chapter  1
29 Pages

Revisiting counterinsurgency

The identification problem
ByDaniel L. Magruder

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explains how government behavior influences the likelihood of militant identification during a counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign. It covers the Huk Rebellion which offers intra-case variation concerning government behavior and its ability to solve the identification problem. The book also addresses the Marine Corps' use of Combined Action Platoons (CAP) and shows that when they privileged civilian safety, it signalled a credible commitment to the population. It also focuses on how Special Operations Forces (SOF) used technology to improve the identification process. COIN schools of thought differ on the degree to which they privilege popular support as a useful political concept to establish and sustain control. Persuasion strategies that attempt to address popular grievances, provision of public services, and civilian protection tend to increase civilian support and demobilize support for insurgents.