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4th Generation Warfare Handbook Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B017IP1JM2
- Publisher : Castalia House (November 11, 2015)
- Publication date : November 11, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 584 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 117 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #456,059 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This book presents useful information on modern low-intensity conflict techniques, but the nuggets are buried in parable-like stories and require sifting to find. But the nuggets are real gold, not fake. The comments about the need to afford an enemy an honorable surrender are particularly true - in retrospect, one of the greatest mistakes of the Iraq campaign in 2003 was the decision to demobilize the Iraqi Army and throw many thousands of trained fighting men onto the street. The observation about the desirability of using bribes is also spot-on.
I think this book has several shortcomings. First, it was written assuming that the reader is thoroughly conversant with 4GW terminology and arguments. A review of basic concepts would have been welcome. Second, there was very little presented on employment of the assets available to a high-end military in low-intensity conflict. And the intelligence and logistic capabilities that can be brought to bear can be very useful. Finally, I think the material would have been much more useful had it been integrated more fully into something like the classic Small Wars Manual that the U.S. Marine Corps developed prior to the Second World War.
This is a good start, but not the definitive work on the subject.
The manual introduces a new paradigm for dealing with conflicts involving non-state actors. Along with the traditional view of war as involving three levels: the tactical, the operational and the strategic, the authors introduce a new tripartite lens for understanding 4G war: the physical, the mental and the moral. In each case, a higher level trumps a lower level. Indeed, the authors describe the central dilemma of 4GW as the fact that “what works for you on the physical (and sometimes mental) level often works against you at the moral level.” A corollary of this is that “it is more important not to kill the wrong people than it is to kill armed opponents.” Enemy bodycounts may merely present media and PR victories for your opponents, while demoralizing our own troops, and turning public opinion against you.
Among the central concepts and topics discussed in this book are:
-- De-escalation: More often than not, our military goals are furthered by de-escalating, whereas most troops have “escalation” as a default reaction to most situations. This concept goes hand in hand with the idea of preserving the state, and keeping the local populace on our side, or at least not against us.
-- “51% solutions”, rather than total victory are desirable in 4GW.
-- Integrating with, and not alienating, the local populace as key to success.
-- Openness with the press, and admitting to mistakes.
-- Intelligence as a bottom-up rather than a top-down affair. They give the memorable example of the Swedish word for military intelligence, which translates as “corrections from below”.
-- Retraining line infantry as “light infantry”. Troops must become flexible, independent, self-reliant, self-disciplined, less “orderly” and hierarchical, and focus on achieving goals rather than merely carrying out orders.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for the American military (outside of special ops and SEALS that already have this mindset) is to move away from the 2G, centralized, command-based, top-down approach, towards a 3G model that emphasizes nimbleness, lightness of footprint, quick reaction times, and that learns to use the techniques of the enemy against him, rather than relying on firepower alone. The authors make a strong case that Western militaries (and the American military in particular) are stuck in a 2nd generation mindset: “Firepower on targets” is what war is about to them, and it is a hopelessly dated concept. Indeed, it was dated in WWII when the 3G German military defeated a technically superior 2G French army.
Implicitly if not explicitly, the manual focuses on our experience in the Middle East. It is a useful thought experiment to contemplate conflicts in other regions: e.g. the Mexican drug war, the Tamil rebellion in Sri Lanka, the Muslim separatist movement in the Philippines, etc., and to imagine the concepts intorduced here applied in those situations. In any event, given that our military most needs a manual for dealing with the Middle East, this manual is the right tool for our era.
This is a manual for soldiers. Given the events of 11/13/15 in Paris as well as the pervasive low-level civil wars that are taking place across the West, perhaps the publishers can consider producing another manual: 4th Generation Warfare Handbook for the Civilian. Many more of us will be faced with the question of how to defend ourselves against 4GW invaders and hostiles in the places we live than will be posted overseas as soldiers. The proper responses for civilians dealing with conflict within Europe will be very different than the solutions for soldiers fighting in the Middle East. This manual was not written to address that question, but there will certainly be demand for solutions to that challenge in the decades to come. The author’s pronouncement that “Fourth Generation war at home is significantly easier to win than Fourth Generation war abroad” will be cold comfort to the families of the victims of 11/13/15 in Paris, to rape victims in Sweden and Rotherham or victims of racist gang crime in Baltimore or LA. Again, this is not a criticism of this book, which achieves what it set out to do, but a call for a complementary volume.
First Generation Warfare existed from the Peace of Westphalia through the American Civil War. The armies that fight it salute, have uniforms, drill, and have clear distinctions of rank. It’s organized war between nations.
Second Generation Warfare came out of World War One. Battles are planned methodically and coordinated from a central command. It believes there is a solution to every military problem. Artillery is emphasized, and it is a war of attrition and firepower. It was developed by the French. The authors don’t specifically say this, but I suspect they were thinking of the French counteroffensive at Verdun or the war’s Last Hundred Days.
Third Generation Warfare came out of the same war and was developed by Germany in its stormtrooper tactics, particularly as used in the Kaiserschlacht of 1918. It is maneuver warfare with soldiers being aware of strategic objectives and being able to practice on the spot initiative to achieve them. This means they can cycle through the famed OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) decision loop faster than opponents who have to relay observations to a central command and wait for orders before reacting. The German Blitzkrieg of the Second World War was simply the same principle mechanized. (In both wars, I’d argue, from my state of relative ignorance vis a vis the authors, logistical concerns doomed German offensives as well as political interference in the case of Germany’s invasion of the USSR.)
