1 Training Indigenous Forces in Counterinsurgency: A Tale of - jcisfa

1 Training Indigenous Forces in Counterinsurgency: A Tale of - jcisfa

Training Indigenous Forces in Counterinsurgency: A Tale of Two Insurgencies James S. Corum Introduction Success in counterinsurgency depends on a ...

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Training Indigenous Forces in Counterinsurgency:

A Tale of

Two Insurgencies James S. Corum


Success in counterinsurgency depends on a number of major elements, to include establishing the legitimacy of the government in the eyes of the people, defeating the insurgent forces, providing a basic level of security for the population, and creating the conditions for economic growth.

Underpinning these tasks is the establishment of

an effective security force.

Counterinsurgency is very manpower intensive, and nearly all major counterinsurgency campaigns of the last century have relied heavily on indigenous police and military forces.

Indeed, there have been few counterinsurgency

situations in which the indigenous security forces were not the primary forces employed on the government side in the conflict – at least in terms of numbers.

Even if foreign

forces had to carry the main burden for a time, the preference of the defending government has been to employ foreign security forces only as long as absolutely necessary, with the ideal being the creation of local forces capable of defeating insurgents with minimal support from foreign forces.

Simply put, enabling an indigenous

government to fight its own war is a key element of a sound counterinsurgency strategy.

Although the importance of training indigenous police and military forces is understood in counterinsurgency doctrine 1

and theory, there has been relatively little research concerning how this mission should be carried out. lessons can one learn from other insurgencies?


How can the

supporting or governing power best organize the local police and military forces for counterinsurgency?


level of training do security forces need to conduct effective counterinsurgency operations? of the police in counterinsurgency?

What is the role

What is the role of

home guards or irregular security organizations?


kinds of training programs produce effective police and military leaders?

These are very important questions today as the US military revises its doctrine on counterinsurgency.

Insurgency has

long been the preferred means of a militarily weak faction to gain power.

Although most insurgencies have failed for

many reasons, throughout history there have been enough successful insurgencies to establish this form of warfare as the best option for a non-state enemy in undermining the interests of the United States and its allies.


US forces are engaged in campaigns against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are providing advice and support to the Philippine and Colombian governments in their battles against insurgents.

Although the US military would

prefer not to engage in counterinsurgency operations, insurgencies are not going away for the foreseeable future as US allies around the world are undermined by radical Islamic insurgents or other groups hostile to US interests. Accordingly, we can expect to be called on to provide advice, training and support.

The US military will

therefore need to develop a more comprehensive doctrine for such missions. 2

Soldiers must not forget that, in counterinsurgency, the line is blurred between law enforcement and military operations.

In fact, in most counterinsurgency campaigns

the primary role of the military has been to provide support and manpower for essentially police operations: search and cordon operations, roadblocks and area control operations and area search and sweep missions.

In many, if

not most, counterinsurgency campaigns the police have been the major element of force employed by the government.


both counterinsurgency campaigns examined, the primary indigenous forces employed were the police, who operated independently in some cases and, at other times, jointly with the military forces.1

In counterinsurgency, the police

missions range from routine anti-crime operations to fielding full combat forces.

In Malaya, for example, the

police forces ran the gamut from elite light infantry units, to security guards, to cops on the beat.

In Cyprus,

while the majority of the forces available were British military, the Cyprus Police still played a central role in all operations.

In counterinsurgency, organizing and

training the indigenous police forces often attains a higher priority than training the indigenous military.

However, although the roles of the police and military in counterinsurgency are blurred, there are still important distinctions between the two forces.

Because insurgent

membership or activities in Malaya and Cyprus were considered criminal offenses the police retained the primary responsibility for the arrest, detention and prosecution of insurgents.

In both cases, the police

remained the force on the ground with daily contact with 3

the civilian community, which was also group from which the insurgents gained their recruits and support.

The role of

the military in both insurgencies was to conduct larger, manpower-intensive operations and long term operations, such as patrols in the deep jungle.

Much of the time, the

task of the military was to provide manpower for support of police-led operations.

Although some military units served

for long periods in one district and maintained close relations with the civilian population, for the most part military units were shifted around the country to the sectors of most intense action.

As the insurgents in both

cases rarely fielded any large units, there was rarely any need for the military to think in terms of battalion or brigade tactical operations.

The military experience of

the two case studies was dominated by small operations that more closely resembled policing on a large scale than conventional military operations.

This is a characteristic

common to most counterinsurgency operations over the last century.

I have chosen two counterinsurgency campaigns for close examination.

I chose Malaya 1948-1960 because it is a good

example of a successful counterinsurgency strategy and doctrine.

The other case study, the insurgency in Cyprus

1955-1959, is an example of failure in counterinsurgency. While the Greek Cypriots did not get everything they wanted – namely union with Greece-- they did win their independence from the British after a hard and bloody campaign.

The indigenous police and military forces played

a major role in both counterinsurgency campaigns and, although Britain was the foreign power fighting both insurgencies, Britain’s approach to organizing, training, 4

and employing the indigenous security forces in the two campaigns was very different.

In short, these two case

studies offer an interesting comparison in the effectiveness of widely varying strategies as they relate to indigenous forces. By examining the organization, content and effectiveness of indigenous security force training in Malaya and Cyprus, I hope to derive some lessons pertaining to training local security forces that will be of value in revising US counterinsurgency doctrine and strategy.

Case Study Malaya Overview of the Malayan Campaign

The insurgency in Malaya, called the “Emergency”, lasted from 1948-1960, and was one of the largest and bloodiest conflicts waged by British Commonwealth forces after World War II. The insurgency was born of the post World War II disorder coupled with the rise of modern nationalism. During World War II the Malayan Communist Party took the opportunity to expand and organize its cadres.


of Malayan communists went into the jungle to operate as guerrillas, receiving arms and training from the British army.

After the war, the communists --now well-armed and

organized-- saw the opportunity to drive the British out of Malaya through a peoples’ war reminiscent of Mao’s concepts.

The colonial government forces and

infrastructure, as well as the valuable British business interests such as tin mines and rubber plantations, were targeted in a terrorist and guerrilla war campaign.


Malaya was a protracted war comprised of thousands of small engagements.

From 1948 to 1951, the insurgent forces

expanded rapidly, as did insurgent influence among the ethnic Chinese community, which constituted 42% of the population of the six Malayan Federated States and Singapore.

In 1951-1952 the British finally developed an

appropriate strategy to defeat the guerrilla war.

By 1953

the tide had clearly turned as the Malayan government forces became more effective and rebel numbers and influence decreased.

The now effective government forces

systematically cleared settled districts of rebels and hunted down rebel bands in the jungle.

With the insurgency

clearly on the wane, the British granted Malaya independence in 1959, but continued to maintain a force there.

As in many insurgencies, the insurgent force in the

field never formally surrendered, but rather dwindled to insignificance.

In 1960 the Emergency was declared over.

The British Response to the Insurgency, 1948-1951

When the British government formally declared the Malayan Emergency in June 1948, the first response was to throw manpower at the crisis.

With their long experience

controlling colonial populations, the British viewed insurgency as primarily a police matter, with the military providing support to the civil authorities.

Steps were

taken to immediately expand the Malayan Police force by recruiting “special constables” and “auxiliary policemen” and forming special units to operate against the insurgents.

Between 1948 and 1951 the Malayan Police was

expanded to 50,000 personnel.

In 1948-1949 the regular

police force was expanded to 20,000 men, with the new 6

police given only a short basic training course. The 30,000 additional police, known as special constables, were not regular police, trained to in routine law enforcement and apprehension of criminals, but paramilitary forces whose sole purpose was to carry out counterinsurgency and infantry operations.

These men were also provided with

only minimal training.

When the insurgency broke out, the British were still in the process of organizing an army division in Malaya, composed primarily of Gurkha battalions that would form an imperial strategic reserve for the Far East.

The British

garrison of thirteen battalions-- seven Gurkha battalions, three British infantry battalions and one artillery regiment, two Malay Regiment battalions-- was in no shape to conduct military operations.

The seven Gurkha

battalions were units that Britain had negotiated to keep after most Gurkha battalions had been turned over to the Indian Army when India was granted independence.


Gurkha units of the British Army were in a process of rebuilding, and those in Malaya were understrength, with a very high proportion of new recruits who had not completed basic training.2

The other regular British units in Malaya

were scarcely better trained, and some were at half strength.3

The postwar British military was still in a

state of flux, and units contained a high proportion of short term national servicemen (conscriptees). The training level of units in the Far East was low, and none of the British units were trained for jungle warfare or counterinsurgency.


However, ready or not, the situation required that the army be immediately committed to the counterinsurgency campaign. Reinforcements were rushed from Britain and around the empire to support the Malayan government.

Most units

rushed to Malaya were short of basic equipment, key personnel, and even ammunition.

The most urgent

requirement, however, was to have enough troops and police on the ground to provide a basic level of security for the cities, and to protect some of the Empire’s most lucrative resources: the tin mines and rubber plantations of Malaya. As well as providing security, the police and army were to take the offensive against the rebels to try rooting them out of their jungle strongholds.

In order to provide a basic level of security for the tin mines and rubber plantations, the mine and plantation owners raised their own irregular security forces to guard the corporate assets, as well as the families of the British business community, a group that had been specifically targeted in insurgent terrorist attacks. These security guards, mainly raised and mostly financed by the tin and rubber companies, were dubbed “auxiliary police.”

Due to a general shortage of weapons, the mine

and plantation guards were equipped with whatever weapons were at hand, mostly old shotguns and hunting rifles. Aside from some ex-military mine and plantation managers who made an effort to provide some basic weapons training to their guards, auxiliary police forces were essentially untrained.

In the early stages of the insurgency, the regular Malayan Police were an easy target for the insurgents. While the 8

urban police forces were fairly well-trained and supervised by experienced officers, the rural police were generally organized into small, vulnerable detachments under command of Malayan NCOs.

This was a fairly normal practice in the

British Empire.

Colonies had some centrally-controlled and

professionally-led police forces to oversee the urban areas, and “native police” who dealt mainly with the countryside and served more as a symbol of government presence than anything else.4

As is the norm in developing

countries, the rural police forces were complacent at best, and more often corrupt, augmenting their police salaries with small bribes extorted from the rural residents.


rural police, the first line of government authority in the most threatened regions, were generally incapable of mounting any kind of energetic action when confronted by a terrorist or guerrilla threat.

Many of these police

detachments simply avoided trouble.

Other detachments

surrendered themselves and their weapons without a fight to small insurgent bands.

Before World War II, Malaya had one of the best colonial police forces in the British Empire.

However, the force

was demoralized and disorganized by the World War when the British police officers had either been imprisoned by the Japanese, or had fled to the jungle to fight as guerrillas. Some of the Malayan rank and file had fought as guerrillas, but most had collaborated. process of rebuilding.

In 1948 the police were in a

Normally, Malaya Police officers

(the rank of inspector and higher) were career imperial policemen who had undergone the full one-year police training course in Britain before being assigned to Malaya. The high pay and benefits of the Malayan Police attracted a 9

high caliber of officer aspirants from Britain who saw police service as an attractive career.

Upon completion of

a thorough UK training course, the British officers of the Malaya Police were given additional training upon arrival in the country.

They were expected to pass Malayan

language examinations within two to three years of their assignment.

All the higher officer ranks, and most of the

mid-level police officers, were British.

In 1948 only 188

Malayans served at the rank of inspector.5

The need to rapidly expand the police force meant discarding the previous standards and training programs for officers and for constables.

The 30,000 hastily recruited

special constables of the Malayan Police were organized into small detachments to conduct counterinsurgency operations in each district.

A young Briton with some

military experience and who could pass the colonial police entrance examination might get a few weeks of training --at best-- and then find himself in Malaya commanding a local police detachment, of which perhaps only a couple of the Malayan NCOs might have some proper training.6

For the

British officers of the Malayan Police, things like language requirements and training in police investigation were ignored in the rush to form units to fight the insurgents.

