Cover: Assessing Irregular Warfare

Assessing Irregular Warfare

A Framework for Intelligence Analysis

Published Dec 11, 2008

by Eric V. Larson, Derek Eaton, Brian Nichiporuk, Thomas S. Szayna


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The objective of this study was to provide an analytic framework for intelligence analysis of irregular warfare (IW) environments that could be used as the basis for a subsequent IW intelligence analysis curriculum development effort. The authors conducted a review of recent policy, strategy, doctrinal, and other materials pertaining to IW, concluding that although the term irregular warfare remains somewhat nebulous, situations considered within the realm of IW generally can be thought of in terms of two main stylized types: (1) population-centric IW situations, which include such missions as counterinsurgency, foreign internal defense, and support to insurgency, where the indigenous population is the center of gravity; and (2) counterterrorism operations, whether conducted as one element of a theater commander's campaign or as part of the U.S. Special Operations Command-led global war on terrorism, where a cellular network is being targeted. The authors identify the intelligence and analytic requirements associated with each of these two stylized forms of IW and describe a top-down framework, or analytic procedure, that can be used for assessing IW environments. Also included is a list of references to IW-relevant doctrinal publications.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by RAND Arroyo Center.

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