October 2 2013
photo by Spc. Brian J. Smith Dutton/FORSCOM
This commentary appeared on The Strategist on October 2, 2013.
RAND has just released Paths to Victory: lessons from modern insurgencies, a report that uses case studies of the 71 insurgencies completed since World War II to (among other things) identify the approaches that give a government the best prospects for defeating an insurgency. I'm the principal investigator and lead author, and I'll speak on the study's results at ANU's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre on Friday 4 October at noon. I look forward to my visit to Canberra, not only for the chance to share findings but also for the opportunity to consider those findings in the context of Australian defence and security. Details on the study's methodology can be found in the report. Here, I review the study's primary findings, and I encourage readers of The Strategist to share their thoughts.
The first major finding is that good counterinsurgent practices ‘run in packs.’ That is, governments that defeat insurgencies don't just do one or two things right, they do many things right, and they do many more things right than they do wrong.