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Old 02-02-2008   #1
SWJED
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Default Hybrid Warfare (merged thread)

Are We Ready for Hybrid Wars?

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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies has just released a new monograph that presents an alternative view of the character of warfare in the 21st Century. This new model argues that future conflicts will blur the distinction between war and peace, combatants and noncombatants.

Rather than distinct modes of war, we will face “Hybrid Wars” that are a combination of traditional warfare mixed with terrorism and insurgency.

Conflict in the 21st Century: The Rise of Hybrid Wars, by Research Fellow Frank Hoffman, summarizes the background and analysis of the changing character of warfare in our time. Examining the debate over the past decade about the evolution of modern warfare in the post Cold-war world, several thinkers have claimed that we were in the midst of a “Revolution in Warfare.” Hoffman takes this discussion to a new and much more mature level by recognizing that we are entering a time when multiple types of warfare will be used simultaneously by flexible and sophisticated adversaries. These adversaries understand that successful conflict takes on a variety of forms that are designed to fit one’s goals at that particular time—identified as “Hybrid Wars” in Conflict in the 21st Century...
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Old 02-03-2008   #2
William F. Owen
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I know Frank Hoffman very well so I'm going to have to get on to him about this. I suspect it's the price you have to pay when writing for people like "Institutes".

How is calling a "War", "Hybrid" helpful? The US Army/USMC can't get it's head around COIN v War, or like folks here, see COIN as discrete and distinct, so why say "Hybrid."

If there is all the discussion about COIN emphasis degrading "good ole" warfighting skills, then Hybrid is really going to cause panic.

If you are any sort of professional Army you have to deal with any form of armed conflict. It's all finite and well understood. There is no mystery. Why all the agonising?
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Old 02-03-2008   #3
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
I know Frank Hoffman very well so I'm going to have to get on to him about this. I suspect it's the price you have to pay when writing for people like "Institutes".

How is calling a "War", "Hybrid" helpful? The US Army/USMC can't get it's head around COIN v War, or like folks here, see COIN as discrete and distinct, so why say "Hybrid."

If there is all the discussion about COIN emphasis degrading "good ole" warfighting skills, then Hybrid is really going to cause panic.

If you are any sort of professional Army you have to deal with any form of armed conflict. It's all finite and well understood. There is no mystery. Why all the agonising?
Good question! If I may be so bold, I would like to point out that if we spent less time arguing the definitions of all of these terms and deciding whether war is "hybrid" or whatever we might avoid a good 40-70% of this malarkey. What does it matter if a war is "hybrid" or where COIN fits into the big picture. They are all conflicts of one sort or another and that is what is important (as William F Owen pointed out.) This obsession with categorization is inhibiting progress. This is not to say that it is not important for us to have definitions for terms, but we should not put form over substance.

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Old 02-03-2008   #4
Rob Thornton
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I think there is some utility in doing what Frank Hoffman has done - thinking about war is an endeavor to understand it - it gives us a basis to contemplate ideas and consider their implications. I'm not apt to get wrapped up in the term - he could have called it blended, mixed, etc vs. the term he chose - being blended. I think there is an interesting thing at work here though - "3 block war" had a linear feel to it - I never felt that was right, but neither could I come up with something I liked better to explain or discuss to others what was going on. "Hybrid" as a term may be closer to the mark - at least it starts to get at the idea of simultaneity.

More important is the thinking that goes on with explaining what he's getting at when he uses "hybrid" - the form in this case is just the wrapping for the function - which is to contemplate the nature of the wars we are seeing. While there may not be much new - again generals such as Slim, Wellington, Marion, Grant, Scipio Africanus, etc. have probably had to contend with some of the same types of conditions in their own campaigns and eras (I'd also add that they may have had to contend with some that we no longer have to, and possibly becuse of culture, technology, or other internal and external influences may not have had to contemplate some of those we now face) - however, we still have to do the nug work to consider how those things apply within the context of the conditions we see or anticipate to really appreciate what they mean.

