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A Counter Insurgency Study: An Analysis of Local Defenses

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Master's thesis

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Local Defenses are viewed by many counterinsurgency strategists as an essential element in defeating an insurgency. Providing a population with a local defense organization will strongly support the governments strategy of extending its security and control over the rural areas affected by insurgent organizations. However every insurgency is unique and demands a unique counterinsurgency strategy to be defeated. There always will be an important commonality insurgent organizations need popular support to subsist. The final success of the government or the insurgents will be determined by the capacity of either both to win and retain the support among the rural population. The analysis of the four cases presented in this study clearly demonstrates each governments approach to the insurgent problem, including the use of local defenses to protect rural populations from insurgent attacks and influence. The organization of local defenses during the Malayan Emergency, the El Salvadors Civil War, as well as the Vietnam War and the Terrorist Epoch in Peru proved to be a force multiplier for the government s effort, at least during the time period in which they were effectively implemented. The contribution of this analysis is not that of providing a framework or recipe for strategists to implement this kind of organizations. Rather, the contribution of this study is on a set of variables to be considered when planning the implementation of local defenses as part of a counterinsurgency effort.

Subject Categories:

  • Civil Defense
  • Unconventional Warfare

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