Quick Thoughts on Hybrid Warfare & Gray Zone


On March 20, 2016 I shared a few quick thoughts on “hybrid warfare,” “gray zone,” other shorthand, and the threats the U.S. faces today via Twitter.  I felt the need to archive these tweets here in case I need them in the future.  I hope you find them useful.

  Hybrid warfare & gray zone are terms developed in an attempt intellectually categorize the actions of Russia & Violent Extremists.

  These terms also likely play well on Capitol Hill when it comes time for authorizations & appropriations.

  None of this is new.

  It is natural for one group to try to diminish another in a manner that has a high probability of ensuring the former’s survival.

  More & more I dislike the “Modifier + Warfare” construct.

  Modifier examples are Guerrilla or Hybrid or Cyber or Economic added to the term Warfare.

  To me, & I suspect others, “war” still implies violence & the military in the lead.  It also implies a beginning, a middle, & an end.

  Also, today’s threats, at least those the U.S. faces, aren’t going to be solved by “warfare” alone, as it has been traditionally envisioned.

  This leads us to the term “DIME” or Diplomatic, Informational, Military, & Economic instruments of power.

  The problem is that some have taken a mnemonic far beyond its original intent — to help people remember the instruments of national power.

  Based upon all this what can we do?

  Mindset-wise I think we need an overarching phrase, acceptable across the whole of government, that breaks down barriers across the DIME.

  For now I am going with this, at least in my own lexicon…  We’ll see how it plays beyond me thinking it is a good idea.  :-)

  “Governments conduct national security activities to gain decisive advantage over those who seek to diminish them.”

  I borrowed the “decisive advantage” part from ADM McRaven’s “relative superiority” definition in his outstanding book.

  “Activities” is useful because it includes what the military & non-military portions of the Executive Branch do.

  “National Security” is useful because it differentiates the internally-focused portions of the Executive Branch from the externally-focused.

  It also doesn’t include “warfare” & all the things that come with that term.

  So stay tuned if you feel so inclined.  I may tweet more about this in the future.  Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend!  :-)

Categories: National Security, Quick Thoughts
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