The American military, the authors intended audience, has never really moved beyond Second Generation warfare.
The authors also emphasize the three levels of Fourth Generation Warfare as formulated by Colonel John Boyd (who also came up with the OODA loop): moral, mental, and physical. And that is the order of their importance. By moral, the authors don’t seem to mean some objective morality, just what seems unjust or immoral to an opponent, what determines their will to fight. For instance, a suicide bomber is motivated at the moral level and has, obviously, no regard for their mental or physical state when the mission is accomplished.
These three levels of war overlay the three classical levels of war: strategic, operational, and tactical. Each mission, therefore, needs to be considered in how it effects the conflict in nine different factors.
The authors, throughout the book, briefly use world examples of failed US interventions as well as scenarios involving such fake countries as Inshallahland. It’s fairly obvious that the authors aren’t real keen on America’s recent military adventures, but, again, this is a book for serving officers, so they don’t quite come out and say that.
So how is Fourth Generation war fought?
There are two models.
One is the model of what Syria did to end a rebellion in Hama. The authors don’t spend a lot of time on this. They regard it as unlikely that American forces intervening in another country would be allowed to use that option of swift brutality however effective.
So, theirs is a model of de-escalation. They emphasize that it is fatal to seek some course between Hama and de-escalation.
The authors list several principles of de-escalation. “Less Is More” emphasizes that occupying foreign countries is a loser on war’s moral level. “Preserve the Enemy State” recognizes that a foreign government and bureaucracy need to survive defeat. Otherwise rebuilding and stability falls on the occupying forces. “Integrate with the Local Population” means occupying soldiers should embed themselves in a neighborhood for intelligence reasons and to be thought, eventually, to be the neighborhood’s “bobby”. Preferably, these forces should be unarmed when possible. Occupying forces should have interpreters, preferably locals, for the area’s languages and bilingual flash cards to communicate with the citizens of the occupied area. Occupying forces should operate on the local code of honor. This helps maintain moral superiority.
Since politics is war and war politics, cash should be used to buy off locals. The Mafia’s principle of “everybody gets a cut” is also a way of neutralizing local opposition.
Fourth Generation warfare also means out-guerillaing local guerillas, and the key to that, the authors emphasize, is light infantry.
In fact, most of the book is taken up with what these light infantry units should and shouldn’t do. (There’s even an appendix with a detailed twenty-week training schedule for a light infantry unit.) When the authors say light, they literally mean light. Soldier’s packs should be no more than 40 pounds. The key physical trait of a light
infantryman is endurance, not strength. Electronic navigation aids are not to be used. Soldiers become reliant on them, and batteries add weight. Light infantry companies should be skilled in fieldcraft and hunting to live off the land on extended missions which allow ambush and observation of local guerillas. Other requirements for a light infantryman are discussed too.
The authors also include sections on intelligence and press relations in Fourth Generation warfare.
One of the book’s appendixes is a reading list for the “4GW Canon”.
Top reviews from other countries
War is hell, mostly because the politicians and state forces are becoming increasingly degraded from the perspective of honour, legitimacy, consistency, integrity etc etc. the rampant corruption at the governmental state leads to unjust uses of force (war) all over the globe. However, soldiers per se, if they actually embody any kind of warrior culture, can and should act and be honourable men that try and ultimately bring justice and finally peace.
4GW allows delegitimised semi-militia forces to resist illegitimate governments and if governments are to establish legitimacy again, the likelihood is that the cleansing process will not begin with the political class, but rather with the lowest soldier in the trenches. If the man on the ground behaves intelligently, honestly and with integrity, even if his leaders are corrupt, there is a real potential for global change.
Das Buch (ich bin damit noch nicht fertig) zeigt auf konzise Weise, wie man eine anscheinend wirre Situation versteht: wie ein Krieg der 4.Generation aus Sicht eines Kriegsherren zu inszenieren ist (sehr ähnlich wie ein Guerillakrieg), wie die von einem solchen Krieg verursachten Wirren aus Sicht eines Angegriffenen aussehen (der soeben stattgefundene Angriff in Paris am 13.11.2015 wäre ein typisches Beispiel). Und für vermeintlich Unbeteiligte: eines wird aus der Lektüre des Buches klar, nämlich, dass es in einem Krieg 4. Generation keine unbeteiligten gibt, denn eine zentrale Komponente der Kriegsführung 4. Generation ist die Nutzung der Medien um psychologische Effekte zu erzielen, die die Auswirkung eines jeden Angriffs amplifiziert. Der Stress, die Wut, die Angst, die Verunsicherung die wir alle fühlen, sie sie sind gewollt. Wer diese oder ähnliche Gefühle hat, der ist bereits ein Opfer dieses Krieges gegen die Europäischen Völker und kein unbeteiligter.
Mit gefällt an dem Buch die klare und direkte Sprache, in der es geschrieben ist. Durch diese Klarheit ist es möglich, in diesem vergleichsweise kurzen Buch auch einem Laien die Grundbegriffe von Kriegsführung zu vermitteln. Die Lektüre ist für mich bisher eine Verkettung von Aha-Erlebnissen, denn beim vergleichen mit den traurigen Geschehnissen in Frankreich, ist fast alles mit diesem Buch erklärbar. Das Buch konnte auch nicht rechtzeitiger erscheinen.
Das einzige Problem, dass ich momentan sehe, ist, dass das Buch noch nicht ins Deutsche übersetzt worden ist.
Empfehlung: unbedingt kaufen!