Department of Education
Graduate Research Management Office
Research Papers
Academic Year 2008


Split Forward Surgical Teams

In the last 20 years, the Army’s Field and Combat Support Hospitals have found it difficult to deploy rapidly and to keep pace with maneuver forces. The Forward Surgical Team (FST) was the bridge for this gap in capabilities. Until recently, the FST had not been deployed and utilized in combat. With the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, FSTs have been extensively utilized. Using the data and experiences from these conflicts should updates to the doctrine be made? One unexpected outcome from these conflicts was the use of split FSTs in Afghanistan. Using the data from evacuation logs from Afghanistan, the Joint Trauma Center, and the recent experiences of FST staffs the effectiveness of split FSTs was investigated based on the Died of Wounds (DOW) rate and evacuation times. Additionally the personnel, Doctrinal employment, and equipment were investigated to determine if significant changes were needed to employ split FSTs or what would prevent split FSTs being written into doctrine? From the data collected, split FSTs had DOW rates that were lower than the DOW rate at the end of Vietnam, which is considered the standard. As such, the split FSTs in Afghanistan were determined to be effective and the doctrine could be changed with minimal additional cost in equipment. The split FST would give commanders another option to employ FSTs with the risks having been already studied. The benefits of the split FST would be the ability to serve wider areas of coverage with limited resources and possibly the ability to get surgical units on the ground earlier in entry operations due to having smaller transportation requirements.

Click here to download thesis

The Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM) and the Rise of Radical Islamic Converts in the Philippines a Major Security Concern

The rise of radical Islamic converts in the Philippines is one of the major security concerns in the Philippines today. The Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM) emerged from various “Balik-Islam” (revert to Islam) organizations that advocate for the conversion of the country to Islam on the belief that the Philippines was an Islamic land prior to western colonization. RSIM, which established links with the various terrorist organizations both in the Philippines and in the Middle East, has been responsible for several major terrorist attacks in the country in recent years.

Despite the arrests of several key leaders of RSIM and Philippine counter-terrorism successes against the movement’s objectives, RSIM remains a major security concern in the Philippines due to the continued existence of social, political and economic factors that enable the possibility of RSIM or RSIM-like groups to re-emerge. The Philippine government must address the root causes of the problem in order to reduce the grievances of the people, weaken radical organizational strength, and control the political opportunities that have led to the growth of social movements in the Philippines, including the RSIM radical Islamic converts.

Click here to download thesis

Reassessing U.S. National Security Strategy The Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)

The Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a terrorist-insurgent group with ties to lucrative transnational criminal organizations throughout Europe, continues to threaten Turkey-Iraq regional stability by attacking Turkish Security Forces and non-supportive civilians. Recent attacks have forced the U.S. to initiate diplomacy and intelligence sharing actions to pacify Turkish aggression, but these efforts will not suffice as a longterm strategy. To reaffirm regional stability the U.S. needs to reassess its current strategies and policies. The intent of this paper is to identify the nature of the threat and the need for an aggressive-synergistic national and multi-national strategy to eliminate the PKK.

Click here to download manuscript

Sharpening the Tip of the Spear: Preparing Special Forces Detachment Commanders for the Future

Given the fact that Special Forces detachments cause effects at the strategic and operational levels of war in the GWOT, it is imperative that SF detachment commanders are adequately prepared to develop a comprehensive understanding of the situation at the operational and strategic levels of war and how their decisions influence and affect it. However, research for this monograph uncovered that not all detachment commanders have a good understanding of the strategic and operational levels of war. There is very little formal preparation of strategic and operational understanding via institutionalized SF training and education. Those who are prepared have knowledge or insight through informal means such as self-interest, self-study, or prior experience. This monograph determines if an SF detachment commander is adequately prepared to operate in the contemporary operational environment.

Click here to download monograph

The Theory of Unconventional Warfare Win, Lose, and Draw

Clausewitz states that “The defensive form of warfare is intrinsically stronger than the offense” and to defeat ‘the stronger form of warfare’ “an army’s best weapon is superior numbers.” Given these two facts, how do special operations forces defeat numerically superior forces fighting in the defense? William H. McRaven’s book, Spec Ops, lays out a theory of special operations and six principles that are “applicable across the spectrum of special operations” (McRaven, 1995, p. 3). McRaven’s thesis postulates that numerically inferior forces can obtain Relative Superiority for short duration through the use of the six principles of special operations. McRaven’s thesis is focused on the direct component of special operations. The theory, arguably, does not cover the full range of special operations; specifically it fails to address the indirect component of special operations, Unconventional Warfare. Given that the defense is the superior form of warfare and numbers count, the question emerges, how can a sponsored insurgent organization or resistance movement defeat the state, which begins with an opening advantage of vastly superior numbers and already in the defense posture? The answer may be found in the flip side of McRaven’s Theory of Relative Superiority, or more accurately, the Indirect Theory of Relative Superiority. Indirect Relative Superiority is achieved when a counter state gains and maintains a decisive advantage over a state in an armed political struggle. We hypothesize that numerically inferior forces can obtain Relative Superiority over time through the use of six principles of Indirect Offensive Operations: Security, Networking, Purpose, Indoctrination, Influence, and Agility

