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Conquest from Within: A Comparative Analysis between Soviet Active Measures and United States Unconventional Warfare Doctrine

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Technical Report,01 Jul 2014,01 May 2015

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth

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Contemporary national security challenges demand the continued development of options to best understand and address irregular threats. Unconventional Warfare UW, traditionally a Special Operations Forces core activity, has served U.S. strategic interests in a variety of operational environments. Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet active measures campaign against the U.S. paralleled the U.S. doctrinal concept of UW in many ways, and provides a non-U.S.-centric case study in understanding a highly complex, long-term campaign approach to influence and subversion. This thesis presents a comparative analysis between active measures and the current U.S. doctrinal framework of UW in order to develop a better common understanding of an irregular strategy increasingly evident in the contemporary operational environment on the part of both state and non-state adversaries. This thesis also develops and presents an amended definition for the term active measures, terminology for assessing UW-like operations from a non-U.S.-centric perspective, and provides recommendations for further research and consideration.

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