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As a result of the scientific and technological progress, the emergence of sub-state groups, and elements capable of launching qualitative attacks, a new type of military operations has emerged. These operations have a different concept than what is commonplace. Nowadays the enemy is not the traditional one. In most cases he is not seen, unpredictable, and has the ability to hit hard almost everywhere. Some of many examples are terrorist groups, organized crime networks, smuggling cartels, non-state actors. This type of enemy is accompanied by a new form of attacks, such as smart weapons, cyber-attacks, electronic and ideological terrorism, the emergence of cross-border crime, and the absence of the traditional theater of operations. This led to unfamiliar situation to regular armed forces, resulting in a wide disparity between strategies, weapons and tools used by conventional armed forces and those used by these outlaw groups. These groups follow a variety of tactics, innovative and professional capabilities. The structure of these groups is not clear. This makes it very difficult to penetrate. Future operations will often be hybrid by using a variety of mixed means and tools, and their battlefields will often be in unpredictable and performed in hostile areas for regular forces. In order to deal with Irregular Warfare, our approach of how to defeat the enemy must be irregular too. We must use a;2 combination of political, informational, economic, cultural, social, and military methods. We must not act solely, our operations should be performed within regional and international coalitions.
Irregular warfare is a major and widespread form of modern warfare. It usually takes place in politically unstable environments because of the permanent conflict between the different populations and sects of the state. What is distinctive about Irregular warfare is the focus part of its operations on the civilian population. This can be done using different but mainly political means. Those population concerned are the strategic goal to win or retain the existing legitimacy. All parties of the conflict seek to undermine the legitimacy and credibility of their opponents, and to isolate them physically and psychologically from the civilian population. At the same time, they seek to strengthen their own legitimacy and credibility with the same population. Irregular warfare campaigns will fail if they are launched only by military means. Its nature requires the integration and unification of all available national means and elements. This must be carried out through a different level of strategic thinking, understanding of threats and choosing the right irregular approach to deal with them. Irregular warfare is defined by the joint American doctrine as “A violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant populations. Irregular warfare favors indirect and asymmetric approaches, though it may employ the full range of military and other capabilities, in order to erode an adversary’s power, influence, and will.” Irregular warfare also includes activities that are not normally considered to be within the jurisdiction of the military, such as strategic communications, diplomatic activities and other forms of political or cultural participation.
Irregular warfare adopts many tactics that differ in terms of time, place, and goals. These tactics must be largely in line with the nature of the targets pursued, the abilities of the perpetrators, and with the theater of operations. In talking about terrorism for example, we must take into consideration that terrorist ;8groups use a wide range of operations. This is not limited to groups and individuals, but may be used by some countries to implement their foreign policy and achieve their interests instead of using conventional wars. Some of the most common terrorist tactics are: Acts of sabotage and bombings, the use dormant terror cells, lonely wolves operations, vehicle-ramming attacks, kidnapping and hostage-taking, Assassinations, and establishing militias and secret organizations. Whereas insurgency movements use different types of tactics. The insurgents usually aim to prolong the conflict, drain government capacity, and win enough popular support. This will force their opponents to surrender or settle the conflict politically. As a result, the insurgency operations develop in a series of stages. The insurgents are fighting the government forces just to achieve their political objectives. Their main efforts are not to kill counterinsurgency elements, but to establish a competitive system to control the people, making it impossible for the government to manage its territory and its people. Therefore, insurgent activities aims to weaken government control and legitimacy. Insurgents tend to use guerrilla tactics to harm the government without allowing their fighters to engage with larger government forces. These tactics may be implemented using raids, ambushes, assassinations, vandalism, booby traps, and improvised explosive devices. Their tactics benefit also from mobility, concealment, deception, and surprise.
Organized crime includes criminal activities such as human trafficking, drugs, money laundering, armed robbery, forgery of documents and currencies, and fraud. It imposes a direct threat to national and international security and state stability. It challenges the authority of the State, destroys and weakens social and economic institutions, causing loss of confidence in the legitimate state. Criminal organizations use violence against people to facilitate its members carry out their criminal activities. Organized crime is not limited to a single type of crime, but it is spread over crimes that may not be linked directly to each other. This includes economic crimes, international fraud, prostitution, gambling, human/organs trafficking, International smuggling of weapons and radioactive materials, counterfeiting of money, theft and falsification of art paintings, smuggling of antiquities, theft and smuggling of vehicles, nuclear and chemical wastes trafficking.
Irregular warfare imposes many challenges to the affected state. countermeasures require the development of innovative national plans that intersect within three levels: the national, strategic, and operational level. This will guarantee the sustainability of national security. Irregular warfare poses a direct challenge to the sovereignty of the State and its ability to exercise its legal authority. The Syrian case is a clear example of this. The Syrian state has lost the ability to control its own territory and borders which was reflected badly on security and stability. Irregular warfare limits the ability of States to practice their external and diplomatic relations, weaken their international situation, as well as reduce their options in the area of international cooperation and interdependence.
Irregular warfare affects deeply the economy of the state. From economic point of view, such a situation will be reflected badly on all elements of national power. The slowdown or decline in economic growth, the decline of GDP, the increase of unemployment, inflation, and the tendency of people to save and refrain from spending and the large losses resulting from the destruction of facilities and killings and kidnapping. The absence of tourism, where the tourists refrain from visiting countries suffering that lack stability. This will cause a severe decline in revenues. The need to increase defense spending on the account of development and growth in the other areas of life and welfare of citizens. The spread of corruption, the exploitation of instability and the expansion of organized crime organizations for rapid illicit gain, which threatens the structure of the economic system and jeopardizes the economic interests of the State .
It can be noted that the social challenges of Irregular warfare are mainly moral and intellectual. The people in Irregular warfare are the center of gravity that is targeted by opponents to win their minds and hearts. The state has to face the social disruptions that accompany Irregular warfare, such as refugees and displacement population. This requires strenuous efforts to prevent destabilization and to maintain the cohesion of the society which necessary to support the national plans.
Security challenges are very complex and overlap with other challenges affecting each other reciprocally. Irregular warfare environment requires the constant presence of the security agencies. This will cause extra efforts on the state, especially with the long time operations. Maintaining borders security and controlling crossing points is a challenge that requires the mobilization of more and more efforts and resources. State authorities must prevent cross-border crime reduce external support and interference to criminal networks. The state must be aware of the impact of social media. It can be used by criminals and outlaws illegally. It is therefore necessary to develop strategies that are comprehensive, gradual and flexible to cope with the unexpected changes in the Irregular warfare environment and the uncertainty and the difficulty of predicting the future.
Thus, countering Irregular warfare can be carried out by one of two strategies. The first one is the direct and explicit use of force through the armed forces. The other elements of national power will support military measures by all means and provide all the necessary facilities for the success of the military operations. This strategy should not be our first choice unless there is no other solutions. The second strategy is the use of soft power in which the armed force may be delayed and allow the policy and other elements to proceed. The results of this one are usually better. It is more effective, long lasting, and the casualties are less.

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