Even improvements in ISR capability, which push the attribution and detection thresholds down, only open up greater manoeuvre space for liminal warfare. As noted, UW is one of the oldest, most cost-effective and historically most successful forms of warfare. This meant that large parts of the underground, auxiliary and even guerrilla components of a resistance movement were now outside denied areas (i.e. These pressures punish certain behaviours (based on particular combinations of traits and characteristics) while rewarding others. It was a combination designed to shift the strategic dynamic of the Indochina War. Follow him on Twitter @MaxBoot. Other than these changes, the classical pyramid remained largely unaltered as late as 2016 (United States Army Special Operations Command 2016: 9). The experiences of the United States in Iraq in 2007-8, Israel in the West Bank during the second intifada, the British in Northern Ireland, and Colombia in its ongoing fight against the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) show that it is possible for democratic governments to fight insurgents effectively if they pay attention to what the U.S. military calls "information operations" (also known as "propaganda" and "public relations") and implement some version of a population-centric strategy. Irregular warfare (IW) is defined as a violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant populations. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. The reproductions were seldom as good as the originals, however, and their inferiority was brutally exposed in battle. Arguably, a fourth megatrend—climate change—is equally long-standing, but has emerged as a military factor only in recent years with the opening of ice-free Arctic sea routes, great-power competition in the high North and changes in maritime and land access to polar settlements. Covert operations and ingenious weapons for irregular warfare were developed rapidly, and with great success, by the British during the Second World War, and the story of the most famous organizations involved like SOE, the SAS and Section D of SIS is now But the process of state formation and, with it, army formation took considerably longer in most of the world. However, it also includes areas of military operations that are not as well-known, and in fact seek to maintain that low profile. In a less extreme version of the same scenario, the current trend towards remote UW by resistance warfare actors engaging in virtual infiltration, offshore shaping and collaborative engagement may develop to the point where kinetic resistance activities, political warfare and ordinary politics merge. The Greeks in the 1820s, the Cubans in the 1890s, and the Algerians in the 1950s all enjoyed notable success mobilizing foreign opinion to help win their independence. Their growing success is due to the spread of communications technology and the increasing influence of public opinion. Nigerian Reaction to the Assault on the U.S. Capitol, The Link Between Foreign Languages and U.S. National Security, Aung San Suu Kyi’s Major Speech on Rakhine State, Creating a State Department Office for American State and Local Diplomacy, Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives, Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading, Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions. In the first decade after the Cold War most Western militaries were mainly concerned with threats posed by non-state actors and weak or failing states, focussing on peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Resistance movements were now viewed through the lens of Marxist revolutionary warfare, including Mao Zedong’s people’s war, Le Duan’s ‘combination of all forms of struggle’ and Che Guevara’s focoism. Arquilla, J., & Ronfeldt, D. (1996). Precursors to today's special forces -- troops trained in guerrilla tactics who are nonetheless still more disciplined than stateless fighters -- these "rangers" were raised for "wood service," or irregular combat, against French colonial troops and their native allies. Human factors considerations of undergrounds in insurgencies. Variation in particular characteristics confers selective advantage, with some variants performing better in a given state of the environment than others. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. By Richard Raymond on 22 October, 2016. DOI: http://doi.org/10.31374/sjms.35, Kilcullen, D. (2019). The environment for modern resistance warfare is thus characterised by: This environment favours (and therefore encourages the replication of) resistance actors with the following characteristics: Obviously enough, this evolution has several implications for the traditional UW construct. Retrieved from https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/atf/Cyber%20War%20Netwar%20and%20the%20Future%20of%20Cyberdefense_Header.pdf. In the future, the trends we can currently identify are likely to continue, but are highly unlikely to be linear. However, none of these campaigns involved support to a classic pyramidal resistance; rather, in each case the primary purpose