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tequila
05-02-2007, 01:12 PM
Tired of Luttwak? Plenty of better stuff in the new MR (http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/milreview/English/MayJun07/indexmayjun07.asp).

Among them, a very interesting article by T. X. Hammes of Sling and the Sto4ne fame about the much-discussed 4GW - 5GW warfare (http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/milreview/English/MayJun07/Hammes.pdf).

sullygoarmy
05-02-2007, 02:04 PM
Wow. I finally think I've got a grip on what 4GW is BAM! We're getting ready to move onto the fifth! I thought COL Hammes article was a good recap of 4GW and its current applications. His 5GW scenarios are very plausible and damn scary. What I find interesting is how our enemy has adapted quicker to 4GW than we (US Military) have. Then again, for survival's sake, I guess that makes sense.

Great articles as usual in MilReview!!

slapout9
05-02-2007, 03:56 PM
tequila, did you catch the part in Col. Hammes article about seizing and controlling the oil fields??

tequila
05-02-2007, 04:00 PM
tequila, did you catch the part in Col. Hammes article about seizing and controlling the oil fields??

Is that where he's talking about PMCs and 850k Chinese overrunning Angola?

I think he really overreaches in some areas, but it's interesting food for thought.

slapout9
05-02-2007, 04:05 PM
Yes, but the idea is close enough for government work.

tequila
05-02-2007, 04:36 PM
I like Jamestown's analysis (http://jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=415&issue_id=3918&article_id=2371629)of the China-Angola partnership better. I don't see a Chinese "West Africa Company" coming into existence anytime soon.

slapout9
05-02-2007, 05:32 PM
tequila, I see what you are saying big disparity in numbers...80k vs. 850k. Time will tell.

Jedburgh
05-14-2007, 08:15 PM
Fourth Generation Warfare Evolves, Fifth Emerges (http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/milreview/English/MayJun07/Hammes.pdf)

I really found the piece disappointing and a bit annoying. I didnít find any real insights or food for thought Ė just a lot of broad generalizations, false analogies, and unqualified assertions in a narrative purposely structured to justify the title-line without providing hard support, or even minimally adequate noting of sources.

Ski
05-14-2007, 10:25 PM
I just don't see the differences between 4GW and 5GW. To me 5GW is just the same as 4GW, but with smaller groups of people.

Tom Odom
05-14-2007, 11:31 PM
Personally Ithink the "generations" need to practice some birth control; they are multiplying like rabbits faster than we can number them.

Seriously I think the uitility has been exhausted when we have to start counting fingers to determined which generation we are supposedly looking at.

Tom

selil
05-15-2007, 12:03 AM
Personally Ithink the "generations" need to practice some birth control; they are multiplying like rabbits faster than we can number them.

Seriously I think the uitility has been exhausted when we have to start counting fingers to determined which generation we are supposedly looking at.

Tom

I have to agree. Slipchenko has us in a 6th generation already.

slapout9
05-15-2007, 12:39 AM
Another thought I am concerned about relative to the John Sullivan article concerning 3rd Gen Gangs (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/04/iraq-the-americas-3-gen-gangs/) (good article by the way even if I disagree slightly). We are literally experiencing 3rd generation gangs. The fathers, the children and now some grand-children are coming into gangs. This is extremely dangerous because these people were born and raised as criminals!!! And not even good criminals at tha, but extremely violent criminals, and we have no idea what to do with them. Combining this with the confusion of 4GW and 6,7... GW makes the problem worse.

selil
05-15-2007, 01:42 AM
by the way even if I disagree slightly)We are literally experiencing 3rd generation gangs. The fathers, the children and now some grand-children are coming into gangs. This is extremely dangerous because these people were born and raised as criminals!!!


Not as far fetched as you might think nor as true as is likely the case. When you consider the rise of the Motorcycle Gangs began with World War 2 generation soldiers we now have their grand children leading the gangs.

The expectation should be multi-generational gang warfare and criminal enterprise. Consider the Yakuza and Tong's and you have a fairly stringent code and extremely efficient adaptable enterprise system a dozen generations or more in age.

zenpundit
05-15-2007, 02:49 AM
First with Tom Barnett and now with 4GW. Well, theories have their place in assisting both analysis as well as practice, subject of course, to continual testing.

Dr. Tom Odom wrote:


"Personally Ithink the "generations" need to practice some birth control; they are multiplying like rabbits faster than we can number them.

Seriously I think the uitility has been exhausted when we have to start counting fingers to determined which generation we are supposedly looking at."

Taxonomies can be useful cognitive shorthand, provided that everyone is clear on what the terminology means. You don't have to accept the more systemic claims of the 4GW school find the generations model a useful tool for categorizing military forces by the tactics they employ and the organizational mindset they tend to inculcate. The Wehrmacht was not the army of Frederick the Great any more than the Iraqi insurgency are an Arab version of Giap's Vietminh.

If you don't like asking "What is 5GW ?" then saying "What tactics might naturally evolve from decentralized insurgencies and transnational terrorism or from efforts to counter them?" works just as well.

And I would think this board contains the people best suited for such a discussion.

selil
05-15-2007, 04:46 AM
I've been looking at generational warfare from a slightly different perspective.

As we have agricultural revolutions, industrial revolutions, and the information revolution it appears there is a corresponding relationship to the generations of warfare. We did not give up agriculture when the industrial revolution came about any more than repeating fire weapons and fire and maneuver warfare of second to third generation warfare resulted in the end of one for the other (did I get that right?).

My thesis is that cyber warfare is a fifth generation warfare element. I've been told by senior think tank experts that cyber warfare is neither a reality nor part of actual warfare as it does not result in actual bombs being dropped. That theory likening war only to dropping bombs or launching missiles and forgetting the aspects of insurgency, and intelligence gathering that Sun Tzu talked about so long ago.

I can demonstrate a decentralized network of computers being used by a decentralized network of insurgents for command and control activities and yet that is sliced off and isn't cyber warfare.

I can demonstrate a decentralized network of computers being used by a decentralized network of insurgents hooking into the social network (web 2.0, youtube, second life?) phenomenon and using the tools for psychological operations and that isn't cyber warfare.

I can demonstrate free open source software being manipulated to create back doors into trusted systems (pearl module back door hack) yet that isn't cyber warfare.

I can summarize scenarios that are actual realized events using computer systems to assassinate a public figure (manipulation of medication dosages in computerized pharmacies "Indianapolis child deaths").

If fifth, or fourth generation it is relatively unimportant. The fact remains that real world effects are created through cyber warfare that are no less onerous than IED's are to more traditional insurgents. Yet if it isn't a 500lb bomb falling from the sky it's not warfare?

Whether justified theory or misrepresented reality finding a voice for that which is indescribable is hard work. Especially when people say "So what?".

slapout9
05-15-2007, 12:15 PM
Jedburgh just posted a paper (by Bernard Fall)at the link below on another thread that talks about the subject of what do you call the current situation small wars,4GW,etc. Worth the read.

http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?p=15886#post15886

Tom Odom
05-15-2007, 12:23 PM
First with Tom Barnett and now with 4GW. Well, theories have their place in assisting both analysis as well as practice, subject of course, to continual testing.

Dr. Tom Odom wrote:"Personally I think the "generations" need to practice some birth control; they are multiplying like rabbits faster than we can number them.

Seriously I think the uitility has been exhausted when we have to start counting fingers to determined which generation we are supposedly looking at."



Taxonomies can be useful cognitive shorthand, provided that everyone is clear on what the terminology means. You don't have to accept the more systemic claims of the 4GW school find the generations model a useful tool for categorizing military forces by the tactics they employ and the organizational mindset they tend to inculcate. The Wehrmacht was not the army of Frederick the Great any more than the Iraqi insurgency are an Arab version of Giap's Vietminh.

