THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
• The CORDS effort succeeded to the extent it did not
because of its size (which at times was an encumbrance) but
because of its most dedicated and knowledgeable participants.
Skilled individuals count much more than numbers.
• To be effective, counterinsurgency has to be built by the
host government and citizens from the community level up,
while simultaneously strongly supported from the top down.
This often runs up against overcentralized authority and con-
• Attitudes of respect for the civilian population and a genu-
ine devotion to their well-being on the part of indigenous gov-
ernment military and civilian officials at all levels are extremely
important. The United States needs to play a strong role in
insisting on this approach as part of our assistance.
• Most U.S civilian and military advisers involved in coun-
terinsurgency and stability assistance, to be fully effective in
the host country, need specialized training, language capability
and longer than conventional periods of assignment. Our sup-
port is not likely to be successful unless we have some advisers
out in the field, despite the security risks involved.
Finally, intertwined as it is with political progress in enlisting
the willing support of the population, counterinsurgency is a
long-term process requiring dedication, patience and persis-
tence. After all, we are talking about changing people’s minds.
In dealing with incipient and
existing insurgencies, what
is most essential is civilian-
military unity of strategy and