Risk Management In Counterinsurgency Operations


The main aim of the current study is to explore the impact of the application of the risk management process as a strategy to gain a competitive advantage in counterinsurgency operations of the Nigerian Army. Alongside this aim, the study sought to achieve five main objectives. The first objective was to investigate the level of understanding of risk management among officers engaged in counterinsurgency COIN planning and execution in the Nigerian Army. The second objective was to identify the factors that officers engaged in COIN operations perceive as barriers to the implementation of risk management strategies. Thirdly, the study sought to identify any existing interface between risk management and military operations strategy. The penultimate objective of the study was to identify the risk management processes adopted in the COIN operations, while the last objective was to investigate whether the application of risk management strategies contributes to any competitive advantage in the COIN operations.

The study was deemed significant because it would seek the opinions and perspectives of stakeholders in COIN strategic planning within the Nigerian Army fraternity in regards to their application of risk management strategies and how such strategies accord them the competitive advantage they need in reducing the present high casualty rate suffered by the Nigerian Army in such operations. Competitive advantage was of specific interest to the present study because it was deemed as an effective element during the operations planning processes. One new thing the present study aimed to bring into the light is the uncovering of new strategies for COIN that has not been explored. In so doing a new processor theory of COIN operations may be developed. This was deemed important because such a development would contribute to the validity of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (2014) risk management framework (RMF) which provides a process that integrates risk management processes and security activities of an organization.

In order to achieve its objectives, the study applied different research methodologies that could easily enable the researcher to move towards the correct direction in achieving the study objectives. For example, the study used qualitative research methodology to aid the collection of necessary data. Besides, the study relied on both primary and secondary data to achieve its objectives. Ideally, the primary data was collected from a selected sample of Nigerian army offices using semi-structured interviews. This method was deemed appropriate because the provided an opportunity for the researcher to gather as detailed information as possible from the respondents. The interviews involved 17 officers from the Nigerian Army who has participated as commandants in counterinsurgency operations. 8 of the selected sample occupied senior positions in the Nigerian Army, 2 were General Officers Commanding (GOC) of the two operational Divisions in the Northeast operation, 6 Brigade Commanders of the combat arms involved in the COIN operation and other junior level commanders, and 5 being independent experts selected for expert opinion.

On the other hand, secondary data was gathered from existing pieces of literary materials such as books, journals, and periodicals, and were useful in complementing the primary data. Besides, I conducted documents analysis in order to gather important institutional information that could facilitate the achievement of research objectives. After gathering both the primary and secondary data, I conducted a thematic data analysis with the help of NVIVO version 12 data analytic software. This enabled the development of various themes and subthemes that were material in the answering of research questions and achieving the research objective. Besides, during the entire study process, special attention was given to research reliability, validity, as well as ethics in research.

Using the primary and secondary data collected, the researcher was able to achieve research findings. Ideally, data collection was conducted in line with the research objectives, hence the study aimed to achieve particular objectives. This chapter give a conclusion of the research findings on each research objective and the contribution of such findings to the existing knowledge on the use of risk management strategies during military counterinsurgency operations.


Objective 1: the level of understanding of risk management among officers responsible for counterinsurgency COIN
planning in the Nigerian Army

The first objective of the study was to determine the level at which officers responsible for counterinsurgency COIN planning understood the concept of risk management. This objective was particularly achieved by gathering data on how the said officers conceptualized risk management. Based on the interview results, it is safe to conclude that different officers in the Nigerian Army involved in counterinsurgency operations have a different understanding of the concept of risk management. One eminent way in which the Nigerian Army understand risk management include: the process of identifying and mitigating any unexpected outcomes that may prevent the achievement of the operations’ objectives. Any counterinsurgency operations have specific objectives that it aims to achieve. Therefore, it is not only important for the Nigerian Army to understand these objectives but also to note that any uncertainties (or risks) may hinder the achievement of such objectives, and that risk management strategies are appropriate for the management mitigation of such uncertainties. This study has therefore confirmed the findings of previous studies that in military operations, risk management involves the process of speculating any unwanted uncertainty during the operation and taking into account any hazards that may be a force against the operation’s success.

