The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual: U.S. Army Field Manual No. 3-24 : Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-33.5

The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual: U.S. Army Field Manual No. 3-24 : Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-33.5

The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual: U.S. Army Field Manual No. 3-24 : Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-33.5

The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual: U.S. Army Field Manual No. 3-24 : Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-33.5

Synopsis

When the U. S. military invaded Iraq, it lacked a common understanding of the problems inherent in counterinsurgency campaigns. It had neither studied them, nor developed doctrine and tactics to deal with them. It is fair to say that in 2003, most Army officers knew more about the U. S. Civil War than they did about counterinsurgency. The U. S. Army / Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manualwas written to fill that void. The result of unprecedented collaboration among top U. S. military experts, scholars, and practitioners in the field, the manual espouses an approach to combat that emphasizes constant adaptation and learning, the importance of decentralized decision-making, the need to understand local politics and customs, and the key role of intelligence in winning the support of the population. The manual also emphasizes the paradoxical and often counterintuitive nature of counterinsurgency operations: sometimes the more you protect your forces, the less secure you are; sometimes the more force you use, the less effective it is; sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction. An new introduction by Sarah Sewall, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, places the manual in critical and historical perspective, explaining the significance and potential impact of this revolutionary challenge to conventional U. S. military doctrine. An attempt by our military to redefine itself in the aftermath of 9/11 and the new world of international terrorism,The U. S. Army / Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manualwill play a vital role in American military campaigns for years to come. The University of Chicago Press will donate a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Fisher House Foundation, a private-public partnership that supports the families of America's injured servicemen. To learn more about the Fisher House Foundation, visit www.fisherhouse.org.

Excerpt

The Evolution and Importance of Army / Marine Corps Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency

John A. Nagl

Although there were lonely voices arguing that the Army needed to focus on counterinsurgency in the wake of the Cold War—Dan Bolger, Eliot Cohen, and Steve Metz chief among them—the sad fact is that when an insurgency began in Iraq in the late summer of 2003, the Army was unprepared to fight it. the American Army of 2003 was organized, designed, trained, and equipped to defeat another conventional army; indeed, it had no peer in that arena. It was, however, unprepared for an enemy who understood that it could not hope to defeat the U.S. Army on a conventional battlefield, and who therefore chose to wage war against America from the shadows.

The story of how the Army found itself less than ready to fight an insurgency goes back to the Army's unwillingness to internalize and build upon the lessons of Vietnam. Chief of Staff of the Army General Peter Schoomaker has written that in Vietnam, “The U.S. Army, predisposed to fight a conventional enemy that fought using conventional tactics, overpowered

1. Although the Marine Corps officially designates this document as “Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 3-33.5,” Marines mercifully tend to discuss it using the Army designation of “FM 3-24,” a convention that this Foreword will follow. One of the most remarkable aspects of this publication is the spirit of cooperation between America's ground forces it both benefited from and has accelerated. the more closely the Army and Marine Corps continue to cooperate, the stronger and safer the nation will be.

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