Generation warfare a cohesive explanatory model

When considering the variable methods of depicting a model it sometimes is not so obvious what will happen when that model is expanded to take on newer and more distinct concepts. I started with a basic two dimensional model that discussed the non-temporal aspects of generational warfare. In developing what is for now the final iteration of the generational model I know I open myself to deep criticism. In respect that criticism will be that the model is to complex to be of use, and that is balanced by me on the criticism that warfare is complex. Criticism will be that the model is non-mathematical and as such not open to rigorous or empirical analysis. In regards to that a few changes have allowed that the model is in fact capable of being reproduced as within the realm of set-theory. More importantly is that this third interpretation takes into account many previous attempts and IS messy. 

The model specifically uses the generational warfare two-dimensional representation that I previously posted. It also is inclusive of the three dimensional representation also previously written about. In answering the question about different kinds of power though the new model becomes much more messy. In the three dimensional model I discussed the fact that the OODA loop of John Boyd could be layered on top of the entire model to represent the process of escalation, change, and if generous entropy of the model. What was not present though in the previous model was the place where we could add soft power. Where did cyber warfare belong in the larger scope of generational warfare? Where are the information operations in the larger scheme of conflict regardless if we call it war? 

This iteration of the model answers that question of where each aspect of the diplomacy, intelligence, military, economics (DIME) model fits into the conflict. We could have used the newer redundant models of national power, but as in the previous discussion we will remain with DIME. Dime usually is represented as a four piece jigsaw puzzle with discrete components and that has always troubled me. To artificially separate the entities as depicted in previous diagrams weakens the cognitive impact of the model. It is an intellectual disservice to those who are implementing the different elements of the model to separate the pieces. The military is active in the intelligence field (regardless of old jokes to the contrary). The arrival of a naval carrier task force at a foreign harbor is a form of diplomacy and economic boost to the host nation. Really to be honest the entirety of conflict and national power is messy. We should embrace the reality that things are difficult, models are limited, conflict can be chaotic, and sometimes you have to get your hands dirty.

The model as depicted in figure 1 is messy. When you consider you have a Venn diagram with four elements of the DIME model, all overlapping in multitudinous sets. Each edge is the creation of a new element in the set. There are only four generations of warfare depicted, but each of those have the each succeeding generations sets, along with increasing by another factor the number of sets. Wowser. When I originally progressed this model through the different permutations I was slightly shocked too. But, maybe that is overstating the case as I am sure the model is still not up to the task ask originally stated.

As we see there is the original elements of OODA, and for the sake of clarity the original version of DIME has been produced in a way it might be depicted. On the bottom right corner is the new depiction of DIME as it more accurately reflects reality. Another reason not to use the newer national power models is that they are made up of seven elements. The model shows one specific thing and that is the fact conflict is chaotic. It is also not very hard to understand why people argue so much about what is war. Even those involved in conflict have a hard time understanding what type of conflict they are involved in. There are so many segments at different generational levels that an expert in any one area can be effective and decry that they know the way of war. Inherently though the model exposes another tasty tidbit.

Look closely at the DIME model. In the the middle is a set {D,I,M,E}. All of the elements exist there in that center section. If each generation is made up of one cloverleaf of the DIME model. There are in this model four of those clover leafs. If only the size of the clover leafs change for the scope of conflict. Remember that we made them each smaller towards the center but in retrospect they could be any size. For the case of depicting the model this is how they are laid out. There is one tidbit at that center set where they all come together. That center section is also where information operations lives. The center section is where communication to all of the varied elements has to reside. Since computer network operations is part of the information operations paradigm we have now near the end found where cyber warfare exists.

The original purpose of this series was to define a “Unified generational warfare theorem”. I am hoping that I have shown how much depth can be garnered from that task. This is not military journal quality work, and I am darn sure I have forgotten much. In previous work I have set out to show where in the domains of war cyber warfare exists. This task was to show not where the battle space existed but cognitively where the conflict resided.

Where to fifth generation warfare? 

Fifth generation warfare is about the melding of different aspects of DIME (within this discussion) within the society. When an adversary engages from fifth generation the military through civilian population can be very much the same. The DIME model overlaps more and more until it is nearly one overlapping set. That is an oversimplified explanation but is also why I chose to narrow the aspect of the differing generations. It depicts how that fifth generation of warfare begins to emerge into the spectrum regardless of whether it is high intensity conflict or low intensity conflict. That increasing overlap also means, if we accept the earlier point, information operations takes on enhanced roles within conflict fifth generation warfare. I am sure there are aspects that I am missing.

2 comments for “Generation warfare a cohesive explanatory model

  1. January 9, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    There are a few basic premises that I think have to be included in any framework that attempts to differentiate between methods/doctrines/types/generations/gradients of warfare.

    1) There must be an internally consistent progression of effectiveness displayed in the framework. For every type of warfare there is at least one corresponding type of warfare that exists to offset it. It may not yet exist or yet have a theoretical definition, but it must be able to exist and be able to be expressed as a continuum in the framework.

    2) The types of warfare must be able to be expressed on any type of battlefield.

    (This is where I think your cyberwarfare should fit. Be it manuever or attrition of information the doctrines should apply even to electronic battlefields)

    3) The framework must express an ability to both categorize types of warfare in order to determine the position of a type of warfare on a continuum, and suggest the appropriate response to a type of warfare by showing the counter to the type of warfare an opponent is employing.

    4) Each type of warfare in the framework must be able to be clearly defined at each level of employment be it tactical, operational, strategic or grand strategic yet be consistent in the method in which it is employed. Also, different types of warfare must be able to co-exist at each of these levels.

    The Generations of Modern Warfare (GMW) developed by Bill Lind does not meet any of these criteria. However, X Gradient Warfare (XGW) does and your excellent diagram could be a very convincing way of displaying an XGW-like framework.

    I like your definition of Fifth Generation warfare and I agree that information operations will have a prominent role, indeed the key role in its application. It is the ability to present ideas in context to that is the heart of 5GW as I imagine it.

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