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Thread: help with bibliography: national liberation to netwar

  1. #1
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    Default help with bibliography: national liberation to netwar

    Hello everyone,

    I've been reading this forum for a year or so now. I am graduate student in PhD program in sociology and one of my main areas of historical interest is the evolution of counterinsurgency. I am still learning the ins and outs of COIN (I don't have a masters, I am doing coursework, and won't start my dissertation for couple more years) so I probably can't contribute to much to the forum but I was hoping I might be able to get some guidance from this absurdly well informed bunch that frequents this site.

    I am doing research for paper on the transformation in counterinsurgency as it parallels the shift from the patriarchal mode of national liberation (Vietnam, Algeria and other "classic cases") to network struggles dominant today. I've read the the famous RAND report and some other papers dealing with Iraq and Afganistan but I am hoping more the trace the development of "netwar," adaptive insurgency and the emerging COIN strategies that are attempting to confront these new struggles further back. I know on the insurgency side this shift begins with people like Franz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral and is fueled by the economic changes of "globalization" but I struggling to find any sources to help me on the COIN side before the RAND report. Anyone have any suggestions of sources to take a look at? Ideally I like to ground my paper in a case study from the late 1970s or the 1980s. Any suggestions there?

    Thanks a lot...

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Starter

    Brendan,

    A couple of points:

    Have you used the Advanced Search option? This thread explains more:
    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=6813

    Check the RFI thread and I've found this helpful: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=6628 Try 'Yank in Germany' and his paper.

    On reflection I'd look at the campaigns in El Salvador, Oman, Spain (Basque Region), Angola (after independence), SW Africa / Namibia, South Africa and Colombia.

    No more clues!

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-14-2009 at 10:56 PM. Reason: Piecemeal additions.

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    Default Brendan

    be cautious about intellectual fads. There isn't all that much that is really new as David's post suggests - as do some of your own cases. Specifically, globalization is hardly new - we've done it before and war was impossible in 1910 when along came WWI. Netwar - whatever that is - I submit really isn't new either. Sendero Luminoso parcticed it rathaer well 20 years ago...

    Good luck and welcome.

    JohnT

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    Default Combined Arms Resource Library

    Brendan

    There are several resources at Fort Leavenworth that may be of assistance to you.

    Combined Arms Research Library (CARL)

    CARL's Digital Library - From their website:

    These electronic collections are largely composed of digital versions of paper documents from the Combined Arms Research Library collections. The collections of digitized materials are uploaded in the CONTENTdm® Digital Collection Management System which allows for greater search and retrieval of the individual documents. For example, you can find CGSC MMAS theses and SAMS monographs here.

    CGSC MMAS - U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Master of Military Art & Science - Search for "counterinsurgency" yielded 310 items. Search for NETWAR yielded 8 items. The collection includes all of the publicly releasable theses since 1964.

    SAMS - School of Advanced Military Studies - All publicly releasable monographs from 1986 to the present are available as digital downloads. Search for "counterinsurgency" yielded 392 items. Search for NETWAR yielded 10 items.

    And those are only 2 of the 11 categories available via their digital library page. The digital collection also includes publications from the Combat Studies Institute (CSI) Press.

    U.S. Army/U.S. Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center (COIN Center)

    The COIN Center at Fort Leavenworth maintains an online COIN Knowledge Center, a COIN Center Blog and also solicits research at their COIN Focused Research page.

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    Thanks a lot guys.

    David, I'll make good use of SWJ's search feature in the future. Thanks for helping me get some bearings.

    Bob, those links you provided are great. In just after a few minutes playing around with those CARL's digital library and the COIN center I've found some good material for my papers as well as some interesting info about some other topics I've been wondering about.

    John, I'm trying to heed your words on intellectual fads. That's why I put globalization in quotes. Its dubious term that doesn't really take in account the historical evolution of the world-system. In terms of world trade, the 1990s was merely a return to pre-WWI levels. I think a pendulum shift from protectionism (Fordism) to free-trade (flexible accumulation) is more descriptive of what has actually happened in the economy since the 1970s. At the same time, however, new media and communications technologies have really changed the way humans related to each and that's what I am really grappling with. I think this is where the difference between your hierarchical party systems and a decentered network of shifting alliances among related small groups becomes especially clear. Add to that there there is trend for movements to shift away from holding territory and seizing state power and I think there is a new reality to which counterinsurgency is adapting.

    So with all that said, what do you all make of this three part framework I am playing with?

