A Guide to Counterinsurgency Operations

This Appendix Builds On The Discussion Of The Counterinsurgency process outlined in Chapter 2. It develops strategies, policies, and programs, known collectively as the internal defense and development concept. The IDAD concept can help a government defeat an insurgency. It explains the concepts, objectives, and methods armed forces of an affected country can employ.


A government facing the challenge of insurgency must reorder the organization of its society so as to eliminate the causes of conflict. The government must address two groups-the populace and the insurgents. These two target groups are the objects of the IDAD concept. The IDAD concept provides measures to mobilize the populace and ward off, destroy, isolate, or convert the insurgents.

The Populace

The populace will mobilize on behalf of the government when the people feel that its policies meet their needs and they are reasonably free of the threat of insurgent violence. Unless the people feel safe, they are cautious about supporting government programs. Their reluctance to do so may give the appearance that they do not care which side wins. The government must protect the people; then it must engage in balanced development to redress their social, political, and economic grievances. A government under attack normally does not have the resources to respond to all the needs of all the people at once. If it did, it would probably not be faced with an insurgent threat in the first place. The government must analyze the situation and establish priorities for programs for which it does have resources and which will tip the balance of mobilization in its favor. (A guide to counterinsurgency analysis is at Appendix C.)

Institutional development is a major way in which a government promotes social cohesion and popular mobilization. Institutional development is the process of creating mechanisms within a society that enable people to identify common goals and work together to achieve them. Institutional development involves people at the local level and links them to the national community. It promotes organizations and methods for the two-way communication essential to mobilizing popular support for national objectives. Institutional development integrates disparate groups around common social, political, and economic needs, establishing new structures where none existed. It strengthens existing institutions. It modifies or eliminates those that work against national unity.

The government, however, must be prepared for the adverse effects of institutional development. These will inevitably arise from changes in familiar ways of doing things. But these discontents, in the long run, are less dangerous than maintaining the status quo. Government provides encouragement, leadership, and material and financial support to constructive institutions. Institutions enable the government to ascertain the needs of the people, to formulate development programs, and to evaluate their effect. They permit the government to exert influence and to be influenced.

The Insurgents

In order for the government to address the causes of insurgency through balanced development, it must also protect the people from insurgent violence and separate them from insurgent control. This requires rendering the insurgent leadership and organization ineffective by persuasion, prosecution, or destruction. Denied its infrastructure, the insurgent organization will lack direction and sources of personnel, materiel, and intelligence. The insurgent tactical forces will be cut off, forced to fight on the government's terms, and vulnerable to disintegration. Government police, paramilitary, and military forces provide security, eliminate the infrastructure, and destroy, disperse or capture insurgent combat and support units. Information programs support both development and combat operations. They explain and promote the government's programs and discredit the insurgents. They offer an inducement for individual insurgents to leave the movement.


The IDAD concept flows from the nature of insurgency, in which opposing forces-the insurgents and the government-compete for legitimacy by mobilizing support from the same pool of resources. The IDAD concept incorporates four mutually-supporting functions. The government should perform them using the four principles of implementation discussed in Chapter 2 as a guide. The four functions of IDAD are--

Balanced development seeks improvement in the social, political, and economic well-being of all groups and classes of people.

Security protects the people from insurgent violence, separates them from insurgent control, and establishes the conditions in which development can occur.

Neutralization renders the insurgents' effort ineffective by preempting valid parts of their program, physically or psychologically separating insurgents from the people, converting their members, disrupting their organization, or capturing or killing them.

Mobilization develops human and materiel resources from within the country through programs which enlist the voluntary, active support of a plurality of politically active people and assure the acquiescence of the rest.

The four principles which guide the implementation of the IDAD concept are--

Unity of effort ensures coordinated employment of all civil and military agencies and private organizations in mutually supportive actions to achieve a common goal.

The maximum use of intelligence calls for the identification of all issues around which the insurgents mobilize and to which groups respond. It also calls for identification of the insurgent leaders, infrastructure, and combat forces so the government can neutralize them with minimal harm to noncombatants and their property.

The government should employ the minimum amount of violence necessary in any given situation, and an emphasis on the denial of support to the insurgents by persuasion and preemption of issues. It also avoids the creation of new issues by unintentional injury of noncombatants or damage to their property.

Administrative efficiency and competence will lead to a responsive government, able to administer and bolster internal defense and development.


The national strategy guides all programs. Effective planning integrates all counterinsurgency programs, to the extent possible, into an overall plan. For example, programs to correct the causes of an insurgency should complement operations to defeat insurgent organizations.

Programs planned at the national level guide activities at regional, state, and local levels. Planning activities at the lower levels contribute to national plans and to the achievement of national objectives. Plans allow for integrated and area-oriented execution by civil and military agencies.

The government prepares a national plan to set forth objectives and broad, general guidance on priorities of effort, budget limitations, and resource allocation. The plan includes both short- and long-range goals.

The plan undergoes review and updating for relevance on a periodically scheduled basis. It includes detailed and comprehensive guidance for national-level planning. At the same time, it provides a foundation for planning at regional, state, and local levels.

