I have written those words many times in the past thirty plus years of my military service.  With those words I have implied that the unconventional warfare mission belongs solely to US Army Special Forces (SF).  I was wrong. Stability Operations . In a global struggle against such adversries, it no longer makes sense to think about insurgency, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorirsm as disjointed activities. Furthermore it is hard to kill the bad guys you can't see, and we can't win by only defeating the overt forces. That process, which went hand in hand with the growth of nation-states, came to a head in the second half of the seventeenth century. Donald Sparks, U.S. Army, Signing up for this newsletter means you agree to our data policy, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. V/R Dave. 45. By then Lawrence was gone, though not his influence, much to Orde Wingate’s consternation. The dividing line between regular and irregular warfare grew more distinct with the spread of standing national armies after the Thirty Years' War. As it turns out, the pre-9/11 FID doctrine expressly stated that all services were to provide trained and ready forces to conduct FID in support of the GCCs.  Yet when the need arose the services chose to start from scratch due to a mistaken belief that FID was exclusively a SOF activity. While Velupillai Prabhakaran is very much concerned with a population, I suspect he also thinks his effort is a strategic effort. The terrorists who conducted the Madrid bombings were not focused on Spain's economy or security forces, but rather influencing the voting population, which in this case effectively resulted in the anti-war candidate being elected and the withdrawal of their military from Iraq. for joint forces, overflight rights, sanctuary, and external support for. In fact that statement was superceded when the term UW replaced the term GW as the umbrella term in the 1955 version of FM 31-21. Yet, with no firm understanding or consensus on what IW actually means, the Department of Defense (DoD) developed the Irregular Warfare (IW) Joint Operating Concept (JOC) on 11 September 2007. Lawrence As the IW JOC makes clear, IW is now used by DOD as an umbrella term for a set of activities that includes UW, with GW still being a subset of UW. Unconventional warfare is operations conducted by, with, or through irregular forces in support of a resistance movement, insurgency, or conventional military operations. The time to debate COAs is over. While the construct of guerrilla, underground, and auxillary can be a useful model to visualize an insurgency's structure, it is not dogma, and not all insurgencies or resistence elements organize along these lines(odd that we still find it odd that other groups and countries do not feel obligated to follow our doctrine). Concepts associated with irregular warfare are older than the term itself. It includes, but is not limited to, guerrilla warfare, subversion, sabotage, intelligence activities, and unconventional assisted recovery. CT. Examples of those variables also exist. Perhaps that is because IW is different things to different people. Fortunately, for the Joint Warfighter, the intent of the IW JOC was only to further IW discussion, debate, and experimentation intended to influence future IW concepts and capability development. The CIA would organize, train, equip the underground, so that piece of the puzzle was never written into unclassified Army doctrine and the strategic purpose of UW was downplayed because it was not within the purview of DOD. Let's all look to the future, think strategically about how to win wars against irregular challenges or by irregular methods, and propose refinements to the forward-looking concepts captured in the IW JOC. As the authors probably know, there may be several relevant population groups that the competitors may want to influence, to include external actors. Due to the prevailing wisdom that SF owns the UW mission, many senior decision makers, policymakers and strategists both inside the Beltway and at the Geographic Combatant Commands (GCC) rarely consider the strategic option of conducting UW.  Furthermore, as evidenced by our myopic view of terrorism, we do not fully comprehend that our enemies are, in fact, conducting unconventional warfare. Under CIA control, Army UW/GW would attrite enemy forces until conventional forces liberated occupied territory. by Lieutenant Colonel (P) William Stevenson, Major Marshall Ecklund, Major Hun Soo Kim and Major Robert Billings, Small Wars Journal, Irregular Warfare: Everything yet Nothing (Full PDF Article). I learned long ago that you present COAs to the commander and he makes the call. Glenn, thank you for your words of wisdom. An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of … Original content is published under a Creative Commons License per our Terms of Use.Â, © Copyright 2021 | Site by 3C Web Services, Irregular Warfare: Everything yet Nothing, by Air University: Wright Flyer Paper No. COPYRIGHT © 2019 WAR ON THE ROCKS. First they claim the strategic level of IW is the underground, and that the underground is largely focused on the populace (thus strategic victory = populace), and then they argue that IW should only be focused on the overt guerrillas, or at the tactical level? The cut-off date for the IW JOC was Dcember 2006 and DOD thinking about IW has improved dramatically in the last 2 years. (IW JOC 1.0) Irregular warfare campaign: A campaign that primarily focuses on irregular warfare operations or activities. The history of IW needs closer examination to capture those lessons learned to advance the IW discussion beyond the IW JOC.  SF is organized, trained, equipped, educated and optimized for a particular aspect of UW: to work “through and with an underground, auxiliary and guerrilla force in a denied area.”   Beyond that, the decision, the strategy, and the campaign plan to enable a resistance or guerrilla force to coerce, disrupt or overthrow a government or occupying power is made at the strategic level at what we once called the National Command Authority – this is outside the sole purview of SOF and SF. In 2009 before the House Armed Services Committee on Surely there is some redundancy between unconventional warfare and irregular warfare in this definition and students of doctrine can argue the pros and cons of whether one or the other or both should be used.   However, little, if any, thought was given to whether the complex threats we have faced since 9/11 should, in fact, be considered unconventional warfare. This global war has brought to life a timeless tactic called irregular warfare (IW). Since 1955, GW has meant the more or less overt military or paramilitary aspects of an insurgency or resistance movement. Those kinds of folks are called Irregulars. All of the author's arguments equating GW and IW are therefore irrelevant and have been for half a century. What we need are policy makers, strategists and planners who have a deep understanding of and an appreciation for unconventional warfare.  We need UW to be taught in professional military education institutions to non-SOF personnel.  We need to ensure that members of the interagency and the joint military have a thorough understanding of threats conducting UW and how to counter them.  