Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Holy Socks! Somebody Found a Metric I Was Looking For!

I have often complained about how hard it is to measure progress in a COIN effort, especially Afghanistan.  And I have often said that if I knew what the trends were in actionable intel tips, I would have a clue about progress.  Well, it is a good thing there are grad students who are collecting this data because: TA-DA:
Using the infamous Wikileaks Afghan War Diary data, my advisor David Sobek and I found that collaboration between Afghan locals and U.S. forces, in terms of turning over or pointing out caches of insurgent forces has increased since the president ordered a surge in forces in early 2009. We also find that collaboration breeds collaboration. In other words, while there isn’t much cause to celebrate yet, U.S. forces are beginning to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan.
A problem with the link is making it hard to read their paper.   And I would use the phrase credibility rather than hearts and minds--the Afghans might have found American/NATO commitment more credible and as more credible partners but that they love us and think like us (hearts and minds)?  Not so much.  But this is really cool, if the info is right.  Of course, lots of other stuff going on, but if the patterns of intel tips is what is suggested here, then we have some progress.  The question then is--what is the pattern now as the US starts to reduce and after the Dutch and Canadians have, as they say in French, skedaddled? 

1 comment:

JWells said...

I re-uploaded the paper, so you should be able to look at it now. Thanks for posting about it!