Monday, December 24, 2007

Defeating Cross Border Insurgencies (Thesis)

The new batch of CGSC masters theses are online and available for download here. One that stood out immediately due to its topic was Major Thorsten Lyhne Jorgensen's thesis, "Defeating Cross Border Insurgencies" (The full text can be downloaded here). MAJ Jorgenson is from Denmark yet his thesis is better written and more methodologically sound than many I have read. Using a comparative case study as the broad method and the theoretical models of Collier-Hoeffler combined with the counter-insurgency insights from O'Neill to help focus his research, MAJ Jorgenson has identified some trends that appear to be constant across a wide realm of cross-border insurgencies. Highlights from the abstract and the text include (Italics are mine):

  • "This thesis assesses whether COIN efforts can be successful when the insurgents are operating from safe havens in neighboring states."
  • "In order for the COIN to be successful, a number of prerequisites must be in place. The political and military leadership and the civilian and military operators on the ground have to be historical and cultural aware with regards to the region in which operations are conducted, especially with regards to the structural aspects in effect amongst the local populace." (There are a couple of typos in the above and they were in the original. MAJ Jorgenson's thesis is 130+ pages and English can't be his first language. No foul, then, to the author; but I felt like it needed an explanation...)
  • "A well planned and coordinated application of the DIME is the key to success. The regional aspects of the cross border insurgencies call upon a diplomatic approach involving regional players as well as IO, IGO and NGOs."
  • "The Informational instrument of national power is a proactive tool in the fight against the insurgency. This powerful instrument is difficult to control by nature, needs to be both primitive and sophisticated in nature and message. Primitive in nature when dealing with the local goatherd or illiterate and sophisticated and professional when dealing with the world press."
  • "The Military instrument of national power is a necessity in securing the populace. The application of the Military instrument must be immediately followed by reconstruction efforts aiming to mitigate poverty and everyday suffering. Executing projects, both long and short term, utilizing local labor is a way to counter the alarming unemployment figures which are potential recruitment bases for the insurgency. Sufficient boots on the ground is essential to maintain presence and thereby maintain legitimacy of the entire COIN effort."
  • "The Economic instrument is important especially when dealing with underdeveloped populaces such as the ones in Oman, Kashmir and Afghanistan. A significant and long term effort like the one in Oman stands good chances of success. Decreasing poverty and providing jobs through economically secured programs are a safe way to gain legitimacy and support within the local populace. As for the previous instruments of national power, the Economic instrument must be applied in accordance with a well coordinated regional plan."

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