Cover: Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 30 Insurgencies, 1978-2008

Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 30 Insurgencies, 1978-2008

Published In: Military Operations Research, v. 17, no. 2, 2012, p. 19-40

Posted on rand.org 2012

by Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Beth Grill

We use Charles Ragin's Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to quantitatively test the performance of 20 distinct counterinsurgency (COIN) approaches against the historical record. The five main takeaways from the research were: (1) effective COIN practices tend to run in packs; (2) the balance of effective versus detrimental COIN practices discriminates all 30 cases into wins or losses without recourse to narratives of exceptionality; (3) poor beginnings don't necessarily lead to poor endings; (4) repression wins phases, but usually not cases; (5) insurgent tangible support appears to be a critical center of gravity. Our results provide useful recommendations for US engagement in and support for COIN operations.

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