If you don't like asking "What is 5GW ?" then saying "What tactics might naturally evolve from decentralized insurgencies and transnational terrorism or from efforts to counter them?" works just as well.

And I would think this board contains the people best suited for such a discussion.
Mark

2 Masters--no PhD

I appreciate the thought though:) As for the 5GW versis the 4GW versus the XGW discussion, I also appreciate the point that we can handle the discussion here but when we start asking "what number is this" we have taken an already complex issue--war in all its forms--and complicated it to where neither practioner nor pundit understands what it means. It is rather like quoting Clauswitz when you are really pushing Jomini. I agree that taxonomies can be useful but in this case the understanding is not there.

Best

Tom

PhilR
05-15-2007, 12:40 PM
Personally Ithink the "generations" need to practice some birth control; they are multiplying like rabbits faster than we can number them.

Seriously I think the uitility has been exhausted when we have to start counting fingers to determined which generation we are supposedly looking at.

Tom

I agree. While I know its been recounted elsewhere, I think that the whole generation aspect is distracting. Its as if we have to invent a new term for every little twist that comes along. I sometimes think that the only reason the 4GW types invented 1GW and 2GW is so they can complacently accuse the US of being behind the theoretical times--somehow winning WWII with 2GW approach proves our unworthiness to even consider fighting 4GW (I won't even get into the strange logic train that purports to connect the generations).
In a similar vein, I was greatly disappointed with Gen Rupert Smith's The Utility of Force. Its not that he didn't make some good points, but there was nothing that I haven't read in other venues. The whole history buildup was relatively shallow and a waste of time. What Smith could have done that would have been more useful would have been a thoughtful, critical set of memoirs. He would have gotten all of his points across without having to confuse and explain them as new paradigms of conflict, etc. In the book, he was most effective when he recounted personal examples.
In general, Generals are best at writing their experiences in a useful manner, not putting out another book of theory. Would Slim have been as highly considered if he put out a book on the "theory of fighting with a multi-cultural colonial army" rather than Defeat Into Victory?

Steve Blair
05-15-2007, 01:08 PM
I stopped paying attention to the whole "generation" thing some time back. For the most part it just looks to me like people trying to hang their names on theories without really bothering to look at the practical application of those theories.

To my mind, a lot of what we're seeing now is an expansion of maneuver warfare into areas that it might not have previously been noticed. Does that make it a new "warfare?" I don't really think so. Simply taking the "indirect approach" and applying it to electronic methods of communication and networking does not create a new "generation" of warfare. A new tactic or operational method? Certainly. But this "generation" stuff is out of control.

marct
05-15-2007, 04:05 PM
Hi Selil,


I've been looking at generational warfare from a slightly different perspective.

As we have agricultural revolutions, industrial revolutions, and the information revolution it appears there is a corresponding relationship to the generations of warfare. We did not give up agriculture when the industrial revolution came about any more than repeating fire weapons and fire and maneuver warfare of second to third generation warfare resulted in the end of one for the other (did I get that right?).

Bang on as far as I'm concerned. I would note, however, that there are also other forms that play into this, e.g. pastorlism, maritime societies, etc.

Marc

Jedburgh
05-16-2007, 03:27 AM
Gentlemen, you are beginning to trend along the lines of my perceptions.

The way men fight is a reflection of the society (with all its complex dimensions) within which they live, further molded to fit the context of the particular enemy in the field. This makes every fight, every war different - but the principles remain the same. That last bit seems commonly accepted regarding conventional warfare, and is promulgated in most military academies. However, COIN/UW seems to throw everyone into fits, and this generations nonsense is ignorance posing as understanding.

