Counter Insurgency Tactics

The most effective and therefore best counter insurgency tactic is the simple application of cordon and search operations. When these operations are applied appropriately, with cordon and knock and cordon and kick variations, they influence the population and drive a wedge between the insurgency and the local population, leading to the development of the ability to conduct divide and rule operations.

One of advantages to applying cordon and search is that it can be conducted easily by a fairly small force. A defense element and an assault element could consist of several two-to-three-man teams that conduct the search and uncover elements of insurgent activity. When applied regularly, with the element of surprise, and the violence of action necessary, these operations can uncover a great deal of information, and even insurgents themselves.

In addition to uncovering insurgency operations, Cordon and search operations send a message to the population that the counter insurgency is working, and committed to rooting out the insurgency. When these operations are regular and uncover the information that is sought, they can drive a wedge between the insurgency and the local population. Though the intrusion may inconvenience the people, they will likely begin to yield to the overwhelming force of the counterinsurgency and place the blame for the disruptions on the insurgents themselves.

These operations are useful to drive the population away from the insurgency, and begin the divide and rule process. Cordon and search operations are a show of strength, an intrusion on to the population, and a way to root out insurgents. They accomplish several goals at once, and can be a powerful tool when applied appropriately.

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