of UW teams was to liaise with an existing, established guerrilla force, provide access to fire support from western air forces and ensure a smooth flow of enablers such as money, equipment and intelligence. The possibility, in the next decade, of an AI-controlled resistance movement fighting an AI-enabled state adversary is entirely feasible. Retrieved from https://www.soc.mil/ARIS/books/pdf/HumanFactorsS.pdf, United States Army Special Operations Command. The Soviets, and later the Chinese, were always ready to provide arms, training, and financing to national liberation movements of a Marxist bent. you both make a good team, keep up a very interesting and informative series! Instead, today’s techniques, doctrine and concepts should serve as tools to be critically evaluated, updated and (if necessary) discarded as we continue keeping pace with the evolution of unconventional warfare. In modern times, the same old guerrilla tactics have been married to ideological agendas, something that was utterly lacking among the apolitical (and illiterate) tribal warriors of old. Table of Contents General Topics on Irregular Warfare Historical Studies Military Philosophy Organization, Analysis, Doctrine and Training Air Power in the Irregular Warfare Environment Bibliographies Irregular Warfare Websites Counterinsurgency Counterinsurgency Manuals, Evaluations, Metrics and Theory United States Current Counterinsurgency Operations Afghanistan Iraq United … publishers of But the epochal consequences of these religious leaders' ideas did not seize the world's attention until the fateful fall of 1979, when protesters occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran. By the time the Revolution broke out, in 1775, the British were well versed in irregular warfare and were countering it in Europe, the Caribbean, and North America. In North America, the British army came increasingly to rely on a variety of light infantry. Never before or since has the glamour and prestige of irregular warriors been higher, as seen in the ubiquity of the artist Alberto Korda's famous photograph of Che Guevara, which still adorns T-shirts and posters. various, war can surely be of any kind, not only of two.28 The American Approach History reveals that violent clashes of interests often include irregular forces or factions that exist outside the authority of established states. Kilcullen, D. (2019). To avoid similar calamities in the future, today's soldiers and policymakers need to accurately appraise the strengths and weaknesses of insurgents. Understanding an adversary’s political limits—in terms of response time, range and nature of likely responses and constraints on leaders—thus helps to create space for liminal manoeuvre. By the late 1960s, this classic model had solidified into the SORO pyramid framework, the seven-stage sequence of a UW mission, the overt/clandestine dichotomy and the underground/auxiliary/guerrilla structure. The original SORO pyramid is reproduced in Figure 1. By 1914, Europeans and their offspring controlled 84 percent of the world's landmass, up from 35 percent in 1800. “The Evolution of Unconventional Warfare”. The creation of a base at Dien Bien Phu married irregular warfare methods of British provenance with a historic French commitment to the militias of montagnards—tribal highlanders—in the upper Tonkin. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/24536315, Joint Chiefs of Staff Washington DC. Beyond the West's efforts against al Qaeda, popular protests in the Middle East have dealt terrorist organizations another blow. The transition from politically motivated to religiously motivated insurgencies was the product of decades, even centuries, of development. DOI: http://doi.org/10.31374/sjms.35, Kilcullen, David. The use of satellites, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and burst transmission might allow downloads via space systems communicating periodically with ground assets who would never need to access the Internet or pick up a radio handset. (Eds. Yet, as we have seen, the evolution of modern resistance movements—against a background of urbanisation, littoralisation, the explosion of connectivity, the return of great-power military competition, the development of precision systems and social media—has encouraged the development of resistance actors who look different, and operate differently, from the classic pyramidal model. The nomads' achievements, although great, were mostly fleeting: with the exception of the Arabs, the Turks, the Moguls, and the Manchu, who blended into settled societies, nomads could not build lasting institutions. This article examines that evolution and its implications. A Brief History of Unconventional Warfare Though state sponsorship of irregulars is one of the oldest and commonest forms of warfare, its modern western iteration dates to the work of the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and British Special Operations Executive (SOE) with resistance movements in Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War. ), & United States Army Special Operations Command. The SORO resistance