Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW)

View Latest Activity

Home Forums Operational and Strategic Levels Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW)

  • This topic has 41 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 1 month ago by RRS. This post has been viewed 79 times
Viewing 41 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #96225
      Max
      Keymaster

        LINK TO THE PAPER

        Extract:

        As Fourth Generation war spreads, it will be inevitable that, even if all the advice offered above is followed, Marines will find themselves fighting Fourth Generation enemies. It is important both for the preparation for war and the conduct of war that Marines know that Fourth Generation war is above all light infantry warfare.
        As a practical matter, the forces of most of our non-state, Fourth Generation adversaries will be all or mostly irregular light infantry. Few Fourth Generation non-state actors can afford anything else, and irregulars do enjoy some important advantages over conventional forces. They can be difficult to target, especially with air power and artillery. They can avoid stronger but more heavily equipped opponents by using concealment and dispersal (often within the civil population). They can fight an endless war of mines and ambushes. Because irregulars operate within the population and are usually drawn from it, they can solicit popular support or, if unsuccessful, compel popular submission.
        Light infantry is the best counter to irregulars because it offers three critical capabilities. First, good light infantry (unless badly outnumbered) can usually defeat almost any force of irregulars it is likely to meet. It can do this in a “man to man” fight that avoids the “Goliath” image. If the light infantry does not load itself too heavily with arms and equipment, it can enjoy the same mobility as the irregulars (enhanced, as necessary by helicopters or attached motor vehicles).
        Second, when it uses force, light infantry can be far more discriminating than other combat arms and better avoid collateral damage. This is critically important at both the mental and moral levels.
        Third, unlike soldiers who encase themselves in tanks or other armored boxes, fly overhead in tactical aircraft or man far-away artillery pieces or monitoring stations, light infantrymen can show the local population a “human face.” They can be courteous and even apologize for their mistakes. They can protect the local people from retaliation by the irregulars, assist with public works projects or help form and train a local defense force.
        Marines reading this FMFM may think at this point that we are ahead of the game because we have light infantry in our force structure already. Unfortunately, what we call light infantry is really mechanized and motorized infantry without armored fighting vehicles. It possesses neither the tactical repertoire nor the foot mobility of true light (or Jaeger) infantry. A detailed discussion of the changes required to create a genuine Marine light infantry may be found in appendix B. Here, we will note only that without true light infantry, we will seldom be able to come to grips with the elusive irregulars who will be our opponents in most Fourth Generation conflicts.

      • #96226
        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
        Moderator

          The following is a “Note” discussing the point of the “DRAFT FMFM 1‑A Fourth Generation War” and a basic background.

          In the early 1990s, the U.S. Marine Corps issued a set of excellent doctrinal manuals, beginning with the FMFM 1, Warfighting. Warfighting and its companion manuals, Campaigning, Tactics and Command & Control, laid out Third Generation (maneuver) warfare clearly and concisely.

          However, in the meantime war has moved on. The United States Armed Forces are currently engaged in two Fourth Generation wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. More such conflicts seem likely. At the same time, the intellectual renaissance in the U.S. Marine Corps that created the earlier FMFMs seems to have come to an end, at least on the official level.

          The Fourth Generation Seminar therefore decided a couple years ago to fill the doctrinal gap by writing its own “FMFM” on Fourth Generation war, aimed at a Marine Corps audience. Obviously, such a manual would be an unofficial effort; using an old literary device, we are offering it as a manual of the Imperial & Royal Austro-Hungarian Marine Corps.

          Please note that the FMFM is offered here in draft form. We (the seminar) welcome suggestions for changes and improvements. When the seminar reconvenes in the fall of 2005, we will consider and evaluate all suggestions as we work toward a final version of the manual.

          The seminar itself is composed of officers from the U.S. Marine Corps, Royal Marines, the U.S. Army and the Army and Air National Guard. It is led by Mr. William S. Lind, who created the framework of the Four Generations of Modern War in the 1980s. The seminar has no official sponsorship and receives no financial support or compensation. Its only purpose is to further our understanding of Fourth Generation war in ways that are useful to those Americans who have to fight such wars, including Marines.

          When ever a using text from the “DRAFT FMFM 1‑A Fourth Generation War” it will be italicized.

        • #96227
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
          Moderator

            The Root of the Problem

            At the heart of this phenomenon, Fourth Generation war, is not a military but a political, social and moral revolution: a crisis of legitimacy of the state. All over the world, citizens of states are transferring their primary allegiance away from the state to other things: to tribes, ethnic groups, religions, gangs, ideologies and so on. Many people who will no longer fight for their state will fight for their new primary loyalty. In America’s two wars with Iraq, the Iraqi state armed forces showed little fight, but Iraqi insurgents whose loyalties are to non‑state elements are now waging a hard‑fought and effective guerilla war.

            The fact that the root of Fourth Generation war is a political, social and moral phenomenon, the decline of the state, means that there can be no purely military solution to Fourth Generation threats. Military force is incapable, by itself, of’ restoring legitimacy to a state. This is especially the case when the military force is foreign; usually, its mere presence will further undermine the legitimacy of the state it is attempting to support. At the same time, Marines will be tasked with fighting Fourth Generation wars. This is not just a problem, it is a dilemma‑‑ one of several dilemmas Marines will face in the Fourth Generation.

