Donald (D.J.) Lawrence


Education: Bachelor of Science in history and political science (May 2020)

Currently pursuing a Master of Arts in international history and security studies at West Virginia University and a Master of Arts in international security studies at Collegium Civitas

McNair Project: Reducing Civilian Deaths during Military Interventions to Promote Stability in the Target State (2018)

Mentor: Michael Flynn, Ph.D.

There are two different opinions when it comes to military interventions and its effects on civilian casualties. Some scholars argue that small-scale military interventions are more effective at keeping violence contained while also reducing civilian deaths. Other scholars argue that large-scale targeted military interventions are better suited for providing security and lowering civilian deaths. While both have advantages and disadvantages, they are not equal in reducing civilian casualties. Small-scale interventions reduce costs and the operational burden of the intervening force in the conflict, but this small footprint doctrine protracts the length of the conflict and does not have the desired effect in deescalating the conflict, especially in the reduction of civilian casualties. Large-scale interventions combined with targeted offensive operations place the burden of human security on the intervening force and has immediate effects on the reduction of civilian casualties, but signal an escalation in the conflict and can prompt an influx of insurgents which will further endanger civilian populations. It is conceivable that an amalgamation of the two strategies may accomplish the goals of military interventions, whether they be in protecting civilians or a cessation of hostilities. By using a cooperative force, the military can conduct targeted offensive operations with small footprint special operations while the private contractors handle defensive security operations and non-governmental organizations engage in humanitarian and reconstructive operations. These elements used in conjunction with one another will reduce the burden on any one element without jeopardizing the security and stabilization of the target state.