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Patrick B. Johnston

Patrick B. Johnston

Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2011: International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program, 2009–2010

 

Experience

Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2011: International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program, 2009–2010.

Current Affiliation: Associate Political Scientist, RAND Corporation, Arlington, Va.

 

 

By Date

 

2012

AP Photo

June 2012

"The Effectiveness of Leadership Decapitation in Combating Insurgencies"

Policy Brief

By Patrick B. Johnston, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2011: International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program, 2009–2010

"The findings indicate that militant leaders do matter and that removing them enhances the effectiveness of counterinsurgency strategies. In brief, decapitations were associated with curtailed insurgent activity, decreased insurgent violence, and an increased likelihood of government victory. These patterns were not limited to certain types of groups; there was no statistical evidence that the impact of decapitation differed across groups with different aims and ideologies."

 

 

Spring 2012

"Does Decapitation Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Targeting in Counterinsurgency Campaigns"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 36, volume 47-79

By Patrick B. Johnston, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2011: International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program, 2009–2010

A recent, data-driven study suggests that leadership targeting in counterinsurgency campaigns is a surprisingly effective tactic. Successful leadership decapitation can decrease campaign length, improve campaign success rate, and lessen the intensity of conflict and the number of terrorist attacks. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that possible negative effects, such as the "martyrdom effect" and decentralization, outweigh the benefits of successful decapitation. Although leadership decapitation is not a silver bullet, it is an effective technique that should be considered carefully in counterinsurgency strategy.

 

2010

November 2010

"Aid Under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict"

Discussion Paper

By Benjamin Crost and Patrick B. Johnston, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2011: International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program, 2009–2010

An increasing amount of development aid is targeted to areas affected by civil conflict; some of it in the hope that aid will reduce conflict by weakening popular support for insurgent movements. But if insurgents know that development projects will weaken their position, they have an incentive to derail them, which may exacerbate conflict.

 

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