Counterinsurgency and Information Operations

Ed O’Connell, Senior Analyst with the RAND Corporation, discusses counterinsurgency and information operations. A key concept in counterinsurgency is to create a strategy to win hearts and minds among the population: to separate the insurgency from its base of support, disrupt the recruitment of insurgents and influence them to turn if possible. Evidence from Iraq has shown that insurgents are motivated by a wide variety of social, religious, political and economic factors, many recruits are young and are paid to plant IEDs. An effective campaign is needed to break the social contract that attracts those who are paid to join the insurgency, and a broad information operations strategy is needed to prevent, dissuade and deter enemy recruits. What can practically be done to undermine the justifications, rationale and appeal of the insurgents? What role do detention facilities play in radicalizing the population? What role can effective influence strategies play in appealing to the population?

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