The American Way of Irregular War. An Analytic Memoir
RAND CORP ARLINGTON VA ARLINGTON United States
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American irregular warfare is the United States unique, and in recent times troubled, approach to conflict in which armed civilian or paramilitary forces, and not regular armies, are the primary combatants. In most forms, it emphasizes the importance of local partnerships and gaining legitimacy and influence among targeted populations. It is thus a critical capability in contests where populations, rather than territory , are decisive. This analytical memoir draws on my nearly four decades of experience in the U.S. Army to explore the strengths and limitations of Americas current irregular warfare capability and provide recommendations for what the United States must do to develop the world-class American way of irregular war it needs. I wrote this memoir because I remain deeply troubled by the fact that the United States has failed to achieve its strategic objectives in nearly every military campaign in which I was involved. Time and time again I saw tremendous success at the tactical level, whether it was the war on drugs in Bolivia, peace enforcement in Bosnia, counterinsurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, or partnered counterterrorism operations in Lebanon and Yemen.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics