Department of Education
Graduate Research Management Office
Research Papers
Academic Year 2010


The Adaptive Edge Introducing Adaptive Skills Techniques to Army Special Forces

For USSOCOM to maintain its upper hand in producing “elite” Soldiers, a better understanding of current adaptive skills training in the United States Army and their current implementation in United States Army Special Forces Officer training program is needed. Given the current operational tempo faced by the Special Forces soldier, having the ability to adapt to the situation at hand is paramount. History has proven that a soldier’s ability to adapt, remain effective in all environments and perform optimally under all levels of stress is essential for military operations: current training in adaptive skills for military applications could be improved for all U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers. This thesis draws on current adaptive skills techniques taught at the United States Military Academy, West Point as well as adaptive skills techniques utilized in sports psychology.

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Insurgent Violence U.S. Involvement in Internal Conflict

This thesis considers whether or not the presence of the United States military is a necessary or sufficient condition to eradicate insurgencies in the Philippines. Through the analysis of three case studies,we examine relationships among insurgent activities, government actions, and U.S. involvement. This analysis aids in determining how a U.S. presence can help or hurt in defeating insurgencies in the Philippines. Approaching our cases historically, we evaluate how some countries, like Sri Lanka, have been able to eliminate their insurgency with minimal to no U.S. support, and how others, like Colombia, have been able to combat insurgencies and drug-related problems with continued U.S. support. By comparing across these cases, we make a determination about the importance of a U.S. presence in the Philippines.

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Iranian Regime Reform Opportunities and Consequences

Policymakers, military leaders, and political analysts alike have been pondering whether the United States should support regime change in Iran. Iranian regime change supports U.S. national interests in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, stemming human rights abuses, promoting civil liberties, and encouraging a more Western-friendly regime. The Green Movement has risen as a social movement in Iran that could challenge the regime and force regime reform. However, the Green Movement needs external support to be successful before the current regime develops a nuclear weapons capability. Analysis of the strengths and weakness of the Iranian regime and the Green Movement is used to identify opportunities and consequences of U.S.. intervention. Game theory is used to identify the best course of action for U.S.. intervention in Iran. The analysis in this thesis determines that U.S.. covert support of the Green Movement using elements of soft power, such as psychological operations, computer network operations, and unconventional warfare, is the best means to enhance the Green Movement’s ability to affect regime reform.

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Lessons in Legitimacy : The LTTE End-Game of 2007--2009

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were arguably one of the most feared, lethal and capable insurgent movements in the modern age. Yet despite their strength and wealth, the Sri Lankan armed forces destroyed the LTTE with a conventional army in a series of pitched battles from 2007–2009. This thesis argues that the destruction of the LTTE during the end-game of 2007–2009 was in part due to a loss of local legitimacy amongst the Sri Lankan Tamils that the movement purported to represent. This loss of local legitimacy was a product of LTTE coercion, facilitated by the enormous funding structures of the global Tamil Diaspora. As long as the Diaspora was able to provide not only funding but political legitimacy to the movement internationally, and the LTTE was able to control political space locally, this loss of legitimacy was largely irrelevant. Yet the effects of 9/11, combined with a Sri Lankan military offensive, not only highlighted the degree to which local legitimacy had disintegrated, it also showed just how important local legitimacy can be to an insurgent movement should the conditions suddenly take a turn for the worse. The loss of local legitimacy, and its importance to the LTTE during the end-game, is largely missing from most literature on the subject.

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Army Special Operations Forces Professional Military Education for the Future

One way to educate United States Army Special Operators is by allowing organizational design and individual competencies to form the nucleus of a professional military education curriculum routinely evaluated against assessment variables such as the emerging strategic context, the requests of Theater Special Operations Commands or other customer units, and the feedback of deployed operators and teams. This thesis recommends an Army Special Operations Command-focused educational development process applicable to the career-long education and utilization of Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations professionals. To make these recommendations, the thesis considers why the organizational structure of the Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) should differ from that of their General Purpose Forces counterparts and identifies the expected ARSOF mission set for the next twenty years as well as the professional competencies required to execute this expected mission set. It then offers a series of suggestions for how the recommended changes could be implemented.

