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U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Guide

Signing Ceremony for U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Guide

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
January 13, 2009

Participants:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore
Department of State Counselor Eliot Cohen

MR. COHEN: Let me welcome you all to the official signing of the United States Government Interagency Counterinsurgency Guide. My name is Eliot Cohen. I’m the Counselor at the Department.

This is going to be a very brief ceremony, but I want to thank, first and foremost, everybody who’s made the effort that has yielded up the COIN guide. It took a lot of work by the many different departments of government that are represented in it, and it’s a very fine piece of work.

There’s a larger thanks, I think, to the many, many thousands of Americans whose practice out in the field has informed the writing of this guide, because it wasn’t just an intellectual effort back here in Washington. In many ways, it’s the distillation of a lot of experience.

I’m particularly grateful to the ladies and gentleman standing to my right. I want to particularly single out my boss, Secretary Rice, and Secretary Gates, who I think have, by both word and deed, signaled the importance of State, Defense, and of course, AID working together. And I don’t think that there’s ever been a period in our history where the two departments of government have worked so closely, and I think that’s a – that’s going to be an important legacy.

If I could, my last observation is really addressed to Dr. Rice and Dr. Gates. It’s a little bit unprecedented, I think, to have a pair of Ph.D.s running the State Department and the Defense Department – but not just Ph.D.s., people who have been great educational leaders. And I think that the long-term significance of this guide, which had better outlive the Bush Administration, is going to be as a document that will be used in war colleges, at our own Foreign Service Institute. I can guarantee there’ll be at least one civilian university that will use it. (Laughter.) And it will do what good doctrine ought to do, which is to stimulate thought. It’s not a template. I don’t think it’s going to be a rigid set of prescriptions. But what it will do, I think, will be to stimulate thought and to be the basis of ever-developing practice in this field.

So thank you very much. Madame Secretary.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you very much, Eliot, Dr. Cohen, who has been a terrific Counselor and has spearheaded this very important effort. The last several years have taught us some important lessons; first of all, that the old notion of war and then peace is really not appropriate to the challenges that we face in the international system now. Whether one is talking about Iraq or Afghanistan or even places like Liberia or Haiti, you are usually talking about a continuum between war and peace where one is trying at the same time to bring security, development, and governance to the people of a war-torn or a civil war-torn or conflict-torn region.

And this counterinsurgency doctrine and this manual really is a compilation of the experiences that we have had in learning how to fight together, how to work together, and ultimately how to deliver for people defense, democracy, and development. And I could not have had a better partner than Secretary Gates, Bob Gates, my good friend of many years now, in bringing the two departments together to bring our individual and unique experiences and individual and unique talents to this fight.

I’m very proud of the effort that we’ve had here, and together with Henrietta Fore, I think that you’re seeing that democracy, defense, and development, the three Ds, will be at the foundation for American policy going forward. And I’m very proud of this effort, and I suspect that that means that there are two American universities that may be teaching from this manual. (Laughter.)

And now to my good friend, Bob Gates. And not only are we both Ph.D.s and former high-ranking university administrators, but we both studied the Soviet Union, which, in case you don’t know, no longer exists. And it means that we found useful work after that. (Laughter.)

Bob.

SECRETARY GATES: Thank you, Condi. I’m honored to sign the Interagency Counterinsurgency Guide today and demonstrate my support for whole-of-government counterinsurgency process. Military efforts alone are rarely effective in counterinsurgency operations. This guide reflects strong efforts by many organizations and individuals to build the soft power capabilities and the coordinating processes within the United States Government that are so central to our counterinsurgency efforts.

So I want to thank Secretary Rice, Administrator Fore, and Counselor Cohen for providing strong leadership in building soft power capabilities within our foreign policy establishment and advancing the image of the United States among our partner nations.

Thank you.

ADMINISTRATOR FORE: And let me add for my two secretaries that it is very important for us in the world of development to have a guide such as this. It’s a very complex and challenging area – the work of counterinsurgency. We in development will particularly focus on helping host country governments how they can deal with good governance while having an atmosphere of counterinsurgency. It is very challenging, but country ownership and legitimacy of a government, as well as continuing good governance and democratic reforms, are a very important and integral part. And we will add our highest accolade in that we will use this guide in the field.

Thank you.

(The U.S. Counterinsurgency Guide was signed.)

(Applause.)

ENDS

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