The “Old, Old Story”:

Attendees at Air University’s counterinsurgency symposium last week heard from Colin Gray, chair of the international politics and strategic studies at the University of Reading in Britain, that irregular warfare is “an old, old story” and so are the methods used to wage it, reports Carl Bergquist. Conrad Crane, director of the US Army Military History Institute and lead author of the Army and Marine Corps’ new COIN manual, was also present and discussed the new manual’s historical roots, including British and French writers grounded in struggles from Algeria to Malaya and Vietnam. Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard Y. Newton, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements, noted that the US disbanded most of its irregular warfare capability after the Korean War, only to have to resurrect it for Vietnam. Newton said the US Air Force today must “develop concepts and identify technology that improves the Air Force’s and partner air forces’ capability against insurgents.” He urged embracing COIN and information warfare “as major missions.” USAF plans to produce its own new COIN document this summer.