Naval Postgraduate School
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Selected research projects in process.


ResearchersMichael Freeman
SponsorOffice of the Secretary of Defense, Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program
ObjectiveBuild and strengthen CTFP's global alumni network of CT experts and practitioners through innovative and engaging technologies and techniques that both enable and encourage collaborative partnerships between nations, organizations, and cultures.
SummaryThe Global Education and Collaboration Community Online (ECCO) provides an accessible web platform to help CTFP alumni communicate and collaborate with each other.  The website provides features like blogs, discussion boards, terrorism news feeds, as well as innovative games that highlight the central dynamics of insurgency, terrorism, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism.  In addition, the website also is the home for the quarterly journal Combating Terrorism Exchange (CTX), which provides a unique venue outlet for sharing international experiences in combating terrorism.
ResearchersDoug Borer/ Leo Blanken
SponsorOffice of the Decretary of Defense, Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program
ObjectiveCompile an archive of narratives of personnel from around the world who have participated in or planned counter-terror operations at the strategic, operational, or tactical level since 9/11.    
SummaryThe CTAP effort involves the solicitation and execution of interviews with military and civilian personnel who have participated in some aspect of counter-terror operations. These interveiws are safeguarded, catalogued, and stored for research purposes. Such an archive will prove invaluable for future scholars, as well as preserve the insights, recollections, and best-practices of these professionals for posterity.
ResearchersLeo Blanken and Hy Rothstein
SponsorOSD/RRTO (Rapid Reaction Technology Office) and Asymmetric Warfare Group
ObjectiveGather leading academics and practitioners to produce an in-depth study of the problem of wartime strategic assessment. The project is resulting in an edited book manuscript which is currently under contract with Georgetown University Press.
SummaryThe seemingly inscrutable nature of such conflicts as Iraq and Afghanistan has raised the issue of how war and warfare have been measured in the past and, more importantly, how they should be measured in the future. We have gathered experts to produce case studies of past conflicts, as well as to analyze novel aspects of the current and emerging threat environments. The goal of the project is to increase our understanding of strategic assessment, and thereby increase efficiency and effectiveness of US efforts in future missions.
ResearchersAnna Simons
ObjectiveIn spring 2011, an office in the Pentagon presented 14 of us with the opportunity to address “SOF 2030” – what should decision makers be thinking about today in order to prepare SOF for 2030?
SummaryIn September 2011, Professor Anna Simons ran the department's third OSD-sponsored Long Term Strategy Seminar with DA students. 2011's topic was "SOF 2030." Twelve U.S. officers and one CWO participated, representing Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, Air Force Special Operations, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps. Students briefed their results in Washington in Fall 2011 to audiences in the Pentagon and at the CIA. This report summarizes that 50-minute long brief.
ResearchersNancy Roberts/Sean Everton
SponsorCombating Terrorism Fellowship Office
ObjectiveUsing 30 years of combat reporting data from the Philippines, the researchers will test alternative theories of irregular warfare through statistical analysis (e.g., pooled time series), empirical investigation (e.g., social network analysis) and comparative case studies.  These same approaches should will be used to identify and sort through various determinants (and non-determinants) of conflict.


Since 9/11, the "global war on terror" has been pursued by the United States in a variety of locales using two fundamentally distinct military approaches to combat terrorism and insurgencies: kinetic and nonkinetic.  Kinetic strategies are those that emphasize destruction of an enemy’s capacity to fight by using kinetic means (the clash of arms) to “find, fix, and finish,” the enemy’s war-making machine (personnel, weapons, communications gear, supplies, etc).  Nonkinetic approaches emphasize the degrading of the enemy’s will to fight by focusing on the material, cultural, and spiritual needs of the relevant population, a population which serves as the fundamental support element for terrorists and insurgents.  In the battle against extremists in the Philippines (e.g., Abu Sayyaf Group, Jemaah Islamiah, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, New Peoples Army, Raja Solaiman Movement), the Philippine government, strongly supported by the United States, has pursued a mix of both approaches, but to a much greater extent, the emphasis has been on nonkinetic, rather than kinetic, approaches.  

Unfortunately, these two approaches to have been subjected to limited empirical investigation.  To date, most research has been done using qualitative methods (narrative textual histories of specific insurgencies or groups). As such we have yet to establish whether certain approaches are more effective than others, or whether some work better in certain situations while other approaches work better in other types of situations.  Put differently, our theoretical musings exist in a virtual empirical vacuum.

The CORE Lab’s Philippine research project seeks to address this vacuum.  Building upon previous research that collected and analyzed Philippine insurgency data from 2001-2004,  we are currently recording and gleaning an additional 26 years of data from the Philippines, giving us a total of thirty years of temporal data (1978-2008).  In addition, we are collecting relational, geospatial and civil affairs data that will allow us to combine various types of analytic approaches. 


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