Dec 16, 2006

New Army Counterinsurgency Manual

The U.S. Army yesterday issued the new counterinsurgency (COIN) manual (282 page PDF).

From the foreword:

This manual is designed to fill a doctrinal gap. It has been 20 years since the Army published a field manual devoted exclusively to counterinsurgency operations. For the Marine Corps it has been 25 years. With our Soldiers and Marines fighting insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is essential that we give them a manual that provides principles and guidelines for counterinsurgency operations. Such guidance must be grounded in historical studies. However, it also must be informed by contemporary experiences.

This manual takes a general approach to counterinsurgency operations. The Army and Marine Corps recognize that every insurgency is contextual and presents its own set of challenges. You cannot fight former Saddamists and Islamic extremists the same way you would have fought the Viet Cong, Moros, or Tupamaros; the application of principles and fundamentals to deal with each varies considerably. Nonetheless, all insurgencies, even today’s highly adaptable strains, remain wars amongst the people. They use variations of standard themes and adhere to elements of a recognizable revolutionary campaign plan. This manual therefore addresses the common characteristics of insurgencies. It strives to provide those conducting counterinsurgency campaigns with a solid foundation for understanding and addressing specific insurgencies.

From the "Intelligence in Counterinsurgency" chapter:

3-7. Intelligence preparation of the battlefield is the systematic, continuous process of analyzing the threat and environment in a specific geographic area. Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) is designed to support the staff estimate and military decision-making process. Most intelligence requirements are generated as a result of the IPB process and its interrelation with the decision-making process (FM 34-130). Planning for deployment begins with a thorough mission analysis, including IPB. IPB is accomplished in four steps:
  • Define the operational environment.
  • Describe the effects of the operational environment.
  • Evaluate the threat.
  • Determine threat courses of action.

3-8. The purpose of planning and IPB before deployment is to develop an understanding of the operational environment. This understanding drives planning and predeployment training. Predeployment intelligence must be as detailed as possible. It should focus on the host nation, its people, and insurgents in the area of operations (AO). Commanders and staffs use predeployment intelligence to establish a plan for addressing the underlying causes of the insurgency and to prepare their units to interact with the populace appropriately. The goal of planning and preparation is for commanders and their subordinates not to be surprised by what they encounter in theater.

3-9. IPB in COIN operations follows the methodology described in FM 34-130/FMFRP 3-23-2. However, it places greater emphasis on civil considerations, especially people and leaders in the AO, than does IPB for conventional operations. IPB is continuous and its products are revised throughout the mission.

Nonetheless, predeployment products are of particular importance for the reasons explained above. Whenever possible, planning and preparation for deployment includes a thorough and detailed IPB. IPB in COIN requires personnel to work in areas like economics, anthropology, and governance that may be outside their expertise. Therefore, integrating staffs and drawing on the knowledge of nonintelligence personnel and external experts with local and regional knowledge are critical to effective preparation.

3-10. Deployed units are the best sources of intelligence. Deploying units should make an effort to reach forward to deployed units. The Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) allows deploying units to immerse themselves virtually in the situation in theater. Government agencies, such as the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and intelligence agencies, can often provide country studies and other background information as well.

3-11. Open-source intelligence is information of potential intelligence value that is available to the general public (JP 1-02). It is important to predeployment IPB. In many cases, background information on the populations, cultures, languages, history, and governments of states in an AO is in open sources. Open sources include books, magazines, encyclopedias, Web sites, tourist maps, and atlases. Academic sources, such as journal articles and university professors, can also be of great benefit.

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