Dear Headline writer. COIN is not a threat (unless you are an insurgent). But this illustrates the problem we have with our use of terminology.
Here is the link to the new CNAS report. “Uncertain Ground: Emerging Challenges in Land Warfare.” http://www.cnas.
org/sites/default/files/ publications-pdf/CNAS% 20Report_Uncertain%20Ground_ 151203%20v02.pdf
I would say what has always been a threat is revolution, resistance, and insurgency, yes these natural phenomena take place in the gray zone between peace and war. Yes we need to know and understand counterinsurgency but we need so much beyond that and our COIN efforts really need to be directed toward advising and assisting friends, partners, or allies in their fight against lawless, subversion, insurgency and terrorism. We should not be conducting COIN ourselves because as noted in the recent NDU publication" Lessons Encountered" on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: "A prudent great power should avoid being a third party in a large-scale counterinsurgency effort. Foreign expeditionary forces in another country’s insurgency have almost always failed." The two exceptions being Malaya and the Philippines (1899) both of which were conducted by the de facto occupying powers/quasi governments, the UK and US.
COIN was not appropriate for countering Russia in Ukraine and Crimea. And is not appropriate for countering ISIS and Iran. It is not appropriate for countering the Three Warfares of China nor for countering Al Qaeda.
Fortunately Paul Scharre only uses COIN three times in the text of the 35 page CNAS report and twice in this excerpt below. But after the last 14 years the popular press and pundits have adopted COIN as the shorthand for describing anything and everything that is not conventional state on state war even using erroneous statements such as those in the title as "COIN Threat's getting worse."
The Army, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command face a diverse array of challenges. From a resurgent Russia to a chaotic Middle East to a rising China, the evolving security environment presents a myriad array of possible challenges. Any number of these could involve the commitment of U.S. ground troops, potentially in large numbers and for operations that could be far different from the counterinsurgency wars the U.S. military has fought for the past decade plus. At the same time, the scope and character of possible ground operations has evolved beyond easy characterizations between counterinsurgency vs. traditional warfare, unconventional vs. conventional, irregular vs. regular. Non-state actors possess increasingly advanced weapons, such as anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), and low-cost commercially available drones. These will allow them to contest U.S. forces for control of terrain and impose heavy costs on militaries advancing into these low-end anti-access/area denial environments. Nation-states have also adapted their tactics, relying on “gray zone” or hybrid approaches that use proxies, deniable operations, propaganda, and cyber attacks to achieve their objectives without overt military aggression.
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.on December 10, 2015 at 4:18 PM
A Michigan National Guard soldier patrols in Afghanistan alongside an Afghan soldier and a Latvian ally.
WASHINGTON: As the US military refocuses on Russia
and China, it mustn’t forget the hard-won lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq, because they’ll only become more relevant in future conflicts. With technology spreading, populations rising, and megacities sprawling, “war among the people” — whether it’s counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, or just conventional warfare in an urban setting — will only get nastier and harder to avoid.
You thought roadside bombs were bad? Imagine off-the-shelf mini-drones bombing US troops. Homebrewed high explosives got you down? Imagine extremists with 3D printersand a database of weapon designs. Suicide car bombs? Imagine explosive-laden cars that drive themselves. US military transmissions jamming each other by accident? Imagine guerrillas getting cheap GPS and radio jammers online. Media revealing military secrets or reporting faux pas that get the local population up in arms? Imagine that local population, enemy informants included, tweeting video of everything US forces do.
(Continued at the link below)