Joint publication on counterinsurgency reviewed by CSIS

Last week the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released their review of recently updated Joint Publication (JP) 3-24 Counterinsurgency (COIN). JP 3-24 was updated in November 2013 and amends the original JP that was published in 2009.

The review of the updated JP credits the revised COIN manual with addressing some of the issues with the original document, including what were seen as unrealistic and overly ambitious expectations for societal and institutional change. However, the CSIS review also notes five shortcomings to the JP.

According to the review, JP 3-24 overestimates the influence the U.S. has with host-nation leaders and power brokers. The updated JP also overestimates the willingness of U.S. political leaders to insist on whole-of-government coordination and of bureaucratic leaders to give up existing decision-making privileges. Additionally, the JP underplays the importance of actors outside the U.S., and does not recognize that any U.S. COIN strategy should be designed to support the host-nation’s strategy. Also, while the JP acknowledges the need to identify and address the root causes of the insurgency, it underestimates the time and resources it takes to sustainably address these causes.

The review recognizes that it is unlikely that this JP will be used after U.S. involvement in Afghanistan diminishes at the end of this year. Still, the review suggests expanding civilian capacities for conflict diplomacy, prevention, and mitigation to reduce demand for military intervention, but recognizes that the demand for civilian capacity is usually unmet.

Joint Pub 3-24

For more information on this JP 3-24 and the CSIS review, please follow the links below.
Is Revised COIN Manual Backed by Political Will?, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Joint Publication on Counterinsurgency Updated, Simons Center
Joint Publication 3-24 Counterinsurgency, Joint Chiefs of Staff

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