View Full Version : 4GW and Network-Centric Warfare

10-07-2006, 03:49 AM
Marine Corps Gazette - Fourth-Generation Warfare and Network-Centric Warfare (http://www.mca-marines.org/Gazette/2006/06mcloughlin.html) by Captain Richard McLoughlin, USMC.

The natural and common proclivity of people to rally themselves around theories and ideas to the exclusion of competing schools oftentimes has very dangerous consequences. This is particularly true when it comes to theories of war vying for acceptance in an era where the present and future are subject to sudden, violent, and abrupt changes. Since the nature, scope, and methods of contemporary, as well as potential, enemies can never be forecast with absolute certainty, it would be suicidal to embrace any single theory that fails to address the full range of possible adversaries and their capabilities. However, if instead of abject dismissal, competing schools of thought sought to incorporate and acknowledge the useful elements of their rivals, the end result could yield a far more powerful conclusion with greater application and broader acceptance.

With the aforementioned thought in mind, today there rages a serious and contentious debate. The principal rivals fall into two camps—4GW theorists against those of the NCW school of thought. Granted there are other philosophies that are threaded within the two camps, but for the sake of clarity the crux of the debate falls into the revised shoot and maneuver proponents versus the 21st century technophiles. This is an unfortunate state of affairs for the two are not necessarily at odds but rather complementary and symbiotic.

The consequence of this problem is the production of fiefdoms that fail to identify and extrapolate each school’s merits while discarding their respective weaknesses. To be sure, both 4GW and NCW theories have positives and negatives. However, the point of this article is to examine the value of each in hopes that the debate will shift from the all or nothing approach to one of a more unified and functional concept that will meet all national security challenges...

10-07-2006, 04:06 AM
It is imperative that concepts of small wars doctrine be integrated into network centric warfare along with other guerilla tactics. Unfortunately from what Iíve seen the career specialties attempting to implement NCW are not necessarily versed in any warfare doctrine they didnít get from Age of Empires.