Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / New in the military / Articles
4GW as a means of conflict resolution in the age of globalization
Material posted: -Publication date: 10-11-2010

Military-political leadership of the United States in recent years have managed to gain significant practical results effective use of new strategies of conflict in a global world.

The most important forms and methods of such warfare are: terrorism, guerrilla war, the revolutions, provoking economic crises and etc. practical results was the initiator of a new wave of interest from foreign military experts to the problem of improvement of scientific-methodical bases of conflict in conditions of deep transformation of modern society under the influence of globalization processes and understanding of the concept of "fourth generation warfare" (4GW).

The analysis of military experts of the Pentagon indicates that military-political leadership of the United States in recent years have managed to gain significant practical results effective use of new strategies of conflict in a global world. The most important forms and methods of such warfare are: terrorism, guerrilla war, the revolutions, provoking economic crises, etc. an Essential element of improving the efficiency of a new type of warfare is the strategic rivalry used to control the behavior of the opposing party.

Practical results was the initiator of a new wave of interest from foreign military experts to the problem of improvement of scientific-methodical bases of conflict in conditions of deep transformation of modern society under the influence of globalization processes and understanding of the concept of "fourth generation warfare" (4GW).

Previously, the interest was already manifested in the early 90-ies (the term 4GW first appeared in the literature in 1989) of the last century and was connected with attempts to develop a new military strategy to achieve military and political objectives in the global world. The present surge of interest in the subject due to the practical experience of implementation of the strategy in 4GW operations of U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The basis for the definition of 4GW is based on the idea that this generation includes all forms of conflict, in which one of the parties is unwilling or unable to use traditional (symmetric) means and methods of warfare, relying on unconventional asymmetric means. In this regard, experts note that everything that had previously come under the definition of "terrorism" and "guerrilla warfare", etc., today included in the concept of 4GW.

The basis for the formation of the basis of 4GW are, in the opinion of experts, not a traditional interstate contradictions, and the political, social and moral revolution: a crisis of legitimacy of the state, as a backbone structure of past historical eras (industrial and postindustrial society).

The fact that the basis of the origin of 4GW are, mainly, political, social and moral motives, as well as a General reduction of state influence means that there is no purely military way of parrying the threats associated with the conduct of 4GW. Military force is unable to independently, in isolation from other methods of warfare (primarily, information) to contribute to the restoration of the legitimacy of the state. Experts emphasize that this is most evident in the case when the applied military force belongs to another state (intervention and occupation). In this case, the very presence of foreign military forces undermines the legitimacy of the state that it seek to maintain. This, according to experts, happened in Iraq.

Experts believe that the new approach to the formation of military strategy important is the understanding that in 4GW traditional military power loses its importance, moreover, in some cases it becomes even dangerous, and effective means are political, diplomatic and economic. In this regard, experts stress that one of the most important forms of opposition in terms of 4GW is the confrontation of the information.

However, despite some unique features of the war remain 4GW wars in the traditional sense of the term as remains, to subjugate the enemy's own free will. However, the primary means of achieving this goal is not so much a force on the enemy, much of the information-psychological impact, aimed at depriving the enemy's will to resist.

The main forms of warfare the fourth generation will be terrorism and low intensity conflicts.

Given the fact that the war of the fourth generation blur the line between civilian and military personnel, we should expect the growth of terrorist acts against the civilian population. Moreover, they should be considered not as an isolated terrorist acts of the past, and as elements of a coherent strategy of asymmetric warfare aimed at achieving the strategic goals of the warring parties.

Experts note that the transformation of modern society has led to the fact that terrorism, guerilla warfare and other such methods of warfare became the basis of a new stage of military art. It is important that such methods focus not so much on the military abilities of the enemy, but also directly against the will of the enemy to resist. All operations 4GW should pursue that goal. In the most developed form 4GW no real battles, and the struggle is effects: who can calculate the effects of higher orders, and he will win in 4GW.

The main characteristics of 4GW experts note the following:

- the conflict is asymmetric: one of the parties to the conflict - transnational organization (not associated with any particular government, otherwise, according to experts, there is a mutiny, which has always had international elements), and the second traditional state;

- the main objective of the strategy of non-state player is not forceful destruction of the state, and the moral destruction of the state, i.e. deprivation of his leadership and the population the desire to fight.

However, experts note that the war of the fourth generation in the near future will not replace completely the conflicts of the second and third generation, but will coexist with them as long until one of the parties of the conflict is the state.

It is noted that in the context of 4GW is still three levels of planning and control of forces and means: tactical, operational and strategic. However, they are all affected by the transformation and significantly changed features of 4GW. The difference, in particular, is that if the scope of the strategy was the area of activity of the senior military leadership, in terms of 4GW enough often there are such situations when individual combat unit or unit tactical level can be used to achieve strategic goals. This is especially true when planning and conducting strategic information operations using global media (this technique is often used for the preparation of production reports CNN from Iraq).

Experts also note another characteristic of 4GW: the number of effective actions at the tactical level, it can be counter-productive at the operational and, especially, at the strategic level. Such a conclusion was made from the experience of the Iraq campaign, when the massive and successful use of force at the tactical level led to an increase in resistance at the operational level and the tightening of the entire campaign at the strategic level.

According to experts, planning 4GW represents a particular challenge for operational art. The Foundation of operational art in classical military strategy is to properly plan tactical operations against critical nodes in the enemy's defense to solve problems on the operational level. However, the operational and especially strategic centres of the enemy in 4GW conditions almost invincible: such centers may simply not exist due to total slavishly the entire structure of warfare, and those that exist usually are outside the area of responsibility of military leaders planning operations at the operational level. In such circumstances, the operational art of losing, and in some cases completely disappeared.

Experts note that to the extent that uses the firepower of a modern army, crushing the enemy, destroying its manpower, civilians and leading to victory on a physical level, to the same extent physical victory brings us closer to a moral defeat. In this context, the moral level of planning operations 4GW is much more important than traditional physical layer.

Speaking of 4GW experts are revisiting the concept of operations based on effects, planned and carried out in three areas: physical, psychological and moral. Any disharmony among levels creates planning opportunities that will be promptly used by the enemy in the conditions of conducting 4GW. In this context, experts point to the lack of experts able to plan such actions. Experts stress that 4GW is typical, so-called "power of weakness": in 4GW the weak often have more power and capabilities than strong.

Practical conclusions made on the results of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to understanding of necessity of formalizing the accumulated knowledge in the area of 4GW. This led to the fact that several years ago a number of military experts has begun to develop draft statutes, defining basic concepts, forms and methods of warfare in the conditions of warfare the fourth generation, which indicates a fairly high level of scientific elaboration of the problem.

In developed statutory documents the basis for the confrontation of the new generation will again be based on operations on the basis of effects. The process of planning and conducting such operations will be based on a detailed analysis of possible effects, and the most important will be considered the effects of higher orders.

In addition, given the significance of planning operations on the basis of effects in order to achieve maximum efficiency of the whole complex of measures in the past, we are actively working on issues related to the organization of training, can adequately evaluate the characteristics of interventions that take into account diverse effects on the results of activities and to plan long-term effects of such operations.

Considering also that, according to the military-political leadership of the USA, the experience gained during operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the global-terrorist operation in General, and a series of "color revolutions" is positive, we should expect further intensification of works on improvement of forms and methods of waging 4GW, mainly in the aspect of planning and conducting operations-based effects. This will decrease the percentage of use of overt military force with simultaneous increase of effort in other areas (primarily in political, economic, cultural, religious, etc.) using intensive and extensive information support of their activities.

Tags: USA , threat


RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security