Summary of Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice By David Galula Summary written by Brett Reeder, Conflict Research Consortium Citation: Galula, . WARFARE. Theory and Practice. David Galula. Foreword by John A. Nagl. PSI Classics of the Counterinsurgency Era. Praeger Security International. Westport. operations citing David Galula’s theory. In his book, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and. Practice, Galula sets a clear mark for planning future COIN.

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Counterinsurgency Warfare, David Galula | Brendan Kelly –

After living as a civilian in North Africahe joined the I Corps of the Army of the Liberation, and served during the liberation of Francereceiving couterinsurgency wound during the invasion of Elba in June However, he cautions that the lessons of this book do not guarantee success and that, “As long as the revolutionary situation exists, even in a dormant form, as long as the problem that gave rise to the insurgency has not been eliminated, the danger persists” p His strategy is divided into eight steps:.

While a revolution is a sudden and “accidental” mass movement and a plot or coup is an intentional effort to overthrow the top leadership in a swift action, an insurgency is intentional, but glula swift. Though many of its empirical examples are dated, its insights remain hauntingly relevant. Don’t miss upcoming posts, signup for the Newsletter. Detach for the area sufficient troops to oppose an insurgent’s comeback in strength, install these troops in the hamlets, villages, and towns where the population lives.

Win over or suppress the last insurgent remnants. Detach for the area sufficient troops to oppose an insurgent’s comeback in strength, install these troops in the hamlets, villages, and towns where the population lives.

Test these authorities by assigning them various concrete tasks. While important in “cold” insurgencies, this is the primary activity of counterinsurgents in “hot” insurgencies. They can act directly on the insurgent leaders, they can act indirectly on the conditions that are propitious to an insurgency, they can infiltrate the insurgent movement, or they can reinforce their own “Political Machine”.

The Intractable Conflict Challenge Find out what you can do to help society more constructively handle the intractable conflicts that are making so many ravid insoluble. What you do matters, and support can be lost if your actions are unfavorable to the population.


Destroy the local insurgent political organization. In some ways, this aids a counterinsurgency because the “moral fog” surrounding the insurgents dissipates and the counterinsurgency is free to act more decisively. Establish contact with davjd population, control its movements in order to cut off its links with the guerillas.

Without the support of the population, it is impossible to root out all the insurgents and stop further recruitment. Conclusion While insurgencies often fail on their own accord, “Relying on luck Guidelines for Using Beyond Intractability resources.

Galula’s work on counter-insurgency is in large part based on the experiences and lesson of years of French colonial warfare, most notably the work of Joseph-Simon Gallieni and Hubert Lyautey. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops.

Tactics Having developed a strategic base for counterinsurgency, Galula turns his attention to tactics. Theory and Practice by David Galula”.

Concentrate enough armed forces to destroy or to expel the main body of armed insurgents. Some of these steps can dvid skipped in areas that are only partially under insurgent control, and most of them are unnecessary in areas already controlled by the government.

Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol 33, Iss 5, p.

Summary of “Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice”

This ensures that soldiers do not have to constantly relearn the cultural nuances of a local area. In this book, Galula provides the basic strategy and tactics necessary to successfully defeat insurgencies through the development of a “political machine” capable of garnering public support.

Research associate at Harvard University. Further, the counterinsurgency must learn and adapt as it goes along. Explanations of how the conflict and peacebuilding fields’ fundamental building blocks can help with both intractable and tractable conflicts.

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Army Command and General Staff College. How may it be said that these two cannot exist together?

David Galula – Wikipedia

Indeed, a counterinsurgency exists only in reaction to an insurgency. On the other hand, insurgents lack power, but have the advantage regarding intangible assets such as ideology and a general lack of responsibility. Galula resigned his commission in to study in the United Stateswhere he obtained a position of research associate at the Center for International Affairs of Harvard University. When this is the case, the essential problem for the counterinsurgency is that the “actual danger will always appear to the nation as out of proportion to the demands made by an adequate response” p 4.


A key characteristic of all three types of revolutionary warfare is their inherent asymmetry. Check out our Quick Start Guide. The final option, strengthening or building the “political machine” of the state, consists of convincing the population to buy into the state’s legitimacy and moral authority.

The older soldier imparted an intellectual approach to military and geopolitical analysis. A free and open online seminar that takes a complexity-oriented approach to frontier-of-the-field issues related to intractable conflict. Those willing to actively support a counterinsurgency operation should be supported in their efforts to rally the relatively neutral majority and neutralize the hostile minority.

Group and educate the leaders in a national political movement. Citing Beyond Intractability resources. Galula’s wife recalled that her husband went to China to follow Guillermaz, who was, “without a doubt, the most influential person in David’s life. Though he was fiercely anti-Communist, his captors treated him well and he eventually was released through the help of the Marshall mission.

New to the site? Though potentially quite effective, such action can backfire and anger the general population. Such programs galuula often based on reason, and will be relatively ineffective in the early stages of an insurgency when “passion is the prime mover,” but as the conflict progresses and the pragmatic implications of the war become the “the galuls mover,” rational programs which improve the lives of the populace will become highly persuasive.

He visited the Philippinesand studied the Indochina War without taking part in it. Set up, by means of elections, new provisional local authorities. A victory is that plus the permanent isolation of the insurgent from the population, isolation not enforced upon the population, but maintained by and with the population. But decisive action does not necessarily mean military action.

Keeping this emphasis on political action and the laws of counterinsurgency in sarfare, Galula develops a comprehensive strategy for dealing effectively with hot insurgencies.