Empirical Studies of Conflict

Recent Publications

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    Irregular warfare practitioners have played a major role in nearly every war over the past 250 years, according to the guests on this episode. The masters of irregular warfare carry distinct characteristics that have allowed them to achieve strategic effects, even while losing tactical level engagements.

    This episode explores the capabilities that irregular warfare practitioners bring to bear. Our guests discuss how irregular warfare integrates into—and often plays a pivotal supporting role in—broader conventional conflict. The conversation ends with recommendations for how to prepare and employ irregular warfare capabilities to address the major threats to US national security, to include great power rivals, rogue regional powers, and violent nonstate actors.

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    Special Operations Forces (SOF) have played a critical role in US counterterrorism operations. But now, as policymakers’ focus shifts from counterterrorism to great power competition, the implications for SOF are unclear. In this episode, our guests argue that SOF is uniquely suited to address irregular warfare challenges in the era of great power competition. However, limited understanding of these threats among policymakers in Washington, DC, budget constraints, and outdated authorities hinder SOF’s ability to evolve. According to our guests, civilian leadership and oversight can help overcome these challenges.

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    What drives illicit violence by substate groups such as terrorists, insurgents, and criminals—and how can states counter these threats? Our two guests argue that social science provides tools to understand why illicit violence occurs. By focusing on individual incentive structures, rather than group identity labels, states can develop targeted sanctions and military strategies that disassemble and disrupt violent nonstate groups. This approach has implications for how policymakers and practitioners can counter violent actors from the strategic to the tactical level. Our guests provide several examples from the Treasury Department’s counter–threat finance efforts during the post-9/11 era.

  • 2021
    Empirical Studies of Conflict Project

    The global reach of the pandemic creates a unique opportunity for a regional analysis of misinformation trends, allowing us to see how misinformation actors in different countries and cultural contexts respond to the same set of potential narrative conditions. Are the observed trends in misinformation similar or different?

Events

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