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Marshall Center’s Professor of National Security Studies James Wither talks about the challenges of employing armed forces in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations during the Counterinsurgency Orientation Course at the Peace Support Operations Training Center in Sarajevo March 22. (Courtesy photo)

By Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina (March 22, 2018) – Professor James Wither, professor of national security studies of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, talks about the challenges of employing armed forces in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations during the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Orientation Course at the Peace Support Operations Training Center (PSOTC) in Sarajevo March 22.

Wither is a member of the faculty for the Marshall Center’s Program on Terrorism and Security Course, which is a four-week resident program that provides advanced professional education to those charged with understanding and then reducing the scope and capability of terrorism threats. PTSS supports the Marshall Center’s increasing emphasis on transnational threats and challenges.

The PSOTC was established in 2003 as a NATO Partnership and Regional Training Center for education and training in the field of peace support operations and related activities. Since 2011, the Center has offered a Counterinsurgency (COIN) Orientation Course to introduce leaders and trainers to COIN concepts and doctrine.

“It is very important to understand the difference between COIN and conventional warfare,” Wither said. “Too often militaries trained for the latter, making serious mistakes in COIN that alienate the local population.

“This has serious consequences for security forces tasked with containing and defeating insurgents,” Wither added.

Among the 16 participants attending the course were officers from the Egyptian and United Arab Emirate armies who are currently engaged in COIN operations in the Sinai Peninsula and Yemen.

The Marshall Center has supported PSOTC activities, including the COIN course, since its inception, said Wither. Lt. Col. Zoran Pepić, chief of PSOTC’s training department and Marshall Center alumnus, emphasized the importance of collaboration between the Marshall Center and PSOTC.

“This enables us to host subject experts, such as Professor Wither, who can bring an academic perspective to our courses, which enhances their overall quality,” he said.