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Irregular Warfare, Both Future and Present by Walter Pincus, Washington Post.
It is the newest Pentagon doctrine, one that has been under discussion for several years and has been the focus of little-publicized, multinational, computerized war games. Now it will be put to the test in Afghanistan and Iraq by United States Central Command.
Last week, Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert H. Holmes, Central Command's deputy director of operations, told reporters that an interagency task force on irregular warfare is about to be announced. He called it "our way at the combatant command to be able to focus all of the instruments of power in order to prosecute the irregular warfight in our region."
But what does "irregular warfare" mean?
Essentially, it is an approach to future conflict that the United States has been carrying out ad hoc in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two years ago, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed off on a Pentagon "working definition" that described it as "a form of warfare that has as its objective the credibility and/or legitimacy of the relevant political authority with the goal of undermining or supporting that authority." ...
And from Westhawk - 'Irregular warfare' is now legitimate, a decade too late.
... Central Command's interest in the scaled-down indirect approach, with small teams of U.S. soldiers working from the start through existing indigenous groups, shows that the Big Army's previous preference for large-footprint major combat operations or COIN strategies is now heading for the sunset. The merits of irregular warfare will intrigue war planners who have lived through the frustrating experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Indirect methods look attractive now. Ironically, it was Central Command that a decade ago rejected an unconventional warfare option against Saddam's regime...