Book buzz: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq
Most lawmakers and officials take it as a given that rapidly increasing the size of the Afghan national-security forces is bound to increase the capability and effectiveness of the counterinsurgency effort there. Not so, argues Marine Corps University scholar and military historian Mark Moyar, who is out with a new book entitled, "A Question of ...
Most lawmakers and officials take it as a given that rapidly increasing the size of the Afghan national-security forces is bound to increase the capability and effectiveness of the counterinsurgency effort there.
Not so, argues Marine Corps University scholar and military historian Mark Moyar, who is out with a new book entitled, "A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq." (Donald and Fred Kagan tag-teamed the foreword.)
Moyar spelled out his reasoning in a Sept. 3 op-ed in the New York Times:
"Where the methodology fails is in its assumption that doubling Afghan troop strength, as many now advocate, will double counterinsurgency capacity. In reality, such an increase is likely to cause quality to fall. With Afghan security forces already two-and-a-half times as large as the American forces, and America lacking the political will to reduce that ratio, the counterinsurgency cannot afford such a drop."
Moyer’s book is the basis for a conference being held today at the National Press Club and put on by the Marine Corps University Foundation. Moyer will speak on the morning panel.
The conference’s keynote speaker will be none other than Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command. Other speakers include retired lieutenant colonel and president of the Center For a New American Security John Nagl, CNAS fellow and ForeignPolicy.com blogger Tom Ricks, and National Defense University’s retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, who headed up U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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