Accession Number:



The Wicked Game: Planning for Nonlinear Warfare

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2018,31 May 2019

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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As the United States realigns its military ways and means to deter and defeat the nations near-peer adversaries in large-scale combat operations, the United States must not overlook its adversarys capability to employ nonlinear warfare to achieve political objectives. Both China and Russia are attempting to expand their regional and global influence while countering US global influence. This occurs primarily through the information and cyber domains. The employment of cyber and information technologies provides Russia and China with an asymmetric advantage over the West. Both nations acknowledge the value of the cyber and information domains, which is reflected in emerging Chinese and Russian nonlinear warfare doctrine. The Russian incursion into Ukraine and Chinese activities within the South China Sea provide recent examples of their nonlinear doctrine in action. To assist in meeting these challenges, the US military should consider adapting its operational art framework to assist planners in developing campaign plans that are distinctively suited for defeating nonlinear threats. A planning framework for countering nonlinear threats requires an operational art framework for comprehending these ill-structured problems. Designing campaigns to counter nonlinear warfare specifically within the cyber and information domains requires planners to use a grammar unique to this type of conflict.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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