Locals Rule: Historical Lessons for Creating Local Defense Forces for Afghanistan and Beyond
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
Pagination or Media Count:
Local defense by police or paramilitary units has been a common tactic in counterinsurgency. These forces, known under names as diverse as militias, self-defense forces, local patrols, neighborhood watch groups, or civil defense forces, represent a bottom-up approach to security that focuses on the community or village level, rather than national level. Counterinsurgents have traditionally relied on local defense forces for a number of reasons. These units act as a force multiplier for regular armies that must cover large swaths of territory, and they have an unmatched knowledge of the local terrain and populations. Local defense forces may also be more motivated to fight than many regulars, because they directly see the results of security improvements on their families and community. The effective employment of local defense forces also depletes the potential recruiting pool of insurgents, while providing the central government with some sense of perceived if not actual popular support.
- Civil Defense