Teaching Insurgency through the Prism of the American Revolution

By Fawley, Darrell E. | Infantry, April-August 2012 | Go to article overview

Teaching Insurgency through the Prism of the American Revolution


Fawley, Darrell E., Infantry


After the President announced a shift from ground wars to a strategy focusing on air-sea battle, many are probably breathing a sigh of relief, happy to be done with the frustrating police action inherent in counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. However, a simple analysis of history and the current state of the world should lead most to believe that the U.S. Army's need to understand low intensity conflict and stability operations is far from gone. Beginning in the earliest days of the 20th century, the Army has found itself in a COIN environment several times only to later forget those lessons and prepare for the next big war. As the Army's role winds down in Afghanistan and in the wake of the end of operations in Iraq, most Infantry officers are happy to turn back to high intensity offensive and, to a lesser degree, defensive operations, which are often mischaracterized as full spectrum operations (these operations are in fact the highest end of the spectrum but not the spectrum in itself). However, COIN will be a necessary skill for the foreseeable future, and it should remain a focal point of our professional education and development for years to come.

By teaching NCOs and officers counterinsurgency in the interwar period, we ensure that we are prepared the next time the nation asks us to counter an insurgency instead of being caught off guard as in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Iraq to name of few. Further, when our Infantry leaders understand insurgency, they will better understand how to fight it. They will not make the usual mistake of seeing their enemies as cowards, idiots, or thugs. They will understand what motivates their enemy, what makes him strong, and where he is vulnerable. They will be able to develop an effective plan to defeat him and deny him the populace. And they will do this much faster than has been done in wars past where needless lives, resources, and time were wasted fighting the wrong fight.

The Army has no shortage of lessons learned and examples of COIN operations. However, the problem will be that as new officers and NCOs rise, those who have never found themselves in that environment will not have the same point of reference. They will not have a historical understanding of low intensity wars. Their understanding of Vietnam is likely to be more from the point of the culture of the times, the larger politics, the draft, and the mental effect on the veterans. The trick to getting them to learn about insurgency, which they must get before learning how to counter it, is to use historic examples that they already understand. The American War of Independence provides the perfect vehicle for this. Nearly all officers and NCOs will understand it, and it should interest them to learn that their own nation was born from that dreaded thing called an insurgency. This article will provide an outline for how to teach concepts from FM 3-24, Counter insurgency, and FM 3-24.2, Tactics in Counterinsurgency, to leaders of all backgrounds using the most common point of reference.

Historical Background

1763 - Britain determines that the Colonies should pay for their own defense thus beginning a series of unpopular taxation. Also, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 prevented settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains.

1765 - The Quartering Act is enacted forcing civilians to quarter troops against their will, and the Sons of Liberty political organization forms.

1770 - The Boston Massacre occurs.

1772 - The Gaspée Affair occurs (angry locals board, loot, and torch a British trade enforcement ship).

1773 - The Boston Tea Party occurs.

1774 - The Massachusetts Government Act leads the Colonialists to expel the British-appointed government and storm British army forts. Provincial congresses spring up, and Massachusetts establishes a defense network.

1775 - British General Thomas Gage (the appointed Massachusetts governor) sends regulars toward Concord to seize arms and arrest revolutionaries. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Teaching Insurgency through the Prism of the American Revolution
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.