Too little,too late: protecting American soft networks in COIN/CT

Assistance of local-national partners is necessary to the USA in order to protect its national security interests throughout the world. These partners, typically individuals who support USA diplomats, service members, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in non-combatant roles, form USA soft networks. Due to the nature of their work, many of these individuals associated with the policy and actions of the USA become vulnerable to violent threats from adversaries. In fact, adversaries have grasped that attacking USA soft networks is a logical approach for enemies fighting from positions of weakness. As a result, examination of other domains may yield best practices that build resiliency in USA soft networks, thereby cementing national security interests. Further, agency theory illuminates critical principles in the relationships between local-national partners and field practitioners, and informs policy development efforts as a result.

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