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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Such programs are 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 prime mover,” rational programs which improve the lives of the populace will become highly persuasive.

Win over or suppress the last insurgent remnants. Indirect action consists of either co-opting the insurgent’s cause, or addressing the weaknesses of the state.

Counterinsurgency Warfare

He distinguished himself by applying personal tactics in counterinsurgency to his sector of Kabylieat Djebel Mimoun, [5] near Tigzirteffectively eliminating the nationalist insurgency in his sector and earning accelerated promotion from this point. Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy’s rear. Galula cites Mao Zedong ‘s observation that “[R]evolutionary war is 80 percent political action and only 20 percent military”, and proposes four “laws” for counterinsurgency: What you do matters, and support can be lost if your actions are unfavorable to the population.

Links to quality news, opinion pieces, and reports that explain the intractable conflict problem and highlight successful responses. David Galula — was a French military officer and scholar who was influential in developing the theory and practice of counterinsurgency warfare. While important in “cold” insurgencies, this is the primary activity of counterinsurgents in “hot” insurgencies.

A victory [in a counterinsurgency] is not the destruction in a given area of the insurgent’s forces and his political organization. Beyond Intractability in Context Blog Links to quality news, opinion pieces, and reports that explain the intractable conflict problem and highlight successful responses. It is still considered by many to be the “Bible” of counterinsurgency warfare. The infiltration of an insurgency seeks to destroy it from within by turning it against itself.


Content may not be reproduced without prior written permission. Counterinsurgents hold a virtual monopoly on tangible assets, such as material resources and legitimate power.

Counterinsurgency “in the Cold” As long as an insurgency’s activities remain “on the whole legal and nonviolent,” p 43 the insurgency is referred to as “cold”. 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.

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Further, the counterinsurgency must learn and adapt as it goes along. 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.

Unfortunately, an insurgent’s cause is often impossible for a state to adopt, without relinquishing its power. Having developed a cunterinsurgency base for counterinsurgency, Galula turns his attention to tactics. Summary of Counterinsurgency Warfare: With his four principles in mind, Galula goes on to describe a general military and political galjla to put them into operation in an area that is under full insurgent control:.

The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. 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.

Rather, action should be taken in select areas, and resources moved as needed. At the heart of this political machine is the development of a counterinsurgent cause to compete with the insurgent cause. He died in of lung cancer. Find out what you can do to help society more constructively handle the intractable conflicts that are making so many problems insoluble.

While insurgencies often fail on their own accord, “Relying on luck By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Conclusion While insurgencies often fail on their own accord, “Relying dounterinsurgency luck Retrieved from ” https: Such direct action should only be attempted when the insurgent’s cause in not popular, the counterinsurgent has the legal authority to act, and significant publicity of such action can be prevented.


An essential aspect of this “compass” is the realization that public support for the state should be the primary goal of counterinsurgency and that this makes counterinsurgency operations above all, political operations.

gaoula On the other hand, insurgents lack power, but they are much more free to violate both their promises and social norms. Theory and Practice in He visited the Philippinesand studied the Indochina War without taking part in it.

Acting directly on insurgent leaders arresting them, or limiting their actions is difficult in democracies and often backfires. 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.

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 a wound during the invasion of Elba in June But decisive action does not necessarily mean military action.

There he continued his warm relationship with Jacques Guillermazan officer from an old French military family with whom he had served in France.

Summary of “Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice” | Beyond Intractability

In conventional warfare, strength is assessed according to military or other tangible criteria, such as the number of divisions, the position they hold, the industrial resources, etc. Replace the softs and the incompetents, give full support to the active leaders.

To do so, it is necessary to keep a single static or holding force in place. The development of these programs requires a coordination of efforts on davidd part of the counterinsurgency. Army Command and General Staff College. Theory and Practice by David Galula”. Test those authorities by assigning them various concrete tasks.