30 September 2008

Updates on the MV Faina and the hijacked tanks

The piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a problem for several years. The lack of central government in the country has obviously hampered enforcement issues, but the maritime powers of the world have shown little enthusiasm for tackling the problem, either.

Well, now the pirates have everyone's attention. The hijacking of a merchant vessel carrying arms and ammunition - including 30+ T72 tanks - has caused quite a stir. Suddenly, everyone's got an opinion on how to protect merchant vessels in the area.

Some opinions have recommended treating them as a latter-day Barbary pirate enclave. However, the Barbary Pirate threats only ended for good when the French occupied much of the North African coast. Last time we checked, the French occupation of Algeria ended just splendidly.

Other options are being discussed. Popular Mechanics ran a recent article about non-lethal defense technologies that could be used to repel pirates, as no one is particularly eager to arm untrained merchantmen. Blackwater (natch) has not only volunteered to help protect merchant vessels, they've recently purchased a sizeable ocean-going vessel from which they could execute and control high-seas naval operations.

Or, there's always the defense mechanisms used by the mystery hijacked Iranian ship, that was supposedly carrying a cargo of "minerals". In an odd set of, uh... 'coincidences', most of the pirates involved in that hijacking died under mysterious circumstances that closely resembled radiation poisoning.

For now, though, the Somali Pirates are well-cornered by foreign warships, including at least one US frigate, the USS Howard. Those tanks aren't getting off-loaded any time soon.

By: Brant

New Head of ISI for Pakistan

The Associated Press: Pakistan's powerful intel agency gets new chief
Pakistan has named a new chief for its main intelligence service, a change sure to be closely scrutinized by the U.S., which has questioned the spy agency's loyalties in the war on terror.
Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, previously the director general of military operations, was named the new head of Inter-Services Intelligence, according to an army statement late Monday.
The statement listed several other new postings in what appears to be a major shake-up of the military leadership.

We'll bring you more as it develops. We're trying to find a little bit more about Pasha's political leanings, but there's a lack of reporting on his support (or lack thereof) for AQ anywhere. This is likely to be a good thing, because it seems to minimize the likelihood he's in bed with AQ - at least not as overtly as other elements of the ISI.

By: Brant

Shameless Plug Alert

Go order a copy of the Battle Staff MDMP & Operations Order Planning Handbook from BayonetGames

By: Brant

29 September 2008

Update on Somali Pirates

More details are emerging about the standoff with Somali pirates who have taken over a ship loaded with tanks and other arms. A US destroy, the USS Howard, has begun monitoring the ship within visual range, and a helicopter has been dispatched to deter the offload of munitions or other arms. In a report by the BBC, one maritime expert is cited as indicating the ship was loaded with "dangerous chemicals", though there was no specificity to the claim. In another report in the International Herald Tribune, it is indicated that the ship's destination was not Kenya, has has been cited in numerous reports, but rather Sudan. A Russian ship is also reportedly being dispatched to the area, and according to Monsters and Critics it is believed that there are as many as three warships headed for the pirates. So far one hostage has died in the act of piracy, ostensibly due to poor health prior to the incident. Also noted is a reduction in the ransom demand, which has fallen from $35 million to a mere $20 million.

By: LongBlade

The Rules of Comments

With all deference to Danger Room from Wired.com, we're borrowing their posting rules, and massaging them slightly...

1) No spam - No commercial advertisements for anything not already mentioned in a post somewhere. If we're discussing a particular game, and you provide a location where said game can be purchased, fine. If we're discussing the JSF, and you provide a link for a "canadian farmacie di$count m3ds" your comments are getting deleted, and you're getting banned if we can.

2) Don't post under a bunch of different names, to make it look like you've got a whole posse that agrees with you. - Building a community requires that people get to know each other a bit, and multiple identities confuse the debate in a variety of ways.

3) No out-and-out bigotry, or hate speech.
Danger Room's examples were: "I hate the Israeli government" is fine. "I hope those blood-sucking Jews go to hell" is not. "Al Qaeda pisses me off" is fine. "Kill everyone in Afghanistan, and let God sort 'em out" is not.
That's not a bad start, but we'll massage that as needed.

To those, we are adding 2 more:
4) No personal attacks. You can argue. We expect differing opinions. We want different opinions. We do NOT want someone calling someone else an "asshole" or threatening to find them in real life. Bad.

