chapter  16
Fourth Generation Warfare in Afghanistan
ByWARREN CHIN
Pages 15

A particular strength of 4GW is that it is not locked into a myopic technically driven vision of war which seeks to provide a ‘silver bullet’ in the conduct of operations. Rather it looks at the broader canvas or background in which wars are fought. Thus, as one analyst explained, it is not the revolution in military affairs, but the revolution in security affairs that is of most importance in the study of war. The most important drivers in shaping the nature and conduct of war are political, economic and social transformations rather than changes in technology, as the military tend to assume. Understanding this fact ensures that strategy has a basis in the real world and that challenges and obstacles to the use of force are addressed. 4GW is a concept that tries to encapsulate such change and one of its principal strengths is that it recognizes how developments in these other areas are impacting on the development of war.1 The most obvious manifestation of such change can be seen in the increased incidence of state failure and collapse, which has created a fertile environment in which 4GW has flourished. While there is little doubt that one of the challenges that has confronted the international community in the post Cold War era has been the phenomenon of failed states, the actual scale of the problem is hard to quantify and estimates vary from between twenty to over sixty states currently which have collapsed or are about to.2 In essence, while it is premature to speak of the end of the Westphalian system, it is under some stress and this is creating a complex strategic, operational and tactical context in which military power is exercised.