Click here to download thesis

Wants and Needs: SAMS' Relationship with the Army

The School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) is at the same time well noted for and bound by its reputation. Enter most Army division or above headquarters and ask where you can find the “SAMS” officers and the answer you will get is “in the plans shop.” This is because if you ask most Army officers, not associated with the school in any way, they will tell you that SAMS is the planning school, and SAMS graduates are planners. It is this commonly held belief that typifies the field Army’s expectations of the school, expectations that should guide the school in its mission and curriculum. However, is there a difference between what the Army in the field expects a SAMS Advanced Military Studies Program (AMSP) graduate to be capable of when they complete the program and what SAMS actually educates that officer to do? This is the primary question answered in this monograph.

Click here to download monograph

Defending U.S. National Interests in the Persian Gulf Going Light

Is it possible to defend U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf through the use of primarily SOF/light forces? How might implementing this type of force structure affect the perception of U.S. involvement in the region and its ability to project power on a scale commensurate with its interests? This thesis examines two ways that the U.S. might be able to secure its interests in the Gulf using a minimalist approach. The two methods evaluated are using sea bases in the Gulf and land bases in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa as forward staging bases for SOF operations in the Persian Gulf. The study looks at these two options in terms of costs and benefits both fiscally and physically in terms of the impact that these bases would have on the populations in the Gulf.

Click here to download thesis

The Strategy-Legitimacy Paradigm Getting It Right in the Philippines

Political legitimacy is at the heart of any conflict or war. Based on the idea that wars cannot be won without establishing and maintaining political legitimacy, this thesis examines how the COIN strategies developed in Basilan, Bohol, and Sulu address the legitimacy problem. It also offers recommendations for developing a COIN strategy for Mindanao. The thesis uses Ted Gurr’s theory of relative deprivation as a framework to explain the factors that lead a society to revolt. It also underscores the importance of providing a long-term solution to the insurgent problems by correcting the underlying issues of poverty, deprivation, and lawlessness. In Basilan, Bohol, and Sulu, the Philippine government and its U.S. allies successfully engineered what Borer describes as the “strategy-legitimacy nexus.” By promoting the legitimacy of the Philippine government, the insurgent capabilities and influence were substantially reduced by isolating them from the population. Using the same framework, the three case studies demonstrate that while conditions in Mindanao are very different, the case studies offer valuable lessons. These are applied to conducting COIN in the region utilizing an Indirect Approach strategy and are based on McCormick’s Diamond Counterinsurgency model that promotes legitimacy through good governance, improved security, and socioeconomic conditions.

Click here to download thesis

Reorganizing SOF for Irregular Warfare

The U.S. military has developed doctrine to respond to Irregular Warfare (IW) threats. According to this doctrine, IW favors indirect approaches. Within USSOCOM, the Army Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations units were created to conduct special operations of an indirect nature.These units, specifically Army Special Forces have been heavily engaged in major combat operations in OIF and OEF and unable to break away in order to return to their assigned Areas of Responsibility (AORs). This thesis explores how a reorganization of USSOCOM in order to create an IW organization would fill capability gaps created by having 80% of USSOCOMs forces dedicated to Iraq and Afghanistan. This thesis identifies factors that need to be considered when creating an IW organization such as regional orientation and interagency capabilities. This thesis also outlines two possibilities for an IW organization as a framework to create a starting point and an ending point along the spectrum of organizational possibilities. This thesis concludes with a recommended IW organization.

Click here to download thesis

Transforming Army General Purpose Forces for Simultaneous Dissimilar Operations

Preparedness for operations in both the Irregular Warfare (IW) and Major Combat Operations (MCO) environments is essential given a tumultuous and unpredictable Contemporary Operational Environment (COE). This thesis is an effort to provide a solution to the U.S. Army’s emerging trend toward uni-focused operations fixated on IW. In this thesis, we propose recommendations for change to the current Army force structure centered on the Brigade Combat Team (BCT) and the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model through which these units are cycled for refit, training, and deployment. These recommended modifications are intended to optimize the Army for its role as a deterrent force, and to assist the Army in its ability to proficiently conduct operations in the IW and MCO environments either consecutively or simultaneously.

