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Low-Intensity Conflict: About

This guide is a starting point to finding sources related to the study of low-intensity conflict (LIC) and associated concepts.


Low-intensity conflict definition

"Political-military confrontation between competing states or non-state actors as part of competition below the threshold of armed conflict. It involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies, and its manifestations range from subversion to the use of armed force. It is waged by a combination of means employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments. These confrontations are often localized, generally in the Third World, but contain regional and global security implications." -DoD Directive 5111.10


Tips for database searching

♦ LIC is a concept that overlaps with other military operational concepts. Broaden your searches with alternative or combined terms as appropriate, such as: insurgency, counterinsurgency, irregular warfare, unconventional warfare, counterterrorism.


♦ LIC also intersects with other operational domains, such as: intelligence, peacekeeping or peace operations, security force assistance, security cooperation, cyber, medical, information operations, cwmd, military information support operations, air power, counter narcotics.


Focus your research on historical involvement in LIC:

  • United States: U.S. Civil War, Reconstruction period, Philippine Insurrection (Spanish American War), Central America (Cold War), Colombia, Afghanistan War, Iraq War
  • Britain: Boer Wars, Malayan Emergency, Mau Mau Rebellion (Kenya 1952),
  • Soviet Union: Afghanistan (1979-1989), Central America (Cold War), Chechnya (1990s -)
  • Vietnam War
  • COIN in Africa
  • Peacekeeping in East Timor, Yugoslavia (1990s)


♦ Utilize additional keywords to broaden or hone and utilize filters to narrow the results down as needed (e.g., by subject, date, publication, author).


Early Seminal Works

Search the Catalog for More Books

Insurgency & COIN




EBSCO JSTOR database                                                                   Sage database Taylor & Francis
A combined search for the most appropriate EBSCO databases Scholary journal archive         

Comprehensive news database


Sage Politics and International Relations subject collection of scholarly journals Taylor & Francis is a multidisciplinary, scholarly journal database strong in defense relevant disciplines


Baas, S. (2013). Low-intensity conflict in Eastern Sudan: A comparative approach to the development of rebel groups, Small Wars & Insurgencies, 24(3) 518-535.


Bar, S. (2007). Deterring nonstate terrorist groups: The case of Hizballah, Comparative Strategy, 26(5), 469-493.


Coburn, M.D. (2019). Improving Special Operations Forces measurements of effectiveness in security cooperation, Special Operations Journal, 5(2), 111-126.


Duggan, P. (2015). Harnessing cyber-technology’s human potential. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 28(4), 12–16.


Greig, J. M. (2015). Nipping them in the bud: The onset of mediation in low-intensity civil conflicts. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 59(2), 336–361.


Jones, D.M., & Smith, M. L. (2001). The changing security agenda in Southeast Asia: Globalization, new terror, and the delusions of regionalism. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 24(4), 271-288.


Kinross, S. (2004)Clausewitz and low-Intensity conflict, Journal of Strategic Studies, 27(1), 35-58.


Leites, N. C., and Wolf, (1970). Rebellion and authority: An analytic essay on insurgent conflicts. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1970.

Locher, J. R. (1989). Intelligence support to special operations and low intensity conflict. American Intelligence Journal, 11(1), 13–17.


Motley, J. B. (1983). Grenada: Low-intensity vonflict and the use of U.S. military power. World Affairs, 146(3), 221–238.


V. K. Sood (1992). Low‐intensity conflict: The source of Third‐World instability, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 15(4), 233-250.


Shultz, R. H. (1991). The low-intensity conflict environment of the 1990s. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 517, 120–134.


Wagener, M. (2011). Lessons from Preah Vihear: Thailand, Cambodia, and the nature of low-intensity border conflicts. Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 30(3), 27–59.

  • All are set to searches for "LOW-intensity conflicts (Military science)"

  • Utilize additional keywords to broaden or hone and utilize filters to narrow the results down as needed (e.g., by subject, date, publication, author).

  • Not all articles will be available in full text. Contact the library to submit an interlibrary loan request for any articles not full text.

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