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A Unified General Framework of Insurgency Using a Living Systems Approach by Ensign Shanece Kendall, Naval Post Graduate School, June 2008.
This thesis develops a unified general framework of insurgency. The framework is "unifying" in that it includes all the physical and social science formulations of insurgencies and both contemporary and historical insurgencies. It is "general" in that it describes all insurgencies rather than a specific one. This thesis first redefines the definition of insurgency in the context of the twenty-first century and addresses the military, political, social, and economic elements. Next, it adopts the view that an insurgency is a living system. This idea is based on the characteristic that every insurgency consists of a group of people embedded in a larger society. Using this concept, this thesis argues that James Grier Miller's Living Systems Theory, from his book Living Systems, is the most fitting theory to study insurgency. To demonstrate the framework's effectiveness, it is applied to the Iraq Sunni Insurgency.
The framework is used to describe the structure of the insurgency system using three levels - insurgency, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Unit, and IED Cell—and the twenty critical subsystems that process information and matter-energy in the insurgency's IED Cell. This framework should help clarify, focus, and support the current debates about policy, operations, and tactics for insurgencies.