News | Nov. 7, 2022

Teaching Irregular Warfare in the Era of Strategic Competition

By Dr. Elena Pokalova Article

The 2022 National Security Strategy focuses on US leadership in strategic competition over the future of international order. The document lays out the threats and challenges the United States faces today from adversaries such as Russia and China. In order to prevail over such competitors and secure US leadership in the future, the United States needs to reconsider the way it approaches teaching irregular warfare (IW) in its professional military education (PME) institutions.

In the era of strategic competition, IW has become about building influence, creating leverage, and undermining opponents through all instruments of national power. It is about the use of all available capabilities to pursue hostile intentions without having to resort to the use of military force. When wars do break out, US adversaries have shown that IW is about fighting dirty, with little regard to internationally accepted norms and rules of armed conflict. What has been unthinkable for Western democracies has become the norm for autocratic governments in Moscow or Beijing. As a result, US PME students need to graduate with a proficiency in IW if they wish to fight and compete effectively. Read the rest of the article here.