Nigerian Army also understands risk management as a process that comprises of a series of actions and activities aimed at mitigating risk. It is important to note the conceptualization of risk management in counterinsurgency operations as a process because it incorporates the element of timing, costs, sustainability, and operational effectiveness. From these findings, it is possible to conclude that risk management is understood as a process that assists in the improvement of operational efficiency of military operations by considering the likeliness of an adverse event occurring and developing the necessary strategies for mitigating these unlikely events.

By comparing the findings from the interview respondents and secondary data, the research has concluded that that the idealization of risk management as a process in counterinsurgency operations emanates from the fact that such military operations are characterised by complex hazards and strict deadlines that must be achieved within the available resources. Risk management, therefore, emerges as an important strategy for ensuring that while trying to meet the strict deadlines in military operations, the complex hazards inherent in such operations are also mitigated.

Objective 2: The Process of Risk Management Adopted In COIN Operations

From the interview data gathered by the study, it is possible to conclude that the Nigerian Army adopt various processes during the implementation of risk management strategies in COIN operations. The respondents have indicated that the first process of developing risk management strategies is the development of a risk management plan that acts as a roadmap towards implementing various activities involved in risk mitigation. The study, therefore, concludes that a risk management plan is an integral part of military risk management, and its importance in successful risk management during counterinsurgency operations cannot be underestimated. Moreover, collected data on risk management planning by this study warrant the conclusion that it is during the risk management planning that Nigerian Army identifies various resources and technologies necessary for gaining an edge against the insurgents and successfully subduing them while reducing their risk exposure at the battlefield. Hence, we conclude that risk management planning is of fundamental importance to the development of any risk management strategy in military operations. This finding confirms the theoretical perspectives of Aven (2012) that risk management is a process that focuses on vulnerability, threat, impact, and probability assessment of an adverse even occurring.

We can also conclude that the process of risk management in counterinsurgency operations cannot be complete without an adequate supply of information and knowledge. Particularly, data the interviews indicate that part of the process of risk management in counterinsurgency operations is to educate the officers and supply them with adequate knowledge regarding the risks they are likely to encounter at the battlefield and how they are supposed to respond to such risks. We, therefore, conclude that risk education emerges as an important segment of risk management strategies in counterinsurgency operations because it equips the operation's participants with at least, basic knowledge about the uncertainties they are likely to encounter so that they can be both psychologically and resourcefully prepared for any hazard. Apart from education, it has been found that during the risk management process, Nigerian Army commandants try to have as much information as possible about the insurgents through reconnaissance and surveillance. Reconnaissance and surveillance, therefore, emerge as two helpful and effective procedures in counterinsurgency operations that assist in risk management. This study has therefore confirmed the point made by other pieces of literature about surveillance that it is a process that aids the identification of the level of risk exposure for purposes of effective risk management planning. Therefore, we conclude that reconnaissance and surveillance of battlefields beforehand are important risk management processes for gaining adequate information about the enemy and developing effective strategies for mitigating any form of risk as and when they arise.

The findings on surveillance and reconnaissance add to the existing knowledge base on the concept of risk assessment and evaluation, which basically involves the measuring levels of risk exposure to aid in developing equal levels of mitigating strategies. This insight confirms the theoretical perspectives of Pressman (2006) that two major concepts in the study of risk management are risk assessment and risk analysis (Pressman, 2006). The analysis of risk is an important part of the decision-making in all organizations and affects every aspect of the risk estimation. This finding also confirms the theoretical perspectives highlighted earlier in this study that Continuous monitoring will provide the data required to identify and assess the risk. In the military, the following strategic framework is often used: Identify the goals of an opponent (ends), the methods that can be employed against friendly forces (ways) and the resources available to accomplish this (means). The present study also confirms the findings of other studies that obtaining adequate information about the enemy beforehand, during any form of military operation, is an important part of risk management process that can enable adequate preparation for any unforeseen event at the battlefield. Obtaining information about the enemy has also been found to be useful when attacking insurgents during military operations. Informed by data from the interview respondents, this study concludes that reconnaissance and surveillance as part of risk management processes are assisted Nigerian Army in being proactive rather than reactive at the battlefield, thereby developing some sort of advantage over the insurgents. Consequently, similar to other studies, the present study concludes that gathering adequate information, either by educating the armed forces on possible risk, or conducting reconnaissance, is an important process in developing an effective risk management strategy for counterinsurgency military operations.

