Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Chair

Robert J. Pauly

Committee Chair Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 2

Edward A. Sayre

Committee Member 2 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 3

Tom Lansford

Committee Member 3 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 4

David L. Butler

Abstract

Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations are the most common type of military operation conducted by the United States and other Western powers. In most cases, conventional forces intervening in an insurgency are limited in personnel and turn to local community-based security forces to mitigate this shortcoming after initial attempts fail to defeat an insurgency with the conventional forces available. While the use of community-based security forces is a common element of COIN operations, little research has been conducted to determine the factors that contribute to their successful employment. A synthesis of existing COIN and community-based policing theory provides a model to evaluate the use of community-based security forces. Six factors emerge as the most important for important for the successful employment of community-based security forces; external support and oversight, limits to territorial jurisdiction, incorporation of traditional justice system, local sustainability and accountability, and voluntary participation by local elites. An analysis of eight uses of community-based security forces during COIN operations indicates that external oversight and support is the most critical element in the success of a community-based security program, but also the balanced application of the other factors is a reliable predictor of the program’s outcome and that there is a relationship among several of the factors themselves. These findings suggest this model is a useful planning tool for military planners and commanders.

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