There is also a question of the audience - not all the folks are going to have a very good frame of reference for understanding military operations - in fact they may never have served at all - however, they may be the ones making the policy choices which lead (or don't lead) to the use of military force to achieve a political objective. Its hard enough to get uniformed personnel to read complex theory or even good history on military affairs - let alone civilians. We sometimes must put things in writing in a manner that creates discussion, but can be digestible for both the professional and non- professional.

I plan on reading the full body tomorrow - I'm just too tired to do it tonight. What I'll try to do when I read it is what I've learned to do with all thoughts people have put down to be read - figure out what the author is trying to get across, and evaluate if I think he's right or wrong, why I think that, and what does it mean to me.

I've not met MR. Hoffman, but I've read a few things he's wrote, from what I've seen he's on a similar journey like many of us to better understand war, and benefit both himself, and what he believes in by doing so. We're not always going to come up with the right terms or definitions - and in some cases there might just not be any - the idea might just be too big to box, however, if you are going to have a discussion based largely on content - meaning through the written word - where animate, interactive discussion is hard or impossible - you have to get some kind of term or definition down - no matter how limited it may be - just to move the ball forward.

I'll comment more tomorrow after I've read it fully - after a good night's sleep.

Best, Rob

Last edited by Rob Thornton; 02-03-2008 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 02-03-2008   #5
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Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
- figure out what the author is trying to get across, and evaluate if I think he's right or wrong, why I think that, and what does it mean to me.
I don't think Frank is wrong, but I think it might not be useful, because he has not couched the idea of "Hybrid" conflict in a reality that can built upon in terms of doctrine.

EG: You have COIN, Hybrid, and War Fighting.

These are premised as being separate, discrete activities, that are part of a spectrum. - (Yes I know that makes no sense, yet that is what is conventionally suggested. Hybrid assumes a mix of two or more separate and discrete entities.)

Why not just suggest that as a professional army, you will have to fight many different types of enemies, with many differing aims and means. All the fundamentals stay the same.

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Its hard enough to get uniformed personnel to read complex theory or even good history on military affairs - let alone civilians. We sometimes must put things in writing in a manner that creates discussion, but can be digestible for both the professional and non- professional.
Good point, but this must be held to rigour in the same way other professions, such as medicine, or engineering. Because we don't we end up with 4GW, EBO and other clown-like "concepts" all claiming to shiny new better ways of doing stuff.
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- 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
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Old 02-03-2008   #6
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Question A question

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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
I don't think Frank is wrong, but I think it might not be useful, because he has not couched the idea of "Hybrid" conflict in a reality that can built upon in terms of doctrine.

EG: You have COIN, Hybrid, and War Fighting.

These are premised as being separate, discrete activities, that are part of a spectrum. - (Yes I know that makes no sense, yet that is what is conventionally suggested. Hybrid assumes a mix of two or more separate and discrete entities.)

Why not just suggest that as a professional army, you will have to fight many different types of enemies, with many differing aims and means. All the fundamentals stay the same.



Good point, but this must be held to rigour in the same way other professions, such as medicine, or engineering. Because we don't we end up with 4GW, EBO and other clown-like "concepts" all claiming to shiny new better ways of doing stuff.
Does anything think the whole new and shiny sales pitch and different terms all stems from the fact that in western culture we have taken the whole premise of how to get buy-in from superiors too far.

Almost everyone has those times when they recognize something that has been dealt with before and they learned about it but the only way they can get it across is to figure out a way for their leaders to make the idea their own.

How do you get change to take place or at least be understood without reshaping, renaming, or repackaging it in one form or another.

Just thinking about it
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Old 02-03-2008   #7
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Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
Does anything think the whole new and shiny sales pitch and different terms all stems from the fact that in western culture we have taken the whole premise of how to get buy-in from superiors too far.

Almost everyone has those times when they recognize something that has been dealt with before and they learned about it but the only way they can get it across is to figure out a way for their leaders to make the idea their own.

How do you get change to take place or at least be understood without reshaping, renaming, or repackaging it in one form or another.

