The book Unrestricted Warfare (or Total Warfare in some translations) written by PLA Colonles Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui covers a wide range of possible conflict methods. It is available at Amazon.com or free on the internet via as a PDF. I read the book in early 2004.
I started writing about this earlier in the day in this post, but I realized I was going off on a tangent. The Hacker/Botnet post got me thinking about the book some more.
What I got from the book was a broader thinking on the range of methods of conflict, and in the interesting ways that different methods can be combined.
The following methods are listed:
- Atomic warfare
- Diplomatic warfare
- Financial warfare
- Conventional warfare
- Network warfare aka Information Technology Infrastructure warfare (not to be confused with Netwar or Network-Centric warfare)
- Trade warfare
- Bio-chemical warfare
- Intelligence warfare
- Resources warfare aka Natural Resources warfare
- Ecological warfare
- Psychological warfare
- Economic aid warfare
- Space warfare
- Tactical warfare
- Regulatory warfare
- Electronic warfare
- Smuggling warfare
- Sanction warfare
- Guerrilla warfare
- Drug warfare
- Media warfare
- Terrorist warfare
- Virtual warfare (deterrence)
- Ideological warfare
This list should not be thought as of definitive and final.
Offhand it might be useful to add the following to the list:
- Culture warfare
- High Energy warfare
- Infrastructure Systems warfare (e.g. roads , power – think Russia turning off gas pipelines)
- Lawfare aka Legal Systems warfare (was implicitly stated)
- Meme warfare (kind of covered in Ideological warfare)
- Meteorological/Geophysics warfare
- Nanotech warfare (future)
- Network-Centric warfare
- Open Source warfare
- Population / Immigration Warfare
- Reputation warfare
- Robotic warfare
The authors suggest that different methods can be combined in interesting ways.
Many of these conflict types resemble Nye's Soft Power ideas in that they are non-kinetic and indirect.
The conflict methods cut across the Generations of War categories.
For instance Atomic Warfare:
- 2GW: Strategic Nuclear Weapons
- 3GW: Tactical Nuclear weapons to take out, redirect, and neutralize large Soviet armored formations
- 4GW: The threat of nuclear terrorism and blackmail
- 5GW: Actor A convinces actor B that actor C is planning nuclear terrorist activity against actor B, so actor B needs to take out actor C before actor C has the capability ready; Or actor A does the nuclear terrorist attack but frames actor C for it (same result in both cases)
So I am picturing a conflict matrix:
Left to Right: Hard Power methods / Soft Power methods.
One thing that is very noticeable, most of these methods are outside that of what is normally though of as the national security establishment. Also, the time-frames often are longer then that of a two-term president.
Ok, I should write more now, but I have to pack for a trip. Future Purpleslog will followup sometime later.