            With this dilemma constantly in view, FMFM 1‑A lays out how to fight Fourth Generation war.

          • #96228
            DiznNC
            Participant

              And therein lies the basis to Lind’s thesis: give these missions to the Marine Corps. We will re-structure ourselves to become true “light fighters” and save the day. No need for a separate branch of spec ops prima donnas.

              While this may be a very valid point, keep in mind the context within which this is being framed. This is blatant lobbying for the Marine Corps. I should know, I’ve seen this type of shit close hand while active duty.

              So while it may be interpreted by some as denigrating the service of those being criticized, it is first and foremost political maneuvering for tasks, and therefor a bigger slice of the budget pie. Thus insuring the continuity of the institution.

              At the “micro level”, that is, on the ground, I don’t think anyone could successfully argue against what he’s saying. For him it’s just a matter of which branch of service will get the mission. For us, it’s to realize the truth in the concept of the “light fighter” as it pertains to us and our particular situation.

              So taking what’s useful, and ignoring the rest, we are left with the concept of a true light fighter, which is mil-speak for what our forefathers did centuries ago. This is a very valid concept. Since we live in an “info age”, technology seems to trump most everything else. In my lifetime I have seen a huge explosion in technology, so much so, that much of it is beyond my grasp. I think that a lot of it has been implemented, simply because we can. It’s there, it’s new, and exciting; why not? And a lot of it is pure economics; there is much money to be made off it. And so it goes. But what if, in the end, it’s not always the optimum solution? What if some problems require a simpler approach? Indeed, what if technology is not the do-all/be-all approach that we have adopted?

              My thesis is that just because technology is there, is not a reason to use it. I think you have to have the wisdom to decide the best course of action, which may, or may not include a “hi-tech” approach.

              We have seen this unlimited expansion of technological growth in the past few decades. It has become almost the new religion for some. What if we take a step back, and examine it, in the light of armed conflict? I think it has become apparent that “4thGen” warfare is a direct, and successful reaction to hi-tech, attrition or maneuver warfare. I’ll give you Gen II, or III, as you prefer.

              I don’t know how anyone can successfully argue that 5th century goat herders didn’t defeat the world’s most powerful military coalition. That’s the honest truth of the matter, regardless of whether one wants to accept it or not. So the question is: why was that possible? Could it be that solid T,T,P’s, and a willingness to die for one’s cause trumped all the vaunted hi-tech that the world could muster against them? I think the answer is plain for all to see.

              So, how does this all apply to us? Well, if you’ve been paying attention, you might notice how this affects the western democracies, and how they can, or cannot project force. Externally, and perhaps internally.

              Food for thought.

            • #96229
              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
              Moderator

                Now that we have the basic foundation laid let’s start getting into some examples.

                The three classical levels of war ‑‑ strategic, operational and tactical ‑‑ still exist in Fourth Generation war. But all three are affected and to some extent changed by the Fourth Generation. One important change is that while in the first three generations, strategy was the province of generals, the Fourth Generation gives us the “strategic corporal.” Especially when video cameras are rolling, a single enlisted Marine may take an action that has strategic effect.

                An example comes from the first phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Marines had occupied a Shiite town in southern Iraq. A Marine corporal was leading a patrol through the town when it encountered a funeral procession coming the other way. The corporal ordered his men to stand aside and take their helmets off as a sign of respect. Word of that action quickly spread around town, and it helped the Marines’ effort to be welcomed as liberators. That in turn had a strategic impact, because American strategy required keeping Shiite southern Iraq, through which American supply lines had to pass, quiet.

                Remember it is important to think about how you would react if it was your town that these operations were being conducted in.

              • #96230
                DiznNC
                Participant

                  Good post. This should be interesting.

                • #96231
                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                  Moderator

                    While this may be a very valid point, keep in mind the context within which this is being framed. This is blatant lobbying for the Marine Corps. I should know, I’ve seen this type of shit close hand while active duty.

                    So while it may be interpreted by some as denigrating the service of those being criticized, it is first and foremost political maneuvering for tasks, and therefor a bigger slice of the budget pie. Thus insuring the continuity of the institution.

                    If it helps anyone, just insert your favorite Service component in place of Marines. :yes:

                  • #96232
                    Max
                    Keymaster

                      Extract from the article:

                      Light infantry must have a full tactical repertoire. It cannot be accustomed merely to holding positions, or calling for fire support whenever it contacts the enemy. It must be expert at ambushes, penetrations and encirclements in both rural and urban settings. Light infantry tactics are above all hunting or stalking tactics. They must rely heavily on stealth, invisibility and trickery. To real light infantry, ambush is a mentality, not merely a technique. To make this a reality there must be a complete overhaul of our troops’ training. Although total training time must increase, the emphasis should shift away from specific techniques and technical skills. Instead, it should be placed on tactical concepts, the inculcation of a “hunter mindset” and the ability to make rapid but sound decisions, based on the (necessarily limited) information at hand.