The various government departments and agencies whose resources and capabilities aid in implementing the national plan have supplemental plans to support it. These concern specific programs and describe how to implement them. National plans must reflect realistic assessments of local conditions, resources, and the needs and desires of the people.

The bases for plans at all political subdivisions of a nation are national priorities, conditions in each area, and higher-level plans. Departments and agencies of government at each level assist in preparing the plan by developing programs and projects for their areas of responsibility.


Planners at the national and subnational level create campaigns for operations in support of the overall program. The campaigns encompass a given period of time, a designated area, and specific goals. They include one or more of the following objectives:


Development plans identify social, economic, and other problems which are or may become political issues. The plans assess methods and resources available to alleviate the problems. They determine priorities and time-tables. They allocate resources-civilian and military, public and private. They create a synergistic combination of all national efforts, so that taken together, the result is greater than the sum of its important parts. They ensure that the security forces' defensive and development plans complement each other.


Security forces include the regular armed forces, reserve and paramilitary forces, and the police. They coordinate their operations with each other and with the development efforts in which they participate. Security force planning seeks to achieve unity of effort and efficient use of all forces in support of the IDAD program. It includes an agenda for improving the capabilities of the forces. Later, planning emphasizes security for the population, neutralization of the insurgents, and balanced development.

Security forces conduct major operations within IDAD campaigns in support of national and subnational counterinsurgency plans. The principal types are consolidation operations and strikes.

Consolidation Operations

Consolidation operations are interdepartmental, civil-military efforts which integrate counterinsurgency activities to restore government control of an area and its people. They combine military action to destroy or drive out the insurgents with programs for social, political, and economic development. The government may conduct consolidation operations during any phase of an insurgency. But the operations are more likely to succeed if they begin when the insurgency is in its weak, early stages.

State-level authorities usually control consolidation operations. National, subnational and other levels of government provide the resources for these operations. Consolidation operations first establish firm control of an operating base area. Then they expand outward to enlarge the area of government control. This requires seizing, and consolidating control over contested areas. The forces' objectives are to obtain and keep control of population centers, natural and man-made resources, and LOC.

Once the force has cleared an area of insurgent tactical forces, the government must maintain an adequate defense. The defensive mission shifts to police and paramilitary forces as the situation improves. But military units continue to provide security as long as a credible insurgent threat remains. Police and paramilitary action to neutralize the insurgents' infrastructure ensures that the area remains secure. Balanced development seeks to mobilize the people to the government side.

Consolidation campaigns have four overlapping stages:

Preparation Stage.

During the preparation stage, civil and military forces plan, train, organize, and equip for operations. Civilian and military planners must synchronize their efforts.

The bases for consolidation operation plans are national plan priority areas, available civilian and military resources, and estimated capability to achieve objectives. Security force planning must ensure sufficient personnel and materiel for tactical, psychological, CA, PRC, and intelligence missions at the beginning of the consolidation operation, and throughout its execution. Forces allocated must be superior to the insurgent threat in the AO. Air power provides transportation and resupply and, where appropriate, tightly controlled close air support. Plans include C2 measures for effective use of all resources. The ACC coordinates all operations.

Participating organizations form a TF which may be subdivided into local TFs. All TFs are joint and interdepartmental; all TFs include civilian and military elements.

When possible, boundaries and phase lines include entire political subdivisions. The chief governmental official in whose area of responsibility consolidation operations occur normally controls the operations. Communications provide parallel, interlocking, and integrated networks for police, armed forces, paramilitary, intelligence, and internal development organizations. All personnel conducting consolidation operations require training before actual operations begin. Special emphasis should be given to the training of the lowest echelons of government personnel.

Offensive Stage.

In the offensive stage the security force's first goal is to clear the area of insurgent tactical units. After this, adequate government forces, including available police and paramilitary personnel, stay in the area to protect the population from remaining insurgent elements.

The offensive stage involves--

The selective use of combat power prevents unnecessary harm to the population. Nonselective application of combat power may produce effects which are counterproductive to the overall effort.

TFs can conduct offensive tactical operations with C2 exercised through the military chain of command. Tactical operations conducted by large forces destroy any large and well-trained insurgent units. The TFs employ ambushes, cordon and search, and other techniques in these operations.

Typically, despite the overall scale of the operation, the majority of the action should occur at the small-unit level. Thus, training should focus on small unit operations, small unit leadership and the control of such operations at the task force level. The task force makes maximum effective use of air power by assigning Air Force liaison parties to the lowest organizational level possible and making maximum use of forward air controllers.

The police and other security organizations use PRC measures to deprive the insurgent of support and to assist in identifying and locating members of his infrastructure. Appropriate PSYOP help make these measures more acceptable to the population by explaining their necessity. The government informs the population that, although its actions may cause inconvenience, the threat posed by the insurgents makes them necessary.

Intelligence agencies and police forces operate an intelligence-collection program. They conduct interrogations and loyalty screenings and collect information to help identify and locate members of the insurgent infrastructure.

Development Stage.