Click here to download thesis

Understanding Contemporary Foreign Internal Defense and Military Advisement: Not Just a Semantic Exercise

This monograph examines the effects of changes in the current operating environment and current operations in Iraq on the application of Foreign Internal Defense (FID) operations conducted by Special Operations Forces (SOF). This study identifies the forms and logic behind the function of Nation Assistance (NA), in order to determine if FID operations conducted by SOF and conventionally conducted foreign military advisory efforts should remain separate missions.

Click here to download monograph

Understanding and Confronting Islamofascism

Sometimes there is mutual understanding and an agreement is made quickly, but more often there are a series of interactions that require sacrifices and concessions in order to come up with a solution. In this paper I will discuss a situation that occurred seven years ago at Bagram Airfield (BAF), Afghanistan, involving United States Army Soldiers, local Afghans, and a loaded 9mm Soviet-made pistol. The participants were from different cultures and countries, spoke different languages, and interacted in a situation that almost resulted in a firefight. At the end, we were all supporting a common mission – destroy the enemy and make Afghanistan a safe and viable country.

Click here to download thesis

Officer Development: A Contemporary Roadmap

Army senior leaders suggest that to face the challenges of the Contemporary Operating Environment, the US Army requires a new type of officer. This multi-skilled leader, dubbed the ‘pentathlete’, will meet the challenges of the modern battlefield as a function of his maturity, experience, education, and formal training. US Army officers today, however, face a career path marked by “up or out” promotions, short tours leading and commanding soldiers, and few opportunities to seek advanced degrees in residence. Officers weather the other second and third order effects of an outdated 20-year retirement plan that does not optimize the resources dedicated to building a highly effective officer corps.

Click here to download monograph

Hezbollah: A Charitable Revolution

The militant Lebanese Shia Group Hezbollah (Party of God) has evolved into the largest and most professional terrorist groups in the Middle East. The political wing has been successful at placing several representatives in the Lebanese Parliament while the military wing has been training, recruiting, fighting and conducting terrorist attacks within the Levant and globally against U.S., Israeli and European interests. Since 2000, the popularity of the organization has continued to grow throughout southern Lebanon and Beirut since the evacuation of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon and its recent victory in the 2006 war with Israel. Though seldom discussed, a major factor in Hezbollah’s success is the use of the social services section. Hezbollah’s social service program is vital to the success and survival of the organization. This monograph examine the history of Lebanon and the evolution of Hezbollah, the organizational structure, funding sources and methods and social service achievements will provide a systemic understanding of how the organization morphed from a resistance movement into a state-less government that meets the needs of the Lebanese Shia population. The analysis includes aspects of the organization’s structure, funding sources and methods and its achievements in providing social services. This monograph addresses how Hezbollah’s social service model, by which it gained popular support and became a significant bloc in Lebanon’s legislature, may be emulated by other Islamists organizations in obtaining political legitimacy.

Click here to download monograph

“Presence for Purpose” Forward Deploying to Capitalize on SOF Capability and Regional Expertise

To be effective in defeating radical extremist ideology we must understand the conditions that allow it to exist thereby understanding the nature of the conflict. Transnational terrorist organizations take advantage of the seams between governed and ungoverned, between the haves and the have-nots, and in areas where there is no perceived alternative to violence to ensure survival. Therefore it can be argued that local instability provides a venue for transnational terrorist organizations to foment their radical ideology providing at the very least tacit support for their violence. This paper argues that forward deploying SOF to work in close coordination with host nation partners will facilitate United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) ability to synchronize WOT objectives while providing the GCC and US Country Team with SOF expertise to meet local and regional challenges. This paper will further argue that while SOF alone cannot meet all of the foreign internal defense (FID), COIN, or advisory needs of the host nation, it is the force of choice to bridge the gap between host nation force requirements, general purpose force or interagency capabilities and U.S. Country Team, GCC, and USSOCOM Long War objectives. This paper will examine the politically sensitive operational environment using a contemporary case study as an example. Secondly, it will discuss the counter argument and disadvantages of developing an “Advisory Corps” and other general purpose force initiatives. Third, it will describe the attributes that make SOF the force of choice to serve as the bridge between host nation requirements, country team objectives, and general purpose force training capabilities. Finally, it will provide a framework to operationalize the USSOCOM “Presence for Purpose” concept to synchronize National and Regional WOT objectives while providing SOF expertise and support to the GCC and US Country Teams.

Click here to download thesis

Wooing the Dark Continent: U.S. and China Engagement Strategy in Africa, Is It Complimentary or Competition

This monograph evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of Chinese foreign policy towards Africa, discusses the history of engagement of the People’s Republic of China with the African continent, and examines the implications of this relationship in regards to the United States (U.S.). The monograph examines the opinions of Africans regarding the continent’s status as a major resource provider for the 21st century and the associated interest from leading economic powers around the world. Finally with the emergence of Africa Command (AFRICOM), this paper lays out recommendations to ensure a more complete understanding of Chinese intentions in Africa and provides AFRICOM planners with methods and means to compete and compliment Chinese efforts across the continent. This paper takes into account both current arguments regarding China as both a partner and competitor and provides an unbiased framework for working with China and Africa that meets U.S. strategic interests and needs.

Click here to download monograph

Developing Security Force Assistance: Lessons from Foreign Internal Defense

As the United States Army continues to fight the spread of radical religious terrorism and transnational actors, there has been a realization that there is a need for development of an indirect approach as a complement to major combat operations (MCOs). The concept of Security Force Assistance (SFA) was born out of the need to be able to train, equip, and employ Foreign Security Forces (FSF). The Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance (JCISFA) was created in April 2006 to develop integrated tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that apply to the whole force including General Purpose Forces (GPF) and Special Operations Forces (SOF).

Click here to download monograph

Investigating the Existing Gap Between Army Culture and Black American Culture

The U.S. military is the most powerful instrument of national power capable of achieving and defending U.S. national security objectives. The military has done so by being relentless in preserving the values, trust, and confidence of the American people. The aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks on American soil had a grave impact on a strategic environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Characterized as such, the Army must become culturally competent in order to reach across racial and cultural boundaries to recruit and retain the very best people to meet future challenges and sustain the All-Volunteer Force. This requires a willingness on the part of the Army to include, at every level, talented people of color with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and linguistic skills. This project identifies three important ways that Army culture can close the existing gap with African-American culture in order to attract talent. Rational findings like these can facilitate the implementation of diverse initiatives that are critical to address current and future shortfalls in recruiting and retaining talent among all ethnic minority groups.

Click here to download manuscript

Private Military Companies an Assessment

This thesis examines controversies regarding the use of private military companies (PMCs) as defense contractors. The history of privatized security, consideration of ethical and legal issues, and examination of three case studies allows assessment of PMCs in accordance with five criteria for success: competence, cost efficiency analysis, control, flexibility and impact on state armed forces. After examining three case studies representing a variety of types of PMCs (Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone, MPRI in Croatia, and Blackwater in Afghanistan and Iraq), the thesis finds that although PMCs can be used legitimately and to good effect, expanded use of PMCs may pose serious risks to U.S. forces, national security objectives, and U.S. political legitimacy.

Click here to download thesis

Considerations for SOF in Domestic Homeland Security

The purpose of this monograph is to ascertain what missions are appropriate for Special Operations Forces (SOF) in a domestic setting under the auspices of Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) and Homeland Defense (HD).
Since 9/11 the military has been given a larger role in responding to incidents of terror and natural disasters in support of federal, state and local governments. This support is viewed largely as augmenting the capabilities and capacity of first responders and emergency management coordinators. SOF is likely to be given an expanded role in this environment, but careful evaluation of what missions are suitable is required to mitigate potential negative effects on the Global War on Terror (GWOT) abroad.
The potential exists for direct and indirect support to domestic civil agencies during times of emergency, but modifications to the organization’s training and doctrine may be necessary to ensure effective interoperability. Additionally, changes to the command and control of SOF within US Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) AOR are examined.
SOF must identify those areas that require self-improvement prior to conducting these domestic missions, and evaluate whether the potential exists to cross train with first responders to improve civilian capabilities as well. SOF maintains the potential to positively affect the domestic security situation provided an honest and careful examination of its likely roles and responsibilities are undertaken.