    Conventional-establishment approach: (general trends in COIN emerging out of 19th century): Relies on orthodox military strategies and a preference for conventional ground and air operations requiring large deployments of troops, "search-and-destroy," missions, the tactics of "encirclement" and "attrition," which involve, on the one hand, the establishment of large military fortifications (bases, enclaves) connected by “mobile battalions" and, on the other hand, the massive displacement of the civilian population and the creation of free fire zones and resettlement programs. The ultimate goal is to help multiply the political and institutional pressures toward forcing, surprising or luring the guerrillas into conventional showdowns.

    Liberal reformist: (the post WWII "golden age" of COIN) An elaboration upon the conventional-establishment approach with methods from intelligence work and special forces: the creation of counterguerrilla guerillas, irregular tactics, the unity of civilian and military roles, psychological warfare, and, above all, an emphasis on lateral intelligence sharing and coordination leading to a decentralization of decision making to lower levels of command. The ultimate goal is to destroy the insurgent political command and control, i.e. the targeting political cadres over and above mere guerrillas.

    Netwar: (Emerging in the mid-1970s and coming to fore today): A transformation of the liberal-reformist elaboration to the conventional-establishment approach which attempts to adapt to the new form of movements by further emphasizing the importance of intelligence to determine form of the network organization, its unifying themes and tropes, and identify its critical nodes. Netwar places a greater emphasis on the technologies used to coordinate the networks, technological disruption (cyberwarfare) and looks to technology to reduce causalities of the great power (the further deepening of capital intensive warfare). Ultimate goal is not the complete destruction of networks but their effective disruption by neutralizing key nodes.

    Being a good student of sociology, I think of these three trends as ideal-types in the way I think Max Weber originally intended them. That is not as normative standards to which to strive but as generalized trends that can help organize a historical narrative. In other words, I see these three stages as conceptual tools and not as hard and fast truth claims. In any of three stages, elements of the other are visible, not simply as successive elaborations, but as a diverse field where future strategies are prefigured in older forms. For basketball fans, I think its like saying that Oscar Robinson foreshadowed Magic Johnson who, in turn, foreshadowed Lebron James, while still leaving space to make the argument that the Big O was, in fact, the same as and better than "King" James.

    For my paper, I am trying to find a good case to test this stages. I'm trying to focus on the shift form the liberal reformist approach to netwar. For my senior thesis I looked counterinsurgency in Indochina from France to the US and I feel pretty comfortable with the elaboration of COIN from the conventional establishment to the liberal reformist. Any comments you like to offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your time....
    Last edited by brendan; 03-16-2009 at 02:02 PM. Reason: fix a spelling error

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    Default Brendan

    I find that the "conventional..." approach to COIN might be better labled, "the stupid approach." Your Liberal - Reformist approach seems to coincide with Kilcullen's sophisticated version of an enemy centric approach. You don't address Kilcullen's Population Centric approach which, from the insurgent's point of view, is Maoist. Rather, you pick up on Netwar which, IMO, is merely a fad based on some real changes in communications but that hardly change the nature of COIN or insurgency.

    See Kilcullen's "Two Schools Of Counterinsurgency" on this site and my "The SWORD Model of Counterinsurgency" also posted in the SWJ.

    Cheers

    JohnT

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    Hi Brendan,

    Quote Originally Posted by brendan View Post
    John, I'm trying to heed your words on intellectual fads. That's why I put globalization in quotes. Its dubious term that doesn't really take in account the historical evolution of the world-system.
    I think you might want to be a touch careful about using world systems theory as well, speaking of fads... . You might think about extending it with Manuel Castels work on the Network Society, but there is still the problem that it is a fairly clunky model all told. I would suggest you take a look at Mafesoli's work for a good corrective.

    Quote Originally Posted by brendan View Post
    So with all that said, what do you all make of this three part framework I am playing with?
    Well, it certainly fits with the current neo-Marxist and Post-Modernist teleologies.... I just happen to think they are incomplete (at best) . You might find it instructive to take a look at Roman operations from, say, the 1st to 4th century ce. I would argue that you certainly see an almost exact parallel with your model.

    Quote Originally Posted by brendan View Post
    Being a good student of sociology, I think of these three trends as ideal-types in the way I think Max Weber originally intended them. That is not as normative standards to which to strive but as generalized trends that can help organize a historical narrative. In other words, I see these three stages as conceptual tools and not as hard and fast truth claims. In any of three stages, elements of the other are visible, not simply as successive elaborations, but as a diverse field where future strategies are prefigured in older forms.
    It would certainly be interesting to see a Weberian style analysis done on them and I would agree that they make fairly decent ideal types.

    Quote Originally Posted by brendan View Post
    For my paper, I am trying to find a good case to test this stages. I'm trying to focus on the shift form the liberal reformist approach to netwar.
    You could certainly do worse that comparing the Barracks Emperors period with the period from, say the end of WW II to the present. That would give you some really good historical depth.

    Cheers,

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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