Basic recruit training for the Malaya Police

was cut to a minimum to man the expanded force and, from 1948 to 1951most police training was “on the job.”7

A year

into the insurgency the Malayan government reported that manpower requirements were so urgent, no higher police training for officers and NCOs was taking place.


it was reported that even basic skills such as vehicle maintenance and communications training had fallen out, and 10

that police units urgently needed a vehicle maintenance training program if police vehicles were to remain operational.

Police basic skill training was found to be

deficient in many other areas.

For example, army support

for basic signals training had to be urgently requested.8 However, in the early stages of the insurgency it was difficult for the army to provide the police with basic skills training because of a severe shortage of experienced army personnel and a low level of training within the army itself.

The only experienced police reinforcements readily available in 1948 were four hundred British officers and NCOs of the recently disbanded Palestine Police.


were quickly committed to Malaya, several being assigned to top leadership positions. The ex-Palestine Police had the advantage of experience in counterinsurgency, but no knowledge of Malaya, or the language and local culture— things that had been an essential part of the training of the regular police before the insurgency.

Another problem

was that the Palestine Police had a long tradition of “strong-arm” police tactics, and many of the transferred policemen brought this approach with them.

Many did not

adapt well to Malayan conditions.

Creation of Specialized Jungle Units

One of the most important innovations, and a key element of the success of the British in Malaya, was the establishment of a jungle training school at Kota Tinggi in 1948.


of Malaya was covered in deep jungle, and this provided a superb sanctuary for insurgent bands.

Insurgents could 11

emerge from the jungle at will, raid a plantation or ambush a police patrol, then slip back to their well-hidden base camps.

While the insurgent leaders felt comfortable in the

jungle, thanks to their experience of living as guerrillas during the war against the Japanese, the jungle was an alien place for the Police and British troops.

Slow and

clumsy sweeps through the jungle by conventional infantry battalions were easily evaded by the smaller and more agile rebel bands that would slip right back into the “cleared” areas as soon as the British had passed through.

These big

conventional operations gave the impression of immense military and police activity, but yielded few concrete results in the form of insurgent prisoners or casualties.9 Luckily, the army had available Colonel Walter Walker and a few other veterans of the World War II Burma campaign who had considerable experience living and fighting in the jungle.

Walker (later a general) organized the Jungle

Warfare School with a few officers and NCOs with similar experience and began teaching small cadres from the army and police in jungle operations.10

Walker and others who understood jungle warfare knew that the best way to seek out and destroy small bands in jungle terrain was to employ small, jungle-savvy, light infantry patrols that could play the insurgents’ game and of raid and ambush on the insurgents’ home ground.

Men trained in

the jungle school would return to their units and, in turn, train them to live and fight in the jungle. The Jungle Warfare School taught the difficult arts of land navigation in the jungle and jungle survival, but the core of the program was small unit patrolling and combat tactics. Combat marksmanship was stressed, and each course ended 12

with a series of realistic exercises.

The Jungle Warfare

School employed a specialist “OPFOR” group, armed and dressed as communist guerrillas, who could also imitate insurgent tactics.

They would ambush the army and police

trainees on patrol and raid the trainee base camps.


course was considered highly effective from the start, the only problem being the small initial capacity of the school.

As the British became better organized, whole

companies were put through the course.11

However, getting a

thorough jungle training program up and running was a slow process, and in the early stages of the insurgency most of the British army and police units had to learn jungle warfare literally “on the job.”

Many army companies

arriving in Malaya went straight into combat operations without even a training exercise in the jungle.12

In November 1950 the police responded to the requirement to operate in the jungle by forming special jungle companies, composed mostly of Malayans with British NCO and officer leadership.

The jungle companies, each about 180 men

strong, would deploy detachments of 10-15 men to operate on long patrols in the jungle for days at a time.

The plan

called for 31 companies to be formed in 1951 and another 14 in 1952.

Still, the police were limited by the shortage of

properly trained officers and NCOs to command the detachments.

For small detachments to operate effectively

in the jungle they required first rate junior leaders who could operate independently for days at a time—and good junior leadership was in very short supply during the first years of the Malaya insurgency.

Only 21 police jungle

companies had been formed by August 1951, when the formation of further units was halted.13

Personnel of the 13

police jungle companies were to be trained at the Jungle Warfare Center, but a full training regime came only later, so the first jungle companies went into action with little preparation and had to learn on the job.

Intelligence Operations and Training 1948-1951

Effective counterinsurgency operations depend more on accurate intelligence than any other factor.


police and military forces usually have a great firepower advantage over the insurgents and can defeat the lightlyarmed insurgents in combat if they can find the enemy.


problem is finding an enemy who recognizes no front lines, who draws logistics support from the civilian populace, and often wears civilian clothes and can blend in among a sympathetic population.

Lacking accurate intelligence,

conventional forces can only blunder about in the hope that the enemy guerrillas will decide to stand and fight.


the meantime, while conventional army and police units blunder about the countryside, insurgent organizers hiding among the population can continue to organize and propagandize the civilians and maintain the insurgency, even as their military forces suffer heavy losses in the field.

Unless intelligence can specifically locate and

target the insurgents’ underground support network, or locate small guerrilla bands in the jungle with some accuracy, an insurgency such as Malaya’s can continue indefinitely.

Insurgents can even increase in power and

influence despite overwhelming conventional power arrayed against them.


For the Malayan Police in the first years of the insurgency, the most serious deficiency was the shortage of trained officers with a suitable background for intelligence work.

At the start of the insurgency, the

Malayan Police had only the CID (Criminal Investigation Division) with a small group of officers capable of manning a Special Branch (British term for a police intelligence organization).

The colonial government had only a small

intelligence staff, the Malayan Security Service, which provided domestic intelligence to the governor general that mainly concerned Malayan political groups and labor unions.14

The collection and analysis of intelligence on

the insurgents was directed by the small and overworked CID, which was also responsible for investigating normal crimes.

The CID and Malayan Security Service did not, at

first, coordinate their efforts, nor did the police effectively coordinate and share information with the army intelligence staffs.

Indeed, there was no police special

branch until August 1950.

At that time a police special

branch was organized to concentrate on collecting intelligence on the insurgents while the CID was henceforth only responsible for crime.15

At the start of the insurgency, the police faced other daunting problems that severely limited their ability to collect intelligence.

There were very few police personnel

of Chinese ethnic background and almost no Malayan or British intelligence personnel who knew Chinese.


greatly limited the amount and quality of intelligence that the police could collect on the insurgents, for almost all of the insurgents belonged to the approximately 42% of the Malayan population that was ethnic Chinese.16 At the 15

beginning of the insurgency the colonial government sent only one assistant police superintendent and 28 civil service cadets to China for language instruction.


attaining fluency in Chinese was a long process, and those men would not be available to support the intelligence effort for a couple of years.

In the meantime, the

intelligence service had to rely on the small number of Chinese speaking personnel already in the Police, or in other branches of the colonial administration.

Only during

the third year of the insurgency did the colonial government make a serious effort to train the police and civil service in the Chinese language.

In July 1951 six-

month intensive Chinese language courses were organized in Malaya’s Cameron Highlands.

The first group of trainees

included twenty police and four civil servants, and additional courses were laid on for 1952.17

In addition to the limits on intelligence imposed by a shortage of linguists and other trained personnel, the police and military intelligence collection in the early years of the insurgency was further hampered by the lack of cooperation between the intelligence agencies.

Even had

more qualified intelligence personnel been available, they could not have been used effectively due to the lack of an intelligence sharing system between the police and the army.

At the national level there was no system for

coordinating police and military intelligence, and coordination took place at the lower levels only if the local police and military officer commanders used their own initiative to cooperate.

Commonly, the inexperienced

junior officers and staffs of the police and military did not cooperate.

When General Briggs took over as military 16

commander in 1950, he instituted a committee system of military and police cooperation at every level, and intelligence coordination and collection slowly began to improve.

The Malayan Army and Security Forces

In 1948 the Malayan army, a force then subordinate to the British army, consisted of three battalions of the Malay Regiment, which had been established in 1933-34.

The Malay

Regiment had all-Malay enlisted men, commanded by seconded British officers, and had a solid record.

During the

defense of Singapore in 1942, the unit had performed well, holding on while some white British and Australian units broke and ran.18

When the insurgency broke out, the

decision was made to quickly double the size of the regiment and add three more battalions by 1950.19


the process of expanding the Malayan army went more slowly than planned and the strength goal was not reached until 1953 under General Templer, and then only because Templer pushed hard to see that the proper equipment, officers and training facilities were made available.

Early in the insurgency the Malaya Federation governments authorized the establishment of village home guards.


home guards had no uniforms, received no pay and had few weapons.

The home guards served purely as a local security

force to guard the villages at night, essentially to stand shifts at the village gate or in hastily constructed watchtowers.

A village home guard detachment of 60-100 men

might have twelve rifles, just enough to arm one shift of guards.

After each shift, the guards would turn the rifles 17

or shotguns over to the next shift. Early in the insurgency the army could spare little in the way of training, rifles or ammunition for the home guards.

By 1951 an estimated

100,000 Malayans belonged to the home guards, each member mounting guard for a few hours a week.

While of minimal

tactical or operational value, these irregular local defense units at least served to give the Malayans a greater sense of security.20

The government’s initial response to the insurgency was to throw a large amount of manpower at it.

The military

garrison was heavily reinforced, and the police and security forces initiated a massive expansion program.


1950 the country abounded in home guards and auxiliary security units.

The massive application of largely

untrained manpower worked to stabilize the situation. Despite an overwhelming advantage in manpower and resources, this policy was made no headway.

Indeed, the

insurgency continued to grow with the active insurgent military force reaching its peak of 8,000 in 1951. Despite heavy insurgent casualties, the insurgent forces continued to win support among the population. Increasing the police and military manpower failed to keep the violence from escalating.

The bloodiest year of the Emergency was 1951

with 6,082 recorded incidents in which 533 civilians, 354 policemen and 124 soldiers were killed, for insurgent losses of 1,078 killed and 322 captured.21

Although the

force of active insurgent combatants was relatively small, the guerrilla forces also received strong support from the Communist Party organization that held sway over hundreds of thousands of Chinese rural laborers living in squatter settlements at the edge of the jungle. 18

By 1950 the problem of employing large numbers of virtually untrained police, led by officers and NCOs with little experience or training, had become a major concern of the government.

Rapid recruitment and the lack of trained

police leadership afforded many new policemen the opportunity to abuse their power and use their status to extort money from the population.22

The Malaya Police

earned a well-deserved reputation for widespread brutality, especially in its manner of dealing with ethnic Chinese—all of whom were viewed as insurgents or potential insurgents. Some observers saw this attitude stemming largely from the ex-Palestine Police officers, who brought a ruthless approach to counterinsurgency to Malaya.23

The 1950 Police

Commission to Malaya noted that the problems of bribery and corruption were present in a high degree throughout the Malayan government, and especially in the lower ranks of the police.

In fact, the Police Commission viewed police

corruption as a major source of the people’s dissatisfaction with the government.

The many bad

policemen served as some of the best recruiting agents for the insurgents.

The commission noted, “The insidious

cancer of corruption eating into the system of government may render it impotent its vital services, including its police force.”24

In the midst of an insurgency and with the

need to expand, the problems of police corruption and brutality had been overlooked.

Cleaning up the police

force and establishing a professional ethic would have to wait for new leadership.

Templer and Young -- New Leadership and a New Plan 19521954. 19

Lieutenant General Harold Briggs, military commander in Malaya from April 1950 to late 1951, was a key figure in the development of a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy for Malaya.

Briggs pushed for numerous reforms,

including closer police and military cooperation, especially on intelligence collection, and he promoted a civil affairs strategy to deny the insurgents public support.

The key element of the “Briggs Plan” was a “drain

the swamp” approach.

Since the rural Chinese population

living on the edge of the jungle was the primary source of recruits and support for the insurgents, Briggs proposed moving whole villages of squatters to new, government-built villages complete with clean water, electricity, schools, and medical clinics.

Landless Chinese laborers would

receive deeds for small plots of government land and, more importantly, could now be kept under much closer supervision by the police and army.

