Rethinking Insurgency

  • June 01, 2007
  • Dr Steven Metz

The U.S. military and national security community lost interest in insurgency after the end of the Cold War when other defense issues such as multinational peacekeeping and transformation seemed more pressing. With the onset of the Global War on Terror in 2001 and the ensuing involvement of the U.S. military in counterinsurgency support in Iraq and Afghanistan, insurgency experienced renewed concern in both the defense and intelligence communities. The author argues that while exceptionally important, this relearning process focused on Cold War era nationalistic insurgencies rather than the complex conflicts which characterized the post-Cold War security environment. To be successful at counterinsurgency, he contends, the U.S. military and defense community must rethink insurgency, which has profound implications for American strategy and military doctrine.