Characteristics Of Irregular Warfare

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The modern battlefield has drastically changed from the previous wars that shaped our country, our religions and our civilization as a whole. Irregular warfare is defined as “A violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence…” utilizing “indirect and asymmetric approaches…” (DOD Directive 3000.07, pg 11). Two key elements can be derived from this definition; non-state actors and indirect, asymmetric approaches. The significance of these factors ensures two things; we do not always know who the enemy is or his method of attack. Although all of the Marine Corps leadership traits hold equal value, we must develop critical leadership traits to combat these irregular threats in a fluid, rapidly changing environment. …show more content…
Decisiveness is an additional crucial leadership trait employed on an irregular battlefield. Quick decision making, while weighing the pros and cons of that decision, can allow a force to seize the initiative and shape the field of battle. One cannot simply make a decision, but it must be the right decision, at the right time, and lead to the desired outcome. Weighing the outcome versus the decision is central to the overall decision making process and leads us into another leadership trait, …show more content…
Leaders should demand self-sufficiency and critical thinking in those under their charge. If the mission allows for it, leaders should force subordinates to gain their own knowledge, make their own decisions, live with the consequences of those decisions and take action in the absence of orders. It is not to say a leader should abandon those under their charge but rather encourage them to be independent and de-centralized from their most immediate command and control. Professional Military Education and the Commandant’s Professional Reading list are other tools that will assist in developing the leadership traits essential to irregular threats.
The leadership traits that are critical to combating irregular threats are knowledge, decisiveness, judgement and initiative. These traits are inter-related and represent a thinking process that occurs when encountering the vast myriad of threats in an irregular, often austere environment. Developing these traits can be accomplished at all levels of command on a daily basis. If a warfighter is indoctrinated with these traits through realistic training, the unknowns of irregular threats can be successfully

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