A New Strategy for Complex Warfare
As proactive competitors evolve techniques to circumvent US strengths, it is clear that the profession of arms needs to become a profession of effects. This study by Colonel Thomas Drohan intends to overcome three American weaknesses of strategy making.
A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia develops new theory for superior strategy in complex warfare. The approach is comprehensive and practical, and it is applied to three contemporary security crises involving the United States, China, the Koreas, and Japan.
See this new book at The Scholar’s Choice booth at the #ISA2016 conference in Atlanta and at the Cambria Press booth at the AAS 2016 conference in Seattle. This book will also be at the Cambria Press booth at #APSA2016 conference in Philadelphia and at ISSS at the University of Notre Dame.
The following quotes are excerpts from the book.
Why look to East Asia?
“East Asian strategists have adopted holistic approaches to countering threats for over two thousand years. Confrontation and cooperation in China, the Koreas, and Japan coexist as a way of warfare—such as coercion and persuasion. In today’s globalized security environment where weapons of influence are diverse and accessible, strategists need to consider more than precision-guided lethality.”
What can we apply from Sun Zi to modern warfare?
“Ideas from Sun Zi and Carl von Clausewitz continue to be relevant because they deal with human aspects of war, such as deception and uncertainty. … Sun Zi advocated a way of warfare that conserved resources. The pinnacle of generalship, the “army attack plan” (shang bing fa muo 上兵伐謀), was breaking an opponent’s will without fighting. Attacking the enemy’s strategy was best; the next attack priority, alliances; then fielded armies; and walled cities as a last resort. These do not have to be carried out in a sequence; they can be applied simultaneously as multiple lines of effect with variable speed, direction, and duration.”
What sort of tactics can we expect from North Korea?
“Kim Jong-un appears intent on managing external relationships with byeongjin (parallel progress)—nuclear weapons and economic growth. We can expect to see confrontation and cooperation to Defend and Deter threats to the hereditary regime, nuclear status, and, problematically, economic independence. Pyongyang’s cyber attacks on South Korean banks in March 2013, Sony Pictures Entertainment USA in November 2014, and landmine, rocket, and artillery attacks against South Korea in August 2015 reflect the regime’s aggressive-dependent security culture. Attempts to Coerce and Compel main power behavior are likely to continue as a compatible complement to Pyongyang’s combined-effects strategy.”
On inferior allied strategy toward North Korea
“The efforts did Compel limited inspections of North Korean nuclear sites and Persuade Pyongyang to participate in talks with South Korea. However all of this operational-level activity fell rather nicely within the enabling conditions of Pyongyang’s strategic lines of effect.”
On North Korea’s superior strategy
“Pyongyang repeatedly turned American concessions into baselines for further demands. Creating divisive, therefore negotiable, issues strengthened the power of the nuclear option. […] Focused on Deterring, Coercing and Defending, American tough-talk ignored Dissuading and Inducing as compatible elements of a grand strategy. In Pyongyang, however, arguments for nuclear development, and against inspections and negotiations, fit in as the dispensable Persuasion-Inducement piece of its broader combined effect. […] Thus, escalation favored Pyongyang’s asymmetric, two-track envelopment strategy, as long as it could intimidate and punish American will to stop the nuclear program… The United States set itself on an incremental path of escalatory options subsumed by Pyongyang’s broader strategy. […] Pyongyang would engage SK on eventual reunification to Deter the nuclear compliance demanded by the United States, and engage the United States on denuclearization to Deter the independent political-economic role that South Korea sought. Pyongyang basked in Seoul’s Sunshine Policy that assured access to separated families and government ministries, and shaded itself from UN demands of special inspections that assured access to stored fuel rods. […]As American officials sparred over whether to cooperate or whether to confront, North Korea Deterred and Defended the viability of its nuclear weapons development program. Demonstrations of will and capability Coerced allied acquiescence.”
When did China’s Coercive presence in the Paracels begin?
