chapter  7
Deconstructing the theory of Fourth-Generation Warfare
ByANTULIO J . ECHEVARRIA I I
Pages 9

Although Colonel Hammes rightly takes the Pentagon’s vision of future warfare to task for being too technologically oriented and for not taking into account the countermeasures an intelligent, adaptive enemy could employ, the model of Fourth-Generation Warfare (4GW) that he and others have put forth has serious problems of its own.1 The real shame is that the model itself is unnecessary; in fact, it only serves to undermine the credibility of those who employ it in the hope of inspiring the right kinds of change. Change is taking place despite, not because of, this theory. If the old adage is true, that correctly identifying the problem is half the solution, then the theorists of 4GW have gotten only half the problem right, and that they did by repeatedly reinventing their own concept. It is hardly news that non-state actors – whether insurgents, terrorists, guerrillas, street gangs, or other nefarious characters – will try to avail themselves of the increased mobility of people, weapons, and ideas that has come about with globalization. This is, in fact, all there is to the phenomenon that 4GW calls a “superinsurgency,” or a “new generation” of war. Throughout history, terrorists, guerillas, and similar actors have typically aimed at an opponent’s will to fight rather than his means; the difference now is that they enjoy enhanced access to that will.