Dr. John Nagl of the Center for a New American Security Talks About Counterinsurgency Operations

About this Podcast...

The United States Military and coalition forces have battled an insurgent force in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of combat operations in both theatres. The insurgency has forced an operational dichotomy in how forces go about their combat operations. Forces must now interact with a local populace while simultaneously seeking and destroying an enemy heavily embedded within the same population the forces are set to protect. The type of conflict that is being fought has been called by many a low-intensity type given the environment and operational tempo of many engagements.

Counterinsurgency is now the name of the game in both combat theatres as coalition forces have been able to learn as they go in the insurgency fight, and the need for forces to act in civil affairs roles has become increasingly important now in Afghanistan. The recent successes in Iraq have proven the counterinsurgency methods that U.S. and coalition forces have adapted.

Dr. John Nagl (Lieutenant Colonel, USA Ret.) served in Iraq in 2003 as the operations officer for Task Force 1-34 Armor in the Sunni Triangle. At the time, the American military in combat operations was quickly learning on the fly the need for counterinsurgency operations. The hard fact of the matter was that the U.S. Army had been training in a conventional mindset and was not adequately prepared to act in a counterinsurgency role. However, given the adaptable leadership of U.S. officers and non-commissioned officers, the stability operations and insurgent hunting operations became forefront in their minds. Listen as Dr. Nagl talks about his book Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife and how he helped co-author the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual.

Editor's note: Hear more from Nagl at International Armoured Vehicles.

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