Program on Security Institutions and Violent Instability

The Program on Security Institutions and Violent Instability seeks to advance our understanding of how the design of security institutions (e.g., military, police, paramilitary, militia) can affect the capacity of countries to combat violent irregular threats. We specifically propose to assess how the institutional features of state security forces, including structure factors (such as inter-service coordination rules) and system factors (such as promotion policies), shape their ability to undertake sustained counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns. We will examine how such institutional differences influence whether countries can deter the onset of violent irregular threats, defeat existing violent groups, reduce the number of civilian and combatant deaths, and increase the duration of periods without violent activity.

The project is funded by the Department of Defense Minerva Initiative, which sponsors university-based social science research focusing on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy.

Researchers: Leonardo Arriola, Aila Matanock, Michaela Mattes
Location: Colombia and Mexico (Latin America and the Caribbean); Ethiopia and Nigeria (Africa); and Myanmar and the Philippines (Southeast Asia)
Timeline: January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2019