The New Counterinsurgency Era: Transforming the U. S. Military for Modern Wars

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The U.S. military, in its outlook and training, has traditionally focused on preparing to fight conventional wars, despite also having a long history of being dispatched to fight insurgencies. Counterinsurgency, stability operations, and peace keeping traditionally have been seen as lesser operations, distractions from the military's core purpose. But the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have necessitated that American military planners re-learn counterinsurgency strategies and tactics that were largely set aside after the Vietnam War. David Ucko believes strongly that the U.S. military must not repeat the mistake of forgetting counterinsurgency lessons after the current wars. How deep-running and effective has the learning process been? Will it last beyond the current wars? This book seeks to provide early answers to these questions by briefly sureying the history of American counterinsurgency operations and then examining the institutional learning process in the U.S. military community since 2001.

Ucko's conclusion is two fold. On the one hand, the learning process is targeted and very promising; informed directly by the campaign in Iraq, counterinsurgency is attracting unprecedented attention within the Pentagon. At the same time, this learning period has also fallen short of producing the type of deep-running change needed to transform the US military's stance toward counterinsurgency.

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Editorial Reviews

Eliot A. Cohen
David Ucko's The New Counterinsurgency Era is a dense, scholarly and useful work on how the American military adapted to counterinsurgency during the Iraq war, both on the ground and in the classrooms of Fort Leavenworth, where most of the Army's thinking gets done. The book captures the Army's self-inflicted amnesia about counterinsurgency in the wake of Vietnam and the difficult steps needed to relearn old lessons.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589014886
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David H. Ucko is an assistant professor at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA), at the National Defense University in Washington DC, and an adjunct fellow at the Department of War Studies, King's College London.

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Table of Contents



1. Framing the Reorientation

2. A Troubled History

3. Revisiting Counterinsurgency

4. Innovation under Fire

5. Counterinsurgency and the QDR

6. FM 3-24 and Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon

7. The Ambivalence of the "Surge"

8. Innovation or Inertia

Conclusion: Kicking the Counterinsurgency Syndrome?



About the Author


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