How can what is essentially the oldest form of warfare be the new generation? The information revolution, or the revolutions in nanotech/biotech that Hammes reaches for, still do not change the fundamental precept that you have non-state actors looking to challenge nation-states (whether or not the also have direct or indirect outside state support doesn't matter for this discussion). This has been a recurring threat to nation-states since they were first hammered together (by force of arms). Although I feel the term Asymetric Warfare is clumsy, in many ways it is the best of the multivarious labels that have been stuck periodically on this type of warfare.

As far as "decentralized networks" being a relatively new and emerging threat - hell, I remember a couple of decades ago, as a cherry HUMINT'er first working with the unconventional crowd, having hammered into me that there were essentially three types of leadership found among the bad-guys (those non-state SOBs): Command, those "hierarchical" organizations that we keep being told were the old model; Steering, leadership by committee - which we don't hear too much about, but which are plentiful in today's threat environment; and Stimulus, which is the decentralized threat that I keep hearing is so "new" and not fully understood yet by the ignorant masses. Just because the current tech revolution facilitates the latter form of leadership, does not make it new.

Regarding the "new" WMD threat - several of the anarchists lead ideologues in the late 1800s wrote of their desire to use chemical weapons, "mines that would destroy cities", and Congreve rockets (old-guy speak for ballistic missiles) to kill huge numbers of civilians. The intent was there, plans formulated in the heads of other bearded maniacs, but lack of tech solutions foiled them. The same plans hatched, thousands of dollars were spent and slightly twisted PhDs and other highly motivated lunatics put a lot of effort into doing the same a bit more recently - but tech foiled Aum Shinrikyo too. So, are we saying if the tech finally becomes reachable by the lunatics who wish mass death upon innocents - that portends a new generation? I think not.

I feel the "generations" labeling is a distractor. We all understand the common terms of attack, ambush, raid, etc. Just as in HUMINT ops we all understand the meanings of brush pass, dead drop, cut-out, etc. The challenge today isn't in understanding what damn generation of warfare we are facing - it is understanding how the bad guys are able to adapt and evolve with emerging technology within the framework of UW. An ambush is an ambush - whether it is by fire, an IED, a BW agent, or a network attack upon critical systems. Just as a dead drop is a dead drop - whether it is physical or digital.

And the challenge is made doubly hard because, as Selil alluded to in his post, the bad guys don't give up the good old-fashioned methods as well - they are still quite useful. We have to keep looking back as we move forward.

Combat is the harshest form of Darwinism there is, and methods are adopted and discarded by the weaker party in the fight rapidly (much more rapidly than a conventional force changes), based upon simple effectiveness and ease of material acquisition. High-tech isn't always the best; as always, a balance proves more effective.

Hmm. I think I'm rambling now. I should probably delete/edit a few lines, but I guess I'll go ahead and leave it as it is....

jcustis
05-16-2007, 03:09 PM
Found this and got a hearty chuckle from it:


5GW sounds like semantics to me. Subterfuge, espionage, Machiavelli and Sun Tzu by another name. It's always been fought, it always will be fought. Supposedly, in 5GW the other side won't know we're fighting, but neither could we because that kind of information is hard to keep from the world. Are we talking about shadowy wars fought by elites sworn to secrecy? Great. Sounds like today to me. Sign me up for MI6.

I hope I'm not talking out of my arse here, but I don't believe that integrated battlespace technology has as much to do with the prosecution of next-generation warfare as do cellphones and the internet.
All our overwhelming technology and firepower does is force the enemy to abandon symmetrical warfare, hence 4GW. Our own technology dooms us to failure because the enemy adapts to it easily while we in turn can't adapt to them because we're over-reliant on high-tech. How on earth does the F22 win the kind of conflict Hammes described?

Bill Lind goes on about in terms of forecasting the death of the nation state. I'm not so sure if that's the case, and perhaps nor are you.
H. John Poole has written a lot of handy (slightly nutty) books about 4GW infantry tactics. Keeping in mind that 4GW is defined by the blurring of the boundaries between military and society, one lesson I pulled from Phantom Soldier was that Western states have trouble understanding 4GW because we haven't yet practiced it ourselves. Can you effectively practice 4GW as a state? Well, some states have. Phantom Soldier described the Vietnamese border conflict with China. A good example of the integration of the military and society versus an enemy in a state-on-state conflict.

