Counterinsurgency (COIN) Conference Addresses COIN Qualification Standards

Wednesday January 26, 2011

What is it?

The COIN Qualification Standards are nine tasks and fifty-two sub-tasks submitted by Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF), and approved by Secretary of Defense (SecDef) Robert M. Gates (see here.)

The COIN Qualification Standards were developed as a result of a May 24, 2010, SecDef directive to develop "joint, theater-specific, COIN qualification standards for military and civilian personnel" deploying to Afghanistan. The COIN conference, sponsored by the US Army COIN Center, the UK COIN Centre, and the Afghanistan COIN advisory and assistance team, was held at the Royal United Services Institute in London Dec. 8-9, 2010. The purpose of the conference was to provide a forum in which insights from recent tactical experiences could be examined against current doctrine and thinking. The conference presentations and dialogue confirmed the content and importance of the COIN Qualification Standards.

What has the Army done?

Although there was no specific guidance to COIN conference presenters to address the qualification standards, eight of the nine standards were repeatedly emphasized by presenters and discussed in dialogue. The most mentioned standard was partnering, followed by understand the operational environment, create conditions for stability, conduct decentralized operations, and basic COIN education. Speakers recognized that all Soldiers must understand COIN principles, focus on the human terrain, and build personal relationships with partners. ( See conference report here.)

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

Department of the Army is querying the force to determine how to best prepare units to meet the qualification standards. The Combined Arms Center (CAC) is analyzing which of the standards may need new training tasks developed in order to assist commanders preparing for deployment. Next step is to determine which standards are most appropriate for training at home station, at the combat training centers, or in-theater.

The Army COIN Center, which begins conducting pre-deployment COIN training in May, will use the qualification standards as the "intellectual foundation" for its COIN seminars that prepare brigade combat team leaders for deployment.

Why is this important to the Army?

The standards provide clarity for deploying units as to what knowledge and skills are required to accomplish assigned missions in theater. They are focused at the company level where the real work occurs and the level at which Soldiers are among the people on a continuing basis.


COIN Qualification Standards

US Army COIN Center website

Dec. 8-9, COIN Conference Report





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