Elusive Armies and Invisible Hands: Combining Conventional and Guerrilla Forces from 1776 to the Present
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the performance of hybrid forces - forces containing both irregular and regular components - in protracted, theater-level campaigns. It seeks to determine how the hybrid force commander should employ his force to achieve the highest probability of operational success. Accepting that force efficiency is the critical path to operational success, this research focuses on the role of two variables which are often in tension in hybrid forces coordinating the efforts of the two components, and decentralizing the, operations of the irregulars. It explores the influence of these variables in four historical hybrid campaigns. This study demonstrates that the most efficient hybrid force is created by high degrees of both coordination and decentralization. Hybrid forces shaped by these variables maximize costs inflicted on the enemy, while minimizing costs incurred by themselves, by exploiting the enemys dilemma over whether to disperse to quell the hybrid irregulars, or to concentrate to defeat the hybrid regulars. This research also suggests, however, that coordination and decentralization will only produce the most efficient hybrid force possible when that force enjoys two preconditions in the theater of war local popular support, and minimum strategic vulnerability for the regulars.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare