Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 66

Thread: Debate over The Generations of War.

  1. #41
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,457

    Default

    Eric,

    As an ex-squid turned zoomie who is too ignorant on these topics, I just wanted to say how glad I am you're here and posting so voluminously. I am learning an awful lot from these discussions and look forward to more.

  2. #42
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Eric, thanks for the response.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericmwalters View Post
    Question from Ken is how successful the 4GW concept has been in changing planning and fighting. Very good question and cuts to the heart of a problem the concept so far is dodging.
    Sort of my suspicion; I meant to include MW with 4GW in my question but I wasn't clear and I suspect that changes the answer very little if at all.
    Has it changed planning and warfighting? Jury is out on that. We see the problem now. We just don't know what to do about it, how we fit in, how we are relevant. We're all over the map on that.
    That summarizes a part of my concern. If the purpose is to get us all on one sheet, neither concept is working very well. Yet each has its devotees and even acolytes who will brook no heresy...

    Not a good situation to my mind.
    The above illustrates primarily a 4GW problem--and I'm not talking about the Hammes definition, but the Lind/Schmitt/Wilson/Nightengale one. This is a problem I don't think we've got a real answer for. One that my friends in the State Department would say we can't possibly be expected to have an answer for. Ouch. Marines like General Tony Zinni well understand it and articulate it.

    Bottom line: 4GW "theory" in the USMC provides a usable diagnosis...but unlike 3GW/MW, there is no prescription!
    I'm opposed to prescriptions, I think they inhibit flexibility of thinking and my experience with a number of mantras (or fads...) that have popped up over the last 60 plus years has not enamored me of the latest batch.

    I understand that US Armed forces Senior Leaders are all too often cautious, risk averse and put the sanctity of the institutions they run ahead of many things (including, to their credit, themselves in many cases). Thus, doctrinal change has been instigated by young Field Grades and Commanders and that goes back to pre-WW II, then to HMX-1 and the use of hoptiflopters in Amphibious Landings which occurred back in my young 0231 (then, not todays, it's 0321 now, I think) days, proceeds forward through MW, Air Land Battle to today. We have developed a working model to produce change but I submit it's not very efficient. Better than nothing, I grant...

    My dream is of a set of services that have innovative leaders who aren't excessively risk averse to drive this stuff top down. All we have to do to achieve that is select the right folks. To do that, we simply need to change the personnel systems to the supporting effort they should be instead of the supported element they are, get rid of DOPMA and its insistence that all are equal and keep Congress out of the personnel business.

    I realized that 50 years ago; still haven't figured out how to bring it about...

  3. #43
    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Olympia WA
    Posts
    531

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Thus, doctrinal change has been instigated by young Field Grades and Commanders and that goes back to pre-WW II, then to HMX-1 and the use of hoptiflopters in Amphibious Landings which occurred back in my young 0231 (then, not todays, it's 0321 now, I think)
    wait,wait..were you a marine or a paratrooper??? I am sooo confused now
    Reed

  4. #44
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Both. Isn't everyone???

    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    wait,wait..were you a marine or a paratrooper??? I am sooo confused now
    Reed
    Marine 49-53, Guard and Reserve 53-56, Army 56-76 (~14 of it Abn), DAC 76-95 -- that's all called masochism...

  5. #45
    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Olympia WA
    Posts
    531

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Marine 49-53, Guard and Reserve 53-56, Army 56-76 (~14 of it Abn), DAC 76-95 -- that's all called masochism...
    DAC = defense ammunition center?
    Reed
    P.S. I was feeling old recently..now I feel rather young again, thanks Ken

  6. #46
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Department of the Army Civilian

    I don't do ammunition, I use it or teach others how.

