The Counter-Insurgency Strategy Essay

The Counter-Insurgency Strategy Essay

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“The hearts and mind (HAM) theory is identified as winning the hearts and minds of the population which is a technique based on the implementation of the counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy of persuading the population to support the government and reject the insurgents.” The counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy as outlined by President Obama and General Petraeus’s most closely embrace is the heart and minds (HAM) theory. President Obama speech identified the United States strategic approach with Afghanistan in three elements. The three core elements addressed by President Obama during his speech on the strategy in Afghanistan are identified as: 1) utilize the military effort to create conditions for transition, 2) a civilian surge that reinforce positive actions, and 3) an effective partnership with Pakistan.” These elements align with the premise of HAM and the strategy of COIN. Furthermore, in General Petraeus’s COIN strategy he specifically shifts the focus from the enemy and toward the empowerment of the Afghanistan population and its government.
The population-centric nation building requires large numbers of American ground forces, dispersed and living in the local population in an effort to win hearts and minds away from the insurgent, and build a nation. President Obama speech is aligned with what General Petraeus’s wrote in FM 3-24 on counterinsurgency through the use of tenets. General Petraeus’s key tenets of COIN are identified as 1) focus on protecting civilians over killing the enemy 2) assume greater risk and 3) use minimum, not maximum force. The focus is on the Afghanistan people as the center of gravity. The people involvement is a key element of the hearts and minds theory and the COIN strategy. Afghani...

... middle of paper ...

...eavors but the Afghan people need renewed pride in providing for themselves. The negatives are whether or not the enemy is waiting for the United States and its allies to depart before they challenge the people of Afghanistan and their government. The positive side is that when the United States and its allies are gone, the Afghanistan people will have a viable government with economic growth and trained security forces in place to deter and prevent the enemy from infiltrating their country.

Works Cited

Gian P. Gentile. “A Strategy of Tactic: Population-centric COIN and the Army”, Parameters (August, 2009), 9.
President Obama. “Address to the Nation on the Way Forward In Afghanistan and Pakistan”,, 3.
Gentile, “A Strategy of Tactic: Population-centric COIN and the Army”, 6.

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