This groundbreaking investigation uncovers serious mismatches between David Galula’s counterinsurgency practice in Algeria and his counterinsurgency theory—the foundation of current U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan.
French defense researcher Grégor Mathias compares each of the eight steps of Galula’s theory set out in Counterinsurgency Warfare against his practice of them as described in his writings and now, for the first time, against the SAS archives and those of Galula’s infantry company and battalion. The study shows that Galula systematically inflated his operational successes to match his theoretical scheme and that he left problems unresolved, causing his work to unravel quickly after he left his command. Mathias concludes that, however heuristically fruitful Galula’s theory might prove for U.S. COIN doctrine, it must be interpreted and implemented under the caveat that it was not successfully field-tested by its author.