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Effective civilian relief, reconstruction, and development work can help convince people to support their government against insurgency. Knowing this, insurgents will target such work, threatening both those who perform it and those who benefit from it. Too often, the result is a postponement of efforts to improve government and serve the population until contested territory has been cleared of insurgents. This can lead to excessive reliance on force to defeat insurgents — delaying or even preventing success. A RAND team with combined security and development expertise set out to learn how civilian counterinsurgency (civil COIN) (essential human services, political reform, physical reconstruction, economic development, and indigenous capacity-building) could be conducted more safely in the face of active insurgency, when it can do the most good. The authors propose the following to improve the security of civil COIN under fire: a concept for setting priorities among civil COIN measures; a way to allocate security forces optimally among various civil COIN activities, as well as between them and other COIN security missions (e.g., direct operations against insurgents); new, integrated concepts of operation (ICONOPS) that military and civilian leaders could employ during COIN campaigns to manage risk and produce best results for COIN as a whole; and general requirements for capabilities and corresponding investments to secure civil COIN, derived from ICONOPS.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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