It is vital that this leadership be acceptable to both the resistance and the sponsor. These threats are enmeshed in the population and increasingly empowered by Using these three factors, there appear to be two predominant models of unconventional warfare: the Russian model and the Chinese model. Would that you could channel Ramses II. Yet the stubborn hybrid character of modern war is a reason to row against this tide. Another risk is that of overcommitment. First, we have had this Steppes War versus Mekong Delta War “discussion” since the French and Indian War. SENIOR LEADER BEHAVIOR: WHAT DIFFERENCES MATTER? Especially in training. One of the most difficult aspects of unconventional warfare or proxy warfare is knowing when it is an appropriate approach. A new Pentagon Irregular Warfare Annex report explains that great power threats not only pose major force-on-force threat possibilities but also have a history of engaging in unconventional … Neutralizing the target authority’s power and shifting that power to the resistance organization. Other risks of coercion by UW include blowback, overcommitment, the flypaper effect and abandonment, as discussed above. In all cases of UW seeking disruption, the sponsor must determine that the resistance will be satisfied with the outcome of the campaign. This is a sine qua non for bolstering Western militaries’ abilities to perform both conventional and unconventional missions in order to counter the hybrid threats that dominate the contemporary international security environment. Despite the fact that colonial armies spent most of their time fighting irregular opponents amongst indigenous populations, their doctrine, training, and organization were designed for defending overseas territories against the armed forces of other nations. Misalignment of interests is of particular risk, since most resistance movements that are well-developed enough to seriously disrupt a state’s operations seek to overthrow their government, not merely impede it; however, this is not a universal rule. unconventional warfare (UW). A “Bold Case for Unconventional Warfare” argues for the establishment of a new branch of service, with the sole responsibility of conducting Unconventional Warfare. 7. (EISENHOWER SERIES), SOCIAL MEDIA: GOOD MEDICINE OR A BAD PILL (EISENHOWER SERIES), INCLUSIVITY, DIVERSITY AND THE MILITARY AS A LEADER OF CHANGE (EISENHOWER SERIES), THAT NEVER HAPPENED: A WATER COOLER DISCUSSION ABOUT MOVIES, It seems that Western military forces are doomed to reinvent the wheel every time they are confronted with insurgencies. This can come in the form of misunderstanding the objectives of the resistance, poor understanding of one’s own objectives, or the importance of an issue to the resistance. Thus, despite the readily apparent non-linear nature of modern warfare, the confluence of these other influences suggests an inevitable neglect of counterinsurgency by Western militaries. In fact, much of the writing and reporting on unconventional warfare tends to ignore or downplay this distinction. In United States military doctrine, unconventional warfare (abbreviated UW) is one of the core activities of irregular warfare. This is the case where a resistance movement creates sufficient disruption to cause the government to collapse. Irregular warfare is a struggle among state and non- state actors to influence populations and affect legitimacy . The first risk is that of “catastrophic success,” in which a resistance succeeds in overthrowing the governing authority before it is prepared to assume the responsibilities of government, resulting in the collapse of the new government. IW favors indirect and asymmetric approaches, though it may employ the full range of military and other capabilities, in order to erode an adversary’s power, influence, and will. Coercion is the most difficult outcome to achieve. Unlike Russia, China’s unconventional warfare does not use special operations forces, but involves the physical, de facto, acquisition of territory. Technically, Unconventional Warfare (UW) and Irregular Warfare (IW) are defined differently by the US Army, and specifically US Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF), which is the proponent within the US Government for maintaining these concepts, doctrine … Regional and Popular Forces (Ruff/Puff) were in control of 90% of the populace countryside by 1972; This determination was made on 28 August 2008. Overthrowing a governing power is the clearest and in many ways simplest outcome that can be sought through the use of unconventional warfare. Instead, we should develop an approach that will enable us to quickly adapt to a specific situation in order to fight in a way that best matches whatever form of warfare is adopted by our enemies. Will they be important in an era of great... Read More. Because of the complexity and fragility of coercion by UW, it also is the most fraught with risk. Other concepts include asymmetric warfare, irregular warfare and hybrid warfare. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effort;” Convential warfare is easy, compared to irregular warefare. In modern warfare, the lines between regular, conventional and irregular, unconventional warfare are increasingly blurred. Unconventional warfare seeks to achieve these three outcomes through one or more strategic modalities: However, in contrast to “traditional” or “conventional” warfare, unconventional warfare achieves these effects vicariously. The NLF (National Liberation Front) was controlled by Hanoi – it was never independent (it was always run by a communist party commissar); We didn’t knock out the railroad lines between China and North Vietnam; It would be instructive historical research and wider-ranging than our normal battlefield level maneuver reprising which is particularly useful to regimental and wing level folks, but less so to Corps, Air Forces, Fleets and the NCA.). The canonical example of this dynamic is the outcome of the U.S. sponsorship of the Afghan Mujahideen, from which arose the Taliban and al Qaeda. Meanwhile, non-state actors, such as the Islamic State, have demonstrated their capability to launch conventional operations. We didn’t blockade Haiphong at the onset (where even British vessels could be found); All too often, it is taken as a mark of sophistication or bravery when U.S. Special Forces teams deploy to the front lines of a conflict. ... unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, counterinsurgency, and stability operations. And that the result was the Green Berets. The answer may surprise you: unconventional warfare. Before the Vietnam War even ended, the US Army rushed to put the experience learned to the background while reembracing the Cold War themes, such as the Fulda Gap scenario. address irregular threats. A new Pentagon Irregular Warfare Annex report explains that great power threats not only pose major force-on-force threat possibilities but also have a history of engaging in unconventional … In conventional warfare, the fighters usually wear uniforms, which identifies them as fighters in an army, under the laws of war. Similar to the premature termination of support in an overthrow campaign, abandonment occurs when the sponsor’s decides to terminate the UW program, but does not sufficiently plan for a transition to peace. (In fact, why don’t our War Colleges begin a series of one-hour fictionalized but historically-based military lessons learned by the likes of Ramses (several of them), Sulieman, Victoria, Elizabeth I, Catherine, or several of the Ming and Han Emperors.  Unconventional warfare is essentially support provided by the military to a foreign insurgency or resistance. Irregular Warfare is one way the military can apply its power complementarily with diplomatic, economic, financial and other ways to secure strategic outcomes, says the author of this commentary. Blowback in most cases results from a misalignment of interests between the resistance and the sponsor. There are numerous, uniquely defined terms associated with UW (Figure 1-1, page 1-2). Complicating this tendency toward assuming the role of combatant is that fact that understanding UW requires understanding revolutions. Joint Publication (JP) 3-05.1 defines UW as: Activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow a … The doctrine provides that an insurgency is composed of underground, auxiliary and guerrilla force. Those lessons are also at risk of being lost, if they were ever learned at all, as we transition back to the focus on large scale conventional conflict with near peer competitors. Unconventional warfare (UW) is the support of a foreign insurgency or resistance movement against its government or an occupying power.Whereas conventional warfare is used to reduce the opponent's military capability directly through attacks and maneuvers, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve victory indirectly through a proxy force. In The Utility of Force, the retired British general Rupert Smith explained the non-linear character of modern war with his concept of “war amongst the people.” Smith not only notes that “there is no secluded battlefield upon which armies engage” in isolation of civilians, but that indeed “civilians are the targets, objectives to be won, as much as an opposing force.” Therefore, even a temporary farewell to counterinsurgency is far from appropriate in this security environment characterized by hybrid — both state and non-state — threats and in which engagement of effected populations is key to success. From the perspective of the sponsor, this may appear to be a simple case of politically driven overcommitment. Hence, its first appearance can possibly be traced very far back and is difficult to pin down. Website created by. UW falls within the construct of Irregular Warfare (IW) and is one of U.S. Special Operations Command's (USSOCOM) Core Activities. And I would add with absolutely no apologies to Leon Trotsky: America may not be interested in irregular, unconventional, and political warfare but IW/UW/PW are being practiced around the world by those who are interested in them – namely the revisionist, rogue, … “This is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origins — war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of combat; by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. Special Operations and Irregular Warfare Tier 1 JCA, and identi-ﬁed counterinsurgency and foreign internal defense as Tier 2 mis-sions; but it also identiﬁed unconventional warfare, counterter-rorism, psychological operations, and civil-military operations as Tier 3 Special Operations Forces (SOF) JCAs that support IW.16 This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. As mentioned earlier, current strategic thinking tends to disregard the counterinsurgency experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan. Marion is considered one of the fathers of guerrilla warfare and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers and other American Special Forces . As the resistance evolves and adapts to the changing environment and the political views of its various constituencies, its objectives may shift sufficiently to place them in opposition to those of the sponsor. As Sir Hew Strachan (one of the organizers of the St. Andrews conference) notes in The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical Perspective, one of the best-known examples of this recurring cycle is the U.S. military’s troubled adaptation to counterinsurgency during the Vietnam War and the neglect of those experiences in its aftermath. They are blooded Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen/Marines. avoid these confusion, the two concepts will be distinguished here as “irregular warfare” and “unconventional warfare” respectively. Conventional warfare is winning through military means whereas unconventional warfare is winning through wearing out your enemy or hurting them in areas … Martijn Kitzen is Associate Professor of War Studies at the Netherlands Defence Academy. Following the completion of the overthrow, resistance activities will need to transition to stabilization and governance, while the sponsor’s support transitions to foreign internal defense. Irregular Warfare Joint Operating Concept, 2008. An unconventional warfare campaign seeks to employ some proxy force to achieve mutually-beneficial objectives. However, especially in the early stages of the development of the resistance, all three of these components may not exist. HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: RADICALS IN THE RANKS, LIKE YOUR BRAIN HAS JUST GONE TO THE GYM (WARGAMING ROOM), A LABORATORY FOR MILITARY PROFESSIONALS (WARGAMING ROOM), A FATAL DOSE IN 2 MILLIGRAMS: FENTANYL AND NATIONAL SECURITY, SERVICE TO THE NATION: CLOSING THE CIVIL-MILITARY DIVIDE (EISENHOWER SERIES), NEW WEAPONS FOR NEW DOMAINS? The latest period of counterinsurgency has ended and Western militaries are once again moving towards the downside of the cycle. The differences between conventional and irregular warfare are becoming less important, Department of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told students … Irregular warfare is a struggle among state and non- state actors to influence populations and affect legitimacy . Way before that. The DOD Instruction 3000.7 codifies Irregular Warfare as consisting of Counterinsurgency, Stability Operations, Foreign Internal Defense, Counterterrorism, and, importantly, Unconventional Warfare. That said, as our participation in the ME is waning, we must now re-balance the books and spend a bit more on conventional forces while keeping our unconventional forces intact, and more than likely in contact. Because it shares characteristics with both overthrow and disruption, the risks reflect many of the same concerns. Irregular Warfare irregular threats are adaptive state or nonstate adversaries such as terrorists, insurgents and criminal networks that resort to irregular forms of warfare to challenge conventional military powers. Of course, the reemergence of the Russian threat to some extent justifies this reorientation. “If American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely;” This scenario tends to lead to further instability and violence in the target country. Irregular Warfare Reference Library and Case Studies, Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service capture ISIS child recruiter, Barnett Rubin’s Theses on Peacemaking in Afghanistan: A Manifesto, The Norms of Proxy War: Guidelines for the Resort to Unconventional Warfare. In conventional warfare, the fighters usually wear uniforms, which identifies them as fighters in an army, under the laws of war. We have an expensive intellectual argument about a potential threat that is not visible to the populace – therefore not visible to Congress. This forgetting left the U.S. military ill-prepared to counter the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. This essay will argue that historically the ability of Western armed forces to learn from irregular warfare experiences has been hampered by the cultural underpinning on which those militaries are founded. Later this year, ISWS and SSI will produce a conference report incorporating the contributions of all presenters. Western military forces should be capable of adopting the approach necessary for a specific context, opponent, and time, whether employing a mixture of conventional or unconventional means. The conventional/unconventional dichotomy is also unhelpfully complemented by the war/not war dichotomy. Unconventional warfare targets civilian population psychologically to win hearts and minds, and only targets military and political bodies for that purpose, seeking to render the military proficiency of the enemy irrelevant. Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare, and so is asymmetric warfare.Irregular warfare favors indirect and asymmetric warfare approaches, though it may employ the full range of military and other capabilities, in order to erode the adversary’s power, influence, and will. There is little political will to again embark on such a costly and uncertain adventure, while senior military commanders, most of whose formative years as young officers were spent during the latter period of the Cold War, are increasingly regarding the recent counterinsurgency era as a “wrong turn” from the core business of high-end conventional warfare. Another risk of seeking disruption is that of accidental success. Unconventional warfare (United States Department of Defense doctrine) - Wikipedia. The term “irregular warfare” is a phrase that combines two simple words that are used very frequently. 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