Nonetheless, another important element of the risk management process, especially in the context of military counter-insurgency operations is an ad-hoc response to risk at the battlefield. We conclude that sometimes the conditions and circumstances at the battlefield do not allow for an elaborate risk management planning, and therefore the Nigerian Army have to adopt ad-hoc responses to uncertainties and spontaneous reasoning in decision-making. This conclusion relates to prospect theory which states that decisions based on a spontaneous reasoning manner are heavily influenced by the prospects of losses or gains. We, therefore, conclude that ad-hoc responses to risk are not an unfamiliar risk management process within the practice of counterinsurgency war or general military operations, even though to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, there is a paucity of research and literary materials highlighting this technique. we, therefore, conclude that whereas the Nigerian Army have a risk management process which entails risk planning, education and knowledge development, information and reconnaissance, ad-hoc risk management processes are also applicable in counterinsurgency operations. It would, therefore, be worrying to have a paucity of knowledge among the Nigerian Army fraternity about the hard-hoc risk management procedures because moments that such procedures are needed or applied are apparently the most dangerous and desperate moments in the battlefield. It is therefore unequivocally necessary for the Nigerian Army to have adequate knowledge and skills for developing and implementing hard-hoc risk management procedures if safety at the battlefield is still at the top of their priority list.

Objective 3: Barriers in the Application of Risk Management in COIN Operations

From the research findings, it is clear that there are several barriers to risk management in military counterinsurgency operations. One barrier that was prominently mentioned by the respondents is the lack of knowledge and skills in risk management. We can, therefore, conclude that whereas risk management strategies play a fundamental role in the achievement of counterinsurgency operation missions, Nigerian Army faces lack of knowledge as a major barrier to the implementation of these risk management strategies. We can also conclude from the findings that the barrier of lack of knowledge on risk management strategies is especially characterised by lack of experience in counterinsurgency risk management strategies, compounded by the complex nature of such operations. Therefore, we can easily extrapolate that counterinsurgency operations are so complex that Nigerian Army officers with inadequate knowledge and tactical skills in risk management strategies may not achieve significant success with their mission. This conclusion agrees with the conclusions made by other researchers in the studies reviewed herein that lack of knowledge, skills, and experience in risk management during military operation can contribute to confusion at the battlefield because some officers may not know their roles or might make wrong decisions as they attempt to mitigate risk.

Another prominent barrier to risk management found by the current study is the complex nature of COIN operations, which make it too difficult to implement step-wise risk management strategies. According to the findings of the current study, sometimes it is difficult to conduct a risk assessment as the first of developing an elaborate risk management plan. This makes it difficult for the Nigerian Army to engage in steps in the development of risk management strategies, and therefore it becomes difficult to effectively respond to the uncertainties that emerge at the battlefield. Besides, this study concludes that the sudden nature of some operations makes it impossible to identify a plan for risk management. It is, therefore, possible to conclude that when counterinsurgency operations are sudden, Nigerian Army officers go to the battlefield without any effective risk management plan, and the results could be fatal; especially considering the role of risk management in dealing with uncertainties that may cause death at the battlefield. This study, therefore, makes a contribution to the already existing knowledge that time pressures characterising some counterinsurgency operations affect the process of risk assessment and development of effective risk management strategies. We conclude that when troops are deployed to the operation with a lot of haste, they do not find the opportunity to get an adequate briefing, proper planning, and assembly of adequate resources to mitigate any risk that they might encounter.

Another factor that this study has found to be a barrier to risk management in counterinsurgency operations is poor communication. We conclude that when Nigerian Army officers are at the battlefield, they are not able to communicate well among themselves, thereby exposing them to greater levels of risk; considering the important nature of communication in risk management and generally in military operations. When soldiers are not able to communicate, it becomes impossible to alert each other on any danger, nor are they able to inform their colleagues of the occurrence or any risk that requires immediate attention. Typically, without effective communication, it may also be difficult for the Nigerian Army at the battle filed to call for backup in case they are overwhelmed by insurgents.

