Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Unconventional Strategy. (Letters ...)

Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Unconventional Strategy. (Letters ...)

Article excerpt

To the Editor--"A New Twist in Unconventional War: Undermining Airpower" by Gary Webb (JFQ, Spring/Summer 01) does a service by defining a mode of warfare that is very real but not widely recognized in the arena of air superiority. Recognition of the kind of war is being fought is a first step in winning it. For this he deserves our appreciation.

Many of Webb's observations are insightful and useful. Veterans of operations over Iraq have complained about our strategy, and many of his assertions justify that concern. Our strategy is defensive, reactive, and expensive without having sufficient suppressive effect on Iraqi efforts to rebuild an offensive potential.

However, as the author proceeds into more detailed description and prescription, he wanders dangerously off track. He ascribes a Maoist-type approach to Iraqi guerrilla warfare, appearing to engage in what one CINC has called "data-free research." He offers no evidence that the three-phase method is being used or is even known. There are in fact other approaches a guerrilla fighter might use. At sea, there is a form of unconventional warfare that has been practiced and is currently being planned by potentially hostile but weak navies that l call delay, disruption, denial, and demoralization ([D.sup.4]). In this form of maritime warfare, the weaker side attempts to get a lucky hit on a key ship type in hopes of slowing things down to get some strategic wiggle room, possibly dissuading further enemy advance due to the lack of the ship's combat potential, or maybe demoralizing the enemy populace due to the high casualties that normally attend the loss of a ship (everybody being aware of the Somalia debacle). …

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