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Thread: 4GW Evolves, 5GW Emerges

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default 4GW Evolves, 5GW Emerges

    Tired of Luttwak? Plenty of better stuff in the new MR.

    Among them, a very interesting article by T. X. Hammes of Sling and the Sto4ne fame about the much-discussed 4GW - 5GW warfare.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 05-14-2007 at 08:42 PM.

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    Council Member sullygoarmy's Avatar
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    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!!
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 05-14-2007 at 08:29 PM.
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet withstanding, go out to meet it."

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    tequila, did you catch the part in Col. Hammes article about seizing and controlling the oil fields??

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    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.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Yes, but the idea is close enough for government work.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I like Jamestown's analysis of the China-Angola partnership better. I don't see a Chinese "West Africa Company" coming into existence anytime soon.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    tequila, I see what you are saying big disparity in numbers...80k vs. 850k. Time will tell.

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    Fourth Generation Warfare Evolves, Fifth Emerges

    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.

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    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.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    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

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    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.
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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Another thought I am concerned about relative to the John Sullivan article concerning 3rd 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.
    Last edited by SWJED; 05-15-2007 at 02:23 AM. Reason: Add Link

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    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.
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    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    Wink There's been an anti-theory jihad around here lately....

    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.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    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?".
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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    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/...5886#post15886

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenpundit View Post
    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
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 05-15-2007 at 12:42 PM.

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    Default New Theories Abound

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    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?

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    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.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Selil,

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    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
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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