5) No OPSEC violations. We don't want to know that your cousin's entire battalion from 3 MEF just rucked up for a 9-day mission in Tora Bora, and are fastroping in under cover of darkness and left yesterday. Real bad.

Thanks to you, the readers, who are going to be the lifeblood of this site. Let's just get ground rules out of the way first.

By: Brant & The Staff

26 September 2008

This can't be good news on the Horn of Africa

According to BBC NEWS:
Pirates off the coast of Somalia have seized a Ukrainian ship carrying T-72 tanks, an official has said.
Ukraine's foreign ministry said the ship had a crew of 21 and was sailing under a Belize flag to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

Now, while this can't be good news out there on the Horn of Africa, simply owning the hardware isn't nearly the same as using it. Beyond the obvious ammunition issues, there are significant maintenance problems with older Soviet-era tanks. The autoloaders on those tanks are complicated to repair if you know what you're doing. Does anyone really think a handful of Somali pirates are going to be able to keep 'em working? And if not, what good it a tank with no ammunition? At that point you have a heavily-armored battering ram.

By: Brant

Shots Exchanged Between Paks and US/Afghanis

More details have emerged from the previously reported border clash where a NATO helicopter was fired upon by Pakistanis. A brief firefight broke out with US and Afghani forces directing "suppressive fire" on the Pakistanis who took the helicopter under fire.

By: LongBlade

25 September 2008

8 Generals "Disciplined" After Misstep On Warheads

"Disciplined"? Sure, if you want to call it that.

8 Generals Disciplined After Misstep On Warheads (washingtonpost.com)
According to officials, at least one Air Force general received a letter of reprimand, which is a more serious rebuke, while others got less severe letters of admonishment or counseling. The two Army brigadier generals received what are called 'memorandums of concern,' also a lower level of punishment.

What, none of them received a stern talking-to? No one was made to stand in the corner for 30 minutes? Sent to bed without dinner? What the heck is a "letter of admonishment"? And is a "memorandum of concern" more of a punishment to the receiver, or poor E5 PAC clerk who's stuck dealing with all the associated paperwork with it?

By: Brant

GrogNews poll on next US Deployment

Please add your thoughts in the comments below, as well.

By: Brant

Paks Fire On NATO

The AP is reporting that Pakistani forces have fired on a NATO helicopter. NATO reports no injuries or damage. This is the second report in two day of Pakistani forces firing on some kind of aircraft; yesterday Pakistanis reportedly fired on a UAV, which apparently neither the US nor Afghanistan thinks they own.

Update: Other news services now confirm the incident. According to Foxnews.com there has been a change in rules of engagement given to Pakistani troops. Prior to September 3rd, incursions across the border were tolerated. Now, any unauthorized aircraft will be fired up. Also cited in the report is mention that the border is drawn in a disorganized fashion, which might result in aircraft straying across the border. Not mentioned is the possibility that NATO forces have GPS enabled maps and probably know the border better than the troops on the ground... Source: Foxnews.com

By: LongBlade

24 September 2008


Pakistani authorities are reporting that they have recovered the remains of a crashed UAV, commonly flown by the US over tribal areas. However, both the US and Afghanistan have denied any knowledge of a crash. Further compounding confusion on the issue is a prior report in the AP that the UAV had actually been shot down by Pakistan.
(Source: AP)

By: LongBlade

Spoof? Or eventual reality?

(thanks to WIRED for pointing it out)

By: Widow 6-7

This is both horrifying and hilarious at the same time

In other late-breaking news...

New dad Clay Aiken comes out of closet - CNN.com
Clay Aiken is finally confirming what many people suspected: He's gay.

Oh, and this just in... the sun is hot.

22 September 2008

JSF stands for... "Just a Stupid F*$kUp"?

Now that the F35 is all over the news, the questions start to mount about how much of the weapon is hype and how much is hope and how much is actual performance.
A recent Reuters report was focused on the criticisms that appeared in the Australian press. That particular criticism, based on what was essentially a large-scale logistics exercise (refueling and rearming over huge Pacific Ocean distances) was mostly unfounded.

Since then however, additional criticisms have started to surface.

