Accession Number:



Identifying Conditions Present in Gray Zone Conflicts: A Structured Focused Analysis of Gray Zone Conflict

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



In 2014, Russian-speaking soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms seized the Crimean parliament building and other Crimean critical infrastructure. While uniformed and Russian-speaking, the Russian Government did not recognize these soldiers as their own. These non-flagged forces took control of the Crimean Peninsula, defeating the defending Ukrainians in a matter of days. Now colloquially known as little green men, these soldiers of the Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade secured strategic access to the Black Sea and ushered in a new form of an old game. This approach is known today as gray zone conflict, and though Russias actions caught the world off guard, the tools to potentially predict where it happens next exist within our collective history. As such, this research seeks to identify the conditions for a state to choose gray zone conflict over conventional conflict examining two case studies with a structured focus research methodology the Platine Conflict between Argentina and Brazil, and the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. While minor struggles compared to gray zone conflict between NATO and Russia today, they provide insight into the conditions present when a nation chooses gray zone conflict over conventional war to achieve geopolitical goals.


Subject Categories:

  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]