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Encyclopedia > Unconventional warfare

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Military History

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Unconventional warfare (abbreviated UW) is the opposite of conventional warfare. Where conventional warfare seeks to reduce an opponent's military capability, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing conflict. On the surface, UW contrasts with conventional warfare in that: forces or objectives are covert or not well-defined, tactics and weapons intensify environments of subversion or intimidation, and the general or long-term goals are coercive or subversive to a political body. Conventional warfare is a form of warfare conducted by using conventional military weapons and battlefield tactics between two or more states in open confrontation. ... Conventional warfare is a form of warfare conducted by using conventional military weapons and battlefield tactics between two or more states in open confrontation. ... For other uses, see Coercion (disambiguation). ... For the version control system, see Subversion (software). ...



Unconventional warfare seeks to instill a belief that peace and security are not possible without compromise or concession. Objectives include inducement of weariness, curtailment of civilian standards of living and civil liberties associated with greater security demands, economic hardship linked to the costs of war; hopelessness to defend against assaults, fear, depression, and disintegration of morale. The ultimate goal of this type of warfare is to motivate an enemy to stop attacking or resisting even if it has the ability to continue. Failing this, a secondary objective can be to emasculate the enemy before a conventional attack. The standard of living refers to the quality and quantity of goods and services available to people and the way these services and goods are distributed within a population. ... Civil liberties are protections from the power of governments. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see War (disambiguation). ...


Limited conventional warfare tactics can be used unconventionally to demonstrate might and power, rather than to substantially reduce the enemy's ability to fight. In addition to the coercive use of traditional weapons, armaments that primarily target civilians can be used: atomic weapons, urban incendiary devices, white phosphorus or other such weapons. Special forces, inserted behind an enemy's front line, can be used unconventionally to spread subversion and propaganda, to aid native resistance fighters, and to ultimately build environments of fear and confusion. Tactics of destroying non-military infrastructure and blockading civilian staples are used to decrease the morale of civilians and, when applicable, also the soldiers in the field through concern for their families. Conventional warfare is a form of warfare conducted by using conventional military weapons and battlefield tactics between two or more states in open confrontation. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 lifted nuclear fallout some 18km (60,000 feet) above the epicenter. ... hey hey you no i rock at soccer cuz no i made the school team!! yay me aka katelyn ♥ Incendiary devices or incendiary bombs are bombs designed to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as napalm, thermite, chlorine trifluoride, or white phosphorus. ... White phosphorus is a flare / smoke producing incendiary weapon,[1] or smoke-screening agent, made from a common allotrope of the chemical element phosphorus. ... For other uses, see Special forces (disambiguation). ... A blockade is any effort to prevent supplies, troops, information or aid from reaching an opposing force. ...

U.S. Army definition

Unconventional warfare (abbreviated UW), in general use, is the term for guerilla warfare conducted by United States Army Special Forces (SF) and other units in the United States Special Operations Command. Guerilla warfare is one aspect of the broader term insurgency. UW was the basic mission assigned to United States Army Special Forces when they were formed in 1952; they have additional missions, including foreign internal defense (FID). FID is the U.S. doctrine of the global term counterinsurgency, as conduted by SF personnel, and is based on the assumption that the best soldier to fight guerillas is one already trained to fight as a guerilla.[1] Army Special Forces cannot do every aspect of the UW mission. Air Force and Navy special operations units may be needed to get the SF personnel to their area of operations (AO), resupply them, and retrieve casualties, prisoners, and specialists no longer needed in the field. The SF team(s) with the UW mission may be supported by other teams with a special reconnaissance (SR) mission, or the team may receive national-level intelligence. Guerrilla (also called a partisan) is a term borrowed from Spanish (from guerra meaning war) used to describe small combat groups. ... Blue Light redirects here. ... Emblem of the United States Special Operations Command. ... “Insurrection” redirects here. ... Blue Light redirects here. ... Foreign internal defense (FID) is a US military term, used by a number of Western militaries. ... Counter-insurgency is the combatting of insurgency, by the government (or allies) of the territory in which the insurgency takes place. ... Special Reconnaissance (SR) is conducted by small units of highly trained military personnel, usually from Special Operations Forces (SOF) who avoid combat with, and detection by, the enemy. ...

Formally, the United States definition is:

"Military and paramilitary operations, normally of long duration, predominantly conducted by indigenous or surrogate forces who are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source. It includes guerrilla warfare and other direct offensive, low visibility, covert, or clandestine operations, as well as the indirect activities of subversion, sabotage, intelligence gathering, and escape and evasion"[2]

Successful UW always recognizes that its essence is political, not simply military. No warfare should ignore Carl von Clausewitz's dictum that "war is the extension of national politics by military means", , UW and COIN/FID should not be attempted without constant political awareness. Subversion, psychological operations and other nonviolent means may be as potent as an ambush, in advancing the political goals of the UW force. Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz (IPA: ) (June 1, 1780[1] – November 16, 1831) was a Prussian soldier, military historian and influential military theorist. ... Subversion is an open source application for revision control. ... Psychological Operations (PSYOP, PSYOPS) are techniques used by military and police forces to influence a target audiences emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and behavior. ...

As practiced by SF, the UW mission assumes that U.S. forces will work with troops in another country and possibly with other allies; UW is always multinational. Depending on the particular situation, their role may be from pure training all the way to leading a joint force in combat.

Organization of a UW force

UW operations never are purely military. At all levels, they will be multinational, benefit from local knowledge, and never forget UW is, at its core, political warfare.

Single nation operations, such as air strikes or resupply, may be done to support UW, but, consistent with security, such operations must be coordinated both with U.S. and guerilla nation policy levels.

Basic field operations model

In SF doctrine, an operational UW force, made up of U.S. and local personnel, has three general components, although they may not all be part of a specific mission:[3]

  1. guerrilla force that engages in direct combat with enemy forces. Depending on the situation, this force may be full-time or part-time, and often stays hidden when not in combat.
  2. underground, a mixture of covert and clandestine functions. Covert functions include sabotage and psychological warfare. Clandestine missions include intelligence gathering and helping key personnel escape from the area of operation.
  3. auxiliary, whose activities should remain clandestine. Its functions include supply, transportation, acquisition or manufacture of weapons, recruiting, counter-intelligence, reception of personnel and equipment arriving clandestinely, medical services, finance, etc. This support organization can be urban or rural. Especially in urban warfare, the guerilla force and underground may be integrated.

Secrecy is the condition of hiding information from others. ... Look up clandestine in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Intelligence Gathering Disciplines HUMINT - Human Intelligence - gathered from a person on the ground. ... Counter Intelligence A uk label started and owned by John Machielsen. ...

Relationships with higher command

Relationships between U.S. forces and nation whose citizens are guerillas
Relationships between U.S. forces and nation whose citizens are guerillas

In most cases, the AO will be within the scope of a U.S. regional Unified Combatant Command (UCC), and the UW force will be part of the special operations organization subordinate to that Command. There may be rare circumstances in which the SF operation is controlled at national level, with USSOCOM retaining command. In either case, the UCC or USSOCOM reports to the National Command Authority (NCA) of the United States (i.e., the President of the United States and the United States Secretary of Defense. Other national-level organizations, such as the United States Department of State, the National Security Council, the Director of National Intelligence, may have a role in establishing policy for the UW operation, which is under the direct command of a joint organization made up of U.S. and Government in Exile personnel. In the organizational chart, the pink horizontal lines show joint relationships; in practice, at least some of those pink lines will actually represent joint headquarters operations. The lower the organization level, the more likely a joint headquarters will exist. A Unified Combatant Command is composed of forces from two or more services, has a broad and continuing mission, and is organized either on a geographical basis (known as Area Of Responsibility, AOR) or on a functional basis. ... The term National Command Authority (or NCA) is used in United States military and government circles to refer to the ultimate lawful source of military orders. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... The United States Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) is the head of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), concerned with the armed services and military matters. ... Department of State redirects here. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is the United States government official subject to the authority, direction and control of the President who is responsible under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 for: Serving as the principal adviser to the President, the National Security Council, and the...

There will be cases, however, where the resistance organization already controls part of the AO. Still, there usually will be some liaison personnel that can meet with the regional U.S. planners. If the UW operation is planned to support conventional operations (e.g., the French Resistance started a preplanned series of attacks on German transportation about 48 hours before the Normandy Invasion, UW control may be passed to SF officers attached to the supported conventional force. The Croix de Lorraine, the symbol of the resistance chosen by de Gaulle French Resistance is the name used for resistance movements during World War II which fought the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy regime. ... The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading Allies. ...

A SF Group (or sometimes more than one Group) controls the SF forces for a UCC; the group may be subordinate to a interservice special operations organization (e.g., SOCCENT, or Special Operations Command for the U.S. Central Command). Since countries are assigned to UCCs, the government in exile will work with both American diplomats and an appropriate level of SF organization. For example, as SF Battalion, subordinate to a Group, may command all SF operations in a medium-sized country, or a region of a larger one.


World War II

A variety of organizations, including United States personnel. conducted UW missions. Many of the operations in the European Theater of Operations(ETO) were multinational, such as Jedburgh teams, which usually were composed of three soldiers, one from the U.S., one from the U.K., and one from France. The European Theater of Operations, or ETO, was the term used by the United States in World War II to refer to most United States military activity in Europe north of the Mediterranean coast. ... Jedburgh was an operation in World War II in which men from the Office of Strategic Services and the British Special Operations Executive parachuted into Nazi occupied France to conduct sabotage and guerilla warfare, and to lead French Maquis forces against the Germans. ...

The earliest US soldiers involved in UW were in the Philippines, soon allied with Filipino forces, were soldiers that declined to follow Japanese orders to surrender.

Post-World War II

When American advisors were sent to Laos and South Vietnam in the early sixties, the major problem was not to create guerrilla units, but to fight existing Laotian and Vietnamese guerrilla forces. It seemed logical that soldiers trained to be guerrillas would have a deep understanding of how to fight guerrillas, so Special Forces was given that mission. The White Star mission in Laos was initially covert, and used Special Forces and other personnel under Central Intelligence Agency control. Whether the mission is called counterguerilla, counterinsurgency, or foreign internal defense, it involves assisting a friendly government -- the "foreign" in FID -- to defend against guerrillas acting inside its borders. FID can also involve training a foreign government to deal with a future internal guerrilla threat.[2] Anthem Thanh niên Hành Khúc (Call to the Citizens) Capital Saigon Language(s) Vietnamese Government Republic Last President¹ Duong Van Minh Last Prime minister Vu Van Mau Historical era Cold War  - Regime change June 14, 1955  - Dissolution April 30, 1975 Area  - 1973 173,809 km² 67,108... Blue Light redirects here. ... CIA redirects here. ...


Unconventional warfare is a form of insurgency, which exploits grievances to influence or overthrow a government believed repressive by the supporters of the UW force. US doctrine assumes there will usually be a government in exile with which the UW plan can be developed. UW leaders must never forget that they are extending politics with military means, and that, in a guerilla situation, their military means are limited. The U.S. doctrine for special operations emphasizes that commanders cannot dominate a politicomilitary environment in the same way in which a conventional force can exert "battlefield dominance." UW is conceptually at a strategic level, and its commanders must constantly remain aware of political goals such as "military successor defeat, a change in hostile strategy or tactics, or fluctuating levels of US support. They must know who the friendly and hostile decision makers are, what their objectives and strategies are, and how they interact. They must influence friendly decision makers to ensure they understand the implications of SO mission requirements and the consequences of not adequately supporting them."[1] They must constantly be ready to adapt, and to use the political insights of guerilla warfare theorists whose ideology might be quite different than theirs: “Insurrection” redirects here. ... Guerrilla (also called a partisan) is a term borrowed from Spanish (from guerra meaning war) used to describe small combat groups. ...

"The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue."

Mao Zedong[4] Mao redirects here. ...

The principles of swarming are not inherently new, although swarming with precisely coordinated distributed forces is enabled by technology. Swarming is a military strategy in which a military force attacks an enemy from several different directions and then regroups. ...

SF units are force multipliers. While SF have missions other than UW, UW can more impact when they can create a much larger force of guerillas rather than trying to do everything themselves. An effective SF commander had the attitude, “Hey, we’re all in this together with our Kurdish counterparts,” ... Our commander and his counterpart, Jalal Talabani, were very close and like-minded, to the point that they would show up together for JSOTF coordination and planning meetings. The other battalion commander and his counterparts were more at odds with each other. I think this is where some members of the JSOTF staff and the other battalion felt like our battalion had “gone native,” yet this was far from the truth. In fact, I would say that what they were seeing was genuine rapport and a real camaraderie. In our sector, the Kurds had a standing order not to allow any Americans to get killed, and thus they surrounded our ODAs during combat."[5] Force multiplication is a military tactic that is supposed to visually magnify a force, such as a division or an army, through means using decoy vehicles or use of terrain to deceivingly create a much larger force than it really is. ...

Operational model

At the operational level, where the UW force, to the best of its abilities, prepares the battlefield and conducts operations on conditions favorable to it, U.S. doctrine has seven stages.

Stages of UW Operations
Stages of UW Operations

Psychological preparation

Much of the early steps may take place in a safe area outside the AO, where SF, as well as psychological operations personnel from USSOCOM, the United States Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other organizations establish contacts with sympathizers in the target country. A wide range of psychological operations techniques are used to increase the likelihood that citizens of the target country will be sympathetic. Such operations can range from overt (i.e., "white propaganda") radio and television broadcasts, to clandestine material purporting to be issued by the opposition (i.e., "black propaganda"). The purpose of United States psychological operations (PSYOP) is to induce or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to U.S. objectives. ... Emblem of the United States Special Operations Command. ... Department of State redirects here. ... CIA redirects here. ...

Initial contact

Small units or individuals, typically from SF or CIA, make clandestine contact with leaders in the AO, and gain agreement that SF teams will be welcomed. For example, in Afghanistan in 2001, CIA paramilitary personnel made the initial contact with leaders of the Northern Alliance, who agreed to accept SF teams that would train and fight with the Afghan resistance. CIA personnel had been in Afghanistan, in noncombat roles, certainly as early as 1999, and had created relationships that could not have been established under the military roles and missions of the time. Northern Alliance may refer to: NATO The Afghan Northern Alliance The white supremacist group of Canada The Northern Alliance Radio Network of conservative bloggers This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

CIA paramilitary operatives entered Afghanistan on 26 September 2001 ahead of U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) in order to link up with Northern Alliance forces, secure helicopter landing zones for follow-on SOF, and guide SOF teams -- who arrived with their arsenal of laser target designators to enable U.S. aircraft to strike Taliban positions -- to the enemy. These CIA officers were inserted ahead of the SOF because of their ability to get on the ground quickly, their language skills and knowledge of the terrain, and their existing contacts with anti-Taliban groups. At the same time, U.S. military forces continued to flow quickly into Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and the Arabian Sea, while the CIA continued to increase its activity in the region, adding logistics hubs, communication sites, and command and control centers and capabilities[6]


The SF operational detachment(s) enter the AO, by clandestine means. Such means [[special reconnaissance#infiltration| include parachuting at night (especially using HAHO or HALO techniques), delivery by naval special operations vessels or from submarines, by out-of-uniform infiltration from a neighboring country, etc. HALO/HAHO is a term used by the United States armed forces to describe a method of delivering personnel, equipment, and supplies from a transport aircraft at a high altitude via free-fall parachute insertion. ... Look up halo, HALO in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Especially when the infiltration is by air or sea, it is often critical to have tactical navigation beacons at the point of insertion. For example, if the main detachment were to take boats, from a submarine, to the shore, a United States Navy SEALs team might do a clandestine survey of the beach, and emplace a beacon that would be triggered only by a signal from the force being landed. Parachute or helicopter insertion may be preceded by pathfinder specialists. Navy SEALs redirects here. ... Pathfinder or pathfinders may refer to: In astronomy: Mars Pathfinder, NASA exploration probe Space Shuttle Pathfinder, space shuttle mockup known as OV-098 In the military: Pathfinders (military), specialized elite airborne soldiers who perform many dangerous assignments Pathfinder Badge (U.S.), military badge of the United States Army awarded to...

If the infiltrating party is to be met by local supporters, there must be pre-agreed recognition signals. Should the infiltrators not be able to find their local contacts, they should have a variety of backup plans, ranging from establishing a clandestine base and waiting for contact, or to be recovered by their own side.

Electronic communications is a particular challenge. Links that go outside the AO need to be secure. While there are Special Forces satellite software-defined radios, such as the AN/PRC-148 Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Inter/Intra Team Radio (JITR) [7] that are easily portable, secure and flexible, capture of such a unit, in the early phases of an operation, confirms U.S. involvement. Tactical radios used internally by the UW force is even more vulnerable to capture. When U.S. involvement is known, however, the latest technology is routinely used. A software-defined radio (SDR) system is a radio communication system which can tune to any frequency band and receive any modulation across a large frequency spectrum by means of programmable hardware which is controlled by software. ... The AN/PRC-148 Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR) is a portable, compact, tactical software-defined radio in use with the US Military throughout the world. ... The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS, often pronounced jitters) is planned as the next-generation radio for use by the U.S. military in field operations for the second decade of the 21st century. ...

As a consequence, SF communications specialists must be competent with old but deniable radio communications, including those using Morse Code or field-improvised antennas in the high frequency (HF) range. 1922 Chart of the Morse Code Letters and Numerals Morse code is a method for transmitting telegraphic information, using standardized sequences of short and long elements to represent the letters, numerals, punctuation and special characters of a message. ... In biology, antenna (plural: antennae) refers to the sensing organs of several arthropods. ... High frequency (HF) radio frequencies are between 3 and 30 MHz. ...


Citizen soldiers of the guerilla force, underground and auxiliary are trained and equipped for their intended roles. SF personnel, possibly supplemented with communications and security experts in the AO, as well as support organizations outside the country, create the clandestine cell system to be used by hidden units. In this phase and later phases, SF medical personnel often work to improve the health of their sympathizers.


The operation increases recruiting, and may begin clandestine intelligence collection and subversion, and possibly some hit-and-run raids and ambushes that have a high probability of success and a low risk of compromising security. A raid is a brief attack, normally performed by a small military force of commandos, or by irregulars. ... An ambush is a long established military tactic in which an ambushing force uses concealment to attack an enemy that passes its position. ...

Another covert operational technique, which may be used during this phase, is placing improvised explosive devices (i.e., mines and boobytraps). Sabotage, such as placing an explosive charge under a railroad track, is easier to hide than a raid on the train. If there is aerial bombing of targets, it can be used as a cover for sabotage activities. Munitions rigged for an IED discovered by Iraqi police in Baghdad, November 2005. ...

Combat utilization

In the combat phase, the guerilla force increases the tempo of operations, in a manner consistent with its own safety and security, until the government falls or the guerilla force links up with conventional forces.


A stable country will no longer have autonomous guerillas. The guerilla force may form the nucleus of a new military, come under the control of the new national government, or go back to civilian life. It is essential that these experienced soldiers support, not oppose, the new government.


Strike support

There is a dotted line to the UCC air command, which normally controls both Air Force and Navy aircraft in the region, and may have air assets based in the U.S. detailed to them. The military staff of the guerilla government might, assuming U.S. involvement is known, request a U.S. air strike on some target that the guerillas cannot destroy, or perhaps even reach. Such strikes are not a panacea, as an air strike with civilian casualties will turn the essential political dynamic against the guerilla force.

Special reconnaissance units, separate from the UW force, may infiltrate the area to guide the strikes onto the target. Depending on the operational environment, these units may then exfiltrate, or might join the UW force. Special Reconnaissance (SR) is conducted by small units of highly trained military personnel, usually from Special Operations Forces (SOF) who avoid combat with, and detection by, the enemy. ...


All levels of SF operational detachment have some intelligence collection and analysis capability. Where appropriate, SF has two standing types of teams for intelligence augmentation, one for SIGINT/secure communication and one for counterintelligence and HUMINT. The SF SIGINT unit is the Support Operations Team-Alpha.[8]. For other uses, see Sigint (disambiguation). ... Secure communication describes means by which people can share information with varying degrees of certainty that third parties cannot know what was said. ... Counterintelligence or counter-espionage is the act of seeking and indentifying espionage activities. ... HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, is a category of intelligence gathering disciplines that encompasses all gathering of intelligence by means of interpersonal contact. ...

Especially at the higher levels of command, there may be sharing of some intelligence information only on a strict need-to-know basis. Some especially sensitive intelligence sources and methods may not be shared, although the information learned through these sources and methods will be shared. This is not a U.S.-only rule; while the U.S. may not share the details of technical methods such as SIGINT, the guerilla government may have extremely sensitive HUMINT sources. During the Vietnam War, for example, the general U.S. rule was that Vietnamese allies could see only SIGINT information that had a SECRET or lower classification, and that did not carry the additional restriction "handle through COMINT channels only". [9] Government organizations, especially those related to defence and intelligence, often deal with information which is considered very sensitive. ... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000...


Note that dotted lines run from the underground and auxiliary to Navy and Air special operations units under the UCC Special Operations commander. These indicate that resupply might be brought in by sea or air, and the UW force will use other than the guerilla force to receive them.[10] Indeed, the guerillas might make a diversionary attack to draw attention from the logistics or other vulnerable operation.