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AFRICOM an Effective Organization or a Military Hurdle?

Many organizations face challenges that impact their effectiveness and therefore success. These challenges are not easy to visualize, thus making it more difficult to derive and implement appropriate measures to deal with them. The problem becomes compounded when procedures or treatments are applied without diagnosis.

The establishment of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) to serve Africa’s unique security concerns generated some reservations both within and outside the United States (U.S.). Despite attempts to communicate AFRICOM’s intentions, the lukewarm acceptance among its stakeholders still persists and has raised concerns about its efficacy as a panacea for the problems on the African continent.

The basic premise of this study is to diagnose AFRICOM’s internal processes and examine its external environment in order to identify any organizational or environmental variables that support or hinder its effectiveness in attaining its goals. This thesis examines the extent to which key variables, such as mission, tasks, structure, culture, and environment are congruent or incongruent. Data was obtained both qualitatively and quantitatively. This study establishes that there is some degree of misalignment among the inputs, outputs, and the desired outcomes of AFRICOM’s programs, and proffers recommendations for a better fit.

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Leveraging Capabilities: The Integration of Special Operation Forces and Conventional Forces

Since September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Special Operation Forces (SOF) and Conventional Forces (CF) have be increasingly working together throughout the world against numerous asymmetrical threats. However, operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that there are many situations where SOF and CF do not fully leverage each other’s capabilities because they operated along parallel lines of operations, where neither force had any degree of certainty of what the other was doing. In 2009, General McChrystal adopted a strategy for Afghanistan that focuses on the needs of the populace and putting Afhan forces in the lead of every effort. If SOF and CF are going to succeed in implementing General McChrystal’s new strategy, as well as in future conflicts where both forces are operating jointly then both forces must learn to leverage each other’s capabilities. Specifically, SOF and CF must learn to take an integrated approach to joint operations so that both forces will be able to leverage each other’s capability strengths to compensate for their own internal capability limitations, which will allow both forces to operate in the most efficient and effective manner possible. In order to ensure that this transpires changes must occur in how both forces conduct joint operations and be institutionalized in doctrine, education, training, and leadership. Through a DOTMLPF comparison of both forces and two case studies, this monograph shows how both forces should leverage each other’s capabilities, as well as provides recommendations for the implementation of General McChrystal’s new strategy for Afghanistan.

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Success in COIN Aligning Organizational Structure With Strategy

Currently, there is no organization specifically designed to accomplish the U.S. military strategy in counterinsurgency. This thesis uses organizational theory to assess the qualities and structure of the Organization for Community Engagement (OCE), an organization designed to accomplish the key tenets of counterinsurgency. It presents an analysis of counterinsurgency doctrine, classic and contemporary counterinsurgency theorists, current U.S. military strategy, and the environment and its application to Afghanistan as a case study. Based on that emerging strategy, the authors develop an organizational design heuristic for establishing an organization focused on the fulfillment of that strategy. They then apply the heuristic to identify and measure the contingency factors of the OCE. Applying these contingency factors to the structural configuration of the OCE, the authors propose an organizational configuration that can successfully accomplish the COIN aspects of the military strategy in Afghanistan. The authors propose that specially trained and selected teams focused on long-term socio-cultural relations will fill a critical void in the military’s current community engagement efforts and would lead to a more efficient use of military force and U.S. resources.

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Applying the Theory and Techniques of Situational Criminology to Counterinsurgency Operations : Reducing Insurgency Through Situational Prevention

by Stephen Gibbs MAJ, USA
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

This research introduces and adapts the 25 techniques of Situational Crime Prevention for use in counterinsurgency operations. These techniques are based on a set of powerful theories within the fields of Environmental and Situational Criminology. Situational Prevention is a strategy that addresses specific crimes, or insurgent activity, by managing, designing, and manipulating the environment in a manner that seeks to increase the risk to the insurgent, while reducing the insurgent’s potential reward for committing the act. The 25 techniques offer a practical means to apply these theories to the reality of counterinsurgency operations. Use of the 25 techniques would expand the repertoire of preventive countermeasures, and enable a security force to intervene in the causal chain events to prevent or reduce the occurrence of insurgent violence and crime. These techniques originate from five core principles: increasing effort, increasing risk, reducing rewards, removing excuses, and reducing provocations.

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Information-Generated Effects

This thesis researches three types of information-generated effects that are often observed in police operations: 1) anticipatory effects, 2) diffusion effects, and 3) residual effects. These information generated effects depict the fact that criminal activity often decreases before a new police operation starts, decreases outside the geographical areas where the police operations are occurring, and regularly remains lower for an extended period of time after an operation has concluded. These disruptions in criminal activity are thought to occur because of an increase in the perceptions of risk and uncertainty in response to information about changes in enforcement presence and activities.

The purpose of this research is to propose that anticipatory effects, diffusion effects, and residual effects can be planned into counterinsurgency operations to increase their effectiveness. These effects might be achieved through the oscillatory use of information operations that target an insurgent’s perceptions of risk and uncertainty about security force operations occurring in circumscribed areas.

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The Organizational Imperative: Theory and History on Unity of Effort in Counterinsurgency Campaigns

The most respected theorists of counterinsurgency agree about prescriptive principles for the organization of counterinsurgency campaigns. Insurgencies and counterinsurgency campaigns are each unique (sui generis), yet the theorists help provide common principles (ceteris paribus). The theorists state counterinsurgents achieve unity of effort through centralized organization at the top and at lower geographic echelons. They also advocate for the interventionist power assisting the host country to similarly create a parallel organization. Organization theory provides the logical basis for this prescription. Counter-organization of the population is less prescriptive and is dependent on the uniqueness (sui generis nature) of the particular campaign. Three historic case studies; Malaya, Dhofar, and Vietnam are compared to contemporary counterinsurgency campaigns; Iraq and Afghanistan, demonstrate the wisdom of the theorists’ prescription. Centralized organizations at the top and unified management at lower geographic echelons for both host country and interventionist power maintains unity of effort and prevents sub-organizational interests from distorting the counterinsurgency strategy. This prescriptive organization also enables the counterinsurgent to find the right solution for counter-organizing the population. The case studies further highlight the persistent organizational barriers that prevent the United States and its partners from organizing to fight and assist in counterinsurgency.

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Effective and Efficient Training and Advising in Pakistan

When we think of Foreign Internal Defense (FID), we most often think of conducting missions “by, with and through” a Partner Nation’s government and patrolling alongside partner nation security forces who are embroiled in yet another conflict in a “bad” region of the world. But, in some conflicts, this very direct method of training and advising is inadvisable at best, and foolhardy at worst. In Pakistan right now, “by, with and through” represents just such a foolhardy approach.

This thesis will not only substantiate that assertion but by presenting the “menu” of training and advisory choices the United States and other nations have will point to a “third way”—a method of training and advising that should not be as unfamiliar as it seems to be, since the United States used it very effectively just thirty years ago, and in the same general vicinity.

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Fixing the Whole-of-Government Approach in Failed States- A Model for Security Force Assistance

This thesis proposes an organizational and operational model for developing Partner Nation Special Operations Forces (SOF) in failed states and undergoverned spaces. The Partner Nation SOF would be designed to improve and expand sovereignty throughout the country. Accordingly, the model organization would provide the basic functions of governance while supporting the development of social capital and national civic identity. To achieve this, this thesis also proposes a Security Force Assistance framework for U.S. forces to develop the Partner Nation program. Within this framework, U.S. involvement would be reduced to the minimum; advisors would guide and direct the Partner Nation in the development and employment of their SOF. The thesis uses the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a potential Partner Nation; specific recommendations are made for application of this model to the DRC. Finally, some suggestions are made about adapting this model to other failed states and under-governed areas.

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THOR3 Humans are More Important Than Hardware

This thesis outlines the implementation of the United States Special Operations Command THOR3 (Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation and Reconditioning) Program into the Special Operations (SOF) community. This study returns to basics by focusing on the irreplaceable human element of SOF operations and identifies specific steps to prepare the human weapons system for the variety of SOF challenges it faces. Specifically, the study analyzed program design considerations and methods to better educate, train, and monitor SOF Soldier physical development and, when required, to recondition and rehabilitate SOF individuals back to full operational status after an injury.

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Unconventional Counterinsurgency: Leveraging Traditional Social Networks and Irregular Forces in Remote and Ungoverned Areas

This monograph explains that tribes and traditional social networks continue to provide a degree of social order in some of the world’s least governed and most volatile areas. Capitalizing on that underlying social order is critical to stabilizing remote areas and undermining insurgencies, especially when the government lacks favorable force ratios for counterinsurgency. The United States historically employed tribes and irregulars successfully in support of comprehensive counterinsurgency operations in the Philippines and Vietnam, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army Special Forces have demonstrated a unique ability to organize tribal networks for self-defense and lead irregular forces to secure remote areas and isolate insurgents. The U.S. must capitalize on this core competency that exists within the special operations community to effectively deal with the ungoverned spaces that abound in current areas of conflict and prevent them from becoming safe-havens for insurgents and violent extremists.

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A Social Movement Theory Typology of Gang Violence

This thesis uses social movement theory to describe the formation of street gangs and account for their high levels of violence. By understanding street gangs as a social movement contributing to the gang cycle, my hope is that communities and law enforcement will be able to adopt better strategies for breaking the cycle. Likewise, the study of street gangs serves as a laboratory for counterinsurgency operations overseas. By understanding the potential effects of repression on a population, future counterinsurgent operators will better understand the complex environment in which they serve. As demonstrated by the case studies of Salinas and Oakland, continued coercive repression and negative channeling are recipes for creating isolation within a community that leads to fragmentation and increased violence.

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Observations for Practitioners: Counterinsurgency as a Complex Operation

The primary consideration in counterinsurgency (COIN) is providing security and support to the local population, who are the center of gravity (COG). Achieving this, however, is significantly more difficult than recognizing the requirement. In order to achieve appropriate levels of security and support for the local population, the military's role and functions must be properly understood in the context of the strategic situation and the "art of the possible" in the specific case. This paper explores COIN as a complex operation, and specifically addresses the dynamics of supporting local populations. This paper further explores pressing strategic challenges presented by insurgencies and seeks to establish some strategic clarity, as well as indicate some opportunities and solutions at both the strategic and operational levels. Specific issues covered include the nature of COIN, with a focus on the "indirect" approach; the importance of understanding Unconventional Warfare (UW) as a basis for understanding COIN; explores the concepts and roles of "functionaries and warriors" and of a "New Heroic Age"; includes the importance of Security Force Assistance (SFA); covers the challenges and benefits of multinational operations; and presents several conclusions and recommendations for doctrine, training, and educational development of personnel.

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Hearts and Minds: Its Evolution and Relevance to Counterinsurgency Campaigns

At the core of U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine is the concept of “hearts and minds.” Although the concept has significantly deviated from its historical grounding and has become a nebulous concept that is frequently maligned, misunderstood, and misapplied; nonetheless, its original principles remain the cornerstone in current counterinsurgency campaigns. This thesis examined two historical and two contemporary case studies: The British-Malya in Malaya (1950 to 1960), the British-Omani experience in Dhofar (1970 to 1975), and the current US military experiences in support of the Philippine military, and the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The Malayan Emergency gave birth to the term hearts and minds in counterinsurgency application. However, it is vehemently argued that the British administration’s highly coercive methods can be categorized hearts and minds. Conversely in Oman, the British were equally victorious in prosecuting the Dhofar Rebellion with very minimal coercive methods. Its success is credited to the small SAS footprint, working with indigenous forces, and legitimizing the host nation government. It is fascinating to note that the current hearts and minds methodology applied by US SOF in the southern Philippines parallels those of Dhofar. On the other hand, the US-led ISAF in Afghanistan continues to struggle in gaining the population’s support and missing its mark. The four case studies portray that the hearts and minds has evolved from previously coercion-heavy methods to the current modernization and legitimacy approach based on Western concepts.

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The Lost Caravan : The Rise and Fall of Al Qaeda in Iraq, 2003--2007

In 2006, a coalition intelligence report was writing off portions of Iraq as being lost to the control of the U.S.-led coalition and the government of Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)—a local manifestation of a transnational movement— was at its peak, while the U.S.-led coalition was attempting to remove itself from the Hobbesian violence raging throughout the country in the forms of a civil war and an insurgency. Yet, within a year, AQI was a mere shadow of its former self, rejected by the Sunni population and on the run, hounded by coalition forces.

This thesis analyzes the many factors that contributed to AQI’s demise. Beginning with the premise that Iraq’s Sunnis and AQI developed along two distinctly different paths, this thesis traces AQI’s demise to disparate cultural and ideological differences. With this rift in place, additional factors widened the gap between the Sunni and AQI, further accelerating the group’s decline. This thesis then goes on to develop a theory on insurgent/popular alignment, offering insights into how insurgents build support with the population and how the U.S. Special Forces community can build popular support for Unconventional Warfare efforts as a third party to an insurgency.

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Improving Cultural Education of Special Operations Forces

The Department of Defense has recognized the challenges posed by future conflicts and directed the services to increase their capabilities to meet these challenges. The United States Army’s 2008 Army Training and Leader Development Strategy, states that “over the next decade or longer there will be a period of persistent conflict, during which the Army will operate with allied, coalition, and other government and non-government partners across the full spectrum of operations against networked, adaptive, asymmetric adversaries, in order to gain the support of indigenous populations and to positively influence them.” SOF requirements to effectively work with partner nation security forces, indigenous peoples and other organizations to accomplish assigned missions will be greater than ever before. Current SOF language and cultural education programs need to be improved to meet the challenges of the 21st century. An improved SOF language training and education program should consist of improved initial language and culture training, advanced regional studies and in-country immersion.

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American Power Maintenance: Thoughts for the Future

As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, America has suffered significant damage to its reputation and prestige. America also, reportedly, faces serious threats to all elements of its national power (Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic). This paper will examine these reported threats to national power in depth to determine their nature. Critical to this examination and contained in this paper is a short review of some of the pertinent literature on the topic of the loss of American image, power and influence. This paper will also examine whether the power and influence lost to those threats is actual or perceived and address what actions America should take to repair any dents to reputation and prestige. In the end, this paper concludes that the actual near-term threats to America’s power are minimal, but the damage to its image and influence is real. That damage can be repaired and the key to doing so is the balanced use of soft and hard power through careful and nuanced statecraft.

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Do Not Shoot, A Personal Negotiation

Human interaction and negotiation are relatively simple actions to describe, but consist of complex components. Throughout history, people have negotiated over human and civil rights, personal freedom, land, salaries, and other resources and commodities. 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.

