Military Review

End of the era of counterinsurgency ("Stratfor", USA)

End of the era of counterinsurgency ("Stratfor", USA)The US military has been discussing the feasibility of counterinsurgency operations for years. Based on the opinion formed by the war in Vietnam, many in the army have long resisted counterinsurgency actions. Others see similar operations as an inevitable component of future US wars. Debates are held between those who believe that the goal of conventional armed forces is to defeat the conventional armed forces of the enemy, and those who believe that traditional military conflicts will increasingly give way to conflicts similar to recent counterinsurgency operations. In such conflicts, the goal of the operations is to transform the occupied society in order to undermine the position of the rebels.

In order to capture the essence of the debate, it is necessary to understand that counterinsurgency is not a type of war - it is a strategy used by a disproportionately powerful conventional military force to wage an asymmetric war. As the name implies, the operation is a response to insurgent actions - a type of asymmetric conflict in which small groups associated with the occupied society participate in order to defeat the superior armed forces. Usually, the rebels are very purposeful - otherwise they quickly lose - and often their intelligence work better than the intelligence services of foreign invaders. Small groups of insurgents with good intelligence can avoid confrontations with more powerful conventional armed forces and are able to strike at them at their discretion. Usually there is no hope that the rebels will defeat the forces of the invaders by using direct military force. However, the main assumption of such a strategy is that the occupying power has less interest in the outcome of the war than the rebels, so over time the inability to defeat the rebels will force the occupants to leave.

According to counterinsurgency theory, the power of the rebel movement lies in the relationship between the rebels and the rest of the population. Links provide the basis for logistics and intelligence apparatus. They also provide shelter, as they allow the rebels to merge with the local population and disappear in the event of pressure from the occupiers. According to counterinsurgency theory, the destruction of these relations is mandatory. This requires providing economic incentives to the population, concluding deals with its leaders and protecting the population from insurgents who may initiate punitive operations as a result of the cooperation of the population with the occupation forces.

The weakness of counterinsurgency theory lies in the assumption that the population will turn its back on insurgents for economic reasons, or that the forces conducting counterinsurgency operations will be able to protect the population from rebels. Some values, such as religion and nationalism, are extremely important in some societies, and the occupying power to change these values ​​is minimal. It does not matter how helpful, sincere and friendly the occupying force is. Moreover, to protect the population from the rebels is difficult. Often the rebels are the husbands, brothers and children of civilians. The population may seek economic benefits offered by the occupying force, but this does not mean that citizens will betray or substitute their friends and relatives. In the end, it is a deceptive assumption that a crowd of foreigners can do something more than intimidate the population. The extent of this intimidation is also uncertain.

An alternative to counterinsurgency?

Of course, there is another plane of asymmetric warfare, which includes guerrilla warfare and special operations. Within the framework of such a war, well-trained light infantry forces disembark with a specific mission and do not depend on the local population. Instead, such forces avoid contact with the population, existing and working, using their own supplies or supplies obtained with minimal contact with the local population. It is noteworthy that any side can use similar tactics. The most important thing in assessing guerrilla warfare from the perspective of counterinsurgency actions is that this tactic is not only for insurgents. It may also be a potential alternative to counterinsurgency.

Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the US military is not very good at counterinsurgency operations. It can be argued that the United States should improve its abilities in the conduct of counterinsurgency, but little indicates that this is possible. However, there is another option for waging war with the help of ground troops, and it is in this form that the US military is strong. In this alternative, there is no intention to win over the population - it is aimed at achieving very specific military goals: from destroying objects to intimidation, engaging in hostilities and the possible destruction of enemy forces, including insurgents.

Special forces are extremely useful for achieving similar goals, but we must also take into account other types of forces. The US Marine Corps is a good example. Instead of occupying territory, and precisely instead of trying to change public opinion, these forces carry out normal missions with relatively small groups. Their goal is to use military force in a very specific task, avoiding contact with the population and striking at forces and objects of the opposition. Counter-terrorism operations or the assault on specific objects could be the best example of this.

Such operations are cost effective and do not require occupation. More importantly, such operations are designed in such a way as not to entail political consequences, the curse of protracted counterinsurgency operations. The alternative to counterinsurgency is to avoid occupational hostilities and to carefully define more limited missions.

