The Security of the Unnited States

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Any discussion relating to future conflict and the implications toward the security of the United States must factor in the complexity of numerous multi-dimensional threats, that undermine global stability. The definition of IW as stated in the Multi-Service Concept for Irregular Warfare follows, “A form of warfare that has as its objective the credibility of and/or the legitimacy of the relevant political authority with the goal of undermining or supporting that authority. Irregular warfare favors indirect approaches, though it may employ the full range of military operations and other capabilities to seek asymmetric advantages, in order to erode and adversary’s power, influence and will.” This definition for irregular warfare (IW) suggests anything other than conventional warfare in broad terms which perpetuates confusion in the relationship between counter-insurgency (COIN) and IW. Some governmental agencies view COIN as an entirely separate entity and not a sub-component of IW, or they view COIN and IW as the same. This confusion complicates efforts to develop a comprehensive strategy to defeat irregular threats. To facilitate understanding of the similarities and inherent differences between COIN and IW, military professionals must recognize first and foremost that COIN occupies a component within IW and is not a separate type of warfare. The definition of IW requires rewording to change the context relating to how the U.S. views and employs IW in order to

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