Author: Patrick J. Mahaney Jr. NATO Defense College
Patrick Mahaney explores the nature and pressing challenges presented by complex operations in an effort to begin a practical approach to them while theories and doctrines are worked out. This paper was used as a guiding document for the Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group and for the development of local security solutions in Afghanistan
Asked by Justin McDowell, from Minnesota State University Moorhead
Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations will continue to be a viable option in future conflicts, particularly given rising instability in areas of interest to the United States and its allies. However, the relative feasibility and ability to support large COIN operations is very much in question.
The answer is simple: 9/11. The most costly terrorist attack ever was carried out from Afghanistan. The United States showed bipartisan determination to bring the perpetrators to justice and—the part that explains our continuing engagement in Afghanistan—to prevent its soil from ever being used again to stage terrorist attacks.
Following the attack on Afghan civilians by a U.S. Army sergeant, and the recent burning of Qurans by NATO soldiers, the United States' relationship with Afghanistan has come under sharp focus. Listen to CFR senior fellows Stephen Biddleand Max Bootdiscuss these events, the planned drawdown of U.S. troops by 2014, and the future of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan.
Speakers: Linda Robinson and Francis J. West Presider: Deborah Susan Amos
Listen to Linda Robinson, author in residence at the Johns Hopkins University's Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and Francis J. West, correspondent at the Atlantic Monthly Press, assess the political and strategic effects of the surge in Iraq.
Listen to Council on Foreign Relations experts Stephen Biddle and Daniel Markey discuss a recent week-long visit they took to Afghanistan on invitation from top U.S. military commander Gen. David McKiernan.
Listen to Barry McCaffrey, a retired U.S. army general and adjunct professor of international affairs at West Point, discuss past failings and future options for success in Iraq five years after the war began.
Scaling back the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan will yield a peace dividend, but only when Social Security and Medicare spending are controlled will the U.S. be able to refocus on domestic priorities, says CFR'S Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »