Saturday, March 21, 2015

Readings and References - Revolutions, Resistance, and Insurgency and SOF

"The first great center of area studies in the United States was not located in any university, but in Washington," McGeorge Bundy, onetime dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University and then president of the Ford Foundation, observed in 1964. The OSS, he said, was "a remarkable institution, half cops-and-robbers and half faculty meeting.” 

America may not be interested in unconventional warfare but UW is being practiced around the world by those who are interested in it

Background.  Revolutions, resistance, and insurgencies (RRI) are being conducted around the world and will continue to be the norm in the space between peace and war.

We have a strategy gap between diplomacy and war fighting and the US government (USG) requires a capability to achieve its objectives using all means necessary beyond diplomacy but short of war (adapted form George Kennan’s political warfare memo 1948)

Unconventional warfare can provide a strategic capability to operate in this gap.  To be effective, elements of the US military and Intelligence Community must continuously assess potential, nascent, and existing resistance organizations around the world on a day-to-day basis.  Assessments will contribute to understanding when USG interests and resistance objectives can be aligned and provide the intellectual foundation to determine if a UW campaign is warranted or if opponents’ UW campaigns should be countered. 

Non-Doctrinal Definition of Resistance:

An organized group (with leadership, objectives and strategy [a manifesto?]) opposing an organized structure (e.g., government or occupying power) and employs methods and activities (subversion to paramilitary and military) across a spectrum of legality from non-violent political to violent action to achieve (or force?) accommodation of its aims.

5 Categories of Revolutions - 1962-2009
       Modify the Type of Government
      NPA, FARC, Shining Path, Iranian Revolution, FMLN, Karen National Liberation Army
       Identity or Ethnic Issues
      LTTE, PLO, Hutu-Tutsi Genocides, Kosovo Liberation Army, PIRA
       Drive out Foreign Power
      Afghan Mujahidin, Vietcong, Chechen Revolution, Hizbollah, Hizbol Mujahedeen
       Religious Fundamentalism
      Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Taliban, Al Qaeda
       Modernization or Reform
      Niger Delta (MEND), Revolution United Front (RUF), Orange Revolution, Solidarity

Political Warfare:

George F. Kennan defined political warfare as “the logical application of Clausewitz’s doctrine in time of peace.”  While stopping short of the direct kinetic confrontation between two countries’ armed forces, “political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation's command… to achieve its national objectives.”  A country embracing Political Warfare conducts “both overt and covert” operations in the absence of declared war or overt force-on-force hostilities. Efforts “range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures…, 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.”  See  George Kennan, "Policy Planning Memorandum." May 4, 1948.

SOF Support to Political Warfare:

       A whole-of-government endeavor, Political Warfare is best led by agencies beyond DoD and can only succeed if it is conducted in a way to “elevate civilian power alongside military power as equal pillars of U.S. foreign policy." 
       SOF is well suited to lead DOD's contribution to Political Warfare’s activities, because they are relatively knowledgeable experts in this form of warfare
       The overall Political Warfare effort relies on persuasive and coercive diplomacy, economic coercion and engagement, Security Sector Assistance (SSA), Unconventional Warfare (UW), and Information and Influence Activities (IIA).


“U.S. Army Special Operations Command Counter-Unconventional Warfare White Paper:”  Focus on Chapter 3 (12 Pages)

Special Warfare: The Missing Middle In U.S. Coercive Options:”  (About 8 pages)

RAND Report: “Improving Strategic Competence Lessons from 13 Years of War”   Skim the Summary (12 pages) and Chapter 4 (34 Pages) and focus on Chapter 3 (53 pages)

RAND Report: “Lessons from 13 Years of War Point to a Better U.S. Strategy:” ) (4 pages)

SOF Support to Political Warfare: 

Think Piece US Political Warfare Policy:

Other references for some historical context:

George Kennan's 1948 Policy Planning Staff Memorandum - The inauguration of organized political warfare. 

Army Activities in Underdeveloped Areas Short of Declared War (BG Stillwell, 1961)  

September 1962 

NSDD 32 US National Security Strategy 1982 (declassified Reagan NSS)

And if not familiar with the ARIS project at USASOC, I strong recommend perusing it.

Assessing Revolutionary And Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) Studies 

The Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) project consists of research conducted for the US Army Special Operations Command by the National Security Analysis Department of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Its goal is to produce academically rigorous yet operationally relevant research to develop and illustrate a common understanding of insurgency and revolution. Intended to form a bedrock body of knowledge for members of the Special Operations Forces, the ARIS studies allow users to distill vast amounts of material from a wide array of campaigns and extract relevant lessons, enabling the development of future doctrine, professional education, and training. The ARIS project follows in the tradition of research conducted by the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) of American University in the 1950s and 1960s, adding new research to that body of work, republishing original SORO studies, and releasing updated editions of selected SORO studies.

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