By Mr. Bill Ackerly, TRADOC June 23, 2014
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Since its beginning here in 2006, the Army Irregular Warfare Center (AIWC), originally the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Center, has prepared more than forty Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), as well Division and Corps headquarters, for COIN operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. AIWC also conducted more than fifty IW webcasts for the IW community of interest and deploying Soldiers.
Beginning October 1, 2014, AIWC's critical tasks and responsibilities will transition to other Army organizations as resources and priorities are realigned.
In recognizing AIWC's numerous accomplishments during the last eight years, Maj. Gen. Thomas S. James, Jr., Director, Mission Command Center of Excellence (MC CoE), said, "AIWC was the driving force that led to the analysis, development and integration of irregular warfare-related concepts, doctrine, training, leadership and education, ensuring the lessons we've learned permeate across the Army now through 2025 and beyond."
The COIN Center was established in July 2006 by then-Commanding General of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, in conjunction with USMC Deputy Commandant Lt. Gen. James Mattis. The COIN Center was designated in September 2010 as the Army's focal point for IW and transitioned to its current organization as the AIWC.
AIWC was established with an initial heavy emphasis on providing first-rate, near real-time support to units preparing for combat. It quickly developed a flexible five-day COIN seminar for BCTs deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, AIWC leveraged the experience and insights of combat veterans to ensure relevancy of seminar content for deploying war fighting units. The result was an interactive seminar model that was so successful it was requested by III Corps, V Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps, as well as non-deploying units.
AIWC's primary responsibilities included:
• developing doctrine
• coordinating, analyzing and integrating IW Doctrine-Organization-Training-Materiel-Leadership & education-Personnel-Facilities (DOTMLPF) solutions across the Army
• advising training centers and other programs
• integrating COIN doctrine into training and education
• conducting outreach to the COIN community of interest
In addition to its seminars and webcasts, other AIWC significant contributions since 2006 included:
• facilitating the re-write of Field Manual 3-24, Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies, and writing six Army Techniques Publications (ATPs)
• collaborating IW issues with military partners, such as France, Iraq, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore, Afghanistan and India
• providing IW support and expertise through guest lecturers/facilitators at civilian and academic seminars, conferences and workshops, including: Center for the Study of Interagency Cooperation; Global Center for Security Cooperation; U.S. Institute of Peace and International Development; Center for Strategic and International Studies; Massey University, New Zealand; Kansas State University; University of Kansas; and the National Defense University
AIWC Director Col. Gus Benton II said, "As a SOF [special operations force] practitioner, it's readily clear that the value of AIWC to the Army goes far beyond the number of events supported; the value is truly drawn from the numerous enlightening anecdotes offered by individual Army leaders up to Corps Commanders as to how their forces were shaped and prepared to operate successfully within complex COIN environments."
As the COIN Center's first director in 2006, Col . (Ret.) Pete Mansoor, said the mission of the COIN Center was "to think about how we can change our organization [the Army], integrate new technologies, come up with better tactics, techniques and procedures, how to better train our doctrine, and understand the culture, languages and skills that we need to counter insurgency." And that is precisely what today's AIWC has been doing ever since.
Headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the Mission Command Center of Excellence is a network of organizations that develops, integrates and synchronizes Leader Development, Army Profession and Mission Command requirements and solutions to prepare leaders and units to successfully exercise Mission Command during the execution of Unified Land Operations.