                    • #96233
                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                      Moderator

                        Another change is that all three levels may be local. A Marine unit may have a “beat,” much as police do ‑‑ an area where they are responsible for maintaining order and perhaps delivering other vital services as well. The unit must harmonize its local, tactical actions with higher strategic and operational goals, both of which must be pursued consistently on the local level. (When a unit is assigned a “beat,” it is important that the beat’s boundaries reflect real local boundaries, such as those between tribes and clans, and not be arbitrary lines drawn on a map at some higher headquarters.)

                        These changes point to another of the dilemmas that typify Fourth Generation war: what succeeds on the tactical level can easily be counter‑productive at the operational and, especially, strategic levels. For example, by using their overwhelming firepower at the tactical level, Marines may in some cases intimidate the local population into fearing them and leaving them alone. But fear and hate are closely related, and if the local population ends up hating us, that works toward our strategic defeat. That is why in Northern Ireland, British troops are not allowed to return fire unless they are actually taking casualties. The Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld argues that one reason the British have not lost in Northern Ireland is that they have taken more casualties than they have inflicted.
                        Bold mine for emphasis.

                        It’s important to look at this from both sides.

                        As a insurgent how would you use this strategy?

                      • #96234
                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                        Moderator

                          Even though most of us will read the Blog also, this comment from Leatherneck556 is an outstanding addition to this discussion!

                          Max,

                          Another excellent piece from the much-respected Bill Lind. Being in the Marine Corps, I’m pretty familiar with his work on maneuver warfare and 4GW. I wanted to provide a real world anecdote to back up a concept he mentioned above.

                          The relevant quote is “Light infantry is the best counter to irregulars because it offers three critical capabilities. First, good light infantry (unless badly outnumbered) can usually defeat almost any force of irregulars it is likely to meet. It can do this in a “man to man” fight that avoids the “Goliath” image.” That last sentence is what I want to hone in on.

                          I won’t recount the play-by-play details of my first firefight right now, but I will relate the relevant bits: I made the poor decision to try and implement supporting arms during a contact that really didn’t call for that. As a young 2ndLt that had been taught the United States method of “working from big booms to small booms”, I immediately answered in the affirmative when asked by the COC if I wanted Excalibur (GPS-guided artillery) and/or a Javelin shot. Equipment malfunctions and errors in communication brought the already-slow process of using supporting arms to complete stop. After 15 minutes of not maneuvering, I basically said “screw it” and told the guys back at the COC to cancel all requests for supporting arms.

                          I took some Marines and Afghan soldiers on a flanking assault against the enemy position, but by the time we actually got around to executing maneuver and closing with the compound the insurgents had used, they had already bugged out. Feeling like a failure for coming up empty-handed due to my poor tactical decision making, I eventually led the patrol back to our OP. The immediate lesson learned was that for a small, lightly-armed, agile enemy, supporting arms were just too slow. Launching into immediate, aggressive maneuver would have been the right call. Heck, given their lack of marksmanship, I think even just an immediate frontal assault would have worked better.

                          That was all I thought was to really be taken from that contact – get my guys in their first firefight and learn what to do better next time. I was wrong.

                          Flash forward about five months later. The AO was totally different. We had gone from firefights every day with locals scared to leave their houses, to no firefights for a couple months and locals conducting business in the bazaar. I was on a night patrol with my Marines down where that first firefight had taken place. We saw a local farmer out working the ground (not unusual in Helmand, since it can be so hot during the day), and we stopped to talk to him.

                          After a while, we got to a point in the conversation where he said something like this: “We really hated the unit that was here before you. They got into firefights with the Taliban and just dropped bombs on them and went home. All they did was blow up our houses and leave. But then you guys showed up and things changed. About five months ago, a group of your people got in a firefight with the Taliban in that field right there, and instead of dropping bombs, the Marines split into two forces. One attacked from the left and one attacked from the right, actually running toward the Taliban. It was the bravest thing I have ever seen, and I have liked you guys ever since.”

                          He was talking about my first firefight. Now, his misunderstanding of our tactics aside (the force “on the left” was a base of fire – they just stayed in place to support the right hook), he was actually impressed by what he saw us doing. He hadn’t seen maneuver before. He hadn’t seen dismounted grunts do what dismounted grunts are supposed to do. He had just seen – as Lind puts it – Goliath stomping around all over their homes. We showed him a different way, a better way, and I think the fact that our company flipped the “totem pole of DOCICs” and worked from small booms up to big booms (which were rarely ever needed) has a LOT to do with how we were able to stabilize that AO and calm the fighting down.

                          Hope that adds to the discussion.
                          Josh

                        • #96235
                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                          Moderator

                            In the relatively early days of OEF in Afghanistan many of our Patrols were entering villages for the first time.

                            These were the first contacts with coalition forces that these Afghans had experienced, prior to this their only other foreign encounters had been with the Soviets.

                            One village in particular comes to mind, as the Patrol approached the woman and children were fleeing to their homes and the men could be seen taking up various positions with an assortment of AK’s, PKM’s, and RPG’s, but they did not open fire.

                            It would have been easy for the Patrol to assume hostile intent from the village.

                            However, one NCO approached with rifle slung to the rear with an interpreter.

