Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in the 21st Century: Reconceputalizing Threat and Response

  • November 01, 2004
  • Dr Steven Metz, LTC Raymond A Millen

Modern insurgency warfare presents fresh challenges for the United States, which must re-conceptualize its approach to fighting such conflicts. Because the dominant characteristics of insurgency--protractedness and ambiguity--effectively stymie the American military's approach to war, the United States needs to reorient its strategic thinking. The key to success is not for the U.S. military to become better at counterinsurgency, but for the U.S. military (and other elements of the government) to be skilled at helping local security and intelligence forces become effective at it. Adapting tactics and strategies to the realities on the ground is the not only pragmatic, but also crucial to success.