It was an expensive

and time-consuming approach to defeating the insurgency, but it eventually proved successful.25

Briggs was in poor

health, though, and as his plan got underway in 1951 he retired and returned to England, where he soon died. British leadership took another blow in October 1951 when General Gurney, the high commissioner, was ambushed and killed by the rebels while driving home.

At the same time,

the government decided to relieve the Malaya Police commander, Colonel Grey, since both the government and his subordinates had lost confidence in his leadership.26 In late 1951 it appeared that the British strategy in Malaya was foundering and the British Defence Coordination Committee in London reported: “The communist hold on Malaya


is as strong, if not stronger, today than it ever has been. This fact must be faced.”27

Colonial minister, Oliver Lyttelton, traveled to Malaya in 1951 and was disturbed by what he saw.

Although the

strategy of throwing manpower at the insurgency had at least stabilized the situation, the government was making no progress to defeat the insurgency.

Although the Briggs

Plan was a good start on a strategy, the government and military forces required a new leadership team to make it work; and in early 1952 it arrived.

General Gerald Templer

was named as both the high commissioner and the military commander, combining the civil government and military forces under one hat.28

The new police commander was one of

the top policemen in the Empire, Sir Arthur Young, Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police.


agreed to come to Malaya for a year to sort out a demoralized and disorganized police force.

Then, at

Templer’s and Lyttelton’s request, he stayed an extra three months, returning to London in mid-1953.

The leadership team of Lyttelton, Templer and Young proved exceptionally dynamic and competent. energetically carried forward.

The Briggs Plan was

Moreover, Templer and Young

insisted on a complete overhaul of the Malayan police and military training and leadership, as well as a reorganization of the Malayan military and police forces. The British government was under heavy political pressure to end the insurgency and anxious to pull British troops -many of them conscripted soldiers-- out of Malaya as soon as possible.

Despite this, Lyttelton steadfastly supported

Templer when the new high commissioner insisted that London 21

commit to maintaining a large British military force in Malaya until the new civil affairs strategy could take effect, and until the Malayan military and police forces could be systematically trained and prepared to take responsibility for Malaya’s security.

It was a tall order

to fight the insurgency as a prolonged war, and Lyttelton deserves credit for ensuring that Templer and Young got the troops and resources they needed, and for garnering political support for a long-term counterinsurgency strategy.

Training the Police

Templer and Young agreed that training the Malayan Police and military forces and providing those forces with good leadership would be a top priority of the new administration.

When Young arrived he recalled, “The lack

of training was everywhere evident.

The pressure of the

Emergency to increase the numbers of police and auxiliaries had allowed no time to train the thousands of newcomers who were employed almost exclusively upon guard and static duties.

I considered the need for training as of top

priority and arranged for training depots to be set up in regional areas with a programme to complete the training of the force within twelve months so that the police could be progressively employed on active anti-terrorist duties rather than on their existing passive ones.”29


trained and badly led security forces were inefficient in counterinsurgency, at best.

At worst, they undermined the

effort of the government to win the support of the people. Young, therefore, insisted that police operations against the communists be cut back while the virtually untrained 22

special constables were pulled out of action and sent to a two-month basic training course.30

For overseeing an

ambitious program to retrain the whole Malaya Police force, Young brought in some of the top policemen and intelligence specialists in the Empire.

Young sent for Superintendent

John Kane, the commandant of London’s Metropolitan Police School, to come to Malaya and take charge of the police training program.

Five highly experienced officers and

sixty-five of the best NCOs in the Malaya Police were pulled out of action for three months to attend an intensive course on police operations at the new Police Training School in Taiping.

After the course, these

carefully-selected officers and NCOs served as instructors for the special constables in the new police training courses Young had organized.

Young quickly initiated a

systematic program to retrain the entire police force over an eighteen month period.

Young’s ambitious program put an

increased burden on the army, who had to carry out offensive operations and pacification programs with less police support.

Young even requested additional support

from the army for instructors and resources for police training, including weapons instruction, signals instructors and so on.

Despite complaints from senior army

commanders, Templer saw the value in Young’s strategy and supported the police program.31

Young also made Malayanization of the police leadership a priority mission.

He selected twenty-nine Malayan

inspectors and officers who had been promoted from the NCO ranks to be sent to the UK police college course in Ryton and Hendon— courses that usually lasted a year. A new police college for officer training was built at Selangor, 23

Malaya, and opened in 1952.

The school included an eight-

month course for new policemen selected for the officer program and a three-month course for officers who had already been promoted to officer rank but had not been to a proper police course.

Other police officers were sent to

four to eight week courses at the Frasers Hill Police Training Centre and the Federal Police Training Depot at Tanjong Kling.

Chinese language training was increased,

and in 1952 forty-six police officers, all destined for Special Branch operations, were sent to the Chinese Language School set up in Malaya’s Cameron highlands.


training for the NCOs and enlisted policemen was instituted, with 596 NCOs taking a ten-week course at Kendong, and 2594 regular police recruits completing the full training program at the Federal Police Depot at Kuala Lumpur.32

Hundreds of police officers and enlisted men

attended army courses in vehicle maintenance, communications operations and weapons repair.


weapons instructors were trained by the army.33

Training the Army

While supporting Young’s police reform and training efforts, Templer made the expansion and systematic training of the Malayan army another high priority project.

One of

Templer’s first acts as high commissioner was to announce the creation of a new Malaya Federation Regiment that would be recruited from all of the Malayan ethnic groups, not just from the Malays, as was the case with the Malay Regiment.

Since independence would likely come sometime in

the next decade, the Malayan armed forces needed a solid foundation, and that meant properly trained Malayan 24


Templer stepped up the flow of Malayan officer

cadets to Sandhurst.

He personally selected twenty-four

prospective Malayan cadets to be sent to the full, one-year officer course in the UK, after which they would return as lieutenants.

Templer also sat on the selection board for

the first group of officer cadet applicants for the Federation Regiment.

Consistent with his policy that the

Chinese needed to be fully integrated into Malayan society, he chose six ethnic Chinese to be in the first group of officer trainees.34

Templer established a new officer school at Port Dickson, Malaya, where the officers of the Malayan Army could be trained along Sandhurst lines.

In order to get top-quality

civilian instructors for the new officer school he requested volunteers from the Sandhurst civilian faculty; and found eighteen eager to come to Malaya for the new venture.

In early 1953, the Port Dickson officer training

college was opened as the primary military school of the Malayan army.35

Reforming the Security Forces

While retraining the police, Young also reduced the force in 1952-53 by 10,000 personnel, cutting mostly special constables who had been recruited early in the emergency and who had proven incompetent or corrupt.


corruption in the police force was a major theme of Young’s tenure, and hundreds of police were dismissed for cause. Young found that many of the special constables hastily recruited at the start of the insurgency were physically unfit, illiterate, or otherwise disqualified from 25

effectively carrying out police duties.

These police were

weeded out in a more gentle fashion, being sent to jobs training programs when they were demobilized from the police.36

By cutting out corrupt and incompetent police personnel, Young raised the efficiency of the force while saving money to finance his new training program, an expensive proposition.

As a means of combating the “police state”

mentality that had become common in the police, Young instituted “Operation Service”, a program to change the perception of the police in the eyes of the civilian population.

Hitherto, the police were seen primarily as an

authoritarian arm of the government and Young wanted the police personnel, and the general population, to understand that the police were also a branch of government dedicated to public service.

Police detachment commanders, and even

individual policemen, were expected to perform some public service on

a daily basis— everything from helping

civilians get care at government health clinics, to helping farm laborers with their applications for a plot of government land.37

The idea that the police were there not

only to arrest miscreants but also to serve the people at large was a new concept for Malaya, a country where most people feared the police—usually with good reason.


concept was to make the police stations the purveyors of essential public services and have the police recognized as friends, and not enemies, of the average citizen. Operation Service was surprisingly effective in changing the attitude of the Malayan civilians towards the police.38


Young also understood the value of good intelligence in counterinsurgency and believed that no progress could be made unless police intelligence training was overhauled. One fifth of the senior ranks in the Malaya Police, usually men with extensive criminal investigation experience, were assigned to the Special Branch and a highly qualified Special Branch officer, Claude Fenner, was brought in to establish a Special Branch Training School where all the senior police officers and all Special Branch personnel would take courses in intelligence operations and analysis.39

The Police Special Branch Training School was

one of Young’s pet projects.

He regularly visited the

school, giving talks, and personally selected the senior faculty.40

In 1952, seventy-seven superintendents and

assistant superintendents, seventy-one inspectors and 129 detectives passed through the Special Branch/C.I.D. courses.41 Many army personnel were also sent to the Special Branch School since police and military intelligence operations were coordinated in joint intelligence centers. The days of army and police intelligence sections not sharing information were over by 1952, and much of the credit should go to the Special Branch School.

The Special

Branch Training School succeeded not only in providing officers with the skills necessary for counterinsurgency intelligence, but also in professionalizing the leadership of the Malayan Police.

For example, the school included

courses on the latest investigative techniques and police equipment.42

Another of Young’s initiatives to build up the

Special Branch was to increase the number of Chinese linguists in the police.

The forty-six additional officers

that Young ordered pulled out of operations and sent to


study Chinese would, in time, be exceptionally useful in Special Branch operations.43

That very few Chinese served in the Police or Malayan civil service, and no Chinese served in the Malaya Regiment, was a major obstacle in responding effectively to an insurgency centered in the Chinese community.

Although the Chinese

were a plurality of the population of the six federated states and Singapore, the Malaya state governments were all Malay-dominated.

The Chinese were regarded as outsiders,

even though many had been there for generations.

From the

Malay point of view, the Chinese were unwelcome ethnic competitors.

Many of the Chinese were in business, and the

education level of the Chinese middle class was higher than that of the Malays.

With British approval, the Malays had

long excluded the Chinese from the Malaya Regiment and from the higher ranks of the civil service.

In addition, the

Chinese were not encouraged to joint the Malay-dominated police force.

In 1947 there were only twenty-six ethnic

Chinese officers and inspectors in the entire Malaya Police.44

Little had been done to bring the Chinese into the Malayan military or police after the insurgency started, which Templer and Young regarded as a serious problem.

Until the

Chinese were brought into the process of government and recruited to fight the communist insurgents, the Chinese community would continue to view the government with hostility, or at best, indifference.

Templer forced the

Malayan Federation governments to admit Chinese to the civil service and into the security forces.45

In his

program to reorganize the Malayan army forces, Templer put 28

a high priority on recruiting Chinese for the enlisted and officer ranks.

Although the Malayan Regiment still only

recruited Malays, the new Armoured Car Regiment, the Federation Regiment and the technical and support branches of the army were open to all the ethnic groups of Malaya. The Chinese did not enthusiastically answer the call to join the army, which remained overwhelmingly ethnic Malay throughout the insurgency.

No more than 15% of the

Federation Regiment’s personnel were Chinese, although a higher percentage of Chinese signed up for the army’s technical and support services. Although Templer failed to meet his goal of recruiting Chinese for the Federation Regiment and new units in proportion to their share of the population, enough Chinese recruits and officer cadets joined to make the Malayan army credible as a multiracial force.

Under Templer, the foundation was laid for a systematic expansion of a Malayan army that was well trained, wellled, and able to take progressively more responsibility for counterinsurgency operations.

When Templer arrived in

early 1952, there were only four Malayan battalions available for operations, all from the Malaya Regiment. mid- 1954 there were seven Malayan battalions.


Most of the

officers were seconded from the British army, but the new officer training college was beginning to provide a steady stream of properly trained Malayan junior officers.


the first increment of Sandhurst-trained Malayan officers had returned and was able to put a Malayan face on the army leadership.

In October 1953 Templer could form the 1st

Federation Division of the Malayan Army.46


When Templer left Malaya to become British Army chief of staff in 1954, the process of Malayanization of the army and the counterinsurgency campaign were progressing smoothly.

With better trained Malayan forces led by

competent officers and NCOs, the British could feel confident enough to withdraw some British battalions from the country.

Not counting the eight Gurkha battalions, the

British army and Royal Marine commitment to Malaya reached a peak of ten battalions in 1951-52.

With the Malayans and

some Commonwealth battalions bearing a larger share of the burden, British army strength was reduced to four battalions by mid- 1954, but with no decrease in the total number of battalions available for operations (22).47

Since the police were the main force fighting the insurgency, Young put a high priority on recruiting Chinese for the regular police. Young established cordial relations with the Chinese associations of Malaya and ethnic Chinese political leaders, working to get their support to recruit Chinese into the police force.

In 1952 there were only 800

Chinese in the regular police force of over 20,000, and Young hoped to get 2,000 Chinese recruits.

He pushed his

campaign through public radio broadcasts and private appeals to Chinese leaders.

Although Young failed to reach

his goal, the Chinese recruitment of the force had still significantly improved.

Between April and October 1952,

505 Chinese joined the Malaya Police.48

By November 1953

the Malayan Police included 1,824 Chinese in a total regular force of 22,934.

Although it would take decades to

right the ethnic imbalance in the police force, a start was made under Young.49


Another part of the Templer/Young reform and reorganization was a program to improve the efficiency of the home guard. Templer created a new post of Inspector General of the Home Guard, sending for Major General Edward de Fonblanque to take charge of the force.

Fonblanque, a competent and

energetic leader recently retired from the army, managed to get some experienced Commonwealth and British officers assigned to the home guard and ensured that a proper training camp was set up in each Malayan state.

The main

thing was to train the home guardsmen to handle firearms and to carry out basic security duties.

Goals were set to

expand the home guard to 240,000 men and to ensure that there was proper supervision of the force by trained officers.50

Each Malayan state had a home guard

headquarters, staffed by professional officers to direct the training programs.

Manuals on weapons handling and

village security were produced, and a force that had previously been indifferently organized was put on a more regular footing.

Each of the states raised “operational

sections”, small units composed of the best home guardsmen, who were paid, given extra training, and made available to go on patrol with the regular police and army units.51 Although Templer’s predecessors refused to arm any part of the Chinese community, Templer disagreed strongly with this policy.

He placed a high priority on recruiting Chinese

into the home guard and making the Chinese community fully responsible for defending their own villages.

Many feared

that the Chinese would defect with their weapons to the rebels, but such fears proved groundless.


50,000 Chinese willingly joined the home guards and by 1954 150 Chinese villages were protected by their own security force.52 31

Though the home guards saw little action in Malaya, they were still of enormous value in suppressing the insurgency. The home guards were able to assume many routine security duties, freeing up thousands of regular police and military personnel for offensive operations.

Moreover, recruiting

the Chinese into the home guard had the very positive political effect of bringing a large number of the Chinese into the government process and making them part of the solution to the insurgency.

The Foundation of Success in Malaya

When Templer left Malaya in 1954, the British strategy was clearly working.

Insurgent strength was down and violent

incidents less frequent.

The British could withdraw

forces, confident that the Malaya Police and army could take over the responsibilities thanks to their thorough training and the presence of a cadre of competent indigenous officers.

In the senior leadership of the

Police Special Branch, well-trained Malayan officers were able to take over from the British personnel without any drop in that branch’s efficiency.53

In fact, the key

intelligence side of the counterinsurgency campaign steadily improved thanks to the increased presence of Chinese in the army, police and home guards.

As the

security forces became more representative of the population, the attitude of the Chinese population towards the government became more positive.

As the reforms in the

Malayan security forces took effect, the insurgents had to operate among an increasingly unfriendly population.


The value of thorough training in defeating an insurgency was clearly demonstrated in the improved efficiency of the intelligence system after Arthur Young established the Special Branch School.

Within a few months of the start of

the intelligence training program, the military and police forces in the field were able to target specific rebel bands much more effectively than before.

Guy Madoc, who

served as director of the special branch in Malaya, commented on the value of the intelligence school to the success of the campaign; “The school was the sluice valve of the Emergency. intelligence.

Defeating the Emergency depended on

Intelligence capacity depended on the output

of the school.”54

Case Study Cyprus Overview of the Insurgency in Cyprus, 1955-1959

Cyprus was acquired by Britain from the Ottoman Empire in 1879 and spent the next 70 years as a minor colonial backwater.

The small colony with total population of just

over 500,000 in 1950, assumed an increased importance for British strategy after Britain pulled out of its colonies and protectorates in the Mideast after World War II.


British viewed Cyprus as its vital base for forces in the Mideast as well as its regional center of influence.55 However, trouble had long been brewing.

The overwhelmingly

Greek population of Cyprus (82%) was strongly in favor of ending British rule and uniting with Greece.

In 1931 the

desire for union with Greece (called “enosis” in Greek) led to widespread anti-British riots and the suspension of local government. After World War II, a war in which many Greek Cypriots loyally served Britain, the sentiment for 33

enosis increased.

A plebiscite sponsored by the Cypriot

Church in 1950 resulted in a vote of 95.7% of the Greek Cypriots in favor of enosis.56

The Greek government

supported the cause, as well, and tried to bring the issue to international forums.57

However, the British were deaf

to any suggestion of abandoning Cyprus.

The British Chiefs

of Staff insisted that the continuance of the colonial regime in Cyprus was necessary for British defense.


abandoned Palestine and Egypt the idea of losing their last colony in the Mideast region was unthinkable.

There would

be no discussion of enosis or compromise with the Greek Cypriots.58

Given the degree of British intransigence, Cypriot political leaders quietly prepared for an insurgency three years before it broke out.

Archbishop Makarios was

acknowledged as the political as well as spiritual leader of the Greek Cypriots and the military leader was a retired Greek army colonel, George Grivas, who had been born in Cyprus.

Grivas spent two years organizing and training

cells of guerrilla fighters around the island before initiating an insurrection.

Through 1954 weapons and

explosives were smuggled in from Greece.

On 1 April 1955

the insurgency began with a series of terrorist bombings directed against government and police installations.

In drawing up his “General Plan for Insurrectionary Action” to drive the British out of Cyprus, Colonel George Grivas intended to institute a campaign of violence and terror specifically directed at the British, “to draw the attention of international public opinion, especially among the allies of Greece..”59

There was no intention or 34

expectation to win militarily.

“It should not be supposed

that by these means we should expect to impose a total defeat on the British forces in Cyprus.

Our purpose is to

win a moral victory through a process of attrition, by harassing, confusing and finally exasperating the enemy forces…”60

By demonstrating Cypriot resolve and self

sacrifice “we are prepared to continue until international diplomacy exercises through the United Nations, and the British in particular, are compelled to examine the Cyprus problem…”


Although the insurgent military force (known by the Greek acronym EOKA) never amounted to more than 200-300 active fighters, they were able to mount a spirited campaign of bombings, small ambushes and assassinations.


British losses were relatively light--several dozen military and police personnel killed each year-- the insurgent campaign won worldwide attention as it continued. Even though the insurgents put few active fighters into the battle, they were highly effective because of the wide support they had from the Greek Cypriot population.

For three years the British struggled against small insurgent bands with occasional successes, won more through luck than through good planning or tactics.


losses among the EOKA bands were quickly replaced by other nationalists and the fight continued, quieting down only occasionally during periods of political negotiation.

As a

point in the history of counterinsurgency, the British government had the most lopsided ratio of police and military forces to rebel forces ever seen.

At the height

of the insurgency in 1956-57, the British government 35

deployed 40,000 military and security personnel to Cyprus to control a total population of 400,000 Greek Cypriots— one British solider or policemen for every ten Greek Cypriots.

And the total number of active insurgents was

never more than a few hundred.

If one views insurgency as

a mathematical model of force application, then the Cypriots hadn’t a chance. the conflict.

Yet the Cypriots basically won

Although they did not get the hoped-for

union with Greece, the British cut a deal with the Cypriots to grant them independence in 1959 with the government of the island passing to the Cypriots who had mounted the insurgency.

The State of the Cyprus Police at the Start of the Insurgency

Despite several years of warnings by Cyprus government officials of the increased level of Greek Cypriot unrest, the outbreak of the insurgency in 1955 caught the British government almost completely unprepared.

The Cyprus Police

were especially unready for the task at hand.

For decades

the Cyprus Police had been, in the words of the Colonial Office’s chief police advisor, “a Cinderella service in a Cinderella colony.”62

Cyprus was not a wealthy colony and,

although it was supposed to be a major strategic asset, the fiscal realities of Britain before and after World War II required that the colony pay its own way.

This meant that

there were few funds to pay, train, or equip the police.

The British had long tried to police Cyprus on the cheap, and they got what they paid for.

Police in Cyprus had

always been poorly paid, and postwar inflation made things 36

especially bad.

In the mid-1950s unskilled laborers could

earn £25-30 per month, more than the starting salary for a police constable, £21 per month.63

It was hard to attract

recruits with even a minimum standard of education to a service in which the police officers earned no more than government livestock managers or bailiffs.

In comparison

to other colonies, pay was also low for the officers who might transfer from Britain or another colonial police force.64

Simply put, the Cyprus police did not attract a

high caliber of enlisted or officer personnel.


colonial government’s attitude towards police working conditions, or even basic police equipment, followed the same pattern.

Police stations did not have mess halls, and

many were in old, ramshackle buildings that the government refused to refurbish on the grounds of economy.65


the quest for budget cutting extended even to a failure to supply flashlights for the police.

Before the insurgency

colonial officials denied a request for £175 to equip the police with flashlights.66

Indeed, the entire Cyprus Police

budget for 1954 amounted to only £600,000.

As one might

expect, police morale was low, and the force had a reputation for incompetence, poor leadership and corruption.

Policemen stationed in villages had a

reputation for avoiding duties that might require actually confronting criminals, so banditry and even vendetta killings were said to go unnoticed by policemen unwilling to risk their lives for a pittance.

On the eve of the insurgency in 1954 the Cyprus Police consisted of 1,386 men, a disproportionate number (37%) drawn from the Turkish Cypriots (18% of the population).67 Police training consisted of a six month basic course 37

conducted in an old castle.

Before the insurgency there

were no higher training or specialist courses offered for Cyprus Police personnel, which had a tradition of being more of a gendarmerie than a modern police force.


Cyprus Police were so backward that a criminal investigation branch was only created in 1951. A police special branch was formed with three officers in 1954 after the government became aware that radical Greek factions were smuggling weapons from Greece.

Thus, the police had

little time to study the incipient insurgent organization before the violence began.68

The insurgent commander, Colonel Grivas, prepared the insurgency by quietly searching out sympathizers among the Greek Cypriot policemen.

With morale and conditions in the

police force low, and desire for enosis high among the Greek population, Grivas had no trouble recruiting selected policemen from every branch of the force who would provide the insurgents with detailed intelligence information. From 1954 to 1958 as many as twenty members of the Cyprus Police worked as active agents for the insurgents.


the insurgency some police officers actually hid wanted EOKA terrorists on the sound assumption that the last place the British would search would be the home of a police officer.69

One of the first actions of the insurgents was to cripple the police special branch, killing selected police personnel including two of the three Greek Cypriot policemen assigned to Special Branch. In June 1955 EOKA dramatically assassinated a Greek police sergeant who had just been assigned to the Special Branch.

The message to 38

the police was loud and clear: EOKA had full inside knowledge of police operations and could target key personnel at will.70

If a Cypriot policeman wanted to live,

his best option would be to do as little as possible against the insurgents.

Thus, in the first three months of

the insurgency the regular police were effectively crippled, and the military had to take over most of the basic police duties on the island.

Exacerbating the problem was the colonial government’s policy of trying to fight an insurgency on the cheap.


protest over their ludicrously low pay, Greek Cypriot policemen began resigning from the force at the start of the insurgency.

Those remaining were compelled to work

longer hours and perform extra shifts for no additional pay.

It was the last straw for police morale.

With morale

already low and the cost of living increasing, the police considered their working conditions to be intolerable.


June and July 1955 many Greek policemen refused to draw pay in protest of their work conditions.

In August many Greek

Cypriot policemen submitted their resignations from the force.

The government, already concerned over the

personnel hemorrhage, took disciplinary action against twelve policemen and refused to allow the others to resign.71

Henceforth, no policeman under 55 years of age

would be allowed to resign.72

Since Greeks were refusing to join the police, almost all new recruitment into the regular police came from the Turkish community.

Still, more men were needed, so a force

of 400 Auxiliary Police was quickly raised among the Turkish Cypriots.

The already low standards of the police 39

force were even lowered further to allow the recruitment of Turks, who generally had a much lower education level than the Greeks, but were considered reliable and loyal by the colonial government.

Many of the Auxiliary Police were

Turkish farmers or laborers who viewed police work as a means of income during the slack part of the agricultural year.

With virtually no training, the Auxiliary Police

were sent into action and generally employed in guard and security duties.73

The British Respond

With the situation clearly beyond the government’s ability to control it, the hapless governor was fired in September 1955.

Recently retired Field Marshall Sir John Harding,

formerly Chief of the Imperial General Staff, was appointed Governor General of Cyprus.74

Harding immediately called

for army reinforcements and by October 1955 two infantry battalions had been sent, which raised the army garrison to over 12,000.75

The military force on the island would

continue to grow throughout 1955-1957.

Harding wanted to get the police back into the fight to free up the army for offensive operations against EOKA, so he greatly expanded the size of the Auxiliary Police.


action was against the advice of experienced colonial officials who knew that overreliance upon a Turkish police force would alarm the Greek Cypriot population and likely lead to open conflict between the island’s ethnic communities.76

By 1956 the Auxiliary Police had been

expanded to 1,417 personnel.

Distaining advice from some

of the civilian officials with long experience in Cyprus, 40

Harding preferred to employ the Turkish Cypriots to suppress the insurgency.

In September, a new police force,

the Special Mobile Reserve, was recruited exclusively from the Turkish community. The Special Mobile Reserve was to serve as riot police and received considerably more training than the Auxiliary Police. grown to 569 personnel.


By 1956 the force had

Because so few policemen met the

minimal qualifications to serve as officers or NCOs, the leadership for the new police forces would be provided by importing police from Britain.

British policemen who came

to Cyprus would receive a promotion in rank as well as double credit towards their pensions.

The colonial

government hoped to recruit young, aggressive police NCOs for the campaign, but what they mostly got were older, lower ranking policemen close to retirement.

Many saw a

tour in Cyprus primarily as an opportunity to improve their pensions.

From 1955-1959 a total of 400 UK policemen would

serve on Cyprus.

They did their best but were not

considered very effective because they arrived knowing nothing of the language or local conditions and could barely communicate with their subordinates, if at all.78 The UK Police unit in Cyprus also developed a reputation for poor discipline.

The first commander of the UK Police

Unit expressed dismay at the caliber of police sent out from Britain and maintained that some of the UK county police forces dumped their unwanted personnel on Cyprus.79

Harding refused to worry about the long term effects of recruiting police from the Turkish community and he failed to ensure that the police had training or competent leadership. ignored.

Expert advice from the outside was generally

General Templer visited the island just after the 41

start of the insurgency in April 1955 and called for a thorough overhaul of the police force.80 that year.

Little was done

The Cyprus Police Commission, composed of

several senior police chiefs in Britain, visited Cyprus in February and March of 1956 and came up with a detailed and critical study of the police.

Many of the criticisms

concerned the poor conditions and low pay that had pushed the Greek Cypriots out of the force.

The top UK policemen

were especially concerned about the poor quality of the newly raised Auxiliary Police, who had received “little, if any, training.”81

The Commission also expressed concern

about the low personnel quality and training of the hundreds of special constables-- almost all Turkish-recruited since the start of the insurgency.

The Cyprus

Police Commission recommended that the Auxiliary Police and the special constables be disbanded as soon as possible.82 Ignoring such advice, Harding even expanded the Auxiliary Police, a force that reached a peak of 1,594 men in 1958. The Police Mobile Special Reserve also expanded from 569 to 580 in the next year.83

Many of the Cyprus Police commission’s specific recommendations addressed the need for a comprehensive program to train the police and provide professional indigenous police leadership.

They noted that the Cyprus

police training program was completely inadequate.


was not only a lack of basic training for the police enlisted men, but there was also no special branch course or courses for higher officers. no police cadet program.84

Unlike Malaya, there was

Because of the lack of adequate

mid and senior leadership in the Cyprus Police, the Commission recommended that sergeants be promoted from the 42

ranks and sent to two years of police training in the UK in order to provide the Cyprus Police with competent indigenous leadership.85

The Commission recommended that a

new police school be opened with the capacity to train 240 police in a six-month basic course and the capacity to train 100 officers in advanced and special courses.


were proposed to establish a new police school that would open in two years.86

In contrast to Young’s approach in

Malaya, there was no sense of urgency in training local police leaders.

The problem of reforming the police,

training the rank and file and developing professional police leadership was seen essentially as something to be dealt with after the insurgency was defeated.

In the

meantime, the Cyprus Police would remain a poorly trained, poorly led, force and this would have a major impact on the Britain’s failure to suppress the insurgency.

Harding did not see the insurgency as a prolonged war, but rather as a campaign to be victoriously completed by inflicting a few sharp blows against EOKA.

He was

confident that, with his ample resources, he could finish EOKA quickly.

On January 1, 1956 he announced that EOKA’s

days were numbered.87 Despite the recent example of Malaya, with its sophisticated civil/military strategy, on Cyprus the governor general preferred a heavy-handed approach to counterinsurgency that would bludgeon the population into compliance with British rule.

His willingness to employ

firepower upset some of the colonial officials and senior officers.

For example, Harding had more than a dozen naval

vessels at his disposal to patrol the island’s shores and interdict arms shipments from Greece.

Immediately upon his

arrival, Harding issued orders to shoot on sight any Greek 43

vessel appearing off the coast of Cyprus, an act that drew protests from the commander of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet, who sensibly pointed out that such actions would cause serious problems with Britain’s NATO ally.88

With his massively expanded police force-- up from 1,397 personnel in 1954 to 5,878 in 1956-- Harding succeeded in freeing up military manpower to conduct large scale operations in the mountains and rural districts of Cyprus where many of the rebel bands were based. Military reinforcements continued to flow into the island, and by early 1956 more than 20,000 army troops were on Cyprus. With the thousands of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel on the island, plus the Cypriot security forces, Harding had approximately 40,000 military and police personnel under his command to oppose about 200 insurgents. However, lacking an effective special branch to provide intelligence and employing an overwhelmingly Turkish police force that was alienated from the Greek population, British intelligence on the rebels was consistently poor. war of the blundering elephant versus the gnat.

It was a


guerrilla bands, supported by the rural population, regularly evaded the regime of strict controls, district searches and massive sweeps.

The massive British use of

manpower also failed to interdict EOKA’s arms smuggling or inhibit offensive actions against the British.


occasional British successes in destroying small EOKA units tended to come more through chance contacts with patrols than through any clear intelligence information.


Harding’s prediction of a quick, decisive victory, throughout 1956 the program of bombings, assassinations of 44

police and British officials, and attacks on military convoys increased.

The Police and the Greek Population

If Harding had carefully planned to alienate the entire Greek population of the island and push the moderate Greeks into full support of EOKA, he could not have done better than by his policy of unleashing a horde of untrained, poorly-led Turkish police on the population.


violence, rare in Cyprus before the insurgency, flared up in 1956 and increased throughout the insurgency.

When the

Turks rose against the Greeks, usually in response to a EOKA killing of a Turkish policeman, the all-Turkish Special Mobile Reserve and Auxiliary Police routinely stood by as Turkish mobs assaulted Greek civilians and ransacked their property.89

The Cyprus Police were not merely passive

about their duty to protect all Cypriots from lawbreaking. During a series of searches in Famagusta, the Auxiliary Police were accused of looting Greek homes.

While Harding

dismissed claims of police and military abuse as Greek propaganda, his own officers saw the issue rather differently.

The district police commissioner of Famagusta

noted that many of his policemen had come from the lowest level of Turkish society and “are known not to have been beyond criminal activities in the past”.

Of the

allegations of police looting he commented, “I myself have little doubt that there is substance in a fair proportion of them.”90

While it is difficult enough to keep well-trained and welldisciplined police and intelligence officers from abusing 45

prisoners and detainees in counterinsurgency campaigns, Harding’s policy of employing poorly-trained policemen guaranteed a culture of prisoner abuse during interrogations.

Many accounts of the insurgency include

British observers’ accounts of abuse of Greek detainees by the Cyprus Police.91

British journalists on the island

nicknamed the Cyprus Police and intelligence personnel “HMTs” for “Her Majesty’s Torturers.”92 The poor standard of leadership throughout the Cyprus Police added to the discipline problems.

Although Harding ordered his police

to operate according to the law, he did little to ensure proper behavior of the security forces. In reality, the British administration’s policy was to automatically deride any criticism of the police and characterize accusations of misconduct by the security forces as part of an orchestrated insurgent plan to discredit the security forces.93 Such confrontational tactics did not go over well with the British journalists, especially those who personally witnessed incidents.

British and international

press coverage became increasingly negative about British policy and behavior throughout the course of the insurgency.

The abusive behavior of the Cyprus Police was a godsend to the insurgents, who made the actions of the security forces a central theme in their international propaganda campaign. Claims of British police abuse were made by the Greek media and brought to world attention with the support of the Greek government.

There was enough evidence of police and

military brutality to lend credence to the charges.


1956 the Greek government brought the issue of security force abuses in Cyprus before the European Commission, 46

forcing an international investigation of British police and military actions.94

Although some of the allegations

were later refuted, the political damage to the British government was severe.

British and international journalists also reported in detail on the communal riots in Cyprus and described how the Cyprus Police stood by as Turkish mobs attacked Greeks. Such actions undermined British legitimacy and the images of the communal violence were broadcast around the world in graphic detail.

British newspapers began to criticize the

Harding regime—and with good cause.95 The failure of the British government to respond to credible allegations haunted the debate over Cyprus policy.

In time, criticism

of the Cyprus administration found its way to the House of Lords, as well as the UN and the European Civil Rights Commission.96

Field Marshall Harding left Cyprus and retired in November 1957, convinced that his strategy had worked. wrong.

He was

A year later the Greek Cypriots and British

negotiated a deal to give Cyprus independence in 1959. Harding’s strong-arm tactics; combined with a policy of throwing large numbers of poorly led and poorly trained police at the insurgency, had been a spectacular failure. More than anything else, the end of British rule was brought about by international political pressure, fuelled by the effective use of the media by Greek Cypriots and the Greek government.

Grivas’ long-term strategy-- to simply

stay in the field and harass the British with small attacks-- failed to inflict any serious damage on the


British forces, but was successful in keeping the attention of the international media focused on Cyprus.

Security force misbehavior played a key role in mobilizing world opinion against Britain.

In the end, the insurgents

were grateful for Harding’s strategy. Colonel Grivas, the insurgent leader whom the British never caught, declared that the first act of the new government after Cypriot independence should be to raise a statue to Field Marshal Harding, “since he had done more than anybody else to keep alive the spirit of Hellenic resistance in Cyprus.”97

Conclusion and Recommendations

A study of the two counterinsurgency campaigns offers some important practical insights and lessons concerning the best means of standing up and training effective indigenous police and military forces.

While every insurgency has its

unique aspects, there are also circumstances that are often repeated in other insurgencies.

This conclusion offers a

few general insights to help understand the nature of counterinsurgency operations as well as some specific recommendations to change US military doctrine and policy for training indigenous police and military forces in counterinsurgency.

Keeping the Endstate in View The two case studies emphasize the importance for the military and political leadership to focus on the endstate rather than on the immediate goals. For the first three years of the Malaya insurgency the attention of the British government and military high command was focused on short 48

term fixes to suppress the insurgency.

When Templer and

Young arrived in early 1952 they changed the strategic focus towards attaining the desired endstate—building professional and well-led security forces to serve a democratic post-independence Malayan state.

