“This is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origins — war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of combat; by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It requires — in those situations where we must encounter it
Core Activities of IW
Current US military doctrine describes irregular warfare as having five core activities: counterterrorism (CT), unconventional warfare (UW), foreign internal defense (FID), counterinsurgency (COIN), and stability operations (SO).
Insurgency and Counterinsurgency
The most iconic form of irregular warfare is that of insurgency (not to be confused with guerilla warfare), and its necessary counterpart, counterinsurgency. COIN, as it is often referred to, is even more iconic of IW than many imagine, since counterinsurgency campaigns often take on the superficial guise of counterterrorism for political purposes. However, in
Stability operations, which “involve establishing or re-establishing order in a fragile state or territory,” are perhaps the best starting point for a discussion of the core activities of irregular warfare. This is because, of all the activities undertaken by military forces, stability operations 1) generally place the military in the most direct,
A Confusion over Stability Operations
During a regular review held in 2014 of DoDD 3000.07, the directive guiding IW development, concern was expressed by some that the proposed definition of IW unduly characterized Stability Operations as an IW activity, vice a traditional military activity. The following attempts to identify and address the concerns with the inclusion of “stability operations” as