Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New House Armed Services Chairman Plans Focus on Unconventional Warfare

Seems like people are beginning to take notice of the importance of being able to counter unconventional warfare being conducted by our adversaries.  The practice of unconventional and political warfare is growing.  Revolutions, resistance, and insurgency (RRI) and the strategies that underpin them are not going away and major state and non-state actors are going to continue to exploit the conditions of RRI to serve their own ends.

I do not have a subscription to so if anyone has access to the additional articles mentioned and wants to share them I am happy to receive them and forward them to my various distribution lists.

These remain my key talking points:

  1. The future is characterized (not exclusively of course) by states and non-state actors conducting UW and thus there is a requirement to conduct Counter-UWSOF is organized, educated, trained, equipped and optimized for both (but does not conduct them unilaterally or in a vacuum but as one element of the means in support of a joint campaign and national strategy)
  2. We have the greatest Surgical Strike capability in the world but we need to prioritize and resource correctly (but not necessarily equally) our Special Warfare capabilities. 
  3. We need Strategists and Policy Makers who have a deep (or at least sufficient) understanding of and value the strategic options of  offered by UW and Counter-UW. 
  4. Effective Special Warfare (which includes UW and counter-UW) is counter-intuitively characterized by slow and deliberate employment - long duration actions and activities, relationship establishment, development, and sustainment.
  5. SOF will have always have a role in hybrid conflict and major combat operations.
This remains my thesis:

Policy Makers and strategists do not have a deep appreciation for or understanding of the strategic value of the full range of options that SOF can provide in the realm of Irregular Warfare or more specifically Unconventional WarfarePolitical Warfare, or Unconventional Statecraft.
Alternatively stated:  Policy Makers and strategists must have a deep appreciation for and understanding of the strategic value of the full range of SOF options to effectively support US national security objectives in the future uncertain operating environment that can be characterized as few existential threats facing the US but a wide range of irregular, unconventional, and political warfare threats against our friends, partners and allies.

New House Armed Services Chairman Plans Focus on Unconventional Warfare

By Tim StarksPosted at 7 a.m. Jan. 14, 2015
Thornberry Langevin 04 022912 445x325 New House Armed Services Chairman Plans Focus on Unconventional Warfare
Thornberry at a 2013 hearing. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
In an interview with CQ Roll Call, new House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said he planned to focus the committee on unconventional warfare by the likes of China, Russia and others.
As part of a larger talk on his agenda and philosophy, Thornberry said he would hold hearings on that subject.
“Another difficult topic I think we need to explore is, what are Russia, China, others doing in the way of unconventional warfare?” Thornberry said Tuesday. “Not troops in uniforms marching in formation across borders, but the subversion and other sorts of influence attempts.”
Thornberry said some of the hearings might be in public, while some might have to be briefings behind closed doors. He said the committee was still working through what can be talked about in the open and what has to be discussed in a classified setting.
“There have been several things written – and it’s not just Russia – but the way they have caused trouble in Ukraine, with the early stage where they didn’t have clear uniforms,” he said. “But you could probably broaden it too much. How does Hezbollah work with the Iranians, for instance, in broadening their interests? What kinds of things are happening around the world that are not the conventional military approaches that we think of, and are we equipped and situated to meet those things?”
“It’s not just the terrorists that are using these unconventional threats,” Thornberry said. “State actors are as well. I think it’s something we need to dig more into.” subscribers can read additional stories from the interview Wednesday.

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