That recent Reuters report included the following
Wheeler and Sprey tarred the F-35 as a 'dog,' calling it overweight, underpowered and, with a payload of only two 2,000-pound bombs in its bomb bay, 'hardly a first-class bomber either.'
As a close-support attack aircraft, they wrote it is too fast to see the tactical targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire; and lacking the 'endurance' to loiter usefully over friendly ground forces for sustained periods.

Additionally, we get this report from Ares, over at Aviation Week, which notes that the standard config in which the JSF will be flown includes only 2 AAMs, so if the enemy send up 4 fighters, you get a chance to test your getaway speed...
Maj. Richard Koch, chief of USAF Air Combat Command’s advanced air dominance branch, stated last week: “I wake up in a cold sweat at the thought of the F-35 going in with only two air-dominance weapons.”

Now, while those criticisms might seem a bit harsh, one question might be "Exactly what armament does this $299 beeeel-lion white elephant carry?"

According the that bastion of quality data, Wikipedia:
The F-35 includes a GAU-22/A four-barrel 25mm cannon. The Cannon will be mounted internally with 180 rounds in the F-35A and fitted as an external pod with 220 rounds in the F-35B and F-35.
Internally (current planned weapons for integration), up to two air-to-air missiles and two air-to-ground weapons (up to two 2,000lb bombs in A and C models; two 1,000lb bombs in the B model) in the bomb bay.

So we think it does, in fact, carry 2 AAMs, 2 air-to-ground bombs, and bunch of rounds in a cannon, plus whatever performance-impeding weapons can be bolted on outside. Not great. After all, having a "fighter" that can't fight isn't that useful.

The Air Force has trotted out all the right talking heads to say all the right things about how the JSF is supposed to be the best aircraft of all time. The media have been buried under press releases for a while now.

Perhaps the best head-scratching moments on this have come from the press releases from LockMart themselves:
U.S. Air Force analyses show the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is at least 400 percent more effective in air-to-air combat capability than the best fighters currently available in the international market.

So we expect the F16 to have a roughly 2-to-1 exchange ratio in air-to-air combat, as a planning factor, and expect better because US pilots are typically so much better than everyone else's.
Which means 2-to-1 times 400%, and the JSF should have an 8-to-1 exchange ratio in air-to-air combat. That's a neat trick with only 2 AAMs and 180 rounds of ammo.

The conventional version of the F-35 has 9g capability and matches the turn rates of the F-16 and F/A-18.

Great. 9g, huh? Comforting to know that we can crush our pilots to death faster and more efficiently than other aircraft, while turning at the same rate.

More importantly, in a combat load, with all fuel, targeting sensor pods and weapons carried internally, the F-35's aerodynamic performance far exceeds all legacy aircraft equipped with a similar capability.

I guess that's fine if we're fighting legacy aircraft. But unless the Americans are strafing Aruba and facing the Dutch fleet of F16s, we might want to worry less about legacy aircraft and more about what's coming next.

Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.
my emphasis

Somehow, I'm doubting that.

By: Widow 6-7

"Defense" or "Security"?

I'm still trying to figure out what the Department of Defense is busy defending if we need another department to "secure" the "homeland".

Secrets are rarely betrayed or discovered according to any program our fear has sketched out.
—George Eliot

By: Brant

21 September 2008

Recruiting tied to National Perceptions?

After the US military suffered through Iraq-induced recruiting challenges in 2005, 2006, and 2007, comes word that 2008 is looking pretty good:
In Battle for Recruits, Marines Win (WaPo)
Marine Corps has rocked the house, bringing in 142 percent of its recruiting goal. Also notable is that the Army National Guard brought in 112 percent, the Army Reserve 120 percent and the Air National Guard 130 percent.

Contrast that with the UK
Armed Forces face mass walk out over poor funding, report warns (Telegraph)
The Armed Forces face a mass walk out with under-funding leading to a 'major crisis' in defence, an influential report backed by former military chiefs warns.

While most American media is now accepting of the idea that Iraq has mostly been stabilized (though with some pending conflicts yet to be resolved), and the conflict is shifting back to the far-less-controversial war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan), the negativity surrounding joining a military force that was guaranteed to deploy everyone to a combat zone is dissipating.

The UK, however, seems to be lagging behind in these assessments, despite the drawdown of British forces in Iraq , and the great successes they've had in Afghanistan.

