A conceptual framework for understanding Armed Non-State Actors (ANSAs) – Strategic roles and operational dynamics


  1. Moore, J.W.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN)
This is the Final Report of the Technology Investment Fund (TIF) Project entitled “A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Armed Non-state Actors (ANSAs): Strategic Roles and Operational Dynamics” (Project Code: 10az01). The Socio-cognitive Systems Section (SCSS) at Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), Toronto Research Centre, undertook this multi-year Project in order to advance our understanding of the motivation, intent, and behaviour of ANSAs. Consistent with DRDC’s support-to-operations mandate, this understanding will help the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) effectively engage these actors in future expeditionary operations. The in-house Project team and two world-class academic contracting teams carried the Project through three Phases. Phase 1 Conceptual Development established the boundaries of the conceptual problem space. Phase 2 Framework Calibration calibrated the “first-cut” Irregular Adversary (Insurgent) [IA(I)] Concept Map (Cmap) using a real-world test case—the Somali Islamist ANSA al-Shabaab. Phase 3 Project Integration integrated the findings of the first two phases and recast the IA(I) Cmap in order to create the key end-product of this Project: the ANSA Cmap. The generic ANSA Cmap is a high-level conceptual framework—grounded in both multidisciplinary theory and mixed methods practice—that distills our understanding of these actors to its core strategic-level factors. It serves as a cognitive model—or “primer”—on this clas

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armed non-state actor;ANSA
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2014-R49 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Aug 2014
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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