Reference document

Mission Type - Counter Insurgency (COIN)

The Counter Insurgency (COIN) mission type consists of political, economic, social, military, law enforcement, civil, and psychological activities that aim to defeat insurgency and address any core grievances. COIN is a politically motivated, intelligence-driven activity and the aim of COIN is to defeat the insurgents. All insurgencies are unique in their political, social, and historical contexts and they demand that the counterinsurgent adapt with skill and knowledge to meet specific socio-political and military conditions. COIN operations often include security assistance programs such as military education and training programs because properly trained and motivated local security and military forces provide the best COIN operators. Conducting successful COIN operations requires an adaptive and flexible mindset and an understanding that the population is the critical dimension; and a key part of understanding the population is having cultural competence and an intimate knowledge of what causes and perpetuates insurgency. It is equally important as understanding physical terrain is to the successful conduct of conventional land operations. A second aspect of the counterinsurgent mindset is being able to think like an insurgent in order to stay ahead of or at least anticipate the actual insurgents’ decisions and actions. Third, successful counterinsurgents must understand it is essential to establish an enduring presence within the population to create confidence and provide continuous security and development efforts, which are vital to assuring the population’s sense of security and long-term outlook. This will isolate the insurgents from the population, thus depriving them of recruits, resources, intelligence, and credibility. Finally, it must be clearly understood that the military instrument is only one part of a comprehensive approach for successful COIN, although the security situation may require the joint force to execute tasks that other organizations are better suited to conduct.

Mission Types and Tasks