The Al Qaeda Network is a global insurgency; however, the United States and much of the western world continue to identify it as a “global terrorist organization.” This improper label misleads planners at both the strategy development level and the operational level. As a result, the national strategy and operational approach are not properly focused. By ignoring the fact that the Al Qaeda Network is a global insurgency using terrorist tactics, the U.S. limits its ability to develop a holistic solution to defeat and destroy, rather than simply disrupt, the network. The U.S. approach towards them must change from a counterterrorism-centric to a counterinsurgency-centric one. The new approach must: be centered on indirect methods, focus on Al Qaeda’s ideology, employ more aggressive diplomacy, increase diplomatic and developmental capacity, and establish a clear comprehensive strategy. This paper defines the nature of Al Qaeda, assesses the drawbacks of the current strategy, and proposes recommended methods to improve the United States’ approach to defeating them.