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  • Author: Robert Egnell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article analyses the conduct of British operations in Helmand between 2006 and 2010 and discusses the implications for the legacy and future of British counterinsurgency. A number of lessons stand out: first, competence in the field of counterinsurgency is neither natural nor innate through regimental tradition or historical experience. The slow adaptation in Helmand—despite the opportunity to allow the Basra experience to be a leading example of the need for serious changes in training and mindset—is an indication that the expertise British forces developed in past operations is but a distant folktale within the British Armed Forces. Substantially changed training, painful relearning of counterinsurgency principles and changed mindsets are therefore necessary to avoid repeated early failures in the future. Moreover, despite eventually adapting tactically to the situation and task in Helmand, the British Armed Forces proved inadequate in dealing with the task assigned to them for two key reasons. First, the resources of the British military are simply too small for dealing with large-scale complex engagements such as those in Helmand or southern Iraq. Second, the over-arching comprehensive approach, and especially the civilian lines of operations that underpinned Britain's historical successes with counterinsurgency, are today missing.
  • Topic: Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Britain, Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Stuart Griffin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have had profound effects on both the British and US militaries. Among the most important is the way in which they have challenged traditional assumptions about the character of unconventional conflict and the role of the military within comprehensive strategies for encouraging sustainable peace. In the UK, the most important doctrinal response has been JDP 3-40 Security and Stabilisation: the military contribution. Security and Stabilisation is an ambitious attempt to synthesize elements of counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, peace support and state-building within a single doctrine that reflects the lessons learned from recent British operational experience. This article examines the purpose, impact and potential value of this important innovation in British doctrine. To do so, the article explores the genesis of Stabilization; analyses its impact upon extant British doctrine for counterinsurgency and peace support; discusses its relationship with the most important related US doctrines, FM 3-24: the counterinsurgency field manual and FM 3-07: the stability operations field manual; and debates the function of doctrine more broadly. It concludes by summarizing the primary challenges Security and Stabilisation must overcome if it is to make a serious contribution to the theory and practice of such complex interventions.
  • Topic: Security, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, United Kingdom