Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Detailed Counterinsurgency Case Studies

Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Detailed Counterinsurgency Case Studies

Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Detailed Counterinsurgency Case Studies

Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Detailed Counterinsurgency Case Studies

Synopsis

Insurgency has been the most prevalent form of armed conflict since at least 1949, as well as the subject of countless historical and contemporary studies. Contemporary discourse on the subject is voluminous and often contentious, and to date there has been a dearth of actual evidence in support of the counterinsurgency (COIN) approaches, practices, and tenets that make for successful operations. A collection of the 30 most recent resolved insurgencies, covering the period 1978 to 2008 and a bank of 76 factors and approaches that helped or hindered the COIN force in each case and in each phase of each case supplement an analysis of historical and contemporary insurgencies, providing valuable lessons for U.S. engagement in and support for COIN operations. The cases are also broken down by phase, allowing an analysis of the progress of the COIN force on its way to victory or defeat. Each case includes a scorecard to associate these factors with the overall case outcome. A companion volume, Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Sources of Success in Counterinsurgency, describes the qualitative comparative approach, presents findings from the overall analyses, and explains the study's case selection and methodology. It also presents an overview and in-depth assessments of the key tenets, practices, and factors that feature prominently in successful COIN operations.

Excerpt

This research grew out of the sponsor’s desire to be able to evidence the historical contribution (or lack of contribution) of activities concordant with what is now referred to as strategic communication to the outcomes of counterinsurgency (COIN) campaigns. The method that the RAND Corporation proposed to answer this question—a combination of historical case studies and the qualitative comparative approach—was capable of answering a much broader set of questions about the contributions of a wider range of approaches to COIN with minimal additional effort. This research, then, reports on the demonstrated effectiveness of a variety of approaches to counterinsurgency (including strategic communication) through case studies of the world’s 30 most recent resolved insurgencies.

This monograph presents detailed case histories for each of the COIN campaigns examined in the analysis. A companion volume, Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Sources of Success in Counterinsurgency, describes the qualitative comparative approach, presents findings from the overall analyses, and explains the study’s case selection and methodology in more detail. It also presents an overview and in-depth assessments of the key approaches, practices, and factors that feature prominently in successful COIN operations. The full case data can be downloaded at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG964/.

Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, and Beth Grill, Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Sources of Success in Counterinsurgency, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, MG-964-OSD, 2010.

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