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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The fourth and final law of counterinsurgency regards the “intensity of effort and vastness of means. That is, the support of the people is the primary objective of a counterinsurgency campaign. Guidelines for Counferinsurgency Beyond Intractability resources.

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 davjd authorities.

The older soldier imparted an intellectual approach to military and geopolitical analysis.

Lessons learned should then be rapidly applied to subsequent areas. Indirect action consists of either co-opting the insurgent’s cause, or addressing the weaknesses of the state.

Beyond Intractability in Context Blog Links to quality news, opinion pieces, and reports that explain the intractable conflict problem and highlight successful responses. Galula has been considered an important theorist by contemporary defence experts.

Indeed ,as Galula put it, “Essential dxvid it is, the military action is secondary to the political one, its primary purpose being to afford the political power enough freedom to work safely with the population. Though he was fiercely anti-Communist, his captors treated him well and he eventually was released through the help of the Marshall mission.

Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol 33, Iss 5, p. Galula’s wife recalled that her husband went to China to follow Guillermaz, who was, eavid a doubt, the most influential person in David’s life. Such programs are often based on reason, and will be relatively ineffective in the early stages of an insurgency when “passion is the prime mover,” but as the conflict progresses and the pragmatic implications of the war become the “the prime mover,” rational programs which improve the lives of the populace will become highly persuasive.


What you do matters, and support can be lost if your actions are unfavorable to galla population. In it, Galula, a French military officer with experience in China, Greece, Southeast Asia, and Algeria, seeks to provide a “compass” for the counterinsurgent, much as Mao did for the revolutionary. Replace the softs and the incompetents, give full support of the active leaders. This “compass” is comprised of the laws and principals of counterinsurgency warfare, and corresponding strategy and tactics.

Summary of “Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice” | Beyond Intractability

New to the site? Find out what you can do to help society more constructively handle the intractable conflicts that are making so many problems insoluble. Tactics Having developed a strategic base for counterinsurgency, Galula turns his davod to tactics.

That is, warfxre response necessary to eliminate the insurgency is likely to be seen as excessive by the general population. They can act directly 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”.

Citing Beyond Intractability resources.

Summary of “Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice”

The counterinsurgent reaches a position of strength when his power is embedded in a political organization issuing from, and firmly supported by, the population. On the other hand, insurgents lack power, but have the advantage regarding intangible assets such as ideology and a general lack of responsibility.

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. But decisive action does not necessarily mean military action. He begins this task by describing the basic characteristics of revolutionary war in general, because an insurgency along with revolution and coup d’etat is thought to be a type of revolutionary warfare.


Acting directly on insurgent leaders arresting them, or limiting their actions is difficult in democracies and often backfires.

Test these authorities by assigning them various concrete tasks. On the other hand, insurgents lack power, but they are much more free to violate both their promises and social norms.

In conventional warfare, strength is assessed according to military or other tangible criteria, such as the number of divisions, the position they hold, the industrial resources, etc. There he continued his warm relationship with Jacques Guillermazan officer from an old French military family with whom he had served in France. 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.

Insurgents also decide when and where the conflict will begin, since they become insurgents through their own contentious actions. Unfortunately, an insurgent’s cause is often impossible for a state to adopt, without relinquishing its power.

Tell us about your work. Win over or suppress the last insurgent remnants. The infiltration of an insurgency seeks to destroy it from within by turning it against itself. Concentrate enough armed forces to destroy or to expel the main body of armed insurgents. Having attained the support of the population it is imperative to remember that this support is conditional. A victory [in a counterinsurgency] is not the destruction in a given area of the insurgent’s forces and his political organization.

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