Such forces

would be able to provide effective security for the Malaysian state and people, and would also be representative of the major ethnic groups of the nation. Professional and well-led security forces are a key element in building a democratic state.

Although the focus on the endstate in Malaya required an expensive, long term strategy, it was also a success. Despite political pressure to accomplish a quick fix that would enable the British military to remove forces from Malaya, the Colonial Office had the moral courage to support the long-term strategy proposed by Templer and Young.

In Malaya, Templer and Young understood that they

were fighting a prolonged war that required a long-term commitment.

In 1953, even though the situation was

noticeably improving, Templer cautioned against declaring victory too soon.

At a press conference he declared, “I’ll

shoot the bastard who says this emergency is over.”98 Templer believed that any premature withdrawal of British forces could undermine the program oriented to patiently and systematically enabling the Malayans to fight their own war—but only when they were properly trained for it.

In Cyprus, Field Marshal Harding and the British High Command failed to understand the insurgent strategy of prolonged war, and the British strategy was therefore oriented to the quick solution.

Little thought was given 49

as to what the Cyprus government and police might look like, or what political conditions would exist, after the insurgency.

The short term fixes not only failed to

suppress the insurgency, they also failed Cyprus in the long term.

In the short term, Harding’s strategy increased

the level of communal violence on the island.

In the long

term, when Cyprus was granted independence by the UK, it was left with a badly-trained, badly led police force that was unable to help stabilize the new nation.

Training the Police as the Primary Counterinsurgency Force

In both Cyprus and Malaya insurgent combat forces were normally organized into small groups that hid among a sympathetic civilian population, or operated in close proximity to sympathetic civilians who provided support. In Cyprus, the largest insurgent force fielded was twenty to thirty men.

In Malaya, there were only a few operations

in which any large rebel force was encountered and anything resembling large-scale combat was exceptionally rare. Normally, the Malayan guerrillas lived and fought in small units of 10-40 men.

Both conflicts were characterized by

the large number of small combat actions and incidents.

In Cyprus and Malaya, because of the small unit nature of the conflicts, the primary front line counterinsurgency force was the police.

What determined government success

or failure in counterguerrilla operations was not force size or firepower, but intelligence.

In Malaya the rebels

found that large army units blundering about with little detailed intelligence were far less dangerous than small police and army units armed with good intelligence.

In 50

Cyprus small insurgent bands routinely evaded sweeps by large army forces that lacked detailed intelligence.

Police are the most appropriate force in combating small insurgent bands that receive support from elements of the civilian population because it is the job of the police to work around the civilian populace.

In counterinsurgency

campaigns, military units and special police strike units, such as the police jungle companies in Malaya, are routinely shifted around to different sectors, according to the needs of the moment, while police remain on the ground dealing with civilians on a daily basis and, hopefully, building a detailed intelligence picture of the insurgent strength, organization and support in each local sector. Effective counterinsurgency relies on good human intelligence, and no military unit can match a good police unit in developing an accurate human intelligence picture of their area of operations.

There are some key similarities with the insurgencies in Cyprus and Malaya and current insurgencies such as Iraq. In Cyprus and Malaya the insurgents fought primarily as small groups that received support and shelter from disaffected elements of the civilian population.

This is

similar to Iraq, where insurgents rarely operate in large groups that can be targeted and attacked with superior Coalition firepower.

In Cyprus and Malaya the main issue

for the government forces was not defeating the enemy in battle but, rather, simply finding the enemy. characteristic of operations in Iraq.

This is also

Success in the two

case studies was dependent on the quantity and quality of


human intelligence, and not on the size of forces engaged or their ability to employ firepower.

The Cyprus and Malaya case studies dramatically demonstrate the central role of police in counterinsurgency.


Malaya, a key element in turning the situation to the government’s favor was the program to reform and retrain the police and make it a more professional body that could interact with the civilian population more effectively (and thus gain good intelligence), and act efficiently on the intelligence it received.

In Cyprus, the British failed to

address the serious flaws in the Cyprus Police.

As a

result, the relationship between the police to the civilian population was poor.

Consequently, British intelligence on

the Cyprus insurgents was consistently weak.

In Iraq, as in Malaya and Cyprus, the police are on the front lines every day.

Arguing from historical precedent,

the effectiveness of the Iraqi police will be one of the key factors in the success or failure of the insurgency. If the Coalition nations succeed in standing up a competent and professional Iraqi police force that can gain the trust of most of the Iraqi civilians, then the insurgents have no long-term chance.

If, on the other hand, we keep large

military forces in Iraq but fail to build an effective Iraqi police force, we cannot expect to suppress the insurgency in the long-term.

The Limitations of “On the Job” Training in Counterinsurgency


Both the Malaya and Cyprus counterinsurgency campaigns emphasized putting plenty of manpower into the field.


Malaya, however, even a vast manpower advantage only got the British so far.

Deploying a large number of minimally-

trained police helped stabilize the government’s position from 1948 to 1951, but even a significant manpower advantage did not prevent the insurgent force from growing and government casualties from increasing. Ultimately, the British realized part of their strategy was counterproductive: that poorly-trained and led police and security forces were inclined toward corruption and abusive behavior towards the population, tendencies that undermined the government’s goal to win over the people.

In Malaya

the answer was a comprehensive program to retrain the police force and raise its professional standard.


it was expensive and required pulling large numbers of police out of operations for months, within a year the program paid off in much higher level of police effectiveness and far better relations with the civilian population.

This, in turn, notably improved the police

intelligence collection from the civilian population.

In Cyprus the police force was also increased dramatically during the insurgency, growing from less than 1,400 men at the start to almost 6,000 within two years.


unlike Malaya, there was little attempt to provide any systematic training to the auxiliary police and special constables after the start of the insurgency.

Nor was

there any serious attempt to retrain the regular police for the complex duties of counterinsurgency. The result was a corrupt, abusive and largely ineffective police force that further alienated the civilian population. 53

Unfortunately, to date the US and Coalition effort to build a national police force in Iraq resembles the Cyprus model rather than the Malaya model.

The Iraqi Police, a force

notorious for corruption under Saddam Hussein, were hastily reorganized in 2003 and police personnel who had served under the old regime given only short retraining courses. New police personnel were given only eight-week courses before being sent into the field (in contrast to a sixmonth course given to basic police recruits in Malaya at the height of the insurgency).

Such brief and ad hoc

training programs have done little to counteract the culture of incompetence and corruption from the old regime, and poorly-trained and led police have performed poorly in counterinsurgency operations.

At this time, the Iraqi

Police remain one of the weakest links in the counterinsurgency battle.99

Without a systematic and

comprehensive professional training program lasting for eighteen to twenty-four months, the Iraqi Police will remain only marginally effective.

US military doctrine needs to clearly spell out the limitations and dangers of employing minimally-trained indigenous security forces in counterinsurgency operations, or even to conduct basic police duties.

While it might be

necessary to stand up ad hoc security forces at the start of an emergency, US policy should be to institute a comprehensive program of police and security training as quickly as possible.

When conducting operations to

stabilize a country, American and coalition partners should have a comprehensive plan for police training ready before intervention begins, as well as ample funds and specialist 54

personnel allocated for the task.

Moreover, plans for

police training need to envision a several-year program to systematically build police institutions and leadership.

Plans to stand up and train a foreign police and military force need to include a transparent and fair system of vetting personnel, especially the officer applicants.


vetting process needs to include an examination of the applicant’s background and political affiliations as well as past activities to include possible human rights violations and links to criminal groups.

The standard for

officer applicants should be set high, even if this slows the process of building a police force.

It is better to

suffer from a shortage of officers than to have sufficient numbers, but many of those incompetent or corrupt.


corrupt police and military culture is of enormous benefit to the insurgents.

Planning guidance and doctrine for building indigenous military and police forces must ensure that the pay, benefits and living quarters are adequate.

This is

especially important for the police, who have the greatest opportunity for corruption in the nature of their duties and contact with the civilian community.

Police pay,

housing, benefits and work conditions have to be high enough to attract a high quality of police recruit and to serve as a shield against the temptation towards accepting the petty corruption that undermines the public’s confidence in the police and government.

Good pay and

attractive benefits must be combined with a strict code of conduct that allows for the immediate dismissal of police personnel for corruption.

Ensuring that the police pay and 55

benefits are attractive will be an expensive proposition for US and allied nation planners.

This is, however,

necessary as a means to prevent the wholesale corruption of the police and security forces.

In the long run, it is

cheaper to spend the money up front to build effective police and security forces than to spend less and end up with corrupt and abusive forces that alienate the population.

An Interagency Approach to Police Training

When Sir Arthur Young arrived in Malaya he resisted the suggestion that the Malayan Police should be placed under army command.

While the police would routinely coordinate

their operations with the district military commands and conduct joint operations with the army, Young insisted that the police needed to keep their identity as a separate institution.

Young feared that the Malayan Police had

already become too militarized, and that returning to police basics was necessary to reestablish the identity of the police as a force to serve the whole population. Although the police continued to carry out many militarystyle operations, after 1952 a new emphasis was placed on containing routine crime and providing social assistance to local people, actions geared to win the trust of the civilians.

To reform the force, Young made sure that the primary instructors at the new police schools and courses would be policemen, not soldiers.

To ensure a high quality of

instruction, he brought a team of first-rate senior policemen from the UK to supervise the police training 56

program, with an emphasis on basic police skills for all recruits.

While the army assisted the police training

program by providing instruction in weapons and tactics, and in setting up special courses in communications and vehicle maintenance, the British army was that of a supporting force.

This interagency approach to police training worked well in Malaya, and should serve as a model for US efforts to build and train foreign police forces.

The current US Army

counterinsurgency doctrine makes the military police a lead agency for training national police forces.100 an effective approach.

This is not

The US Army military police do not

have the experience or trained personnel to handle many vital aspects of a civilian policing, such as big city police operations or operations against organized crime. On the other hand, the US Department of Justice already has expert personnel in those fields.

I strongly recommend that US counterinsurgency strategy and doctrine be revised to give the US Department of Justice the lead role in building and training foreign police forces.

The Department of Justice is best suited to hire

senior police trainers with extensive in big city law enforcement.

In addition, the Justice Department has FBI

and other personnel with extensive experience in operations against organized crime – law enforcement operations that are especially relevant to counterinsurgency as many insurgent groups, in Iraq for instance, more closely resemble mafia gangs than traditional military organizations.


The military police should still have a large role to play in training foreign police forces, but army and joint doctrine should be revised to emphasize the military police role as a supporting force, rather than a lead force in the effort.

The military police are well-suited to train

foreign forces in many basic police skills, and provide trainers for weapons handling, small unit tactics and communications.

Training in the higher level police skills

such as civilian criminal investigation procedures, antiorganized crime operations, and police intelligence operations, is best taught by civilian experts.

This approach is workable.

It will require a significant

expansion of the Justice Department’s division for international law enforcement assistance, as well as a commitment of the US Army military police to provide personnel and resources to support police training programs organized and led by the US Justice Department.


strategy will also require a much higher degree of coordination and planning between the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice than exists today.


building and training effective national police forces is so important to success in counterinsurgency that we need to overcome interagency friction as we make the Justice Department one of the lead agencies in counterinsurgency.

Training the Police and Military Leaders

The military has long known that you can’t have an effective army without effective leaders. true for the police.

The same is also

The Malaya and Cyprus insurgencies

illustrate the central importance of trained leadership to 58

police and military effectiveness.

The effectiveness of

the indigenous security forces in Cyprus and Malaya was directly related to the quality of the officer leadership. In Cyprus the police leadership ranged from mediocre to bad.

The problems of police incompetence and corruption

were never solved.

In Malaya, the effectiveness of the

Malayan security forces increased sharply after the largescale officer training programs were initiated and officers with full professional training returned to the field.


the police, the extensive program for officer training, which included training Malayans in the UK police courses, worked to curb the problems of corruption and abuse within the Malayan Police ranks.

The problem of poor officer training is evident in Iraq and in other nations the US has aided in combating insurgencies.

In Iraq, before the US invasion of 2003, the

army officer corps suffered from a poor training system at all levels.

As of this writing, the new Iraqi army still

suffers from poor officer leadership.

Officers who had

their training under the old regime (most of them) lack a grounding in leadership basics and the skills of command. Many have proven incompetent in combat operations.


the brightest and most dedicated Iraqi officers lack the skills necessary for effective staff operations or higher command.101

In the Iraqi Police, the problems of poor

officer leadership are also evident.

Applying the very successful approach of General Templer and Sir Arthur Young to the issue of Iraqi leadership training makes a great deal of sense.

Building an

effective leadership cadre for the Iraqis, or any small 59

nation facing insurgency, requires a comprehensive program of officer and staff training. Currently, few Iraqi officers have been trained in US professional courses – certainly not enough to provide a cadre of qualified commanders and staff officers.102

It is doubtful whether

the Iraqis can build truly effective military and police forces, and be able to take over the counterinsurgency campaign in their own country, unless the current lack of effective officer leadership is addressed.

For the Iraqi

military, this means a program to send dozens of field grade officers to US staff colleges for the full one-year courses, and a large number of company grade officers to the US officer basic and advanced courses (normally fivesix months).

As in Malaya, the Iraqi forces contain many

men who are potentially good officers and leaders. the Iraqis lack is solid professional training.


A program

to send 50-100 of the best Iraqi field grade officers to the US staff colleges every year for several years would enable the Iraqi military to build its force upon a highly trained professional cadre.

Sending a much larger number

of company grade officers to the shorter US branch qualification courses would ensure competent officer leadership at the lower levels.

There are, of course, some negative short term drawbacks to a comprehensive officer training program such as one proposed for the Iraqi military and police.

The Malaya

experience is a good illustration of them problems.


Malaya Police training program necessitated pulling large numbers of police out of offensive operations and sending them to courses that lasted from eight to sixteen weeks. The best of the indigenous police leaders were unavailable 60

for unit command and staff duties at the height of the insurgency, when they were sent to professional courses lasting from six months to a year.

During this period the

British army had to continue to maintain large forces in Malaya and carry the burden of offensive operations—an approach not appreciated by the British government at the time.

The British training program was also expensive.

Sending dozens of Malayan police and military officers back to Britain for complete courses, and building and staffing top notch military and police training schools in Malaya, cost millions of pounds.103

The exact same objections could

be made about any comprehensive US program to train Iraqi officers.

However, the benefits of a comprehensive program far outweigh the costs.

Again, the Malaya experience provides

a useful illustration.

Once a solid leadership cadre for

the Malayan Police and army was trained the British were able to quickly reduce their military forces and turn the main burden of the conflict over to the Malayan army and police, assured that both the police and army had an officer cadre fully trained to the British standard.


confidence that, with solid leadership, the Malayan forces would be effective was fully justified.

The cost of

sending Malayan police and military officers to British professional programs and of setting up first rate officer schools in Malaya was quickly justified in the improved effectiveness of the Malayan security forces.

There were other benefits to the program. Malayan officers trained in the British schools had a strong credibility when they returned to the Malayan forces and passing 61

through the British schools became a requirement for rapid advancement.

Training a carefully selected group of

Malayan officers in the UK ensured that the future leaders of the military and police would be well-disposed to Britain and continue to maintain close links with the UK after independence.

If the goal of the US is to build a

democratic and stable Iraq, it would certainly be a long term advantage to have a large number of Iraqis in leadership positions who have lived in the US, directly experienced police and military operations in a democracy, and who had developed close personal ties in the US. financial costs would not be high.


The US schools and

programs already exist, and places could be found for a few dozen Iraqis a year without requiring any expansion or new infrastructure.

We are talking in terms of millions of

dollars, not billions.

The Malaya experience provides a good model of training the indigenous police leadership. In the early 1950s the UK had some of the best police training programs in the world, and the same level of training could not be replicated in Malaya.

In the UK police colleges the Malayan Police

officers were trained in the most modern investigative and forensic techniques, and then experienced modern police operations first hand during their required attachment to a UK county police force.

During their period with a UK

police force, Malayan officers were also able to see how the police operate in a democracy. Today, the larger US police forces, the FBI, and agencies of the Justice Department, offer a range of superb law enforcement training programs.

Police officers from Iraq, or from

other allied nations, could get a level of professional 62

training unavailable in a developing nation, and also get to see first hand how police forces function in a democracy.

As with setting up basic police training programs within a country, the Justice Department should be given the lead in managing a program to train a significant number of Iraqi and other allied nation mid-to senior level police officers.

Police leadership in counterinsurgency is an

exceptionally complex task, and officers trained in the New York City detectives’ course, or trained in an FBI course on organized crime, would be invaluable assets for a police force such as Iraq’s.

As with the military training

course, no new infrastructure is required and the primary cost would be to pay and maintain the foreign officers during a six to twelve month course in America.


Justice Department can train foreign police officers in its own schools, or contract with larger police departments to train officers in special courses.

A comprehensive foreign

police training program in the US would be extremely important in improving the effectiveness of a police force facing insurgency.

Moreover, training some of the police

leaders in the US supports the goal of helping democratize developing nations.

Incorporating Disaffected Ethnic Groups into the Security Forces

In both cases studied, the insurgency was concentrated within one highly disaffected ethnic group.

In cases, most

government and security force leaders commonly viewed the whole of the disaffected ethnic group as “the enemy” and 63

were reluctant to recruit security forces from among the disaffected groups, preferring to rely on the “trusted” ethnic groups.

In both cases, this approach alienated any

moderate or pro-government sentiment within the disaffected ethnic population.

In Malaya, Templer and Young understood that such an attitude was counterproductive in the long term.


considerable resistance from the Malay-dominated state governments and from within the British police leadership, Templer and Young made a concerted effort to reach out to elements of the Chinese population, personally consulting with Chinese associations and business groups to drum up Chinese recruits for the Malay Police and army.

Both set

goals for recruiting ethnic Chinese into the police and military.

Against the protests of the Malayan State

governments, Templer insisted on setting up a large number of Chinese home guard units as a means of giving trusted elements of the Chinese population a stake in their own security.

The effort to recruit Chinese into the Malayan

security forces paid off handsomely in both the short and long term.

In the short term, the hostility of the Chinese

community towards the Malay-dominated government was reduced, and this helped defeat the insurgency.

In the

long term, the Malayan Police came to be seen as an arm of the government that was above race and ethnicity as it was transformed from a virtually all-Malay force into a relatively well-integrated force.

During urban race riots

in the 1960s, the impartial approach of the Malaysian Police and its good relationship with the population made a big difference in quelling trouble with minimal violence.104


In Cyprus, Harding’s employment of untrained, poorly disciplined Turkish police auxiliaries against the Greeks, coupled with the threat of Turkish mobs unrestrained by the police, forced the whole Greek community to unite against the British.

Even the most moderate Greek Cypriots came to

see EOKA as the only defense against an abusive police force.

The British solution of employing indigenous

security forces from a hostile ethnic group proved counterproductive.

The British had a window of opportunity at the start of the insurgency in Cyprus to address the valid complaints of police pay and working conditions presented by the, then mostly Greek, police force.

By swift action and a program

to improve the lot of the policemen the British government would likely have retained the loyalty of many of the Greek police.

A more “Greek face” on the police force would have

certainly lessened the tensions between the British and Greek community and forestalled many of the later police abuses that undermined the British policy.

The ethnic problems at the core of the Malaya and Cyprus conflicts are clearly relevant to current US counterinsurgency dilemmas.

Most insurgencies the US and

its allies face today have a strong ethnic component (Iraq, Philippines, Afghanistan) and, given the tensions in developing nations today, this will certainly be a central issue in future insurgencies.

US counterinsurgency

doctrine needs to stress the requirement of seeking out moderate groups and factions within hostile, or potentially hostile, ethnic groups and ensure that places are found within all branches of the military and security forces for 65

their recruits.

Moreover, the US military should be

willing to use its aid and support programs as a lever to ensure that appropriate leadership positions in the security forces are given to members of disaffected ethnic groups, and withhold aid if host nation governments refuse to cooperate.

We can expect that policies to incorporate

disaffected ethnic groups into the military and police forces will become a major issue of contention and will be resisted by most host nation governments.

However, despite

the friction it will engender, furthering the inclusion of all major ethnic groups of a country in the security forces is worth the short term political price. Even moderate success in recruiting from disaffected ethnic groups provides an enormous payoff in terms of building the image of legitimacy of the security forces and in quieting the often legitimate fears of such ethnic groups per their relationship with the national government.

The Use of Home Guards in Counterinsurgency

The Malayan Campaign illustrates the important role irregular, part-time security forces can play in supporting the government campaign.

In Malaya, over 200,000 villagers

were eventually enrolled and organized into home guard units that served primarily to guard the villages at night. The home guards, with only basic arms and minimal equipment, were very useful in freeing up a large number of regular police and military personnel from basic security and guard duties which enabled the better-trained and equipped forces to concentrate on the complex operational tasks.


The Malaya case study provides a useful model of usefully employing militia and other irregular forces in counterinsurgency.

Templer took an eclectic mix of

loosely-organized local forces and quietly instituted some centralized control and supervision.

He brought in a team

of experienced officers and set up a district and state home guard organization with a small training center in each state.

The central home guard command issued

doctrine, training guidance and set standards.

The state

and district commands ensured that some rudimentary training was provided and that local commands performed to standard.

The efficiency of the home guards was improved

without sacrificing their local character.

One of the reasons the home guard program worked in Malaya was that the British did not demand too much from part time forces with minimal training.

The home guards were

responsible for only the most basic duties, usually guarding the villages at night or providing point security for mines and plantations.

With additional training, some

of the best home guards were able to provide supporting manpower for police patrols and operations.

However, at no

time were the home guards given a lead role in operations or assigned complex tasks.

When a nation is faced with instability and disorder, there is an inevitable response for local citizens to establish militias and irregular forces for their own security.


is politically unwise, perhaps even impossible, for any national government to ignore the issue of local militias which are based on the natural desire for local security. The issue is, therefore, controlling and managing the 67


General Templer’s program to organize the local

home guards offers a good doctrinal model for controlling the process and providing a useful outlet for local groups to participate in their own security.


There is relatively little written about the subject of police and counterinsurgency. On the British use of police there are several important works including: David Anderson and David Killingray, eds., Policing and Decolonisation: Politics, Nationalism and the Police, 1917-1965, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992. For an overview of the Malayan Police during the insurgency see: Government of Malaya, The Federation of Malaya and its Police, Kuala Lumpur: Government of Malaya, Dec. 1952. 2 In 1948 the Gurkha battalions in Malaya had an average of only 300 men. On Gurkha training and readiness in 1948 see: Raffi Gregorian, The British Army, the Gurkhas and Cold War Strategy in the Far East 1947-1954, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2002, pp. 46-50, 61. The poor state of training of the Gurkha units early in the campaign is documented in. J.P. Cross and Buddhiman Gurung, Gurkhas at War, London: Greenhill Books, 2002, pp. 190-191, 201, 203,209. 3 Gregorian, p. 56. 4 Anderson and Killingray, pp. 2-5. For details on police training and organization in the British Empire in the 1940s and 1950s see: Sir Charles Jeffries, The Colonial Police, London: Max Parrish, 1952. 5 British Documents on the End of Empire. Series B, Vol. 3, Malaya, Part 2. Ed. A.J. Stockwell, London: HMSO, 1995, Doc. CAB 129/48, “Malaya Cabinet Memo by Mr. Lyttelton” (Secretary for the Colonies) 20 November, 1951, pp. 318-348. 6 An account of this era comes from Derek Franklin, a young man of middle class background in 1953. After his two-years of national service in the army, he joined the Kenya Police during the Mau Mau rebellion when police officers were urgently needed. He received only a few weeks of training in the local language and conditions before being assigned to command a Kenya Police unit. His experience was fairly typical of the era. Franklin went on to serve in three other colonial police forces. See: Derek Franklin, A Pied Cloak: Memoirs of a Colonial Police Officer, London: Janus, 1996. 7 In 1949-1950 the Singapore Police reported that there was no coordinated system of training police personnel after they left basic training at the police depot. Young Papers, “Report of the Police Mission to Malaya,” March 1950; and “Singapore Police Force Organization,” June 1949, Rhodes House, Oxford University. 8 Young Papers, “Memo by Creech Jones on UK financial assistance to Malaya,” 8 June, 1949, pp. 102114. 9 A typical example of British operations in the early period was the North Malay Sub-District in which large unit operations in the second quarter of 1949 yielded one enemy kill and no captures or surrenders. See John A Nagl, Counterinsurgency Lessons From Malaya and Vietnam: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Westport: Praeger, 2002, p. 78. 10 Major Scott McMichael, A Historical Perspective on Light Infantry, Leavenworth: US Army Combat Studies Institute, Research Survey No. 6, 1987, p.125: see also Gregorian, pp. 61. 11 The difference in training between the early and later stages of the insurgency is dramatic. Later in the insurgency, whole units were put through the course. When the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment arrived in 1959 every company went through the full one-month course. See: Peter Denis and Jeffrey Grey, Emergency and Confrontation: Australian Military Operations in Malaya and Borneo 1950-1966, St.


