Coup d’états are less likely to succeed against rulers who “counterbalance” their militaries with presidential guards, militarized police, and other security forces outside of military command. But there may be downsides.
Erica De Bruin’s research interests include civil-military relations and civil war. Her work focuses in particular on the dynamics of military coups, the spread of militarized policing, and the ways in which armed groups build legitimacy. She is the author of How to Prevent Coups d’état: Counterbalancing and Regime Survival (Cornell University Press, 2020). Her work has been published in the Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Foreign Affairs, and featured in media outlets including the New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, Vox, Slate, and elsewhere. For the 2020-2021 academic year, De Bruin is serving as a Non-Resident Fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. She is currently working on a National Science Foundation-funded project on the determinants of civilian support for armed groups, as well as a project on the global spread of militarized policing. De Bruin worked previously as a research associate in U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. She received her doctorate from the Department of Political Science at Yale University in 2014.