Required Reading: 100 Years of COIN: What new have we Learned?

From David Betz at Kings College:

…2006 may represent something of a watershed; it’s probably too soon to tell but my hunch is that the stuff which John Mackinlay and David Kilcullen are writing about global insurgency is significant. Kilcullen’s Accidental Guerrilla has garnered a ton of deserved praise. And having seen several chapters of Mackinlay’s book The Insurgent Archipelago which is about to be published, I think he pushes the envelope further still. He reckons that there has been a sea change from Maoist to ‘Post-Maoist’ insurgency: Maoist insurgent objectives were national whereas Post-Maoist objectives are global; the population involved in Maoist insurgency was manageable (albeit with difficulty) whereas the populations (note the plural) involved in Post-Maoist insurgency are dispersed and unmanageable; the centre of gravity in Maoist insurgency was local or national whereas in Post-Maoist insurgency it is multiple and possibly irrelevant; the all important subversion process in Maoist insurgency was top-down whereas in Post-Maoist insurgency it is bottom-up; Maoist insurgent organization was vertical and structured whereas in Post-Maoism it is an unstructured network; and whereas Maoist insurgency took place in a real and territorial context the Post-Maoist variant’s vital operational environment is virtual. My question is whether this is still insurgency or has it evolved into something else sufficiently different as to be actually something else?

Read the whole thing here. As the excerpt above indicates, Effective COIN is more, much more, than bullets and bombs, it is about influence.

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