First, we have had this Steppes War versus Mekong Delta War “discussion” since the French and Indian War. 3. In United States military doctrine, unconventional warfare (abbreviated UW) is one of the core activities of irregular warfare. These threats are enmeshed in the population and increasingly empowered by A similar pattern can be observed in other NATO member countries, as well as within NATO structures. A new Pentagon Irregular Warfare Annex report explains that great power threats not only pose major force-on-force threat possibilities but also have a history of engaging in unconventional … Coercion is the most difficult outcome to achieve. Especially in training. Advances in technology and other trends in the environment will render such irregular threats ever more lethal, capable of producing widespread chaos, and otherwise difficult to counter. Unconventional warfare (UW) is the support of a foreign insurgency or resistance movement against its government or an occupying power.Whereas conventional warfare is used to reduce the opponent's military capability directly through attacks and maneuvers, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve victory indirectly through a proxy force. After the end of such a campaign (and often regardless of the outcome), however, armed forces then quickly return to business as usual. This report provides study results, research, analysis, conclusions, and recommendations concerning doctrinal implications of Irregular Warfare (IW) as introduced/described in the 2006 Quadr… 11. Second, I suspect that every single President has “yelled” at his military – when presented with a clear and present danger – “I need more options!” Most famously in my lifetime was the story in the ’60s of JFK yelling at us that he needed more options than LeMay’s and Rickover’s MAD forces to combat Cuban and Dien Bien Phu style dangers. Irregular warfare is warfare in which one or more combatants are irregular military rather than regular forces. 10. Instead, we should start considering these forms of warfare as complementary and making up a continuum to be deployed against highly capable hybrid threats. IW favors indirect and asymmetric approaches, though it may employ the full range of military and other capabilities, in order to erode an adversary’s power, influence, and will. ... unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, counterinsurgency, and stability operations. While "conventional vs. unconventional" are the juxtaposed terms that roll off of the tongue, the comparison we are really looking for here is "conventional vs. special" warfare. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Petraeus urged in his address that Western militaries must overcome this tendency if they are to cope with the complex hybrid threats posed by both state and non-state adversaries. Acting mostly when the Continental Army was weak, he was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina, using irregular and unconventional methods of warfare. irregular forms of warfare as effective ways to challenge conventional military powers. © 2017 U.S. Army War College. It can mean warfare through economic attacks, cyber attacks, guerrilla attacks, communication attacks, and/or terrorist attacks. This adaptation process, however, is hampered by the dominant Western military culture that emphasizes the defeat of an enemy through a decisive battle in which massive firepower, technology, and maneuvering by large formations are key to victory. CONVENTIONAL AND UNCONVENTIONAL WAR ARE NOT OPPOSITES, CULTIVATING INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ONE STUDENT AT A TIME, START WITH BOOK THREE: FINDING UTILITY IN CLAUSEWITZ’S ON WAR, LEADERSHIP ROLE MODELS IN FICTION REVISITED: A WHITEBOARD. Isolating the target authority from international diplomatic and material support while obtaining such support for the resistance organization. It includes foreign resistance movements and guerilla groups, who fight against an occupying force or their own government.. Blowback in most cases results from a misalignment of interests between the resistance and the sponsor. Unconventional Warfare September 2008 DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Distribution authorized to U.S. Government agencies and their contractors only to protect technical or operational information from automatic dissemination under the International Exchange Program or by other means. What are unconventional warfare and foreign subversion? Abandonment is yet another risk of unconventional warfare that seeks to merely disrupt an adversary’s operations. An important article from a current DOD official, Kevin Bilms, with responsibility for the new Irregular Warfare annex to the National Defense Strategy. 2. Bombing of North Vietnam, if it had been concentrated (as in the Christmas bombing), “would have hurt our efforts.” Piecemeal bombing gave the North time to reshuffle and rebuild; 5. In modern warfare, the lines between regular, conventional and irregular, unconventional warfare are increasingly blurred. However, in most cases the flypaper effect is caused by a poor understanding of the particular conflict dynamics: planners take action to attempt to limit their commitment, but because they don’t fully understand the environment, they take the wrong actions, further complicating their objectives. Western military forces are principally optimized to fight against similar adversaries, and therefore have to reorient themselves whenever confronted with elusive insurgent opponents. From the perspective of the sponsor, this may appear to be a simple case of politically driven overcommitment. This essay will argue that historically the ability of Western armed forces to learn from irregular warfare experiences has been hampered by the cultural underpinning on which those militaries are founded. UW falls within the construct of Irregular Warfare (IW) and is one of U.S. Special Operations Command's (USSOCOM) Core Activities. Unconventional warfare can be many things. Of course, the reemergence of the Russian threat to some extent justifies this reorientation. Thus, it is essential that we stop thinking of conventional and unconventional warfare as a dichotomy. We have an expensive intellectual argument about a potential threat that is not visible to the populace – therefore not visible to Congress. Conventional warfare is national military vs national military. Unconventional warfare, on the other hand, uses unconventional weapons, targets the civilian population as well as the armed forces, and specializes in unconventional tactics. Unconventional Warfare Pocket Guide The purpose of this document is to provide a pocket reference of Unconventional Warfare (UW) doctrine, concepts, academic inquiry, and suggested supplementary reading for military leaders and planners. And the American rebels used a more sophisticated form of irregular warfare than the French backwoodsmen and Native American warriors whom the redcoats had gotten used to fighting. Because of the complexity and fragility of coercion by UW, it also is the most fraught with risk. Traditional warfare and IW are not mutually exclusive; both forms of warfare may be present in a given conflict. In the broadest sense, unconventional warfare can be employed in furtherance of one of three strategic outcomes: Overthrow of an existing government or occupying power, disruption of the operations of that power, or the coercion of that power. There is little political will to again embark on such a costly and uncertain adventure, while senior military commanders, most of whose formative years as young officers were spent during the latter period of the Cold War, are increasingly regarding the recent counterinsurgency era as a “wrong turn” from the core business of high-end conventional warfare. In this case, the sponsor will assist the resistance in disrupting the government operations, then, once the objectives of the campaign are achieved, work to transition the resistance into some disposition where it is safe from retribution by the government. Destroying the confidence and will of the target authority’s leadership. While it is axiomatic that you can’t support what you don’t understand, it is also true that this study of revolutions can easily cause the student of UW to blend the two topics. Unconventional warfare can be many things. Army is beginning to shape itself for complex irregular warfare. Those lessons are also at risk of being lost, if they were ever learned at all, as we transition back to the focus on large scale conventional conflict with near peer competitors.  Unconventional warfare is essentially support provided by the military to a foreign insurgency or resistance. 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