Swarm tactics and the doctrinal void lessons from the Chechen wars
Shannon, William D.
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Swarming concepts and swarm tactics have been used for centuries. Swarming is essentially a convergent attack on an adversary from multiple axes. Swarming attacks are usually conducted either by force or fire, or a combination of both. Swarming is not new to military scholars and historians, but the idea of formally incorporating swarming concepts into military doctrine and tactics by the Marine Corps and other U.S. armed forces has never been given serious thought beyond limited experimentation. The most recent and relevant use of swarm tactics occurred during the Chechen Wars against the Russians, which have proved a serious challenge to the Russians. When one examines Marine Corps doctrine, warfighting concepts and experiments, a doctrinal void emerges that should truly be addressed. The Marine Corps distributed operations (DO) concept is reviewed with the idea of contributing toward a future swarming doctrine. While we watched the Chechen Wars unfold, even writing articles and books about all the lessons we should have learned, none of those lessons related to swarming ever translated into real doctrinal changes, embracing both offense and defense. This thesis asks if there is potential to develop doctrinal swarming concepts, while bringing forth additional lessons learned from the Chechen Wars and highlighting gaps and weaknesses in warfighting doctrinal publications and warfighting experiments.
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