By that, I mean contemporary, mid-2000’s “pop-centric” COIN theory as expressed in FM 3-24 – is it de facto dead as USG policy or is COIN theory formally evolved to officially embrace strong elements of CT, targeted assassinations, FID, “open-source counterinsurgency” and even bare-knuckled conventional warfare tactics?
Mind you, I have nothing against pragmatic flexibility and think that, for example, moves to arm more Afghan villagers for self-defense are realistic efforts to deal with the Taliban insurgency, and I prefer USG officials speaking frankly about military conditions as they actually exist. Doctrinal concepts should not be used to create a “paint-by-numbers” military strategy – it is a starting point that should be expected to evolve to fit conditions.
But having evolved operations and policy as far as the USG military and USG national security agencies have, with the current draconian budgetary restraints looming – are we still “doing COIN”? Or is it dead?