4GW right now is only visible as a defensive measure. I don't believe anyone has made the leap from defensive to offensive 4GW yet. That's what eludes us. Otherwise, we'd have figured out how to win in Iraq - starting with the elimination of our Huge Defensive Footprint on the ground.

Maybe 5GW is a way of vocalizing our realization that we can't win 4GW because we haven't learned how to alter societies' opinions? How could we win in Iraq? Well, if we could make the Iraqis believe that a secular democracy is the most important thing in their lives and something worth dying for, that would do the trick. How can we achieve that? Well, friggin' telepathy or microwaves into the brains, or some other fancy futuristic warfare mumbo jumbo might do it - although allocating aid money correctly, not torturing prisoners and stamping out corruption would be a start...

Which leads me to:

With all due respect, I've delved into this theoretical stuff for the past five years, and it's all pretty b0ll0cks. Like a bunch of college students debating the relative merits of Marxism <snore>.

We still haven't figured out how do deal with the Iraqi insurgency. I'm incredulous that the powers at the top haven't yet sat down and gone
"How do we minimize the enemy's strengths?"
"Well, we could prevent him from targeting our patrols with IEDs and snipers."
"How do we do that?"
"By sneaking around, blending in, hiding."
"Hmm...you mean out-G'ing the G? Let's do it."
Once we've done that or whatever it takes to win, I'll turn to 5GW. Right now, the only thing I can think about 4GW is how it's Total War by another name, and how we're trying to come up with all sorts of theoretical excuses to avoid having to solve practical realities. Right now. On the ground.

Mark O'Neill
05-17-2007, 10:49 AM
Fourth Generation Warfare Evolves, Fifth Emerges (http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/milreview/English/MayJun07/Hammes.pdf)

I really found the piece disappointing and a bit annoying. I didn’t find any real insights or food for thought – just a lot of broad generalizations, false analogies, and unqualified assertions in a narrative purposely structured to justify the title-line without providing hard support, or even minimally adequate noting of sources.

I agree. I also note Zenpundits observation about 'anti - theory jihad'. What I think we are witnessing on these pages is not actually 'anti - theory jihad' but 'bad theory intolerance'.

Casting my fading memory back to when I first looked at the 'theory of theories' as a young undergraduate in the social sciences, I am struck by how poorly many of the 'new' theories hold up as theory.

A key fault is that they are not universally replicable. They invariably require selective citation and significant qualification. Often anyone with the IQ of equal or just greater than that of a General Purpose Boot can quickly identify an example where the theory does not hold true.

I will accept that many of them are useful 'book sales generation devices'. I will also cynically acknowledge their benefit as 'self promotion devices'. They have proven utility in being stalking horses for advocacy of a given paradigmatic or polemical political or world view (just like Mein Kampf).

War is ultimately fought for 'ends'. These seem , despite changes in 'ways' and 'means" (which is in itself, nothing new), remarkably consistent in the history of human society. To my mind there is a remarkable continuum in the history of conflict that makes a mockery of psuedo intellectual fads.

It is my view that these theories play well to those of us struggling with critical thought, the 'trained' rather than the 'educated' and, ultimately, the ignorant (side bar example - how else could anyone accept Barnett's map that places Singapore in his 'gap' construct?)

My challenge to the 'new theorists' - provide an example where your 'theory' provides proven utility today in the application of the operational art of the profession of arms. From what I have heard to date about what is working in 'the surge' in Iraq, it sounds far more like classic COIN 101 than any rhetorical solution proffered by 'new' thinking.

I stand ready to be proven wrong, however I note that the required standard is empirical, replicable fact, not assertion, political polemicism or religious affirmations.

Regards,

Mark