Department of Education
Graduate Research Management Office
Research Papers
Academic Year 2014


On Insurgency

by Anthony B. Aguilar MAJ, USA
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

How might Unified Action partners better understand the multifarious complexities of insurgencies? Practitioners must think more deeply about the arrangements, alliances, internal conflicts, ideologies, and parastatal relationships that emerge, morph and subside in an insurgency. Prevailing definitions are insufficient and military frameworks lend themselves to a false perception of a holistic understanding of intrastate conflict environments. Challenging this condition, this thesis argues that insurgencies are a diverse amalgamation of local and supralocal dynamics that shape the patterns of domestic and international politics and, therefore, require a new definition and a unique framework for analysis. This paper creates and develops the Insurgency Analysis framework, integrating cutting edge political science concepts, to facilitate the applied understanding of insurgency in a better way. To demonstrate the relevance, scalability, and contextual portability of this new framework, it is further applied to the ongoing insurgency in Nigeria. Furthermore, this new definition and new framework have institutional implications for Unified Action partners in that it assists in disaggregating the study of insurgency and accentuates the many complex factors one must consider with regard to policy formulation and collective action.

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Network Design Guidance for the Global Special Operations Network

by Marvin Anderson MAJ, USA; Jason Hartley, MAJ, U.S. Army; Raul Medrano, MAJ, U.S. Army
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

The current national security strategy calls for an increased reliance on relationships with diverse partners to address the challenges of the contemporary security environment. United States Special Operations Command is confronting these challenges with a Global Special Operations Forces (SOF) Network (GSN). The question is this: how should SOF develop social networks in support of the GSN? This study employs a mixed-methods research design to create a process model of social network design to aid SOF in the development of the GSN. The model consists of five composite factors: expertise (E), sensemaking (S), connection (C), action (A) and narrative (N). These five factors are interconnected and form a process model called ESCAN. The model is offered as a guide to assist SOF personnel in developing their social networks and building out the GSN.

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The United States Special Operations Command Civil Military Engagement Program – A Model for Military-Interagency Low Cost/Small Footprint Activities

by Bartos Brent M. COL, USA
Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia

Future threats to United States security vary from conventional state actors to unconventional forces, global terrorist groups, environmental challenges, and transnational criminal organizations (TCO). The threats continue to grow more dynamic and complex placing an enormous burden across the elements of national power. New venues must be employed to maintain global access, affirm commitments to allies and partners, and invest in capabilities that enhance national security interests abroad. The Civil Military Engagement (CME) program and that the activities of Civil Military Support Elements (CMSE) directly support the USSOCOM 2020 public diplomacy and interagency efforts to diminish and counter current and emerging challenges. The CME program bases its efforts on maintaining a low cost/small footprint persistent presence activity to facilitate continuous military and intergovernmental interaction, engagement with United States partner nation government entities, academia, and the non-governmental community through institutional and educational initiatives.

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Narratives, Policy, and Change: The Deconstruction and Reconstruction of U.S. Narratives in Syria

by Jeremy S. Bergin MAJ, USA
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

In the complex foreign policy domain, what a government says is as important as what a government does. This part of the policy formation is called a narrative. The narrative, in simple terms, describes the situation, provides context and meaning, and proposes a solution. Narratives can be found at all levels of discourse, but the relationship between narratives and their corresponding policy is complex. This thesis attempts to discern this relationship by reviewing the literature on policy narratives and policy change. To better understand this relationship, the author reviews the United States narrative and policy through a case study approach to the Syrian Civil War. In this case study, the Syrian policy narrative is reconstructed in three time periods; prior to the violent clash between Syrian security forces and protestors in March 2011; the time between the start of hostilities to the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons in August 2013; and from August 2013 through October 2014. This case study showed that there is a hierarchy to narratives consistent with the traditional view of the hierarchy of policy and strategy, as well as the importance of aligning the policy specific issue narrative to overarching narratives.

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Special Operations Liasion Officer: Looking Back To See The Future

by John Leitner MAJ, USA; Cory Bieganek MAJ, USA; Phillip Madsen MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) describes its vision for the global SOF network (GSN) as a globally networked force of special operations forces (SOF), interagency partners, and allies able to respond rapidly and persistently to regional contingencies and threats to stability. USSOCOM’s goals for the GSN are supported by three unique elements: capacity building, low-level presence, and the sum total of access agreements and posturing in the form of responsiveness. The command’s Special Operations Liaison Officer (SOLO) program embodies these three elements.

In a time of shrinking budgets and personnel drawdowns, USSOCOM and supported special operations component commands are faced with critical decisions about shaping their respective forces for the future. This capstone focuses on the United States Army Special Forces (SF) officers’ role in the SOLO program by utilizing a multimethod approach to address concerns presented by SOLO program managers.

To this end, we have presented three viable courses of action (COAs) for USSOCOM to pursue, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, for a renewed SOLO program. The COAs include: 1) enhancing the status quo, 2) capitalizing on historical lessons, and 3) aligning with current United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) initiatives. While current demands are significant, we can always look to our past to see our future.

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Improving Military Integration in Coalitions in Africa

by Jesse Chapin MAJ, USA; Lainis Thomas, MAJ, U.S. Army; Bjorn McAulay, Lieutenant Commander, German Army
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Given the enormity and complexity of Africa’s conflicts, the international community has realized that collaboration and strong coalition relationships can be much more effective in generating security and long-term stability than any one country’s individual efforts. Today, the international community is engaging these fragile states as international coalitions, using holistic approaches simultaneously to improve and build self-sufficiency across multiple sectors, including security, governance, economic, humanitarian aid, and human rights. This broader coalition approach is a departure from traditional military thinking of coalition operations. This thesis studies coalitions that are conducting long-term, holistic stability operations with the premise that, if the political and operational environments have changed and the coalition structure has changed, then it is reasonable to believe that the military’s system of integration and coordination must also change. Using case-study analysis and interviews, this thesis argues that militaries can be more effective in these modern coalitions by integrating their planning efforts directly into their countries’ country teams or delegations.

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Starting Point: A Proposed Framework For Unconventional Warfare Planning

by Patrick D. Collins MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Policy makers and military strategists should understand how to effect regime change in an unconventional warfare (UW) environment. With this understanding, campaign and operational strategies can be more accurately formulated. This thesis uses four historical case studies where successful regime change was implemented through UW and draws conclusions about essential components that can be used for future planning. A UW planning framework was developed, which consists of planning considerations, lines of effort and insurgent imperatives for success. The planning considerations that must be understood are the nature, strengths and vulnerabilities of the target regime, the level of insurgent influence and social ties to the population. The four critical lines of effort for planning and executing UW with the goal of regime change were identified as: psychological operations, intelligence operations, disruption operations and logistical support. These four lines of effort are effective at fostering the insurgent imperatives that are highly correlated with success: motivation and commitment, tangible support, flexibility and adaptability.

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The Long Game: A Strateic Analysis of Military Drawdowns

by Timothy A. Crane MAJ, USA
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

The study analyzes defense drawdowns in the context of national and military ends, ways, means, and risks, in order to provide viable solutions for future defense posture. Prudent drawdown measures can maintain a significant level of deterrence–whereas the disregard will lead to belligerent aggression. This study will focus on the drawdown of the US Military from 1945 to the present and determine what lessons can be applied to today’s strategic environment. With the gap between the current and desired environment identified, the purpose of this study is to determine a logical application of defense capabilities as an element of national power during the drawdown after the Global War on Terror. The results of this study suggest a force construct solution that includes the capabilities and requisite authorities necessary for increased conventional and special operations force interdependence through whole of government interoperability to shape the current environment through building partner capacity in order to prevent future conflict.

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Special Operations: The “Smart” Choice for Foreign Policy

by Robert A.B. Curris LTC, USA
United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA

The use of DOD, specifically Special Operations, in the implementation of Foreign Policy for areas not in conflict. This will demonstrate how SOF is used as part of a greater soft power apparatus in regard to foreign policy endeavors. Members of the national security staff, the state department and members of congress have been hesitant to allow DOD to operate in countries of concern but not necessarily in conflict. I argue that the trend of limiting shaping activities such as network building, train and equip, or MISO which are seen as too risky or too politically sensitive, has the effect of limiting military options later. By allowing SOF, to utilize Special Warfare principles supporting Prevent, Shape and Win methodology early in countries of concern can prevent future conflicts.

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Implementing the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Much Reorganization Required

by Richard F. Drew LTC, ARNG
United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA

In 2011, President Obama signed the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, yet three years later no federal department or agency has been designated to lead in the implementation of that strategy. The strategy effectively outlines the scale of the threat and states that these dangerous criminal organizations currently continue to expand their operations and influence, threatening the stability of legitimate governments as well as international order. Without a designated lead organization and a clear implementation plan the strategy will continue to rely on a collection of separate United States government agencies and departments, each with its own bureaucratic challenges, to execute planning and operations against constantly adapting transnational criminal organizations. The Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime requires a single organization to lead in the in the synchronization and prioritization of the fight against the thoroughly networked and organizationally agile transnational criminal organizations.

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Unconventional Cyber Warfare: Cyber Opportunities in Unconventional Warfare

by Christopher R. Eidman MAJ, USA; Gregory Scott Green MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Given the current evolution of warfare, the rise of non-state actors and rogue states, in conjunction with the wide availability and relative parity of information technology, the U.S. will need to examine new and innovative ways to modernize its irregular warfare fighting capabilities. Within its irregular warfare capabilities, the U.S. will need to identify effective doctrine and strategies to leverage its tactical and technical advantages in the conduct of unconventional warfare. Rather than take a traditional approach to achieve unconventional warfare objectives via conventional means, this thesis proposes that unconventional warfare can evolve to achieve greater successes using the process of unconventional cyber warfare.

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Just War Theory and Presidential Discourse Prior to Conflict

by Bradley M. Fisher LTC, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

The purpose of this monograph is to examine how national interest, national security interest, and the jus ad bellum principles of the just war tradition factor into the rhetoric of US presidents in their national addresses prior to US intervention and war. The method used in this monograph is a structured focused comparison utilizing seven research questions applied to five case studies from 1983 to 2013 and spanning five different US presidential administrations. The monograph contains analyses of the arguments of five different US presidents in their national addresses prior to US military action in Grenada, The Gulf War, Bosnia, and The Iraq War. The monograph utilizes Syria as a least likely case due to the fact that US military ground forces did not intervene there. The monograph finds that from 1983 to the present, the lexicon of the just war tradition’s jus ad bellum principles has increasingly been used by US presidents to justify military intervention and war worldwide. The monograph finds that the least likely case, Syria, actually presents the strongest national interest, national security interest, and jus ad bellum arguments for intervention when no intervention took place. The monograph’s thesis, that just war theory provides a convenient means for US presidents to justify armed conflict and intervention in the absence of true national security threats is partly supported, with national interest and national security interest arguments having a larger role in Presidential discourse prior to conflict than the author originally anticipated.

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Phase Zero Insurgency Assessments

by Michael B. Fogarty MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

This monograph studies the question of how military planners should assess insurgencies prior to the commitment to major military operations. It reviews three assessment methodologies - the Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework, the Guide for the Analysis of Insurgency, and the Army Design Methodology - and then employs each tool against a set of three insurgent case studies. Finally, the study draws conclusions about the applicability of each approach to the basic question, and recommends that when time permits, a specific blended approach should be used.

