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When (approx. year) did SF (and the Army) go from Guerilla Warfare to Unconventional Warfare? What was the environment of the Army and SF like at the time (conditions)? What variables contributed to the switch (directly or indirectly)?

New question in regards to the definition of UW, and to a greater degree, all DoD/JS/Army definitions:

Can our (US) definition of UW be applied to describe the activities/operations of an enemy/opposing force, state, non-state actor?

Things to consider:
1) Does the underlying US doctrine of UW, the basis of the definition, support a non-US actor's goals, objectives, endstates, etc against the US?
2) Are other definitions within US doctrine more appropriate to label/categorize a non-US actor's activities in an effort to correctly identify that actor's true goals, objectives, etc.?

This question came about during a dicsussion about other countries' actions in supporting terrorist groups. From that discsussion the issue that arose was whether or not when another country, directly or indirectly supporting terrorist organizations whose actions target US persons, locations, etc., are conducting UW against the US.

The argument at the time was no...those countries are not conducting UW unless they meet the screening criteria identified within the definition above. The screening criteria to be met would include:
- operating in a denied environment (US is probably more semi-permissive to these groups as opposed to denied).
- conducting operations through and with an underground, auxillary and guerilla force (a thorough assessment would have to correctly identify, confirm, and articulate this point)
- goal/endstate of coerce, disrupt, or overthrow the government (this point could be argued but again...is another definition more appropriate)
- enabling a resistance or insurgency (one would have to be careful to identify which group meets this threshhold - otherwise, an incorrect analysis could cause analysts/leaders to view those activities/actions inappropriately and employ the wrong measures to counter this type of threat.)

The above, although briefly, should identify to a reader why mission analysis is so important, especially when conducting an intel assessment/analysis.

I know we want a comprehensive, all-encompassing, iron-clad definition of what UW is, but do we not handcuff ourselves each time? Must we have all three elements (underground, auxiliary, and guerrillas) present before it becomes UW? Must UW be conducted in a denied area? What is the specific definition of that? Does it prevent us from conducting UW in areas not denied, such as semi-permissive or areas of ambiguous control? I think Unconventional Warfare, by its very name, potentially encompasses all that is non-conventional (attack, defend, move to contact). Each case where the application of military force is considered, we need to ask, "What do I hope to achieve?" From that, we must ask, "What forces do I have that can reasonably be expected to achieve that goal?" Forgive me the comparison, but I will side with the judge who said, "I may not be able to define pornography, but I know it when I see it."

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  • Irregular Warfare Annotated Bibliography
    The aim of this bibliography is to provide readers an offering of both a more traditional military perspective as well as perspectives from social scientists, including political scientists, sociologists, psychologists, and anthropologists studying similar phenomena. The following sources include general history and analysis related to each core task; operational or “how to” guides; and works discussing particular insurgencies.
  • Casebook on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare, Volume II 1962-2009
    This Casebook provides a summary of twenty-three insurgencies and revolutions; the goal of the book is to introduce the reader to modern-style irregular and unconventional warfare, as well as to act as an informational resource on these particular cases. While not trying to provide an in-depth analysis of any case, our intent was to provide enough background material and description of the revolution to allow comparisons and analysis of broader ideas and insights across this broad spectrum of cases.


  • Annotated Bibliography of SORO Publications
    This is the February 1968 version of the Special Operations Research Office’s annual Annotated Bibliography of SORO Products. The publications listed in this bibliography have been divided into three sections corresponding to the above areas of activity. The reader is advised to consult all sections and the indexes to make maximum use of the bibliography.
  • Case Study in Guerrilla War: Greece during World War II
    By D. M. Condit, Special Warfare Research Division, SPECIAL OPERATIONS RESEARCH OFFICE The American University, Washington D.C. operating under contract with The Department of the Army. 1961
  • Casebook on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare: 23 Summary Accounts
    Original Version referred to as Volume I by the ARIS project. Primary research responsibility Paul A. Jureidini, Norman A. La Charite, Bert H. Cooper, and William A. Lybrand. Special Operations Research Office The American University, Washington D.C., December 1962.
  • Human Factors Considerations of Undergrounds in Insurgencies
    Original Version. Primary research responsibility Andrew R. Molnar with research collaboration of: Jerry M. Tinker, and John D. LeNoir. SPECIAL OPERATIONS RESEARCH OFFICE, The American University, Washington, D. C. operating under contract with The Department of the Army. Research and writing completed: 1 December 1965.
  • Undergrounds in Insurgent, Revolutionary, and Resistance Warfare
    Original Version. Primary Research Responsibility Andrew R. Molnar with Research Collaboration of William A. Lybrand, Lorna Hahn, James L. Kirkman, and Peter B. Riddleberger of the SPECIAL OPERATIONS RESEARCH OFFICE, The American University Washington D.C. 20016, November 1963