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The Triangle Offense: Using Social Movement Theory to Analyze Russia's Gray Zone Strategy

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Technical Report,01 Aug 2016,15 Jun 2017

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NDU/JFSC Joint Advanced Warfighting School NORFOLK United States

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Social Movement Theory SMT, which came into being during the 1960s, is a compact model for analyzing organizations pursuing political objectives. Using the tripartite structure of ideological framing, resource mobilization, and political opportunity, academics and practitioners use SMT to analyze everything from civil rights groups to religious insurgencies. However, there is no existing SMT application to the gray zone, which represents one of the greatest challenges facing the United States today. This thesis reviews the current literature on both the gray zone and SMT, creates an SMT analytical model, and then applies the model to case studies on Russia and Ukraine. Under proper analysis, SMT can identify existing sources of tension in a gray zone adversary, likely vulnerabilities in a target region, and potential countermeasures for senior strategists and commanders.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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