Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thoughts on Countering Unconventional Warfare

Given Section 1097 of the National Defense Authorization Act directing the SECDEF to develop a strategy to counter unconventional warfare we need now give some thought to this issue since it is in the act passed by Congress.    

Let me provide you with a few comments and some background.  If you have not seen the White Papers from USASOC on Political Warfare and Counter-Unconventional Warfare I recommend perusing them.  They can be downloaded from my blog at the links below. 

I have been focused on countering unconventional warfare for years for a number of reasons.

1)  Our enemies are conducting their unique forms of unconventional warfare; Russia, Iran, China, Al Qaeda, ISIS (I think AQ and ISIS are much broader than "simply" terrorist organizations.  We need to recognize the strategies they are using and attack those strategies.  And of course we have to effectively operate in the "Gray Zone" that space between peace and war where the majority of threats operate and conflict occurs.

2)  By focusing on our enemies conducting their unique forms of UW my intention is to influence people to recognize that we have to operate in the Special Warfare realm and not just the Surgical Strike realm (though I want both/and and not either/or - we have to effectively employ both capabilities in a complementary and mutually supporting way).  

3)  I believe that focusing on terrorism has caused us to think too tactically while a focus on UW can drive us to think more strategically and holistically about the problems we face which are complex political and military problems.

4)  I am disappointed that the NDAA focuses on DOD but of course that is all the HASC can really influence.  I think that USASOC's White paper makes it clear that DOD cannot be the lead in Political Warfare (which includes counter unconventional warfare) but that SOF makes a unique DOD contribution to its conduct.

More of my thoughts are in the commentary in posts at my blog links below.

SOF Support to Political Warfare

USASOC Counter Unconventional Warfare White Paper

USSOCOM White Paper- The Gray Zone

The ‘new’ type of war that finally has the Pentagon’s attention

1 comment:

  1. Keep it simple. You need to delegate or transfer authority. Superpowers are strong but clamsy, mostly because of the possibility of nuclear escalation.

    Thus, if for example, russian tactics in Ukraine were to be repeated in, say, the Baltic Republics, the US could not enter a direct (shooting) confrontation with the RF. A strategic ally could. Poland for example could reach out and give the russians a bloody nose in the above scenario, while being protected against an attack on their own soil by...the US!

    Another example would be that of Syria. Although US intentions in Syria are vague, we shall assume they involve the removal of the Assad regime. At the same time the russian expeditionary force is there to prevent that. Again the US could not enter a direct confrontation with the russians. Turkey could. Turkey could destroy the russian expedition with a few artillery shots. At the same time the russians could be prevented from taking action against the Turks by the support the US could furnish to them.

    You have got to understand that being in the Grey Zone doesn't mean you cannot punch hard. You are not restricted to gesturing. SOCOM raids and surgical strikes are forms of gesturing not punching. And punch you must, cuz if you don't, the UW threat will expand in the time-space continuum, creating one human disaster after another (this is one aspect of UW that frequently escapes attention).

    Throughout the world there are regional powers that are upset by the UW threat and ready to take drastic measures to counter it. Forging strategic alliances with these powers and supporting them in taking direct suppressive action, should be the cornerstone of an UW policy.

    With the obvious proviso that we are really looking for counter-UW strategies. Cuz we may in fact be looking for chaos-management techniques, which is different!!!!!!!!!!!


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