Given the overall negative punditry in England's national newspapers:
it shouldn't be surprising that pessimism reigns.

I suppose given the public atmosphere we shouldn't be surprised that a hotel barred a soldier from staying the night in England, forcing the man to sleep in his car.

However, one has to wonder how much reporting is colored by the overall lack of trust in the assessments of progress in Iraq, given that the US has been unnecessarily optimistic all along. Is our administration's own self-deluded optimism now biting us in the butt? Maybe.

By: Brant

19 September 2008

Navy Priorities Out of Whack?

Given the well-chronicled problems with recent Navy construction projects, do we really want the Navy concerned with research into laser dazzlers to combat threats we're not sure even exist?
If there was ever a case for external oversight of a government procurement project, it sounds like the Navy shipyards could use it. The thing is, so many Congressional members use these things as personal jobs programs that there's no way to ever clean up a shipyard's performance by threatening to shut it down, because Congress will continue to fund them anyway.

After all, as it was noted way back in 1998:
The myth of the $600 hammer (12/7/98) -- www.GovernmentExecutive.com
The root of the problem is as old as the Republic: Federal accounting has always been primarily concerned with making sure money was spent as Congress directed - not with making sure it was spent wisely.

By: Brant

17 September 2008

Brant crashes another otherwise respectable publication

The Escapist : The Thinking Man's Warfare
For the past seven years in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States and its allies have fought irregular enemies who eschew traditional military confrontation in favor of asymmetric tactics. These wars have been costly, painful and, consequently, highly controversial, both within the military and among the public at large. More than most other areas of popular culture, videogames have demonstrated awareness of their historical moment, as the plethora of military shooters and dystopian plotlines can attest. But thus far, games have avoided engaging the real-life issues to which they are responding.

Very good article featuring a bunch of people I know, but didn't know were part of the article...

05 September 2008

CyberWar: A Threat Worth Considering

In the May 31 issue of the National Journal there was a report that speculation is growing throughout defense and security establishments that the recent blackouts in Florida and the Northeast, which occurred shortly after the US Navy demonstrated its ability to shoot down a satellite, was in fact caused by hackers emanating from China, specifically the PLA.

One can never be certain whether reports such as this are simple hysteria, or are based upon real evidence. Another rumor that circulated recently in the Pentagon was that the Southern California wild fires that destroyed so much near San Diego were actually set by Al Qaeda. As someone who spends a fair amount of time looking at terrorism data, I’d place that rumor in the possible but unlikely bin.

But the hacking rumor seems like it may have more substance. According to Tim Bennett, former president of the Cyber Security Industrial Alliance, U.S. intelligence officials have claimed that the PLA gained access to a network that controlled electric power systems serving the Northeaster U.S. Forensic systems analysis had confirmed that the sources was indeed the PLA.

Bennett’s claim was corroborated by a second information security expert, who said that the intention was probably to map the power system, but accidentally triggered the blackouts when they succumbed to a “what happens if I pull on this moment.”
Map the power system? Now why would they want to do that? The less paranoid may say that it’s because the Chinese have large infrastructure problems of their own and wish to learn how we do it. I suppose that’s reasonable enough, but it seems to me there’s plenty of ways to get our help on that legitimately. What’s more, then why would it be done by the PLA?

The Chinese have a tradition of asymmetric warfare, and have invested heavily in cyberwarfare initiatives. DoD and other government agencies have reported huge spikes in cyber attacks on all of their systems, as hackers attempt to gain access and compromise security. This is information that I can personally verify in that I’ve heard these claims come directly from the senior leadership of the Air Force.

But this information is not compartmentalized in the halls of the Pentagon. Representative Jim Langevine said that his staff has examined several hacker networks and claims that the results have shown that China is the primary concern for invasive hacking on American systems.

But the handiwork of Chinese hackers has not been limited to government. The private economic sector has been hit especially hard by cyber attacks. Businesses have related stories in which their Chinese counterparts already knew all of their bottom line positions and would open negotiations there. In 2007, while visiting Beijing, clandestine spyware programs were discovered on devices used by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez that were designed to remove information from those systems.

Stephen Spoonamoore, CEO of Cybrinth, a computer security firm, claims that executives from the Fortune 500 companies had document stealing code planted on their computers while traveling in China.

