Some Thoughts on Irregular Warfare
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF INTELLIGENCE
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Westerners, with their superior technology and organization, have been killed for a long time by primitives or savages whose style of war the Westerners misunderstood and whose skills exceeded those of the West in irregular wars. Irregular warfare is the oldest form of warfare, and it is a phenomenon that goes by many names, including tribal warfare, primitive warfare, little wars, and low-intensity conflict. The term irregular warfare seems best to capture the wide variety of these little wars. Such wars plague much of the non-Western world, and they will increasingly claim the Intelligence Communitys attention. Since World War II, by one count, there have been more than 80 irregular conflicts. They include civil wars in Rwanda and Somalia, guerrilla wars in Sudan, and rebellions in Chechyna they involve irregular elements fighting against other irregular elements, regular forces of a central government, or an external intervention force. The acquisition and use of modern military technology is often seen as a solution to the problems of warfare in the late 20th century, with information warfare the latest example. Irregular warfare, however, remains confoundingly unaffected by changes in technology. In an irregular conflict, sociology, psychology, and history will have more to say about the nature of the conflict, including its persistence and intensity.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare