New Challenges and Old Concepts: Understanding 21st Century Insurgency


Dr. Steven Metz, Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Army War College, has completed his book Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy. It will be published by Potomac Press later in 2008.

He had an interesting article, “New Challenges and Old Concepts: Understanding 21st Century Insurgency,” published in the Winter 2007-08 issue of Parameters, the US Army War College Quarterly.

“Then, one clear September morning, the world turned. Al Qaeda and its affiliates adopted a strategy relying heavily on the methods of insurgency – both national insurgency and a transnational one. Insurgency was again viewed as a strategic threat and the fear grew that insurgent success would create regimes willing to support and protect organizations like al Qaeda. The global campaign against violent Islamic extremists forced the United States military to undertake counterinsurgency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once again, the Department of Defense was required to respond to a major strategic shift. The military services scrambled to develop new concepts and doctrine. Counterinsurgency reentered the curriculum of the professional military educational system in a big way. It became a centerpiece for Army and Marine Corps training. Classic assessments of the conflicts in Vietnam and Algeria became required reading for military leaders. Like the mythical phoenix, counterinsurgency had emerged from the ashes of its earlier death to become not just a concern of the US military but the central focus.”

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