‘Gray Zone’ Conflicts Far More Complex to Combat, Says Socom Chief Votel by Howard Altman, Tampa Tribune
Between peace and all-out war exists the Gray Zone.
To Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, the Gray Zone is a familiar place of ambiguity. It’s a place where the Islamic State operates. A place where Russia has taken on Ukraine.
And it’s home to many other spots, hot, lukewarm or otherwise, around the globe.
“The Gray Zone,” said Votel, “really defines this area between ... for the most part healthy economic, political competition between states, and open warfare.”
It’s a place, he said, where “actors, sometimes state actors and sometimes non-state actors, act in a manner just below what would normally take us into normal open warfare.”
In September, Socom, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, issued a paper on Gray Zone challenges. The paper says that while traditional war might have been the dominant means of deadly conflict, Gray Zone challenges have now become the norm, and that countering foes like the former Soviet Union in many ways proved far less complex than taking on current adversaries...