The New Counterinsurgency Era: Transforming the U.S. Military for Modern Wars

David H. Ucko
Content Type
Georgetown University Press
The U.S. military has historically paid little attention to the nature and requirements of counterinsurgency and stability operations. Missions pitting the U.S. military against insurgents, or forcing it into stabilization tasks and policing duties abroad, have tended to be dismissed as beyond the military's remit or as “lesser-included” operations. The emphasis has instead been on achieving primacy against the armed forces of nation-states, involving an anticipated adversary shaped and operating very much like the U.S. military itself. This prioritization of “high-intensity” or “conventional” war has remained even though the U.S. military has faced “unconventional” or “irregular” challenges at a greater frequency and in campaigns of greater duration and cost. Indeed, even the major combat operations waged by the United States have often preceded or involved a less conventional phase, entailing postconflict stabilization or state-building. Notwithstanding these historical trends, the U.S. military has—in its doctrine, education, training, and, more broadly, its culture—prioritized the destruction of military targets far above the different means of creating or consolidating a new political order.
Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
Political Geography
United States