Abstract for: Modeling Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies

A system dynamics model of insurgencies is built using the US. Army and Marine Counterinsurgency Manual (FM 3-24) as a basis. It must, however, be supplemented by additional theory from outside sources to enable calibration to a historical data set. Parameter and policy analyses are conducted. These highlight the criticality of some features of insurgencies described by FM 3-24 such as the importance of obtaining and maintaining popular support and employing sufficient counterinsurgency forces to gather intelligence. Other features, not highlighted by FM 3-24, also are shown to be important such as how quickly does violence escalate during the insurgency and how easily can detained/eliminated insurgents be replaced. Finally, contraindicating the expectations of FM 3-24 and other conventional wisdom, results from optimization simulations suggest that the level of force used in a counterinsurgency should increase only once a preparatory period of intelligence gathering by those same forces has been completed.