Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael L. Shelley, PhD


Since the recent focus on the Global War on Terror, both military and civilian theorists have begun to “relearn” the intricacies of counterinsurgency warfare. We face difficult challenges when confronting non-state actors that tend to attack in the time between conventional battles and the establishment of stable governments. This research compares and contrasts current counterinsurgency strategies (Hearts and Minds and Cost Benefit Theory) by applying System Dynamics to provide insight into the influences and emergent behavior patterns of counterinsurgency systems. The information gained from the development of the models and from their simulation behaviors is used to construct a System Dynamics model of a Hybrid Counterinsurgency Strategy that combines the influential elements and behaviors from each of the previous models to obtain a more comprehensive model of the counterinsurgency system. This process yields behavior patterns that suggest that security operations, critical during the short-term, are key to disrupting insurgent organizational mechanisms that strongly influence the population’s support for the host government and the coalition. The models also demonstrate the strength of the influence of information operations on the counterinsurgency system. Finally, the construction of the models and simulation behaviors propose that harvesting host nation capacity throughout the counterinsurgency is the most influential factor for maintaining long-term stability.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number