Lastly, this study has found the need to adhere to ethics, law and military discipline creates some level of barrier to the implementation of risk management strategies. From the interview responses, the current study has found that sometimes the Nigerian Army finds themselves in ethical dilemmas that make it difficult to mitigate the risk that could possibly be mitigated. Besides, this study has found that whereas Nigerian Army must execute their duties of combating the insurgents without fear or favour, they are supposed to do so bearing in mind the law of armed conflict and various as well as international regulations governing discrimination and proportionality during armed counterinsurgency operations. Hence, the Nigerian Army, when engaging the insurgents at the battlefield, they must operate within the confines of rules of engagement established and communicated to them before setting out to the battlefield. But, this makes it difficult to mitigate risks especially when the required risk management strategies are not within the confines of the rules of engagement. These findings, therefore, add to the already existing knowledge that the law is a major factor affecting counterinsurgency operations, and this justifies the need for an elaborate counter-insurgent force structure that equips the officers with adequate resources to fight the insurgents albeit within the confines of the law. This study therefore concludes that whereas developing the structures and terms of counterinsurgency operations assist in ensuring that the offices do not violate fundamental laws and regulations (especially those governing human rights), these terms of operations are also disadvantageous because they, to some extent, create a barrier to the implementation of various risk management strategies.

Objective 4: The Interface between Risk Management and Military Operations Strategy

The present study has also discovered the availability of an interface between risk management and counterinsurgency operations. From the interview results, we conclude that risk management is inherent in counterinsurgency operations because such operations are full of risk to be mitigated. Some participants stated categorically that no counterinsurgency battle can be won without encountering risk; a phenomenon that warrants the conclusion that risk is inseparable from counterinsurgency operations. We conclude that the risky nature of military operations makes risk management a core aspect of developing strategies for winning counterinsurgency battles. When necessary strategies are put in place to manage risk in counterinsurgency wars, such battles become easier to win compared to when no risk management strategies are involved. Based on this finding, the current study concludes that effective decision-making with key consideration to tactical aspects of the counterinsurgency operation plays an important role in managing the risks that are inherent in such operations. This finding adds to the already existing knowledge that sometimes during counterinsurgency operations, the insurgents mix with innocent civilians and thus create a bigger risk because it becomes difficult to combat the insurgents without causing harm to the civilians. Hence, there is great importance in developing sophisticated risk management strategies that address such delicate situations and prevents the death of civilians.

Objective 5: The Role of Risk Management in Creating Competitive Advantage in Counterinsurgency Operations

The current study concludes that implementing various risk management strategies in counterinsurgency operations by guiding the officers on various measures for mitigating, particularly in regards to strategically making use of their weapons, equipment, and tools in responding to various risk factors posed by insurgents. The current study’s conclusion that risk management strategies create a competitive advantage to counterinsurgency operations has also been made by other studies that risk management in military operations embodies the use of tact and proactivity in the identification of insurgents’ plans and countering such plans before they are used by the insurgents to ambush.

Apart from tact and proactivity, the current study has established that the use of risk management strategies is especially advantageous during risk assessment, because for example, risk assessment enables the officers to identify and become familiar with the battle field’s terrain, as well as predict other aspects such as the weather, so that they develop the best timing for attacking the insurgents. Moreover, data provided by the interviewees, as well as those from existing literally materials enable the conclusion that risk management, through risk assessment assists counterinsurgents officers in developing adequate knowledge regarding the insurgents’ tactics, weaknesses, capabilities, and plans, thereby developing effective strategies to counter such plans.

This study has also found that the application of risk management strategies also contributes competitive advantage to counterinsurgency operation by boosting the confidence and morale of officers. Particularly, this study has established that Nigerian Army feels more confident and ready to participate in counterinsurgency operations when they go to the battlefield with a risk management plan than when they do not have such a plan. This finding is especially important considering the significant role that confidence among army officers plays in ensuring the success of counterinsurgency operations.

