A consideration of the theory and conduct of counterinsurgency. Conceptually, the terms "counterrebellion", conducted by "authority" (A) and "rebellion" (R) are preferred, the latter because it denotes organization, a prime strength of insurgencies. Counterinsurgency differs from other wars not in the primacy of "politics" over "force," but in the types of effective politics and force. Effective politics of counterrebellion require A to demonstrate a growing capacity to govern, by probity, enforcing law and order, and completing announced programs. In terms of force, A's conduct of counterinsurgency requires highly mobile surface forces and airlift and aerial reconnaissance, as well as protracted operation by small units retaining communication links with headquarters. In counterinsurgency, A aims at destroying R's organization rather than annihilating its force and acquiring its territory, as in conventional war. The single most reliable indicator of A's success in counterinsurgency is the rate at which R's middle- and upper-level officers are acquired by A, through defection or capture. Improved intelligence and information capability is central to the success of either R or A in insurgency conflict.
Wolf, Charles, Jr., Controlling Small Wars. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1968. https://www.rand.org/pubs/papers/P3994.html. Also available in print form.
Wolf, Charles, Jr., Controlling Small Wars, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, P-3994, 1968. As of September 08, 2021: https://www.rand.org/pubs/papers/P3994.html