                            After a brief discussion as to Patrols intent with village elders they were welcomed into village.

                            This was followed up the next day with a truckload of humanitarian supplies and a small delegation to discuss needs and mutual cooperation.

                            A week later this village was instrumental in preventing a large scale 107 mm rocket attack on the base.

                            Imagine the outcome if the Patrol had acted differently!

                          • #96236
                            Max
                            Keymaster

                              Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                              To all at MVT,

                              I screwed this up. Going off in a wild and poor attempt of making my voice heard. The problem is with me, and I should know better. Gather your intel, invest the time to understand it, and understand your situation.

                              4th. Generation Warfare and Mr. Lind’s article is a new resource for me and it has opened my eyes to its merit. Many have replied to the post and upon the reviews, those comments began to make sense. Seventeen replies came from the Forum in a few hours, and there was much to digest.

                              Hell yeah my butt hurts, my toes crushed, my wisdom shot to hell, and a new level of embarrassment never endured before. Next time I will certainly zero my scope before pulling the trigger. Please forgive me MVT, for I have sinned.

                            • #96237
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                              Moderator

                                Consider the following:

                                Three New Levels of War

                                While the classical three levels of war carry over into the Fourth Generation, they are joined there by three new levels which may be more important. Colonel Boyd identified these three new levels as the physical, the mental and the moral. Further, he argued that the physical level — killing people and breaking things ‑‑ is the least powerful, the moral level is the most powerful and the mental level lies between the other two. Colonel Boyd argued that this is especially true in guerilla warfare, which is more closely related to Fourth Generation war than is formal warfare between state militaries. The history of guerilla warfare, from the Spanish guerilla war against Napoleon through Israel’s experience in southern Lebanon, supports Colonel Boyd’s observation.

                                This leads to the central dilemma of Fourth Generation war: what works for you on the physical (and sometimes mental) level often works against you at the moral level. It is therefore very easy in a Fourth Generation conflict to win all the tactical engagements yet lose the war. To the degree you win at the physical level by pouring on firepower that causes casualties and property damage to the local population, every physical victory may move you closer to moral defeat. And the moral level is decisive.
                                Bold mine for emphasis.

                              • #96238
                                tango
                                Participant

                                  It is therefore very easy in a Fourth Generation conflict to win all the tactical engagements yet lose the war.

                                  This goes back to one of the most important points of the other thread: the mission/objective. What does it mean to win the war? Is the objective something winning tactical engagements will lead to?

                                • #96239
                                  JustARandomGuy
                                  Participant

                                    Believe me, you are not alone.
                                    Since joining various online forums in the past I’ve had plenty of experience sticking both feet in my mouth.
                                    Sometimes it’s just the fog of the internet- things get misunderstood and snowball. Other times, the only thing you can do is break contact and hope everyone has short memories… :unsure:

                                  • #96240
                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                    Moderator

                                      What does it mean to win the war? Is the objective something winning tactical engagements will lead to?

                                      The fact that the root of Fourth Generation war is a political, social and moral phenomenon, the decline of the state, means that there can be no purely military solution to Fourth Generation threats. Military force is incapable, by itself, of’ restoring legitimacy to a state. This is especially the case when the military force is foreign; usually, its mere presence will further undermine the legitimacy of the state it is attempting to support.

                                      …in the Fourth Generation, victory may require taking more casualties than you inflict. In most Fourth Generation situations, it is more important not to kill the wrong people that it is to kill armed opponents.

                                      This more than any other reason is why we will not win the current GWOT.

                                      This also plays into the “Call for Fire” mentality since we have become so averse to causalities; we can not close with the enemy, someone might get hurt!

                                      We see a variation of this in American Law Enforcement with the overwhelming use of force in the name of Officer safety and just as predicted by 4GW we see a alienation leading to hate.

                                      Remember this:

                                      For example, by using their overwhelming firepower at the tactical level, Marines may in some cases intimidate the local population into fearing them and leaving them alone. But fear and hate are closely related, and if the local population ends up hating us, that works toward our strategic defeat.

                                      …replace Marines with LEO’s.

                                      A striking parallel!

                                      Note: This general observation is not anti-LEO, no need to lecture on the fact there are good LEO’s or start bashing LEO’s.

                                    • #96241
                                      Thomas
                                      Participant

                                        Zuke19, two things about you that I appreciate, you admit your mistakes, and you are willing to learn. Those are great qualities.

                                        Drive on!

                                      • #96242
                                        Max
                                        Keymaster

                                          Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                          Hopefully, I have contributed in a positive way on a variety of subjects. In the end if someone learned something of value, that in itself would be enough. Interesting twist, my sister’s husband is from the UK, a medical doctor and is now a US citizen. My team needed a medic and he always seemed like a trustworthy guy. Talk about luck !

                                          The thing is he had absolutely no military experience, never owned a weapon, knew nothing about patrolling, technique or tactics. Now he is fully trained up and is a key member of the team.

                                          So now the circle is complete and many of the small tactical details in training came directly from the MVT forum.

                                          Thanks for the compliment.

                                          Z~

                                        • #96243
                                          RRS
                                          Participant

                                            For me I think it is a waste of my time to try and win the empire’s wars, I mean god bless the men and women who carry out its tactical duties, but they are ill served by their leaders.

