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Deterrence in the Human Domain: A COIN Framework to Deterring Unconventional Warfare in Shaping Operations

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Technical Report,05 Jun 2016,25 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Current adversaries of the United States are typically not willing to engage in a conventional conflict against a US partner nation without first shaping the environment by unconventional military action. This monograph examines how to deter such anticipated unconventional warfare threats, and argues that military activities involving operations to increase the popular will, such as information operations, positioning of forces and resources, and limited conflict, will have a deterrent effect within the human domain. Using the counterinsurgency framework of shape, clear, hold, build, and transition to conduct deterrence during shaping operations, this monograph provides an operational approach for friendly deterrence of an adversarys unconventional threat. To test this framework, this monograph analyzes a case study of how Russia will likely use unconventional forces and information operations to attempt to shape the human domain and legitimize a limited conventional action in Eastern Europe before the United States can react. This study of the contemporary Eastern European situation shows that the shape, clear, hold, build, and transition framework provides a better understanding of how the United States can organize operations to deter unconventional warfare. These operations can include the forward positioning of forces and resources, using IO to build the national will of a partner nation, and enabling limited conflict within the partner nation in the form of policing actions. The monograph concludes by analyzing the benefits and risks to applying the shape, clear, hold, build, and transition framework to UW deterrence.

Subject Categories:

  • Unconventional Warfare

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