During the development stage, civil and military forces take action--

Emphasis shifts from offensive action to national development. The armed and paramilitary forces adopt an aggressive defensive posture to protect the secured areas established during the offensive stage. Small military elements can alive among the population and work with local security forces. This permits other TF elements--the political, economic, social, and psychological action cadres--to conduct their activities effectively. Informational and psychological activities continuously motivate the population to support all governmental efforts.

Development activities and supporting military civic action demonstrate the government's concern for the population. Civic action projects should be simple, highly visible, and easily accomplished by the people with assistance from military resources. Air power can assist by supporting the establishment of efficient communications means with other government controlled sectors. These provide for the movement of goods and services to bolster institutional and infrastructure development. Security force activities include training local self-defense forces or other paramilitary forces to participate in territorial security and development programs. Ongoing offensive tactical operations eliminate the remaining insurgent elements and their supporting base areas. The defense of population centers, bases, installations, and LOC is also a continuing requirement.

Military forces conduct saturation patrolling over the entire area. They seek out the insurgent and block approaches into the controlled area. Military forces normally continue to conduct offensive tactical operations in nearby areas to relieve pressure on secured areas.

Police forces maintain law and order. They establish controls over the movement of personnel and supplies and guard critical food supplies and materiel during production and storage.

Completion Stage.

The completion stage involves the speedup and expansion of development programs and the enhanced ability of local authorities to defend against insurgent attacks. The government begins efforts to return all responsibility for local government to local authorities. Task forces gradually release unneeded armed forces and development cadre elements.

As local administrators become proficient in performing administrative functions, outside cadres move on to other assignments with the TF. As the local police and local paramilitary force become effective and assume more security responsibilities, TF security elements withdraw and redeploy. They must take care, however, not to redeploy too soon. As a safety factor, if needed, a local reserve force and higher level reserves can assist. The government ensures that it has adequate resources to carry out ongoing programs before extending the area under its control.

Strike Operations

Strike operations consist of major combat operations in remote, contested, or insurgent-controlled zones. They contribute to security by disrupting and disorganizing the enemy and reducing his morale. Strike operations help set the stage for a consolidation operation in the area when conditions are right. The guiding principles of maximizing intelligence and minimizing violence help avoid counterproductive collateral damage in order to make a future transition to consolidation operations possible. The ACC coordinates strike operations (see Chapter 2).


When the authorities designate forces to conduct strike operations, they should relieve them of routine area defense responsibilities well in advance of the operation. National, regional, or state-level authorities normally control strike forces. Strike forces organize as self-sufficient TFs able to operate for extended periods of time in areas remote from home bases. Strike forces contain intelligence, PSYOP, CA, police, and paramilitary elements as well as combat forces.


The strike force maneuvers to destroy identified insurgent forces. Since the insurgents may hide their weapons and assume noncombatant guises in attempts to avoid capture, the strike force must make a thorough reconnaissance and search of the area. The strike force must treat captured suspects fairly, and in accordance with recognized laws to avoid turning innocent suspects into insurgent sympathizers.

When small units conducting reconnaissance operations sight relatively large insurgent tactical forces, they maintain surveillance and quickly deploy reaction forces to destroy them. In areas suspected of harboring insurgent forces or installations, reaction forces conduct reconnaissance and surveillance and follow with an immediate attack or raid when sufficient information has been developed on the target. Good communications and mobility are essential for success in these operations.

Offensive ground operations include movements to contact, raids, hasty or deliberate attacks, and exploitations and pursuit. CS and CSS operations can ensure responsiveness to operational requirements. Operations outside the support range of fixed CSS installations may require that these elements be attached or assigned directly from field depots and tactical bases. The TF commander and the appropriate headquarters coordinate these activities.

A hasty attack or raid can immediately follow air and ground reconnaissance to locate and test insurgent dispositions and strengths or to develop additional intelligence. Ground reconnaissance emphasizes the thorough reconnoitering of an area; operations are continuous, decentralized and conducted by small units. If they find a sizable insurgent force, friendly air and ground elements maintain contact until reaction forces can assist in its destruction.


This section addresses operations in remote, urban, and border areas. It stresses the unique operational requirements of each environment.

Remote Area Operations

Counterinsurgency forces conduct remote area operations to establish a government presence in a contested or insurgent-controlled area. Such a presence can delay or disrupt insurgent operations, especially mobilization efforts. Remote area operations can also be a source of valuable intelligence concerning future insurgent operations. Small, light, irregular combat forces normally conduct these operations backed by a highly mobile reserve. They attempt to mobilize ethnic, religious, or other isolated minorities to support the government. Aerial resupply and close air support reaction forces must help sustain remote area operations. Remote area operations may lead to strike or consolidation operations.

Urban Area Operations

Operations in an urban environment require different emphases and techniques than those in rural areas. Population density and other characteristics of the area influence both insurgent and government operations. Local police may require military forces to reinforce them in controlling insurgent-provoked riots and disorders. Combat may be necessary if the insurgents take direct action to seize urban areas or their critical installations.


