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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Concentrate enough armed forces to destroy or to expel the main body of armed insurgents. Beyond Intractability in Context Blog Links to quality news, opinion pieces, and reports that explain the intractable conflict problem and counterinsurgwncy successful responses. The “Laws” According to Galula, there are four “laws” of counterinsurgency. As such, the first area should be viewed as a test area in which policy is adapted to the reaction of the population.

Check out our Quick Start Guide. Replace the softs and the incompetents, give full support of the active leaders. This requires political programs aimed at placating the insurgent’s base.

David Galula – Wikipedia

Find out about the intractable conflict-related work that others in the peace and conflict field are doing. His strategy is divided into eight steps: Galula resigned his commission in to study in the United Stateswhere he obtained a position of research associate at the Center for International Affairs of Harvard University.

Insurgents also decide when and where the conflict will begin, since they become insurgents through their own contentious actions. 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.

Win over or suppress the last insurgent remnants. Having attained the support of the population it is imperative to remember that this support is conditional.

Indirect action consists of either co-opting the insurgent’s cause, or addressing the weaknesses of the state. Some of these steps can be skipped in areas that are only partially under insurgent control, and most of them are unnecessary in areas already controlled by the government.


Guidelines for Using Beyond Intractability resources. The development of these programs requires a coordination of efforts on the part of the counterinsurgency. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. 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.

In it, Galula, a French military officer with experience in China, Greece, Southeast Asia, counteerinsurgency Algeria, seeks to provide a “compass” for the counterinsurgent, much as Mao did for the revolutionary.

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. Lessons learned should then be rapidly applied to subsequent areas. What you counterknsurgency matters, and support can be lost if your actions are unfavorable to the population.

Counterinsurgency Warfare

The first law is that the population is paramount. Views Read Edit View history. After living as a civilian in North Africahe joined the I Corps of the Army of the Liberation, and served during the liberation of Francereceiving a wound during the invasion of Elba in June By using this site, you agree to galuula Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Win over or suppress the last insurgent remnants. New to the site? A free and open online seminar that takes a complexity-oriented approach to frontier-of-the-field issues related to intractable conflict. The counterinsurgent reaches a position of strength when his power is embedded in a political organization issuing from, and firmly supported by, the population.

Content may not be reproduced without prior written permission. Such support is most readily obtained from an active minority.

Further, the counterinsurgency must learn and adapt as it goes along. Summary of Counterinsurgency Galulx Check out our Quick Start Galul or Video.

Counterinsurgency Warfare by David Galula – Praeger – ABC-CLIO

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


A key characteristic of all three types of revolutionary warfare is their inherent asymmetry. Keeping this emphasis on political action and the laws of counterinsurgency in mind, Galula develops a comprehensive strategy for dealing effectively with hot insurgencies.

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: Conclusion While insurgencies often fail on their own accord, “Relying on luck Counterinsurgency “in counterinsurvency Heat” As soon as an insurgent’s activities become openly illegal and violent, it is considered “hot”. A victory [in a counterinsurgency] is not the destruction in a given area of the insurgent’s forces and his political organization.

Colleague Activities Find out about the intractable conflict-related work that others in the counterinsurgendy and conflict field are doing. 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 response” p 4.

In this book, Galula provides the basic strategy and tactics necessary to successfully defeat insurgencies through the development of a “political machine” capable of garnering public support. To do so, it is necessary to keep a single static or holding force in place. Indeed ,as Galula put it, “Essential though it is, the military action is secondary to the political one, its primary purpose being to afford dabid political power enough freedom to work safely with the population.

Concentrate enough armed forces to destroy or to expel the main body of armed insurgents. Counterinsurgents hold a virtual monopoly on tangible assets, such as material resources and legitimate power.

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