“Efforts that use small numbers of U.S. forces and emphasize host-nation leadership are generally preferable to large-scale counterinsurgency campaigns.” True fact. The Philippines train-partner-mentor model since 2002 is the example the QDR leans on the hardest for demonstrating the point. While it’s reasonable to fear that small infusions of U.S. forces for teach-coach-mentor missions could escalate into full-scale involvement in other people’s wars, the Philippines is a good reminder that it doesn’t have to be that way. Which way will the U.S. involvement in Yemen go?
Anyway, while the QDR discusses partnership with foreign militaries, it doesn’t embrace a famous proposal from now-CNAS President John Nagl to create an “Army Advisory Corps,” which if I’m not mistaken was one of the first policy papers ever published by CNAS, the think tank co-founded by now-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy. (So not every counterinsurgent wins on every front in the QDR.) The objection to Nagl’s proposal, as I’ve always understood it (this doesn’t come from the Pentagon, to be clear), is that such a corps (!) would be too large and too specialized to be relevant to missions other than teach-coach-mentoring. But Nagl can take heart that the QDR instructs the services to add 500 personnel for the training mission, to the point where “their staffs can sustain specialized expertise in regions and countries of greatest importance and regularly detach experts to accompany units deploying to training missions abroad.”