AF Intel Head Embraces 4GW

Although he may not realize it:

Its not just in the technology realm that America’s enemies are seeking advantage.. Unable to counter the U.S. dominance in long-range strike, enemies in wars use information operations among the people to influence perceptions about civilian casualties and deny the U.S. ability to leverage its asymmetric advantages. Deptula said media-savvy opponents who skillfully manipulate global public perceptions are an example of successful “Effects Based Operations,” a doctrinal term that recently has fallen into disfavor, except among air power advocates. Greg Grant, “US Air Dominance Eroding,”  quoting Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.

As Lind et al. noted in the original paper on the subject:

Two additional carryovers must be noted as they may be useful “signposts” pointing toward the fourth generation. The first is a component of collapsing the enemy. It is a shift in focus from the enemy’s front to his rear. Terrorism must seek to collapse the enemy from within as it has little capability (at least at present) to inflict widespread destruction. First generation warfare focused tactically and operationally (when operational art was practiced) on the enemy’s front, his combat forces. Second generation warfare remained frontal tactically, but at least in Prussian practice it focused operationally on the enemy’s rear through the emphasis on encirclement The third generation shifted the tactical as well as the operational focus to the enemy’s rear. Terrorism takes this a major step further. It attempts to bypass the enemy’s military entirely and strike directly at his homeland at civilian targets. Ideally, the enemy’s military is simply irrelevant to the terrorist.

They go on to note that 4GW and terrorism are not synonymous:  “… This is not to say that terrorism is fourth generation warfare, but rather that elements of it may be signs pointing toward a fourth generation.”  Most theorists on the subject would agree that events have confirmed their suspicions.

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