PhD Projects

The IRGR is proud to congratulate member Desmond Molloy on the recent completion of his doctorate! His thesis is titled:

An Unlikely Convergence: Evolving DDR Theory and COIN Doctrine


Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and counterinsurgency (COIN) are related practice areas. DDR has become an essential aspect of many post-conflict peacebuilding efforts in addition to being applied to improving security and economics in a COIN environment.  After twenty years of practice of DDR, a body of guiding theory has grown from scholarly analyses and practice-based evidence. Counterinsurgency (COIN) has developed its doctrine in response to the systematic doctrine-driven insurgency of Mao and Che that focused on ‘winning the people.’

COIN doctrine has learned to coopt that focus on ‘winning the people,’ their perceptions and attitudes. Despite this, COIN practice tends to be insurgent-centric. DDR theory has also realised the necessity of ‘winning the people.’ However DDR practice is generally ex-combatant-centric. In both cases, with COIN campaigns and DDR processes focusing on quantitative rather than qualitative metrics, outcomes are predominantly less than optimal.

This study traces the evolution of the theory of DDR and the doctrine of COIN respectively, considering selected case studies and definitive literature, professional documentation, phenomenological experience and peer consultation. It finds that the critical factor in achieving optimal outcomes in both COIN and DDR is indeed, as both doctrine and theory advise, the perceptions and attitudes of the people.  The crux in applying the doctrine/theory in practice exists in how a range of security dilemmas is managed. Neglecting them results in failure to ‘win the people;’ their perceptions and attitudes.

What are these security dilemmas and how do they impact on practice of both COIN and DDR?

What is the relevance of the existence of the phenomenon of security dilemmas jointly in both DDR and COIN and what is the impact of their neglect?

A comparative approach to reviewing the joint phenomenon of security dilemmas in COIN and DDR offers an opportunity to draw synergy in considering solutions to the problem of less than optimal outcomes and contribute to improved outcomes; to lives saved, to the establishment of appropriate normative systems and to the enhancement of both security and human security.