Monday, December 03, 2007

COIN Academy Reading List

The COIN Academy in Afghanistan, while doing good work, faces a bit of a resource shortage. From Abu Muqawama (emphasis mine):
But, as he'll tell you, he's a freaking Army captain. Charlie is quite certain that Capt. Helmer is among the best and the brightest, but he's not among those who can get @^*% done in the Army (or Afghanistan). If we were serious about such things, we might assign someone with a bit more institutional clout. Someone who could get paper copies of FM 3-24 for the Academy (it's cool, the Army posts them online. The students just wait 47 hours to download them over what passes for an internet connection in Kabul). Someone who could actually institutionalize the Academy within the Army instead of it being a Frankenstein science project dreamed up by folks who've read ATOM one too many times.

We can't win the war without places like the COIN Academy and officers like Capt. Helmer. But we also can't do it with them alone. If we're serious about COIN, about advising, about winning, we'll find a way to do this right. And to keep doing it, lest some new 26 year-old captain teach herself this all over again in 2027.

So… SWJ and AM have decided to aid in building the library with a little help from our friends. We e-mailed the COIN Academy requesting their reading list. They responded with titles of books and movies that once in hand would go a long way in establishing a world-class COIN library.

To streamline our effort we have set up the Afghanistan COIN Library page on Amazon.

The books and movies you purchase there and send on to Afghanistan will seed the COIN Academy’s library with a few titles that will allow the staff to better appreciate history, culture, and insurgency in Afghanistan. Eventually the titles will make their way to the library of the Afghan Defense University of which the COIN Academy will become a part. The shipping address (while hidden at Amazon) is direct to the Academy and we will track to ensure your book or movie makes it way to Afghanistan.

Talk about instant response. That's less than 72 hours from problem to solution. And as an added bonus, the effort led me to discover a very interesting blog from a guy whose occupation is flying people who do good things around Central Africa and who is currently a private sector pilot in Iraq. It's definitely an interesting read.