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The Ontology of Counterinsurgency
Unformatted Document Text:  The Ontology of Counterinsurgency Major William S. Mandrick, Ph.D. U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command Abstract This essay will describe counterinsurgency warfare as a stratified phenomenon consisting of physical and cognitive strata. 1 The physical strata consist of elements such as the terrain (geography), military units, and tactical maneuvers. The cognitive strata consist of elements such as effects based operations, non-lethal targeting, and psychological operations. Unlike conventional wars, where the physical stratum takes priority, counterinsurgencies are primarily waged for control of the cognitive stratum. The goal of counterinsurgency is to influence the population to reject the insurgent movement and to gain their support of the government. This requires focusing upon the collective psychology of the population in order to develop the correct strategy. In the first section I will describe the practice of ontology and how it applies to counterinsurgency. In the second section I will describe how the physical and cognitive strata are linked, and how the cognitive strata take priority in counterinsurgency. The third section describes the difficulties in identifying the insurgent’s center of gravity, and then developing a center of gravity strategy. The fourth section describes the neo- classical structure of counterinsurgency as found in Galula, 2 and contrasts it with recent theories on nested insurgencies (complex conflicts) as found in Iraq. 3 4 In the fifth section I will describe the problems associated with vagueness in counterinsurgency. In conclusion I will describe three strategic options for the complex counterinsurgency we face in Iraq and Afghanistan. Key Words: ontology, cognitive strata, center of gravity, vagueness, complex conflict

Authors: Mandrick, William.
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The Ontology of Counterinsurgency
Major William S. Mandrick, Ph.D.
U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command


Abstract

This essay will describe counterinsurgency warfare as a stratified phenomenon
consisting of physical and cognitive strata.
1
The physical strata consist of elements such
as the terrain (geography), military units, and tactical maneuvers. The cognitive strata
consist of elements such as effects based operations, non-lethal targeting, and
psychological operations. Unlike conventional wars, where the physical stratum takes
priority, counterinsurgencies are primarily waged for control of the cognitive stratum.
The goal of counterinsurgency is to influence the population to reject the insurgent
movement and to gain their support of the government. This requires focusing upon the
collective psychology of the population in order to develop the correct strategy.
In the first section I will describe the practice of ontology and how it applies to
counterinsurgency. In the second section I will describe how the physical and cognitive
strata are linked, and how the cognitive strata take priority in counterinsurgency. The
third section describes the difficulties in identifying the insurgent’s center of gravity, and
then developing a center of gravity strategy. The fourth section describes the neo-
classical structure of counterinsurgency as found in Galula,
2
and contrasts it with recent
theories on nested insurgencies (complex conflicts) as found in Iraq.
3
4
In the fifth
section I will describe the problems associated with vagueness in counterinsurgency. In
conclusion I will describe three strategic options for the complex counterinsurgency we
face in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Key Words: ontology, cognitive strata, center of gravity, vagueness, complex conflict


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