As operations in Afghanistan wind down and we begin to consider the consequences of the past decade of war, force ratio for counterinsurgency (COIN) is coming under increased scrutiny. For pedestrians, in short, we're talking about troop levels and the age-old question for policymakers, "How many does it take to get the job done?" The answer has been pondered by the US military, academia and think tanks, with a host of responses.The result is typically 'plug-and-play' equations for minimum force rations in COIN operations, made more complicated by the inability to precisely predict the numbers of insurgent forces.
Podesta Group international security strategist, Riley Moore, tackles this issue in a recent white paper titled, "Counterinsurgency Force Ratio: Strategic Utility or Nominal Necessity," and published by Routledge of Taylor & Francis. An executive summary is provided by Riley below.
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Counterinsurgency Force Ratio: Strategic Utility or Nominal