Paula Broadwell, a reserve Army officer who is doing a PhD at Harvard, made the point that the military needs to think more about using female soldiers and Marines in counterinsurgency operations. If the point of COIN is to reach out to the population, then female soldiers are likely to be able to better deal with the half of the population that also is female, she noted. I think this is especially true in Muslim societies, and also in other tradition-oriented cultures. Broadwell noted that some 200,000 U.S. military women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.