                                            This is not just an American problem, an example, in a book called “Charlie Tango” dealing with the Rhodesian bush war a Rhodesian reservist commander takes charge of a “native” detachment and trains them wonderfully in “techniques” and hence wastes their lives. The soldiers of the detachment literally knew their opponents and yet the commander never went beyond training his men to military standards of weapons employment and marching about totally ignoring a vast asset.

                                          • #96244
                                            Max
                                            Keymaster

                                              Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                              Lesson Number 1.

                                              Do not take anything personal.

                                              Lesson 2.

                                              Think before you leap.

                                              Lesson 3.

                                              Learn from lessons 1 and 2.

                                            • #96245
                                              tango
                                              Participant

                                                This more than any other reason is why we will not win the current GWOT.

                                                This also plays into the “Call for Fire” mentality since we have become so averse to causalities; we can not close with the enemy, someone might get hurt!

                                                We see a variation of this in American Law Enforcement with the overwhelming use of force in the name of Officer safety and just as predicted by 4GW we see a alienation leading to hate.

                                                :good:

                                              • #96246
                                                Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                Moderator

                                                  For me I think it is a waste of my time to try and win the empire’s wars…

                                                  Remember that 4GW is applicable to everything from Community Security “Post Event” to fighting a Tyrannical Government bent on subduing those who support Rightful Liberty.

                                                  Military force is incapable, by itself, of’ restoring legitimacy to a state.

                                                  So a Tyrannical Government can not win by force anymore than a local Community Security Force can restore order by tactical victory alone.

                                                • #96247
                                                  First Sergeant
                                                  Moderator

                                                    Glad you decided to stick around.

                                                    FILO
                                                    Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                    Je ne regrette rien
                                                    In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                  • #96248
                                                    Max
                                                    Keymaster

                                                      Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                      For one thing the military, and the American people as a whole need to start understanding what victory is.

                                                      If you define victory by WWII standards then you are never going to have a “win” in the GWOT. There will be no great leader who kills himself, we all go home to parades and it becomes a distant and glorious memory. The GWOT itself is a war that cannot, and will not end. Ever. Victory, is it’s continuation on American terms.

                                                      American involvement in the “GWOT” has been going on since the Revolution.

                                                      In the first year of America’s existence as a nation, Nearly 20% of the ENTIRE Federal budget was being paid as tribute and ransom to North African Muslim nations. As the United States did not like the idea of a “standing army” at the time, and had no Navy they tried reasoning with these various Muslim nations collectively known as the Barbary states. When Tripoli’s Ambassador was confronted in London by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson he responded thusly (Jefferson paraphrasing here)…

                                                      “Islam was founded on the laws of their prophet that was written in the Koran that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authorities were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners and every Muslim man — Muslim — who should be slain in battle was sure to go to paradise.”

                                                      ~Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, Tripoli Ambassador to London, 1786.

                                                      There is no end to this war. It is about religion and you can’t kill an idea. It spans millennia and nations and races. Islam, is a cancer and the best you can hope for is to get us back into remission. There is no cure.

                                                      The Marines then, as they are now are the Chemo therapy, and even the best results require constant vigilance and monitoring. Remission is victory in the GWOT.

                                                    • #96249
                                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                      Moderator

                                                        The GWOT itself is a war that cannot, and will not end.

                                                        Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                        True enough, however it should at least have periods of relative peace within a individual country.

                                                        Afghanistan for example, it wasn’t really that long ago that this was the normal situation.

                                                        The above could be achieved again, but not with our standard procedures and arrogance.

                                                      • #96250
                                                        Andrew
                                                        Participant

                                                          This has to be one of the best learning threads ever since I’ve been onboard. Really good stuff. :good:

                                                        • #96251
                                                          Max
                                                          Keymaster

                                                            Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                            The GWOT itself is a war that cannot, and will not end.

                                                            True enough, however it should at least have periods of relative peace within a individual country.

                                                            Afghanistan for example, it wasn’t really that long ago that this was the normal situation.

                                                            The above could be achieved again, but not with our standard procedures and arrogance.

                                                            Hence the periods of remission…

                                                          • #96252
                                                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                            Moderator

                                                              Some examples from the American experience in Iraq help illustrate the contradiction between the physical and moral levels:

                                                              The U.S. Army conducted many raids on civilian homes in areas it occupied. In these raids, the troops physically dominated the civilians. Mentally, they terrified them. But at the moral level, breaking into private homes in the middle of the night, terrifying women and children and sometimes treating detainees in ways that publicly humiliated them (like stepping on their heads) worked powerfully against the Americans. An enraged population responded by providing the Iraqi resistance with more support at every level of war, physical, mental and moral.

                                                              At Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, MPs and interrogators dominated prisoners physically and mentally ‑‑ as too many photographs attest. But when that domination was publicly exposed, the United States suffered an enormous defeat at the moral level. Some American commanders recognized the power of the moral level when they referred to the soldiers responsible for the abuse as, “the jerks who lost us the war.”

