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The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  438 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
When the U.S. military invaded Iraq, it  lacked a common understanding of the problems inherent in counterinsurgency campaigns. It had neither studied them, nor developed doctrine and tactics to deal with them. It is fair to say that in 2003, most Army officers knew more about the U.S. Civil War than they did about counterinsurgency.

The U.S. Army / Marine Corps Counterinsu
Paperback, 472 pages
Published July 4th 2007 by University Of Chicago Press (first published May 1st 2007)
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Steven Peterson
Oct 12, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
The context for this important work (John Nagl's Foreword, Page xiii): ". . .the sad fact is that when an insurgency began in Iraq in the late summer of 2003, the Army was unprepared to fight it." In the "Introduction," Sarah Sewall observes the critical point of counterinsurgency (COIN) (Page xxiii):

". . .although it is military doctrine, the field manual emphasizes the multiple dimensions of COIN: `those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a
May 06, 2007 Daniel rated it it was amazing
A great book, and a phenomenal update on the manual. Petraeus fully deserves his reputation. Not a ripping yarn, of course... but incorporates well and surprisingly concisely a lot of recent research on insurgencies, including all-too-rare discussions of the importance of information operations (e.g., media), overall strategic planning, and network analysis. My only quibble is that the network analysis appendix focuses almost exclusively on intelligence-gathering, and does not discuss potential ...more
Jun 11, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Did this really work out for us? Really?
Aug 16, 2009 Alan added it
OK, this is very geeky. I did some academic study of counter-insurgency as part of my War Studies course back in 1979, and I've read one or two things since then. I picked this up in the US on our recent trip.

Co-authored by General Patraeus ( this book is the 'official' US Army and Marine Corps doctrine for counter-insurgency. Whether the US Army and Marine Corps can implement it fully is a major question, because it requires rather different force struct
Jan 07, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone in the military and any civilian trying to understand US counterinsurgent strategy
Recommended to Anthony by: friend
A must read for anyone in the military or any civilian trying to understand the complexities of counterinsurgency. I enjoyed the introductions from well respected military and non-military experts on this topic. These quickly seek to introduce a new way of thinking and analysing an old tactic of war in the modern era. The chapters referencing the paradoxes of counterinsurgency warfare are the most useful and each interesting bullet makes the reader really think about the problems at hand and how ...more
May 10, 2008 Shawn rated it liked it
Fascinating sections on social network analysis but the veterans know some things can't be learned from a manual. In the back of my mind, military manuals marketed as mainstream bestsellers seems sanitized for public consumption and to avoid political fallout. FM 31-20-3 (Foreign Internal Defense Tactics) from 1994 has a more cynical and in my opinion, realistic view of occupation and guerrilla psychology. Moreover, manuals are by their very nature abstract and concepts and theories need to be b ...more
Rachel Brune
Jul 27, 2013 Rachel Brune rated it liked it
I'm not sure how such a hotly contested tome was ultimately so boring ... oh wait, it's military doctrine. My purpose in reading was to be able to join informed conversation re: COIN vs NO COIN. There was good information in here, although much of it was pretty theoretical. Possibly because the successful application of COIN doctrine (I said the *SUCCESSful* application, people) is still theoretical. I am glad to have read it, as the debate continues. Like some buddies of mine and I were discuss ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Bale rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
A must-read for anyone making decisions on today's battlefield. The work put in by the team of writers and tacticians to develop this manual is truly reamarkable. Not only for combat leaders or historians, this manual (while a tough read) is an excellent tool for people not "in the arena" to build a knowledge foundation to the increasing demands of todays twenty-somethings leading men into adversity.
Feb 14, 2014 Fred rated it it was amazing
I read this about five years ago and wish that it was current enough in my memory that I could write a detailed description but alas, I cannot. I do remember that I liked it and feel like I learned a lot from reading it straight through. I would highly recommend it to anyone and I think that it's one that officers and NCOs should definitely own a copy of.
Feb 13, 2010 Brian rated it it was amazing
Everyone, or at least anyone who thinks of himself as an engaged citizen, ought to at least read the introduction. It's not exactly a riveting narrative, but the manual isn't hard to understand and there is a glossary in the back if you don't know the difference between an AO and an HN. The annotated bibliography should keep me busy for a few years.
Dec 14, 2010 Dr. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-theory
So far this book has my head spinning. As much as this is a manual for effective counterinsurgency operations it also lays out a solid framework for understanding how effective insurgencies operate. The writing is very down to earth and easy to swallow. Like the back of the book says: If the presdient and vice president have this book on their bedside table, why don't you?
Sep 01, 2007 Jared rated it really liked it
I prefer Galula's COIN (counterinsurgency) Warfare, however this manual was still interesting. It's light on specifics, but due to the nature of COIN this is to be expected, for me I found the appendices to be the most useful. If you are looking for a great introduction to COIN and something to set your framework, then this is it. If you're looking for specifics, head straight to the appendices.
Aug 23, 2007 Archana rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing, especially the many forewards and introductions (not all by military people). You will not regret reading it - opened my eyes to the change in the world happening right now, moving from traditional warfare to counterinsurgency operations...
Mar 19, 2016 SA rated it really liked it
Shelves: war-studies, 2009
The core of the thing, if you will. This became the bedrock of '08-'12 military strategy and represented one of the first contemporary field manuals of its time. There is a lot to learn here. And there is a lot to revisit, as we now have the history of the thing in implementation, too.
Sep 11, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it
Important for a number of reasons, but not the panacea for counterinsurgency some think it is. Make sure to read David Kilcullen's "Counter-insurgency Redux" and Frank Hoffman's "Neo-Classical Counterinsurgency?" if studying this book.
Jul 24, 2008 Weloytty rated it liked it
David Petraeus should be listed as an author of this book, it's one of the reasons he got put in command of the Iraq War. It's not bad reading either, and well worth your time if you're interested in how the war in Iraq is being fought.
Apr 01, 2008 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: war
If you vote, you should read this book. If you are interested in how to restructure the way we handle our military budgets, and what our current military really needs(guess what, it isn't more nuclear subs) then you should read this book.
Pejman Yousefzadeh
Jan 05, 2008 Pejman Yousefzadeh rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the study of war
Shelves: already-read
Feb 20, 2008 AFBonanno rated it liked it
Very slowly reading.... it's a military FM (field manual)
Sean Rife
Jul 06, 2009 Sean Rife rated it really liked it
The COIN-FM is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what winning the current conflict entails. As a social scientist, I found its social-psychological/sociological insights profound.
Oct 17, 2015 Ahmed added it
Shelves: d
Levi Dayley
Jun 08, 2011 Levi Dayley rated it really liked it
Very dry, but interesting institutional take on some universal truths.
Dec 09, 2008 Adam rated it liked it
One of the better political campaign manuals for strategy and field in heavily Republican held districts.
Shannon Ellsworth
Oct 23, 2013 Shannon Ellsworth rated it liked it
Informative but short...a well written field manual.
Jan 08, 2008 Dutcher rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The Chicago edition is worth the price for the introduction. Understand what Pretaeus is thinking.
Apr 22, 2013 Averill added it
Shelves: military
One word... boring. Can't say i didn't see it coming.
Samuel Smith
Doesn't work.
Jan 08, 2009 Dennis rated it really liked it
Interesting view on the topic. Was curious why we are making the choice we make in Iraq and Afgan. in the GWOT. Interesting if you are interested in this type of thing.
Jan 14, 2010 Cmcglynn rated it liked it
Che's book is much more readable
Jan 11, 2010 Kyle added it
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