Please contact us to suggest additional definitions or expansion of this page.
Nation reconstruction refers to the planning, preparation, execution, and assessment of efforts to construct infrastructure, policy, and governance following a conflict or national hazard.
Capacity development or building often refers to assistance that is provided to entities, usually societies in developing countries, which have a need to develop a certain skill or competence, or for general upgrading of performance ability.
Counter Insurgency (COIN) is a military term for the armed conflict against an insurgency by forces aligned with the recognized government of the territory in which the conflict takes place. In the main, the insurgents seek to destroy or erase the political authority of the defending authorities in a population they seek to control, and the counter-insurgent forces seek to protect that authority and reduce or eliminate the supplanting authority of the insurgents.
Counter-insurgency operations are common during occupation and armed rebellions. Counter-insurgency may be armed suppression of a rebellion, coupled with tactics such as divide and rule designed to fracture the links between the insurgency and the population in which the insurgents move.
Operations Support - for ongoing or future peacekeeping operations, humanitarian crises, or coalition/multinational operations. Includes strategic and tactical level capacity-building, including for military, paramilitary, counterterrorism units, etc.; USG management of civilian stabilization operations (e.g. peacekeeping operations, responding to humanitarian crises, or coalition/multinational operations); direct support to ongoing/existing operations(for example, deployment of U.S. and foreign personnel and support for international and regional organizations); support for corrections facilities, VIP and facility protection; and armed physical security for civilians and to secure humanitarian access.
Defense, Military and Border Restructuring, Reform and Operations - Develop the capacity of partners’ security forces (including military, paramilitary, gendarmes, maritime security, border security, counterterrorism units, specialty units, etc.) to maintain a country’s territorial integrity, including self-defense against external threats, securing ungoverned/remote spaces, participating in regional defense, protecting borders, providing essential and/or emergency disaster response services, and providing force protection for coalition/U.S. forces.
There are several types of insurgents. These first four seek to completely change the existing political system:
- Anarchists seek disorder as their desired end state and consider any political authority illegitimate.
- Egalitarians seek to impose a centrally controlled political system to ensure equitable distribution of resources and a radically transformed social structure.
- Traditionalists desire a return to some golden age or religious-based value system. Often their goals are regional or international, and their rigid ideological structure leaves little room for compromise or negotiation. Some fringe religious groups, such as Aum Shinrikyo in Japan, envision creating a new world order by precipitating an apocalypse through terrorism.
- Pluralists profess traditional Western values, such as freedom and liberty, and aim to establish liberal democracies."
The remaining types of insurgents do not seek total political power in a state:
- Secessionists seek to withdraw altogether to pursue their own independent destiny or to join a different state.
- Reformists aim to use violence to make changes within a state to create a more equitable distribution of political and economic power.
- Preservationists use their own illegal violence against anyone trying to make changes or institute reforms.
- Commercialists pursue economic gain, a behavior seen in some clans and warlords in less developed societies.
Though the previous passages highlight the many varieties of insurgency, they share some common attributes. An insurgent organization normally consists of five elements:
2. Combatants (main forces, regional forces, local forces)
3. Political cadre (also called militants or the party)
4. Auxiliaries (active followers who provide important support services)
5. Mass base (the bulk of the membership)
The proportions of these elements relative to the larger movement depend on the strategic approach adopted by the insurgency. A conspiratorial approach does not pay much attention to combatants or a mass base. The focoists downplay the importance of a political cadre and emphasize military action to generate popular support. The People’s War approach is the most complex: If the state presence has been eliminated, the elements can exist openly. If the state remains a continuous or occasional presence, the elements must maintain a clandestine existence.
1. Leaders: The leaders control the insurgent movement. They are the “idea people” and the planners. They usually exercise leadership through force of personality, the power of revolutionary ideas, or personal charisma. In some insurgencies, they may hold their position through clan or tribal authority.
2. Combatants: The combatants do the actual fighting and provide security. They are often mistaken for the movement itself. They exist only to support the insurgency’s broader political agenda. The combatants maintain local control. They also protect and expand the shadow government and counter state, if the insurgency seeks to set up such institutions.
3. Political Cadre: The cadre is the political core of the insurgency. They are actively engaged in the struggle to accomplish insurgent goals. They may also be designated as a formal party to signify their political importance. They implement guidance and procedures provided by the leadership. Modern noncommunist insurgents rarely, if ever, use the term “cadre,” but usually include a group that performs similar functions. The cadre assesses the grievances in local areas and carries out activities that satisfy them. They then attribute the solutions they have provided to the insurgent movement itself. As the insurgency matures, deeds become more important to make insurgent slogans meaningful to the population. Larger societal issues, such as foreign presence, facilitate such political activism, because these larger issues may be blamed for life’s smaller problems. Destroying the state bureaucracy or preventing national reconstruction after a conflict to sow disorder and sever legitimate links with the people is a common insurgent tactic. In time, the cadre may seek to replace that bureaucracy and assume functions in a shadow government.
4. Auxiliaries: Auxiliaries are active sympathizers who provide important support services. They may run safe houses or store weapons and supplies but do not participate in direct action.
5. Mass Base: The mass base consists of the followers of the insurgent movement, the supporting populace. Mass base members are often recruited and indoctrinated by the cadre, though in many politically charged situations or traditional insurgencies such active pursuit is not necessary. Mass base members may continue in their normal positions in society. Many, however, lead clandestine lives for the insurgent movement. They may even pursue full-time positions within the insurgency. For example, combatants normally begin as members of the mass base before becoming armed manpower. Such roles are particularly hard to define in a tribal or clan-based insurgency, where there is no clear cadre, and people will drift between combatant, auxiliary, and follower status as needed.
Insurgents use the technological, economic, and social aspects of globalization to create networks involving a wide array of partners. Networking is a tool available to traditional territorially-rooted insurgencies, such as the FARC in Colombia and the Zapatistas in Chiapas, and extends the range and variety of both their military and political actions. Other groups exist almost entirely in networks with little physical presence in their target countries. Networked organizations do not have a center of gravity in the traditional sense—rather the network’s links themselves may become centers of gravity. Networked organizations are very hard to destroy and tend to heal, adapt, and learn rapidly. However, they have a limited chance of attaining strategic success themselves because they have a difficult time mustering and focusing power. The best they can hope for is to create a security vacuum leading to a collapse of the targeted regime’s will and then to gain in the competition for the spoils. However, their enhanced abilities to sow disorder and survive present particularly difficult problems for counterinsurgents.
DOD Counterinsurgency: Final draft
Post-Conflict Reconstruction Essential Tasks
Foreign Assistance Standardized Program Structure And Definitions"