Speaker: Haim, D. (Dartmouth College)
Date: 18 December 2018
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Dotan Haim (Dartmouth College) as a part of its SMA STRATCOM Speaker Series. During his presentation, Dr. Haim argued that the strength of civilian social networks, as well as the amount of information on government credibility received from the surrounding area, dictate whether counterinsurgency will be effective in a particular locality. He explained that civilians play a key role in counterinsurgency since they know who insurgents are and where they are located. He further stated that civilians have a solid understanding of their strategic position and are skeptical as to whether the government will follow through with its promises. Dr. Haim explained that civilians reduce this uncertainty by obtaining information via social networks from surrounding areas. The types of information that they seek relate to the security concerns associated with cooperating with the government and whether the government is actually committed to long-term development projects in the region. He then outlined his two hypotheses: Counterinsurgency is more effective when civilians have stronger social network ties to 1) areas under government / military control and 2) areas that receive development projects. Dr. Haim used the New People’s Army’s (NPA) influence in two villages in the Philippines (Benguet and Union) as examples. He then presented his research, which examines the effectiveness of counterinsurgency in a wider variety of villages in the Philippines, as well as whether the strength of family ties and social networks impact effectiveness. To conclude his presentation, Dr. Haim presented his key takeaways, conclusions, and policy implications.