“In 1974 China preempted Vietnamese control of the Paracels by dispatching fishermen to occupy them. The PLA Navy defeated arriving South Vietnamese naval forces, establishing administrative control. Against Hanoi’s claim in the Spratlys, China followed its punitive invasion of Vietnam (1979) with drilling operations contracted through international energy corporations. Through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Beijing established a survey outpost in 1987. This drew Vietnamese countersurveys and more naval engagements. The PLA Navy won its Coercive presence.”
How did China and Taiwan strategies interact?
“The broad features of Chinese security culture can help us understand sovereignty issues, particularly in the Taiwan Strait. … To anticipate how China and Taiwan strategies interacted, we examine the logic of the two strategies and then derive key linkages going into the 1995 crisis. Beijing fashioned a dilemma of Persuasion and Deterrence, aggravated by Inducement. China Persuaded unification through assurances of economic benefits, while Deterring independence with intimidating costs. If Taiwan sovereignty leaned toward declaring independence, a demonstration of force sought to Induce the dilemma. Beijing had to sustain this effect to integrate Taiwan into China economically.”
How do China and Taiwan strategies interact now?
“In 2015, a militarily confident China began constructing and militarizing islands in the South China Sea, a new reality with which prospective borrowers can align. Across the Strait, China’s broadened bullying polarized politics in Taiwan again, increasing support for the Democratic Progressive Party now led by Tsai Ing-wen. Like her predecessors who opposed Kuomintang coziness with authoritarian China, she is proindependent democracy and pro-cross-Strait status quo.”
On China’s superior strategy toward Taiwan
“China vied for more advantages than just improving military operations to Coerce Taiwan. China seeks to contain Taiwan through regional control…In contrast, Taiwan military exercises focused narrowly on how better to Defend against PLA operations.”
On China’s domestic problem with waging complex warfare
“The downside for Beijing is that the new tools may threaten as well as strengthen party control in different areas of China. To deal with this, General Secretary and President Xi Jinping consolidated power through reforms that institutionalize national development under party leadership, in populist terms. […] Chinese leaders need to retain popular support of this vision to justify complex warfare against Japan and the United States…four possibilities illustrate how Beijing’s proactive strategy seeks to exploit Tokyo’s separated lines of effect…All of these scenarios could be conducted by distributed cyber operations that inflame flash-mob opposition to Japanese claims.”
What about Japan and its security culture?
“With regard to the military and other tools used to achieve desired effects, Japanese security culture contains significant challenges. Retooling to confront threats has been technically successful, but engagement according to Japanese norms has met external resistance and proven to be unsustainable. Japan’s employment of national power after periods of isolation has not produced success. Yet in the ongoing Senkaku crisis, reintroducing the military tool is regarded domestically as a balanced response to Chinese aggression.”
On Japan’s controversial security options
“In all domains including cyber, preventative effects are unlikely to be credible unless accompanied by causative options. Japan’s sensible alternatives to manage threats include more offensive combined-arms capabilities in the U.S.-Japan alliance, not less. […] The situation demands leaders who can create cooperative effects, or at least restrain the scope of confrontational operations. Someone has to plan for peace. For Japan, enforcing discipline in the face of Chinese baiting is needed to prevent and contain conflict. For China, knowing how far to push territorial claims without provoking sustainable Japanese rearmament is necessary to shape a future that does not include a permanently hostile Japan.”
What can the U.S. learn from East Asian security cultures?
“The three East Asian security cultures and crises featured in this book offer a profound lesson for US policy makers, strategists, and operators: The ability to orchestrate combined effects creates strategic advantages in cooperative-confrontational interactions. This critical will and capability can be used to establish priorities that connect operational missions to national success.”
A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia
Thomas A. Drohan
9781604979206 · 326pp. · Paperback $29.95 · Order now from Amazon
A New Strategy for Complex Warfare is part of the Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series (General Editor: Geoffrey R.H. Burn).