Small Wars Journal

War on the Rocks: An Irregular Upgrade to Operational Design

Sat, 03/20/2021 - 1:38pm

The authors argue that there is an intellectual gap in modern U.S. operational design, which focuses too heavily on a conventional mindset and methodology to problem solving, leaving a gap in strategic competition.


Link to Article:


"Discussions about “Framing the SOF Environment” are based on a fallacy; an environment isn’t special or conventional, it’s just an environment, and it affects more than the military element of national power. Making “SOF” an adjective everywhere parochializes problems and implies that special operations forces are the preordained solution."


"Irregular warfare is not a “special operations thing” — it’s a joint responsibility. Just as some of us in the policy world have made the case for rethinking how we describe irregular warfare activities, the military should reconsider how to plan for them."


"Now these new ideas should be codified into doctrine. Doctrine isn’t sexy — no argument there. But almost everyone in uniform can agree that unless codified, ideas will rarely translate into professional military education and joint planning efforts. This is what “institutionalizing irregular warfare” means in practice. An irregular upgrade for operational design will aid the United States in competing indirectly and asymmetrically to advance its interests without a catastrophic military confrontation."