Second-party Counterinsurgency

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Copyright: O'Neill, Mark
This dissertation examines the theory and conduct of counterinsurgency operations by interventionist states, defined and labelled herein as second-party counterinsurgency. The conduct of such second-party counterinsurgency has been (and is) commonplace in the contemporary era, yet a large proportion of extant counterinsurgency theory and practice – indeed much of the commonly accepted counterinsurgency paradigm – fails to meet the challenge of its subject adequately. In line with this assertion, contemporary Western counterinsurgency practice has all too often defaulted to a formulaic approach, characterised by an overly simplistic ‘hearts and minds’ archetype. This model has held the imagination of counterinsurgency theory and scholarship since the early 1960s. It is a basic argument of this dissertation that blind acceptance of the ‘hearts and minds’ paradigm has often led second-party counterinsurgents to adopt of inappropriate ways and means to attain their strategic objectives. This increases the risk of defeat in what is already a complex and difficult enterprise. The most important original contribution made by this study is to identify the need for, and propose, a suitable alternative framework for the conduct of second-party counterinsurgency. The central hypothesis is that the principles of counter violence, counter organisation, counter subversion and pre-emption, supported by the enabling concepts of intelligence and adaptation, provide a new and more appropriate theoretical framework to inform the successful conduct of second-party counterinsurgency. Central to the proposed framework is a method that seeks to focus and capitalise on the relative ubiquity of insurgent ways in order to create a defeat mechanism that invokes Clausewitz’s rational calculus. The research underpinning this study derives from a literature review and analysis of archival, primary and secondary source material, the conduct of personal interviews, the use of research questionnaires with select personnel, and the establishment and verification of the framework using three critical historical case studies. The key conclusion of this thesis is that strong correlation appears to exist between the dependent variables of the proposed second-party counterinsurgency framework and successful counterinsurgency operations.
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O'Neill, Mark
Stockings, Craig
Dennis, Peter
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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