Human-Environment Interaction and Water Complexities : Mustering Science and Policy for a Coastal Resources Management Approach to Counterinsurgency (COIN) Operations

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Laura Jean Palmer-Moloney (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Scott A. Lecce

Abstract: Managing coastal resources is challenging in the best of circumstances. Bringing science and policy together to manage coastal resources effectively for the purpose of orchestrating population-centric counterinsurgency operations in the midst of war is Herculean. From a military perspective there is no coastal resource management logistics officer tasked to handle the details required for such an approach. There is no Tactics Techniques and Procedures (TTP) guide that clearly states the who what when where and how to determine what resources need to be rallied. There is no predetermined value chain that clarifies why one resource over another should be considered mission critical in a counterinsurgency coastal zone type of fight. The research presented here was carried out to address this gap. The overall goal of this dissertation is to tie coastal scientific research policy and management together with counterinsurgency strategy tactics and procedures to help military leaders grapple with the complex natural and social systems in areas of operation that include the coastal edge. The overarching research goal is reached by tackling the research problem which is fourfold: (1) a data gap exists in U.S. Military Counterinsurgency (COIN) Doctrine because it fails to address water's complex role in population-centric security and stability operations. (2) COIN Operations generally fail to consider or address both sides of COIN Effect in socio-economic development programs and projects that are linked to water resources. (3) human-environment interaction in any area of counterinsurgency operation is linked directly to water and is tied to a population's security and stability. (4) The military operational paradigm lacks a multi-disciplinary holistic approach to assess human-environment interaction in coastal environments before or during counterinsurgency operations. The research objectives that guide the study and deal with the various aspects of the research problem are: (1) determine water's significance to U.S. national security (2) address environmental resource (water) security/stability data gap in counterinsurgency military operations and (3) develop a coastal resources management approach for counterinsurgency operations in watersheds that have a terminus in the sea. The non-traditional three article method used to address the research problem and to meet the research objectives culminates in the recommendation of a coastal resources management course of action. As proposed such an approach would muster the science and military communities to engage in practice and policy that could lead to sustainable water-relevant stability projects in future coastal areas of operations. 

Additional Information

Date: 2012
Environmental management, Military studies, Geography, Basra, Iraq, Coastal Resources Management, Helmand River Watershed (Afghanistan), Afghanistan, Mesopotamian Marsh, Stability Operations
Water security
Coastal zone management

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