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Death before dismount? : mechanization, force employment, and counterinsurgency outcomes in Iraq

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dc.contributor.advisor Roger D. Petersen. en_US Moyer, Raphael (Raphael E.) en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science. en_US
dc.coverage.spatial a-iq--- en_US 2011-06-20T13:46:02Z 2011-06-20T13:46:02Z 2011 en_US 2011 en_US
dc.description Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2011. en_US
dc.description This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections. en_US
dc.description Cataloged from student submitted PDF version of thesis. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 100-105). en_US
dc.description.abstract Recent research suggests that heavily mechanized armies perform worse in counterinsurgency campaigns than those that use fewer vehicles. The U.S. military's 2007 operations in Iraq, however, present an empirical quandary for the mechanization hypothesis: a vehicle-heavy army proved able to suppress an insurgency, allowing Iraqi leaders to work towards a long-term political solution. This paper argues that force employment, not mechanization, drives counterinsurgency outcomes-what matters is not that armies have many vehicles or soldiers, but how they choose to use them. When heavily mechanized forces change their tactics and doctrine to line up with counterinsurgency principles, shifting from an enemy-centric to a population-centric approach, outcomes dramatically improve while military-wide mechanization levels remain constant. Using an original dataset, this paper conducts a large-n regression analysis of the impacts of mechanization at the provincial level in Iraq, and finds little support for the mechanization hypothesis. A subsequent comparative case study, of the heavily mechanized 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's operations in Tall Afar and the light infantry 82nd Airborne Division's operations in Fallujah, indicate that force employment rather than mechanization is a key indicator of counterinsurgency outcomes. The finding has important implications for force structure policy, as it indicates that mechanized forces can indeed conduct successful counterinsurgency campaigns. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Raphael E. Moyer. en_US
dc.format.extent 105 p. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Political Science. en_US
dc.title Death before dismount? : mechanization, force employment, and counterinsurgency outcomes in Iraq en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US S.M. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 727242822 en_US

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