chapter  11
Fourth Generation: A ‘new’ form of ‘warfare’?
ByROD THORNTON
Pages 8

With The Sling and the Stone Colonel Hammes has written a work that has much to commend it. He displays an understanding of a current threat to Western societies and military organizations. He puts forward a conceptual framework for debate that is particularly pertinent to the US military. This being said, I have a concern. It is not whether the concept of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) per se is sound, rather, it is with the policy implications of the approach Hammes takes. Hammes is not able to set forth his policy proposals in his article as he does in his book, for the limitations of an article make this impossible. Hence my approach here may seem unfair, both to him and to readers of this symposium. Nonetheless, I think the point needs to be made that, although in looking at insurgencies in particular, he is sending the right messages, he is using a format that is not the most enlightening in terms of increasing the US military’s counterinsurgency (COIN) capabilities.