The attacks on the civilian sector have not gone unnoticed in Washington either. Because most of the infrastructure in the U.S. is privately owned, the government finds it difficult to compel operators to better monitor systems. Of further concern is that much of the security software unitized is designed by others, often off-shore. The concern is that the existence of backdoors or other problems may not become known until after the damage has been done.

The defense department declared for the first time in 2007 that attacks against U.S. Government sites have come largely from China. In March, Air Force General Kevin Chilton, chief of U.S. Strategic Command claimed that the Pentagon has its own cyberwar plan. In a statement to the Senate Armed Service Committee he asked appropriators for an “increased emphasis” on cyberwarfare in order to conduct “network warfare.” Currently the Air Force is in the process of setting up Cyberspace Command, comprised of 160 individuals at a handful of bases.

The issue has not escaped notice by the President. President Bush has crafted an executive order to layout out a broad plan to shore up government network defenses. This ambitious plan comes with an ambitious price tag of 30 billion dollars (the entire budget of Homeland Security is 50 billion).

Unfortunately, “The U.S. government doesn’t really have a policy on the use of these techniques,” says Michael Vatis, former director of the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center. “They take place, and people have strong suspicions…. But as long as they’re not able to prove it, there’s very little that they can do about it. And so there’s often not as much outrage expressed.” I think this attitude is unfortunate, but it’s common. Because I spent a dozen years doing professional programming, I know several well placed IT professionals in industry and government. Few if any feel that there’s a significant threat.

Yet, if Chinese hackers are able to map our energy grids, and then shut them down by hacking into our systems, one has to wonder what else they’ve accomplished. It seems foolish that this threat should be taken as lightly as it is by the civilian sector especially.

In their now infamous book Unrestricted Warfare, by PLA Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, the point is made unequivocally that cyberwarfare is an essential part of Chinese conflict planning with the United States. Russia has also shown the effectiveness of Cyberwarfare in their recent trysts in Eastern Europe. All of this begs the question, why is Cyber Command composed of only 160 people?

In the last round of SBIR RFPs issued by the DoD, there are several initiatives to find ways to train people on the threats of hacking and cyberwarfare. But unfortunately, no initiatives were present for training on how to combat it, or, more importantly, how to incorporate offensive and defensive cyber warfare measures into doctrine, planning, or strategy. So far it seems that the approach to cyber warfare is underdeveloped at best, criminally negligent at worst.

To relate all of this to wargaming, it seems to me that if the old SPI were around today, this is a warfare topic they’d be tackling. Joseph Miranda has made some efforts to design abstract games on the topic, but few seem that interested. This is unfortunate. Cyberwar may in fact be the number one warfare methodology in the 21st century, affecting us economically and socially, not to mention militarily. And, given the technological dependence of today’s armed services, it seems to me it should be a top concern for those involved in defense planning.

Lately I’ve seen several talented designers show interest in designing new games on NATO/Warsaw Pact conflict of the 1980s. I don’t get it. We stand on the verge of new vistas in the development and advancement of modern conflict doctrine, yet our best minds are preoccupied with the war that never happened. Our hobby has a legacy; one that placed our best designers of the 1970’s and ‘80s into professional positions of planning the real thing. Where is that legacy of designers today?

Cyberwar, it appears, is a reality, and one that is much more significant and threatening than most of us probably imagined. I encourage you, whether designer or player, to think about how we can incorporate cyberwarfare into our gaming lexicon. Someone, clearly, has to do it. Why not us?

By: Jon Compton

03 September 2008

Fourth Generation Warfare and All That

There is a debate out there as to whether the notion of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) as a theory is of any value. Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II recently published an article entitled Fourth-Generation War and Other Myths (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/Pubs/display.cfm?pubID=632), in which he criticizes the idea quite emphatically. I contend that he and others miss the point.

I’ve read a fair amount of the 4GW literature, and to be honest, I’ve never considered it to be a theory, and by the strictest definition, it isn’t. From my perspective, it’s little more than a mnemonic used to describe general yet significant changes in the way warfare is conducted given the evolution of the international system (to include such things as globalization, modernization, proliferation, and whatever other “ations” you care to include). I think as a definition for that sort of concept, 4GW fares well enough.