  7. #47
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Belly of the beast
    Posts
    2,112

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Marine 49-53, Guard and Reserve 53-56, Army 56-76 (~14 of it Abn), DAC 76-95 -- that's all called masochism...
    Once a Marine always a Marine. Everything else is just a job.
    Sam Liles
    Selil Blog
    Don't forget to duck Secret Squirrel
    The scholarship of teaching and learning results in equal hatred from latte leftists and cappuccino conservatives.
    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

  8. #48
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    489

    Default

    The bottom line is that the doctrine - whether it be from military sources, such as FM 3-24, FM 3-0, JP3-0, etc or non-military sources (Lind, Barnett, Sepp, Hoffman, etc) is changing exceptionally quickly because the military is not the center of gravity (hey, look at that, Clausewitz) in these conflicts yet the military is being used to try and solve these "wicked problems."

    I suspect the frustration levels within the militaries is going to continue to rise over the next decade or so, mainly because it's being used as the primary instrument of foreign policy.

    I don't think, at this stage, there is a right answer. To paraphrase Boyd from another thread, "Don't talk to me about doctrine, it becomes dogma the day after it's written."
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

    The Eaglet from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

  9. #49
    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    262

    Default Gaming out the details....

    My apologies for the delayed response on my part. I'll do my best to catch up now with the questions and rebuttals.

    In approximate order:

    CavGuy:

    Zen, I don't see how it's a "challenge", because you can't use 4GW to predict anything, only describe and environment. I'm confused. How is 4GW or whatever construct I use "predictive"? It's a descriptor of a condition, not a theory
    .

    4GW contains a number of operative premises regarding the nature of warfare - (an aside- I like how you identified some of them as evironmental though, Lind focuses a lot on actors' intent but that's not the whole picture) - the premises carry with them a logic on the effects that uses of force are going to produce. While I have some reservations about 4GW myself, in the interest of testing I propose to apply that logic strictly to whatever case study/scenarios on which we can reach agreement as the initial starting point ( see my respnse to WM below)

    Bill Moore

    ...although openly publishing suspected pro's and con's of two belligerent's strategies while they're fighting could very well shape the outcome if they browse this site. To keep it objective it would have to be done via e-mails to the referee.
    Point taken. Good thinking.

    Wilf Owen:

    Very happy to participate, except I agree with a lot of the 4GW positions, and CAVGUY has got it right, with his reservations about the idea. My "beef" with 4GW is the overall concept, not the detail of its parts. I have the same beef with MW.
    Thank you Wilf. Approach the challenge, if we all can agree on one, in the way you think is most useful in making your point. I'd prefer the anti-4GW side have as free a hand as they require in the interest of a fair test and an interesting discussion.

    One of my "Rules" for modern operations is DO NOT KILL CIVILIANS. If you simply aim for that, then a lot/some of the 4GW constructs evaporate as a concern. Why doesn't 4GW just say that?
    My guess would be that Lind also sees "punitive expeditions" and "Hama solutions" as a rare but necessary part of a strategy of "containment" for the encroaching disorder of a 4GW world. That however, remains a guess. Ask Lind if you get a chance.

    Ski

    I'm up for a wargaming scenario with a 4GW lens. Will be enjoyable, especially if Herr Oberst Walters and Zen are on my side
    My thanks Ski !

    WM

    I'd be more than happy to play but I suspect that the predictive power of 4GW theory (if it has any, which I doubt for the same kinds of reasons given by CavGuy and Bill Moore) is not where Zenpundit proposes the contest. I submit that it may lie in assessing where and how the next outbreak of violence will occur, not in deciding how it will end up.
    Do the 4GW advocates want to take on this challenge instead?"
    Good idea! I'd be up for that as well if Ski and any other "takers" are agreeable. We might want to consider narrowing it to say, three regions selected by a neutral party rather than making the target zone as "planet earth". But I'm flexible.

    BTW, I note that Zen proposed a one against many effort--the "traditionalists" nominate a prognosticator "champion" to be subjected to a riposte from a 4GW "Red Team"--certainly sounds like a traditional (dare I say attrition-based warfare) approach--use mass to ensure you trounce your opponent
    You have misread my original suggestion. Actually I'd rather go solo against a team than the reverse. My interest is trying to play this not as myself but in as true a spirit to van Creveld and Lind as I can manage - minus the odd reverence for the Wilhelmine Reich. I think the two sides should be well represented as we want a first-rate exchange here. Otherwise, there's no point.

