Irregular Forces in Counterinsurgency Operations: Their Roles and Considerations   [open pdf - 851KB]

From the thesis abstract: "The purpose of this monograph is to determine the ideal practices for militias and irregular forces in counterinsurgency operations. This study specifically addresses those groups organized by a legitimate sponsor such as the Host Nation or one of its partners and takes note to exclude criminal organizations that seek to terrorize the government or its population to gain concessions. As part of its study, this paper provides a basic outline of the goals of insurgent and counterinsurgent doctrine. It uses Mao Tse-tung as a source for universal insurgent goals and Revolutionary Insurgencies and David Galula for Nationalist Insurgencies (Galula refers to them as Bourgeois-Nationalist). Galula's differentiation is unique because it attempts to identify situations and expected insurgents actions for each type of insurgency though insurgencies may include characteristics of both models. This study also refers to US doctrine to provide an understanding of how the US expects to fight insurgencies. This monograph then establishes a baseline of criteria for militia tasks and considerations that it subsequently investigates using historical examples of three conflicts: The Malayan Emergency, The US in the Vietnam War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. As in any military operation, commanders must balance a myriad of criteria that weigh on possible alternative solutions. In the employment of irregular forces, a leader must consider how using locally hired indigenous forces affect operations. He should be aware of how the roles of such unconventional forces affect the militias themselves, how the Host Nation or its defense forces react to them, and possible US government and popular reactions. While verifying that militias are effective in counterinsurgent operations for basic security and defense related tasks, providing intelligence, population control, and permit for conventional forces to direct actions against the insurgents, this paper revealed that irregulars have the potential for additional contributions. With training and supervision, surrogates can engage in short duration offensive operations. Militias also provide a means for the government to garner local support against the insurgency through inclusion. They can facilitate reconciliation with disaffected groups and provide a unifying force for these groups in politics."

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