pyramid challenged: Critical observations and questions on a classic. As late as the 1930s, the British officer and novelist John Masters wrote that on the northwest frontier of India (today's Pakistan), Pashtun warriors "would usually castrate and behead" captives, whereas the British "took few prisoners at any time, and very few indeed if there was no Political Agent about" -- they simply killed those they captured. Become a subscriber for unrestricted access. The United States Air Force Academy for “The Pacification of the Philippines,” in Joe E. Dixon, ed., Even a small minority is enough to sustain a terrorist group, however, and al Qaeda has shown an impressive capacity to regenerate itself. But it also owed something to the fact that most non-Europeans did not adopt strategies that made the best use of their limited resources. "In the history of warfare, it has generally been the case that military superiority lies with the wealthiest states and those with the most developed administrations," the historian Hugh Kennedy wrote in Mongols, Huns, and Vikings. While each organisation eventually developed its own style, in general there were five components of ‘classical UW’: Much as the ‘Jeds’ became the template for future UW, the raiding forces shaped subsequent SOF direct action units such as Britain’s post-war SAS, Australia’s SASR, the British Royal Marine Commandos, United States Rangers and U.S. Special Forces. It is appropriate that the term "public opinion" first appeared in print in 1776, for the American rebels won independence in large part by appealing to the British electorate with documents such as Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence. Irregular Warfare is one way the military can apply its power complementarily with diplomatic, economic, financial and other ways to secure strategic outcomes, says the … As can be seen, the set of wartime UW components listed earlier resembles a pyramid of increasingly overt and violent actions at progressively larger scale, with increasing lethality, and in rough chronological sequence. This is the third installment of your podcast on Irregular Warfare I’ve listened to and I love the wide ranging topics of warfare, history, philosophy, cinema ect…. When the British did choose to fight, they did so skillfully and successfully; their counterinsurgency record is better than that of the French during the same period, and some of their campaigns, notably that in Malaya, are still studied by military strategists. Indeed, in the eyes of their local partners, it was often the UW teams’ ability to access coalition airstrikes and thereby help a partner overcome obstacles or defend bases that arguably became the critical contribution of such teams—making the role of the Special Forces Joint Terminal Attack Controller (SFJTAC) the critical one. Before about 3000 BC, tribal guerrillas fought exclusively against other tribal guerrillas. This spread to the global south around the turn of the century, with rapid increases after 2000 in Internet penetration, mobile phone usage, access to satellite and cable television and (later) the emergence of smartphones and other smart handheld devices. The 1960s, with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s ‘wars of national liberation’ and a series of campaigns of decolonisation in Africa, Asia and Latin America, saw the retooling of Western SOF (and of UW) into counter-revolutionary warfare support for governments facing Communist insurrections. The origins of guerilla warfare are lost in the swamps of prehistory, but the kinds of foes that guerrillas have faced have changed over the centuries. The return of great-power competition created new opportunities for UW. Even so, it is doubtful that the United States will be able to avoid them in the future any more than it has in the past. If multi-role cells can perform several functions simultaneously and transition rapidly among combat/support, information/kinetic and political/tactical tasks, then the notion of distinct clandestine underground, covert auxiliary and guerrilla force components plus an overt public component needs rethinking. The first is to note that the pyramid, in its post-2013 form, incorporates elements of Second World War and Cold War resistance warfare, blended with social movement theory and Maoist insurgency theory along with elements (such as leaderless resistance, implicit in the notion of a ‘public component’) derived from recent terrorist and militia thinking. 1 (2019): 61–71. Retrieved from https://www.soc.mil/ARIS/books/pdf/Unconventional%20Warfare%20Pocket%20Guide_v1%200_Final_6%20April%202016.pdf, Kilcullen, D., 2019. The explosion of connectivity and social media during the last two decades has changed the methods available to resistance actors, but not their target: the legitimacy, cohesion and effectiveness of political institutions and leaders. But their conquests led to the creation of the Umayyad and Abbassid caliphates, two of the greatest states of the medieval world, which were defended by conventional forces. Despite its prevalence, the US Army has a history of neglecting its irregular warfare and counterinsurgency doctrine in favor of focusing on conventional warfare. Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies, 2(1), pp.61–71. Sometimes, they were able to force serious setbacks; a famous example was the 1842 British retreat from Kabul. Others (including the British Long-Range Desert Group and M Special Unit, part of Australia’s AIB, became the progenitors of later special reconnaissance organisations. In Vietnam, it was already too late, but in Iraq, the patient provision of security came just in time to avert an all-out civil war. This, in turn, drew on First World War efforts like those of the Arab Bureau (including T.E. At the same time, the pyramid was cogently critiqued in a 2017 Special Warfare paper by Jeffrey Hasler. In a related development, resistance movements in the future environment seem increasingly likely to field multi-domain capabilities (including land, air, sea, cyber and space-based systems) rather than being primarily ground forces. Conversely, countries whose leaders act unpredictably, do not publish red lines or respond promptly and unilaterally to threats (Israel being one obvious example) can collapse the liminal space by lowering or obfuscating response thresholds regardless of ISR capacity. And physical infiltration of UW teams could now build on this ‘virtual infiltration’, taking advantage of much deeper prior OPE than in traditional UW doctrine. By contrast, he notes, settled societies appointed commanders based on political considerations and drafted as soldiers farmers with scant martial skills. Likewise, if shaping plus resistance can achieve goals without conventional combat, the pyramid may never break the surface: resistance actors may remain below the threshold of combat, or engage only in very limited, small-scale acts of violence, yet still achieve their military goals. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, another decade was spent on large-scale counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and stabilisation operations, again in weak and failing (or occupied) states. In this method, individuals or teams would be infiltrated in plain sight with no military equipment, weapons or other compromising material, simply a memorised URL allowing them to download a cache of 3D printing data to manufacture weapons and devices on site. The spread of literacy and printed books allowed the American insurgents to appeal for popular support, thereby elevating the role of propaganda and psychological warfare. The only way to gain control is to garrison troops 24 hours a day, seven days a week, among the civilians; periodic "sweep" or "cordon and search" operations fail, even when conducted by counterinsurgents as cruel as the Nazis, because civilians know that the rebels will return the moment the soldiers leave. The Evolution of Unconventional Warfare. Al Qaeda and its ilk rewrote that playbook in the United States and Iraq. Fort Bragg, NC: United States Army Special Operations Command. Liminal Warfare is illustrated in Figure 3. Kennedy's "nomad paradox" is really a guerrilla paradox, and it asks how and why the weak seem to so frequently defeat the strong. Virtual persistent presence could be achieved through a combination of periodic visits or short-term infiltrations, combined with permanent online remote support to resisters. Before 1945, since irregulars refused to engage in face-to-face battle, they were routinely underestimated. In Greece and Cuba, the anti-imperialists won by highlighting the colonies' suffering to spur what would today be called humanitarian interventions by Western powers. (2013). 4Adapted from Box, Hunter, & Hunter (2005: 11–15). Once an adversary’s response threshold and reaction time are identified, a resistance actor can calculate the time window available to achieve objectives before a response, render a response ineffective or prevent it altogether. Retrieved from https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/journal/j37/borneo#84. To defend itself, the United States and its allies erected a variety of defenses. But these struggles also show that one should never enter into counterinsurgency lightly. Human factors considerations of undergrounds in insurgencies, (2nd edition). SOF teams working remotely with resistance partners may look very different; physical infiltration teams would still be needed, at least some of the time, but UW operators would increasingly be cyberwarriors operating on their own or supporting physical infiltration teams. Just in the period since 9/11, new tools emerged including the BlackBerry (whose first email-capable version appeared in 2002), Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005) and Twitter in 2006 (which between them created social media), the iPhone and Android smartphones (2007 and 2008), WhatsApp (2009), Instagram (2010), Snapchat (2011) and Telegram—the messaging app of choice for Islamic State—in 2013. And it meant that at least the first four phases of the classic seven-stage UW model (preparation, initial contact, infiltration and organisation)—and possibly the fifth and