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Title: Approaching counterinsurgency innovation in the global south : Sri Lanka's defeat of the LTTE
Authors: Caemmerer, Jesse C.
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: Recent counterinsurgency experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan led military innovation theorists to develop new concepts of bottom-up innovation, field-level adaptation, and dialectical innovation. This literature starkly contrasts the top-down structure of traditional military innovation theory, and offers keen insights into the realities of innovation in a wartime context. Despite its contributions, this emerging literature has been confined to cases of western expeditionary counterinsurgency, and has not been informed by, or tested against, cases of internal counterinsurgency in the global south. By no fault of the resulting scholarship, these cases present several implicit structures and conditions particular to expeditionary campaigns that encourage bottom-up adaptation and innovation, thereby directly affecting theory development. I argue that key aspects of structure and agency differ markedly between expeditionary campaigns and cases of internal counterinsurgency in the global south. From these distinctions, I propose a provisional theory of top-down counterinsurgency innovation based on aspects of structure and agency associated with global south counterinsurgency campaigns: centralized politico-military structures, immediate lines of decision-making, and domestic political imperatives to innovate. I support the provisional theory using Sri Lanka's process of counterinsurgency innovation under President Rajapaksa as a crucial case study. In addition to supporting the provisional theory, the case analysis demonstrates that preexisting theories of military innovation - both traditional top-down and emerging theories of counterinsurgency innovation - are inadequate to address the aspects of structure and agency common to global south counterinsurgency campaigns. The field of military innovation studies must expand to incorporate these prevalent cases into its theory development.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Theses

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