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Lieutenant Colonel G. Scott Taylor serves on the Army Staff at the Pentagon in G3/5/7 in the Current Operations Division. He has extensive experience in training and leading troops from the platoon to the battalion level and saw firsthand the evolution of counterinsurgency strategy at the tactical and operational levels in Iraq, serving three tours in combat in Operations IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) and NEW DAWN. He served as a combined arms battalion operations officer in OIF II, as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division staff in OIF 6-8 during “the Surge,” and most recently commanded 1-68 Armor (“Silver Lions”) in Basra, Iraq, in OIF 10/OND. Through these experiences, he has had the opportunity to witness the adaptation undertaken by the Army when first embracing counterinsurgency strategy in Baghdad in 2004 and 2005 to the height of “the Surge” in the bloodiest days of fighting in Baghdad in 2006 and 2007, and culminating with his experience in southern Iraq in 2010 and 2011. In southern Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Taylor witnessed firsthand how the Army needed to continually learn and adapt while commanding the Silver Lions and serving alongside the 14th Iraqi Army Division, the Basra Police, and the 4th Regional Directorate of Border Enforcement as part of the advise and assist mission of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
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Authored by Lieutenant Colonel G. Scott Taylor.
Learning lessons from past conflicts is essential to avoid repeating the same mistakes in future wars. Even more important, it is critical to apply those lessons to institutional change to inculcate the lessons of the past conflict–this Paper highlights some of the author’s observations on changes that should be integrated into the institutional Army to ensure that the hard-earned lessons of counterinsurgency fighting and stability operations achieved in the sands of Iraq and hills of Afghanistan are not lost over the years ahead as we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.