Just thinking about it
Excellent points. Again, this is a major problem area for me, because in my understanding, albeit limited, I am not aware that you see the same thing in Philosophy for example. There, all the serious practioners have a very good understanding of all the serious work. In military thought,

a.) a minute amount of people have a good and clear understanding of the core works. EG: I doubt my own understanding of Clausewitz because I have had to study him in isolation. This means my understanding of Foch is not as clear as perhaps it should be, though I'd argue that with anyone on the planet, bar Robert Leonhard!

b.) There is no general or widespread acceptance of which core works and thinkers are or were useful. EG, you go from the Genius of Carl Von C, to the idioacy of Liddell-Hart, and end up with the irrelevance of Boyd.

c.) I am not aware (and there maybe, just I don't know it) of any academic of valid Military institute that actaully teaches classes or courses on Military Thought. Therefore, because it is not studied, the playing field is open to the concetp designers to play as they please.
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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

Last edited by William F. Owen; 02-03-2008 at 09:40 AM. Reason: anger, passion and irrationality
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Old 02-03-2008   #8
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I'm a believer that "war" is "war" is "war" and that all talk of counterinsurgency, hybrid, multi-modal, etc. should be unnecessary. However, I see all too often that many in the U.S. military think of "war" only as Gettysburg, the Battle of the Bulge, the seige at Khe Sanh, Desert Storm, initial push during OIF-I, etc. We all know that "war" involves much more. This is why I'm often a fan of using terms like "3 or 4 block war", COIN, "hybrid" war, etc. Much good comes out of the discussions and debates about the validity of these terms and thus forces many in the military to truly think about the characteristics of the wars we've fought and those that we'll fight in the future.

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Old 02-03-2008   #9
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
Why not just suggest that as a professional army, you will have to fight many different types of enemies, with many differing aims and means. All the fundamentals stay the same.
Hi Wilf, I think this is a very important point. It is not different types of wars but different types of enemies. An enemies cultural backround will heavily influence his methods of war but it is the person that is different not the war.
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Old 02-03-2008   #10
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Hi Wilf, I think this is a very important point. It is not different types of wars but different types of enemies. An enemies cultural backround will heavily influence his methods of war but it is the person that is different not the war.
Well COIN is counter-insurgency, and that is the fighting against insurgents. What always confuses me is that people think it is a type of conflict.

No enemy, no military action. - which is why I think the idea of the military action being only 20% of the solution is an aphorism based on a deep lack of understanding.

I think the most useful thing we can say about Hybrid Wars is drop the word "hybrid" and then we have a useful term on which to discuss ideas.
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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
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Old 02-03-2008   #11
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No enemy, no military action. - which is why I think the idea of the military action being only 20% of the solution is an aphorism based on a deep lack of understanding.
EXACTLY!!! that is why I say this Balderdash that Strategy is Ends,Ways and Means will get us killed if we don't change it. Enemies are People. This why I say Strategy is best understood as Motives, Methods and Opportunities.
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Old 02-03-2008   #12
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Two different things emerging on the SWC and the SWJ Blog - but we often have different audiences in each. I wanted to pull over my post fromthe blog to add to the discussion here.

Very thought provoking piece, here are some thoughts I got out of my first read.

Regarding, force structures, capabilities and alliances developed and sustained in order to implement strategies specifically to counter U.S. policy interests –I think he’s got a valid point – it comes with recognizing that no matter how you see yourself, other states and groups are going to have their own interests, and they will often run counter to yours – particularly if you espouse things they abhor. Even our closest allies don’t fully agree with us in a number of areas due to their own cultures and domestic politics, so when we see states and organizations finding they have more in common and more to gain by forming alliances to oppose us we should not be surprised.

This “band-waggoning” to pool resources is not new – what may be new is the influence that groups and individuals have, and the ability of geographically and culturally disparate groups to communicate with each other, as well identify how their short and long term interests are served by cooperating – this allows the formation of alliances and the synchronization of efforts in ways that were not possible or feasible 10-20 years ago – the liberalization of the western political and economic environment may have further enabled this allowing like minded enemies access to places, people and ideas that they did not have before. I’m not saying the latter is all bad either, or even a problem – much good has come out of that liberalization – however it is a condition we have to acknowledge – along with the notion that even when something is intended for good, those with a will, will find away to subvert its intended purpose – their own innovation and adaptation.

