Friday, April 27, 2012

Decisiveness in COIN Operations: A Perspective from a Counter Insurgency Instructor


By 1st Lt. William Carraway
Media Relations Officer, Public Affairs Office
April 27, 2012

Dr. Terry Tucker, author of Counterinsurgency Methods & The Global War on Terror, and former instructor at the US COIN academy in Kabul, examines the role of conventional operations in a counter-insurgency (COIN) environment. This month, we asked Dr. Tucker:

What is the decisive point in counterinsurgency and can conventional operations be decisive in a COIN environment? 

Dr. Tucker: I don’t want to be cliché, but regrettably I need to be. The Human Terrain is what is decisive. Everything we do must work across security, governance, and economics to begin to achieve that decisiveness. 

Everything that we do in stability operations, COIN, or security cooperation should strive to achieve support from the Human Terrain. In COIN, it is an accumulation of many small successes which run in packs across multiple lines of operation that can make the outcome decisive on a political, economic, and social level. It is decisive when the locals support your integrated actions.  

Fort Pulaski: Rifled artillery alters the design of the defense

By 1st Lt. William Carraway
Media Relations Officer, Public Affairs Office
April 27, 2012

While April 1862 is most associated with the Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., Georgia played host to a battle which would have implications on the Confederacy’s defensive strategy for the remainder of the war. This month’s article focuses on the Battle of Fort Pulaski and the lessons learned from that engagement.

In 1829, a young engineering officer on his first assignment out of West Point surveyed the construction site for the future Fort Pulaski. The Lieutenant would serve as the superintendent for the first year of construction on Cockspur Island in the middle of the Savannah River.

Returning in 1861 to observe the fort’s commanding presence overlooking the approaches to the Savannah Harbor, the former Lieutenant, Brig. Gen. Robert E. Lee, pronounced the walls of the fort to be secure against artillery bombardment. At first glance, the 11-foot thick solid masonry walls of the fort, 48 cannon, and garrison of nearly 400 men offered a formidable target for land-based or naval-based siege operations.