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'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hybrid Warfare

Lots of discussion about "hybrid warfare" and how it's going to affect the future U.S. military.

Everything from the QDR to papers from Think Tanks have either influenced or been influenced by this concept.

My personal view is that the 2006 Hezbullah-Israeli War was the genesis of this type of warfare and we are now seeing it play out to a certain extent in Afghanistan where the Taliban are using IEDs, suicide bombers, snipers and foot soldiers to defend against the latest NATO-led offensive.

I think you will find as many different definitions of hybrid warfare as there were for what Fourth-Generation Warfare (4GW) is/was.

Two excellent primers on the subject are:
The Janus choice: Defining today’s multifaceted conflict
BY FRANK G. HOFFMAN

and


Asserting the Essential Unity of Warfare
by David Sadowski and Jeff Becker

at the Small Wars Journal Site (one of my favorite websites on strategy and warfare)

This is a topic that is going to be around for a while and will likely (and should) influece U.S. doctrine, strategy and tactics.  

Two big points immediately jump out at me:
  • Rules of Engagement and Laws of Armed Conflict are going to be HUGE pressure points in hybrid warfare. In 2006 Hizbullah deliberately placed military equipment, including rocket launchers in civilian neighborhoods and had Al Jazera ready to film Israeli airstrikes.  Hamas did the same thing in 2008-2009 and now we hear endlessly about Israeli "WAR CRIMES" and other such nonsense.  The U.S., NATO, the Israelis and other Western Armies better get smart and tough real fast on CORRECTLY enforcing the laws of war.  When insurgents and terrorists intentionally put civilians at risk for propaganda purposes, THEY are the guilty ones, not the conventional armies that fight back and hit those civilian targets.  This is a huge soft spot in our strategy, doctrine and most importantly, Information Warfare plans.  We can't win on the battlefield and lose on YouTube.
 
  • To go along with this idea of ROE,  offensive speed is essential.  Hizbullah won because they could muster international sympathy with those Al Jazera TV images.  The Sunni insurgents did the same thing in Fallujah in the spring of 2004.  When you being a major military operations, better plan on either COMPLETELY controlling the information flow (like we did in Desert Storm), which is really pretty impossible now, or winning before the UN and other diplomats step in and save the bad guys from annihilation..thereby allowing them, in the warped reality that is the current Arab Middle East, to claim victory.
This is a really fascinating topic, and more will be written about this as I roll into the finishing stages of my MA degree.

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