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Revisiting Counterinsurgency

The paper addresses an emerging awareness of counterinsurgency in the Australian context. This work also is cautionary; arguing that the Army and the wider Australian Defence Force (ADF) needs more careful thought on doctrine, appropriate training and associated operational ability. Reflecting on the Australian Army's heritage in the realm of counterinsurgency, it looks at emerging trends in the public discourse on the ‘war on terror' and examines how Australia's traditional allies are developing doctrine in reaction to those trends. With this understanding, recommendations are made for a response by the Australian Army.

The proposed response involves a concept of manoeuvre to address an information-era insurgency that is complex and global, with common threads, but distinctive local determinants. The argument made here is that the Australian Army is presented with a unique challenge best managed in a whole-of-government context and in a way that is culturally attuned, responsive to local nuances that motivate insurgents and terrorists, and designed to generate lasting effects. That response also presents considerable challenges for Australia's combat-arms focused land force, but capitalises on the Army's manoeuvrist disposition.

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