Counterinsurgency's Gordian knot: Solving the identification problem /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Magruder, Daniel L., Jr., author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (319 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Robert Pape Committee members: John Mearsheimer; Paul Staniland.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation addresses how governments solve the identification problem during a counterinsurgency. It provides a causal theory explaining successful or failed identification of suspected militants during COIN. Apart from indiscriminate violence, any government approach to insurgency must address the identification problem. The major oversight in the literature is ignoring the critical antecedent condition common to all COIN approaches: distinguishing friend from foe. While academics and practicioners recognize the importance of militant identification, they fail to address it directly. Moreover, conventional theories do not explain the origins of control, emphasize persuasion in the relationship between control and information provision, or address spurious information.
In my theory, security force behavior increases or decreases the likelihood of positive identification of suspected militants. What I term risk acceptant methods are more likely to lead to identification of militants whereas risk averse methods often fail. The key distinction between the two methods is whether a government security force privileges civilian safety or not. If government forces are willing to risk their personal safety it signals a credible commitment to the population. The deed of ensuring each citizen's survival initiates the credible commitment between a security force and population because civilians can be protected from reprisals if they collaborate. Due to mutual dependence, civilians have incentives to provide the identifying information on militants. The logic facilitates an increase in voluntary collaboration from the population over time because doing so raises prospects of assuring their survival in the future. When security forces use risk acceptant methods to collect, assess, and confirm militant identity they are more likely to establish a credible link between suspect militants and their activity. This is because risk acceptant behavior motivates forms of collaboration which increase a state's ability to identify militants over time. On the other hand, risk averse methods place the protection of soldiers ahead of the safety of civilians when collecting, assessing, and confirming identity of militant suspects. Because government forces have no interest in bearing costs, they fail to establish a credible commitment with the population and dismisses the demands of the identification problem.