The Role and Limitations of Technology in U.S. Counterinsurgency Warfare


The Role and Limitations of Technology in U.S. Counterinsurgency Warfare

Richard W. Rubright

296 pages


February 2015


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eBook (PDF)
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February 2015


$36.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Although the United States plays a leading role in the development of technology, particularly that used by militaries around the world, the U.S. military nonetheless continues to find itself struggling against lower-tech foes that conduct warfare on a different scale. Emerging technology is indeed available and is regularly employed in American counterinsurgency efforts; however, since it is also constantly in flux, strategies for its use must continually evolve to ensure that available resources are put to best use against disparate enemies.

Counterinsurgency operations are inherently political conflicts, and in The Role and Limitations of Technology in U.S. Counterinsurgency Warfare, Richard W. Rubright addresses the limits and constraints of technology in enhancing American military capability. Analyzing the confines and self-imposed restrictions on the use of technology as well as current military doctrine, he develops a new rubric for guiding the military in modern warfare.

Drawing on textual analysis, personal interviews with international military professionals, and firsthand experience on the ground in Iraq, this book is the first to address the role of technology in counterinsurgency operations within operational, tactical, and strategic contexts. 

Author Bio

RICHARD W. RUBRIGHT served five years in the U.S. Army Special Forces. He completed his PhD at the University of Reading and is currently a professor at the Joint Special Operations University, USSOCOM.


“Dr. Richard Rubright brings a soldier’s outlook and necessary expertise to bear on the vital question of new military technology for enhanced firepower in the conduct of counterinsurgency operations. His melding of theory with granular knowledge of practice makes a most valuable contribution to understanding.”—Colin S. Gray, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading and author of Perspectives on Strategy

“The size of the academic literature addressing counterinsurgency has increased exponentially in recent years. Unfortunately, its overall quality has not, with most works parroting tired clichés about ‘winning hearts and minds.’ Richard Rubright’s work is a bracing exception—a rare work that insightfully addresses the difficult trade-offs inherent in counterinsurgency warfare. If it is read widely by tomorrow’s American policymakers, perhaps the COIN failures of recent years will not be repeated in the future.”—C. Dale Walton, author of Grand Strategy and the Presidency: Foreign Policy, War and the American Role in the World 

Table of Contents

Strategy and Context
1. The Operationally Offensive, Tactically Defensive Concept
2. Counterinsurgency in Iraq
3. Limits of Politically Correct Doctrine
4. Technology and Counterinsurgency Strategy
5. Contextual and Other Issues Related to U.S. Counterinsurgency Warfare

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