To my mind, this is where Echevarria really falls down in his analysis. By elevating 4GW to the status of theory, from which, supposedly, we can derive propositions, generate hypotheses, test, and thus infer new conclusions, he undermines his own critique.

Broadly speaking, the crux of his argument is that 4GW as a theory (which it isn’t) is flawed primarily because is rests upon a poor understanding of history; the fallacy of nontrinitarian warfare, and the myth of Westphalia. To my mind this is sort of like saying that the theory of relativity is flawed because it rests upon the misconception of Newtonian physics. My point being that for relativity, the conception of Newtonian physics is irrelevant.

Echevarria claims that nontrinitarian warfare is a non-concept because trinitarian warfare is present in all forms of conflict and therefore is a non-concept in and of itself. The problem here is that the context from which Clausewitz was coming was that the only entities that mattered in the international system were states, who behaved as unitary actors (this concept is obviously borrowed from Realism, but it is applicable nevertheless). When he is referring to directing war towards some end, he is discussing war qua war in the political context. What 4GW conceives of as nontrinitarian warfare is the violation of the concept that war is being conducted for the political ends of the state. What people thinking in terms of 4GW are seeing in this context is the combination of weak governance and globalization/modernization pressures that have allowed the advent of non-state actors who conduct warfare in the transnational arena for transnational ends. While this sort of thing is not so new in the broad construct of history, it is certainly new to our era.

Echevarria then goes on to say that 4GW fails because it apparently relies on the notion that the modern state system sprung from the loins of Westphalia overnight. Why it would depend upon this being so he doesn’t explain. What’s more, I’m not aware of any such claim in the 4GW literature that I’ve read. I think this point is, frankly, a bit silly.

But the thing is, aside from the two cases above, Echevarria really doesn’t seem to have much to say about what 4GW is actually doing wrong. He makes the wild claim that anyone using the term is undermining their own credibility, but he makes no real case to substantiate it, and frankly the statement smacks of pettiness. He makes a brief case for the inaccurate prediction of 4GW analysts that non-state actor groups, rather than executing “Judo throws” are instead providing public goods to the groups they claim to represent. Somehow he seems to think that this very act he describes as contrary to the 4GW claim that non-state actor groups try to undermine government, does not in fact undermine government. Frankly, I can’t think of a better “Judo throw” than for a non-state actor group to provide a public good that the established regime cannot or will not provide.

In one paragraph he describes the use of traditional weapons used in Rwanda and Sudan as things that 4GW fails to account for. Yet this failure in accounting is simple to explain when you consider that 4GW as a concept is strictly Amerocentric, which is to say that it is addressing the asymmetric threat environment of the US, not the symmetric environment internal to third world countries. He also makes, what I think, is a serious gaff when he tries to say that 4GW’s assertion that US capabilities are designed to operate in the nation-state framework is incorrect because in the past the US has successfully operated under the constraints of alliances. It is clear that Echevarria does not understand that this is a level of analysis issue, and that alliances are part of the nation-state construct. What 4GW is saying here is that the US capabilities are ill-suited to deal with non-state actors, which they are, largely due to political constraints, but also due to issues involving the military industrial complex.

In his discussion of the third incarnation, he describes the sequencing of generations of warfare as artificial. Of course it is. If we were to take that as invalidation, then every theory we’ve ever held would be invalidated. But what he seems to misunderstand is that the generational concept is largely applicable to the evolution of doctrine more than anything else, and I think that evolution is quite distinguishable.

Finally, Echevarria makes several statements as counters to 4GW that are, frankly, empirically questionable. His insinuation of the relationship between terrorism and globalization has not panned out in empirical work, he seems to conflate globalization with modernization, which are different concepts, and he seems convinced that a theory is set in stone the moment it is conceived.

I suppose by now you see that I’m not a big fan of this paper. That said, I think he makes one good point, which is that there are some who are trying to operate within the construct of 4GW as something separate from traditional insurgency. I believe this is a mistake. In fact, I think it is a mistake to promote 4GW beyond simple mnemonic device for describing the conditions of modern insurgency and terrorism, and thus the need to address them from a new doctrinal point of view. Constrained to that, I think 4GW is an important concept. But it does not rise to the level of a theory, in my opinion.

By: Jon Compton