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The Al-Hiraak Movement In Yemen: A Study of the Implications of Federalization on a Secession Movement

by Thomas M. Garvey MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

This monograph examines the growth of the Al-Hiraak secession movement in Yemen in order to examine how the movement may evolve when Yemen adopts a federal system. By examining the variables that led to the development of Al-Hiraak, it becomes clear that the interaction between the movement and the government of Yemen played the largest role in its development and demands. Utilizing elements of social movement theory, in particular the variables outlined in contentious politics, a case study of the Al-Hiraak movement indicates the significance of repression and cooptation in the history of the movement. These variables provide some ability to predict how the movement will evolve once the federal system is in place. They also allow for some extrapolation about the future of the struggle against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen. As the federal system will assuage most of the grievances advanced by the Al-Hiraak movement, it is likely to significantly reduce the political strife and dissonance that AQAP capitalized on to establish a foothold in the Yemeni population.

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Sexy Is What You Make It: Organizational Culture And U.S. Army Special Forces

by David L. Hawk MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

The U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) are the most highly trained, best equipped, and most seasoned soldiers to which the United States can turn to achieve national security objectives. The future, however, will require more indirect application of SF, through special warfare operations (e.g., UW, FID, etc.), in a host of hostile and undefined areas around the globe. This manner of employment is a change in emphasis from the direct combat operations that have been the norm over the past decade of war. In order to prepare adequately for future indirect operations, SF must change the focus of its training. Expertise in non-lethal skills will become an increasing requirement for mission success. This research, however, has identified a roadblock to such an endeavor. An informal organizational culture has developed in SF that focuses greatly on building the lethal skill sets over the non-lethal ones.

Through analysis of survey data, this research diagnoses the condition of the overarching organizational culture of the SF Groups. It also identifies various aspects of that culture at the Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA) level, that hinder SF’s ability to perform optimally. This study provides recommendations for correcting the shortcomings of the current dominant organizational culture to support the indirect method that will bring future operational successes.

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By, With, and Through: The Theory and Practice of Special Operations Capacity-Building

by Heisler Anthony F. MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California

This thesis presents a theory of how U.S. special operations forces (USSOF) build partner capacity. Building partner capacity (BPC) is a cornerstone of America’s post-9/11 security strategy and a signature mission of USSOF. However, USSOF lacks a theory that articulates how capacity is built or the keys to its success. This thesis explores BPC from the top down, through national security documents, doctrine, and case studies. It identifies that BPC is not a single act, but rather a series of tactical, operational, and strategic engagements carried out over an extended period of time in a dynamic and unpredictable partnership environment. The partnership environment is the aggregate of factors and conditions that influence the partnership and ultimately bound capacity-building potential. Given these antecedent conditions, USSOF requires a BPC enterprise to provide the continuous synchronization, vertically from the policy level to the tactical level and horizontally with the partner nation, to ensure the right skills and equipment arrive in the right place, at the right time, for the duration necessary to achieve the capacity-building objective. This thesis constructs and examines the BPC enterprise, the actors that can bring it to life, and offers seven principles likely to be associated with capacity-building success.

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Peacekeeping in the Congo, 1999-2001: Success or Failure?

by Kyle D. Henson MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

The Second Congo War caused an estimated 5.4 million war-related deaths. The conflict was a complex mixture of ethnic violence and economic exploitation that in many ways still continues today. The belligerent nations attempted to establish a peace process. The United Nations (UN) Security Council authorized the United Nations Mission to the Congo (MONUC) in 1999 to assist in the peace process. The results of the mission have been unimpressive and have failed to stop the fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Recently, the UN authorized another UN Intervention Force with a new mandate to disarm rebel groups inside the DRC. The question is whether the new mandate will be any more successful that those of the past? Assessing the prospects of the UN intervention force essentially requires determining why the previous MONUC efforts failed and whether the new mission will change the factors that led to failure. To determine why MONUC was not able to stop the fighting in the DRC required analysis of three different aspects of the conflict: the social and economic circumstances of the conflict, the ceasefire and peace enforcement agreements, and the application of peace operation fundamentals. The social and economic circumstances surrounding the conflict created obstacles to efforts to stop the fighting, and increased the incentive for some nations to continue the conflict. The frameworks of the Lusaka Cease Fire Agreement and the Security Council resolutions that mandated the MONUC mission did not provide the appropriate authority to put a stop to the fighting. Additionally, the mandates and legal frameworks did not address some of the fundamental issues related to disarmament, demilitarization, and reintegration and peace operations that enable a peacekeeping force to succeed. Regional political rivalries, ethnic violence, ungoverned armed rebel groups, and lucrative economic incentives all worked together to prevent the end of the conflict in the DRC. The insufficient mandates and resources prevented MONUC from stopping the fighting in the DRC. The inability of MONUC to actively disarm the armed rebel groups enabled the conflict to continue. Now that the UN force has been authorized to use force to disarm the rebels, the prospects for ending the fighting are better than ever before.

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US Special Forces: Culture Warriors

by Joshua L. Hill MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) are consistently called upon to work by, with, and through indigenous forces to conduct special warfare. Current SF doctrine reflects an increasing desire for SF operators to be culturally proficient in order to work closely with locals, advise foreign militaries, and build relationships with host-nation counterparts. Despite the doctrinal emphasis on cultural proficiency, SF doctrine offers little concrete direction as to how to become culturally competent, or how to measure levels of cultural proficiency. This thesis aims to provide insights into cultural competency by investigating academic literature surrounding culture, and by looking outside of SF at examples of cross-cultural competency from historic cases: the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II, Military Transition Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the McDonald’s restaurant franchise. By looking at historical examples of military operations and international businesses, SF can gain insight into the best practices and common pitfalls that come from working with foreign cultures. This thesis finds that cultural proficiency can be increased by following the best practices of the McDonald’s Corporation and the OSS, and by placing top-down emphasis on cultural training and normalizing that training at the tactical level.

