Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Sunday, January 11, 2009

David Axe on 5GW

David Axe has a piece up on World Politics Review that discusses "emerging fifth generation wars" and suggests that "the old rules of warfare do not apply." A snippet:

Examples of emerging fifth-generation wars include: the escalating piracy campaign off the coast of Somalia which has threatened 10 percent of the world's sea trade; the 18-year-old anarchy on land in Somalia, which has allowed that piracy to flourish; and the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, Chad and Central African Republic that has exacerbated rebellions in all three countries and defied the efforts of scores of nations to resolve it.
The Pentagon is just beginning to write the new rulebook for addressing these conflicts. Already, one thing is clear: old-fashioned brute force is worse than useless when it comes to beating fifth-gen enemies. Physical attacks by military forces can actually be counterproductive.

So the fifth generational warrior is the obligatory, tribal-criminal that results from nation/city-state failure? By this definition would America's decaying urban centers (Detroit, LA, DC, etc.) be teeming with 5GWarriors?

I like the tone of the piece in regards to moving beyond conventional "big boom" strategy in fighting unconventional warfare. To wit:
The Pentagon is just beginning to write the new rulebook for addressing these conflicts. Already, one thing is clear: old-fashioned brute force is worse than useless when it comes to beating fifth-gen enemies. Physical attacks by military forces can actually be counterproductive.
"Precisely the same technology that wins conventional wars loses unconventional ones," Coerr contended. Trying to wage a third-generation, firepower-heavy war against an elusive, sometimes hard-to-define fifth-generation enemy will only cost the United States its wealth, its domestic political unity and its good standing in the eyes of the world.

A long overdue redefinition of strategy in engaging in asymmetric war. But I think defining the tribalism, crime, and general anarchy that results in social/governmental systemic collapse as being any "generation" of war much less the 5th is a bit of a stretch.

7 comments:

glennanderson said...

Do you agree with 5GW as defined by the Dreaming 5GW contributors? I misuse of the term stems from no agreeable definition and misconception of what 5GW is. Just curious mate.

Arherring said...

This stuff is killing me. You would think a journalist would at least type 5GW into Google to see what pops up. Oh Look, a whole site dedicated to 5GW! Goodness, there isn't anything on here about Somali pirates... I know there isn't a Wikipedia page for 5GW but still, do -some- reasearch. Hey, I'll bet the debate over what exactly 5GW is would make an excellent story.

Jay@Soob said...

glenn, not whole sale, there remains degrees of disagreement amongst the contributers to D5GW about various details surrounding the concept. However, I'd say I agree with the core theory as it's been hamnmered out at D5GW.

Jay@Soob said...

Arherring, Yeah it's a bit disappointing. I have to wonder whether it's a case of laziness or if he simply writes off D5GW as inconsiquential.

Curtis Gale Weeks said...

Too bad we can't do a back-and-forth, answer-question debate among the contributors of D5GW on various and maybe wide-ranging points.

Quite honestly certain approaches have caused me to bite my proverbial tongue; and, much has drifted, it seems, from my original conceptualization of "5GW". Or perhaps I simply never developed many of the ideas I always had into blog posts, i.e. saved them for later posts that were never written.

Jay@Soob said...

CGW,

Stop biting your tongue and write about it! Your additions to the concept are missed.

M1 said...

Turbo 3G (7.2 Mb/s) works well enough in potent-enuff loci. Everything beyond is...well, still highly speculative, crypto-dialectic, and tactically confusing at best(,we humbly thinks.)
-M1