In order to illustrate these operations, let us take as an example what we consider one of the most important emerging threats: the possibility of acquiring non-state participants in the international system of land-based anti-ship missiles. Globalism leads to the growth of maritime trade. We have already watched the spread of different species. weapons among non-state actors. It is easy to imagine that the next type of weapon being distributed will be ground-based mobile anti-ship missiles. A guerrilla or rebel group armed with such systems can use vegetation as cover for movement and strike at warships. In fact, we have already seen several incidents when groups used similar tactics. Hezbollah acted this way during the anti-Israel action in 2006. Pirates off the coast of Africa are a non-state threat to sea freight, although they have not yet used such weapons. We see this possibility in the case of the use of boats with suicide bombers sailing from the shores of Yemen.

The world is full of tight sea straits - in such a “bottle throat” the movement of ships is limited, and they are within reach of the anti-ship systems located on the shore. Some restrictions, such as the Straits of Hormuz, Malacca and the Straits of Gibraltar, are natural phenomena, while the Suez and Panama canals are man-made and extremely vulnerable to the use of less sophisticated weapons than anti-ship missiles. These sea straits, as well as other important coastal zones, demonstrate the vulnerability of the entire world economy to state and non-state actors in the international system. Their capture will be a logical transition to the next level after piracy.

Providing marine escorts to protect commercial ships will not solve the problem. Escort forces may not even be able to attack aggressors on land, whose location may not be known. Air strikes are possible, but using examples of places like Kosovo, we realized that camouflage is an effective means of fighting air raids, despite its shortcomings.

In such conditions, detachable units that vary in size will be needed. American marines, who have enough strength to withstand opponents in a relatively large area, are well suited for this kind of operation.

Special-purpose teams can be useful for the destruction of designated and non-moving physical objects, but the navy in groups that vary in the number of people will be able to provide for the search, identification and destruction of attackers who are in constant movement or regroup. Due to the fact that these will be both land and sea operations, coordination of the efforts of the naval and land forces is extremely important. These missions are clearly for the Marines, and they may turn out to be very urgent tasks.

The missile example is one of many possible missions against non-state actors that can be devised for small units in a mixed military scenario. Such a mission will help to avoid the mistakes of counterinsurgency operations. Moreover, it will give on-the-spot forces the ability to distinguish between targets, camouflage and innocent victims, while still allowing the use of drones and other means.

The issue is not the choice between an “equal” military conflict and counterinsurgency. Although becoming increasingly rare, equal conflicts continue to be a threat to the existence of any country. The real challenge is to provide the mission with commensurate resources, while without occupying the country or — which is worse — its transformation.

Scale and mission

The type of government that leads Afghanistan does not affect US national interests. In the national interests of the United States - the lack of planned, executed or organized in Afghanistan, terrorist attacks. In order to achieve this goal, the occupation or transformation of the social structure is not needed. The necessary actions will vary in each case, but the main thing is to curb the level of US involvement in each conflict at the lowest possible level. There are three reasons for this. First, such a strategy of deterrence leads to the definition of a mission goal that can really be achieved. This implies a sober attitude towards the task. Moreover, by minimizing the level of engagement, it is possible to avoid a scenario in which expedient withdrawal of troops is considered politically impossible. One last thing: it avoids the consequences of trying to change the whole country.

Military intervention should be a rare event: when it happens, it must be proportionate to the goal. In the sea straits scenario mentioned above, the goal is not to defeat the rebels, because the insurgency cannot be destroyed without occupation and without transforming the occupied society. The goal is to prevent the use of ground-based rocket launchers against ships. The mission to destroy these installations is easy to justify from a political point of view, since it can be used to avoid an occupational war. There are effective countermeasures against counterinsurgency operations.

These operations require a small detachment, which can be transferred in various ways to the established zone. They should be able to use forces of different levels - from the detachment to a higher level, if the need arises. Forces sent on missions must be able to return without leaving the theater of operations zone. In this case, they do not need, without having to be located in the immediate conflict zone, suffer casualties, and also fight for secondary objectives and - which in this case is inevitable - against civilians. In other words, the mission should not lead to political consequences that can be avoided.

The main thing is to recognize the failure of counterinsurgency actions, to understand that war is fought at different levels, and that any military detachment should be able to adapt to the mission, ideally functioning without large ground objects and without going over to occupation.

The current debate on counterinsurgency allows us to think carefully not only about the "scaling" of military forces, but also about the idea that the mission should involve the occupation of the territory only in the most extreme cases. Occupation leads to resistance, resistance to retaliatory attacks, and they, in turn, lead to counter-insurgency actions. A quick landing of forces, usually from the sea, can lead to rational strategic and operational planning, as well as strategies to end the war. It is easier to end the war when it only requires ships to sail away.

