Christian Tripodi and Matthew Wiger
The US Army has lost interest in counterinsurgency training. Over the past year, the withdrawal from Afghanistan appears to have drawn a line under COIN’s modern incarnation, while escalation in eastern Europe has focused policymakers’ minds on the possibility of major combat operations against a near-peer adversary. As US forces forward deploy across Europe, bureaucrats are leveraging Ukraine to pitch revolutionary training centers, doctrine rewrites, and advanced technology platforms, while commanders across NATO seek to fulfill the technocratic vision of modern multidomain operations. COIN—and irregular warfare more broadly—is out of fashion.
The US military has been here before. In the wake of Vietnam, US military planners purged the Army’s intellectual and organizational COIN capabilities—with tragic ramifications for readiness and expertise as US forces went on to engage in a succession of insurgent-based conflicts in El Salvador, Colombia, Lebanon, and Somalia, to name a few, culminating in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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: Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras, US Air Force