Implications for Practice

The findings of this study have revealed different understanding and conceptualization of risk management, with a majority of the respondents understanding risk as a process of identifying and mitigating uncertainties that could hinder the achievement of the mission’s objectives. But this conceptualization of risk management, compared to existing literature, is quite shallow and does not indicate an elaborate understanding of the same. A possible implication of this finding is that there is an inadequate understanding of risk management among Nigerian Army officers involved in counterinsurgency operations. Contrary to what has been depicted by the respondents in the current study, risk management, particularly in the context of military operations, is understood and conceptualized in a deeper and wider scope. For instance, in the literature by Johnson (2012), risk management has been conceptualized as an embodiment of operational and tactical decision-making. In fact, the same author narrates that in the US military, risk management is not just understood as the process of identifying and mitigating hazards, but also a process of identifying the risks associated with the operations, evaluating the likelihood of them occurring, and identifying the consequences of failing to mitigate the identified risk factors. A possible implication of this finding is that when there is a poor or inadequate understanding of risk management among army officers, it is likely that they might insufficiently develop effective risk management strategies that do not identify, nor mitigate all the possible hazards that they might encounter during counterinsurgency operations.

The findings of the present study on the understanding and conceptualization of risk management among the study participants also reveals a paucity of knowledge among them regarding the distinction between strategies that are necessary in the planning and preparation for counterinsurgency operations (enterprise risk), and those that are actually experienced in the battlefield (operational risk). A possible implication of this realization is that the Nigerian Army, by failing to understand the availability and meaning of these two types of risks, they are likely not to understand the relationship between the two, a phenomenon that contributes to poor risk management planning. This is because similar to operational risk management, enterprise risk management is generally important in developing adequate capacity and necessary systems within the army that assist in delivering operational benefits, thereby contributing to operational risk management (Johnson 2012).

The current study’s findings on the Nigerian Army engaged in counterinsurgency operations have a paucity of knowledge and understanding of enterprise risk management strategies implies that they might not be able to establish the necessary risk-based approaches to ensure that military organizations are run with a consideration of various risk that might affect elements such as financial risks, yet such risks have a key impact on the achievement of the operational goals of various counterinsurgency missions.

On the flipside, the an understanding among the respondents of operational risk management as an activity that entails the identification or risk and taking the necessary actions to mitigate such risks implies that Nigerian army are familiar with counterinsurgency operational risk, and confirms the assertions by US Department of the Army (2000) that operational risk in military counterinsurgency operations is not difficult, technical or complex to understand. Against this background, we imply that in military counterinsurgency operations, there are two tiers of risk management that should be well-understood and given keen consideration, i.e. enterprise risk management and operational risk management. While the respondents in this study displayed a better understanding of the latter, little knowledge was displayed by the respondents on the former.

Based on the responses gained from the interviews, this study has established that the risk management process adopted by NOUN counterinsurgency officers only involve the supply of information and knowledge about various risks eminent in the operation, use of reconnaissance and surveillance to conduct a risk assessment, and the use of hard-hoc techniques in responding to risk.

A possible implication of this finding is that whereas there are some elements of the risk management process that are recognized and implemented by Nigerian Army engaged in counterinsurgency operations, there are other elements of the process that were either not mentioned by the respondents during the interview, or not recognized at all by the respondents as important to the process of risk management process. Besides, it is apparent that the respondents failed to identify the risk management process in an elaborate and step-wise manner as may have been expected by the researcher. Indeed, existing literature highlighted in the current study has identified an elaborate risk management process that entails various activities; beginning with documenting the risk management process, then to identifying the potential hazards, identifying the probability of such hazards, identifying the appropriate risk management measures, selecting the appropriate risk management approaches from the identified ones, implementing the selected risk reduction approaches, and finally managing the residual risk after the implementation of the selected risk management approaches. But worryingly, the interview respondents did not identify the risk management process in such detail. A possible implication of this finding is that there is a need for proper sensitization and education of Nigerian Army officers on the elements of effective risk management processes because failure to understand the process may lead to poor implementation. Sensitization of the Nigerian Army on risk management process would also help in equipping them with the necessary knowledge in various risk management techniques used in military operations. Hence, we conclude that there might be an inadequate knowledge among Nigerian Army officers involved in NOUN counterinsurgency operations on an elaborate risk management process, a phenomenon that hinders an effective implementation of risk management strategies.

There are several barriers to risk management identified by the current study, which may have various implications for the practice of counterinsurgency military operations. For example, the respondents identified were keen to identify they experience various communication barriers that hinder them from adequately responding to the risks and hazards during their operations. A possible implication of this finding is that the Nigerian Army involved in counterinsurgency operations may fail to coordinate effective responses to adverse events when they due to poor communication systems. Generally, failed or ineffective communication systems create several additional risks to such operation because, for instance, it only leaves the officers to use improvised solutions to regain contact with their colleagues, a phenomenon that exposes the operation to infiltration and more hazards from the insurgents. Besides, when there is a communication failure, the officers are not able to flexibly coordinate response to the hazards. In fact, existing literature from Johnson (2007) indicates that both problems have led to fatalities in various military operations for example in an operation where one officer was trapped in a forward escape compartment and unable to communicate with his colleagues for rescue because the telephone gadgets he had were faulty. As explained by Johnson (2007), the damages caused by hazards arising out of poor communication confirms the fact that poor communication hinders swift response to hazardous situations, thereby compounding the risk experienced by the counterinsurgency officers handling coin operations. This is because when communication systems fail, the officers have to rely on word of mouth for communication yet the high levels of noise, high quantities of smoke, and poor visibility may not allow effective communication through word of mouth. Hence, there is an adequate need for effective communication systems and devices to enhance coordination among officers during the operations, and to enable early and appropriate response to hazards at the battlefield. It is also necessary to invest in quality communication devices with minimum chances of failing when the operations are on-going, particularly because device failures have been identified by Johnson et al (2012) as the major cause of hazards during counterinsurgency operations. We also extrapolate that while establishing effective communication systems, there is a need to sensitize and educate the officers on how to use these devices, as well as techniques of improvising other alternative systems of communication when the existing systems fail. Moreover, the communication devices should be at constant maintenance and testing to ensure that they hardly fail during counterinsurgent operations.

Recommendations for Practice

• The Nigerian Army involved in COIN operations should be provided with standardized guidance on risk management process to enable them to develop an appropriate understanding of the risk management and to assist them in implementing risk management strategies in a comprehensive manner. This can be achieved by developing a standardized risk management tool similar to already existing ones such as the US Military Standard (MIL-STD) 882D that establishes a standard to be followed by all military practitioners involved in any counter-insurgency operation. Some of the factors that should be considered when developing the standard are how to document risk management approaches to make it easier in establishing whether existing hazards have been sufficiently addressed. Besides, a properly developed standard guidance of risk management will ensure that various technological resources such as hazard software are put in place to prevent the officers from overlooking any hazard during the process of developing risk management strategies. Nonetheless, when developing the standard risk management guidance, the Nigerian Army should ensure that the following factors are considered: First, the standardized risk management guidance should focus on effective risk elimination by suggesting the use of risk-eliminating tools (e.g. non-flammable materials) during counterinsurgency operations – thereby helping to eliminate risks such as fire hazard. Secondly, the standardized risk management guidance should focus on risk reduction by proposing changes that ensure that risk is reduced even in cases when it cannot be completely eliminated. This is because ideally, it is sometimes impossible to eliminate all forms of hazards during counterinsurgency operations. Thirdly, the recommended standardized risk management guidance should focus on the use of military tools and devices that add additional protection from hazards, thereby reducing the impact of hazards once they have occurred. The penultimate factor that the recommended standardized risk management guidance should consider is the use if warning devices during counterinsurgency operations. However, it must be noted that when implementing the warning devices, care must be taken in regards to missed warnings and false alarms. Lastly, the recommended standardized risk management guidance should focus on developing standardized procedures of training the officers on how to prepare for adverse events, for example, there should be standardized procedures in for conducting drills on potential hazards during the counterinsurgency operations. The current study, therefore, holds that it is only when standardized guidance on risk management is developed that the Nigerian Army involved in COIN operations will begin to have a proper understanding and give an appropriate approach to risk management in counterinsurgency operations.