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The Civilian Irregular Defense Group: Behind the Decision to Change Operational Control

by Sean P. Hoey MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

This study examines the decision process that led to the change of operational control of the CIDG program in Vietnam from the CIA to the MACV under Operation Switchback. The method of analysis includes discussion of the mechanics of the NSC and JCS, the changes wrought by the Kennedy Administration, the effects of the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis upon the administration’s view of the military leadership of the time, and the practical implications of administering the CIDG program that occurred within this atmosphere that led to the change. The study shows that the effect of these actions was the loss of the only Pacification force designed and trained to conduct missions with indigenous personnel until the institution of the CORDS program in 1967 and the creation of RF/PFs. The study demonstrates that the decision to change operational control of the program was clearly grounded in interpersonal biases between senior civilian and military leadership rather than measures of military effectiveness.

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Influence Operations in Insurgencies: Identifying Framing Strategies for Special Warfare

by Clifford T. Howard MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

As the United States continues to extend its global reach while simultaneously reducing the size of its military force, unconventional methods must be employed in order to achieve U.S. national objectives. Further, as the global environment consists of increased conflict involving non-state actors and multinational insurgencies, a greater understanding of the motives, grievances, and methods employed to express those motives is required. The purpose of this research is to assess quantitatively whether there is a significant relationship between motivation of an insurgent group, and the effectiveness of the insurgency. To that end, this research utilizes existing databases and open-source information, limiting the parameters to conflicts between non-state actors versus state actors. This thesis begins by examining the existing literature in order to understand the rise of movements and violence, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. The research further attempts to determine whether methods employed by an insurgent group or the introduction of an external actor, such as a foreign state or non-governmental organization, have an impact on the likelihood of success.

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Buying Influence: The Relationship of Incentives and Values

by Michael T. Hutchinson MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Governments and their respective armed forces are in the business of influencing human behavior. Whether attempting to force compliance with a policy objective, enforce conformity to established norms, or convert a value system to match their own, political and military leaders employ a variety of covert and overt means to persuade a target audience to modify its behavior. Providing incentives, financial or otherwise, is one of the most prevalent means of influence, yet conventional wisdom holds that allies can be rented, but never bought. This thesis seeks to analyze whether human behavior can be reliably purchased, and if so, whether such a relationship can transcend bribed compliance. An analysis of prevailing economic and psychological theories suggests an interesting, dynamic relationship between incentives and intrinsic values—some scholars claiming that extrinsic reward is harmful to motivation, others suggesting the opposite. A case study of recent stability operations in Afghanistan highlights how incentives can reinforce a rapid transformation in intrinsic values. A series of vignettes contained within the case study suggests that intrinsic values are not as immutable as one might presume, and that extrinsic reward can rapidly transform them in a confused or fragmented system.

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All Those Who Remained: The American-Led Guerillas in the Philippines, 1942-1945

by Grant E. Jerry MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, American and Filipino soldiers behind enemy lines, and some civilians, formed guerilla groups to oppose the Japanese forces. The guerillas supported the eventual US liberation of the Philippines. The Luzon Guerilla Area Forces, the US Forces in the Philippines-North Luzon, and the East Central Luzon Guerilla Area forces directly supported the US liberation of the island of Luzon through all phases of the campaign. This monograph evaluates the effectiveness of these American-led guerilla groups in supporting the US liberation of Luzon. The analysis of guerilla efforts is in four areas: the development of intelligence to support the US landings on Luzon, the continued support of the Filipino civilian populace for a US return, operations behind Japanese lines to disrupt lines of communication and supply activities, and the integration of guerilla units into US formations during major combat operations during the re-conquest.

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Sensemaking of Narratives: Informing the Capabilities Development Process

by Anthony Keller MAJ, USA; Hong Choe MAJ, USA; Victor Diaz MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

This capstone project determines whether sensemaking of soldier narratives can inform the Department of Defense‘s (DOD) capability development process (CDP). Sensemaking is the process of creating awareness and understanding in situations of high complexity or uncertainty. The authors gathered service member narratives concerning their use of fielded equipment, which created metadata for both quantitative and qualitative research and analysis. This capstone compares results from sensemaking of narratives with results from the Warfighter Technology Tradespace Methodology (WTTM), a system designed for the rapid fielding of equipment for small forward operating bases (FOBs) and combat outposts (COPs). The capstone finds that 1) soldier narratives inform the fielding process by providing an additional layer of meaning and context, and 2) soldier narratives do not replace current feedback mechanisms; rather, they play a complementary role. This capstone finds that narratives as a feedback mechanism can be applied during operational testing of newly developed or fielded equipment for the DOD‘s CDP.

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COREnet: The Fusion of Social Network Analysis and Target Audience Analysis

by Carla Kiernan MAJ, USA; William Orkins MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

The purpose of this capstone is to highlight and explain how the target audience analysis (TAA) process can be enhanced by incorporating aspects of influence theory, social movement theory (SMT) and social network analysis (SNA). While a large body of literature addresses influence theory, SMT and SNA, little has been written within military information support operations (MISO) doctrine recognizing SNA in the analytical process. This capstone creates a method to apply SNA, SMT, and influence theory to existing MISO doctrine while also developing a scalable web-based application that assists with visualizing and analyzing open source data to draw meaningful conclusions and assist decision making on given operational problem sets. The web-based interface, COREnet, is a high fidelity prototype derived completely from open- source technology. The examples utilized are from a 2006 data set of an Indonesian terrorist network to demonstrate how SNA can be fully integrated into the TAA process.

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Interagency Integration in Phase “Z”

by Brian A. Kunihiro MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

The United States emphasizes a whole-of-government approach to protect its national security interests. The whole-of-government approach requires that multiple US government agencies work together to ensure their individual actions link to a unified effort to achieve common objectives. This unified effort often occurs in places where the United States is not at war because most places in the world are typically in their steady state. When international tensions rise and threaten US national security, then the United States might choose to use military force or threaten to use military force in hopes of lowering that tension. As long as conflicts abroad remain below the threshold of committing conventional US military forces to a region—as one finds in phases one through five of the US joint operations model—then the US military remains in Phase Zero in that region of the world. Given that the United States is most often in Phase Zero, or involved in a unified effort short of war, the United States must closely examine the effectiveness of the current interagency system during this phase. Not only is interagency integration in Phase Zero worth examining because the United States is most often in Phase Zero abroad, but there are certain conditions within Phase Zero that inherently lead to more friction in the interagency process. The conditions in the Horn of Africa (HOA) in 2006 was one particular instance that caused friction between the commander of Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) – HOA and the Chief of Mission (COM)-Nairobi. This case study highlights conditions in Phase Zero that inherently lead to interagency friction due to an insufficient national security structure. The recommendations to improve interagency action divide into levels of political feasibility. Some solutions are difficult to implement because they require modifications to the national security system. A politically feasible solution is one that does not require any national security reform and is a concept that is already in practice within the interagency realm.

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On Insurgency

by Chad P. Lewis MAJ, USA
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

Post-war Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains a volatile nation of competing factions and unresolved conflicts. DRC’s weak central government, poor economy, and limited combat power prevent a swift solution to a conflict fueled by ethnic marginalization, armed groups, and international interference. The U.S. Army has successfully employed Special Operations Forces (SOF) to support stability efforts in similar environments. From 1961 to 1971, the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) program in Vietnam focused on reconciling the Montagnard minority to support the South Vietnamese government against a Viet Cong insurgency. Building on the lessons from that conflict, Army planners developed a bottom-up solution in Afghanistan to support the overall counterinsurgency effort. From 2010 to the present, SOF in Afghanistan have employed Village Stability Operations (VSO) focused on the rural populations in areas critical to the Taliban insurgency. This research explores the results and principles of the CIDG and VSO programs to determine the validity of a similar approach in DRC. It concludes that a VSO model, discerningly employed, provides an opportunity to promote lasting stability, specifically where other efforts have failed.

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A North Korean Social Revolution in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

by James R. Mallicoat MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) regime has increasingly become a global threat since the end of the Korean War. Their nuclear arms violations and human rights infringements have drawn the concern of the international community. The closed economy, tightly-controlled international borders, and indoctrinated population make it extremely difficult for the international community to influence or persuade the regime in Pyongyang to cease its problematic behavior. To change the government of the DPRK, North Koreans must remove the regime, and the most feasible way is to remove it from within. North Koreans are so heavily indoctrinated ideologically that it would be impractical to attempt to coerce them to reject it and oust their leader, whose reign rests on the direct lineage of the “father” of the DPRK. North Koreans lack the knowledge, skill, and reason to revolt against the DPRK regime, but a select group of North Korean defectors and the assistance of a special operations element could facilitate a social revolution through the means of unconventional warfare. In the event of a social revolution gaining popularity and becoming effective in the removal of the DPRK regime, several states with different political and economic goals would likely conduct unconventional warfare (UW) in support of that particular state’s interest. This research explores ways special operations forces could remove the DPRK regime by way of unconventional warfare through an existing resistance element. This is not to imply that the US is planning or would conduct such operations; it is only meant as a way of offering a look at what such operations – conducted by any external actor – might look like.

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Interdependence: A Requirement for Success

by Charles J. Masaracchia COL, USA
United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA

Since the declaration of the Global War on Terrorism in 2001, the United States military has been forced to adapt in order to respond to the broad suite of hybrid threats to national security. Over the course of the last twelve years of conflict, the United States military has had to leverage elements of national power that were previously unrealized. Given perhaps the most advanced weapons and unprecedented access to other agencies, the American military has evolved to become an organization that must be capable of addressing the challenges presented by terrorism, criminal gangs and insurgency, in addition to the more familiar threats associated with standing armies and nation states. In an effort to meet these threats a new approach is required. This solution is dependent upon successfully leveraging all elements of Unified Action Partners, defined as our conventional forces (CF), special operations forces (SOF), and interagency partners (IA), in tandem with support from host nation and allied partners. This paper will address the future requirement for successful interdependence as well as lessons taken from the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The Marshall Plan as Strategic Analogy: Implications for Post-Conflict Reconstruction Planning

by Jedediah J. Medlin MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

This monograph examines the use of the Marshall Plan as a strategic analogy for successful post-conflict success. It details what the Marshall Plan really was, what it accomplished, and how it did so in post-World War II Western Europe. In doing so, this research extracts five contextual variables that contributed to the Marshall Plan’s success in Western Europe and applies them to recent post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan to determine the utility of the Marshall Plan as a strategic analogy for post-conflict success. This monograph concludes that the Marshall Plan analogy has been poorly applied creating troubling implications for phases IV (Stabilize) and V (Enable Civil Authority) operational planners. Planners must recognize the use of strategic analogy, understand its potential implications when used as a form of strategic guidance, see through analogy to seek the best understanding possible of the context they face, and develop a solution to future post-conflict operations that accounts for such context.

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Logistical Support in Unconventional Warfare Operations

by Richard L. Menhart COL, USA
United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA

Unconventional Warfare (UW) was the first mission assigned to United States Army Special Forces when they were formed in 1952. The Unconventional Warfare mission assumes that SOF forces will work with guerrillas in another country and possibly with other allies. A critical weakness or seam in United States war fighting doctrine and capability has been in the area of Unconventional Warfare logistics support. This research project will look at the logistics support of unconventional warfare and the planner’s ability to understand the types, sequence, and scale of likely support requirements and how they apply to UW operational logistical planning. UW is distinctive for the challenge it presents to the logistical planner and support personnel, in being able to provide low visibility logistics support on a potentially large scale. UW logistics is differentiated from conventional logistics primarily by the diversity and complexity of both the risks and constraints faced. The scale and diversity of potential support requirements, the complexity of operational risks, and the need to operate in non-permissive environments impose constraints on UW networks well beyond those faced in conventional or standard DOD logistics enterprise systems.

