Putting Irregular Warfare in Perspective Preparing for the New Norm of Conflict
Declared wars start and stop, but the conflicts between nations and groups around the world simmer continuously and boil over frequently. Speaking to the Air War College class in 1992, then CIA Director Robert Gates said, “We must expect continuing radical change and upheaval around the world – at times promising, at times frightening – before the form and patterns of a new era settle into place.” Two decades later, it is not entirely clear what the form and patterns of this new century are.
Nevertheless, the development of policies, strategies, and instruments of power require U.S. and allied leaders to make some sense out of these still radically changing times. The Department of Defense (DoD) is considering a range of conflict types, including hybrid warfare —the combination of irregular and conventional methods of warfare. This is a logical consideration of what some nations may do to confront the U.S. with an irregular threat tightly integrated with conventional force operations.
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