4th Generation Warfare


 Failed states are governments that lack the monopoly of legitimate violence in their territories.  They cannot create the security mechanisms to control militant network growth. Self-funding non-state actors have become powerful military players – a problem that hasn’t been seen since the last era of Steppe nomad invasions.
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The War on Terror represents a new style of warfare by non-state actors using network tactics. Military scholars call this “Fourth Generation Warfare” but the general public still does not understand the conflict and the ways to win. Imagine if in 1943, Americans did not understand blitzkrieg tactics and advocated incorrect military responses to the threat. I propose a framework for analyzing this security threat.
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Defeating networks requires a comprehensive strategy.

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Non-state actors are the principle users of networks. They may be tribes, criminals, warlords, terrorists, insurgents, or religious cults. They blur political and legal boundaries so there is no distinction between offense and defense.

Networks use swarming tactics. Networks naturally disperse and evade their enemies. With skilled leaders, they rapidly converge on a target, attack it and then rapidly disperse before their enemy can respond. Their tactics are similar to the Steppe Horse Archers of the Middle Ages. Swarming tactics are ideal for disrupting a modern nation-state.
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In any society, people link together and self-organize into groups. Volunteer civic societies form as people find like-minded men to coordinate their activities. There are limits to network growth. Geography, communication, and transportation technology set the maximum distance a network can cover.
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Nonstate warfare will be one of the means of fighting wars in the 21st century.

It takes many appearances – crime, insurgency, terrorism, tribalism, etc.  These are not new threats, but modern technology has increased individual productivity and power allowing non-state actors to compete with nation-states.
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Terrorism and insurgencies are very expensive. They need money to buy weapons off the black market, hire freelance bomb-makers, communicate, transport men and material, and so on. Insurgent organizations can partially fund themselves through local crime and taxation, but their real source of income comes from abroad. They exchange services and money with drug smugglers, other insurgent groups, and otherwise work within the massive global black market.

Financial institutions and governments are trying to detect and stop money laundering to stop the growth of criminal and insurgent organizations.
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There are a few suggestions for reforming the intelligence community. Most of them are really bad bureaucratic plans.

The best ideas reform the funding for intelligence. This would make agencies more accountable and innovative if those responsible for them control the purse strings. Congress, of course, refuses to reform that because it removes power from the Appropriations Committee.
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Explosive-makers are skilled and highly-valued by insurgents and terrorists. They have to properly mix the chemicals in the right proportions to create a stable and usable explosive device.

Suicide vests, IEDs, and other bombs require skilled bomb-makers. Bomb-makers are spreading across the world. Many are contractors for hire on the global black market.
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Small Wars Journal has the video of Nagl’s interview.

David J. Kilcullen “New Paradigms for 21st Century Conflicts” describes the new way of warfare. The Industrial model of state to state conflict is largely in the past.

The new way of warfare destroys our older cultural and legal preconceptions of what warfare even is.
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What is the foundation of economic strength and power? Every society needs transportation, communication and resources. Wars are won through superior logistics and the economy grows for the same reason. The technology and needed resources change through time.

The Information Age is about the control of the Global Commons and this will be the battlegrounds of 4th generation warfare.
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John Robb’s The Coming Urban Terror warns that cities are the battleground of the 21st century. Economic structures in cities are extremely vulnerable to attack and collapse.

Centralized governments are unable to defend urban economies. Robb advises Americans to decentralized their security and government services to better withstand the coming storm.
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Globalization created a massive expansion of international economic flows. This has many advantages for specialization and comparative advantage. The problem is that the bad guys benefit too. Transnational Criminal Organizations have flourished. Criminals are more specialized and more productive than ever and globalization has given them the way to access a large economy of scale.

Transnational Crime threatens global trade networks and undermines the integrity of the nation-state system. Criminals fund insurgents and terrorists who distract or weaken governments to prevent interference with criminal operations. This is producing a series of exogenous shocks which can seriously disrupt or harm the world economy.
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Mexico’s worsening drug war is now being fought in American cities.

Welcome to the new generation of urban warfighting.

But with the Mexican government’s newly pledged war on the cartels, and an explosion of violence among rival networks, a new crime dynamic is emerging: The violence that has hit Mexican border towns is spreading deeper into the United States.

New Crime Dynamic? We’re talking about gangs armed with AK-47s, RPGs and IEDs. This is not a handful of pistol-armed gangs that Americans usually associate with criminal organizations.
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb criticized the 9/11 Commission for failing to learn the real lesson of terrorism and probability.

A Black Swan is an improbable event of severe magnitude. The Commission’s recommendations will not prevent another attack as they do not address the causes of future attacks.
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I think it’s time we reconsider the Prohibition of illicit drugs which have produced a number of negative consequences.

On the domestic side, this led to overcrowding of prisons with non-violent drug users (most marijuana), an inefficient waste of police resources, and a loss of civil liberties.

On the foreign side, the global illicit drug trade has fueled the rise of transnational criminal organizations and a massive global black market.
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The NYPD is using social network analysis to track possible homegrown terrorists. And it’s finding clusters in the social web.

Using the NYPD matrix, those officials say there are at least two dozen “clusters,” or “pockets,” of individuals in the region who are at various places along the path of radicalization.

This is being done through a community mapping model
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JD Johannes believes that the recent uptick in support for the war is linked to a recent increase in the percentage positive news in the media GRPs. A simple message “the surge is working” repeated often enough will rally public support.
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The new US Africa Command is basically one gigantic Provincial Reconstruction Team. AFRICOM is a joint military-civilian command designed for nation-building and peacekeeping missions. It will work closely with members of the State Department, US AID, other government agencies and the private sector.

Here are two testimonies to Congress. The first by Dr. J. Peter Pham, and the second by Theresa Whelan.(from the Tank)
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