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Series: The Rise of the Counterinsurgents

National security reporter Spencer Ackerman explores a circle of counterinsurgency thinkers as they rise in influence and prominence in the U.S. military.

PART ONE: The Colonels and ‘The Matrix’

A group of young thinkers has triggered a simmering debate about how far the military should go in embracing counterinsurgency.

PART TWO: A Famous Enigma

An ascending band of counterinsurgent thinkers wonder if Ray Odierno — the Army’s new vice chief of staff — fits their mold.

PART THREE: Petraeus’ Ascension

Many military analysts view the general’s pending promotion as a mixed blessing.

PART FOUR: The Insurgent as Counterinsurgent

Moqtada Sadr remains the most powerful political figure in Iraq. How has he consistently maintained strength?

PART FIVE: King David

Gen. David H. Petraeus used the principles of counterinsurgency to lead the surge of U.S. forces in Iraq. In an interview with The Washington Independent he talks about the hard road ahead.

PART SIX: Civilians Missing From Action

Government experts from Iraq and Afghanistan have largely been left out of counterinsurgency efforts, even though civilians are critical for success.

PART SEVEN: Women Prominent in Counterinsurgency Movement

Unlike much of the defense field, a significant number of women are both members — and leaders — in the emerging circle of counterinsurgency thinkers.

PART EIGHT: A Counterinsurgency Guide for Politicos

A forthcoming handbook, written by a former top aide to Gen. David H. Petraeus, aims to help Washington decision makers avoid intervening in the costly, un-winnable counterinsurgency efforts of foreign nations.

PART NINE: Military Embraces Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

The U.S. military is using economy of force and intimate knowledge of the local population to combat the insurgency in Afghanistan.

PART TEN: How Much Counterinsurgency Training?

The Counterinsurgency Center teaches officers not to think “terrorism-bad” but “clinically” when combating insurgents. But some in the military worry that traditional military functions are eroding because of an overemphasis on counterinsurgency.

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