Why the weak win wars a study of the factors that drive strategy in asymmetric conflict
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This thesis builds on the research and ideas of the school of thought that believes strategy is the most important factor in predicting war outcomes. One shortcoming of that school is the inability to explain why strong actors would implement a strategy that does not provide the highest probability of victory. This project uses a game theoretic model to illustrate how a seemingly non-optimal strategy may be rational for initial phases of the conflict. However, this rationale does not apply beyond initial stages of conflict. To explain non-optimal strategy selection in prolonged conflicts, this project analyzes strategy drivers-factors that influence strategy selection and implementation. Probability of victory is only one of the factors found to influence strategy implementation. Other than probability of victory, this study finds that the institutional predisposition of a military is the most important because it is the most consistent and the most controllable by the military. With this conceptual basis, the project analyzes U.S. involvement in Afghanistan since 2001. It also takes a cursory look at U.S. operations in Iraq since 2003, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The model and case studies illustrate a U.S. military institutional predisposition with an excessive disposition towards direct attack. As such, this thesis recommends taking action to provide the U.S. military with a more neutral institutional predisposition.
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Kotula, Kevin R.; Richardson, Timothy L. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2011-12);This thesis builds upon existing contemporary theories that attempt to explain the outcomes of asymmetric conflict. Specifically, this thesis uses Ivan Arreguin-Toft's Strategic Interaction Theory as a baseline to identify ...
Naval Postgraduate School Public Affairs Office (Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School, 2013-04-16);Prominent military strategists have stressed that prevention of conflict is equally as valued as victory in conflict. The Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard’s very own “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower” clearly ...
Gregg, Heather S. (2009);The US military has made considerable progress in developing counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy and doctrine, including the publication of Army Field Manual 3-24 and the military's successes in working with the population ...