                                                              In Iraq and elsewhere, American troops (other than Special Forces) quickly establish base camps that mirror American conditions: air conditioning, good medical care, plenty of food and pure water, etc. The local people are not allowed into the bases except in service roles. Physically, the American superiority over the lives the locals lead is overwhelming. Mentally, it projects the power and success of American society. But morally, the constant message of “we’re better than you” works against the Americans. Traditional cultures tend to put high values on pride and honor, and when foreigners seem to sneer at local ways, the locals may respond by defending their honor in a traditional manner — ­by fighting. In response to the American presence, Fourth Generation war spreads rather than contracts.

                                                              The practice of a successful Fourth Generation entity, al Qaeda, offers an interesting contrast. Osama bin Laden, who comes from a wealthy family, lives in a cave. In part, it is for security. But it also reflects a keen understanding of the power of the moral level of war. By sharing the hardships and dangers of his followers, Osama bin Laden draws a sharp contrast at the moral level with the leaders of local states, and also with senior officers in most state armies.

                                                              The contradiction between the physical and moral levels of war in Fourth Generation conflicts is similar to the contradiction between the tactical and strategic levels, but the two are not identical. The physical, mental and moral levels all play at each of the other levels ‑‑ tactical, operational and strategic. Any disharmony among levels creates openings which Fourth Generation opponents will be quick to exploit.

                                                              What are some observed disharmonies that can be exploited?

                                                            • #96253
                                                              DiznNC
                                                              Participant

                                                                I am just a 1st Sgt ditto machine today. Glad you stuck around. You have made solid contributions to the narrative here and I look forward to more comments in the future.

                                                                You know, anyone can step on their dick. I could write a book (“Footprints on the Foreskin”). It’s not that you fuck up. We all do. It’s how you handle it.

                                                                Good job, Mate.

                                                              • #96254
                                                                Max
                                                                Keymaster

                                                                  Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                  Hey Gents,

                                                                  These replies are so much more than expected. Thanks.

                                                                  Z~

                                                                • #96255
                                                                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                  Moderator

                                                                    Identifying disharmonies through intersections and potential consequences.

                                                                    Intersections

                                                                    Perhaps the best way to search out and identify potential disharmonies among levels is to think of two intersecting games of three‑dimensional chess. A single game of three-dimensional chess is challenging enough, in terms of the possible moves it offers. Now, imagine a single three-level game, representing the three classical levels of war, with another three-level game slashing through it at an angle. The second game represents Boyd’s levels of war, the physical, the mental and the moral. The complexity and the demands it makes on decision-makers are daunting. But it is in just such a complex atmosphere that practitioners of Fourth Generation war must try to identify and avoid disharmonies among levels.

                                                                    Another way to think of intersection among levels is to picture Fourth Generation war not as a matrix but as a shifting “blob.” The blob may shift, so slowly as to be imperceptible or with stunning speed, into as many different shapes as can be imagined. Each shift represents changes on both the strategic/operational/tactical and moral/mental/physical axes. Again, the variety of shapes illustrates the complexities of relationships among levels, along with potential disharmonies that can be exploited.

                                                                    However you choose to picture intersections among the classical and new levels of war in your own mind, the basic point remains the same: all actions, even the smallest, must be considered with great care and from a variety of perspectives lest they have unintended consequences on other (and possibly higher) levels. Fourth Generation war demands not only the strategic corporal, but the moral corporal as well, enlisted Marines who think about every action they take in terms of its moral effects.

                                                                  • #96256
                                                                    Andrew
                                                                    Participant

                                                                      the basic point remains the same: all actions, even the smallest, must be considered with great care and from a variety of perspectives lest they have unintended consequences on other (and possibly higher) levels.

                                                                      And there in lies the rub. The whiz kids who decide what policy will be cannot begin to understand the unintended consequences because they have never been there, haven’t been instructed in the realities on the ground, and aren’t interested in listening to those who have the knowledge and have actually been there. The other things that hurt are the “the end justifies the means” thinking or, on the other hand the the evermore present “political correctness” bovine scat.

                                                                      Plus, you have many at the O-6 level and above who will go along to get along.

                                                                    • #96257
                                                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                      Moderator

                                                                        …“the end justifies the means”…

                                                                        That line of reasoning is one of the greatest problems those that support Rightful Liberty face.

                                                                      • #96258
                                                                        Max
                                                                        Keymaster

                                                                          Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                          This is the problem with the vast majority of Americans when they start discussing war. All of this is 100% predicated on an erroneous outlook on warfare, and what successful warfare looks like. There are only two types of victorious kinetic wars. Those of annihilation and punitive.

                                                                          Annihilation warfare is where the other side, be it a nation(political identity) or a cultural/ethnic identity is completely wiped from the face of the earth. This usually entails killing off the vast majority of the enemy armed forces and citizenry, and integrating the few survivors into the victor. The nice thing about war’s of annihilation, you only have to win once.

                                                                          Punitive warfare is more limited in that it seeks to destroy the enemies ability to project force, and retard it’s internal infrastructure. The idea is to put to rest any question as to which side would be the victor after armed conflict, and make the conflict so severe that the enemy population would never risk another punitive war to befall them. Raze it to the ground, turn to the survivors and say “Leave us in peace, or we will return.” Historically it takes several punitive wars to get the message across.