Leonards, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 1996, pp. 151-152. A good description of the Jungle Warfare Centre curriculum is found in Richard Miers, Shoot to Kill, London: Faber and Faber, 1959, pp. 30-35 12 Anthony Short, The Communist Insurrection in Malaya 1948-1960, London: Frederick Muller, 1975, p. 138. In some units there was an informal training course in jungle warfare taught by Burma veterans. For a description of one such training program see: Arthur Campbell, Jungle Green, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1953, pp. 10-24. 13 Government Report, “Malaya: A Review of Development in 1952, Part I,” MSS British Empire 486 3/1. Rhodes House, Oxford University. 14 The Malayan Security Service was a small group, but could at least function as the nucleus of an expanded intelligence service. By the start of the insurgency the Malayan Security Service had complied brief dossiers on leading Chinese communists and other political figures. The Malayan Security Service also translated captured communist documents and manuals. Some of the records of the Malayan Security Service are found in the Rhodes House Centre for Imperial and Commonwealth History at Oxford University. See: MS Ind. Ocean S 254 Report: “Threat of Communism in Malaya and Singapore,” 26 June, 1947; and MSS Ind. Ocean S251/1948, “Malayan Security Service Supplement Number 10,” 1948, Rhodes House, Oxford University. 15 Richard Clutterbuck, Riot and Revolution in Singapore and Malaya 1945-1963, London: Faber and Faber, 1973, pp 178-179. 16 A.J. Stockwell, “Policing during the Malayan Emergency, 1948-60: Communism, Communalism and Decolonization”, pp. 105-125 in Policing and Decolonisation: Politics, Nationalism and the Police, 191765, eds David Anderson and David Killingray, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992, see pp. 107. 17 “The Situation in Malaya”, Cabinet Memo by Oliver Lyttelton, 20 Nov. 1951. CAB 129/48 in British Documents on the end of Empire, ed A.J. Stockwell, Series B, Vol. 3, Malaya, Part II, London: HMSO, 1995, pp. 310-347. 18 Karl Hack, Defence and Decolonisation in Southeast Asia: Britain, Malaya and Singapore 1941-1968, Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2001, pp. 110-111. 19 Gregorian pp. 63-64. 20 A good description of the home guards system is found in John McCuen, The Art of CounterRevolutionary Warfare, London Faber and Faber, 1966, pp. 159-160. 21 John Scurr, The Malayan Campaign 1948-60, London: Osprey, 1986, p. 22. 22 John Newsinger, British Counterinsurgency from Palestine to Northern Ireland, London: Palgrave, 2002, p. 48 23 Richard Stubbs, Hearts and Minds in Guerrilla Warfare; the Malayan Emergency 1948-1960, Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1989, pp 72-73. 24 Report of the Police Commission to Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, March 1950. Papers of Sir Arthur Young, Rhodes House, Oxford University. On the negative perception of the police by the public see Hack, p. 127. 25 On the Brigg’s Plan see Victor Purcell, Malaya: Communist or Free, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1954, p. 65. 26 See footnote 2. British Documents on the End of Empire. Malaya Part 2. CAB Papers 129/48 27 Ibid. British Defence Coordination Committee, 15 November 1951, CAB Papers, pp. 310-315. 28 Templer had a good background to lead a counterinsurgency campaign. He served in Palestine during the 1930s revolt, served as a division and corps commander in World War II and then as director of the British military government in Germany. Few in the British military had a similar civil/military background. On Templer’s background see John Cloake, Templer: Tiger of Malaya, London: Harrap, 1985. 29 Sir Arthur Young, “Malaya 1952: Narrative Report, 1967,” Young Papers, Rhodes House, Oxford University. 30 Letter, Sir Arthur Young to Hugh Fraser, Officer Administering the Government, Kuala Lumpur, December 22, 1951. Sir Arthur Young Papers, Rhodes House, Oxford University, MSS Brit. Emp. S.486. 31 Cloake, p. 234. 32 Government Report, “Malaya: A Review of Development in 1952, Part I” MSS British Empire 48, 3/1. Rhodes House, Oxford University, pp. 25, 31-32 33 Ibid. pp 32-34 34 Cloake, p. 246.



Cloake, p. 247 Young, “Malaya 1952: Narrative Report.” 37 Purcell, pp. 212-213 38 Hack, p.127 39 Young, “Malaya 1952: Narrative Report.” 40 Cloake, pp. 234-235. 41 Government Report, “Malaya: A Review of Development in 1952, Part I, MSS Brit Emp. 486, 3/1, Rhodes House, Oxford University, p. 34. 42 Nagl, p. 92 43 Sir Arthur Young, “A Review of Development in 1952, Part I,” Circa late 1952. Young Papers, Rhodes House, Oxford University, MSS Brit Emp. 486 3/1. p. 32. 44 Coates p. 43 45 Purcell, pp. 229-230 46 Gregorian pp 171-172. 47 Gregorian, p. 172 48 Purcell, p. 255. 49 Stockwell pp 114-117 50 Cloake, pp. 249-250. 51 “The Emergency in Malaya”, Army Quarterly, April 1954, pp. 46-65. 52 Coates pp 120-121. 53 Clutterbuck, pp. 179-180. 54 Nagl, cited p. 93. 55 Good overviews of Britain’s relationship with Cyprus and the origins of the insurgency are found in Robert Holland, Britain and the Revolt in Cyprus 1954-1959, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. For a good general history of the insurgency see Nancy Cranshaw, The Cyprus Revolt, London: Allen and Unwin, 1978; and Charles Foley and W.I. Scobie, The Struggle for Cyprus, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1975. 56 Leontios Ierodiakonou, The Cyprus Question, Stockholm: Almquist and Wiksell, 1971, p. 21. 57 Holland p. 32; Ierodiakonou pp 21-22 58 In 1954 the Colonial Minister, Henry Hopkinson, declared in Parliament that Britain would never agree to self determination for the people of Cyprus. Robert Holland, “Never, Never Land: British Colonial Policy in and the Roots of Violence in Cyprus, 1950-54,” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. XXI, No. 3, September 1993, pp. 148-175. See especially pp. 148, 153,154. 59 George Grivas, Guerrilla Warfare, Athens: Longmans, 1964, pp. 5-10. 60 Ibid. 61 Ibid. 62 David Anderson, “Policing and Communal Conflict: The Cyprus Emergency, 1954-1960,” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, September 1993, pp. 177-207. see especially pp. 182-183. 63 Cyprus Police Commission Report, March 1956, Doc. NA 378, Rhodes House, Oxford University, para 114. 64 Ibid. 65 Cyprus Police Commission Report, para 9 66 Ibid. para 10. 67 Anderson, “Policing and Communal Conflict”, p. 182. 68 Ibid para 29. 69 For a good view of the campaign from the insurgent viewpoint see The Memoirs of General Grivas, Charles Foley, ed. London: Longmans, 1964. Grivas provides considerable detail on how he subverted the police force. On the infiltration of the police see: Anderson, “Policing and Communal Conflict,” pp. 184185; Foley and Scobie, pp. 104-105. 70 Holland, Britain and the Revolt in Cyprus, p. 60 71 Anderson, “Policing and Communal Conflict,” p. 185. 72 Cyprus Police Commission Report, para 74. 73 Anderson, p. 191. 74 Holland, Britain and the Revolt in Cyprus, p. 80. 36



Ibid p. 100. Ibid p.60. 77 Anderson, p. 190. 78 Anderson pp. 194-197. 79 Anderson, p. 196. 80 Anderson p. 187. 81 Cyprus Police Commission Report, para 197. 82 Ibid paras 198-200. 83 Anderson, p. 190. 84 Cyprus Police Commission Report, paras 117, 136, 138. 85 Ibid paras 140, 149. 86 Ibid paras 103-106. 87 Nancy Cranshaw, p. 153. 88 Holland, Britain and the Revolt in Cyprus, p. 101. 89 Anderson p. 193. 90 Anderson p. 193 91 John Newsinger, pp. 97, 101; Charles Allen, The Savage Wars of Peace, London: Michael Joseph, 1990, 148-149; Charles Foley, Island in Revolt, London: Longmans, 1962, pp. 130-132. 92 Foley, p. 132. 93 David Anderson, “Policing and Communal Conflict: The Cyprus Emergency, 1954-60”, pp. 187-217 in Policing and Decolonisation. Politics, Nationalism and the Police, 1917-65, David Anderson and David Killingray eds. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992) p. 204. 94 Thomas Ehrlich, International Crises and the Role of Law. Cyprus 1958-1967, Oxford University Press, 1974, pp. 16-17. 95 Foley, p. 219. 96 Foley, pp. 140-141. 97 Holland, p. 210. 98 Purcell, pp. 93-94. As Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Harding irritated Templer in May 1953 with a premature announcement of success in Malaya, “Thanks to General Templer’s inspired leadership the battle against the terrorists was nearly won.” Purcell, pp. 93-94. 99 Several major studies published before the war and immediately after the fall of Baghdad assessed the Iraqi police as thoroughly corrupt and inefficient. See The Fund for Peace, Iraq as a Failed State, report #1, September 2003, and p.15. See also US Institute for Peace, Establishing the Rule of Law in Iraq, April 2003. http://www.U.S.ip.org/pubs/special reports/sr104.html.. Other articles and reports have noted the problems of poor leadership in the Iraqi Police: Tom Squitieri, “Long Way to go Before Iraqis Take Over Security”, USA Today, Dec. 14, 2004. When the police in Mosul came under attack in November 2004, ¾ of the 4,000 member force ran away. Most of the ICDC battalion in Mosul also ran, but not before looting their base of weapons and equipment. For a mid-2005 assessment see also Eric Schmitt, “Iraqis Not Ready to Fight Rebels on Their Own, U.S. Says”, New York Times, July 21, 2005. 100 US Army FM 3-07.22 Counterinsurgency, p. 3.5. One mission of the military police is to set up a host nation police academy. 101 Christine Spoler, “Iraqi Soldiers Deserting New Army”, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 9, 2003. See Mark Bowden, “When Officers Aren’t Gentlemen…” Wall Street Journal, February 8 2005, p. A-18. Eric Schmitt, “U.S. May Add Advisors to Aid Iraq’s Military”, New York Times, January 4, 2005. Eric Schmitt, “Iraqis Not Ready to Fight Rebels on Their Own, U.S. Says”, New York Times, July 21, 2005. 102 In the 2004-2005 academic year only one Iraqi officer attended the US Army Command and General Staff course at Ft. Leavenworth. In the 2005-2006 academic year there is again just one Iraqi officer. In December of 2004 there were only two Iraqi officers at the US Army Infantry Officers Advanced course. 103 Templer’s 1952 proposals to build an adequate Malayan Army required an extra British grant of 8 million pounds for 1953-1954. See John Coates, Suppressing Insurgency: An Analysis of the Malayan Emergency, 1948-1954, Boulder: Westview Press, 1992, pp. 121-122. 104 Ibid. 76