doi:10.3849/1802-7199

Asymmetric Warfare: Slogan or Reality?

John T. PLANT, Jr.

In the United States, the title asymmetric warfare was popular in the years following the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. While still used by some senior members of the US government, the uniformed U.S. military has mostly rejected the phrase as a doctrinal term. Arguing that warfare is, always has been, and always will be fundamentally asymmetric; they have opted to describe warfare using a construct of major combat operations, stability and support operations, and irregular warfare. Seeing these arenas as overlapping and inclusive of nearly all military operations, they see little utility in another construct. Advocates of asymmetric warfare have difficulty finding a concise purposeful definition. Yet the term continues to be used by senior government leaders. This paper explores the utility of asymmetric warfare as a concept for understanding modern conflict.

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