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Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW)

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Free Chicken Dinner RRS 2 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #22235
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Identifying disharmonies through intersections and potential consequences.

    Intersections

    Perhaps the best way to search out and identify potential disharmonies among levels is to think of two intersecting games of three‑dimensional chess. A single game of three-dimensional chess is challenging enough, in terms of the possible moves it offers. Now, imagine a single three-level game, representing the three classical levels of war, with another three-level game slashing through it at an angle. The second game represents Boyd’s levels of war, the physical, the mental and the moral. The complexity and the demands it makes on decision-makers are daunting. But it is in just such a complex atmosphere that practitioners of Fourth Generation war must try to identify and avoid disharmonies among levels.

    Another way to think of intersection among levels is to picture Fourth Generation war not as a matrix but as a shifting “blob.” The blob may shift, so slowly as to be imperceptible or with stunning speed, into as many different shapes as can be imagined. Each shift represents changes on both the strategic/operational/tactical and moral/mental/physical axes. Again, the variety of shapes illustrates the complexities of relationships among levels, along with potential disharmonies that can be exploited.

    However you choose to picture intersections among the classical and new levels of war in your own mind, the basic point remains the same: all actions, even the smallest, must be considered with great care and from a variety of perspectives lest they have unintended consequences on other (and possibly higher) levels. Fourth Generation war demands not only the strategic corporal, but the moral corporal as well, enlisted Marines who think about every action they take in terms of its moral effects.

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #22237
    Profile photo of Andrew
    Andrew
    Participant

    the basic point remains the same: all actions, even the smallest, must be considered with great care and from a variety of perspectives lest they have unintended consequences on other (and possibly higher) levels.

    And there in lies the rub. The whiz kids who decide what policy will be cannot begin to understand the unintended consequences because they have never been there, haven’t been instructed in the realities on the ground, and aren’t interested in listening to those who have the knowledge and have actually been there. The other things that hurt are the “the end justifies the means” thinking or, on the other hand the the evermore present “political correctness” bovine scat.

    Plus, you have many at the O-6 level and above who will go along to get along.

    #22239
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    …“the end justifies the means”…

    That line of reasoning is one of the greatest problems those that support Rightful Liberty face.

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #22241
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    This is the problem with the vast majority of Americans when they start discussing war. All of this is 100% predicated on an erroneous outlook on warfare, and what successful warfare looks like. There are only two types of victorious kinetic wars. Those of annihilation and punitive.

    Annihilation warfare is where the other side, be it a nation(political identity) or a cultural/ethnic identity is completely wiped from the face of the earth. This usually entails killing off the vast majority of the enemy armed forces and citizenry, and integrating the few survivors into the victor. The nice thing about war’s of annihilation, you only have to win once.

    Punitive warfare is more limited in that it seeks to destroy the enemies ability to project force, and retard it’s internal infrastructure. The idea is to put to rest any question as to which side would be the victor after armed conflict, and make the conflict so severe that the enemy population would never risk another punitive war to befall them. Raze it to the ground, turn to the survivors and say “Leave us in peace, or we will return.” Historically it takes several punitive wars to get the message across.

    I am drunk and slapping your sister around at the other end of the bar. Rightly so, as her kin and the only real man in the place, you come pound the aggression out of me. Do you then follow me to the hospital? Pay for my dental work? Convince me of your moral superiority and ensure that we are now on friendly terms. Nope.

    2 months later it happens again. You respond in the same manner perhaps a bit more severely. Now, I realize that every time I mess with you, or yours that I am going to lose the fight that is coming and be on my way to the hospital again. That means medical bills for me, lost time at work, perhaps permanent disfigurement. I can’t risk that again.

    So, why when we invade another country that poses some sort of outside threat, or allows a threat to incubate within it’s jurisdiction, do we need to rebuild the infrastructure, and set up some functioning “democratic” and western friendly government. Why is the population required to become “western friendly” or democratic, or peaceful even? If that is “success” in warfare, then America will never have a successful war. It sure as shit is not how the Romans did it…

    If we do not chose wars of annihilation, the other option is punitive war. Invade, decimate the offender’s military force and civil infrastructure. Stay only log enough to spread severe devastation. Then leave. No “nation building”, no re-arming a police or military force, no attempt at a puppet government. If it means civil war for them when we leave, all the better. More devastation at no cost to me.