Use of the minimum essential force to minimize the loss of life and destruction to property is vital. This requires detailed planning, coordination, and control.

Covert insurgent activity can be extensive in urban areas. The government must emphasize intelligence and police operations to counter the insurgents' clandestine organizational, intelligence, logistical, and terrorist activities.

Operations in urban areas may be part of a counterinsurgency consolidation plan. Urban areas require continuing counterinsurgency effort whether or not they are included in a specific operation. Counterinsurgency planning should include the military forces' participation in urban area operations during all phases of an insurgency. Military forces need preparation to assist national security and law enforcement agencies as the situation dictates.


Urban areas need more governmental services than rural areas, and require more, and possibly larger, government organizations. Commanders should consider the activities and capabilities of all government agencies in planning and executing counterinsurgency operations.

A subversive element intent on destroying the government may strain the capabilities of local authorities. Insurgents make attempts to exploit local civilian organizations by subverting their goals and objectives, thus placing them in opposition to the government. Intimidation activities and PSYOP take place along with covert insurgent organizational, intelligence, and logistical operations. Police, internal security, and other government organizations are high priority targets for the insurgents.


Operations require careful planning and coordination-particularly those which involve the use of force. Military forces should set up communications with police and other agencies involved in the operations. They collect and keep available detailed information on important installations. This should include detailed city plans, maps of subterranean construction, and descriptions of the locations off important installations. Personnel in the field check the data for accuracy. Data on counterinsurgency activities and the insurgent situation must be accurate and current to be useful in operations planning.

Populace and resources control is important in urban area operations. The best use of PRC comes before the insurgent has the capability for armed conflict. Police intelligence operations support PRC programs. Criminal acts such as robberies, kidnappings, terrorism, and extortion may accompany insurgent PSYOP or money-raising activities. Careful records and surveillance keep officials aware of government and civilian sources of weapons and ammunition. Intelligence operations should also target locations and types of materiel production, collection, and storage activities that may form part of the insurgent's logistical system. Friendly PSYOP explain and justify necessary restrictive measures; for example, rationing, curfews, searches, and setting up checkpoints and restricted areas. Urban PRC operations require military support if other security forces cannot handle insurgent activity.

Government forces may stage tactical operations inside or near an urban area to defeat an insurgent attack. Any insurgent attempt to seize and hold an urban area will spark operations in nearby areas as well. When the police and other internal security forces can cope with the attack inside the urban area, military forces can best participate by establishing security around the urban area and by denying the insurgents reinforcement or support. When military forces reinforce police or defeat insurgent forces inside the urban area, operations must be closely controlled and coordinated. Military forces should withdraw as soon as police forces can handle the situation.

The concentration of mass media in urban areas and the size and composition of the target audience increase the importance of PSYOP. The government must seek and win the support of the major opinion makers. These include community leaders whose support of the counterinsurgency effort will increase its chance of success: news editors, radio and television personalities, heads of religious groups, and educators. The government must maintain a favorable image for its forces when they operate in urban areas. Authorities should swiftly punish misconduct by security forces and let the civilian population know about it.

The military may need to support CA operations in urban areas. Plans to assist civilians in case of an insurgent armed attack are essential. This assistance may include--

Border Area Operations

Border area operations prevent infiltration of insurgent personnel and materiel across international boundaries. They can provide valuable intelligence concerning patterns of insurgent operations, status of insurgent forces and future insurgent activity. Armed forces may have to help other nonmilitary forces with border security, immigration, customs, analysis of intelligence, and internal security operations.


Tasks that may help forces prevent infiltration include--

Barrier and denial operations.

Early in an insurgency, border operations are normally a function of police, customs, and other government organizations. Armed and paramilitary forces assist these organizations, particularly in remote areas. Later, denial of external support to the insurgency leads to combat-type border operations. These operations require close coordination and cooperation between the armed forces, paramilitary forces, and all government agencies involved.

Barrier and denial operations occur only after careful consideration of the threat, the environment, the infiltrator's probable targets, and his methods of operation. Physically sealing the border may not be possible; it could require the commitment of more government forces and materiel than national resources permit.

The government classifies border crossing points according to importance because it may be impossible to guard or barricade every one. Natural barriers are preferred because they save resources. Using patrols, sensors, and obstacles in selected areas increases the effectiveness of natural barriers. Border police and guards form the nucleus of national border forces. Paramilitary and regular armed forces may support them, or take direct responsibility for portions of the international border.

Leaders at the national level plan, direct, and supervise border operations. Subnational and other area commanders may receive the authority to conduct these operations. Commanders should tailor border TFs to meet requirements in their assigned areas. They should contain sufficient CS and CSS elements to support operations for extended periods.

Border units normally use operational bases that require airpower, communications, engineer, and fire support assistance: The units can establish restricted zones or friendly population buffer zones as needed.

A restricted zone is a carefully selected area, varied in width and contiguous to the border. Authorities normally relocate all persons living in this zone. Authorities give public notice that they will regard all unauthorized individuals or groups encountered in the restricted zone as infiltrators or insurgents.

A friendly population buffer zone is an area in which civilians living in the AO are limited to those believed to be loyal to the government. The government relocates all persons whose loyalty it cannot establish. The government may use this operation to establish information nets and employ loyal citizens in self-defense border units. The operation denies insurgents potential civilian contacts and base areas for border-crossing activities.

The creation of restricted zones or friendly population buffer zones requires relocating many persons. These operations need careful planning. Although armed forces may assist them, civilian authorities normally plan and carry out a relocation program, holding forced relocation to a minimum. The authorities must employ a continuing PSYOP effort to maintain the morale and loyalty of the population.

Continuous and detailed surveillance can determine--

Authorities may use air and ground reconnaissance, as well as unattended ground sensors, in surveillance efforts.

Surveillance and control of coastal areas normally require the use of coordinated ground, air, and sea power. Strategically located observation posts and an effective system of licensing and identifying friendly military and civilian watercraft greatly assist this effort.


Authorities employ security forces to conduct the types of campaigns and operations described in the preceding paragraphs. But certain military functional areas are also very important. They require adaptation in their conduct and special consideration in planning. Commanders must design the following operations so that they are adaptable to changing circumstances or environments:

In addition, a friendly foreign country, such as the United States, can provide security assistance, including advice. The supported and supporting countries must work together to integrate this help into the host nation's overall plans. To do otherwise risks degrading the legitimacy of the government fighting the insurgency, and is self-defeating. The following discussion concerns the host nation's forces, but its principles apply equally to US forces providing materiel, and advisory and training assistance.


The challenge insurgency poses to the intelligence community is wider in scope than other types of conflict. Intelligence agencies must monitor an enemy who may not yet be conducting continuous or even frequent operations. He also may not have organized his forces into easily observable military formations. Counterinsurgency forces need detailed economic, political, cultural, geographic, and law enforcement information. Military intelligence organizations may have to collect, evaluate, and disseminate these types of intelligence products, along with more conventional intelligence reports concerning insurgent combat forces. As part of the total national effort, well-coordinated military intelligence operations must begin as early as possible. Intelligence operations aim to identify the insurgent infrastructure and aid in development of the national IDAD program. National leaders must assign a high priority to them.

Intelligence supports counterinsurgency planning and operations by providing both general and specific knowledge of the AO and the insurgent forces. Early intelligence objectives should already have been met in general terms. These early objectives are--

Subversion is an early indicator of the presence of an insurgent organization. It precedes other insurgent activity and continues throughout the entire effort. Subversion alienates the population from the government.

Basic Intelligence.

Basic intelligence on a specific area and situation comes from strategic reports and studies augmented by available current intelligence. Effective intelligence operations require a study of the internal and external forces subverting a society; they are the basis for the government's counterinsurgency plans, estimates, and training.

Intelligence collection planning has three general areas:

Strategic intelligence exposes actual or potential insurgency problems. It uses political, economic, and sociocultural information. Leaders use strategic intelligence to develop national and regional plans and programs (including support operations) as well as specific military counterinsurgency operations.

Assessment and exploitation of the insurgent infrastructure includes studying its mass civil organizations, and its C3, recruiting, and logistics systems. These insurgent efforts involve covert and overt activity and require significant numbers of people to carry them out. Intelligence collection efforts targeted against these activities can lead to early detection and identification of key members of the infrastructure.

All-source intelligence collection, threat assessment, and area information on terrain, weather, and manmade features provide operational and tactical-level commanders the information necessary for military action.

A unified, centralized all-source intelligence system is especially important to the effective conduct of counterinsurgency operations. It should exist at all government centers at and below the national level for proper coordination of intelligence efforts. This intelligence system should--

When insurgent groups form, intelligence agencies should identify them and make recommendations for future surveillance or neutralization operations. The value of good human intelligence (HUMINT) and police intelligence operations cannot be overstated. Counterintelligence.

Counterintelligence operations include the following activities:


Accurate and timely intelligence satisfies requirements at each operational echelon. Intelligence requirements vary according to echelon, user, and mission. No single format is adequate for all users; therefore, production programs must be flexible and must provide several degrees of detail. Determination of production objectives and priorities requires careful analysis.


Timely dissemination of intelligence is essential. The need to react immediately to intelligence information requires quick establishment of systems to process and transmit information to units at operational levels. Primary, alternate, and special intelligence channels of communication should exist when facilities and resources permit.


All personnel use every available means to protect security information. They entrust such information only to persons with appropriate security clearances who require it to accomplish their official duties. Authorities closely supervise and observe cleared personnel as the latter may encounter insurgent coercion, influence, or pressure.


The intelligence portion of the military annex to counterinsurgency plans identifies all available assets. It furnishes the guidance necessary to collect, process, and disseminate information concerning the insurgent, the weather, the terrain, and the population. It provides guidance for counterintelligence activities to minimize insurgent espionage, subversion, and sabotage. It includes intelligence information for PSYOP, CA, and communications security monitoring and support.


In counterinsurgency operations, traditional concepts of logistics require modification. In these operations, logistics often play a leading role in nation building. CS and CSS units greatly bolster humanitarian, CA, and PSYOP programs. CS and CSS forces can have a decisive psychological impact in building legitimacy by providing supplies and services for nation building. This in itself can help alleviate the causes of insurgency. Indeed, combat forces may perform security operations in a supporting role to the logistical efforts that is, to make an environment available for development. Logistics elements may precede combat units into the AO or may be the only forces to deploy.

However, the logistics base for counterinsurgency is often inadequate. Therefore, the government may seek assistance from an external power. US or other foreign elements providing logistical support must be aware of its possible impact on the country's resources. Their purchase or other use of local supplies, services, and facilities may impose an excessive burden on the host nation. Planners must consider this risk. US elements should rely on locally contracted support only when US forces can use it without detriment to the host nation.

Simplicity is an essential ingredient of logistics support; it allows the flexibility needed for effective support under adverse conditions. A streamlined logistics chain should permit units in the field to requisition supplies, directly from the depot, bypassing intermediate echelons.

Operations typically may have to rely on relatively unskilled manpower, and will often lack automated data processing support. Logisticians should design or modify provisions so that they are workable.

Civil-Military Operations

Civil-military operations are political, economic, social and psychological activities to support--

Two major CMO functions are CA and PSYOP. Counterinsurgency operations call for close and continuous coordination of these functions.

Psychological Operations

Both the government and the insurgent use informational instruments, including PSYOP, to mobilize the people. Informational activities target not only enemy or foreign groups, but also populations internal to the nation. PSYOP activities are integral to counterinsurgency. Planners tailor PSYOP to meet specific requirements for each area and operation. They consider all courses of action in terms of their psychological impact. This requires them to sacrifice short-range tactical advantages to preserve long-range psychological objectives.


Psychological operations support the achievement of national objectives and target specific groups. The PSYOP objectives for the main target groups are as follows:

National Program.

The national PSYOP program contains national objectives, plans, guidance, and desired approaches. Planners prepare and coordinate an informational program at the national level. A single agency should be responsible for coordinating these efforts to avoid conflicting themes and programs.

Agencies at all levels base their PSYOP on the national plan, interpreting them in terms of local requirements, and coordinating them through appropriate ACCs. To achieve maximum effectiveness, all informational activities depend on clearly established channels.

Civilian and Military Organizations.

PSYOP organizations conduct and support informational activities at the national level and at the subnational and local levels.

A single agency at the national level--

At the subnational level, the ACC translates national PSYOP programs and directives into implementing guidance for local ACCs and all government agencies. At the local level, the ACC provides direction to area agencies, forces, and PSYOP teams. Paramilitary organizations normally do not have their own PSYOP teams. Civilian or armed forces organizations provide PSYOP support.

Judgments about the behavior of military forces are a major factor in the formation of popular attitudes toward the government. Commanders should be aware of the psychological effects of operations and of the behavior of their troops during operations. The success of an operation depends on the commander's awareness of the psychological and political implications of his unit's actions.


An effective PSYOP plan depends on information and includes--

The annex to the military plan prescribes the required PSYOP missions, objectives, roles, and resources. It categorizes the target audience and prescribes the themes. It bases military PSYOP on the national informational plan and objectives.


The unity of effort required in the counterinsurgency environment dictates that PSYOP staffs at subnational and national levels regularly monitor locally developed PSYOP material. They may delegate authority to approve specific PSYOP messages, based on approved themes, to local-level PSYOP personnel with a knowledge of distinctive local target groups. This should enhance the effectiveness and credibility of the PSYOP program with the local groups.

The PSYOP themes support current operations and campaigns. The PSYOP themes supporting operations in remote areas, for example, maintain the morale of government forces and win the support of the local population. Those supporting PRC operations stress the need and benefits of law enforcement. They emphasize that the insurgents are the cause of restrictions on freedom such as curfews and identification cards. Themes that support consolidation operations stress the security and benefits that the people have and can gain if they lend their support. Themes supporting strike operations emphasize the need for the operations and the government's efforts to provide for the safety of the civilian population.

Overall themes directed against the insurgent forces stress the futility of fighting, the importance of family ties, and the acceptability of amnesty programs. Planning should carefully coordinate PSYOP with tactical operations to avoid losing the element of surprise and to maximize the effectiveness of tactical operations.

Civil Affairs

Civil affairs include any activity concerned with relationships between the military forces and the civil authorities and people in the area. They are a responsibility of military commanders at every echelon. In addition to helping the commander meet his legal and moral obligations, CA operations provide assistance to civil authorities and help to organize and motivate the people to support counterinsurgency projects. Activities may range from military civic action projects to the exercise of authority that normally is the responsibility of the local government.


The scope of CA operations varies with the type of local government and reflects the economic, social, and political background of the country and people. The CA effort is the linchpin of the military role in national development. Military CA personnel coordinate efforts of PSYOP, engineer, medical, logistics, military police, and administrative elements.

The CA effort is closely coordinated with, and in direct support of, civilian efforts. It supplements the civilian effort with activities such as construction in remote areas and extension of LOC. Engineer, signal, medical, and logistics units can often directly contribute to the development process and increase the country's military capability in remote or insecure areas where commercial firms are unable to operate. CA coordinates the military role in development, and prevents civilian interference with military operations. It also coordinates all other civil-military affairs such as community relations, routine military civic action projects, PRC, and civil defense.


The overall objective of CA in counterinsurgency is to mobilize and motivate civilians to assist the government and military forces. Successful CA operations eliminate or reduce military, political, economic, and sociological problems. The objective of CA is to restore stability, contribute to national development, and promote support for the government. Close and continuous PSYOP support maximizes the effect of CA.


Regardless of service affiliation, all military units have a capability to conduct CA, particularly military civic action. The CA projects range from an individual act to the use of substantial forces and equipment for large-scale development projects on behalf of an entire community or country. They address the fundamental needs of the nation and its people and support the national development plan. Engineer, transportation, medical, signal, and other units frequently undertake roles in such actions. Military civic action used as part of the total government effort to attack the causes of discontent contributes significantly to the prevention of an insurgency, or its defeat.

Units of all sizes may be assigned CA elements and a CMO staff officer to assist in carrying out CA plans. Organizations or staff elements specifically designed for CA liaison and coordination establish and maintain contact between military forces and government agencies.


Civil affairs operations require good relationships with the population. To establish a good relationship, military discipline, courtesy, and honesty in dealing with the people are absolutely vital. If they are not enforced, the counterinsurgency will likely fail. When sound rapport has been established between the armed forces and the population, properly administered CA operations contribute materially to the attainment of IDAD objectives.

Planning for CA includes political, economic, social, psychological, and military considerations. Comprehensive CA planning considers--

A unit commander may require specialized CA personnel or units to execute his civil affairs responsibilities. CA plans include provisions for support to tactical unit commanders.

Emphasis on military civic action varies with the intensity of insurgent activities. Whatever the level of military civic action, planners must design and coordinate projects to fit in with internal development programs. In the prevention of insurgency or in its very early phases, military civic action concentrates on social and economic development. When they are not involved in tactical operations, many military resources support military civic action projects providing both long- and short-range benefits.

During later phases of the insurgency, military civic action concentrates on projects that prevent the insurgency from greater expansion. These are projects which can produce noticeable improvements in a relatively short time.

Examples of such projects are--

Projects must conform to the national plan, and fit the development program for the area. Direct local beneficiaries of the project should have a voice in the selection of projects and establishment of priorities.

Health Services Support

Military medicine is perhaps the least controversial and most cost-effective means of using military forces in support of national development. Medical teams can enter the affected area to remove some important causes of discontent even before the situation degenerates into open conflict.

Medical services appropriate to a counterinsurgency effort include--

Counterinsurgency may require a new or expanded role for military medical personnel, especially in upgrading local civilian skills and facilities. These make a major contribution to the national development effort, CA, PSYOP, and collection of medical intelligence.

Public Affairs and Information

Leaders and advisors in a government facing the challenge of insurgency must understand the role and functions of the news media. The images and information which the news media present influence public opinion. Involved parties regularly try to exploit the news to gain public support.

Counterinsurgency operations are, by nature, political. For this reason, they attract media interest. The closeness of news reporters to combat and the near-real-time broadcast of events can readily focus public attention and affect opinion on specific issues. At the same time, reporters can be a source of intelligence for belligerents. A coordinated PA program can attract popular support, bolstering a cause while reducing collusion with opponents. The PA program must serve the information policies of the nation, including maximum disclosure within security limitations. At the same time, the program must remain credible and not become either a real or perceived propaganda tool.

A mutual respect between PA officials and the news media can ensure that security restrictions on release of information about military operations are understood and followed. Establishing a joint or combined press bureau is the best approach to support this goal. Provisions for such a bureau and other PA efforts should be included in all aspects of counterinsurgency planning.

Tactical Operations

Tactical operations are the most violent and extreme of all activities employed in counterinsurgency; military forces normally carry them out. Paramilitary, police, or other internal security forces also may participate in tactical operations. Operations may emanate from remote base. These may be permanent or semipermanent installations and must contain essential C3, CS, and CSS elements. Operations cannot be ends unto themselves. They must support the overall goals of the counterinsurgency effort.


Tactical operations destroy or neutralize insurgent tactical forces and bases and establish a secure environment in which to carry out balanced development programs. They are part of an approved campaign, coordinated with other operations through the ACCs.


Organization for tactical operations emphasizes appropriate firepower and mobility. Organization should stress tactical self-sufficiency and provide adequate CS and CSS elements to conduct semi-independent or independent operations. Tactical forces must have CA and PSYOP capabilities.


Tactical operations generally include--

Small units operating in dispersed areas are the norm in counterguerrilla operations. If they encounter large-sized insurgent units, additional combat power deploys to the area to destroy them.

A mobile warfare threat by insurgents demands modified tactics. This condition requires massed artillery fire and maintenance of larger reserves, operating units, and security and defense detachments. In mobile warfare, use of terrain, organization of fires, and maneuver are critical in seizing and holding the initiative. Commanders should not expect envelopments, penetrations, or turning movements to affect insurgent forces in the same way they would if occupation of terrain were the key consideration.

Insurgent tactical units locate caches and safe havens in several areas so that they need not depend on, or protect, a single critical logistical base. Thus, they can disperse units and move in several directions in reaction to an offensive maneuver.

The insurgent's use of logistics highlights one of the key differences between counterinsurgency military operations and those in conventional war. The insurgent gets the majority of his logistical support from the population, as a result of his mobilization efforts. Thus, when he is successful, he advances toward his source of support; as he advances, he shortens his LOC rather than extends them as is normally the case. It is better for the counterinsurgent to mobilize the people against the insurgent than to try to deny him logistical support by coercive means. This is because the insurgent's LOC are not supply routes in the literal sense. It is the friendly political environment which enables him to draw logistical support directly from the people.

Commanders must maintain continuous pressure against insurgent forces; they cannot consider insurgent forces destroyed merely because active opposition has ceased. Merely by surviving, the insurgent has accomplished one of his aims; time is a critical element in planning counterinsurgency operations. Counterinsurgent forces should not permit the insurgents time to rest, reorganize, and prepare for offensive operations.

Successfully countering an insurgency requires patience, determination, and an offensive spirit tempered with discretion. The insurgency may retreat into quiescence only to come back strongly when the opportunity arises. Therefore, the government must persist in its defense and development efforts. Counterinsurgent tactical operations focus on denying the insurgents access to the population. They also stress the security of installations critical to mission accomplishment or overall objectives.

Offensive tactical operations destroy or disrupt the operations of organized insurgent forces. These actions require a force conditioned to operate in different environments and trained to operate in dispersed independent formations. By taking the offensive and operating in the insurgent's own environment, the opposing commander denies him the ability to train and sustain his force. Night operations restrict the insurgent's freedom of action, denying him the initiative and agility gained by operating under the cloak of darkness.

When confronting an enemy using guerrilla tactics, the commander must seize the initiative and deprive the enemy of any local advantages gained. The activities of the insurgent force will fluctuate between the use of organized forces and ambushes by small forces to acts of terrorism. Commanders must be adaptable enough to recognize these changes in operations.

Defensive tactical operations normally are coordinated military and civilian programs. They are designed to--

Retrograde operations preserve the integrity of a force. They also--


Deceptions should be part of the normal staff planning processes for counterinsurgency operations; as such, they require attention well in advance of force deployment. Deception is an art whose success depends on a proper mix of the following ingredients:


Deception operations provide an advantage to the commander by misleading the enemy or concealing from him--


All military units can conduct deception operations. Deceptions range from individual actions to elaborate schemes with many events. They involve organic resources or deception-specific organizations.

Planners at the national level thoroughly coordinate and monitor strategic deception operations. The ACCs can plan independent deception operations. They can also plan for the execution of parts of national deception plans.


Regardless of the planning level, deception operations support attacks against the insurgents' center of gravity--the insurgent-population relationship. Deception efforts should focus on weaknesses and internal divisions in the various insurgent operations.


The following principles are fundamental in planning deceptions:

Populace and Resources Control

Populace and resources control operations consist of measures to deny support and assistance to the insurgents by controlling the movement of people, information, and goods. They are an important method in counterinsurgency, but they have a high potential for harm if they are used excessively or incorrectly. Ideally, the police should conduct PRC operations with the armed forces providing support. If it is necessary to use military units in PRC, they should receive police training and police personnel should accompany them.

PRC measures can include--

Among the products of the above measures is a wealth of statistical data which is valuable input to the intelligence process. Any plan for imposition of PRC measures should include measures for the use of this information. Otherwise a major benefit of these measures will be lost. By themselves, PRC measures cannot be decisive in counterinsurgency. The intelligence they can generate, on the other hand, can be.

These measures all impose a burden on the people, who will resent them unless they believe they are necessary and prudent. PRC must be limited to the least restrictive measures which will accomplish the purpose. The government uses PSYOP to explain and justify PRC, making it clear that the operations are necessary because of the insurgents' actions. The government should use the information generated by PRC to improve the security of the population. In this way, the people may see the benefits of the measures and accept them more readily. Enforcement must be consistent and impartial. Above all, the government should lift these restrictions as soon as the situation permits.

Command, Control, and Communications

Coherent, integrated C3 is essential to the success of counterinsurgency. The complex character of counterinsurgency poses a challenge to policy makers. The nature of the counterinsurgency threat calls for effective civil-military C3 mechanisms to implement national policy from the strategic to the tactical level.

Political constraints and stringent rules of engagement are the norm for military involvement in counterinsurgency. A commander rarely commits forces from a single service. Thus, he should establish a clearly understood chain of command to ensure unity of effort and economy of force.

C3 must also support objectives which are not wholly military. Traditional military operations usually are not designed for counterinsurgency with its inherent problems of integrating civilian and military actions. C3 planning for counterinsurgency requires interoperability and coordination among all services, agencies, and allies involved in the operation.