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Strategic Horizons: U.S. Counterinsurgency Still Fighting the Last War

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When the Cold War ended in 1991, the U.S. military assumed it would no longer be involved in counterinsurgency. The subject was dropped from the curriculum of the military's professional educational system. None of the armed services wrote new doctrine or developed new operational concepts. The only lingering attention was a handful of war games with sideshow insurgency scenarios.

Then the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan forced the U.S. military and other government agencies to relearn counterinsurgency. The military wrote new doctrine and rebuilt its educational curriculum. Intelligence agencies refined their insurgency-focused analytical tools. Even the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development developed guidelines to spell out their role. Across the security community, war games, studies, conferences, seminars and workgroups on insurgency proliferated. ...

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