Does Decapitation Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Targeting in Counterinsurgency Campaigns

  title={Does Decapitation Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Targeting in Counterinsurgency Campaigns},
  author={Patrick B. Johnston},
  journal={International Security},
Is killing or capturing insurgent leaders an effective tactic? Previous research on interstate war and counterterrorism has suggested that targeting enemy leaders does not work. Most studies of the efficacy of leadership decapitation, however, have relied on unsystematic evidence and poor research design. An analysis based on fresh evidence and a new research design indicates the opposite relationship and yields four key findings. First, campaigns are more likely to end quickly when… Expand
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