As warfare continues in the Middle East and elsewhere, it’s important to understand the dynamics of how battles for territory are carried out. There are times that wars aren’t between just two sides. There are now insurgent forces and counter insurgent forces participating when nations wage conflicts.
The study of warfare can illustrate much. And it’s important to learn from the past in order to inform the future. That’s the aim of the second Annual Symposium on Modern Warfare, which is set for Friday at the International Cultural Center on the Texas Tech campus.
The event, entitled Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in the Modern Era of Warfare, is free and open to the public.
Andrew Hinton, an archivist at the Vietnam Center and Archive who is helping organize and promote the symposium, said he hopes to get as many as 100 attendees. There were about 70 at the inaugural symposium in 2016.
He received far more presenter proposals this year than last. “I see that as a good thing because last year—I wouldn’t say a struggle—but it was a first time event so people didn’t really know about it, so we didn’t get as many as we did this time around,” he says.
Symposium organizers accepted proposals that considered topics relating to the context of the modern era – around 1975 to the present, so after the Vietnam War.
Topics considered included political, societal, economic, cultural histories that led to insurgency; lessons learned from America’s previous encounters with insurgency; First-hand accounts from veterans who have participated in counter-insurgency missions and counter-insurgency efforts of civilian populations
Presenters at the symposium will be current and retired military personnel, academics and three graduate students, two of whom are studying at Texas Tech.
Those attending will learn about insurgency and counterinsurgency from two viewpoints: real life and theoretical.
“I think it’s probably a mixture of both. And I would say it’s probably, I would hope that attendees to this event would try to see the connections between the two,” Hinton says.
The keynote speaker is retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Longoria, who will talk about stories of forward air controllers at the beginning of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
There will be five sessions throughout the one-day symposium, beginning after opening remarks at 8 a.m. from Dr. Ron Milam, the interim executive director of the Institute of Peach and Conflict.
Presentation titles include: “Fifty Nifty Islamic States: An Analysis of inter-Jihadist Relations;” “Hit ‘em in the Mind! Air Defense Missiles as an Insurgent Weapon;” “The Iraqi Surge Campaign: New Findings and Interpretations;” and “Building a Strong Alliance with Local Armed Forces in Counterinsurgency: Lessons Learned from Vietnam Veteran’ First-hand Accounts.
In addition to information gained from symposium presenters, he hopes it will encourage veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to contribute records to the Archive of Modern American Warfare.
Vietnam happened before the advent of computers. Veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have different types of records.
,br> “They’re sending emails home instead of letters. They’re taking digital photographs. And these things, you can’t just put on a shelf and forget about for 50 years because if you do that, they’re going to be lost,” Hinton says. “We’re trying to encourage veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to donate now rather than later.”