The development of Full Spectrum Warfare coming out soon in a new Field Manual is the greatest shift in American military theory in the last one hundred years. Sometimes called “4GW” or Fourth Generation Warfare, it is the recognition that winning a war is more than battlefield victory, that losing the Peace forfeits the fruits of battles won.
FM 3-24, the manual on Counterinsurgency that came out of Ft Leavenworth a year ago, and now producing measurable gains in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) focuses on a multi-disciplinary multi-level effort to enable the Iraqi people to take charge of their own affairs un-cowed by the savage and barbarous. It is a recognition that running water, garbage removal, light and power, effective governance and a working economy are the job of all ranks from the Strategic Sergeant to the most senior in the services.
FM 3-24 introduces the concepts of Full Spectrum Warfare in this recognition which I noted before and goes beyond just Counterinsurgency. It goes right to the heart of winning the peace in any war.
Likewise, Full Spectrum Warfare recognizes that several forms of battle may exist side by side, and often intermingled, “near peer” war mixed with expeditionary war mixed with the now famous “Three Block War”.
Defense Secretary Gates is implementing the concepts inherent in Full Spectrum Warfare in the quiet efficient and effective manner without the bombast of previous occupants of the Puzzle Palace. His senior military assistant, LTG Peter W Chiarelli is a a strong advocate of the new paradigm in war as noted in his article in Military Review, September-October issue, “Learning from our Modern Wars: Imperatives of Preparing for a Dangerous Future”.
The development of AFRICOM, the new Joint Command for working in Africa recognizes the necessity of working with all other actors in Theater, once a cardinal principle in what was called “Stability Operations” when I took the Armored Officers Advanced Course (AOAC) back when the Vietnam War was still hot.
Secretary Gates in his article, “How to Meet Our Nation's Challenges,” from the Landon Lecture Series, 27 November 2007, goes beyond just the military, calling for an larger Foreign Service in the State Department, and unusual move for a Secretary of Defense, but recognizes that the US must have one foreign policy, not dueling dialogues from such as Powell vs Von Rumsfeld, and that such coordination of one policy must go down to the Three Block War.
This vertical and horizontal integration is new to doctrine, but not new to practice. It was done right in the Post WW2 environment in Germany, Japan, and Austria. That Austria became neutral and not absorbed into the Iron Curtain when the West signed off on Austria’s Peace Treaty is proof of the effectiveness of the approach and a serious disappointment to Stalin.
Part of the reason why that occupation went well is perhaps due to the fact that the military has a disproportionate representation of Southern Officers, and in the Deep South, Reconstruction still burns deep. It still does. Reconstruction after the Civil War is a classic case of how not to do post war winning the peace. If the Civil War was fought over emancipating the Blacks, that didn’t occur for another one hundred years after the War. And it’s not over.