Not sure how early in 2007 RAND published this study but it draws some useful conclusions from a comparative case study analysis of six previous COIN operations including these highlights from the summary:
- "It is important that counterinsurgents understand local dynamics so that all theaters of the conflict can be understood in context. This knowledge can help exploit cleavages and encourage competition among insurgent factions, which was done in the Philippines and, with less success, in Vietnam. In Vietnam, El Salvador, and Colombia, counterinsurgents used indigenous intermediaries with established social networks to earn the trust of the population and psychologically unhinge the insurgents."
- "Depending on the situation, a hands-off approach is sometimes necessary to allow the host nation to learn which methods are most effective in dealing with an insurgency, considering its own strengths and limitations."
- "Foreign or even host nation counterinsurgents who are not from the local area of operations should assume that they will have limited opportunities to convey their good intentions. Consequently, they may be viewed more favorably from the outset if they are perceived as contributing to progress and not to chaos."
- "Counterinsurgents should strive for “unity of command,” akin to the bureaucratic structure of the CORDS program in Vietnam, so that there is fusion and continuity among counterinsurgency programs."
- "Finally, counterinsurgents should analyze solutions in terms of long-term effectiveness, not short-term necessity."