    Eventually the populations begin to understand. Not only must they build a political system which is non-threatening to the west, but they cannot tolerate any sub-culture, religious, ethnic or other identity within that system that threatens west. Whatever overarching identity it is begins to self-regulate for it’s own survival.

    At no time in the insurgencies of Iraq or Afghanistan was the enemy able to prevent American forces from going where they wished. There is not one city, mountain, field, or home that the Americans cannot reach. These insurgencies can only be considered “successful” in that they cause casualties to an occupier, in an attempt to gain “moral” victories. But at no time did this result in any strategic military gain. There should be no occupation. Only an assault, followed by a holding action long enough to devastate the area and take anything that may be useful. Then leave them with only the ashes.

    Will that breed contempt? Yes. What love did they have for western ideals, societies, or America in particular in the first place? You think we can change their culture? You think they can set up “democracy”? You think they can could ever like us? Do you actually believe that Islam does not command them to make war on non-believers and enslave any that the capture? You think war is justified because we can make things better for the average “Iraqi” or “Afghan”?

    No, war is justified for just one reason. It’s to enter the homes of our ancient enemies, as the blood of their kin drips from our brows and resolutely say,

    “This, is the price of your Jihad.”

    #22243
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    You raise some good points.

    I think it is obvious that we as a Nation do not have the stomach for “annihilation warfare” regardless of the morality issues involved.

    Let’s consider your definition of punitive warfare.

    Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    Punitive warfare is more limited in that it seeks to destroy the enemies ability to project force, and retard it’s internal infrastructure. The idea is to put to rest any question as to which side would be the victor after armed conflict, and make the conflict so severe that the enemy population would never risk another punitive war to befall them. Raze it to the ground, turn to the survivors and say “Leave us in peace, or we will return.”

    How might we modify this to achieve our goal, yet minimize the production of new enemies.

    Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    I am drunk and slapping your sister around at the other end of the bar. Rightly so, as her kin and the only real man in the place, you come pound the aggression out of me.

    At this point I haven’t necessarily added more enemies by keeping it to a simple beating of the attacker. I wouldn’t even consider providing any aid to you since your injuries are the price of your own actions.

    Let’s modify this story somewhat…

    Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    I am drunk and slapping your sister around at the other end of the bar.

    …in this version I am not there, but it is reported to me afterward.

    So I am now in search of you, I discover you live in a densely populated neighborhood and reside with a family member and their children.

    Well using 4GW principles, I can’t drop a JDAM (ok maybe a Molotov) on you at home because it would affect the neighbors, not to mention the the negative reaction to the uninvolved family. A predawn raid would terrify family (particularly the children) and possibly neighbors creating fear.

    But fear and hate are closely related, and if the local population ends up hating us, that works toward our strategic defeat.

    The 4GW morality to this situation requires a surgical approach, not a hammer!

    So the simplified solution is to deal with you away from other collateral damage (Physical, Mental, Moral).

    Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    So, why when we invade another country that poses some sort of outside threat, or allows a threat to incubate within it’s jurisdiction, do we need to rebuild the infrastructure…

    We don’t!

    Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    …and set up some functioning “democratic” and western friendly government. Why is the population required to become “western friendly” or democratic, or peaceful even?

    All attempts at influencing the government chosen is doomed to failure.

    After eliminating the threat we have to choose whether to remain in a attempt to stabilize or immediate withdrawal. Either works for me, the only reason to stabilize is if you believe you can achieve (not force) at least a neutral outcome.

    So let’s step away from the current GWOT and it’s mishmash of strategies.

    4GW will not work at this time by U.S. and Coalition forces, because there is no desire for it!

    So where do I believe 4GW has potential?

    Initially the Local level following an “Event” which in turn can grow until a State or Region emerges from the ashes.

    Additionally those who support Rightful Liberty could make effective use of it in the as yet hypothetical fight against a Tyrannical Government.

    If this 4GW discussion continues; then it’s merits will become evident for this possible role, should there be sufficient interest.

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #22248
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Note: This reply is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    How might we modify this to achieve our goal, yet minimize the production of new enemies.

