The article examines issues arising from the fighting of counter-insurgency wars. The central focus of the article is a recognition that counter-insurgency conflicts are frequently violent and have an impact of civilians who are often coerced and brutalized by both sides involved in fighting. The discussion is centered on the undertakings of American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops engaged in the prosecution of the Afghan War. A brief history of counter-insurgency conflicts is provided.
I n July 2009, the Center for Complex Operations (CCO) facilitated a workshop sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to capture the experiences of USDA agricultural advisors deployed to ministries and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. The discussions yielded numerous individual observations, insights, and potential lessons from the work of these advisors on PRTs in these countries. This article presents a broad overview of the challenges identified by the conference participants and highlights key recommendations generated as a result of suggestions and comments made at the workshop. The workshop was intended to capture insights and lessons from the !eld to develop recommendations for improvements in PRT operations, with a particular focus on agricultural development. The 30 participants came from a broad spectrum of USDA: the National Resources Conservation Service, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, and the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration. To focus the agenda, CCO and USDA designed a preworkshop survey administered to the 30 USDA returnees (22 from Iraq and 8 from Afghanistan). After receiving 24 responses, CCO and USDA used the results to develop an agenda built around facilitated group discussions in four areas: doctrine and guidance, civil-military cooperation and command and control relationships, projects and their impact on the host nation, and administrative issues.