Counterinsurgency, Security Forces, and the Identification Problem: Distinguishing Friend From Foe, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Counterinsurgency, Security Forces, and the Identification Problem

Distinguishing Friend From Foe, 1st Edition

By Daniel L. Magruder, Jr


236 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138705128
pub: 2017-07-14
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315202341
pub: 2017-07-28
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This book presents a theory and empirical evidence for how security forces can identify militant suspects during counterinsurgency operations.

A major oversight on the part of academics and practitioners has been to ignore the critical antecedent issue common to persuasion and coercion counterinsurgency (COIN) approaches: distinguishing friend from foe. This book proposes that the behaviour of security forces influences the likelihood of militant identification during a COIN campaign, and argues that security forces must respect civilian safety in order to create a credible commitment to facilitate collaboration with a population. This distinction is important as conventional wisdom has wrongly assumed that the presence of security forces confers control over terrain or influence over a population. Collaboration between civilian and government actors is the key observable indicator of support in COIN. Paradoxically, this theory accounts for why and how increased risk to government forces in the short term actually improves civilian security in the long run. Counterinsurgency, Security Forces, and the Identification Problem draws on three case studies: the Huk Rebellion in the Philippines post-World War II; Marines Corps’ experiences in Vietnam through the Combined Action Program; and Special Operations activities in Iraq after 2003. For military practitioners, the work illustrates the critical precursor to establishing "security" during counterinsurgency operations. The book also examines the role and limits of modern technology in solving the identification problem.

This book will be of interest to students of counterinsurgency, military history, strategic studies, US foreign policy, and security studies in general.

Table of Contents


1. Revisiting Counterinsurgency: The Identification Problem

2. Explaining Insurgent Identification

3. Philippines Armed Forces, Huk Rebellion

4. Marine Corps Combined Action Program, Vietnam

5. American Special Operations Forces, Iraq

6. Conclusion

About the Author

Daniel L. Magruder, Jr holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago, USA, and is currently Commander, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Dupont, Wasington, USA.

About the Series

Studies in Insurgency, Counterinsurgency and National Security

This series seeks to publish comparative surveys as well as more detailed in-depth case studies on insurgent movements and counter-insurgent responses. The aim is to provide both fresh and innovative analytical perspectives on new and hitherto unknown or neglected research materials and documentation, including the resources from historical archives as well as oral or field work data.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
HISTORY / Military / Strategy
HISTORY / Military / Iraq War (2003-)
HISTORY / Military / Special Forces