Defeating the modern asymmetric threat
Connor, Robert J.
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On February 24th, 2002 the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka entered into a Peace Agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ending a horrific 19 year-old low-intensity conflict. Over the course of nearly two decades, the LTTE came to exemplify the modern asymmetric threat as they battled the Sri Lankan Armed Forces (SLAF) and for a period an Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). The anthropology in Chapter II, history in Chapter III, and explanation of the Tigers in Chapter IV describes most of the intricacies of the struggle. In particular, Chapter IV offers four explanations for the prolific use of suicide bombers by the LTTE: one strategic, one operational, one psychological and one religious. Chapter V conducts an analysis of the conflict to garner what lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of the SLAF and IPKF so that U.S. commanders can better prepare their troops for future battles against organizations employing similar tactics as the LTTE. Chapter V further tests my hypothesis that the four principles of Internal Defense and Development (IDAD) as currently defined in U.S. Joint Doctrine (maximum intelligence, minimum violence, unity of effort, and responsive government) are the applicable variables in defeating the modern asymmetric threat, even those that employ suicide bombers. I defined success in defeating the modern asymmetric threat as besting the threat sufficiently through military means that the enemy lays down his arms, gives up the use of his explosives, and seeks to end the conflict peacefully by political means. With the February signing of the peace accord, having been greatly assisted by the global effects of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., the Sri Lankan government and its armed forces finally achieved success in defeating the LTTE according to this definit ion. Whether wittingly or unwittingly at the time, the Sri Lankans were adhering to all four principles of IDAD. Some may argue that without the effects of 9/11 this would not have been possible and this may very well be true, but it does not negate my argument. Chapter VI defends this conclusion and makes some further recommendations for improving the definitions of the IDAD principles so that young U.S. military officers and non-commissioned officers may be better prepared when they come face to face with similar threats in the near future.
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