Download the Counterinsurgency Manual
Release New Counterinsurgency Manual
By Jim Garamone
Dec. 18, 2006 "Learn" and
"adapt" are the key messages of the new
Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which just hit the streets. The
Counterinsurgency Field Manual, FM 3-24 and Marine Corps Warfighting Publication
3-33.5, is a unique joint effort between the Army and Marines to put in place
doctrine to help operators as they face the challenges of asymmetric warfare.
The manual codifies an important
lesson of insurgencies: it takes more than the
military to win.
"There are more than just lethal operations involved in a counterinsurgency
campaign," said Conrad Crane, director of the
U.S. Army Military
History Institute, in Carlisle, Pa., and one of the leaders of the effort.
He said the team working on the
manual decided early on to emphasize the interagency aspect of counterinsurgency
fights. "The military is only one piece of the puzzle," Crane said. "To be
successful in a
you have to get contributions from a lot of different agencies, international
organizations, non-governmental organizations and host-nation organizations.
There are so many people involved to make
All of these organizations bring
important weapons to the campaign, "and you've got to bring unity of effort if
you can to make it effective," he said.
Lt. Col. Lance McDaniel, a branch
head at the
Marine Corps Combat
Development Center at Quantico, Va., said the manual is aimed at battalion-level
officers and NCOs, but felt that all who read it could gain some insight into
the difficulties of a counterinsurgency war. "We see this being part of the
pre-deployment training units undergo," McDaniel said. "Once on the ground they
can adapt the ideas from the manual to their particular location and enemy."
Marine Corps have
shared field manuals in the past, but this is the first on which the two
services worked closely to write, both Crane and McDaniel said. "This was a real
team effort of Army and
Crane said. "What I tell people is we had about 20 primary writers on the manual
and about 600,000 editors."
Crane said many soldiers and
on the manual and provided input to the final product. "We received more than
1,000 comments from people actually doing the mission," he said.
But it didn't stop with military
feedback. State Department employees, CIA officials, academic experts and
representatives of the international human rights community contributed insights
to the manual, McDaniel said. "I hope the publication will make it easier for
other agencies and organizations to work with us," he said.
Chapter 4, a discussion on
Campaign Design, is a unique aspect of the manual. "The Marines brought that to
the manual," Crane said.
Before beginning a campaign,
planners must identify the problem that needs solving, then be ready to change
the plan as conditions change on the ground, Crane said. "In counterinsurgency,
that is so important because it is a complex situation," he said.
campaign is much more complex than a traditional military-on-military conflict.
The make-up of the community, the needs of the various groups, the history of
the area, traditional allies in the region, and many other things contribute to
understanding how to design a counterinsurgency campaign. "It takes a lot more
analysis before you jump into it, because if you do the wrong thing, it could
have major implications," Crane said. "You have to be sure you are applying the
right solution to the right problem."
Crane said the idea of campaign
design will probably permeate other Army field manuals.
manual uses examples from fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also uses
examples from the Napoleonic War, the U.S. experience in Vietnam, and
counterinsurgency efforts in the Philippines, Malaya (now Malaysia) and South
America. Crane and McDaniel agree that insurgencies are the wars of the future.
The idea of a nation taking on the United States army to army or navy to navy is
remote, given the U.S. conventional expertise. "Enemies will make us fight these
kinds of wars until we get them right," Crane said. "Then they'll switch."
The manual is informed by
Afghanistan and Iraq, but also informed by history, Crane said. "We tried to
glean what was useful from the historical record, but also with the realization
that there are a lot of things that are new out there, Crane said. "Trying to
grapple with the nature of contemporary
insurgency was one
of the toughest parts of writing it."
The manual is not limited to
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "If we've created a manual that is just good
for Iraq and Afghanistan, we've failed," he said. "This thing has got to be
focused on the future and the next time we do this."
The manual is going to be useful
in Iraq and Afghanistan, but much of what the manual covers is already being
done in those theaters. "The manual is future-focused," Crane said. "The manual
gives you the tools to do your analysis and the guidelines to apply it with the
understanding that every situation is going to be unique."
It also will be rewritten, as
needed, the men said.
Both men said the manual is
receiving a good reception. "This is not a doctrine that is being jammed down
peoples' throats," Crane said." This is a doctrine that they are demanding."
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