sixth (build-up and employment)—could now be done remotely by online UW teams (or extremist sponsors) engaging many resistance groups simultaneously across multiple AOs without ever leaving their home locations. Yet going back to the days of Mesopotamia, nomads often managed to bring down far richer and more advanced empires. The answer lies largely in the use of hit-and-run tactics, taking advantage of mobility and surprise to make it difficult for the stronger state to bring its full weight to bear. While some operations – particularly airborne and maritime raiding and underwater sabotage – influenced post-war SOF thinking, and organisations such as the West German Gehlen Organisation drew personnel and concepts from Second World War axis operations, their influence on later UW was outweighed by that of OSS, SOE and SRD. All operations will eventually be compromised, and sponsor identities will out. Future foes are unlikely, in other words, to repeat the mistake of nineteenth-century Asians and Africans who fought European invaders in the preferred Western style. Ronfeldt and Arquilla articulated their netwar theory before the connectivity explosion was fully apparent, and it was that explosion (and its associated technologies and tactics) that gave real-world resistance movements the capabilities to put netwar into practice. Luxembourg: European Union Publications Office. The end of the old regime in Moscow and the gradual opening in Beijing had a more direct impact on insurgent groups, too, by cutting off valuable sources of subsidies, arms, and training. The goal is to enable a resistance movement to move quickly through an organic growth process from a clandestine underground to covert auxiliary networks, then overt guerrilla groups and eventually mobile forces, before demobilisation. For current US definitions of clandestine, covert and overt operations see United States Department of Defense (2010). By the 1770s, light troops (skirmishers lacking heavy weapons and armor who did not stand in the main battle line) made up 20 percent of most European armies. It's not hard to see why: guerillas, in the words of the British historian John Keegan, are "cruel to the weak and cowardly in the face of the brave" -- precisely the opposite of what professional soldiers are taught to be. Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies, 2(1), 61–71. Harrisson, T. (1959). Likewise, the technological, demographic and geographical trends noted earlier are certain to continue, but highly unlikely to be linear. Electronic connectivity began a massive expansion in the 1980s, initially in the industrialised world. Updated version of the SORO pyramid (Tompkins 2013: 6). The 9/11 attacks serve as a reminder that seeming security against an invisible army can turn to vulnerability with shocking suddenness and that, unlike the more geographically restricted insurgents of the past, international terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda, can strike almost anywhere. For Force 136 see Chapman (1950). Although control can be imposed at gunpoint, it can be maintained only if the security forces have some degree of popular legitimacy. That said, in the existing environment there are already discernible indications of possible future developments. You can listen to the full episode below, and you can find it and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn, or your favorite podcast app. Those tasks, too, required a professional standing army. Indeed, if this analysis suggests anything, it is that we should be extremely sceptical about our ability to predict future UW. Unconventional warfare pocket guide. Guerrilla tactics, on the other hand, are proven effective, even against superpowers. Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which small groups of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility, to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. Irregular Warfare is the most widespread form of warfare today. They fought in traditional Bedouin style while spreading Islam across the Middle East in the century after Muhammad's death, in 632. Nonetheless, since at least the days of the Greeks and the Romans, observers have belittled irregular warfare. Considering how long humans have been roaming the earth, the era of what we now think of as conventional conflict represents the mere blink of an eye. Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies 2 (1): 61–71. 2For Agas and Semut see Harrisson (1959) and Gin (2002). But are these assumptions valid for modern resistance warfare, as it has evolved over the half-century since classical UW doctrine was codified? Department of Defense dictionary of military and associated terms. Sagarin—Have applied these concepts to irregular and asymmetric warfare ( Johnson 2009 ; Sagarin & Taylor, T ( )... By Jeffrey Hasler clearly applies in multiple theatres bankrupt and could not comfortably fight a prolonged counterinsurgency -- not. Concepts and lessons as classical UW doctrine was codified nomads so adept at guerrilla tactics East in fight! 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