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Shifting Focus: Assessing the Role of U.S. Army Special Forces in the Counterproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

by Craig W. Milliron MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

The role of U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) in the counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has been minimal in recent years. As globalization leads to increased ability of both states and non-state actors to acquire WMDs, the efforts of Army SF should increase accordingly. Focusing on nuclear weapons, this thesis argues that Army SF elements are ideally positioned to contribute to the counterproliferation mission through the use of the global special operations forces (SOF) network. Utilizing the regional expertise of Army SF and its network of foreign military and government contacts achieved through years of sustained relationships, it serves as an ideal opportunity for strengthening counterproliferation capabilities across the world. Rather than focusing exclusively on the interdiction of WMDs by specialized SOF elements, this thesis recommends shifting to Phase Zero—before WMDs are present—with a focus on building partner capacity to combat WMDs. It examines the adaptation of existing Army SF programs and authorities in order to focus them on WMD and compares this to Army SF augmenting existing non-SOF counterproliferation programs. Finally, it explains how these missions can build relationships within the global SOF network for future operations against proliferators and lead to improved international security.

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Preventing War: Special Operations Engagement in Support of Security Sector Reform

by Charles Moores MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

During a time of increased regional conflicts and global instability, US Security Sector Reform (SSR) applies a whole of government approach to strengthen host nation (HN) governments and security forces to decrease sources of instability. Significant to the Department of Defense’s effort in support of SSR, is special operations engagement with HN security forces. This study analyzes recent special operations engagement in Mali and the Philippines. Through that analysis, enduring engagement, special operation engagement campaigns, unity of effort, Theater Special Operations Command (TSOC) forward commands, and HN partner selection are key identified engagement planning considerations. A review of current special operation campaigns and initiatives highlight opportunities for TSOCs to implement these considerations though special operation engagement campaigns.

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Risky Business: Risk Tolerance in U.S. Army Special Forces

by Brian G. Mulhern MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

This research looks at the issue of risk tolerance, and analyzes its role in U.S. Army Special Forces (SF). More specifically, it assesses the degree to which senior members of an organization allow junior members to make autonomous decisions, and argues that the unconventional warfare (UW) mission and nature of SF call for a higher degree of risk tolerance than is seen in conventional forces.

A longitudinal case study of the conflict in Afghanistan shows that in 2001 SF had a “long leash” to allow for autonomy and flexibility, which was necessary to succeed in a UW environment. However, by 2006, the leash was shortened and more control measures were implemented. While a “short leash” may be appropriate for a conventional battlefield, it adversely impacts SF effectiveness in a UW environment.

The three main reasons that induce risk aversion in SF leaders are exogenous political factors, organizational considerations including chain of command, and organizational culture, which is reinforced by the current Army officer evaluation system. This analysis suggests that the deleterious impact of these factors needs to be addressed in SF.

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Integrating Special Operations Forces Operational Design and Joint Doctrine

by Mark T. Newdigate MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

This monograph conducts a comparative analysis of current operational design doctrine and recent publications that reflect an evolution of operational design unique to special operations. The focus is on the relevance of a unique operational design methodology for use in special operations. The study finds that the creation of an operational design methodology unique to Special Operations Forces (SOF) complicates efforts to conduct joint and combined integrated planning. In particular, the USASOC Planner’s Handbook for SOF Operational Design offers an alternative approach to operational design, but does not represent an evolution specific to special operations. Future developments of a USASOC planner’s handbook on operational design should nest with the methodology and concepts found in Joint and Army doctrine. The implementation of a SOF Operational Design methodology unique to special operations and differing from current Army and Joint doctrine does not support the unity of effort needed for total force integration. However, the Army should recognize the value in the recent efforts on SOF Operational Design and consider the applicability of design considerations related to limited war and shaping operations in future revisions of design doctrine while maintaining utility throughout Unified Land Operations.

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Combating Conflict Related Sexual Violence: More than a Stability Concern

by Kelly J.Pajak MAJ, USA
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

The common argument for military actors to protect civilians from conflict related sexual violence has been firmly situated in human rights, gender issues, and a responsibility to provide safety and security to civilians for stability. But what military utility does conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) give to an opponent enabling them to wage conflict and achieve military aims? This study examines the existing U.S. military framework on CRSV and analyzes policy and military doctrine associated with conflict related sexual violence. I apply abductive reasoning to the best explanation for CRSV, and military planning methodologies to identify the military utility CRSV provides to an adversary. I propose that commanders and staff approach combating CRSV as a way to weaken or defeat an adversary who uses CRSV as part of their strategy. By incorporating work that has already been done by other concerned international actors in developing training and strategy, I recommend tactics, training, doctrine and strategies should be developed for the U.S. military.

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Designing Collaboration: How to Prepare SOF Augmentation Teams for Assignment to a U.S. Embassy Country Team

by Austin M. Jackson Lt Cdr, USN; Joshua A. Pusillo MAJ, USA; Steven A. Smith MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

This project delivers an immediately implementable and replicable method for improving collaboration in this nation’s most complex interagency environment, the United States embassy (USEMB). This method allows multidisciplinary teams to create a self-organizing collaborative system in the country team to address difficult problems within the constraints of exiting manning, authorities, and appropriations. The modular and scalable methodology described in this project allows Special Operations Forces (SOF) teams working in embassies around the world to maximize their operational effectiveness by improving collaboration within the country team.

The goal of this project is to move beyond policy debates regarding interagency collaboration and explain how SOF are capable of pioneering a responsive system to improve collaboration within the USEMB country team. Applying a design thinking methodology, we observed country team interactions and other interagency collaborative efforts to develop a concept for SOF augmentation teams to improve collaboration within the USEMB country team. We deliver guidelines and a methodology for SOF augmentation teams to facilitate the development of a collaborative country team capable of solving complex issues.

