Nicholas Krohley and Stefan Muehlich
Where, when, how, and why do civil dynamics matter to the military? How do the US military and its NATO allies identify and exploit relevant civil phenomena? To what extent should military commanders care about the overwhelming majority of a given operational environment that is not an enemy or adversary?
Despite two decades of intensive counterinsurgency (COIN) operations, in which the human terrain was declared “decisive” and the population “the center of gravity,” there is no serious, compelling answer to any of these questions. There is no coherent, consistent approach to the investigation of issues beyond enemy-centric intelligence and the military’s core focus on deterring and defeating armed adversaries. As a result—as showcased to the world in Iraq and Afghanistan—Western militaries remain deaf, dumb, and blind vis-à-vis broad swathes of any operational environment.
This Irregular Warfare Initiative article was originally posted through our partner organization, the Modern War Institute at West Point. Continue reading the full article here.
Image credit: Staff Sgt. Sean Carnes, US Air Force
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