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Case Study Complex MilitaryResearch Paper

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Junior Leaders in Counterinsurgency and Complex Military Operations: A case study of the Northeast Nigeria

Counter Insurgency

Complex Military Operations

Junior Leaders in Armies in Counterinsurgency

The Nigerian Context & North Eastern Conflict

The Troubled North East Nigeria & the Boko Haram

The Counter Insurgency Operations in North Eastern Nigeria

The Boko Haram Counterinsurgency and the Junior Leaders

Counter Insurgency

Government Counterinsurgency Guide describes counterinsurgency or COIN as the military and civilian efforts that that are undertaken simultaneously in order to defeat and contain insurgency and the causes of the insurgency (Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Department of State, United States Government, 2009).

It is also important to understand the definition of insurgency to understand the actual meaning of counterinsurgency. Insurgency is an attempt by rebels that takes recourse to subversion and violence in order to challenge and nullify existing political control over a region. Therefore the aim of insurgency is to gain political control over a region which means establishing rules and regulations of the insurgents within an identified area or region. Generally, insurgency is accompanied by armed political struggles to create space for their political, economic and influence activities (Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Department of State, United States Government, 2009).

Ideal and effective counterinsurgency operations and campaigns integrate political, security, economic, and informational components and utilize the resultant data and expertise to reinforce governmental legitimacy and effectiveness and reduce and ultimately eliminate the insurgent influence over a region and the population of the region (Kilcullen, 2010).

The counterinsurgency strategies are so designed that can, on one hand, help save the affected population from insurgent violence while on the other, it can help reinforce the legitimacy and capacity of government institutions while eliminating the insurgent's influence over a region.

Insurgency operations are generally comprised of a mixture of subversive and clandestine activities, sabotage, political, economic and psychological actions aided by armed conflicts against the established political or military established of a region.

Counterinsurgency operations are created and strategized so as to counter the tactics that insurgents use to create fear among the population and try and establish their influence over a region and hence COIN operations are composed of intelligence gathering, covert attacks and collaboration with the general population in many cases (Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Department of State, United States Government, 2009).

Therefore similar to insurgency, countering it also involves a protracted and often log drawn armed political struggle that includes a wide range of activities conducted by the existing government against whom insurgent activities are conducted of which the security aspect in just one but important issue.

While counter insurgency operations are generally conducted by the armed force, it is also necessary to include the population in most cases and hence the concept of a joint action force incorporating the civilians is gaining importance in counter insurgency operations (DeVore, 2013).

The joint forces, formed to counter insurgency has to be formed keeping in mind the political control of the region, the population centric nature of the action, assessment of the risks and gains and the understanding of the operational environment (DeVore, 2013).

Another important aspect of counterinsurgency strategy is t nullify the basis of the popular support that insurgent groups often get form the locals of a region. This is often called a COIN narrative that tries to explain the negative effects of the insurgency activities of insurgency.

The important aspects of a counter insurgency operations include several aspects like the assessment of the situations and the extent and influence of the insurgency over a region and supporting activities for the strategic narrative and the incorporation of the strategic narrative into actions down to the lowest level of the individual counterinsurgent.

It also involves the assessment and strategizing against the cyberspace operations of the insurgents, possibility of air operations in counterinsurgency, intelligence collection through satellite communications and the use of positioning and navigation, use of the naval forces if available, counter-improvised explosive device operations, counter finance threats to the insurgents and managing of public and public affairs.

Complex Military Operations

In the modern day society, wars are considered as a complex encounter between complex systems in complex environments. Complex environments, in war situations, happen when multiple interacting elements whose actions are not easy to understand and assimilate immediately and the external force effects are not linear in nature.

Focusing on the simple linear, transparent, classically logical Newtonian constructs is no longer relevant in war especially in situations which are concerned with counterinsurgency operations is one of the latest trends of warfare given the context of insurgency and proxy wars that are taking place around the globe (Peterside, 2014).

For example, the conflicts between the U.S. And USSR would be considered to be less complex in nature and understanding than the present war against terrorism. In the former, both the parties understand the ways and means the opposition could attack and hence counter attacks could be easily designed and strategized. However modern day insurgency, including terrorist attacks are subversive and clandestine in nature, and are hence difficult to infer and understand. Therefore counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations are getting more and more difficult and complex to design. Moreover there are numerous considerations that need to be taken into account that are a result of the growing complex nature of armed conflicts and war like situations, are becoming more and more important and such considerations were not part of the traditional warfare that the armies and the security forces were used to handle.

There is more need for carefully selection and more accurate targeting in the present day conflict situations as the complexity increases in military conflicts. The costs of errors in these strategies and choices have also become more impactful.

High complexity challenges are presented by hidden enemies in high complexity terrains and especially if the enemy manages to co-mingle with bystanders or local populations, as often happen with insurgency.

In the modern day world, many nations are faced with security challenges unlike any it has faced before and many such security challenges require lengthy involvement of the army and the security forces in stability operations. The ever changing mix and number of actors involved makes these challenges exceedingly dynamic and complex. The fast changing pace and dynamics in the strategic and operational environments and the possible response actions are also challenges that make the modern day conflict situations complex (Peterside, 2014).

Junior Leaders in Armies in Counterinsurgency

In any war situations, the level hierarchy in the army or the fighting forces is of primary importance. While strategy is formulated at the highest political level mostly, the order and executive details are formulated down the line. The actual execution of the strategies is however done by the junior leaders in the forces who do implement the strategies on the ground. There is hardly any information flow from bottom up.

But this is applicable in traditional war situations. Insurgency is clandestine and involves subversive activities that are conducted suddenly and without any warning and the insurgent elements are often not discernable from the general population. Therefore this is not a traditional warfare situations and the environment of the war is very different.

One such example is the situation that followed the 'Operation desert storm' in Iraq where the U.S. And allied forces stayed back to help establish a political transition. The warlike environment was very different from the traditional war with covert attacks and subversive activities by the rebels.

According to reports and studies conducted on the impact of such an operational environment, "the complexity, unpredictability, and ambiguity of postwar Iraq is producing a cohort of innovative, confident, and adaptable junior officers. Lieutenants and captains are learning to make decisions in chaotic conditions and to be mentally agile in executing counterinsurgency and nation-building operations simultaneously. As a result, the Army will soon have a cohort of company grade officers who are accustomed to operating independently, taking the initiative, and adapting to changes." (Wong, 2004)

Therefore in the changed scenario of insurgent wars being faced by many armies and forces around the world, the roles of the junior leaders in the forces becomes critical and important. This is because even as the strategies are handed down from top, the junior leaders are the ones who have to take that split second decisions and they are the ones who take the risks and assess the situations in counterinsurgency operations. Hence the importance of the junior leaders of armed forces engaged in counter insurgency operations needs to be acknowledges and encourage and the newly developed adaptability in the junior officers has to be incorporated in the future leaders of the armies and forces (Awodola & Ayuba, 2015).

In the modern day operating environment for armies and counter insurgency forces, there are a number of critical factors that need to be addressed, especially with respect to the junior officers and leaders who fight it out regularly on the ground against the insurgents.

It has been acknowledged by military and defense analysts that executing… [END OF PREVIEW]

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