Irregular warfare essay

Tweet The Janus choice: It appears in official government reports and has been cited by the defense secretary in articles and speeches. However, it is not clear this usage is based on a common understanding of what a hybrid threat or hybrid warfare entails. Hence, this article details an array of definitions and debates their merits and an alternative concept — compound war.

Irregular warfare essay

Operations requiring unique modes of employment, tactical techniques, equipment and training often conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and characterized by one or more of the following: We have a problem.

We have a responsibility to equip decision makers at the highest levels of our government with the intellectual tools and academic foundation to make decisions and implement policies that lead to positive outcomes when special operations are employed; and we have fallen short.

A proclivity to off-ramp our attempts at intellectual discourse by defaulting to story-telling about those things — our people, and their adventures, that make up the outward facing exemplification of our community. Consequently, at the national security and policy level of the United States government there is a gap in the theoretical underpinnings of special operations.

At the core of this gap is the absence of a strategic theory that informs decision makers and planners at the policy and strategy level and connects national interests to policy implementation and execution.

More importantly, this also causes a significant void in understanding the strategic factors, those actions and conditions that are implemented and set at the highest levels of government, the national command level, that influence the success or failure of special operations.

To fill this void, we must articulate and embrace a strategic theory of special operations that recognizes, and in some manner, states that: This theory recognizes and ultimately addresses the factors at the national command level that determine, or at least influence, the success or failure of special operations.

This theory is Irregular warfare essay squarely anchored at the strategic paradigm by focusing on explaining phenomena that are framed by U. Finally, as a strategic theory it must also serve as an umbrella for the various theories that address aspects of special Irregular warfare essay at the operational or tactical level and serve as a link to broader theories of warfare and strategy that inform policy makers.

The target audience for a strategic theory of special operations is the national command authority, considered the statutory members of the National Security Council, the Director of National Intelligence, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House Chief of Staff and the National Security Adviser.

This is not an exclusive audience: This lack of statutory position should not be perceived to not have real power or influence. While the actual conduct of special operations is generally perceived to be the purview of the Department of Defense, in reality, this theory must also encapsulate special operations led, sponsored, or independently conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency CIA.

There is significant literature that points to tangible characteristics such as setting tactical conditions, recruiting top flite personnel, unique equipment or technology to explain success. There is no question that these factors are valid. Special operations personnel are screened and selected for a proven set of physical, intellectual and psychological characteristics.

They are also trained to levels that exceed conventional counterparts and are better resourced.

Kiser Family Irregular Warfare Essay Contest | Marine Corps Association

However, these factors fall short in informing and educating the decision makers and strategists at the national command level. Essentially, there is no linkage connecting the dots between the factors that make tactical raids and rescues successful, and the policy level actions that also contribute to that success.

In the context of the strategic decision making process, generally centered on the National Security Council, there is an established baseline of understanding with respect to general military theory and strategy.

This baseline supports the concept of operating domains that align a military service with predominant capabilities and establish the responsibility for establishing doctrine and operating principles; essentially, making the rules for how military power is applied.

Air, land, sea space and cyber. For example, the requirement to operate in the air domain both justifies the existence of the Air Force and their further acquisition of platforms and capabilities such as aircraft and satellites.

Notably, there is no special operations domain. The Role of Theory As an initial step it is important to review a sampling of the literature on military theory and theorists as well as the concept of grand strategy and strategy. This serves the dual purpose of illuminating the interrelationship and offering an overview of the evolution of thought regarding military theory.

As a final step it is appropriate to focus specifically on existing theories of special operations and highlight the gaps that exist in the present body of scholarship.

Military Theory of War, Warfare Theory, Principles of War, Military Strategy, Theories, Theorists

Military Theory and Strategy Military theory provides the intellectual foundation for planners and offers a menu of largely timeless principles that are easily applied in a modern context.

More importantly, these principles can be applied from the tactical level — a Company Commander in direct contact with the enemy, all the way to a strategic planner or policy maker. Military theory also informs the paradigms that in turn influence the crafting of national level security objectives, supporting strategies, campaign design and operational and contingency planning.

Theory, what it means and its relationship to strategy formulation has evolved over time. Musashi may also be the first on record to assert, an often repeated complaint, that very few actually understand strategy. Clausewitz is the rare example of a military theorist, strategist and practitioner; he was a General in the Prussian Army from to He is the military philosopher that laid the foundation of strategy in the modern era.

He introduces us to the paradigm that "war is a continuation of state policy by other means" [6] ; a concept that remains a philosophical anchor that ties warfare to politics, statecraft, and grand strategy.


He also frames the relationships of warfare with politics. This is a critical distinction that elevates what essentially was a discussion of tactics to a more intellectual understanding of all the factors in the environment. This linkage to strategy in the literature is important because in practice, strategy is complex and confounding.

Strategy and grand strategy are often misinterpreted concepts.For the men of the 54th Massachusetts, the assault on a Confederate fort outside Charleston was much more than just another battle.

The Moral Equivalent of War

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Irregular warfare essay

Free, non-profit, critically annotated aid to philosophical studies of warfare. Guerrilla warfare resembles rebellion, yet it is a different concept.

Guerrilla organization ranges from small, local rebel groups of a few dozen guerrillas, to thousands of fighters, deploying from cells to .

Irregular warfare essay
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