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Old 03-04-2009   #4
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Default Jack McCuen


Jack McCuen is a classical COIN thinker who published Art of Counter Revolutionary War in 1966. He's a particpant on a closed forum I am involved in discussing the same topic. He has been an advocate of the Hybrid war concept. I post the below with his concurrence.


Let me repeat my comments I made in a private discussion because I disagree with Russell Glenn's article, "Thought on 'Hybrid' Conflict" for a number of reasons.

First, he largely bases his article on the Israeli Lebanon campaign, which is certainly a prime example of a hybrid war and a clear example of the type of hybrid war we might expect in the future if we choose to intervene in such places as the Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon, Pakistan -- although I'm not advocating or recommending any such operations. It is also the example which General Mattis, Frank Hoffman and their associates have been using as their example of hybrid war, along with, I suspect, Israel's recent campaign into Gaza. As Frank knows, I'm don't think that this is the best hybrid war example because of its limited context. In fact, Russell Glen uses this limited context as his basic argument that hybrid war's limited context makes it unworthy of use as a separate form of war. Rather, as I've said a number of times in earlier messages, I believe that the Vietnam, Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars are much better and wider context examples of hybrid war and refute Russell's basic argument.

Second, although Russell quotes my definition of hybrid war from my March-April 2008 Military Review Article, "Hybrid Wars," "...a struggle against an armed enemy and ...a wider struggle for control and support of the combat zone's indigenous population, the support of the home fronts of the intervening nations, and the support of the international community," which is a very wide definition, in deed, he then ignores it by saying that the term, "hybrid war," is primarily a tactical, rather a strategic one -- using Lebanon with Hezbollah as his prime example, rather than Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. I would have to agree that the Lebanon Campaign with Hezbollah was a rather tactical example; however, the impact of the war and its tactics had very wide strategic implications which were very critical and decisive, involving, not only a new strategy but wide impacts on the home front and international community which played critical roles in the ultimate success or failure of the campaign or war. As I mentioned above and as we have been discussing elsewhere, the conduct of the Vietnam, Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars was very wide and very strategic.

Third, something Russell does not mention is that we badly need the use of the term, "hybrid war," to develop an adequate strategy for these wars we have been, are and are likely to be fighting. Since I wrote my monograph on "The Art of Hybrid War" in 2007, I have been struggling to get the military to develop an effective strategy for the wars we have fought and are fighting in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and in the future. We need to call this new form of war something and get on with developing a strategy which will win them. The word "hybrid war" works well because this new from of war is a "hybrid" combination of symmetric and asymmetric war. Somehow, terms like "irregular war, "complex war" don't, to my mind at least, lend themselves to developing a highly complex, wide ranging strategy for them. As I say in my monograph, I'm not wedded to the term, "hybrid," but we had been call it something quickly and develop a strategy which will start winning them. Thus, for the moment, I'm going with "hybrid war."

Fourth, and finally as I have discussed privately with some of you, the concept of hybrid war offers a possible bridge within the military to heal the "cultural divide" which is separating the "traditionalists," who are strongly advocating the concepts of conventional/symmetric war and the "crusaders" who want to rebuild the military mainly around counterinsurgency/asymmetric war. Frankly, this cultural divide, both silently and openly, is severely hindering the military and civilian community in building the military and civilian components of our government in developing future strategy, reorganizing our military and civilian components, as well as equipping and training them for wars of the future. The concept of hybrid war, being a hybrid combination of these two concepts of war -- the symmetric and asymmetric -- offers a bridge on which both the "traditionalists" and the "crusaders" should be able to agree and operate. Sure, major compromises will have to be made and consolidations, but the fact is that we have to establish a military and civilian establishment which can fight and win any war, on any battlefield, anywhere in the world. That will require dominant symmetric/conventional/nuclear capabilities and asymmetric/irregular/counterinsurgency capabilities.



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Last edited by Cavguy; 03-04-2009 at 10:09 PM.
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