Conducting the Softer Side of Counterinsurgency   [open pdf - 575KB]

"In a counterinsurgency (COIN) the local population becomes the center of gravity. Over the past three years, the U.S. military has rewritten many field manuals that focus on COIN, to include a significant change to FM 3-0, Operations, and a complete revision of FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency. These changes in doctrine have forced the U.S. military's conventional force to reconsider its use of the kinetic force and begin to understand the use of more non-kinetic means, or the softer side of COIN, in order to reach sustainable peace. If non-kinetic actions are the way forward, how should units (battalion and below) be applying the softer side of COIN? This thesis considers through context and assessment the goals that are needed to achieve the right mix of kinetic and non-kinetic actions. Practitioners suggest that information operations, situational awareness, cultural awareness and empathy are key components of effective counterinsurgency. This thesis argues further that network development and command influence have vital multiplier effects on these components. Without command influence, none are likely to take hold. Therefore, the thesis argues that command influence is the key aspect in achieving a balance between kinetic and non-kinetic actions, in order to conduct effective COIN."

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