The admiral went on to describe COIN doctrine as "an oxymoron" (a word choice that strikes me as a little imprecise, if not exactly nonsensical), noting that
The U.S. military's counterinsurgency tactics increasingly place too much emphasis on protecting local peoples and not enough on fighting enemy forces, said [...] Olson.
While the U.S. military has adopted a population-focused strategy in Afghanistan, Olson said May 26 he "fears counterinsurgency has become a euphemism for nonkinetic activities."
The term is now to often used to describe efforts aimed at "protecting populations," Olson said during a conference in Arlington, Va.
The military's top special operator, in a shot across the bow of modern-day counterinsurgency doctrine proponents, then added: "Counterinsurgency should involve countering the insurgents."
I guess my version of 3-24 was missing the page that directed thoughtless, automatic execution of an unalterable plan (a plan that revolves around hugging the enemy until he quits).
[...] "almost none" of what the doctrine contains is "actually applied" during military operations, he said.
Olson pointed to parts of the current counterinsurgency doctrine that is based on U.S. military efforts in certain provinces of Iraq. Those tactics rarely apply anywhere in Afghanistan, he said.
"It is an imperfect template from which we must deviate," Olson said to a silent room.
Seriously though, if what he's saying is that we ought to remember that counterinsurgency is bigger than just the nonkinetic action, bigger than just development projects and COPs and restrictive ROE, that the rhetoric is starting to diverge from the reality...
...then I agree. And I applaud him for saying so.
(Of course, if he's saying we just need to kill more bad guys, then I think it's a lot more complicated.)