We need academic institutions and think tanks to recognize, study, write about and advocate and education for UW.  Perhaps the historic Special Operations Research Office at American University, which was disbanded in the 1960s, should be re-established. How will DOD respond to, or present, such challenges in the future? Also called IW. After 9/11, we identified a need to create a description for what to many appeared to be a new form of warfare – this became Irregular Warfare. DOD used the term IW to garner the support of the Servies and Congress, but many argue that IW needs to be subordinated to the term Complex Operations, which is favored by the civil departments and agencies, and just recently was defined by the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act. The Vietnamese didn't intend to defeat us by defeating our military, all their attacks were focused on our home population, which effectively led to political paralysis in the end. I found it interesting that the authors did not address recent IW historical examples, such as Iraq where we initially made little to no progress when our effort was focused on the so called overt guerrilla elements. The best example of this is in the area of Foreign Internal Defense (FID) and the rebirth of counterinsurgency in the US military after the challenges of Iraq.  Little attention was paid at this time to existing FID doctrine.  Like unconventional warfare, FID is one of the ten special operations activities specified in Section 167 of Title 10 of the US Code.  What that has meant to many outside of SOF is that FID and UW are SOF exclusive activities. ), and it was effective where applied, unfortunately it was applied on too small of scale until later in the war. Photo Credit: Master Sgt. 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The early Cold War Army doctrine envisioned the employment of UW/GW in Soviet-occupied territory in WWIII, supporting resistance movements not unlike those that resisted the Axis Power occupations of WWII. I suggest that the IW currently being waged in Afghanistan is in fact at the operational level as it effectively occupies the whole of NATO and US effort there. War is war, but the strategy (not just the tactics) varies considerably between conventional and irregular warfare. c. A war conducted by irregular forces in conjunction with regularly organized forces as a phase of a normal war Drive by COIN and targeting only overt guerrillas is clearly a recipe for failure. That the statement in the 1951 version of FM 31-20 that GW "is used loosely to describe all kinds of irregular warfare" remains valid. Meaning of irregular warfare. T.E. Airmen continue to plan and counter irregular and evolving threats as joint, multinational, and multi-agency campaigns, beginning with strategy development and concluding with the achievement of the desired end state. 913 Words 4 Pages. As presented, the definitions and concepts in the IW JOC have unnecessarily created confusion within the DoD by ignoring more than fifty years of experience and doctrine related to the challenges faced by the post-Cold War world and after the events of September 11, 2001. It is the case, for instance, of Mao’s guerrilla warfare during the Chinese revolutionary war, of the Italian Brigate Partigiane’s actions against German troops between 1943 and 1945, or that of some Confederate military units, such as that under William C. Quantrill’s command, during the Secession War in the USA. Given the significance and long-term DoD investments in the concepts presented in the IW JOC, this paper will analyze whether DoD has presented an appropriate definition of IW based on a doctrinal review of IW's roots. Progress wasn't made until the additional troops were sent in to protect the populace to break the coercive influence link between the insurgent and the populace. IW is difficult to define, explain, and employ. If you want to find and defeat the underground (if that is what you want to call it), then you have to control the populace to get the human intelligence necessary to purge the threat. AQ's focus on various external population groups is plain to see, and they are trying to isolate their opponents by cutting off external support. The interagency and joint military force must be able to plan and conduct unconventional warfare as well as counter-unconventional warfare.  Although my SF brethren may think this is heresy, it is important for our nation that this mission is owned by more than just SF. Seems to me there is adequate historical example of both; Russian and US for just a couple and I'd further note that US Special forces were originally created specifically to assist in the conduct of guerrilla warfare as cited in items c. and d. Thus, I suggest their definition itself is 'lacking in academic rigor.' 2. 78, by Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, by International Review of the Red Cross (IRRC) No. The hostile states and state-like adversaries that challenge our nation seek to gain legitimacy and influence or control over relevant populations, and if we are to prevail we must prevent them from doing so and instead win the suppport of those populations for an alternative strategic narrative at least as compelling as our adversaries' narratives. It is their holistic applicaiton to achieve a strategic purpose of global or regional significance that is new within DOD. Notably the relationship between US and China. He is a retired US Army Special Forces Colonel with 30 years of service. I agree that the definition of IW may not be the the be-all, end-all, but lets face fact. Such a campaign and strategy should focus on the population, not the adversary, because it is the population that will ultimately decide which side prevails in the struggle for legitimcy, influence, and control.  Nowhere has this been better exemplified than in Afghanistan in 2001, where the mission combined the resources, human contacts, and authorities of the CIA with the capability, capacity, and expertise of the SF, to mount a very effective UW campaign. While it is important to know our history, it is a sin to become enslaved by it. The Enduring Pillars of Successful Counterinsurgency. United States in various counterinsurgency and irregular warfare efforts from 1898 until 2007, with a particular emphasis on the role of the Marine Corps in the conduct of such efforts. The working group sought to develop a more universal definition, one that would describe the intent and methodology of an unconventional warfare (UW) strategy that would not be exclusive to the United States but rather, would also be able to describe UW from an enemy point of view (As I have argued recently, we should not be concerned with Al Qaeda and terrorism in the way that we have been since 9-11; instead we must focus on the unconventional warfare strategy that al-Qaeda is executing against the United States, the West and selected nations in the Middle East). Army Special Forces would orgnize, train, equip guerrilla forces just as the Operational Group Command of the OSS did in WWII. Joint forces, overflight rights, sanctuary, and unconventional warfare consists of activities conducted to enable resistance. Cyber warfare ; irregular war and Cyber warfare would attrite enemy forces until forces. 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