SF commands, at battalion and above, have service detachments, tailored to specific missions. [11] Since SF units report to UCCs or USSOCOM, their logistical process bypasses much of the system appropriate for conventional forces. Routine supplies such as food and water can be sent, from regular logistical support channels, to the SF organization. The SF support detachment has the responsibility for delivering supplies to the UW units in the field, by means specific to the situation, ranging from clandestine parachuting to armed conventional convoy crossing to the AO.

Weapons and ammunition can be a special challenge to the support detachment. For example, it is not at all uncommon to find a guerilla force that does not use standard U.S. weapons, either because they have captured Soviet-bloc weapons, or that they are at a stage of operations where they do not want to advertise U.S. support. Equipment that cannot be associated with the U.S., which can include older weapons widely available from arms markets worldwide, is called "sterile".

Support detachments frequently need to supply UW forces with Soviet-bloc ammunition and spare parts. With the end of the Cold War, these can be bought from the original factories, typically by a USSOCOM-level special contracting organization.

Specifically, Title 10 United States Code, Section 167, vests the SOCOM commander with the responsibility and the authority for the development and acquisition of special operations-peculiar equipment, materiel, supplies and services—items we need for SO activities; for which there is no service-common requirement; or for which the SOCOM commander deems as critically urgent for the immediate accomplishment of an SO activity. SO-peculiar equipment is initially designed for SOF warriors; but it may later be adopted for service-common use by other DoD forces.[12] Jan 31, 2007 in Volume: 5 Issue: 1


UW is asymmetric warfare, which attempts to meet a conventional force under conditions that optimize the UW force's strengths; UW forces avoid combat when conditions are unfavorable to them. [4] Asymmetric warfare originally referred to war between two or more actors or groups whose relative power differs significantly. ...

Improvised explosive devices


Electronic warfare



Raids are short-duration attacks on objectives, with the specific understanding that the attacking force will withdraw quickly after achieving the mission objective, or finding they are confronting forces too strong to handle. UW raids can be simply to disrupt an enemy force, to capture usable equipment, for taking prisoners for intelligence exploitation, and destroying installations. Both for attacking strong points at a distance, and for destroying reinforced structures, SF may use missiles, typically derived from antitank weapons. [13] When the raiding force can access the key target, they often use explosives, manually placed so that a small amount can do maximum damage. For other uses, see Raid. ...

Certain targets, such as bridges, historically could be attacked only by manually placed explosives. With the advent of precision-guided munitions, the destructive part of the raid may involve the SF unit controlling air strikes. Air strikes, however, are practical only when U.S. involvement is not hidden.


Snipers, when the term is used properly, are highly skilled riflemen that use specialized weapons and tactics to attack specific personnel and equipment far outside normal rifle range. SF sniper training is separate from the training of snipers assigned to conventional units; the USSOCOM sniper school is at Fort Bragg, NC while the general Army school is at Fort Benning, GA. For other uses, see Sniper (disambiguation). ... Fort Bragg is a census-designated place and United States Army base, or post, in Cumberland County, North Carolina, near Fayetteville. ... Fort Benning is a United States Army base, located southwest of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama It is part of the Columbus, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area. ...

In most circumstances, SF snipers use the same rifles as other Army snipers:

  • 7.62 mm for ranges under 1 kilometer
    • M24 7.62 mm sniper weapon system, based on the commercial Remington M700 rifle
  • .50 caliber for ranges over 1 kilometer, especially for materi4l targets:
    • M107/M88, a bolt-action rifle that is the standard sniper rifle for U.S. Navy special operations
    • M82A1, a semiautomatic rifle used by conventional units[13]