  10. #50
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,457

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Marine 49-53, Guard and Reserve 53-56, Army 56-76 (~14 of it Abn), DAC 76-95 -- that's all called masochism...
    Wow! That's hugely impressive (and yes, masochistic), but you need to add the council to end of that list - you may not be getting paid, but your prolific and valuable posts sure give the impression you're still working!

  11. #51
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr
    Posts
    965

    Default

    Zenpundit and others,

    I'd like to observe the "challenge" and learn what I can from watching the exchange.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  12. #52
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    129

    Default Hmmmm.

    Any number of issues and points have been left hanging in the discussion so far. Eric has made a very good effort to address some them (my understanding that 4GW was aimed specifically at Marines, and etc, conforms very well with what Eric has pointed out). Now it may be that these loose ends are ‘hanging’ as everyone has gone back to read the other two threads mentioned earlier; nonetheless, at the very real risk of being pedantic (my occupational hazard), to push th discussion onwards I want to clear away more deadwood.

    Zenpundit posted: I agree that that seeing "Generations" of warfare in strict linearity is very problematic. IMHO it's better as a simple taxonomy than a chronology.
    The key here, it seems to me, is Zenpundit’s use of the word ‘seeing’. They original authors of the 1989 article and the authors of the subsequent one in 1995 were clear that they did not see the development of warfare as being ‘linear’, except in the broadest sense. They argued that a) the shift from one ‘generation’ to the next was not even or sequential; b) the evolution from one to the next proceeded over decades, upwards of 70+ years before the next main approach to warfighting consolidates; and c) that elements of the preceding generation would be found in the subsequent generation (and/or that two generations can exist coextensive within the same military – Lind makes this argument constantly when he contends that the US military is a 2nd and 3rd Gen military).

    As argued above by 'wm', terminology 'does' matter, for the terms used become simple references for, dare I say, a complex concept, and these terms become imbued with a connotation or understanding that obscures or even misleads. 4GW has this problem, and as Wilf points, MW has this problem. For 4GW, the use of the term 'generation' has led far too many people to interpret the original arguments to mean that war evolves in a strictly linear fashion.

    If one thinks of Darwinian evolution (including disruptive equilibrium) which proceeds by fits and starts over time, with successful (or best fit) adaptations accumulating over time with the eventual outcome being a more competitive form, one better fitted to the surrounding environment, then the term ‘generation’ may not be that inapt (but I am 'definitely' not saying that this is why the term ‘generations’ was used by the original authors). In essence, this generalization of Darwinian evolution is consistent with their take on the ‘evolution of warfare’ – once a particular form of modern warfare (ie 1GW, 2GW, 3GW) is consolidated and mastered (don’t want to say 'perfected', for few probably are perfect in any particular form of warfare), opponents will start working to find ways to fight against this form of warfare, with unsuccessful adaptations being discarded and successful efforts being kept, with the successful elements over time consolidating into a new form of warfare (different from the proceeding ‘generation’) that a military uses to devastating effect against its enemies – and then the cycle starts over again as those opponents seek ways to adapt, offset, overcome.

    Zenpundit’s follow-on point that ‘4GW is better as a simple taxonomy than a chronology’ connects directly to
    Cavguy’s point:
    It's a descriptor of a condition, not a theory.
    Both ‘taxonomy’ and ‘descriptor’ probably fit very well with what 4GW is in terms of what has been written about it. But there is a ‘theory’ that underlies this ‘generations’ taxonomy. Here I tread with care given the earlier thread, also started by Cavguy, on Boyd, for the authors of the original article applied Boyd’s ‘The Conceptual Spiral’ -- which is the best expression of the general theory of change that Boyd was working towards (or achieved, depending on your point of view) -- to underpin their original argument about the possible emergence of a 4th generation of warfare (and yes, in the 1989 article they were hypothesizing only; they argued in the 1995 article they thought 4GW was emerging). To keep it very brief and so quote Hammond, Boyd’s theory of change is that a world that is uncertain, ever-changing and unpredictable
    generates mismatches, and hence ‘one must continue the whirl of reorientation, mismatches, analyses and syntheses to comprehend, shape and adapt to unfolding, evolving reality that remains uncertain, ever-changing, and unpredictable’. In short, having applied Boyd's theory of change, the original authors then described the hypotheses of what would emerge in reaction to 3GW (remembering that elements of 3GW are part of the following emergent form of warfare).

    The seemingly lack of theory is that in all their discussion and elaboration of 4GW, I am not aware that they have ever made clear in print their use of ‘The Conceptual Spiral’ to generate their orignial hypotheses about what a 4GW might look like. Their bad.

    Have fun with your 'friendly' bet on competing approaches/theories(or if you take Ski’s interesting suggestion, wargame)!


    Entropy posted Most of what is postulated as 4GW is not new, though certain aspects have been enabled and accelerated through technology beyond what was possible in the past. But these elements of 4GW do not, ISTM, require such technology

    WM posted: Seems to me that both the 30 Years War and the 100 Years War meet all of the criteria above. anyone want to call them 4GW struggles?
    Oh wait, I forgot, 4GW only became possible after the Peace of Westphalia introduced the conditions that made 3GW possible.
    I am not aware that the original authors claimed that 4GW was ‘new’, except in terms of it being different from the first three generations of ‘modern warfare’(and thus, as Eric made clear, 'new to Marines'). Further, it is not that 4GW 'only' became possible after the Treaty of Westphalia, though this is true to the extent that the original article referred to ‘modern warfare’ (state vs state). As Lind in particular argues, repeatedly, their conception of 4GW would be (was) a return to pre-Westphalian forms of warfare. Lind constantly recommends reading, Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, to understand what 4GW likely will be like. What they argued would be (’89) (or was in the '95 article), ‘new’ in 4GW is ‘who fights’ and ‘what they fight for’.

    The above aside, as most everyone has argued, there are no doubt problems with the concept, including the use of history (and this applies to Hammes equally) For criticisms other than those discussed here, see “Debating 4GW’ in Contemporary Security Policy (Aug 2005), which includes the original piece by Echevarria that led to his longer piece as well as other critiques by civilian and military academics.

    But while I accept the validity of the criticisms, I have to agree with Eric that the ‘original conceptions as outlined in the earlier articles’ are useful – particularly if one takes account the underpinning theory and that the originators generally believe (I think I am correct in saying 'they' to mean all) see 4GW as only starting to emerge, in reaction to 3GW, and that this 'reaction' will continue evolve by fits and starts in the coming decades, so we are yet to see what the ‘consolidated’ result may look like (the 5GW superempowered individual would be encompassed with 4GW). I find it hard to argue with Sir Lawrie Freedman, who in the CSP debate argued that the ‘generations’ model for change in warfare, based as it is on selective history, probably is flawed, yet subsequently argued elsewhere that this ‘is not in itself reason for neglecting its prescriptive aspects’.

  13. #53
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
    Posts
    3,947

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Marine 49-53, Guard and Reserve 53-56, Army 56-76 (~14 of it Abn), DAC 76-95 -- that's all called masochism...
    I knew you were good... but not that good!
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  14. #54
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default

    Zombie thread revived .... like 4GW, it will never die.

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/201...fourth-and-fi/
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  15. #55
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    25

    Default

    A few months ago i read about the release of the "handbook of 5GW"
    I searched the web to find some more information on the subject and ran into a bunch of blogposts on the subject and after some reading I am still not sure what they actually mean by it, I did find one post which gave an example of a possible 5GW action which would be something like the strategy of tension of operation gladio in Italy.
    Which leads to my critique of 4GW and 5GW, first you have off course the generations model off warfare, the claim that war and warfare have fundamentaly changed and that they tend to proclaim that they predicted the future quite often. But as i try to discuss substance over defintions, i'd rather not discuss those.
    On the other hand then my main critique is that for all their claims they have not contributed much to the understanding of terrorism, irregular warfare and war in itself.

    Off course most off my information about this subject comes from blogs and articles as i did not have the chance of reading any of the books on the subject, so correct me if im wrong.

