SPS Research Institute

Institute for Security and Conflict Studies

The Dictator's Army: Battlefield Effectiveness in Authoritarian Regimes

The Dictator's Army: Battlefield Effectiveness in Authoritarian Regimes
September 01, 2015

Caitlin Talmadge, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs

In The Dictator's Army, Talmadge presents a compelling new argument to help us understand why authoritarian militaries sometimes fight very well—and sometimes very poorly.

Talmadge's framework for understanding battlefield effectiveness focuses on four key sets of military organizational practices: promotion patterns, training regimens, command arrangements, and information management. Different regimes face different domestic and international threat environments, leading their militaries to adopt different policies in these key areas of organizational behavior.

About the Author

photo: Celeste Arrington

Professor Arrington specializes in comparative politics, with a regional focus on the Koreas and Japan. Her research interests include civil society, social movements, democratic governance, law and society, policymaking processes, the media and politics, and qualitative methods. She is also interested in the international relations and security of Northeast Asia and transnational activism. 

Read More

Related Links

SPS Program Brochure

download the security policy studies program brochure