Counterinsurgency in Crisis: Britain and the Challenges of Modern Warfare

Paperback | January 20, 2015

byDavid H. Ucko, Robert EgnellForeword byColin Gray

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Long considered the masters of counterinsurgency, the British military encountered significant problems in Iraq and Afghanistan when confronted with insurgent violence. In their effort to apply the principles and doctrines of past campaigns, they failed to prevent Basra and Helmand from descending into lawlessness, criminality, and violence.

By juxtaposing the deterioration of these situations against Britain's celebrated legacy of counterinsurgency, this investigation identifies both the contributions and limitations of traditional tactics in such settings, exposing a disconcerting gap between ambitions and resources, intent and commitment. Building upon this detailed account of the Basra and Helmand campaigns, this volume conducts an unprecedented assessment of British military institutional adaptation in response to operations gone awry. In calling attention to the enduring effectiveness of insurgent methods and the threat posed by undergoverned spaces, David H. Ucko and Robert Egnell underscore the need for military organizations to meet the irregular challenges of future wars in new ways.

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Long considered the masters of counterinsurgency, the British military encountered significant problems in Iraq and Afghanistan when confronted with insurgent violence. In their effort to apply the principles and doctrines of past campaigns, they failed to prevent Basra and Helmand from descending into lawlessness, criminality, and vi...

David H. Ucko is associate professor at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, and an adjunct fellow at the Department of War Studies, King's College London. His research areas include civil war, counterinsurgency, and war-to-peace transitions. He is the author of The New Counterinsurgency Era: Tra...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:January 20, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231164270

ISBN - 13:9780231164276

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Read the introduction, "Rethinking Counterinsurgency":

Table of Contents

Foreword by Colin S. GrayPrefaceAcknowledgmentsAbbreviationsIntroduction: Rethinking Counterinsurgency1. Untangling the British Counterinsurgency Legacy2. The British in Basra: With Heads Held High Into the Abyss3. Act II: British Counterinsurgency in Helmand4. "A Horse and Tank Moment"5. Whither British Counterinsurgency?NotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

A long overdue account of British counterinsurgency efforts during Iraq and Afghanistan? a highly insightful analysis? not only a valuable read for anyone interested in the application of counterinsurgency, but especially for anyone interested in military adaptation and organizational learning.