Professional Irregular Defense Forces: the Other Side of COIN
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Throughout history, small nation-states have generally organized their militaries and based their homeland-defense strategies on at least one of four conventional models. They have from time to time chosen to imitate large states` militaries, have joined alliances, assumed neutrality, obtained weapons of mass destruction in more modern times, or implemented some combination of these. A deeper analysis of history, however, unearths other possibilities for defensive postures. The use of irregular strategies and forces, when small nations have faced much bigger and stronger adversaries, has been successful quite a few times. While countries with traditional, orthodox, military mindsets and organizations have spent the last few decades trying to counter irregular forces and strategies, and learning to fight them effectively, the other side of the coin, the adoption of irregular warfare techniques, has been poorly explored. This research was conducted to fill this gap. What can be learned and used at the state level from the strength and historical successes of irregular strategies and forces? Through the analysis of six irregular conflicts, including successful and failed examples, this thesis examines the possible utility and exportability of an irregular strategy as a preferred homeland-defense approach for small states.
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