Lieutenant General David H. Petraeus

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U.S. Army SGT Lucas Murray


Galula on Adapting to Insurgency Environments


“…At some point in the counterinsurgency process, the static units that took part initially in large-scale military operations in their area will find themselves confronted with a huge variety of nonmilitary tasks which have to be performed in order to get the support of the population, and which can be performed only by military personnel, because of the shortage of reliable civilian political and administrative personnel. Making a thorough census, enforcing new regulations on movements of persons and goods, informing the population, conducting person-to-person propaganda, gathering intelligence on the insurgent’s political agents, implementing the various economic and social reforms, etc.—all these will become their primary activity. They have to be organized, equipped, and supported accordingly. Thus, a mimeograph machine may turn out to be more useful than a machine gun, a soldier trained as a pediatrician more important than a mortar expert, cement more wanted than barbed wire, clerks more in demand than riflemen.”

—David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare, Theory and Practice (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1964; reprint, Westport, Conn.: Praeger Security International, 2006), 66



This volume complements the new Army/Marine Corps field manual on counterinsurgency operations. As the new doctrine explains, the conduct of counterinsurgency operations is a "graduate level" endeavor, full of paradoxes and challenges and different in many ways from conventional military combat. It is important, then, that leaders develop a solid appreciation of the nature of irregular warfare and an understanding of the types of operations the U.S. military is conducting in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and elsewhere. These are, after all, the types of operations in which we are likely to be involved in the years ahead, as few of our nation's enemies appear eager to challenge our forces on a conventional battlefield.

The editors have designed this collection of selected articles from Military Review to help leaders develop the understanding needed to prepare for the responsibilities they will shoulder leading America's sons and daughters in counterinsurgency operations. In fact, where the counterinsurgency field manual discusses first principles, these articles provide specific lessons and observations about ongoing operations "downrange" in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as historical insights from other locations. The new field manual helps leaders to ask the right questions; these articles will help them arrive at the right answers for a given time and place.

Counterinsurgency operations are exceedingly complex and demanding. This reader can help leaders prepare for the challenges of such operations.

U.S. Army SGT Lucas Murray
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
Commander, U.S. Army Combined
Arms Center And Fort Leavenworth




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October 2006