See also

“Insurrection” redirects here. ... Counter-insurgency is the combatting of insurgency, by the government (or allies) of the territory in which the insurgency takes place. ... Guerrilla (also called a partisan) is a term borrowed from Spanish (from guerra meaning war) used to describe small combat groups. ... Foreign internal defense (FID) is a US military term, used by a number of Western militaries. ... Asymmetric warfare originally referred to war between two or more actors or groups whose relative power differs significantly. ... Unrestricted Warfare is the English title of a book on military strategy written in 1999 by two Colonels in the Peoples Liberation Army, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. ... Low intensity conflict (LIC) is an armed conflict, usually between a regular army or law enforcement and non-regular armed militias (terror organization, guerrilla fighters, gangs, rioters etc). ... Terrorist redirects here. ... Fourth generation warfare (4GW) is a concept in American military doctrine defined in 1989 by a team of American analysts, including William S. Lind, used to describe warfares return to a decentralized form. ... For other uses, see Special forces (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Coercion (disambiguation). ... Operation Gladio Operation Gladio was a clandestine stay-behind operation sponsored by the CIA and NATO to counter communist influence in Italy, as well as in other European countries. ... Conventional warfare is a form of warfare conducted by using conventional military weapons and battlefield tactics between two or more states in open confrontation. ... The U.S. Department of Defense defines psychological warfare (PSYWAR) as: The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives. ... Soldier of a VC Main Force Unit. ... Combatants United States Iraqi Security Forces Iraqi insurgents Tawhid wal Jihad Commanders Maj. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

External links


  1. ^ a b Department of the Army (20 April 1990), "Chapter 1, Overview", Field Manual 31-20, Doctrine for Special Forces Operations 
  2. ^ a b US Department of Defense (12 July 2007), Joint Publication 1-02: Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, <http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/new_pubs/jp1_02.pdf> 
  3. ^ Department of the Army (20 April 1990), "Chapter 9, Unconventional Warfare", Field Manual 31-20, Doctrine for Special Forces Operations, FM 31-20 
  4. ^ a b Mao, Tse-tung (1967), "Problems of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War", Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, vol. I, Foreign Languages Press, pp. 179-254, <http://www.marx2mao.com/Mao/PSRW36.html> 
  5. ^ Cool, John (9 November 2005), Interview of D. Jones, assistant operations officer, 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, (FOB 103), operating in the Kurdish areas of Iraq in 2002-2003, U.S. Army Operational Leadership Experiences Project/Combat Studies Institute; Records of the Combat Arms Research Library, <http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/p4013coll13&CISOPTR=116&filename=117.pdf#search=%22detail%22> 
  6. ^ Stone, Kathryn (7 April 2003), "All Means Necessary" - Employing CIA Operatives in a Warfighting Role Alongside Special Operations Forces, U.S. Army War College, <http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/stone.pdf> 
  7. ^ Baddeley, Adam (21 October 2004), "JITR Takes the Stage", Special Operations Technology 2 (7), <http://www.special-operations-technology.com/print_article.cfm?DocID=674> 
  8. ^ Department of the Army (2001-07), FM 3-05.102 Army Special Forces Intelligence, <http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-05-102.pdf> 
  9. ^ Hanyok, Robert J. (2002), "Chapter 3 - "To Die in the South": SIGINT, the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and the Infiltration Problem, [Deleted 1968"], Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975, Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, <http://www.fas.org/irp/nsa/spartans/chapter3.pdf> 
  10. ^ Condon, Travis E & Patterson, Kirk A. (Fall, 2003), "Supporting special operations forces - Inside logistics: exploring the heart of logistics", Air Force Journal of Logistics, <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IBO/is_3_27/ai_111852900> 
  11. ^ McDaniel, Arvie (Summer 2003), "Service Detachment in Afghanistan Supports Special Operations Forces", United States Army Quartermaster Professional Bulletin, <http://www.quartermaster.army.mil/oqmg/Professional_Bulletin/2003/Summer03/Service_Detachment_in_Afghanistan_Supports_Special_Operations_Forces.htm> 
  12. ^ McKaughan, Jeff (31 January 2007), "Materiel Deliverer: Ensuring the Acquisition Process Meets Warfighter Requirements (interview with COL N. Lee S. Price)", Special Operations Technology 5 (1), <http://www.special-operations-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1891> 
  13. ^ a b Gourley, Scott (27 April 2007), "Bunker Busters", Special Operations Technology 5 (3), <http://www.special-operations-technology.com/print_article.cfm?DocID=674> 
Mao redirects here. ... The United States Army War College is a U. S. Army school located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, specifically in the historic Carlisle Barracks. ... The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Unconventional warfare - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (466 words)
Unconventional warfare (UW) is the opposite of conventional warfare.
Where conventional warfare seeks to reduce an opponent's military capability, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing conflict.
On the surface, UW contrasts with conventional warfare in that: forces or objectives are covert or not well-defined, tactics and weapons intensify environments of subversion or intimidation, and the general or long-term goals are coercive or subversive to a political body.
  More results at FactBites »



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