Barnett Koven

Barnett Koven

Email:
bkoven@gwu.edu

Background

Major- Comparative Politics

Minor- Research Methods

Barnett S. Koven is a Senior Researcher at the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. He is also an Affiliated Scholar at the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at Florida International University. Koven is currently completing his Ph.D. in Political Science at the George Washington University, where he previously received a M.Phil. and a M.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in International Affairs and Latin American and Hemispheric Studies. Koven also holds a Certificate in Conflict Analysis from the United States Institute of Peace and a Certificate in Advanced Security in the Field from the United Nations System Staff College.

His dissertation examines under what conditions development assistance reduces or exacerbates insurgent violence, both where it is implemented and in geographically proximate areas. This research, which has involved extensive archival investigation, practitioner interviews, fieldwork and the construction of original quantitative datasets, covers Iraq, Peru and Colombia. This inquiry, including over a year of overseas fieldwork, was funded by two grants from The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy and a third from the George Washington University. In addition to his dissertation research, Koven also works on other issues pertaining to gray zone conflict, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, countering violent extremism, counter-narcotics, security cooperation, weapons availability and conflict onset, post-conflict reconstruction and the material and non-material sources of military power. A complete list of journal articles, book chapters and policy publications can be found on his personal website: http://barnettkoven.weebly.com/.

Beyond academia, Koven is also the Co-founder and Chair of The Village Energy Project, Inc., a non-profit corporation facilitating the use of a proprietary anaerobic digestion (waste-to-energy) process for rural electrification in the developing world. He is also the Vice President and Director of Events at the Godparents of the Children of Instituto Mundo Libre, a non-profit organization providing safe housing, rehabilitation and vocational training to homeless children in Peru. Finally, Koven is an Advisor at Concordia, a non-profit platform for expanding public-private partnerships.

CV

Current Research

Dissertation Project: Keeping up with the Joneses: Development Assistance and the Diffusion of Insurgent Violence:

Development assistance has become a cornerstone of counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy. The United States, but also numerous other countries around the world, have begun using aid in an attempt to win over civilian populations. Despite extensive reliance on this approach to COIN, a fundamental question remains unanswered: is development assistance an effective COIN tool? Existing scholarship has arrived at very different and conflicting conclusions. This is partly the result of the fact that much of the existing research utilized traditional statistical techniques, which only accounted for the effect of developmental interventions in the immediate areas receiving assistance. By ignoring how these endeavors either spread insurgent violence or diffuse peace, previous research is affected by spatial autocorrelation (SAC) that systematically biases the results.

On the other hand, this dissertation advances and tests a theory explaining the effects of assistance efforts on violence both where they are implemented and in geographically proximate areas. Specifically, it posits that the effect of aid on insurgent support and thus attacks is a product of two factors: whether or not development interventions are corrupted and if they are being undertaken by a belligerent or a neutral party. In doing so, this investigation combines the literatures on conflict diffusion and development assistance in COIN. It leverages extensive archival- and interview-based evidence as well as original datasets and quantitative methods that are robust to SAC. This dissertation covers three distinct cases: Iraq, Peru and Colombia. It is a product of more than a year of overseas field research.

Other Selected Ongoing Research Projects:

Weapons Availability and Civil War Onset: A Natural Experiment in Peru (with Michael Joseph): This research endeavors to contribute to the literature on weapons availability and armed conflict. To date, scholars have been unable to overcome endogeneity problems to conclusively show if armed conflict breaks out where weapons are easily available or if weapons flow to areas that are on the verge of conflict onset. Be employing a natural experiment that 'as if' randomly assigns weapons availability at a sub-national level, we hope to gain leverage on this question.

Shadows of Violence: Empirical Assessments of Threats, Coercion and Gray Zones: This investigation aims to increase understanding of Gray Zone conflicts. In particular, it explores the role of violent non-state actors within these dynamics. In doing so, this project combines detailed qualitative research with large-n quantitative testing across a diverse set of cases: Colombia, Libya and Ukraine. This research is being conducted at START as a Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Initiative.

Education

THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, COLUMBIAN COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

      Ph.D., Political Science (expected 2017); M.Phil. (2016); M.A. (2015)

Dissertation: “Keeping up with the Joneses: Development Assistance and the Diffusion of Insurgent Violence”

Committee: Professor Cynthia McClintock (chair), Professor Alexander B. Downes, Professor Harris Mylonas

Fields: Comparative Politics (major field), Quantitative Research Methods (minor field)

GPA: 3.90/4.00

THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, ELLIOTT SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

B.A., International Affairs and Latin American and Hemispheric Studies (double major; 2012)

Concentrations: International Development Studies and International Economics

Honors: summa cum laude, departmental honors, Phi Beta Kappa

GPA: 3.88/4.00.

UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE

        Certificate course, Conflict Analysis (2008).

UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM STAFF COLLEGE

        Certificate course, Advanced Security in the Field (2008).

Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

2016 “Emulating U.S. Counterinsurgency Doctrine: Barriers for Developing Country Forces, Evidence from Peru,” Journal of Strategic Studies (published online first, April 28).

2010 “El resurgimiento de sendero luminoso (The Reemergence of the Shining Path),” Air & Space Power Journal en Español XXII, no. 2: 24-32.

Book Chapters:

2016 “The Obama Administration and Peru,” in The Obama Doctrine in the Americas: Major Security Challenges, eds. Hanna Kassab and Jonathan Rosen (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, February 5) (lead author with Cynthia McClintock).

2015 “The Evolution of Peru’s Shining Path and the New Security Priorities in the Hemisphere,” in Reconceptualizing Security in the Americas in the Twenty-First Century, eds. Bruce M. Bagley, Hanna Kassab, and Jonathan Rosen (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, February 19) (lead author with Cynthia McClintock).

2014 “Cooperation and Drug Policies: Trends in Peru in the Twenty-First Century,” in Cooperation and Drug Policies in the Americas: Trends in the Twenty-First Century, eds. Roberto Zepeda and Jonathan Rosen (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, December 18) (lead author with Cynthia McClintock).

Selected Policy Publications and Reports:

2017 “Demystifying Gray Zone Conflict: A Typology of Conflict Dyads and Instruments of Power in Colombia, Libya and Ukraine,” Report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Office of University Programs and the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch (College Park, MD: START, January).

2016 “Demystifying Gray Zone Conflict: A Typology of Conflict Dyads and Instruments of Power in Colombia, 2002-present,” START (December 6).

2016 ‘“Give Peace a Chance”? Explaining Colombia’s (Failed) Peace Process with the FARC,” START (November 4).

2016 “Demystifying Gray Zone Conflict: A Typology of Conflict Dyads and Instruments of Power in Colombia, 2002-present,” Report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Office of University Programs and the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch (College Park, MD: START, November).

2016 “Training Host Nation Forces for Population-centric Counterinsurgency,” Small Wars Journal (July 11).

2016 “Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the Future of Peruvian Security,” E-International Relations (June 15).

2016 “The Second Image Sometimes Reversed: Competing Interests in Drug Policy,” E-International Relations (March 8).

2015 “Rethinking Alternative Development,” World Ecology Report XXVII, no. 4 (Winter 2015): 11-4.

2015 Peru Conflict Profile for Speaking Their Peace: Personal Stories from the Frontlines of War and Peace, by Colette Rausch, 35-6 (Berkeley, CA: Roaring Forties Press, April 28).

2014 “The Perils of Simultaneous COIN and Counternarcotics in Peru and Colombia,” E-International Relations (April 28).

Forthcoming:

“National and International Effects of Terrorism,” in Terrorism: A Global Introduction, eds. Gary Ackerman and Amy Pate (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley) (textbook chapter).

“Violence in Peru,” in Violence in the Americas, eds. Hanna Kassab and Jonathan Rosen (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books) (with Cynthia McClintock).

“Quantifying Gray Zone Conflict: (De-)escalatory Trends in Gray Zone Conflicts in Colombia, Libya and Ukraine,” Report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Office of University Programs and the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch (College Park, MD: START).

“Quantifying Gray Zone Conflict: (De-)escalatory Trends in Ukraine’s Gray Zone Conflict,” Report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Office of University Programs and the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch (College Park, MD: START).

“Quantifying Gray Zone Conflict: (De-)escalatory Trends in Libya’s Gray Zone Conflict,” Report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Office of University Programs and the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch (College Park, MD: START).

“Quantifying Gray Zone Conflict: (De-)escalatory Trends in Colombia’s Gray Zone Conflict,” Report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Office of University Programs and the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch (College Park, MD: START).

Articles Under Review and Working Papers:

“Reconsidering Non-material Drivers of Military Effectiveness,” revised and resubmitted (lead author with Eric Dunford).

“An Integrated Model for Simultaneous Counterinsurgency and Counter-narcotics Strategy: Leveraging Development Assistance, Evidence from the Peruvian VRAEM,” under review.

“Keeping up with the Joneses: Development Assistance and the Diffusion of Insurgent Violence in Iraq,” to be submitted for review.

“Weapons Availability and Civil War Onset: A Natural Experiment in Peru,” to be submitted for review (with Michael Joseph).

“Shadows of Violence: Understanding Gray Zone Conflict in Colombia,” to be submitted for review (with Varun Piplani).

“Chewbacca Arrested in Ukraine: The Risks and Rewards of Automated Data Collection in Security Studies,” to be submitted for review (with Varun Piplani).
 

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