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Author Topic: Hybrid Warfare  (Read 1950 times)


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Hybrid Warfare
« on: November 15, 2008, 05:35:00 pm »
Hybrid Warfare - The Looming Threat
The development of FM 3-07, Stability Operations, is a key step towards adopting the "comprehensive approach" to warfare - the "approach that integrates the cooperative efforts of the departments and agencies of the United States Government, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, multinational partners, and private sector entities to achieve unity of effort toward a shared goal" (para 1-20, FM 3-07).

Our adversaries are already well on the way to adopting their own form of the "comprehensive approach" - hybrid warfare.  Hybrid warfare goes beyond including all of the potential actors in a conflict; this also includes using a wide variety of approaches to fighting.  Stated another way, hybrid warfare includes a variety of means as well as ways of fighting.

The Army Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey Jr., wrote the following in the October 2008 Green Book edition ofArmy Magazine:

Diverse actors, especially nonstate actors, frequently operating covertly or as proxies for states, not bound by internationally recognized norms of behavior and resistant to traditional means of deterrence, will be difficult to discern and will shift their alliances and approaches over time to avoid our strengths. Hybrid threats--diverse, dynamic combinations of conventional, irregular, terrorist and criminal capabilities--will make pursuit of singular approaches difficult, necessitating innovative, hybrid solutions involving new combinations of all elements of national power.

Frank G. Hoffman, of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, described the term Hybrid Wars in his December 2007 publication entitled Conflict in the 21st Century: The Rise of Hybrid Wars.  He states that Hybrid Wars include the blurring of modes of war, of who fights, and of the technologies that are brought to bear.

Thanks to the editors of Joint Force Quarterly and Small Wars Journal, a new article by Frank G. Hoffman, scheduled for publication in the January 2009 edition of Joint Force Quarterly, is available for preview.  This article, entitled "Hybrid Warfare and Challenges," is well worth the time to review and study.  Hoffman describes how hybrid warfare goes beyond the concept of compound warfare; "Compound wars offered synergy and combinations at the strategic level, but not the complexity, fusion, and simultaneity we anticipate at the operational and even tactical levels in wars where one or both sides is blending and fusing the full range of methods and modes of conflict into the battlespace."

A recent example of hybrid warfare is the Second Lebanon War of 2006; there are two excellent studies that have been conducted on this war and its implications for the United States.  The first study is from the Combat Studies Institute at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, entitled We Were Caught Unprepared: The 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli War by Matt Matthews (CSI Long War Series Occasional Paper 26):

The second excellent study was conducted by the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College by Dr. Stephen D. Biddle and Mr. Jeffrey A. Friedman, entitled The 2006 Lebanon Campaign and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy:

Studying Hybrid Warfare and its implications for the future of the U.S. military is critical - thankfully there are some excellent resources available for this purpose.
"Optimism doesn't alter the laws of physics" T'Pol

For 10,000 years, the sharp stick was the most deadly weapon on the battlefield.  It's design was refined and continues in use today in Iraq and Afghanistan as the bayonet.

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