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Assessing Israeli Military Effectiveness

by Quinn Matthew MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

At face value, one could look at the results achieved by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) over time, dating back from 1967 to present, and make the assumption that the IDF has not been able to consistently sustain the ability to achieve decisive military success as it did during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. If this is the case, is it due to a decline in IDF military effectiveness? If so, what are the factors that led to this development? This thesis argues that the presence or absence of effective combined-arms, maneuver warfare determined whether the IDF achieved military effectiveness during the varying types of conflict in which it has been a participant over the past five decades. This is an important lesson for the United States military as it confronts a similarly uncertain threat environment that may include a range of challenges spanning high-intensity warfare, hybrid warfare, cyber conflict and other low-intensity conflicts. Understanding how a single organization can maintain effectiveness across a range of missions by maintaining combined-arms maneuver warfare at both the operational and tactical levels may prove crucial to understanding how U.S. forces should train and equip for the future.

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Understanding Behavior: Application of the Reasoned-Action Approach in Legitimacy Building Influence Operations

by Bryan H. Rhee MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the military often struggles to understand the people it attempts to influence. The military tried for years to build legitimacy for the host governments, with little success. It has become clear that the military fails to understand the determinants of human behavior. This thesis demonstrates a way to improve how the military conducts one of the most common types of influence operations—building legitimacy—by analyzing past influence operations through the reasoned action approach model, a theory for the prediction of human social behavior. This framework is generally well regarded in social psychology; many studies have shown its ability to predict and understand human social behavior. The results of this thesis suggest that influence messages that self-aggrandize the host nation government are ineffective and, in some cases, counterproductive to building legitimacy.

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Missed Opportunity? Was Iran’s Green Movement an Unconventional Warfare Option?

by Brian Santos MAJ, USA
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

Following the disputed 2009 Iranian Presidential elections, the Green Movement demonstrated reformist insurgency potential. Capable movement leadership mobilized resistance groups, tempered participant violence, and espoused objectives compatible with strategic US interests. Despite undisputed constitutional authority, Supreme Leader Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ vicious response to protests highlighted systemic weaknesses vulnerable to non-violent political struggle. Could the United States have capitalized on the Green Movement’s activities after the 2009 presidential election to coerce change in the Iranian government advantageous to US interests? This thesis applied a hybrid doctrinal Unconventional Warfare (UW) feasibility criteria and social movement theory to examine Green Movement sponsorship potential. Research concluded successful insurgency criteria and existing regional mechanisms provided the United States Government with UW options.

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Psychological Operations Exploitation of Foreign Internal Defense in order to Develop Enduring Strategic Partnerships

by Steven Santucci MAJ, USA
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

There exists a gap within the Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Regiment’s ability to implement consistent engagement of Foreign Internal Defense (FID) initiatives in order to identify long-term strategic partnerships, establishment of global inform and influence networks, and enhancement of Security Cooperation (SC). A consistent model of FID operations would assist United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) with continuity of overt PSYOP conducted during peacetime, contingencies, or other approved programs, while also mapping the human domain in support of the Functional Concept 7th Warfighting Function (WFF) termed “Engagement.” This thesis explored the idea of creating an enduring FID rotational relationship between PSYOP and partner nation forces in order to create long-term affiliations. The lack of prolonged relationship building over the past decade has limited Special Operations Forces ability to build and maintain liaisons with Partner Nation (PN) forces, and Operational Preparation of the Environment (OPE) for operations beyond Phase zero (shaping).

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Trust as a Currency: The Role of Relationships in the Human Domain

by Stephen Schnell MAJ, USA
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

Completely absent from the U.S. military lexicon just two years ago, the term Human Domain has become a central concept for discussion and development at all levels across the joint force. Acknowledging the emergence and significance of this “new” domain, this work determines if the Human Domain is in fact distinct from the other domains, and identifies its unique characteristics and determinants for success within this space. Using the case study of Russell Volckmann and his resistance operations against the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the monograph highlights the application of these characteristics and determinants for success in a historical example. Finally, this monograph makes recommendations related to the selection of attributes, as well as the development of competencies and approaches that lead to success within the Human Domain. Specific attributes and competencies related to the development of trust are necessary to achieve any level of success in this space. In many cases, the highest level of control possible may be access, understanding, or at best influence.

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Lessons Learned From the Soviet Withdrawal From Afghanistan: Examples for U.S. Policy Concerning Central Asia and Afghanistan After 2014

by Spear Wesley MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

The future of Afghanistan and its neighboring Central Asian countries is uncertain as U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces prepare to draw down and transition to training, advising, and assisting Afghan National Forces. What are the critical threats to regional stability in Afghanistan and Central Asia post 2014? What can the U.S. government and military do to promote stability in this region? This thesis investigates these questions by comparing the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, along with the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, which caused social, political, and economic upheaval, to possible causes of instability in Afghanistan and Central Asia post-2014. This thesis finds that the sudden and complete loss of financial assistance from Moscow in 1992 led to the collapse of the Afghan government and turmoil in Central Asia. Furthermore, similar conditions exist today and could be exacerbated if the United States follows a strategy of total disengagement from the region. The U.S. government and military, therefore, needs to maintain a presence in the region and should continue to focus on capacity building, particularly in the areas of border security, civil society building, and economic stabilization.

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Sustainable Development: A Strategy for Regaining Control of Northern Mali

by Benjamin M. Symonette MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

This thesis proposes a decision-support process to facilitate a more comprehensive approach that U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) may adopt to reclaim control of Northern Mali from violent extremist organizations (VEOs). Specifically, the thesis explores the effectiveness of intervening with sustainable-development projects to deter, displace, or defeat VEOs. The author defines the problem through a systems approach by investigating the conditions that contribute to the Malian government’s lack of control, then uses a design approach to identify an intervention strategy. After prototyping possible solutions, the author explores U.S. policy and strategy to verify the feasibility of intervening via sustainable development initiatives. Finally, the author uses integer programming (IP) to formulate, solve, and interpret the intervention strategy. The author evaluates two IP models to allocate sustainable-development projects optimally for the purposes of rehabilitating desert lands, gaining compliance from non-state actors, and regaining control of ungoverned territories. This research finds that using a decision-support process may help AFRICOM nest its strategy within the policy promoted by the U.S. ambassador to Mali. By doing so, AFRICOM may gain more influence in Northern Mali by pursuing a “whole of government” approach.

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Intellegence Collection, Targeting and Interdiction of Dark Networks

by Darrin K. Tangeman MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

To interdict dark networks and prevent terrorist attacks, security forces require consistent access to relevant intelligence and targeting data. Dark networks often react to a security force’s targeting pressure by obscuring their activities and becoming increasingly covert. Network adaptation to targeting pressure can frequently lead to intelligence gaps and lulls in targeting that may be both predictable and preventable if identified early. This study will examine the efficacy of the two prevailing modes of targeting and their impact on resilient dark networks. To achieve this goal, this thesis will conduct a multivariate path analysis using temporal, geospatial, and relational data of a select dark network as these two modes of intelligence collection and targeting are employed against the network over time. By achieving this goal, this thesis will generate policy recommendations for operationalizing the outcomes of this study in order to better formulate how the prevailing modes of targeting can more effectively be implemented to address adaptive terrorist threats.

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Is Military Science Scientific?

by Voelz Glenn J. COL, USA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Labs, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The term military science generally describes the body of theories, concepts, and methods for employing armed forces. However, as an academic discipline it is ill defined, drawing from a patchwork of curricula including history, foreign affairs, security studies, leadership, operations management, and systems engineering, as well as other elements of the physical and social sciences. Notably, the Department of Defense dictionary does not even provide a definition. This vague categorization is somewhat reflective of the term s diminished status from its 19th-century usage when Military Science was frequently capitalized and placed alongside Physics, Philosophy, and other well-established academic disciplines. An irony of the term s decline is that it occurred over a period when military professionals increasingly conceptualized their discipline in the terminology and metaphors of science. This transformation was driven in part by the institutionalization of officer education programs emphasizing the formalized study of military theory. A second factor, rapid industrialization, firmly established science and technology as the central pillars of American military power and arguably the foundational elements in approaches to doctrine and planning. These trends reinforced the proposition that the practical application of military theory, as expressed through strategy, doctrine, and planning, was becoming more of a science and less of an art. This perspective has reached an apex in recent decades, epitomized by doctrinal methodologies seeking to reduce decisionmaking to formulaic processes not unlike the methods used by chemists mixing compounds for desired effect. In particular, there has been a tendency toward instrumental applications of descriptive theory attempting to distill complex social dynamics into bounded problem statements that fit neatly into proscribed planning schemas and process solutions.

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Army Air Commandos: A New Organization for Army Special Operations Aviation Foreign Internal Defense

by Daniel R. Wagner MAJ, USA
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

This research examines changes required in Army Special Operations Aviation as it begins to execute Rotary Wing Aviation Foreign Internal Defense (RWAvFID) missions in support of Geographic Combatant Command (GCC) Theater Security Cooperation Plans (TSCP). A quantitative methodology is used to evaluate a proposed organization against United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and GCC priorities. These stakeholder priorities were developed through a review of posture and strategic vision documents. The findings indicate that a new unit with RWAvFID detachments is an acceptable method to accomplish the assigned RWAvFID mission. A RWAvFID mission command unit in the United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) would form the nucleus of the capability and consist of three subordinate detachments of planners. This new unit would recruit, assess, and select Army aviators from general purpose aviation forces to serve as RWAvFID practitioners. Recommendations from this research include: AFSOC and USASOAC assign liaison officers to improve USSOCOM AvFID program synchronization and develop and implement Army RWAvFID doctrine.

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How Insurgents Win: Examining The Dynamics of Modern Insurgencies

by Christopher L. Watkins MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Insurgent conflict has become the most prevalent form of warfare in the modern era. At the onset of conflict, an insurgent force is usually at a great disadvantage in comparison to the counterinsurgent force. Despite this, modern insurgents often win. What dynamics play into the strategy of the insurgents? How can an insurgent force best use its limited resources to increase its chances of success? This study shows that there are four best practices and two worst practices for insurgents. Beyond the dynamics of specific factors, this study also demonstrates that there are common “causal recipes” that help to explain the outcome of post World War II insurgencies. The analysis process for this thesis uses both a quantitative and qualitative method, using 21 variables to study 70 insurgency cases. Ultimately, this research demonstrates that insurgents must devote few material resources to attacking COIN forces and many material resources to influencing a population’s perception. These findings are important to anyone who must understand what actions drive an insurgency toward eventual success or failure. The findings can explain past conflicts and can be applied to ongoing or future conflicts to better understand the dynamics at play.

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Syrian Civil War: Solving the Prisoner's Dilemma

by Joseph S. Wier Jr. MAJ, USA; Fahed Musbeh Afnan Al Reshoud, Lieutenant Colonel, Jordanian Army
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Most international observers believe there are no suitable solutions to the Syrian civil war. They are wrong. By initially establishing the integral principle that the fighting in Syria is a microcosm of the regional cold war being fought between Iran and Saudi Arabia, we recognize that any resolution must satisfy these “veto players.” Utilizing game theory to evaluate the war, our research deconstructs the problematic position the parties have backed themselves into: perpetual fighting even though peace is more beneficial to everyone involved. The lens of the “prisoner’s dilemma,” which focuses on rational players acting counter to their best interests due to a lack of trust, helps us identify why both groups are driven to continue down a violent path instead of indulging in suspicion during the peace process. This analysis effectively demonstrates what the international community has failed to realize: a military stalemate is the optimal circumstance for reaching a lasting peace in Syria. This utilization of game theory, while obviously relevant to resolving one of today’s most precarious conflicts, also has larger implications for civil wars. These sorts of clashes are increasingly more commonplace, and an effective resolution knowledge base is necessary for a stable international environment.

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