Global Counterinsurgency: A Way Out of the Global War on Terrorism Quagmire?   [open pdf - 346KB]

"With the attacks of September 11th, by a transnational, global, terrorist network, the full danger of this new security threat was revealed. The initial response of the United States Government to this threat resulted in the birth of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Since its birth the GWOT has taken center stage as the default Foreign Policy and National Security Strategy of the United States. In the execution of this strategic construct the United States has deployed its military instrument of power to two regional conflicts--Afghanistan and Iraq--and numerous other low level, special operations throughout the globe. After more than six years of implementation, this monograph examines the effectiveness of GWOT and its current relevancy as a strategic concept. The monograph addresses the background and origins of GWOT to include the arguments for and against its usefulness and its strengths and weaknesses as a strategic construct. The monograph specifically examines the current security environment in which the GWOT is being applied and finds it to be insufficient. The monograph proposes that the security environment is more accurately defined as a global insurgency conducted by a transnational terror network with global reach. Further, the best way to address this security environment is to replace the construct of GWOT with a global counterinsurgency (COIN) strategic framework. In doing so, the monograph replaces the primacy of 'terror or terrorism' as the overarching threat with a clear identification of the enemy--al Qaeda and associated groups and movements. The research delves into the strategic goals and operational objectives of al Qaeda and assess its effectiveness as a global insurgency using the criteria established by contemporary and historical insurgency theorists…"

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