U.S. Army in Iraq:
      Bottom-up Adaptation
   All professional force
   Innovative Junior Officers/NCO’s
   Bosnia Experience
   Division Commanders
    understood/encouraged innovation
   Power of the Internet
   Army not capturing/controlling innovation
   Doctrine trailing indicator of change
     The U.S. Army in Iraq:
    Intelligence Innovation
 Local Source Development
 CI/HUMINT Teams on Patrol
 IPB of Networks
 Police Work for Warfighters
 Force protection through targeted
 Every soldier an intelligence platform
  (implications for language/culture skills)
     The U.S. Army in Iraq:
    Good Governance Matters
   CERP
   SWET
   Legal/CCCI
   National Unity Government
     The U.S. Army in Iraq:
     Training Local Forces
  ―Better the Arabs do it tolerably than
  you do it perfectly.‖
 Embedded trainers
 Schools
     The U.S. Army in Iraq:
    The Interagency Fight
 ―You cannot win militarily. You
  have to win totally, or you are not
  winning at all.‖
 CIA/USAID/State Dept. fight—
  Deployable Forces!
 Strategic Information Operations
 Global Salafist Extremist Network
    The Key to Organizational Learning

• Army has adapted and is beginning to learn COIN
• Key indications of true learning are doctrinal
innovation, changes in unit organization and mission
• More learning still to be done!

                      Alternative Solution
                         Embraced as
                       Essential Mission
   ―How many Americans, out of 500,000,
    were only defending each other, writing
    memos to each other, and how many
    were actually making a positive
    contribution to the future security of
    Vietnam? It would make an interesting
    Ph.D. thesis for a maverick Lieutenant
    Colonel who is not seeking promotion...‖
         – Sir Robert Thompson, Make for the Hills

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