Organisations, Innovation and Security in the Twenty-First Century.

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: War Studies


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.


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Farrell T (2011) Review Essay A Good War Gone Wrong? in The RUSI Journal

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FARRELL T (2013) The Taliban at war: inside the Helmand insurgency, 2004-2012 in International Affairs

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FARRELL T (2010) Nuclear non-use: constructing a Cold War history in Review of International Studies

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Terriff, Terry; Osinga, Frans; Farrell, Theo (2010) A Transformation Gap?: American Innovations and European Military Change

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Terriff, Terry; Osinga, Frans; Farrell, Theo (2010) A Transformation Gap?: American Innovations and European Military Change

Description The fellowship has made a number of research findings under the following 3 themes:

1. Military transformation in NATO

Overall, fellowship research shows that there is considerable potential for military transformation across Europe, judging by the level of support among those who must undertake transformation (i.e., mid-level military officers). But NATO's official approach to transformation lacks sufficient political and military direction to prevent multiple 'transformation gaps' from opening up within the Alliance. A key transformation gap that has already developed, as a result of variable experience in Afghanistan, is between battle-hardened and expeditionary allies and those focused on regional tasks of stabilization and deterrence. Comparative analysis of British, French and US army transformation also reveals the importance of foreign policy ideas and domestic institutions in producing national variation in transformation trajectories.

2. NATO campaign in Afghanistan

Fellowship research reveals growing competence in the tactical conduct and operational command of NATO's war in Afghanistan resulting in significant progress on the ground since 2009. However, the strategic prospects for the campaign remain bleak due to growing war-weariness among NATO publics and politics elites, continued endemic corruption in Afghan government, and the Taliban's ability to operate from Pakistan.

Fellowship research has focused, in particular, on the British military campaign in Helmand since 2006. This campaign has been much criticized for its early failings. The research reveals significant improvements in the British campaign overtime. From an early focus on bringing combat power to bear on the Taliban, British forces shifted to a more population-centric approach to counter-insurgency in late 2007. In 2008, the British also refocused on central Helmand, thus concentrating effort in advance of a massive influx of US forces into the province. British and US offensives from mid 2009 to mid 2010 pushed the Taliban to the outskirts of many key districts, and have enabled the Afghan provincial government to assert its influence.

3. Inside the Taliban

Fellowship research has provided two unique perspectives of inside the Taliban. The first is of the Taliban at war in Helmand. Based on extensive interviews with Taliban fighters and commanders, and local elders, it shows how the Taliban crept carefully back into the province, district by district, in 2004-05. This explains how British planners arriving in Helmand in late 2005 failed to spot the rising insurgency. The research also reveals how critical errors by the British - failure to understand local conflict dynamics and pursuit of poppy eradication in 2007-08 - galvanized local support for the Taliban. Finally, the research shows how the Taliban have adapted to growing pressure from the ISAF campaign by shifting tactics and developing a more centralized command structure.

A second stream of this research has explored Taliban perspectives on reconciliation. This revealed the pragmatic positions on a number of key issues, held by a moderate faction within the Taliban leadership. One key finding is that the Taliban are prepared to accept a long-term US military presence in Afghanistan following the end of the conflict (in stark contrast with the official Taliban position).
Exploitation Route My project findings have already been fully briefed and where appropriate taken forward by stakeholders in HMG.
Sectors Government

Democracy and Justice

Description The impact of my GUF research on policy was highlighted in the ESRC's Research Performance and Economic Impact Report 2010/11 (pp.3-4) and RCUK's Impact Report 2011 (p.9), and by David Willetts, Minister of State, in his speech to Policy Exchange on 4 January 2012. Four discrete impacts may identified: Impact A: Produced tangible improvements to the management of civil-military stabilisation efforts in Helmand, to the theatre-wide coordination of civil-military efforts by ISAF Joint Command (IJC), and to the integration of strategic thinking in campaign planning by Headquarters (HQ) ISAF. Impact B: Influenced UK parliamentary inquiries into Afghanistan. The House of Commons Defence Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee both cite my research in their assessments of the UK and ISAF military campaigns. The key impact of my research has been to enable members of Parliament to identify how the military campaign has improved - in ISAF command and control, UK civil-military cooperation, and the conduct of British stabilisation operations - as well as those areas where challenges remain. Impact C: Influenced policy assessment of the resilience of the Taliban insurgency, and the prospects for constructive peace talks with the Taliban. Impact D: Influenced the methods used by the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) to assess conflict severity in determining claims for asylum. In a test case on Afghanistan before the AIT, I argued that traditional assessments based on numbers of combatant and civilian deaths fail to capture the wider impact of armed conflict on civilian communities. In my submission and a subsequent publication, I argued for a more holistic approach that takes account of the collapse of government and essential services.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice