Nation-building, Stability Operations and Prophylactic COIN?
Vermont Army National Guard Capt. Stephen Iaquinto from Berlin, N.J., a member of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, shows Afghan children a picture on his camera (Photo: DOD)  



Dr. Adam Shilling
Center for Army Analysis

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Center for Army Analysis, the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, the U.S. Army War College, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.



Doctrine is simply a mental model that the military uses to organize and understand its environment and its activities, and then to build a shared understanding of those among service members. The author argues that the value of a particular mental model--in this case, a doctrine--is not really whether it is "right" or "wrong," but whether it is useful; useful in aiding understanding and in prompting an appropriate institutional response to the environment. The author examines the concepts of current COIN doctrine and then suggests another way to look at them in the belief that an alternative mental model is not necessarily a contradiction of doctrine; rather it may be merely another useful way of looking at things.

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