Command coordination and tactical effectiveness in counter-insurgency operations: Lessons from the South Korean campaign

Soul Park, Seung Joon Paik

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This article analyzes the causes of combat effectiveness of the South Korean security forces through the course of its various counter-insurgency (COIN) operations from 1948 to 1953. We argue that improvements in two interrelated aspects ultimately resulted in higher operational and tactical level performance: unified operational command structure and the subsequent improvements in tactical efficiency under the guidance of the US advisory mission. Through an in-depth case study on how a nascent army improved its capacity in combating homegrown insurgencies, we demonstrate how the actual conduct of operations itself remains just as significant in the assessment of overall COIN outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-315
Number of pages25
JournalSmall Wars and Insurgencies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018


  • Counterinsurgency (COIN)
  • indigenous forces
  • interagency cooperation and coordination
  • Korean Constabulary (KC)
  • Korean National Police (KNP)
  • Republic of Korea Army (ROKA)
  • tactical effectiveness

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