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Planning for regime change and its aftermath

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Technical Report

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The United States has used overt military power to change three countries governing regimes since 911Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya and U.S. policy at time of writing supports two more. Despite this experience, and the likely future need, the U.S. has no institutional concept of regime change. This thesis attempts to develop one. It conducts an extensive review of military doctrine, strategic theory, and the academic political science and international relations literature to identify relevant insights for a theory of regime change. It then develops a conceptual model of regime change based on these insights, and tests it against a case study of Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF from March 2003 to May 2006. This thesis finds that the conceptual model of regime change explains the political and military development of OIF and offers insights into how the situation led to civil war. It additionally finds direct insights into how to structure an operational approach for future regime changes, and offers recommendations for future interagency and military planning.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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