Dirty Windows and Burning Houses: Setting the Record Straight on Irregular Warfare

John A. Nagl, Brian M Burton
Content Type
Journal Article
The Washington Quarterly
Issue Number
Publication Date
Center for Strategic and International Studies
After a slow start, the U.S. military has made remarkable strides in adapting to irregular warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is beginning to institutionalize those adaptations. Recent Department of Defense (DOD) directives and field manuals have elevated stability operations and counterinsurgency to the same level of importance as conventional military offensive and defensive operations. These changes are the outcome of deep reflection about the nature of current and likely future threats to U.S. national security and the military's role in addressing them. They represent important steps toward transforming a sclerotic organizational culture that long encouraged a ''we don't do windows'' posture on so-called ''military operations other than war,'' even as the nation's leaders called upon the armed forces to perform those types of missions with increasing frequency.
National Security, War
Political Geography
Afghanistan, United States, Iraq