Paths to Victory

Paths to Victory: Lessons from Modern Insurgencies

Christopher Paul
Colin P. Clarke
Beth Grill
Molly Dunigan
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Paths to Victory
    Book Description:

    Building on a 2010 RAND study of the 30 insurgencies begun and completed between 1978 and 2008, this study added 41 new cases to the data set, allowing comparisons across all 71 insurgencies begun and completed worldwide since World War II to distill the paths to victory. With many more cases to compare, the study was able to more rigorously test the previous findings and address several critical questions that the earlier study could not.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8341-8
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xvii-xxxvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxvii-xxxviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxix-xlii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Insurgency is a timeless mode of conflict and has taken many forms, including independence movements during decolonization, ethnic and sectarian conflict, regional separatism, and resistance to occupation. The United States has spent more than a decade opposing—and supporting indigenous operations in opposing—insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. In short, insurgency has been the most prevalent form of armed conflict since at least 1949, and it is not going away.¹When a country is threatened by an insurgency, which counterinsurgency (COIN) approaches give the government the best chance of prevailing?This is the principal line of inquiry addressed in this...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Cases
    (pp. 13-68)

    Seventy-one cases of insurgency form the empirical foundation for this research. This chapter begins by describing the process used to select the cases and to collect data for them, as well as how we determined whether the outcome of a case was a win or a loss for COIN forces. The bulk of the chapter, however, is devoted to brief summaries of each of the 71 cases. More extensive case-study details can be found in the accompanying volume,Paths to Victory: Detailed Insurgency Case Studies(for the 41 new cases), and in the previously published case-study volume,Victory Has a...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Considering the ʺRightʺ Cases: Identifying Relevant Subsamples
    (pp. 69-80)

    The goal of this research was to answer a range of questions about or related to the historical effectiveness of a variety of COIN concepts and associated practices. These are fundamentallycomparativequestions and are based on the assumption that the historical cases in which these different practices have been observed are comparable. Moreover, to make the results of such analyses of more than just historical interest, the historical cases must be comparable to likely future cases as well. This chapter argues that some of the 71 cases discussed in Chapter Two, while individually interesting, arenotgood comparisons with...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Testing Concepts for Counterinsurgency
    (pp. 81-138)

    Insurgency is a complex subset of warfare. Current U.S. doctrine definesinsurgencyas “the organized use of subversion or violence by a group or movement that seeks to overthrow or force change of a governing authority.”¹ Essentially, insurgency is an organized, protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken the control and legitimacy of an established government, occupying power, or other political authority while increasing insurgent control.

    The mirror image of insurgency is counterinsurgency, a combination of offensive, defensive, and stability operations. The doctrinal definition ofcounterinsurgencyis “comprehensive civilian and military efforts taken to defeat an insurgency and to address any...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Broader Findings
    (pp. 139-168)

    Chapter Four described and presented our tests of 24 concepts for COIN. This chapter describes and presents the results from other analyses. We begin by discussing thepatterns of relationshipsbetween multiple factors and the outcomes of the cases and present three analyses. First, with so many of the concepts identified in the previous chapter receiving strong support, we try to preliminarily identify which patterns of factors occur most often in COIN wins. Our findings show that the balance of good versus bad COIN practices discriminates the wins from the losses in all 59 core cases, and we present a...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Results for Motive-Focused, Iron Fist, and External-Actor Cases
    (pp. 169-178)

    This chapter presents results from some of the analyses in Chapters Four and Five for the iron fist versus motive-focused subpopulations and for the subpopulation of cases in which a major external actor provided COIN forces.

    Chapter Three described several subpopulations, including the division of the 59 core cases into 44 iron fist cases, in which COIN forces focused predominantly on kinetic action against active insurgents, and 15 motive-focused cases, in which the COIN forces’ primary focus was on reducing motives for participation and support. Where the efforts were substantially balanced between the two, we considered the case to be...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 179-192)

    This study employed data collected for 204 phases of 71 insurgencies begun and completed between WWII and 2010. Each case was supported by a detailed case narrative and also by quantitative data on nearly 300 individual factors. These analyses benefited considerably from including both quantitative and qualitative data and from being able to move back and forth between the two. The qualitative narratives frequently suggested new factors or hypotheses, which were then tested comparatively across cases using the quantitative data. Patterns that did not make sense in the quantitative analyses were explored in the detailed narratives, with the nuance from...

  16. APPENDIX A Methods and Data
    (pp. 193-216)
  17. APPENDIX B Details of Qualitative Comparative Analysis
    (pp. 217-222)
  18. APPENDIX C Details of Survival Analyses
    (pp. 223-234)
  19. APPENDIX D Key Findings from Victory Has a Thousand Fathers in Light of New Data and Analyses
    (pp. 235-250)
  20. APPENDIX E List of All Factors Scored for All Cases
    (pp. 251-268)
  21. APPENDIX F COIN Scorecard
    (pp. 269-272)
  22. APPENDIX G Scorecard Scores for the 59 Core Cases
    (pp. 273-276)
  23. References
    (pp. 277-286)