TDI Friday Read: How Many Troops Are Needed To Defeat An Insurgency?

A paratrooper from the French Foreign Legion (1er REP) with a captured fellagha during the Algerian War (1954-1962). [Via Pinterest]

Today’s edition of TDI Friday Read is a compilation of posts addressing the question of manpower and counterinsurgency. The first four posts summarize research on the question undertaken during the first decade of the 21st century, while the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies were in full bloom. Despite different research questions and analytical methodologies, each of the studies concluded that there is a relationship between counterinsurgent manpower and counterinsurgency outcomes.

The fifth post addresses the U.S. Army’s lack of a formal methodology for calculating manpower requirements for counterinsurgencies and contingency operations.

Force Ratios and Counterinsurgency

Force Ratios and Counterinsurgency II

Force Ratios and Counterinsurgency III

Force Ratios and Counterinsurgency IV

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Shawn Woodford
Shawn Woodford

Shawn Robert Woodford, Ph.D., is a military historian with nearly two decades of research, writing, and analytical experience on operations, strategy, and national security policy. His work has focused on special operations, unconventional and paramilitary warfare, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, naval history, quantitative historical analysis, nineteenth and twentieth century military history, and the history of nuclear weapon development. He has a strong research interest in the relationship between politics and strategy in warfare and the epistemology of wargaming and combat modeling.

All views expressed here are his and do not reflect those of any other private or public organization or entity.

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One comment

  1. IMHO – Unless you have a viable government in place that can gain the support of the population and be a real alternative to the insurgents you are most unlikely to stop them permanently. The military effort is required to allow the nation building to continue so as to create the government. It cannot succeed on its own.

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