Saturday, April 12, 2014

US unsettled by China's 'three warfares' strategy: Pentagon report

This could perhaps be described as unconventional and political warfare with Chinese characteristics.  I will have to find the Pentagon report.

For those that missed it I do think it is worth reviewing George Kennan's #269 Policy Staff Planning Memo from 1948.  The entire memo can be accessed here:  

Excerpts from Kennan's memo:

1. Political warfare is the logical application of Clausewitz's doctrine in time of peace. In broadest definition, political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation's command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such operations are both overt and covert. They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures (as ERP--the Marshall Plan), and "white" propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of "friendly" foreign elements, "black" psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.  
3. This Government has, of course, in part consciously and in part unconsciously, been conducting political warfare. Aggressive Soviet political warfare has driven us overtly first to the Truman Doctrine, next to ERP, then to sponsorship of Western Union [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]. This was all political warfare and should be recognized as such.   
4. Understanding the concept of political warfare, we should also recognize that there are two major types of political warfare--one overt and the other covert. Both, from their basic nature, should be directed and coordinated by the Department of State. Overt operations are, of course, the traditional policy activities of any foreign office enjoying positive leadership, whether or not they are recognized as political warfare. Covert operations are traditional in many European chancelleries but are relatively unfamiliar to this Government. 

I am very cognizant of Frank Hoffman's warning to consider "Colin Gray's definitions of warfare as the physical act of fighting, which invalidates both words in "political warfare."  The actual definition, if one accepts Gray, makes the definition problematic since it entails everything short of going to war--and thus NOT warfare."

My purpose is not so much to introduce new terms, definitions and doctrine but to try to push us to think more strategically by trying to understand that everything is not terrorism and insurgency and by understanding that our opponents are executing forms of unconventional and political warfare for which we must develop strategies to counter.

And just to counter slightly Frank and Colin Gary unconventional warfare does 
include the physical act of fighting.  But if political warfare does not involve the physical act of fighting

perhaps a better term would be unconventional statecraft which is a term I believed coined by a JAG officer named Dru Wall (I read it in a draft of an article that he is writing.)

Maybe what we need to do is to have two concepts: unconventional warfare and unconventional statecraft.

US unsettled by China's 'three warfares' strategy: Pentagon report

April 11, 2014
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Asia Pacific editor for Fairfax Media

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_8">
Tony Abbott greets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao business forum. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The US and its military partners are reaching for new tools to counter an unconventional ''three warfares'' strategy that China is using to advance aggressive territorial claims, according to a Pentagon report.
It says the People's Liberation Army is using what it calls ''legal warfare'', ''media warfare'' and ''psychological warfare'' to augment its arsenal of military hardware to weaken the resolve of the US and its regional partners to defend islands and oceans in the East and South China seas.
''They have introduced a military technology which has not previously been considered as such in the West,'' says the report, China: The Three Warfares, which was commissioned by the Pentagon's most senior strategist, Andrew Marshall, and circulated to the US Pacific Fleet. This technology has ''sidestepped the coda of American military science,'' it says.

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The report's warnings of China's use of ''coercive economic inducements'' and other non-traditional methods underscores Prime Minister Tony Abbott's challenge in balancing economic and security interests, as he prepares to meet China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on Friday night. This week Mr Abbott signed a landmark agreement to develop military technology with China's arch-rival, Japan, while Australian business leaders joined a forum at Bo'ao that was initiated by representatives of a PLA ''influence'' platform, as revealed last year by Fairfax Media.
The ''three warfares'' stratagem is rooted in ancient Chinese strategies of ''perception warfare'' as well as the Communist Party's origins as an underground and guerilla organisation.
It was modernised and codified a decade ago but appeared to escape serious Western military attention until China began to adopt a far more muscular stance over its contested borders from 2009.
Some well-placed Western defence strategists question the efficacy of Chinese ''three warfares'' and broader ''political warfare'' strategies, saying efforts to intimidate have been counterproductive and that military contests will continue to be determined by traditional capabilities.
But the lead author of the report, Stefan Halper, told Fairfax Media that Western military strategists had been slow to respond because they were unduly fixated with the PLA's traditional military hardware.

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