Sustainable development: a strategy for regaining control of Northern Mali
Symonette, Benjamin M.
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This thesis proposes a decision-support process to facilitate a more comprehensive approach that U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) may adopt to reclaim control of Northern Mali from violent extremist organizations (VEOs). Specifically, the thesis explores the effectiveness of intervening with sustainable-development projects to deter, displace, or defeat VEOs. The author defines the problem through a systems approach by investigating the conditions that contribute to the Malian government’s lack of control, then uses a design approach to identify an intervention strategy. After prototyping possible solutions, the author explores U.S. policy and strategy to verify the feasibility of intervening via sustainable development initiatives. Finally, the author uses integer programming (IP) to formulate, solve, and interpret the intervention strategy. The author evaluates two IP models to allocate sustainable-development projects optimally for the purposes of rehabilitating desert lands, gaining compliance from non-state actors, and regaining control of ungoverned territories. This research finds that using a decision-support process may help AFRICOM nest its strategy within the policy promoted by the U.S. ambassador to Mali. By doing so, AFRICOM may gain more influence in Northern Mali by pursuing a whole of government approach.
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