At the individual level - The speed to which the individual (or individual groups) can have an impact –from collecting more accurate information and disseminating it (could be a video sent through a cell phone network), to the time in which It can be analyzed and manipulated, then posted with new context to serve psychological purposes has increased. No argument there. However – what is the context? I think it means that non-aligned groups, opportunists have greater potential to reach out and participate in ways that while not directly serving the interests of our identified opponents, will cause up problems and drain our resources. They may work counter to both us and our opponents, but unless we can identify who they are, what their goals are, etc. we may confuse the issue and misjudge the conditions and environment – causing us to expend resources (time, money, people, etc.) toward things that are not part of the root problem, or that get us no closer to our objectives. To use an analogy, technology has raised the level of static or white noise we must see through to clearly identify who we should focus on – its kind of like global “Where’s Waldo”. In order to get better at finding Waldo – we’re going to have to find better ways of separating the chaff – this could be either through better analytics that are culturally and environmentally attuned, or by co-opting the white noise where we either find ways to look like Waldo ourselves while we hunt our enemies, or we make the white noise Waldo’s problem instead of ours.

The use of “preferred opponents” vs. “thinking” ones in describing our problem of prioritizing may not fully capture the problem. There is value in the statement if the measure of success is solely how much of a structure can I destroy – meaning inanimate objects to justify acquisition strategies, but the employers of the force don’t feel that way I think. Seems to me there are multiple conversations going on – there are conversations at the tactical, operational and strategic levels, as well as between them – then there seems to be the conversations between the regional COCOM CDRs and services and OSD, then there seems to be the ones between the latter and civilians. At different times context and the language which provides better answers gets reinterpreted for a number of reasons. The closer the inter-action with our enemies occurs, the more we consider our “thinking enemies”. The further away those conversations occur, the more it focuses on hardware and less on people. This may be more a condition then a problem that can be solved. I’d say it could be addressed by articulate uniformed folks making rounds in the halls of Congress –but it may not always be in somebody’s best interest to do so – I can yell as loud in my house as I want – but until I turn off Sponge Bob – my kids don’t seem to listen. This problem has been around since people invented politics though, and probably will not go away anytime soon –we just have to get better about how we work in those conditions.

I’m not sure that Marines are particularly more innovative then other services when the conditions in which they are working are roughly the same. SOF could arguably say they are the best innovators, etc. I think it might be better to consider the conditions which foster innovation – which are by and large ones where you either don’t have enough of something, don’t have access to something, or don’t have the right stuff. Arguably over the last seven years, we’ve seen adaptation and innovation across our military services, but maybe more so in the ground forces – just due to the nature of ground warfare (although other services serving in ground roles have been pretty innovative too). When we are not at war, and when OPTEMPO is low, and conditions don’t require us to make tough choices – Mr. Hoffman may have a point – the Marines did not have the largest service budget, but had to make some tough choices. I’m not sure that is accurate anymore – fighting a war changes that, and if we expect to be fighting for some time to come, then all the services are going to have to make tough choices, and all are going to have to be adaptive and innovative to mitigate the risk that comes with making tough choices.

.

Reference how to find Waldo – there are some things worth considering. One of the things that make finding Waldo easier is when you eyes become accustomed to pattern analysis – this means going beyond focusing on what is a pattern – be it intentional or otherwise, but extending it to recognizing what is not a pattern. Within the Waldo puzzle there are things that look “more” like Waldo, and things that look “less” like Waldo. Part of this gets into the whole issue of intuition and non-linearity, but you could also call it thinking beyond cookie cutter analytic tools. At first glance we tend to see allot of red & white – then we start to distinguish those blobs and develop a kind of Waldo hierarchy – until eventually we’re left with only a few choices.

There may be something worth considering when determining what we expend our resources on – in this case, even though something may not be Waldo – if it looks enough like Waldo – it may be worth going after, either to make finding Waldo easier, or to prevent it from replacing Waldo down the road – there are probably allot of variations in between. Going after these “like Waldos” does not mean we have to destroy them, it might mean we co-opt them (lots of shade under that tree) temporarily or more permanently. Notice I did not speak in absolutes – this is not a fire and forget – either the “like Waldos” become more like us and less like Waldo so that our interests remain more congruent, or down the road the “like Waldos” must be dealt with again.

With regard to making Waldo, and the “like Waldo” more at risk in their own environment – we need to figure out better ways to help the partner Host Nation develop security forces that are at home in their environment and look an awful lot like Waldo in order to better counter him. This is perhaps should be a good part of our strategy – and is one the enemy seems also to be engaged in.

Mr. Hoffman, I appreciate the effort that went into the piece, unless someone is willing to start a conversation, then the rest of us remain to degrees unengaged

Best, Rob

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Old 02-03-2008   #13
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Hey Slap,

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EXACTLY!!! that is why I say this Balderdash that Strategy is Ends,Ways and Means will get us killed if we don't change it. Enemies are People. This why I say Strategy is best understood as Motives, Methods and Opportunities.
I diagree - but only because I thnk it depends on interpretation of Ends, Ways and Means. It means something different depending on who you talk to and what their concerns are. I think motives, methods and opportunities is also useful - particularly at understanding the proximate type causes - but can be constraining if you are looking for long term causes that have morphed from their orignal impetus or relation - but the effect remains the same. It gets back to the linear, deterministic sense of history vs. the non-linear, contingent one.

Both (ends/ways/means & motive/method/opportunity) I think have their place - neither should exclude the other.

Best, Rob

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Old 02-03-2008   #14
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This is certain the "flavor of the week". We just read a monograph called "Square Pegs in Round Holes" by the Australian Land Warfare Study Center where the authors expound on their theory of "Complex Irregular Warfare (CIW)". According to the authors,

"the proponent will adopt some ora ll of the four tenets of traditional irregular wafare but wll also exploit contemporary society to further their ends. An adversary is likely to take advantage of globalization and use technology to attack or cripple a state."

Most people will agree that the majority of potential enemies do not want to fight the U.S. conventional on coventional force. That being said, it makes perfect sense that hybrid war or CIW harnesses the strengths of the attackers while maintaining the flexibility to exploit limited conventional means for offensive action. I do not think this is earth-shattering to anyone...while the methods of warfare always evolve, the nature does not. From Sun Tzu to P4, no one disputes understanding the background, the nature, the goals, and the culture of an enemy is important to develop an effective national strategy translated by the Operational level commander down to the tactical executors.

That being said, certain elements and leaders of the U.S. army were too slow to realize things had changed. Whether wedded to their traditional branch outlook, reliving the glory days of the cold war, or just refusing to see the changing methods of the enemy, these writers of "hybrid/CIW" are serving a useful function: they stimulate debate in the professional military communities. Whether you buy their theory or think its just another way to make some $$$ by publishing these articles, people ARE talking about it, having discussions, some heated, and walking away thinking about the problem. If anything, these think-pieces emphasize the necessity to frame a problem before we jump into planning. By taking the time to frame a problem before rushing into making the powerpoint slide or pulling up an old templated NSS or tactical order from time past, our planners and leaders have a better chance of gaining a much more in-depth understanding of the obstacles ahead.
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Old 02-03-2008   #15
Ron Humphrey
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Question On the Paper

I am still working on getting through the paper, because I do as several others have also stated, believe that getting the dialogue started is a large part of the greater battle to bring about understanding and consideration of the realities of warfare.

I think the term hybrid is a useful term due to the fact that it is a largely encompassing term requiring the user to look outside of one or two linear
lines of thought. There may also be the added benefit that so many in our current political structure associate it with progress in relation to their energy and automobile choices

It is this very fact however that concerns me more than much of the literature which is being created. Mr. Hoffman as well as others are doing everything they can to forward the considerations necessary to be effective as armed forces in the long run and for that I applaud their efforts. Were they not doing so it is absolutely certain, considering historic precedence, that the greater structure would change very little other than in the short term. That I'm afraid is human nature and as such must always be held close to the heart when trying to determine any way forward.

We all know that the effectiveness of our military directly correlates to the ability and agility of our commanders and and enlisted soldiers in the field to overcome adversity and utilize whatever they have available to accomplish the mission. It is this idea of getting political buy-in to understanding the need for a well diversified portfolio of capabilities and contingencies, and to hopefully provide financing and approval for these various operations that bothers me.

Yes at the base of it the military is subordinate to it's civilian leadership and that is as it should be. But by enlarging the pool of those to whom you try to sell your wares don't you also bring more into the decision making process than should be in the first place? Isn't that a fairly historic problem (IE: to many Team leads not enough teams )

If we have to engage in this manner in order to get our own leadership to adopt or at least accept it in some form than ok, but is there a point at which we limit the overall audience to whom we give authority to make the ultimate decisions. Am I wrong in thinking that for real change to be affected it is not always required to be understood at all levels. Rather it is primarily necessary to gain acceptance of ideas based on experience and repute of its presenters.

SME's (the original context, Been There Done That guys )

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Old 02-03-2008   #16
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Default War is a serious business.

As we all know. Therefor, it seems to me that it is incumbent on everyone who engages in warfare at any level, from the politician who sends units forth to the last Snuffy (yes, even him...) to read as much as possible on the topic and to discuss with others the various potentials and probabilities. Everyone who addresses war should be noted to the extent possible. Discussion is important but I've learned far more over a couple of drinks than I've learned in structured discussions. The important thing is to kick it around.

We are confronted with the fact that most of our political masters will not do this, therefor it's important that all practitioners do it and be thorough in their study so they can give the best possible advice. I think, though, that two thoughts should always remain in mind:

1. The theoreticians are human, that means they have experience (or not), education, heredity and environmental factors that have shaped them and their thoughts and thus, consciously or not, are subject to have some biases and possibly some gaps in knowledge. They also write for a specialist audience -- more frequently for other theorists than for practitioners --and thus these two factors can skew what they write or say and one is well advised to read or listen, evaluate and take that which ones instincts say are valuable while not hewing to anyone's line. That simply because no one has all the answers.

2. At the end of the day, you'll be on a hill watching your Division deploy to meet the Screaming Horde approaching at from 3 to 300 kilometers per hour. Or you'll deplane with your company or troop in the middle of nowhere with skulking opponents everywhere. Or you'll be on a lonely street at Oh-dark-thirty wondering whether to shoot the two vaguely human shapes that seem to be approaching you. None of the theoreticians will be there with you...
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Old 02-04-2008   #17
Mike Innes
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Default Hybrid, Mixed, Blended - or Chaoplexic?

Hi All. I just picked up on the release of Frank Hoffman's report today, and I'm on UK time right now, at 00:57, so won't be reading it until tomorrow. I noticed some of the discussion here got to the usual frustration with definitionalism, the utility of labeling, the utility of the label "hybrid", and so on.

Well, here's another to chew on: at a recent British International Studies Association (BISA) meeting, Antoine Bousquet, a new PhD graduate from the London School of Economics, presented what I thought was a pretty interesting paper on scientific metaphor in military thought.

More specifically, he gets into how the metaphors of four broad era in scientific developments/thought in the West have, in parallel, shaped military understanding of and approaches to war. The first three are fairly straightforward: clockwork/mechanical (ordered), thermodynamic (energetic), and cybernetic (think information and information loops). For the fourth era (now), he adapted a hybrid (!) term, chaoplexity, drawn from chaos and complexity theory and coined a little over a decade ago in a book entitled The End of Science: Facing The Limits Of Knowledge In The Twilight Of The Scientific Age.

Personally, I'm skeptical not of the uses of new labels and reconceptualization in general, but of overlabeling and relabeling the issues of now. A lot of the confusion and debate on what is and what isn't "new", I think, is gobbledygook longhand for "what we don't yet understand" and "insufficient historical hindsight to get a grip". In this case, though, I think Hoffman's work is worth considering; so's Bousquet's.

Here's the link to Bousquet's paper: www.bisa.ac.uk/2007/pps/bousquet.pdf

Thoughts?