• This study also recommends that the Nigerian Army involved in counterinsurgency operations should receive effective training in risk management techniques. Indeed, during the interviews, there no respondent mentioned the use of risk management techniques as part of the risk management process; yet such techniques are quite useful in preventing hazards during COIN operations. Consequently, there are several risk management techniques that this study would like to recommend. First, this study recommends the use of Hazard and Operability Studies (HAZOPS) risk management technique. Ideally, HAZOPS helps in the identification of potential risks that might be encountered in the battlefields and assessing their respective impact (Johnson, 2012). While Kelz (2006) & MacDonald (2004) acknowledge that HAZOPS have largely been used in the manufacturing industry, it has been recently been discovered to be useful in military operations. For instance, the US army has frequently used HAZOPS during commissioning and decommissioning military operations. Whereas there are several alternatives to HAZOPS that have recently emerged, HAZOPS can be useful to the Nigerian Army involved in counterinsurgency operations especially when they are integrated into the COIN risk management processes to ensure a comprehensive assessment and management of hazards in various departments of the operations such as the engineering department, maintenance personnel, occupational health safety, and environmental safety departments. The current study recommends HAZOPS because it eliminates subjective biases that may hinder an effective risk assessment and management by ensuring that there is a multidisciplinary approach to conducting a risk assessment. Particularly, the biases that arise in the assessment and management of risk emanating from the fact that individuals are likely to disagree or have a consensus on the hazards that may pose a danger to the operation. Hence, when there is a multi-disciplinary approach to the assessment, the process becomes more objective. This study also recommends the adoption of Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) as a risk management technique that should be adopted by the Nigerian Army involved in counterinsurgency COIN operations. Particularly, FMECA should be embedded in the technical manuals, handbooks and military standards observed by the COIN operation officers. Ideally, FMECA assists in the development of various assistive frameworks such as functional block diagrams that provide an overview of various systems processes involved in military operations (Johnson, 2012). More importantly, FMCEA has largely been used in the application of different guidewords that help in military risk assessment and mitigation. For instance, FMCEA can be useful in identifying hazards related to an untimely operation where the officers consider examining any possible risk that could occur if a function of the operation occurred earlier or later than the scheduled time (Johnson, 2012). Besides, according to Johnson (2012), FMCEA would also require officers to consider what would happen if when a required action was not implemented.

• Previous sections of the current study have highlighted the role of risk management techniques in aiding decision-making in counterinsurgency military operations. This study has also identified the important role of risk assessment as part of risk management process that aids in the identification of potential hazards and establishment for various mitigating strategies for purposes of ensuring a successful counterinsurgency operation. More importantly, the interview results of this study have established that the complex nature of counterinsurgency operations hinder the development of an effective risk management plan, and makes decision-making more complex. Against this backdrop, the current study recommends that the Nigerian Army involved in counterinsurgency operations should develop and implement a framework proposed by Klein et al (1993): Recognition Primed Decision Making (RPDM), which acknowledges and builds on the notion that time pressures involved in military operation may create a difference between theoretical and real-world risk management strategies. In fact, RPDM would be useful in situations where hard-hoc decisions are required in counterinsurgency operations risk management because according to Johnson (2012), it enables a rapid assessment of potential risks to allow faster decision-making. Besides, Johnson (2012) indicates that RPDM operates under the assumption that when individuals search for plans and solutions to risk, they do not diligently search through every possible plan to develop an optimal solution. Several other assumptions that RPDM operates under include: that decision-makers are only inclined towards finding workable solutions hence they do not need to engage in an exhaustive search for solutions; that effective decision-makers engage identify and make one decision at a time rather than weighing the advantages and disadvantages of all options; and that effective decision-makers focus on identifying cues that help in selecting potentially best solutions. Hence, adopting an RPDM framework would help the Nigerian Army involved in COIN counterinsurgency operations to develop an effective decision-making mindset especially when there is a need to make a hard-hoc response to hazards.

Recommendations for Future Research

The current study has specified that there is a paucity of research inquiry into ad-hoc risk management techniques in counterinsurgency military operations. Consequently, it recommends that more research is required in this area of risk management, especially focusing on RPDM and how it can apply in the context of African counterinsurgency operations.

Communication breakdown and failure has emerged as a major barrier to the implementation of effective risk management strategies. This study recommends that more research is required in the area of communication and communication systems and communication gadgets used in military counterinsurgency operations. Specifically, there is a need to develop more knowledge on the role of effective communication techniques and systems in the prevention and management of risk in counterinsurgency operations.

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