Rufus Phillips: COIN Doctrine

Rufus Phillips served in the CIA and US Agency For International Development in Vietnam from 1954-1968.  He is considered an authority on counterinsurgency doctrine (COIN), his recent analysis on how different government agencies can work at cross purposes in a war zone is reminiscent of his time in Vietnam.  His analysis rests on sound judgement that if ignored might peril our Mission in Afghanistan.

He reveals that absent strong personal relationships, intelligence is useless.  His mentor, the legendary intelligence and political advisor Col. Edward G. Lansdale stressed influencing locals to work for their countries own best interest, not ours.  This flew in the face of standard CIA intelligence tradecraft.  But both Lansdale and Phillips have much to show in favor of such analysis.

Phillips continues to reveal how the CIA’s political judgement, if not streamlined through General Petraeus, will ultimately damage our capabilities.  If locals use their own relations with the CIA to further compensate only themselves and not their countries interest, then we are only continuing a dysfunctional culture of governance that cannot serve any true political governance.

We must find capable Afghans who desire to generate a viable Afghan administrative culture and security force capable of controlling the Taliban insurgency.  Absent such finds, the US cannot maintain an effective COIN operation.  Period.

Is anyone at Foggy Bottom listening?

About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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