August 25, 2009

COMISAF COIN Guidance Released

The counterinsurgency guidance issued by Gen. Stan McChrystal to his units in the field has been finalized and released -- and it's very good. I would say it incorporates most of what the U.S. Army and Marine Corps have learned about counterinsurgency warfare over the past eight years and gives a good hint as to how Gen. McChrystal expects his subordinate units -- U.S. and allied -- to fight over the next 12-24 months. One thing that jumped out at me as being particularly important is the emphasis on partnering with the Afghan National Security Forces. Partnering is not the same thing as mentoring. Partnering means that you pair units together and do everything together: live, eat, train, plan, operate. This is a big change from the way we have engaged with the ANSF in the past and will require a shift in thought and deed among ISAF units and their commanders. Unless you are skeptical about counterinsurgency as a broader exercise, I think you will find this guidance to be smart, clearly explained, and worth reading yourself.