Best practice In counterinsurgency: Conditions and capabilities required for achievement of optimum effective

Apichat Suriboonya

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This work examines the challenges posed by insurgencies. It studies some of the operational parameters relevant to mission analysis in counterinsurgency (COIN) campaigns and in the identification and selection of courses of action available to security organisations. More particularly, a key research focus in this work has been identifying some of the key organisational capabilities required to successfully acquit COIN strategies and to achieve optimum mission success in COIN.

The work begins with a detailed historical account of the insurgency in Southern Thailand. It traces the development of the conflict by reference to popular press reports and academic reviews and seeks to draw out some of the common themes in the literature in relation to the origins, root causes and characteristics of the conflict and the State responses to it. An attempt was to have been made, if and where it might have been possible, to compare and contrast the insurgency in the South and the associated COIN strategies with similar conflicts and responses around the world falling short of full-scale conventional warfare.

A special effort has been made to identify and describe some of the challenges presented after an insurgency has been essentially dealt with, in terms of maintaining the peace and preventing resurgence of insurgencies. This too has been done by special reference to the situation in Southern Thailand over recent decades.

This thesis is new and novel in that identifies, examines and qualitatively assesses the comparative importance of some of the capabilities which are essential, highly desirable or desirable to enable the effective performance of mission-essential tasks required for successful and effective COIN. The field data in this regard are drawn directly from the professional insights of experienced COIN practitioners from within and outside Thailand. Respondents represent a blend of both military and police backgrounds.

The data analysis, being qualitative and impressionistic as appropriate to the available sample size, has yielded a number of unique insights into the comparative capabilities required. This in turn has enabled the author to postulate a number of highly useful recommendations to inform public policy on a range of factors for consideration in making policy choices for optimal COIN effectiveness. These choices include, but are not limited to, options involving military-led campaigns with police in support on the one hand and policeled campaigns with military providing support in depth on the other. The implications of the preferences in this context are also discussed in the context of associated strategic options, especially enemy-centric approaches on the one hand and population centric approaches on the other.

Finally, a range of considerations are offered as valuable elements for informing policy and doctrine for the planning and conducting COIN in Southern Thailand as well as elsewhere in the world.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Bell, Howard, Principal Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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