Paths to Victory
Sep 26, 2013
Building on a 2010 RAND study of the 30 insurgencies begun and completed between 1978 and 2008, this study added 41 new cases to the data set, allowing comparisons across all 71 insurgencies begun and completed worldwide since World War II to distill the paths to victory. With many more cases to compare, the study was able to more rigorously test the previous findings and address several critical questions that the earlier study could not.
Lessons from Modern Insurgencies
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When a country is threatened by an insurgency, what efforts give its government the best chance of prevailing? Contemporary discourse on this subject is voluminous and often contentious. Advice for the counterinsurgent is often based on little more than common sense, a general understanding of history, or a handful of detailed examples, instead of a solid, systematically collected body of historical evidence. A 2010 RAND study challenged this trend with rigorous analyses of all 30 insurgencies that started and ended between 1978 and 2008. This update to that original study expanded the data set, adding 41 new cases and comparing all 71 insurgencies begun and completed worldwide since World War II. With many more cases to compare, the study was able to more rigorously test the previous findings and address critical questions that the earlier study could not. For example, it could examine the approaches that led counterinsurgency forces to prevail when an external actor was involved in the conflict. It was also able to address questions about timing and duration, such as which factors affect the duration of insurgencies and the durability of the resulting peace, as well as how long historical counterinsurgency forces had to engage in effective practices before they won. A companion volume, Paths to Victory: Detailed Insurgency Case Studies, offers in-depth narrative overviews of each of the 41 additional cases; the original 30 cases are presented in Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Detailed Counterinsurgency Case Studies.
Considering the "Right" Cases: Identifying Relevant Subsamples
Testing Concepts for Counterinsurgency
Results for Motive-Focused, Iron Fist, and External-Actor Cases
Conclusions and Recommendations
Methods and Data
Details of Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Details of Survival Analyses
Key Findings from Victory Has a Thousand Fathers in Light of New Data and Analyses
List of All Factors Scored for All Cases
Scorecard Scores for the 59 Core Cases
"Now, the RAND Corporation has produced a revealing and convincing study that makes numbers an analytic tool for irregular warfare believable. RAND has researched and written on counterinsurgency, or COIN, for five decades, and that experience shows well. Paths to Victory: Lessons from Modern Insurgencies builds on RAND's already notable Victory has a Thousand Fathers: Sources of Success in Counterinsurgency. The same team of authors -- Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, and Beth Grill, joined for this edition by Molly Dunigan -- expand the number of case studies from 30 to 71, and begin earlier, in 1944, carrying their examination to the present day."
- Foreign Policy, The Best Defense blog by Thomas E. Ricks, review by Kalev I. Sepp, September 2013
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