H.R. McMaster: COIN vs. Conventional is “a false debate”
Brigadier General H.R. McMaster addressed a full conference room at the American Enterprise Institute earlier this afternoon, decrying the oft-discussed war between Coindistas and Cointras as “a false debate.” He argued that the lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — the importance of human intelligence, civil society efforts, liaison work with locals, understanding culture and history of the region in which you are operating, flexibility and adaptation, etc. — are lessons that apply to wars beyond counterinsurgency operations.
Have conventional skillsets atrophied? Certainly, McMaster says, but that is a challenge we can overcome with more training. He cited as examples:
- Command and control capabilities with respect to large numbers of forces on the move
- Logistical support to combat operations at a high tempo along extended lines of communication
- Entry operations other than those that depend on deep-water ports.