Research Program

Farrell on Military Adaptation

Professor Theo Farrell has a new article in the Journal of Strategic Studies on military adaptation in Afghanistan. Here’s the abstract:

Existing studies focus on explaining how militaries adapt in different ways to the challenges of war. However, organisation theory suggests that competition and normative pressure will lead overtime to convergence within particular business and policy sectors, as optimal ways of organizing and operating are learned and emulated. I examine this dynamic in the context of the conflict between the Afghan Taliban and the British Army. That there should be convergence in modes of operation or organizational form between these two very different opponents seems most improbable. Yet, as this article shows, convergence did occur as the conflict wore on.

Farrell’s convergence hypothesis has implications for Blue Team versus Red Team strategic cultures: adversaries and enemies can be closely studied and mirrored in terms of their organisational design (or strategic subcultures).