Not all wars can be waged in this way. But in cases where such a strategy does not fit, you need to think very carefully about the situation. As the past shows, optimism история similar wars do not inspire.

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  1. Dmitriy69
    Dmitriy69 6 June 2012 11: 41
    Shitting in the corners should be done quickly so that they don’t get caught, and roll up even faster so that they don’t dust.
    American future strategy.
    1. Armata
      Armata 6 June 2012 11: 48
      Yes, another example of the Yankee's "peacefulness". When will they finally stumble so that they will not be able to get up after that.
      1. mihasik
        mihasik 7 June 2012 00: 10
        I talked with the guys from the 7th fleet in the Persian Gulf (I worked in the city fleet). By the way, they see and respect only the Russians in the form of an enemy and a friend (from the lips of the military of the 7th fleet). Guys, I consider myself a patriot, but if tomorrow you announce that Russia is Lord in the whole world, how will YOU behave to everyone else !!!! ??? Think about it ! Who will look at some small countries? The country is in danger, we must save it! How? Second question. So if now America is on horseback, what are you puffing at that we all ..... eat !? We will give trynds, but not ..... we eat!
        There will be a very bloody war, and we are unlikely to win it even without nuclear weapons, unfortunately ......
        1. 12Ural12
          12Ural12 7 June 2012 00: 33
          In connection with the collapse of the army planned by the authorities, everyone is preparing for a guerrilla war.
    2. Aleksey67
      Aleksey67 6 June 2012 11: 50
      The author zhzhetttt !!! Pirates with anti-ship missiles are cool. He also needs hostages and cargo for bargaining, followed by redemption, and not a sunken ship (tanker) with corpses.
      1. Dmitriy69
        Dmitriy69 6 June 2012 12: 15
        Quote: Aleksey67
        Pirates with anti-ship missiles are cool

        And then !!!
        Here, the main thing is to frighten fellow citizens to the point of consciousness, so that they then shit any crap without asking questions.
        1. Dmitriy69
          Dmitriy69 6 June 2012 12: 20
          Note, men, the option of just sitting at home and not getting anywhere is not even considered!
          1. Aleksey67
            Aleksey67 6 June 2012 12: 27
            Quote: Dmitriy69
            Note, men, the option of just sitting at home and not getting anywhere is not even considered!

            Dim, well, sitting at home is not interesting and not profitable. Tolley's business is to bring up bin Laden, arm the mujahideen, and then bring democracy to Afghanistan (the fact that at the time of the entry of the troops there they began to extract oil purely by chance). Then help the Libyans to overthrow the "dictator", arm the opposition there and protect oil production, and the fact that weapons are spreading throughout the region is a task for later. Now the Syrian opposition is armed, despite the fact that it is supported by Al Qaeda. Well, just like "Stole, drank in jail" the truth in the interpretation "armed, destroyed, robbed"
            1. Dmitriy69
              Dmitriy69 6 June 2012 12: 36
              Quote: Aleksey67
              Well, sitting at home is not interesting and not profitable.

              That is yes. To such an extent, it’s not profitable that if they stop, then the states will simply get cranes on the same day.
          2. 450096
            450096 6 June 2012 12: 27
            Quote: Dmitriy69
            Note, men, the option of just sitting at home and not getting anywhere is not even considered!

            This is the main indicator of US policy. In the world, no one expects anything else from them for a long time.
      2. RUSSIA75
        RUSSIA75 6 June 2012 14: 05
        Well, maybe the author meant that such a worn-out longboat set up for fishing for a bargaining boat comes up, and an anti-ship missile suddenly flies out from under the rags on the wheelhouse towards the escort ship! Suddenly? Yes! Effectively? Probably yes too. what
    3. YARY
      YARY 6 June 2012 11: 55
      To steal or rob and that would not be caught and not condemned and not torn off for this head!
      That's all! what fool angry
      1. Heinrich ruppert
        Heinrich ruppert 6 June 2012 12: 19
        Quote: Ardent
        To steal or rob and that would not be caught and not condemned and not torn off for this head!

        Quote: Aleksey67
        The author zhzhetttt !!!

        Posted by George Friedman

        Summarized. Maybe I'm wrong?
        1. Alexander Romanov
          Alexander Romanov 6 June 2012 13: 46
          Friedman, real American last name. at
      2. DEMENTIY
        DEMENTIY 6 June 2012 19: 45
        YARY +
        And this is for your comment.
  2. dima1970
    dima1970 6 June 2012 11: 45
    Some kind of light nonsense, especially about mobile missile systems in the hands of "non-state structures".
  3. Middle-brother
    Middle-brother 6 June 2012 11: 51
    They cannot sit quietly at home ... And these people called the USSR "the evil empire". Who, then, are they themselves?
    1. Gavrilon
      Gavrilon 6 June 2012 12: 51
      Bullshit (with Coca-Cola and Sneakers in exchange for oil) !!!
  4. Hysnik-Tsuzoy
    Hysnik-Tsuzoy 6 June 2012 11: 56
    Indeed, continental wars using millions of armies today are perceived by archaic. The tendency to replace huge army formations with small, high-tech mobile groups is observed everywhere. The goal of most modern wars is to control resources. But this is, in a sense, an axiom only for Western countries, but not for countries from the club of billionaires, for which a war for living space can become a vital necessity.
  5. nnnnnnnnn
    nnnnnnnnn 6 June 2012 12: 15
    American company Stratfor is the first and one of the most influential private organizations in the world in the field of collecting information officially working under the slogan “global intelligence” (experts call it even more catchy: "Shadow CIA") The US Department of State, the Pentagon and even the Government of Israel use the data from this company.
    Moreover, Stratfor is not only intelligence intelligence, but also "field workers". For example, under the guidance of retirees of special services, Stratfor employees learn the classics of operational work. In particular, they are trained not only to evade surveillance, but also to conduct it themselves. In one of the entertaining corporate discussions about handling information, the founder and permanent head of the company, George Friedman writes to colleagues: “Sources that we cannot use are useless. The erratic use of important sources is dangerous. This is the constant intelligence dilemma. Since we are not journalists, we may have ways to handle this. ”
    And the stuffing of "analytical opuses" is questionable because this part of the information war does not believe me in the "independence" of the company.
  6. Recon
    Recon 6 June 2012 12: 16
    In any case, the role of special forces in wars has grown many times over. and Russia needs to make every possible effort for their development.
  7. b0bi
    b0bi 6 June 2012 13: 00
    Now they are using a strategy against Syria, which they themselves are afraid of. They throw rebel mercenaries against the army of Assad. It’s much cheaper and more effective to be in the rebels yourself than to fight against the rebels. This is well understood in the states. But Assad has no choice but to fight off these partisans, how long will he last?
    1. Simon
      Simon 6 June 2012 13: 51
      And what will happen after that if Assad loses? What country will be with this rabble of murderers and mercenaries whom America and Europe support. request wassat
    2. Alexei
      Alexei 6 June 2012 15: 34
      Quote: b0bi
      It’s much cheaper and more effective to be in the rebels yourself than to fight against the rebels.

      It is worth noting that the services of the rebels are paid for, with the money obtained from the homeland of the rebels themselves. The plan is simple to disgrace, and is designed for fools (ideological) rebels, as well as prudent rebels who are only interested in money.
  8. vladimir64ss
    vladimir64ss 6 June 2012 13: 31
    For this, it is necessary to provide the population with economic incentives by concluding deals with its leaders and protecting the population from insurgents who might start punitive operations as a result of the population’s cooperation with the occupying forces.

    That’s what the Nazis did in the occupied territories.
    Quote: nnnnnnnnn
    And the stuffing of "analytical opuses" is questionable because this part of the information war

