Countering Others' Insurgencies

Countering Others' Insurgencies: Understanding U.S. Small-Footprint Interventions in Local Context

Stephen Watts
Jason H. Campbell
Patrick B. Johnston
Sameer Lalwani
Sarah H. Bana
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 250
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  • Book Info
    Countering Others' Insurgencies
    Book Description:

    This report describes counterinsurgency strategies and practices and conditions in which U.S. “small-footprint” partnerships may succeed. Successful U.S. operations have been concentrated in favorable conditions, but most insurgencies occur in worst-case conditions. Case studies of the Philippines and Pakistan reinforce findings of the analysis and highlight challenges for the U.S. in trying to influence partners. Recommendations are offered for managing troubled partnerships.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8553-5
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    With the United States exhausted by more than a decade of war and facing severe fiscal limitations, decisionmakers are striving to place American defense policy on a more sustainable footing. Central to this effort is a commitment to work through partner nations wherever possible, providing support to countries with which the United States shares interests or values while also ensuring that the primary responsibility for these nations’ security remains their own. Thus the document that currently guides U.S. defense policy states:

    Building partnership capacity elsewhere in the world … remains important for sharing the costs and responsibilities of global leadership....

  10. CHAPTER TWO Counterinsurgency in Comparative Perspective
    (pp. 7-32)

    This study examines the strategies and practices that regimes adopt when fighting insurgencies. Other studies have examined the strategies and practices that counterinsurgents supposedlyshouldadopt, and still others have focused on how external powers can help to provide them the capabilities with which to conduct counterinsurgency. Surprisingly, few studies have systematically examined how regimesactually dopractice counterinsurgency.¹ Fewer still have assessed whether the capabilities the United States or other outside actors provide to these regimes are used in support of counterinsurgency models that are likely to produce the strategic effects desired by the regimes’ sponsors.

    The existing policy...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Quantitative Analysis of Counterinsurgency
    (pp. 33-62)

    In this chapter, we quantitatively assesses the extent of the relationship between regime characteristics and patterns of conflict termination and use of indiscriminate violence. More specifically, we use the simple statistical technique of cross-tabulation to assess the historical record of all the insurgencies that have taken place in the post–Cold War era—a total of 89 cases, of which 17 were ongoing as of 2008 (the last year in our dataset)¹—to examine the extent to which a regime’s political inclusivity, state capacity, and military superiority are associated with several key outcomes:

    Decisive war termination, including both government victories...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Counterinsurgency in the Philippines
    (pp. 63-110)

    The Philippines is often viewed by Americans as an archetypal counterinsurgency success story and the quintessential model for how effective partnerships can improve partner nations’ conduct of counterinsurgency. In the post-9/11 Philippines, U.S. non-combat support, primarily through a light-footprint advise-and-assist role, has contributed to the severe degradation of terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and insurgent groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    This chapter examines counterinsurgency in the Philippines and how the United States has influenced its course. It analyzes Philippine approaches to counterinsurgency from the early Marcos period in...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Counterinsurgency in Pakistan
    (pp. 111-172)

    Since its independence in 1947, Pakistan has faced numerous challenges from violent non-state actors. The number and intensity of internal conflicts began to escalate following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, particularly in the northwest regions of the country. The United States began to take an active interest in Pakistan’s approach to counterinsurgency at that time and especially after the Taliban resurgence beginning in approximately 2006. In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, U.S. officials expressed concern over Pakistan’s counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban and their foreign and al Qaeda affiliates operating in the northwest and tribal areas. According to...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Managing Troubled Partnerships
    (pp. 173-194)

    Successful light-footprint U.S. operations such as OEF-P in the Philippines and Plan Colombia have led many in the American defense community to argue that the United States will be able to protect its security interests in conflict-affected countries throughout the world through low-cost, indirect approaches. This report suggests that while such operations can indeed have positive effects, their prospects for success depend critically on the local context and especially on the characteristics of the counterinsurgent regime.

    Success stories of U.S.-counterinsurgent partnerships have occurred in countries characterized by relatively inclusive politics and reasonable levels of state capacity. The governments of such...

  15. APPENDIX Coding Notes
    (pp. 195-200)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 201-226)