March 03, 2008

That's right, a cocktail napkin

The Front Page, a popular Washington, D.C., bistro, was an unlikely place for the genesis of a radical new war strategy for Iraq. But on Nov. 7, 2005, over gourmet burgers and beer, an equally unlikely group of military men and Ivy League eggheads sketched out a plan for a new Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency manual -- on a cocktail napkin.

Read the rest of the history of the COIN FM (3-24) here.

And hats off to BC undergrad Cullen Nutt, who turned a chance meeting with Nate Fick (at a book signing!) into a senior thesis and outstanding narrative history of the origins of the FM. To the best of Charlie's knowledge, no one has written it up so completely. Certainly no one else talks about the Front Page...

Update: AM here. Bravo, Cullen! It's pretty cool that the first person to tell this story is a) a regular reader of this blog and b) still an undergraduate. There's something to be said for a Jesuit education after all.

Update II: SWJ has a response from LTC Gentile, where he argues that there was no where near as much debate surrounding 3-24 as Cullen's story implies. Charlie is looking forward to reading his competing approach to counter-insurgency operations.