Ian Bach

Viewing conflicts through the eye of Counterinsurgency COIN – Since 2007

Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency

Twenty-Eight Articles

Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency


David Kilcullen

This paper reflects the author’s personal judgments and does not represent the views of any department or agency of the U.S. Government or any other government.


Your company has just been warned for deployment on counterinsurgency operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. You have read David Galula, T.E. Lawrence and Robert Thompson. You have studied FM 3-24 and now understand the history, philosophy and theory of counterinsurgency. You watched “Black Hawk Down” and “The Battle of Algiers,” and you know this will be the most difficult challenge of your life.

But what does all the theory mean, at the company level? How do the principles translate into action . at night, with the GPS down, the media criticizing you, the locals complaining in a language you don.t understand, and an unseen enemy killing your people by ones and twos? How does counterinsurgency actually happen?

There are no universal answers, and insurgents are among the most adaptive opponents you will ever face. Countering them will demand every ounce of your intellect. But be comforted: you are not the first to feel this way. There are tactical fundamentals you can apply, to link the theory with the techniques and procedures you already know.

What is counterinsurgency?

If you have not studied counterinsurgency theory, here it is in a nutshell: this is a competition with the insurgent for the right and the ability to win the hearts, minds and acquiescence of the population. You are being sent in because the insurgents, at their strongest, can defeat anything weaker than you. But you have more combat power than you can or should use in most situations. Injudicious use of firepower creates blood feuds, homeless people and societal disruption that fuels and perpetuates the insurgency. The most beneficial actions are often local politics, civic action, and beat-cop behaviors. For your side to win, the people do not have to like you but they must respect you, accept that your actions benefit them, and trust your integrity and ability to deliver on promises, particularly regarding their security. In this battlefield popular perceptions and rumor are more influential than the facts and more powerful than a hundred tanks.

Within this context, what follows are observations from collective experience: the distilled essence of what those who went before you learned. They are expressed as commandments, for clarity . but are really more like folklore. Apply them judiciously and skeptically.


Time is short during pre-deployment, but you will never have more time to think than you have now. Now is your chance to prepare yourself and your command……………..More

Click here for the PDF document


Dr. David Kilcullen served 21 years in the Australian Army, commanded an infantry company on counterinsurgency operations in East Timor, taught tactics on the Platoon Commanders. Battle Course at the British School of Infantry, served on peace operations in Cyprus and Bougainville, was a military advisor to Indonesian Special Forces, and trained and led Timorese irregulars. He has worked in several Middle East countries with irregular and paramilitary police and military units, and was special adviser for Irregular Warfare to the 2005 U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review. He is currently seconded to the U.S. State Department as Chief Strategist in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and remains a Reserve Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army. His doctoral dissertation is a study of Indonesian insurgent and terrorist groups and counterinsurgency methods.


About Ian Bach

Independent Online Terrorist Hunter I teach people how to hunt down and shut down the Bad guys web sites. I also teach about the various countries and cultures. Like most cases it is a small group of bsd eggs that in this case call themselves Muslims but in actual fact they are more like how KKK call themselves ",True Christisians". But in both cases / groups they preach a perverted and twisted view a religion. In the case of ISIS, all Qaeda, al Nusra, and the rest of the terrorists who claim to be true Muslims most of these groups follow the Wahhabi teachings. They are almost all Sunni and their goal is global domination. Yet they must be very bad at math and history. Since most Muslims prefer a separation of church and state and also mist are against Shari's Law. Esp the twisted and overly exaggerated form of Sharia Law that the Wahhabi and other bad guys use. I have studied terrorism, insurgencies, and the best tried and proven methods that work to fight terrorism. My Blogs have many links and articles that can show you who are the best and most knowledgeable people in the fields or counterinsurgency and counter terrorism. When I find great practitioner's I always listen to them to find out who they learned from and who they respect and admire. Thus I am always learning new stuff from the best and most successful in their fields of knoeledge. I strive to be an open and ethical source of information, I have met many awesome, kind, caring, and loving wonderful people many who I am close friends with now from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and many from S.E. Asia which also has a high percent of their populations that are Muslim.We must always strive to be aware people are not any one particular religion via that's what they chose to be, instead most people are a particular religion because that's what their parents and/or county is. I was raised Catholic but because I became Interested in magic ,(illusion - smoke n mirrors) and science which lead me to study many religions, and I would call myself an atheist. Yet sometimes when I lose my keys ZI find myself praying "Hail Marys" and a few "Our Fathers" which most always aides me in finding my keys. My belief is that if I just frantically look around for my krys, good luck it takes me for ever. But by saying these prayers it is like s sort of meditation and my mind becomes more calm, which is why it helps my find my keys.