    Here’s the crux of the matter.

    4th Generation warfare applies internally. You cannot pull back from the territory, or the people because, well, it’s your territory and it’s your people. Popular support matters.

    There is no room for conducting 4th Generation Warfare on foreign soil that the invading country does not care to rule. That, is the wheelhouse of a colonial power. If America fights foreign wars it should be using 3rd Generation warfare, with goals deigned Annihilation, or Punitive. (Of course, you conduct punitive wars enough it ends up with annihilation results…) Popular support amongst the invaded does not matter if you are trying to wipe out the population completely, or destroy their ability/will to project force.

    Frankly, you can JDAM, wooly pete, and midnight door kick all you want over there. It is not going to result in a significant increase to the “Death to America” population. That, has been a myth all along, perpetuated by “policy” makers who want to convince the “conflict ignorant” that we can go ahead and fight a war, kill off a few bad guys, and make an ally by default.

    The entire reason that Kinetic Islam finds support and sanctuary over there is because the host population is predominantly behind it, and has been for millennia. For those that are “indifferent”, they are a small minority.

    #22250
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    There is no room for conducting 4th Generation Warfare on foreign soil that the invading country does not care to rule.

    I think there is room for a neutral reduced threat outcome, however at present I am more concerned with our domestic situation than I am with how 4GW could hypothetically be used overseas in GWOT.

    In fact given our current and possible near future Leadership it becomes completely mute and only of some academic value.

    I do continue to believe that 4GW has much to offer Armed Citizen’s in a “Post Event” scenario.

    Note: This quote is not by Max, but is from a former participant.

    Popular support amongst the invaded does not matter if you are trying to wipe out the population completely, or destroy their ability/will to project force.

    Neither of which is our apparent goal, so again it’s only of academic value with the exception that Coalition lives are being wasted for little more than a distraction and propaganda purposes.

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #22258
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Let us not forget the money being made by the military industry creating marvelous and expensive high tech whiz bang things to fight guys in flip flops, carrying rifles designed 60 years ago. Damn the expense, nothings to good for our boys! Of course none of their boys are fighting the bad guys.

    #22265
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    We Never Said This Would be Easy

    At this point, Marines may find themselves saying, “My head hurts.” Remember, because war draws forth the ultimate in human powers, it is also the most complex of human activities.

    War is not a football game, nor is it merely an expanded version of a fistfight on the school playground. Because Fourth Generation war involves not only many different players, but many different kinds of players, fighting for many different kinds of goals (from money through political power to martyrdom) it is more complex than war between state militaries. Attempts to simplify it that do so by ignoring complex elements merely set us up for failure.

    There is plenty of potential to critique the GWOT and what should/could have been done differently, but as I have already stated it is mostly academic. Even if we could somehow achieve the perfect GWOT solution here, by what miracle would it see the light of day!

    My interest in discussing 4GW here is the possible use by Armed Citizens in a “Post Event” situation.

    Of course feel free to make any comments you feel adds to the discussion.

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #22463
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous
    #22464
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Yea, it literally came out yesterday. Available in Kindle format at Amazon for $6.99, not sure when/if hard copies will be available.

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #23390
    Profile photo of Free Chicken Dinner
    RRS
    Participant

    I read a short bit of Handbook in an anthology and I am going to put it in my reading queue. While as Diz says Lind and Thiele are putting this out there to increase the MC’s mission capability in the sand traps of Islam I will go with what G.W.N.S. is writing about reverse engineering it. You want to know why, because I don’t want to turn my town into Berlin 1945 in order to secure victory or whatever goal I have.

    And one more thing as we go forward and we address domestic instability and encroaching tyranny the term “Fourth Gen Warfare” might not be the term to use for two reasons off the top of my head. First using the word war will alarm people who basically think vote GOP and hope, but who should be our allies, and secondly when you use the word war conservatives have been trained for decades to think surrender on the USS Missouri and they refuse to think otherwise.

    An example, Sam Culper was using the terms Intelligence Prep of the Battlefield and I suggested to remove battlefield and replace it with the word community, that should be self explanatory.

    Tactical training for Liberty, Fraternity, Excellence

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