Mike
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Old 02-04-2008   #18
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Hey Slap,



I diagree - but only because I thnk it depends on interpretation of Ends, Ways and Means. It means something different depending on who you talk to and what their concerns are. I think motives, methods and opportunities is also useful - particularly at understanding the proximate type causes - but can be constraining if you are looking for long term causes that have morphed from their orignal impetus or relation - but the effect remains the same. It gets back to the linear, deterministic sense of history vs. the non-linear, contingent one.

Both (ends/ways/means & motive/method/opportunity) I think have their place - neither should exclude the other.

Best, Rob

Hi Rob, I could probabaly live with that except for the fact that people cause crimes and wars based upon their motives. So to me any theory of war that makes any sense must hold that understanding the motive is the most fundemental and important of all, from that everything else will flow.
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Old 02-04-2008   #19
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Mr. Hoffman, I appreciate the effort that went into the piece, unless someone is willing to start a conversation, then the rest of us remain to degrees unengaged
I doubt there is anyone who does not appreciate the effort. Frank Hoffamn has a brain the size of a planet so I'll always listen (and he has had to sit and listen to me enough times!!). The paper asks a very valid question but....

I think we need ask, why we want to describe something in terms terms used. What Frank has held back from saying is that "the US/UK Forces may be too stupid to adapt."
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Old 02-04-2008   #20
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Post Finished it

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As we all know. Therefor, it seems to me that it is incumbent on everyone who engages in warfare at any level, from the politician who sends units forth to the last Snuffy (yes, even him...) to read as much as possible on the topic and to discuss with others the various potentials and probabilities. Everyone who addresses war should be noted to the extent possible. Discussion is important but I've learned far more over a couple of drinks than I've learned in structured discussions. The important thing is to kick it around.

We are confronted with the fact that most of our political masters will not do this, therefor it's important that all practitioners do it and be thorough in their study so they can give the best possible advice. I think, though, that two thoughts should always remain in mind:

1. The theoreticians are human, that means they have experience (or not), education, heredity and environmental factors that have shaped them and their thoughts and thus, consciously or not, are subject to have some biases and possibly some gaps in knowledge. They also write for a specialist audience -- more frequently for other theorists than for practitioners --and thus these two factors can skew what they write or say and one is well advised to read or listen, evaluate and take that which ones instincts say are valuable while not hewing to anyone's line. That simply because no one has all the answers.
This is why I find myself hesitant to sign off on consistantly re-terming and putting the information in different contexts until it gains acceptance By the time we get that buy-in, will what they heard or accepted be very similar to what we were trying to say at all?

I think about how so many have taken the phrase " there is not a military solution to Iraq " and it has been twisted and prodded to mean so many different things; many of which are not much help to us.

People hear, learn, or take what they want from dialogue thus the more they get to choose from the more the choices reflect what they want and not necessarily what is or was intended.

I have now finished the paper and all in all it speaks succesfully to much of what has and is being debated at echelons above reality. I cannot find much that doesn't ring true in many contexts, yet I would love to have seen them tie in how current international players much larger than Hezbollah and Hamas are truly utilizing the capabiliies of networking and synchronous irregular and more conventional warfare as well as many other aspects of the UW / IW / WK(who knows) what else n efforts to affect ,transform, or otherwise just plain make trouble in any and all ways possible in order to acheive their goals.
IE( Iran, Russia, AQ , Hezbollah, Hamas, Half a dozen groups minimum in Africa, Libya Etc)

If you bring answers to the table without the readers getting an eyefull of what it really means now, in your face then they will generally look at it from a predictive vantage point. And as most humans do they will figure that they are about as good at seeing the future as you are.

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2. At the end of the day, you'll be on a hill watching your Division deploy to meet the Screaming Horde approaching at from 3 to 300 kilometers per hour. Or you'll deplane with your company or troop in the middle of nowhere with skulking opponents everywhere. Or you'll be on a lonely street at Oh-dark-thirty wondering whether to shoot the two vaguely human shapes that seem to be approaching you. None of the theoreticians will be there with you...
You are as always eloquent in the simplicity of truth
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