Monday, October 26, 2009

5GW Handbook is fast approaching....

Perhaps it will be out in time for the holidays? 

In any case, here is my revised introduction:

The War for Robert Taylor (Brent Grace)

In this chapter I am going to explore what I believe could be a real world example of 5th gradient warfare waged against an urban insurgency. I am going to draw heavily on Columbia University sociology professor Sudhir Venkatesh’s three volumes on life in inner city Chicago to described a 5GW counter insurgency operation that was conducted by the Chicago Housing Authority, the city of Chicago and the Federal government against a second generation gang known as the Black Kings who operated out of the Robert Taylor public housing project in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I am going to argue that the CHA et al adopted a 5GW strategy because the BKs had become so embedded within community that it was necessary to change the whole community – or, to put it another way, shape the battle space – in order to defeat the BKs. 
How My Example Fits Within the XGW Framework
                  One of the barriers to writing about the fifth gradient of war is that there is quit a bit of debate over what exactly constitute each gradient of warfare. So I must begin this chapter by stipulating a few assumptions I am making as I lay out my example of 5GW. Those assumptions include:
1.     Warfare is organized violence. 
2.     Each successive grade of warfare represents a tighter focus of violence (aka kinetics) and a more sophisticated division of labor required to create the kinetics.
3.      As a corollary to the point above, as the violence becomes more focused the role of the non-kinetic (aka “everything else) becomes more important in determining the outcome of the conflict.
There are two overall schools of thought when it comes to classifying warfare. The first is the Generations of Modern War that is perhaps best explained (at least to me) in Col. Thomas X. Hammes The Sling and The Stone (2004). GMW theory is a Hegelian view of war; that is, the history of war since 1648 is linear with each subsequent generation of war emerging out of social and technological developments to counter the previous generation of war. In this view 1st generation war is Napoleonic linear warfare, 2nd generation war is industrialized war with massed artillery fire (such as The American Civil War and WWI), 3rd generation war is Blitzkrieg and 4th generation war is asymmetrical warfare (such as Vietnam and Iraq).
         The second system of classifying warfare is the XGW framework, which is similar in many ways to GMW, but does not necessarily assume that warfare progresses chronologically. Instead, XGW is concerned with the “principal behind an expression of force” (Herring 2009), in other words, XGW examines the specific goal that is sought in each generation of warfare. In this context, for example, 3GW has as its goal locating and focusing kinetics on the weak point(s) in the enemies network. Some of my coauthors (Abbott 2009; Herring 2009) have suggested that 5GW is concerned with manipulating what can be or is observed, and in my example I am going to expound upon that idea by showing that a 5GW campaign could be used to attack and eventually alter a battle space, thus making it more difficult for a given actor to orient himself within the battle space and therefore reducing the actors effectiveness as a fighter.

5GW: The Battle of Who Could Care More

In a 4GW caring is important. In a battle of ideas (capitalism/communism, Jihadism/Liberal Democracy) the fighter – especially the insurgent – is generally a passionate advocate for their position. A 5GW is, like a 4GW, typically an insurgency that pits a smaller force against a much stronger opponent, but unlike 4GW there is no ideology involved. 5GW fighters don’t care about ideology – and they hope their opponent dose not care that there is a battle going on (Abbott, 2009):
Every other form of modern-warfare requires people to care. The aggressor needs to be able to morally and physically support his military forces for over a period of time — often a long time. The defender, once he realizes he is being attacked, will care about his own survival and fight back.                 
In many ways getting an enemy to not care is the essence of what happened in the Robert Taylor between the mid 1980s and mid 90s as the BKs rose to prominence. The gangs needed the city of Chicago to not care that they were operating. This was no Maoist insurgency; the BKs were not really looking for converts or comrades; they just needed enough space to operate freely. Much of what the BKs did, from paying off local elites to tamping down violence at the behest of the police was designed to make potential troublemakers not care just enough to decide that taking on the gang was more trouble than going along. On the flip side, anyone inside any level of government that really wanted to fight the gangs was fighting a battle to get someone to care; get the FBI to care about the racketeering; get the City to care about the conditions inside the projects and get the police to care more about a strong rule of law than a hassle free peace. And once this was accomplished, once the government started caring enough to dump resources into solving the problem, the war was won.
Once the authorities cared, they set off a series of developments that substantially weakened the Black Kings. To explain how that happened, I shall steal another concept from Abbott’s (2005/2009) blog posts on 5GW: waterfall development. In a waterfall development model:
·       Requirements must be known a long time before fighting begins
·       Requirements will be rigid and non-adaptable
·       Long Time between proposal and victory
In the 5GW I am describing the insurgents, like all insurgents, draw strength from their environment. Not unlike the way the Viet Cong hid in the jungle and used the natural landscape of Vietnam as a weapon against American soldiers and marines, the Black Kings used their immense store of local knowledge and ability to blend into the environment of Robert Taylor as their primary defense. So the CHA et al defeated them by launching a 5GW against the environment itself. In their grand strategy to destroy the gangs of Chicago, the government turned construction workers, real estate developers and non-profit organizations into unknowing soldiers in a massive counter insurgency campaign. And when they were finished the insurgents found the environment had been so radically altered that they were unable to reorient themselves and many wound up walking away from insurgency all together.
 If you want more? You want to see how this story ends? Want to find out how the 5GW went down?

You'll have to read the book!

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