it's all area dependent. If I were to ask you, for example, to tell me how security is on our border, you would immediately recognize that while the general
scope of that question might be "good" or "bad" or "improving" or "worsening", the accurate
answer to that question is that it is too broad to answer properly. Security in some areas is worse or better than security in others. Texas is different from Wyoming. The trick with training local counterinsurgency forces is they have to be locals. This means that you have to have security in place long enough first
to see successful recruitment drives. Our first recruitment drive in Jubail, for example, was at the very beginning of our surge. Three of our recruits went missing the next day and we assumed they had gotten cold feet. Then we found their feet. They were in a park. Then we found their hands, and so on and so forth until we found their heads, in the courtyard of a mosque. A month later, after constant presence and 24-7 security provision, we held another recruitment drive in the neighboring precinct of Shuhada. No one disappeared, and we were able to put men to work in the training cycle. A month later with another month of constant 24/7 presence and security we had another drive in Nazal (Shuhada was immediately to the East of Jubail, Nazal was immediately to the North); and we got more volunteers than we could hire.
Now, that's a success speed that might not always be repeated - it's important to recognize that we had already been imposing a partial security solution for three months prior to, just by ourselves. It's also important to recognize the psychological impact of being unwilling to lose. Bing West (who is just about required reading for Marines who wish to fight a counterinsurgency) has an excellent book on the importance of this called The Strongest Tribe
. He points out that, when Bush responded to calls for withdrawal by instead approving the Surge, he demonstrated to the average Iraqi citizen that the Americans weren't a power that was going to disappear - we were a permanent part of the conflict, and we were the strongest member in it. Free to oppose AQI (which was no more popular than the Taliban) by depending on the provision of American Security, the tribes allied themselves with the "strongest" tribe -the American one. You simply don't win counterinsurgency without the support of the civilian populace, but they won't give it to you if they are convinced you will abandon the effort and them to the enemy. That's why artificial deadlines are so very, very, counterproductive.
which is a long way of saying, it's area dependent, population dependent, and the enemy gets' a vote as well. attempting to place a specific "it will be on this date" or "in this many months" will only hurt your own effort - and it will thus actually lengthen
the amount of time you need; because now you are also fighting against increased local skepticism of your willingness to remain true to your word that you will help and back them.