Victory Has a Thousand Fathers

Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Sources of Success in Counterinsurgency

Christopher Paul
Colin P. Clarke
Beth Grill
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 188
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  • Book Info
    Victory Has a Thousand Fathers
    Book Description:

    Insurgency is the most prevalent form of armed conflict and the subject of countless studies, yet the U.S. military has only recently begun to review doctrine and training in this area. An examination of approaches to counterinsurgency from 30 recent resolved campaigns reveals, for example, that good COIN practices tend to "run in packs" and that the balance of selected good and bad practices perfectly predicts the outcome of a conflict.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5078-6
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

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-xxvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    As the United States, China, Israel, India, Russia, and other countries seek to modernize their military forces and upgrade already potent weapon systems, the gap between conventional and unconventional forces will continue to widen. As a result of this growing disparity, insurgents, terrorists, and militias are likely to become an increasingly common foe.¹ Insurgency is a timeless mode of conflict and has taken many forms: independence movements during decolonization, ethnic/sectarian conflict, regional separatism, and resistance to occupation. We need look no further than contemporary operations to see the United States and its allies opposing insurgencies in both Iraq and Afghanistan....

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Cases
    (pp. 5-30)

    Thirty 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 30 cases. More extensive case-study details can be found in the accompanying volume,Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Detailed Counterinsurgency Case Studies

    The 30 insurgency cases were drawn from a larger list of historical insurgencies...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Testing the Approaches to Counterinsurgency
    (pp. 31-82)

    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.Counterinsurgencyis defined as “comprehensive civilian and military efforts taken to defeat an insurgency and to address any core grievances.”²...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Broader Findings
    (pp. 83-92)

    Chapter Three described and presented our tests of 20 approaches to COIN. This chapter describes and presents the results from analyses that considerpatterns of relationshipsbetween multiple factors and the outcomes of the cases. Three analyses are presented. First, with so many of the approaches 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 “good COIN practices run in packs” and that the balance of good versus bad COIN practices perfectly predicts the outcome in every case. From there, we then...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 93-100)

    This monograph employs data collected on 76 factors and three outcomes in 86 phases of the 30 most recent resolved COIN campaigns worldwide for a variety of quantitative analyses. One set of analyses tested the tenets of various approaches to COIN against the outcomes of actual COIN cases. Of the 20 (well, 21, since legitimacy is decomposed into two parts) approaches tested, 13 received strong evidentiary support, and two received some support from the evidence. We found strong evidence against three approaches (resettlement, “crush them,” and insurgent support), and three could not be tested because of a lack of variance...

  14. APPENDIX A Methods and Data
    (pp. 101-122)
  15. APPENDIX B Details of Qualitative Comparative Analysis
    (pp. 123-132)
  16. APPENDIX C Possible Criticisms of the Analyses and Response Commentary
    (pp. 133-146)
  17. References
    (pp. 147-152)
  18. SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL Matrix of Factors Representing 20 Approaches to COIN and Scorecard of Good Versus Bad COIN Practices and Factors
    (pp. 153-155)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 156-156)