Beyond hearts and minds evaluating U.S. unconventional warfare doctrine
Brister, Paul D.
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The United States is and will continue to be engaged in a form of warfare in which the enemy finds shelter among and gains intelligence from the population. This is not a new form of warfare, but, given the advances in technology and increased globalization of the modern age, it has become an exponentially more lethal form of conflict. This thesis examines current U.S. unconventional warfare doctrine to determine its origins and assess its feasibility in different environments. Drawing upon the military theories of Clausewitz, this paper attempts to lay out a new approach and broaden the spectrum of American unconventional doctrine and irregular response. An examination of the American â hearts and mindsâ approach to unconventional warfare, based largely upon British colonial experience, suggests that current doctrine could be based on a faulty interpretation of history. Newly emerging knowledge points to the need to adopt an unconventional strategy focused more on establishing authority than gaining popularity. This approach, dubbed â authoritative control,â has both a historically successful track record and is fairly easy to implement. For the United States to be successful in future unconventional conflict, an expansion of doctrine must occur immediately.
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