COIN and Combat Tours

When President Bush announced that Iraq and Afghanistan combat tours would be cut back to twelve months from their current fifteen, Phil Carter and Kevin Drum had an interesting back and forth and back about tour lengths and counterinsurgency best practices. The upshot of the exchange was that even though counterinsurgency demands familiarity with the area of operations, there’s a point of diminishing returns beyond which the human toll of longer tours interferes with units’ ability to be effective. Here’s Carter: [T]here’s a finite limit to the amount of combat that men and women can endure. So we must balance […]

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