Click here to download monograph

Population Analysis a Methodology for Understanding Populations in COIN Environments

This thesis outlines a methodology for use by tactical operators to better understand the dynamics of the population whose support they are attempting to gain. In turn, these operators (Army soldiers, Marines, Special Forces, SEALs, Civil Affairs, etc.) can use this information to more effectively develop strategy, plan operations, and conduct tactical missions. Our methodology provides a heuristic model, called the “3 x 5 P.I.G.S.P.E.E.R. Model,” that can be applied in any environment and will help bridge the gap between strategic theory and tactical implementation. We believe that our methodology can be utilized to increase the operator’s understanding of the environment, and improve both non-kinetic and kinetic combat operations. As a counterinsurgency (COIN) force progresses from kinetic combat operations (those attempting to gain a security foothold in a non-permissive environment) to operations focused on gaining the support of the population, our methodology will aid in collecting human intelligence (HUMINT). Our methodology shows that by providing security, working through locals, building trust and cooperation, and identifying opportunities to leverage the local populace’s needs, COIN forces will be able to separate the populace from the insurgents, precisely target the insurgents, and empower the locals to handle their own security.

Click here to download thesis

Counterinsurgency Meets Soft Power an Alternative Approach to Deterring Terrorist Recruitment in Mindanao

Terrorist activity in Southeast Asia remains a challenge to U.S. national security. In particular, terrorist organizations in the Philippines continue to conduct deadly attacks and attract more recruits despite U.S. and Philippine government counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts. Within the last seven years following the 9/11 terrorist attack, the Philippine and U.S. governments have combined efforts to address insurgency as a threat that hinders peace and security within the Philippines as well as Southeast Asia. Despite the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in Mindanao, the southern region of the Philippines continues to exist as a hub for terrorist recruitment, training, and operations.

A key aspect of hindering insurgency growth within the Philippines is deterring terrorist recruitment by first identifying the underlying conditions that promote discontent among the people of Mindanao that make them susceptible to the ideology of militant Islam and then implementing a strategy that includes a full range of activities from kinetic to non-kinetic methods. It is clear that economic conditions, poor governance, lack of adequate social and educational programs are all contributing factors to the instability of Mindanao. What’s not so clear is how to disrupt the cycle that sustains the terrorists while gaining the affection of the Muslim minority who have been in opposition with the predominantly Christian government.

This thesis examines the counterinsurgency strategy by recognizing effective practices and identifying shortfalls in the approach. Our findings suggest that by applying a mix of soft power, as defined by Professor Joseph Nye, as well as noöpolitik as defined by Professor John Arquilla and Dave Ronfeldt, in relation to hard power practices, an alternative approach to counterinsurgency can offer the U.S. and Philippine governments a long-term sustainable strategy that will diminish future radical Islamic threats and stabilize Mindanao.

Click here to download thesis

Special Forces Officer Recruiting in a High OPTEMPO Environment

This thesis investigates, analyzes, and determines how the current levels of operations tempo (OPTEMPO) and the Army’s efforts to mitigate OPTEMPO’s negative impacts are affecting the recruitment of U.S. Army officers for service in Special Forces (SF). In light of the dynamic nature of the Army’s operational environment today, this thesis does not attempt to provide a conclusive list of all the things that have a positive or negative impact on SF officer recruitment, but rather focuses on aspects that have been most often identified by previous research, highlighted in interviews with SF volunteers and recruiters, and demonstrated by statistical trend analysis.

This thesis contends that SF officer recruiting appears promising for the next several years despite the challenges of today’s dynamic operational environment. There are two main reasons behind this success: the aspects of mission satisfaction associated with SF, which appear to be consistent across time, and the benefits of SF OPTEMPO structure, which may be temporary in nature. Both of these elements are currently enhanced by SF’s increased exposure to the conventional Army.

Click here to download thesis

Fostering Partnership in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief

Humanitarian aid operations are a social and interactive enterprise among a variety of international partners. There are currently many initiatives that attempt to enhance collaboration between United States Government Agencies, foreign governments, international government organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private volunteer organizations. The diverse nature of organizations and numbers of groups involved in a complex humanitarian emergency is extraordinary. Participants must understand there are multiple factors that impact the collaborative capacity of groups in humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations. They need to understand that some NGOs will work with the military and some will not. Military forces must respect NGO needs for independence, neutrality, transparency, and impartiality. However, when actors can come to an agreement regarding contact within these environments the sum of their efforts will be greater than their individual contributions. Face-to-face contact is crucial in enhancing collaborative capacity. Individuals build trust through face-to-face contacts which can translate to more frequent contact using other less personal or social modes of communication. Collaboration is an iterative process. Participants must build collaborative capacity over time by focusing on developing swift trust and be aware of cultural understanding. Participants must also use face-to-face contact at the initial meeting. After swift trust is established, participants can use media of decreasing richness over time, but should schedule face-to-face meetings to ensure collaboration is maintained.

Click here to download thesis

Contact

Graduate Degree Programs
For Graduate Degree programs,
(910) 908-1517 or email
Graduate Degree programs