Gray Zone

Hybrid Threats and the Constabularization of Strategy

Hybrid Threats and the Constabularization of Strategy

The primary project is not defeating combatants—instead, the project is the community itself. What better way to ensure the community remains central to strategies of securing them than to find mechanisms to directly adopt precepts of community policing when countering hybrid threats—to constabularize America’s approach to security.

Bolshevik Hybrid Warfare: #Reviewing Russia in Flames

Bolshevik Hybrid Warfare: #Reviewing Russia in Flames

Engelstein’s book serves as a useful reminder that the hybrid warfare playbook is not new, especially not within the context of Eastern Europe. Almost every tactic Western analysts have attributed to Russia since the 2014 invasion of Crimea can be found in the book. Invading and calling a snap referendum to validate it is how the Poles took Vilnius from Lithuania. When an election in the Ukrainian Rada resulted in unfavorable political leadership, the Ukrainian Bolsheviks decamped to Eastern Ukraine (Kharkov) to create their own competing institutions, primarily to justify Soviet intervention. Propaganda using the latest technologies of the day, provocations, assassinations (at home and abroad), front-organizations, a nexus between organized crime and state power, and the political use of diasporas were all used extensively by the belligerents of the Russian Civil War. Many of the hot-spots are even the same: Crimea, Donetsk, Kharkov, Abkhazia, Adjara, Transnistria, and others.

Q-Boats and Chaos: Hybrid War on the High Seas

Q-Boats and Chaos: Hybrid War on the High Seas

Maritime hybrid warfare has the potential to become a major issue across all the levels of warfare. Its methods are numerous, but will likely involve autonomous systems, drones, Q-boats, little blue sailors, cyber-attacks, and propaganda. Ultimately, these methods will be hard to combat, but their effects can be reduced.

Vicksburg: The Past and Future of Amphibious Operations

Vicksburg: The Past and Future of Amphibious Operations

The Vicksburg Campaign yields a number of lessons for tacticians and strategists. Grant was a talented commander to be sure, but the most important reason for his success was the Union Navy under the able leadership of Admiral Porter. Not just its presence, but the tight coordination between the two allowed one to support the other and vice versa. Land and sea are too intimately connected during amphibious campaigns for the typical supported/supporting relationships to work, there must be symbiosis.

Applying Jomini to the Ukrainian Donbas Conflict

Applying Jomini to the Ukrainian Donbas Conflict

Looking at the current situation on the ground for the Ukrainian military, Henri Jomini and his work The Art of War provides not only a framework for analyzing the conflict at the campaign level, but also for providing a guide to the Ukrainian military in its effort to defeat the two separatist republics. Jomini’s core principles include offensive, rather than defensive, action, as well as massing forces at a decisive point of attack to gain local superiority. His magnum opus elaborates on these principles and their application, often applying geometric concepts and terms to battlefields and theaters of war for explanations.