The Guerrillas in the Boardroom: What COIN Theory Teaches Leaders about Organizational Change, and How Corporate Change Models Could Transform Military Doctrine

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Counterinsurgency theory—the theoretical underpinnings of U.S. COIN doctrine, especially as expressed in the “Strategic Principles” and “Counterinsurgency Paradoxes” sections of Field Manual 3-24, Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies—shares much in common with popular change models for transforming organizations. Since the human dynamics underlying all group competitions are similar (whether at the nation-state or small organization level), all leaders can benefit from applying COIN theory to achieve significant organizational change in order to “win.” Conversely, military theorists and doctrine writers could improve both COIN theory and U.S. doctrine by studying and adapting elements of change models developed for civilian leaders. Indeed, it is likely that our nation’s ineffective counterinsurgencies in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan would have charted a better course if our doctrine during these conflicts had included key aspects of popular change models.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2016

Publication series

NameModern War Institute

Cite this