WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s top spokesperson said he was “pretty sure” the military could ditch the manual used for counterinsurgency, since it plans to fight all future wars against conventional armies that wear uniforms and use known tactics.
“Listen, COIN is over,” spokesperson Col. Steve Warren said. “There’s really no possibility that terrorists will some day take over large swaths of areas of the Middle East and quickly change their tactics against a conventional foe they are fighting.”
"We need to pivot to the Pacific already," he added, echoing a catch-phrase among top generals that's been repeated since the end of the Korean War.
Warren said all references to the US military's counterinsurgency manual, Field Manual 3-24, would be purged from the Army's doctrine library and replaced with references to major combat operations.
Gen. David Perkins, commander of U.S. Training and Doctrine Command, praised the move.
"We threw away counterinsurgency in the 1970s, but that wound up being a mistake," he said. "This time, though, we're really sure we can finally toss the manual. For realsies, guys."
The point was echoed by Col. David Lesperance, the commander of the Operations Group of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
"We don't know where or when our next war might be, but we can be pretty sure it won't be in Iraq or Afghanistan, because, well, despite tens of thousands of troops fighting in those countries, those don't technically count as wars."
Lesperance pointed to the "hybrid" threat in Iraq and Syria to make his point.
"What we see in Iraq and Syria is a purely conventional threat, one which we're pretty sure will never, ever, devolve into a messy insurgency after we clear Mosul. Nope, not gonna happen."
Top military leaders have the stressed the importance of training for high-intensity conflict, as opposed to counterinsurgency.
"Most soldiers came into the Army after 9/11, so they have no idea what it's like to fight a real war, like OIF 1," Perkins said, referring to the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. "Wearing MOPP gear in a fruitless search for Weapons of Mass Destruction, or calling 'ENDEX' five days into an eight-year war..."
"Fucking kids these days, what do they know?"