It is a persistently methodical approach and steady pressure which will gradually wear the
insurgent down. The government must not allow itself to be diverted either by coun-termoves
on the part of the insurgent or by the critics on its own side who will be seeking a simpler
and quicker solution. There are no short-cuts and no gimmicks. —Sir Robert Thompson,
Defeating Communist Insurgency: The Lessons of Malaya and Vietnam, 19662
This chapter addresses principles and tactics for executing counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. It begins by describing the different stages of a COIN operation and logical lines of operations that commanders can use to design one. It continues with discussions of three COIN approaches and how to continuously assess a COIN operation. The chapter concludes by describing lethal and nonlethal targeting in a COIN environment.
5-1. Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations require synchronized application of military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions. Successful counterinsurgents support or develop local institutions with legitimacy and the ability to provide basic services, economic opportunity, public order, and security. The political issues at stake are often rooted in culture, ideology, societal tensions, and injustice. As such, they
2. Copyright © 1966 by Robert Thompson. Reproduced with permission of Hailer Publishing.