                                                                          I am drunk and slapping your sister around at the other end of the bar. Rightly so, as her kin and the only real man in the place, you come pound the aggression out of me. Do you then follow me to the hospital? Pay for my dental work? Convince me of your moral superiority and ensure that we are now on friendly terms. Nope.

                                                                          2 months later it happens again. You respond in the same manner perhaps a bit more severely. Now, I realize that every time I mess with you, or yours that I am going to lose the fight that is coming and be on my way to the hospital again. That means medical bills for me, lost time at work, perhaps permanent disfigurement. I can’t risk that again.

                                                                          So, why when we invade another country that poses some sort of outside threat, or allows a threat to incubate within it’s jurisdiction, do we need to rebuild the infrastructure, and set up some functioning “democratic” and western friendly government. Why is the population required to become “western friendly” or democratic, or peaceful even? If that is “success” in warfare, then America will never have a successful war. It sure as shit is not how the Romans did it…

                                                                          If we do not chose wars of annihilation, the other option is punitive war. Invade, decimate the offender’s military force and civil infrastructure. Stay only log enough to spread severe devastation. Then leave. No “nation building”, no re-arming a police or military force, no attempt at a puppet government. If it means civil war for them when we leave, all the better. More devastation at no cost to me.

                                                                          Eventually the populations begin to understand. Not only must they build a political system which is non-threatening to the west, but they cannot tolerate any sub-culture, religious, ethnic or other identity within that system that threatens west. Whatever overarching identity it is begins to self-regulate for it’s own survival.

                                                                          At no time in the insurgencies of Iraq or Afghanistan was the enemy able to prevent American forces from going where they wished. There is not one city, mountain, field, or home that the Americans cannot reach. These insurgencies can only be considered “successful” in that they cause casualties to an occupier, in an attempt to gain “moral” victories. But at no time did this result in any strategic military gain. There should be no occupation. Only an assault, followed by a holding action long enough to devastate the area and take anything that may be useful. Then leave them with only the ashes.

                                                                          Will that breed contempt? Yes. What love did they have for western ideals, societies, or America in particular in the first place? You think we can change their culture? You think they can set up “democracy”? You think they can could ever like us? Do you actually believe that Islam does not command them to make war on non-believers and enslave any that the capture? You think war is justified because we can make things better for the average “Iraqi” or “Afghan”?

                                                                          No, war is justified for just one reason. It’s to enter the homes of our ancient enemies, as the blood of their kin drips from our brows and resolutely say,

                                                                          “This, is the price of your Jihad.”

                                                                        • #96259
                                                                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                          Moderator

                                                                            You raise some good points.

                                                                            I think it is obvious that we as a Nation do not have the stomach for “annihilation warfare” regardless of the morality issues involved.

                                                                            Let’s consider your definition of punitive warfare.

                                                                            Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                            Punitive warfare is more limited in that it seeks to destroy the enemies ability to project force, and retard it’s internal infrastructure. The idea is to put to rest any question as to which side would be the victor after armed conflict, and make the conflict so severe that the enemy population would never risk another punitive war to befall them. Raze it to the ground, turn to the survivors and say “Leave us in peace, or we will return.”

                                                                            How might we modify this to achieve our goal, yet minimize the production of new enemies.

                                                                            Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                            I am drunk and slapping your sister around at the other end of the bar. Rightly so, as her kin and the only real man in the place, you come pound the aggression out of me.

                                                                            At this point I haven’t necessarily added more enemies by keeping it to a simple beating of the attacker. I wouldn’t even consider providing any aid to you since your injuries are the price of your own actions.

                                                                            Let’s modify this story somewhat…

                                                                            Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                            I am drunk and slapping your sister around at the other end of the bar.

                                                                            …in this version I am not there, but it is reported to me afterward.

                                                                            So I am now in search of you, I discover you live in a densely populated neighborhood and reside with a family member and their children.

                                                                            Well using 4GW principles, I can’t drop a JDAM (ok maybe a Molotov) on you at home because it would affect the neighbors, not to mention the the negative reaction to the uninvolved family. A predawn raid would terrify family (particularly the children) and possibly neighbors creating fear.

                                                                            But fear and hate are closely related, and if the local population ends up hating us, that works toward our strategic defeat.

                                                                            The 4GW morality to this situation requires a surgical approach, not a hammer!

                                                                            So the simplified solution is to deal with you away from other collateral damage (Physical, Mental, Moral).

                                                                            Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                            So, why when we invade another country that poses some sort of outside threat, or allows a threat to incubate within it’s jurisdiction, do we need to rebuild the infrastructure…

                                                                            We don’t!

                                                                            Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                            …and set up some functioning “democratic” and western friendly government. Why is the population required to become “western friendly” or democratic, or peaceful even?

                                                                            All attempts at influencing the government chosen is doomed to failure.

                                                                            After eliminating the threat we have to choose whether to remain in a attempt to stabilize or immediate withdrawal. Either works for me, the only reason to stabilize is if you believe you can achieve (not force) at least a neutral outcome.

                                                                            So let’s step away from the current GWOT and it’s mishmash of strategies.

                                                                            4GW will not work at this time by U.S. and Coalition forces, because there is no desire for it!

