January 25, 2012

The Debate Over COIN ... and the Future of the U.S. Army

I apologize for not writing on the blog this week. I have a lot of posts in my head but have been busy with other activities -- and writing for other websites.

Judah Grunstein of the World Politics Review commissioned a debate over the future of counterinsurgency and got responses from Steven Metz, Bing West, Michael Mazarr, and Starbuck. I contributed a piece arguing that the debate really misses the larger issue of what the hell our ground forces -- and especially our army -- are supposed to do.

Judah wryly noted that my article was itself textbook counterinsurgency: "Redefine the center of gravity (not COIN, but US Army); secure it from unnecessary collateral damage of kinetic ops; and construct narrative to encourage buy-in from on-the-fencers."

Anyway, I am always proud to participate in such debates, especially with other thinkers I very much admire. My article bears strong resemblance to a talk I gave earlier in the week at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in which I did my best to occupy the middle ground on a panel discussion with Gian Gentile and Max Boot.


On another note, SEAL Team 6 is doing its very best to make the president immune to Republican attacks that he's Jimmy Carter. My analysis of the hostage rescue operation in Somalia can be read on the website of the BBC.