Military maladaptation: counterinsurgency and the politics of failure
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Tactical learning is critical to battlefield success, especially in a counterinsurgency. This article tests the existing model of military adaption against a ‘most-likely’ case: the British Army’s counterinsurgency in the Southern Cameroons (1960–61). Despite meeting all preconditions thought to enable adaptation – decentralization, leadership turnover, supportive leadership, poor organizational memory, feedback loops, and a clear threat – the British still failed to adapt. Archival evidence suggests politicians subverted bottom-up adaptation, because winning came at too high a price in terms of Britain’s broader strategic imperatives. Our finding identifies an important gap in the extant adaptation literature: it ignores politics.
Harkness , K A & Hunzeker , M 2015 , ' Military maladaptation: counterinsurgency and the politics of failure ' , Journal of Strategic Studies , vol. 38 , no. 6 , pp. 777-800 . https://doi.org/10.1080/01402390.2014.960078
Journal of Strategic Studies
© 2014 Taylor & Francis. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01402390.2014.960078
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