    In any case, there is no doubt about the cynicism of theorists. An open desire to build their world on the bones of others causes a feeling of disgust.
  9. Che
    Che 6 June 2012 16: 45
    The article is good, clearly demonstrates Amer’s essence. And eat the fish and sit on ===.
  10. Oleg0705
    Oleg0705 6 June 2012 18: 01
    Son asks father:
    - Dad, what is "American foreign policy"?
    Father with all the dope charges him in the neck.
    - For what, dad ?!
    “I suspect you stole 50 bucks from me.”
    - But I did not do it !!!
    - Shut up and give back, and the same amount for moral damage!
    “But you haven’t proved anything yet!”
    - This, son, is the essence of "American foreign policy."
  11. IGR
    IGR 6 June 2012 19: 13
    Experience versus experience.
    What do they have? Vietnam, Colombia, Panama .... - mainly military operations.
    We have? Start with Denis Davydov and finish Chechnya. The whole palette, here is Kovpak, Rudnev and the GRU in Afghanistan.
    Apparently in Syria, the rebel effect does not work as we would like. You can’t pull for a long time, otherwise the facts about who and by what methods partisan there. About the PKK in the hands of the partisans - the scenario of the strait, but he is still looming Hormuz.
    I really do not want to substitute the article corps for the US Marine Corps under the hammer, and it’s stinging. crying
  12. Captain45
    Captain45 6 June 2012 19: 38
    The author asks a question. An alternative to counterinsurgency?
    The answer is in the old Russian proverb - "They don't go to a strange monastery with their own charter!" Sit at home on the train ... and eat a hamburger, you will be alive, fat and happy!
  13. 8 company
    8 company 6 June 2012 19: 51
    Amers have rich experience in counter-guerrilla warfare and do not underestimate it. They strangled the partisan movement in the Philippines, in Paraguay, when they killed Che Guevara and many more where. There were failures: Vietnam, today's Colombia, etc. In general, they are very good. they well understand the significance of such a struggle and it is not in vain that they hold serious forces for such special operations. This must be taken into account, and hat-inspiring moods will not lead to anything good. Before the Great Patriotic War, they also threw a lot of hats, but it was only audible: we will fight on foreign territory and with little blood. As a result, extra //// they were ...
    1. IGR
      IGR 6 June 2012 22: 01
      Dear Andrew.
      With the Philippines is not so simple. The movement began as a communist - anti-Japanese. And the army of President Rojas, armed and trained by the Americans, crushed him until 1953. As usual, a banana republic turned into a banana dictatorship of Marquez with death squads and corruption. Everything seemed to settle down only by the 2000s. Also in Paraguay (South. Vietnam, Laos, Combodia, Angola ...). Always acted against partisans ITSprepared, trained by Amerov instructors.
      But the partisan movement in the USSR is generally a separate subject!
      As a result of repression in 1937-1938. partisan cadres suffered irreparable losses. Many employees of the General Staff, the NKVD, the secretaries of the regional committees who were preparing for guerrilla warfare were repressed, commanders of the Red Army who had special partisan training were repressed. Caches with weapons, ammunition, and explosives intended for partisan forces were eliminated. The network of partisan schools led by competent leaders was liquidated. Partisan detachments and groups were disbanded.
      Partially survived only those partisan cadres who happened to take part in the first armed battle with fascism in Spain, in particular A.K. Sprogis, S.A. Vaupshasov, N.A. Prokopyuk, I.G. Starinov and a number of others.
      about Sudoplatov - saboteur №1 of the USSR - you should not forget too, read
      1. 8 company
        8 company 6 June 2012 23: 08
        Quote: IGR
        armed and trained by the Americans

        That's right, this is the only right tactic - to train local personnel who will fight. We fought in Afghanistan instead of local ones, and this is deeply wrong. It's nice that you read Starinov and Sudoplatov, and about the rout of the Soviet partisan structure before the war. good
  14. Scorpio 83
    Scorpio 83 6 June 2012 22: 29
    I don’t like the article, it’s some kind of laudatory about the amerovsky marines! "-" About us, is there really nothing to write at all, aren't we so bad and we can't do anything !?
  15. suharev-52
    suharev-52 6 June 2012 22: 41
    I regard the publication as a stuffing in the information war with Russia. Why didn’t they post about our special units instead of this article? I'm waiting! Sincerely.
  16. Korvin
    Korvin 6 June 2012 23: 59
    From wondering how they are going to avoid counterinsurgency if they themselves worked out the modern concept of war, realizing that the ground operation only begins when aviation and cruise missiles cast the country back into the Stone Age and the army of that country is reduced to insurgents and other equipment without armor ??? After that the population of the country sobstnno and can only partisan .....
  17. Katran
    Katran 7 June 2012 00: 13
    Normally, the author proposes to abandon the technical superiority of the US regular army over the "partisans" and fight on the territory of these "partisans" on their terms, that is, an infinite superiority, heavy weapons - cowboy machine gun against machine gun, man against man nunu, he himself wrote in the article that partisans, with the support of the population, are invulnerable and have ears everywhere, so everything will be like the USSR in Afghanistan, a special forces group went out in search of and the spirits already know from the local population where to meet the group, and the ambush from here is a loss, so no local support whatsoever chances, the Russians managed to turn the tide of the second Chechen one only due to the fact that they pulled the majority of the Chechen people to their side, so whatever one may say, the real occupier (that is, people with weapons who do not enjoy the support of the civilian population) will sooner or later be expelled. the darkness of such examples teaches there.
  18. SF93
    SF93 7 June 2012 01: 06
    The United States is not afraid that scattering burning matches to the sides themselves will sooner or later burn out.