Title page for ETD etd-10272008-191756

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Shilling, Adam Patrick
Author's Email Address adam.p.shilling@us.army.mil
URN etd-10272008-191756
Title Toward an Effective and Humane Counterinsurgency
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Krisanna Machtmes Committee Chair
Curtis R Friedel Committee Member
Michael F Burnett Committee Member
Satish Verma Committee Member
Stephen Henthorne Committee Member
Renee M Casbergue Dean's Representative
  • Guerrilla Warfare
  • Terrorism
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Stability Operations
  • Nation-building
  • Asymmetric Warfare
  • Irregular Warfare
  • Counterinsurgency
Date of Defense 2008-08-26
Availability unrestricted
Preliminary research isolated a set of thirteen candidate principles that military officers

need to understand to conduct effective and humane counterinsurgency. A meta-synthesis of

eight classical theorists of counterinsurgency sought support for and consensus on these principles and discovered considerable consensus on all of them. Therefore, this set could be

considered a “classical” model of counterinsurgency for use in counterinsurgency campaign planning.

The contemporary global political environment is very different from that the classical

theorists faced. Therefore, additional research attempted to understand the changes in the

environment and in the nature of insurgency to determine the changes necessary to update the

classical model. The most important changes in the environment included the end of the Cold

War and of superpower rivalry, the increase in the number and influence of important non-state

actors, urbanization, and globalization of media and communications technologies.

Corresponding changes in the nature of insurgency included the changed objectives of insurgent groups; the globalization of local national struggles; the formation of global terrorist groups that can be perceived as insurgencies; the advent of networked, rather than hierarchical, insurgent organizations; and increased emphasis on the use of media to generate support for insurgent causes and to spread fear.

Nevertheless, analysis found the classical principles to be remarkably durable. While the tactics and techniques needed to put each principle into action might be very different from those of the 1950s and 1960s, the principles remain valid, and are still useful for campaign planning.

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