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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How may it be said that these two cannot exist together? According to Galula, this coordination can be achieved through committees and integrated military-civilian hierarchies but, “more than anything else, a doctrine appears to be the practical answer to the problem of how to channel efforts in a single direction” p 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 not swift.

Having developed a strategic base for counterinsurgency, Galula turns his attention to tactics.

David Galula

An essential aspect of this “compass” is the realization that public support for the state should be the counterindurgency goal of counterinsurgency and that this makes counterinsurgency operations above all, political operations. Theory and Practice in Those willing counterinsurgenyc actively support a counterinsurgency operation should be supported in their efforts to rally the relatively neutral majority and neutralize the hostile minority.

Explanations of how the conflict and peacebuilding fields’ fundamental building blocks can help with both intractable and tractable conflicts. Such support is most readily obtained from an active minority. Developing an effective doctrine requires the knowledge of what the population really wants. Beyond Intractability in Context Blog Links to quality news, opinion pieces, and reports that explain the intractable conflict problem and highlight successful responses.

This ensures that soldiers do not have to constantly relearn the cultural nuances of a local area. The asymmetric nature of this relationship requires the successful counterinsurgency to capitalize on its tangible advantages and limit the insurgent’s ability to benefit from its intangible advantages. Counterinsurgents hold a virtual monopoly on tangible assets, such as material resources and legitimate power. They can act countreinsurgency 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”.

Establish contact with the population and control its movements in order to cut off its links with the guerillas Destroy the local insurgent political organizations Set up, by means of elections, new provisional local authorities. Inhe was expelled from the French officer corps, in accordance with the Statute on Jews of the Vichy State.


Summary of “Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice”

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 clunterinsurgency p 4. Find out about the intractable conflict-related work that others in the peace and conflict field are doing.

This page was last edited on 4 Decemberat A successful insurgency requires a viable cause to rally support. As such, the first area should be viewed as a test area in which policy is counterinsurgnecy to the reaction of the population. Army Command and General Staff College. Theory and Practice is highly suggested reading for students of the U. Research associate at Harvard University.

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. His strategy is divided into eight steps:. Lessons learned should then be rapidly applied to subsequent areas. Theory and Practice by David Galula”. 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.

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: 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.

Acting directly on insurgent leaders arresting them, or limiting their actions is difficult in democracies and often backfires. 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. A victory [in a counterinsurgency] is not the destruction in a given area of the insurgent’s forces and his political organization.

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 Retrieved from ” https: Having attained the support of the population it is imperative to remember that this support is conditional.


The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. For example, insurgent farmers demanding land reform can be stripped of their cause when the state provides land reform.

Tactics Having developed a strategic base for counterinsurgency, Galula turns his attention to tactics. The infiltration of an insurgency seeks to destroy it from within by turning it against itself.

This leaves the counterinsurgents with four options which are not mutually exclusive: The first law is that the population is paramount. David Galula — was a French military officer and scholar who was influential in developing the theory and practice of counterinsurgency warfare. He died in of lung cancer. New to the site? Galula’s laws thus take at face value and recognize the importance of the aphorism, based on the ideas of Mao, that “The people are the sea in which the revolutionary swims.

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.

David Galula – Wikipedia

That is, the support of the people is the primary objective of a counterinsurgency campaign. While important in “cold” insurgencies, this is the primary activity of counterinsurgents in “hot” insurgencies. 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.

In this case, indirect action can be taken to ensure that the judicial, police, and military institutions are strong thus discouraging insurgent action. Concentrate enough armed forces to destroy or to expel the main body of armed insurgents. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Each of the steps is to be undertaken in a specific area consistent with the fourth law and then repeated in other areas as necessary.

On the other hand, insurgents lack power, but have the advantage regarding intangible assets such as ideology and a general lack of responsibility.