The Art of Command in Counterinsurgency Operations
AEI Center for Defense Studies

Drawing on his extensive experiences as commander of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq, Brigadier General H. R. McMaster, one of the "warrior-intellectuals" involved in the movement to reform the U.S. Army, discussed the challenges of command in counterinsurgency operations, drawing upon his essay in the recently released volume Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields (AEI Press, May 2010).

The U.S. military’s experiences in the current conflicts have highlighted the need for sound leadership and keen judgment at all echelons and an approach that encourages subordinates to exercise initiative while preserving overall operational coherence. Such an approach is built upon traditional and timeless principles of command and stresses the human complexities of conflict rather than the seeming technological certainties too often emphasized by advocates of defense "transformation." Following the formal presentation, General McMaster continued the conversation in a discussion moderated by Thomas Donnelly, director of AEI's Center for Defense Studies.

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