  16. #56
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Joske

    You're not wrong.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  17. #57
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    To paraphrase Lind:

    Whoever is first to coin, distribute, and become associated with an expression implying a generational change can gain a decisive advantage in professional prominence, book sales, lecture appearances and general name recognition. Those who recognize buzzwords for what they are open themselves to simply having to solve the problems in front of them, without demanding or attracting attention or recognition... which some would count as catastrophic defeat in the career world.

    Needless to say, I remain unconvinced that any generational change is actually in progress. That doesn't mean we aren't up to our eyeballs in a sticky wicket, but I don't see how erudite babble about generations, systems disruption, open-source warfare, etc, ad nauseam are going to help.

  18. #58
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default Other Forms Of Social Organization

    Some of the concepts of 4GW are important despite the rather strange name given to it. One is the concept that the Nation/State is the highest and most important form of Social Organization that people can use to govern themselves. And as we are seeing other forms of Social Organization are rising to challenge that concept.

    As for concrete guidance to follow Lind has pointed out more than once that he nor anybody else knows for sure, because nobody has ever won a 4GW at least they haven't yet.
    Last edited by slapout9; 09-14-2010 at 02:03 PM. Reason: fix stuff

  19. #59
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default From the article cited by Niel

    (emphasis added by JMM to the second "political"):

    As Hammes states: “Fourth generation warfare uses all available networks – political, economic, social, and military – to convince the enemy’s political decision makers that their strategic goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit....
    My comment deals solely with the political aspects of 4th-5th Generation warfare and not its military aspects (e.g., "swarming").

    My first problem is calling the "political, economic, social" effort "warfare". The use of the "military" (whether one calls it a network, system or something else) is likely to involve armed conflict (organized group violence) - and hence is "warfare". The "political, economic, social" elements (the DIE in DIME), on the other hand, are not as likely to involve violence (although some may occur), or to give rise to an armed conflict.

    Obviously, those DIE elements can occur concurrently with a military armed conflict (warfare); but they also can occur absent a military armed conflict (a point that Bob Jones also makes in somewhat different terms). Those political efforts are not well named as a part of "warfare", even though they may be coincident to an armed conflict (war). They are indeed a "struggle" (in terms similar to CvC's "struggle" between military opponents); but they are covered more in Sun Tzu's soundbites than in CvC's On War - and, of course, much more fully by such as Mao and Giap.

    Regardless of what that effort is called, it is intended to "convince the enemy’s political decision makers" to bend to the opponent's will. Thus, its aimpoint is not primarily the opponent's military (although that may be a target of agitprop and subversion), but the opponent's civilian (political) side. While there are some CvC basics involved, calling it "warfare" mixes the two efforts (political and military).

    The 4th and 5th Generation proponents should generally be given credit for preaching that there is a political struggle. That struggle can be ongoing and coincident to the military struggle in many armed conflicts (but not in all armed conflicts, they should add). Further, in the right circumstances, the political struggle alone can be successful, where resort to an armed conflict would not be. In the latter case (the political struggle alone), no "warfare" is involved at all.

    Regards

    Mike

  20. #60
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    589

    Wink 4th Generation airpower

    With all the talk of 4th, 5th and 6th (etc.) generational stuff I wonder where the "democratisation of technology" is leading us, perhaps cheap UCAVs for domestic and international insurgents?

Similar Threads

  1. The overlooked, underrated, and forgotten ...
    By tequila in forum Historians
    Replies: 49
    Last Post: 10-18-2013, 07:36 PM
  2. Afghanistan troop surge could backfire, experts warn
    By jkm_101_fso in forum OEF - Afghanistan
    Replies: 69
    Last Post: 09-06-2008, 10:43 PM
  3. Pedagogy for the Long War: Teaching Irregular Warfare
    By CSC2005 in forum Training & Education
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-02-2008, 11:04 PM
  4. War Debate Cited as Aiding al Qaeda
    By SWJED in forum US Policy, Interest, and Endgame
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-10-2007, 10:53 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •