United States Detention Policy in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency Operations: 2001 to 2011

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis examines United States detention policy and operations in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the use of Guantanamo Bay as a key node in detention operations between 2001 and 2011, when the US was engaged in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations against various transnational and radical religious extremists. The purpose of this thesis is to synthesise information from 76 primary source interviews and various secondary sources, analyse US detention operations, and provide suggestions for detention policy makers for future conflicts. These first-hand accounts facilitate an accurate portrayal of events because of the depth and breadth of the experience of the sources from senior policy advisors in the US government to high ranking general officers in charge of detention operations to military personnel involved in day to day detainee operations and interrogations. The topic is further elucidated by the examination of the many declassified government documents and official Department of Defence press releases. This thesis illustrates how the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq followed an historic detention cycle where mistakes made led to lessons learned and impacted policy that affected not only detention procedure, but the overarching counterinsurgency effort.
Date of Award1 Jun 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorRory Miller (Supervisor) & Michael Kerr (Supervisor)

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