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Influence: Maximizing Effects to Create Long-Term Stability

As contemporary warfare becomes increasingly irregular in character it is necessary for the modern force to understand the dynamics of both insurgencies and the governments the insurgents seek to usurp. In such an environment the center of gravity is typically the population, and the preponderance of efforts must be focused on influencing that population more effectively than the adversary. The commonly used and ambiguous term Influence Operations does not comprehensively address the scope of such operations, and a proposal for a new joint doctrinal term is contained herein. The dynamic Joint Special Operations Task Force -- Philippines (JSOTF-P) has evolved and successfully applied Influence Operations using multiple lines of operation, including Capacity Building, Civil-Military Operations, Information Operations, and Intelligence Support Operations over the past decade. Influence Operations such as these have become the most relevant focus as the main effort in a whole-government approach to counterinsurgency. To succeed in achieving long-term regional stability, regardless of the environment, leaders at all levels must prepare their forces for a myriad of contingencies and operating environments by establishing a common understanding of the current global threat.

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Restructuring Civil Affairs for Persistent Engagement

Since the end of the Cold War, growing state and global instability, particularly in undergoverned regions of the world, has led to increasing requests from ambassadors and combatant commanders for civil affairs forces to conduct missions in support of a whole-of-government (WOG) approach aimed at improving and sustaining stability, and preventing war. Based on increasing government emphasis on persistent whole-of-government operations to maintain stability and protect U.S. interests, in addition to enduring counterinsurgency and foreign internal defense operations, the authorized growth in civil affairs forces will not meet the increasing demand. The purpose of this monograph is to discern an appropriate civil affairs force structure to conduct civil affairs operations in support of persistent whole-of-government stability, security, transition, and reconstruction (SSTR) efforts and support military forces in long-term full spectrum operations in order to improve stability of the international state system. This monograph reviews existing literature on contemporary civil affairs; highlights the linkage between national strategy, doctrine and force requirements; analyzes demand for reserve and active duty civil affairs forces, proposes a macro-level demand model for determining special operations civil affairs force structure, compares current force structure to the modeled demand, and recommends changes in force structure to meet the demands of persistent conflict for the next two decades. The conclusion of this research is that the Department of Defense should increase and realign the force structure of the reserve and active components civil affairs; split the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command into the U.S. Army Civil Affairs Command and the U.S. Army Psychological Operations Command, and move the new two-star headquarters back to the active component under U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

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Detachment 101 in the CBI: An Unconventional Warfare Paradigm for Contemporary Special Operations

Detachment 101 of the Office of Strategic Services’ development of unconventional warfare doctrine in the China-Burma-India Theater of World War II presents the practitioner of unconventional warfare a worthy model of consideration for our contemporary special operations forces. However, Detachment 101’s approach to unconventional warfare operations does not serve as the approved template from which to dogmatically execute unconventional warfare operations. Detachment 101’s approach was tailored specifically for conditions present in the China-Burma-India Theater of World War II and the policies driving U.S. involvement during the period of 1942 – 1945.
The study identifies several areas that, if considered by contemporary Special Operations Forces, could improve the efficiency of operations currently conducted in Afghanistan. Specific areas included the need for the more adequate fusion of intelligence efforts, the nesting of operational commands within the existing structure, the more adequate resourcing of guerrilla operations, and finally adjusting the operational scope of Special Forces within the current campaign in Afghanistan.

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Surveillance and Interdiction Models : A Game-Theoretic Approach to Defend Against VBIEDS

This thesis develops a model for surveillance and interdiction operations by combining a tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to detect a threat with a ground force to interdict that threat. The scenario models the defense of a fixed facility such as a Forward Operating Base against an enemy attack in the form of a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED). UAVs are increasingly more important in the military, and significant improvements in quantity and capability allow even tactical units to employ this tool, yet little research has been done on effective employment techniques at this level. Additionally, VBIEDs are a significant threat, but the primary counter-VBIED technique is simply hardened perimeter defenses, and little work has been done to detect and interdict a VBIED before it reaches the target. This research project addresses both deficiencies. Through spreadsheet and decision theory analysis, the factors that impact UAV and ground force employment are examined and effective strategies to employ the two together are considered. Then through Game Theory, the strategic interactions between attack and defender are modeled to examine how changes in the conditions can impact the optimal strategy choices for each side.

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