One comment on “Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency

  1. Ian Bach
    November 25, 2007


    Australian Digital Theses Program

    Thesis Details
    Title The political consequences of military operations in Indonesia 1945-99 : a fieldwork analysis of the political power-diffusion effects of guerilla conflict
    Author Kilcullen, David J.
    Institution University of New South Wales – Australian Defence Force Academy
    Date 2000
    Abstract Problem Investigated. This dissertation is a study of the political effects of low-intensity warfare in Indonesia since 1945. In particular, it examines the interaction between general principles and contextual variables in guerrilla conflict, to determine whether such conflict causes the diffusion of political power. Analysis of insurgent movements indicates that power structures within a guerrilla group tend to be regionalised, diffuse and based on multiple centres of roughly equal authority. Conversely, studies of counter-insurgency (COIN) techniques indicate that successful COIN depends on effective political control over the local population. This tends to be exercised by regional or local military commanders rather than by central authority. Based on this, the author╝s initial analysis indicated that one should expect to see a diffusion of political authority from central leaders (whether civilian or military) to regional military leaders, when a society is engaged in the conduct of either COIN or guerrilla warfare. The problem investigated in this dissertation can therefore be stated thus: To what extent, at which levels of analysis and subject to what influencing factors does low-intensity warfare in Indonesia between 1945 and 1999 demonstrate a political power-diffusion effect? Procedures Followed. The procedure followed was a diachronic, qualitative, fieldwork-based analysis of two principle case studies: the Darul Islam insurgency in West Java 1948-1962 and the campaign in East Timor 1974-1999. Principle research tools were: ╛ Semi-structured, formal, informal and group interviews. ╛ Analysis of official and private archives in Australia, Indonesia, the Netherlands and the UK. ╛ Participant observation using anthropological fieldwork techniques. ╛ Geographical analysis using transects, basemapping and overhead imagery. ╛ Demographic analysis using historical data, cartographic records and surveys. Research was conducted in Australia, Indonesia (Jakarta and Bandung), the Netherlands (The Hague and Amsterdam) and the United Kingdom (London, Winchester, Salisbury and Warminster). Fieldwork was conducted over three periods in West Java (1994, 1995 and 1996) and one period in East Timor (1999-2000). General Results Obtained. The two principal case studies were the Darul Islam insurgency in West Java 1948-62 and the campaign in East Timor since 1974. The fieldwork data showed that low-intensity warfare in Indonesia between 1945 and 1999 did indeed demonstrate the political power-diffusion effect posited by the author. This effect was triggered by the outbreak of guerrilla warfare, which itself flowed from crises generated by processes of modernisation and change within Indonesian society from traditional hierarchies to modern forms of social organisation. These crises were also affected by events at the systemic and regional levels of analysis the invasion of the Netherlands East Indies by Japan, the Cold War, the Asian financial crisis and increasing economic and media globalisation. They resulted in a breakdown or weakening of formal power structures, allowing informal power structures to dominate. This in turn allowed local elites with economic, social or religious influence and with coercive power over the population, to develop political and military power at the local level while being subject to little control from higher levels. This process, then, represented a power diffusion from central and civilian leadership levels to local leaders with coercive means most often military or …..


Leave a Reply or Comment here. Thanks

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 24, 2007 by in Uncategorized.
%d bloggers like this: