For Green, village stability operations provided the security that allowed district governments and local markets to function properly. So, metrics such as the number of government officials who reside in the district, the number of meetings between these officials and local elders that take place in the district center, and the number of development projects that Afghans appropriate and allocate through official government channels serve as useful data points in determining a return of governance and rule of law.
In addition, Green posits that as security improves, local markets become more robust, thus reducing the cost of staple goods and increasing economic activity in general. He developed a survey in order to measure these new metrics, which he intended on distributing to the various sites at which special operations teams were conducting village stability operations.
Unconventional Warfare: The Missing Link in the Future of Land Operations
Although Green logically arrives at his potential new metrics, his survey relies on responses from Americans rather than Afghans on data points that are either subjective and therefore subject to bias, or largely unknowable to Americans and therefore unreliable. That being said, it would have been interesting to see the results of his analysis. But he unfortunately never distributes the survey so the veracity of these new metrics of success in counterinsurgency remain unknown.
Apart from an incomplete attempt at discerning different ways to measure success in counterinsurgency, Green also takes on the task of developing a means by which to determine where to build new sites for village stability operations based on likelihood of success. He hypothesizes that districts in which special operations teams were able to recruit their allocation of Afghan Local Police likely share some common features. So, Green collected data from sites across Afghanistan with the aim of creating a double regression analysis in order to determine statistically significant variables in successful districts.
Inexplicably however, Green uses the number of Afghan Local Police in a district as his dependent variable and metric of success. In other words, Green claims that the mere presence of a greater number of Afghan Local Police in a district corresponds to the success of the program.
This is antithetical to his previous claim about new ways of measuring success in counterinsurgency. Again, despite this issue, it would have been interesting to see his data, but he does not provide the results of the analysis for others to interpret, critique, or attempt to reproduce in later tests. While claiming that its success was due to its local nature, his perspective was almost entirely at the provincial level, relying on brief visits to local sites for the types of meetings during which local Afghan politicians, security force leaders, and elders would be incentivized to offer optimistic and ingratiating accounts in front of provincial officials.
I experienced many of these largely ceremonial events during my deployments to Afghanistan, during which officials espouse the efforts of the Afghan security forces, pay homage to coalition forces, and request additional support either through development projects or Afghan Local Police allocation. Since special operations forces are such an integral element to counter-insurgency, this volume also contains a large SOF component.
Importantly, this book will assist the practitioner of the profession of arms to understand insurgency or, perhaps more accurately, counter-insurgency and those components that are germane to its practice. Moreover, The Difficult War provides insight and knowledge about these complex forms of warfare that are useful and accessible to both the lay reader and the military expert. As such the book is a valuable volume for those connected to or interested in the profession of arms. David Kilcullen. The Insurgents. Fred Kaplan. The Sling and the Stone.
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Colonel Thomas X. Casting Light on the Shadows. Colonel Bernd Horn. The Diffusion of Military Power. Michael C. Another Bloody Century. Colin S. The Big Stick. Eliot A. Understanding Contemporary Strategy. Thomas M. Understanding Modern Warfare. David Jordan. Brave New War. John Robb.
Perspectives on Insurgency and Special Operations Forces
Strategic Studies. Thomas G. NATO in Afghanistan. David P. Transforming Command. Eitan Shamir. Special Forces, Strategy and the War on Terror. Alastair Finlan. Progressive Management. The New Citizen Armies. Stuart A. Social Science Goes to War.
Information for Readers and Authors
Montgomery McFate. The Routledge Handbook of War and Society. Steven Carlton-Ford. United States Special Operations Forces. David Tucker. Counterterrorism: Bridging Operations and Theory. Robert J. Military Adaptation in Afghanistan. Theo Farrell.
Strategic Appraisal. Zalmay Khalilzad.
Anti-Access Warfare. Sam Tangredi. Modern War and the Utility of Force. Isabelle Duyvesteyn. The Transformation of Strategic Affairs. Lawrence Freedman. The Oxford Handbook of War. Julian Lindley-French.
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British Generals in Blair's Wars. Jonathan Bailey. Crisis Stability and Long-Range Strike. Forrest E.
The Iraq War. Jan Hallenberg. Neither of the two men responsible for running the war in Afghanistan over the next year are willing to tell a Senate panel that the military is done with counterinsurgency in the U. But from their testimony on Tuesday morning, both Lt. John Allen and Vice Adm.
William McRaven see a glide path starting with the withdrawal of the surge forces: less tea drinking and more insurgent killing. Night raids, drone strikes and other kill-and-capture efforts against insurgent leaders by the Joint Special Operations Command JSOC have already been a huge component of Gen.
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David Petraeus' war plan. McRaven certainly bolstered that perspective. Making his first public appearance since designing JSOC's successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden, McRaven said he was unconcerned about President Obama's drawdown of the surge forces. As long as he has "enablers" — airlift, helicopters, spy drones — then he doesn't think special operations will be strained. Elite commandos, after all, won't be the ones who leave Afghanistan any time soon. Along with training the Afghan security forces, that's going to be the trend for at least the next year in Afghanistan.