Understanding Armed Non-state Actors (ANSAs) – Identities, Roles, and Strategies


  1. Moore, J.W.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
The Socio-cognitive Systems (SCS) Section at DRDC Toronto has undertaken a Technology Investment Fund (TIF) Project entitled A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Armed Non-state Actors (ANSAs): Strategic Roles and Operational Dynamics. The aim of this multi-year Project is to advance our understanding of: - the strategic roles of ANSAs in the context of violent intergroup conflict, and: - the operational dynamics—that is, the group structures, functions, and processes—of ANSAs, in both their internal and external aspects, that facilitate the performance of these roles. Broadly speaking, we seek to shed some light upon what ANSAs do and why they do it, situating their motivations, intent, and behaviours in the wider context of violent intergroup conflict. And, most importantly, we hope to answer the question whether, with this understanding, we can predict what ANSAs are likely to do in a given set of circumstances. This Technical Memorandum (TM) presents some reflections on the first of these two research objectives: the strategic roles of ANSAs. It is one of two interlocking Keystone Documents in Phase 1 Conceptual Development of the Project, the primary task of which is to define the Project’s conceptual problem space.

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Armed Non-state Actor (ANSA);social roles;collective identities;strategies
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TM-2011-082 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Sep 2013
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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