                                                                            So where do I believe 4GW has potential?

                                                                            Initially the Local level following an “Event” which in turn can grow until a State or Region emerges from the ashes.

                                                                            Additionally those who support Rightful Liberty could make effective use of it in the as yet hypothetical fight against a Tyrannical Government.

                                                                            If this 4GW discussion continues; then it’s merits will become evident for this possible role, should there be sufficient interest.

                                                                          • #96260
                                                                            Max
                                                                            Keymaster

                                                                              Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                              How might we modify this to achieve our goal, yet minimize the production of new enemies.

                                                                              Here’s the crux of the matter.

                                                                              4th Generation warfare applies internally. You cannot pull back from the territory, or the people because, well, it’s your territory and it’s your people. Popular support matters.

                                                                              There is no room for conducting 4th Generation Warfare on foreign soil that the invading country does not care to rule. That, is the wheelhouse of a colonial power. If America fights foreign wars it should be using 3rd Generation warfare, with goals deigned Annihilation, or Punitive. (Of course, you conduct punitive wars enough it ends up with annihilation results…) Popular support amongst the invaded does not matter if you are trying to wipe out the population completely, or destroy their ability/will to project force.

                                                                              Frankly, you can JDAM, wooly pete, and midnight door kick all you want over there. It is not going to result in a significant increase to the “Death to America” population. That, has been a myth all along, perpetuated by “policy” makers who want to convince the “conflict ignorant” that we can go ahead and fight a war, kill off a few bad guys, and make an ally by default.

                                                                              The entire reason that Kinetic Islam finds support and sanctuary over there is because the host population is predominantly behind it, and has been for millennia. For those that are “indifferent”, they are a small minority.

                                                                            • #96261
                                                                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                              Moderator

                                                                                Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                                There is no room for conducting 4th Generation Warfare on foreign soil that the invading country does not care to rule.

                                                                                I think there is room for a neutral reduced threat outcome, however at present I am more concerned with our domestic situation than I am with how 4GW could hypothetically be used overseas in GWOT.

                                                                                In fact given our current and possible near future Leadership it becomes completely mute and only of some academic value.

                                                                                I do continue to believe that 4GW has much to offer Armed Citizen’s in a “Post Event” scenario.

                                                                                Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

                                                                                Popular support amongst the invaded does not matter if you are trying to wipe out the population completely, or destroy their ability/will to project force.

                                                                                Neither of which is our apparent goal, so again it’s only of academic value with the exception that Coalition lives are being wasted for little more than a distraction and propaganda purposes.

                                                                              • #96262
                                                                                Corvette
                                                                                Participant

                                                                                  Let us not forget the money being made by the military industry creating marvelous and expensive high tech whiz bang things to fight guys in flip flops, carrying rifles designed 60 years ago. Damn the expense, nothings to good for our boys! Of course none of their boys are fighting the bad guys.

                                                                                • #96263
                                                                                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                                  Moderator

                                                                                    We Never Said This Would be Easy

                                                                                    At this point, Marines may find themselves saying, “My head hurts.” Remember, because war draws forth the ultimate in human powers, it is also the most complex of human activities.

                                                                                    War is not a football game, nor is it merely an expanded version of a fistfight on the school playground. Because Fourth Generation war involves not only many different players, but many different kinds of players, fighting for many different kinds of goals (from money through political power to martyrdom) it is more complex than war between state militaries. Attempts to simplify it that do so by ignoring complex elements merely set us up for failure.

                                                                                    There is plenty of potential to critique the GWOT and what should/could have been done differently, but as I have already stated it is mostly academic. Even if we could somehow achieve the perfect GWOT solution here, by what miracle would it see the light of day!

                                                                                    My interest in discussing 4GW here is the possible use by Armed Citizens in a “Post Event” situation.

                                                                                    Of course feel free to make any comments you feel adds to the discussion.

                                                                                  • #96264
                                                                                    Corvette
                                                                                    Participant
                                                                                    • #96265
                                                                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                                      Moderator

                                                                                        Yea, it literally came out yesterday. Available in Kindle format at Amazon for $6.99, not sure when/if hard copies will be available.

                                                                                      • #96266
                                                                                        RRS
                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                          I read a short bit of Handbook in an anthology and I am going to put it in my reading queue. While as Diz says Lind and Thiele are putting this out there to increase the MC’s mission capability in the sand traps of Islam I will go with what G.W.N.S. is writing about reverse engineering it. You want to know why, because I don’t want to turn my town into Berlin 1945 in order to secure victory or whatever goal I have.

                                                                                          And one more thing as we go forward and we address domestic instability and encroaching tyranny the term “Fourth Gen Warfare” might not be the term to use for two reasons off the top of my head. First using the word war will alarm people who basically think vote GOP and hope, but who should be our allies, and secondly when you use the word war conservatives have been trained for decades to think surrender on the USS Missouri and they refuse to think otherwise.

                                                                                          An example, Sam Culper was using the terms Intelligence Prep of the Battlefield and I suggested to remove battlefield and replace it with the word community, that should be self explanatory.

                                                                                      Viewing 41 reply threads
                                                                                      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.