The Fallacy of Leadership Removal Strategies in 21st Century Counterinsurgency
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA JOINT ADVANCED WARFIGHTING SCHOOL
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This thesis proves that military planners and policy makers have a predisposition to leadership removal strategies and that these strategies are not effective ways to defeat an insurgency. In the 21st century military planners and policy makers have become enamored with leadership removal as a strategy for defeating enemy organizations. The influence of conventional theorists like Warden and Strange drive planners to overemphasize leadership within an insurgency. Nearly all government documents concerning insurgencies falsely conclude that leadership is a key element in insurgent operations. The evolution of insurgency in the 21st century has brought about unique organizational structures which show a lesser reliance on leadership for survival. A careful review of three different insurgencies shows that leadership removal does not necessarily produce the effects that planners intend and rarely results in the defeat of the insurgent organization. Planners need to be aware of the inclination to overemphasize leadership and instead focus on proven concepts which involve a political, as well as a military solution.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare