It’s all About Trade-offs: Political Determinants of Victory in Irregular Wars
Victory in Irregular Wars is rarely a question of military capability alone. History and recent events offer examples of established governments who were defeated by insurgencies or rebels who, on paper, had far less military firepower and resources. Understanding this apparent paradox requires exploring the political dimensions of Irregular Wars. This study is an effort to generate a politically focused analytical tool which can help academics and practitioners understand how to best campaign plan for insurgencies and counter-insurgencies. This requires reducing a wide variety of political requirements into as few analytical categories as possible. This is done by framing insurgent/counter-insurgent policy decisions in terms of how well political leaders maximize a discrete set of organizational functions. The analytical tool is premised on the idea that the group, insurgent or counter-insurgent, who best optimizes this set of functions is best postured to win the Irregular War. To flesh out this analytical tool, I interviewed long serving members of the US Special Operations community. I chose this community because they are the only body of professionals with common training and doctrine focused on Irregular Warfare (the support or opposition of rebel groups). I asked these soldiers to provide qualitative feedback on nine proposed political factors and to then use these factors to grade the participants in multiple Irregular Wars. The results of this study suggest that these factors are interrelated and that the context of the Irregular War, i.e. the nature of each of the participants, determines how political leaders can best optimize their political capital to win the Irregular War.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Masters Theses
Works are deposited here by their authors, and represent their research and opinions, not that of Duke University. Some materials and descriptions may include offensive content. More info