Infinity Journal Volume 2, Issue 2, Spring 2012 - page 30

Volume 2, Issue 2, Spring 2012
Infinity Journal
Page 28
of recruitment and mobilization; but we can never hope for
such in America, unless some great national catastrophe
should befall to convince our people and their lawmakers
of the necessity for them; which God forbid!”[xviii] The point
is that strategic thinking must also account for more than
of the friendly force, it must account for the
of the friendly force.Who we are and why we fight
is at least as important as how we fight.
Wars are fought by people; wars do not do not consist of
just tactical systems squaring off against tactical systems.
Proper strategic thinking must always keep that in mind.That
is why the estimate of the situation—something professional
militaries have been doing formally for over a century,
and informally from time immemorial—includes mission,
friendly forces, terrain, weather, technologies,
The estimate of just the enemy includes strength, intentions,
morale, technologies,
tactical capabilities. Any strategic
thinking should include, at a minimum, all of those factors.
Hybrid warfare looks at just enemy tactical capabilities,
disconnected from the enemy himself.
Worse still, concepts like hybrid threats actually get in the way
of doing a full strategic estimate,because such concepts are
confusing, incoherent, and ubiquitous. American doctrine
writers and scholars have crammed so many pet theories into
the military lexicon that no reasonable person who adheres
to them could be expected to estimate anything anymore.
The proliferation of unclear concepts such as hybrid warfare
has made clear strategic thinking nearly impossible.
An Alternative Way to Look to the Future
Having roundly criticized hybrid warfare, we should
emphasize those areas where we agree with Hoffman.
We agree in the value of adaptability as an antidote to
uncertainty and complexity.We agree that the simultaneous
combination of means in novel combinations can produce
surprising synergistic effects. We agree that the entrenched
camps that have coalesced around the most likely
(counterinsurgent) and most dangerous (major combat
operations) future threats both provide an incomplete vision
for future security strategy.We also find that the full spectrum
operations concept is an unhappy compromise that tries to
be strong everywhere and is therefore nowhere strong, and
that resource constraints force difficult prioritization decisions
that must be based on rational anticipation of future threats.
We believe that black and white schemes for categorizing
conflict create conceptual blind spots at the seams that will
be exploited by an adaptive enemy. Our main disagreement
is that a hybridized blend of those flawed categories of war
does not provide a useful construct for strategic planning.
Hybrid warfare does not explain the history of war, nor is there
compelling evidence that it predicts its future. Indeed,“hybrid
warfare” is a misnomer, since it is not actually a type of
warfare. A more accurate, but substantially less marketable
label would be ‘convergent trends in tactics.’ Convergence is
a trend that has been heralded before in other fields, notably
information and communications technology.However,surely
reality follows a more subtle and complex trajectory than a
deterministic arc of convergence. As some boundaries blur
and previously distinct categories merge, new boundaries
are created and reinforced. Convergence and divergence
coexist and coevolve. So too,modalities or tactics continually
evolve and are recombined,but a strategy focused onmeans
is a strategy of tactics.To prepare for the future of conflict, the
concept of hybrid warfare is not required.
Current U.S.Army doctrine offers just one alternative example
of how to look at future threats and strategic thinking.
Hoffman is critical of the U. S. Army’s definition of hybrid
threats in doctrine. Hoffman is correct in noting that recent U.
S.Army doctrine uses hybrid threat to describe the character
of forces (traditional, irregular, and criminal elements), and
not simply modes of fighting.[xix] As should be evident by
now,we agree that this more general approach is better than
focusing on specific tactical capabilities. For example, in U.S.
Army Doctrine Publication 3-0, Operations, hybrid threats are
defined as “the diverse and dynamic combination of these
forces, irregular forces, terrorist forces, criminal elements, or
a combination of these forces and elements all unified to
achieve mutually benefitting effects.”Like Hoffman’s definition,
ADP 3-0 agrees both state and non-state actors can present
hybrid threats, and that emerging technologies and the
employment of proxy forces blurs lines between threats that
simplistic categorization schemes portray as distinct, ideal
types of conflict. But unlike Hoffman, ADP 3-0 does not focus
on hybrid threats as modes of tactics, nor does the manual
focus solely on hybrid threats.The manual explicitly identifies
non-state entities wielding weapons of mass destruction and
coalitions of nation-states and ideological actors as potential
Such a broad understanding of potential enemies might
seem to push the military back into the trap of preparing to
fight everything everywhere.But there is an essential difference
in the new doctrine. Unified Land Operations, the operating
concept in which Army Doctrine Publication 3-0 is based,
emphasizes commanders and planners need to understand
the character of the friendly force,
the character of the
threat. Based on this perspective, the operating concept
guides adaptive leaders and planners in developing
operations that will not simply encompass a reaction to the
threat but will leapfrog to seizing, retaining, and exploiting the
initiative, thus helping set the conditions for favorable conflict
resolution. By transcending specific tactics, this approach
allows leaders to be proactive instead of reactive, because
they are not focused solely on responding to specific enemy
When it comes to looking to the future, if you prepare military
leaders to understand that potential enemies,collectively but
not individually,have the potential of using multiple strategies
and tactics, and that individually they may use some clever
but not infinite combinations of strategies and tactics, then
they will truly be prepared to face any future threat.The point
is to prepare and enable our forces to fight and win wars, not
give them bogeymen to chase into the night.
simultaneous combination of means
in novel combinations can produce
surprising synergistic effects
Why Hybrid Warfare is Tactics Not Strategy
Dan G. Cox,Thomas Bruscino & Alex Ryan
1...,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29 31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38
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