Magazine article Foreign Policy

The Coindinistas

Magazine article Foreign Policy

The Coindinistas

Article excerpt

Pushed and prodded by a wonky group of Ph.D.'s, the U.S. military has in the last year decisively embraced a Big Idea: counterinsurgency. Not everyone in uniform is a fan, but David Petraeus and the other generals in charge of America's wars are solidly behind it. Here are the brains behind counterinsurgency's rise from forgotten doctrine to the centerpiece of the world's most powerful military:

1 Gen. David Petraeus--The face of the 2007-08 "surge" in Iraq and now chief of Central Command. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is gonna try the same in Afghanistan, but "King David" rules this roost. 'Nuff said?

2 John Nagl--Writer on Petraeus's counterinsurgency manual, now beats the COIN drum from the outside as president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). But it wouldn't be surprising to see him in a top Pentagon slot within a year or two.

3 David Kilcullen--The Crocodile Dundee of counterinsurgency. Former Australian infantryman with a Ph.D. in anthropology, and one of the most quotable people on the planet. His book The Accidental Guerrilla helped shape the year's debates; he worked to steer the former Bush administration toward COIN from the inside.

4 Janine Davidson--The Pentagon insider in this crowd. Former Air Force pilot now sitting at the adult table in the policy shop of the secretary of Defense.

5 Dave Dilegge--Editor of Small Wars Journal This is the town square of counterinsurgency, avidly read by everyone from four-star generals to captains on the ground in Iraq. …

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