Let’s hope insurgents don’t learn basic infantry skills

Why is it that Western infantry has been so dominant in battle during counterinsurgency operations? The casualty numbers are exceptionally unequally distributed between Western forces and the insurgents.

Conventional wisdom attributes a lot of importance on superior technology such as air superiority, surveillance systems, precision munitions, command-and-control systems, and night vision capabilities. But what if the most essential advantage is something as mundane as basic infantry skills?

That is the subject of this highly interesting article by Leo Blanken, Kai Thaxton, and Mike Alexander in War on the Rocks. The authors provide some rather convincing examples that this may be the case.

If the ability of groups to coordinate movements and fire is the most important factor in infantry battle, then it is fundamentally a question of learning before insurgents can inflict much more pain than they used to. And in that case we may want to scrutinize our training missions around the world to make sure that we are careful about who learns what.

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