Skip to main content

Unconventional Warfare (UW): About

About

 

The definition of unconventional warfare and the scope of UW activities has long been disputed (Witty, 2010).

According to the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms (Joint Pub 1-02) the current definition of UW, approved by USSOCOM in 2009, is:

Activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, and guerrilla force in a denied area. Also called UW (page 265)

 

UW is one of the five main activities identified under Irregular Warfare. IW being defined as:

A violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant population(s). (JP 1)

 

According to DoD Defense Directive Number 3000.07 (dated August 28, 2014) irregular warfare includes:

...any relevant DoD activity and operation such as counter terrorism; unconventional warfare; foreign internal defense; counterinsurgency; and stability operations that, in the context of IW, involve establishing or re-establishing order in a fragile state or territory

 

Furthermore, unconventional warfare is identified as one of the ten Special Operations activities authorized by 10 U.S. Code § 167 - Unified combatant command for special operations forces

 

Examples of U.S. UW operations include World War II, the Korean War, and support for the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan Mujehedeen (United States. (2014). Special operations. Washington, D.C.: Joint Chiefs of Staff).

 

Given the historical contestation over the meaning and parameters of UW this guide provides a general bibliography of sources which address the broad subject of unconventional warfare.

UW Articles

 

Listed below is a selective bibliography.To find more sources try searching the JSOU Library databases for these subjects.

Irregular Warfare: "Here are entered works on warfare between adversaries, at least one of whom is a non-state actor seeking to undermine the established political authority through both indirect and conventional military means."

Guerrilla Warfare: "Here are entered works on the practice of utilizing unconventional tactics in armed combat, usually by small groups, including the strategic use of mobility in order to raid, ambush, and draw out enemy targets. "

Special Forces (military science) :  "Here are entered works on military operations carried out by specially trained and equipped forces, often covertly, to meet objectives that the conventional forces are not capable of meeting."

Subversive Activities: "Here are entered works on those activities which are undertaken in attempts to overthrow a government or social system. Use only if a narrower term does not apply (e.g., "Espionage" or "Terrorism"). This heading may be divided geographically for works on subversive activities in a specific place."


Andres, R. B. (2006, January 1). The Afghan model in Northern Iraq. Journal of Strategic Studies, 293, 395-422. Contact the Library to obtain a copy of this article through ILL.

 

Andres, R.B., Wills, C., & Griffith, T.E. (2006, January). Winning with allies: The strategic value of the Afghan model. International Security, 30(3), 124-60. Available in JSTOR

 

Blash, E. C. (2010). Fighting fire with fire: taking back the unconventional-warfare edge. Jane's International Defense Review, 4365.

 

Bart, G.R. (2014). Special Operations Forces and responsibility for surrogates' war crimes. Harvard National Security Journal, 5(2). Retrieved from http://harvardnsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Bart-Special-Operations-Forces.pdf

 

Bunker, R. J. (2000). Unconventional warfare philosophers. Small Wars & Insurgencies, 10, 3, 136-149.

 

Campbell, J. D., & Army War College (U.S.). (2007). "Making riflemen from mud": Restoring the Army's culture of irregular warfare. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. Retrieved from CIAO

 

Celeski, J. D. (2008). Strategic employment of SOF in a UW environment. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 21(4), 18-25. Retrieved from http://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/8251

 

Chew, E. (2014). How big powers fight small wars: Contending traditions of asymmetry in the British and American ways of war. Armed Forces & Society (0095327X), 40(1), 17. doi:10.1177/0095327X13496774

 

Clayton, G., & Thomson, A. (2014). The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend  …  The Dynamics of Self-Defense Forces in Irregular War: The Case of the Sons of Iraq. Studies In Conflict & Terrorism, 37(11), 920-935. doi:10.1080/1057610X.2014.952262. *Available in print in the Library's collection and in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center (but with an 18 month delay).

 

Cleveland, C. T. (2012). Army Special Operations: Leading the way in human domain warfare. Army Magazine, 62(10), 143-147. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Coll, A.R. (1995). Unconventional warfare, liberal democracies, and international order. In Coll, A. R., Ord, J. S., Rose, S. A., & Symposium on Low-Intensity Conflict (Ed.), Legal and moral constraints on low-intensity conflict. Newport, R.I: Naval War College. Retrieved from https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/a1205250-7e36-49be-83c6-69c678ce5546/Unconventional-Warfare,-Liberal-Democracies,-and-I.aspx

 

Coughran, D. (2013). Another way to fight: Unconventional warfare from Rome to Iran. Kennedy School Review, 1346-49. Available in Political Science Complete

 

Cummings Jr., J. A. (2014). A riverine approach to Irregular Warfare. U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 140(1), 52-57. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Dailey, D. L., & Webb, J. G. (2006). U.S. Special Operations Command and the War on Terror. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, (42), 44. Available in Military & Government Collection

 

DeAtkine, N. B. (2009). The Arab as Insurgent. American Diplomacy, 1-7. Available in Political Science Complete

 

Duggan, P. (2014). UW in cyberspace. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 27(1), 68-70. Retrieved from Military & Government Collection

 

Duke, J.D., Phillips, R.L., & Conover, C.J. (2014). Challenges in coalition unconventional warfare: The allied campaign in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, 75(4), 129-134. Retrieved from http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/jfq/jfq-75/jfq-75_129-134_Duke-et-al.pdf

 

Eaton, J. (2002). The beauty of asymmetry: An examination of the context and practice of asymmetric and unconventional warfare from a western/centrist perspective. Defence Studies, 2(1), 51. Available in Political Science Complete 

 

Eckert, W. (2006). Defeating the idea: Unconventional warfare in the southern Philippines. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 19(6), 15-22. Retrieved from http://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/8233

 

Evans, E. (1997). El Salvador's lessons for future U.S. interventions. World Affairs, 160(1), 43-49. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Finlan, A. (2003). Warfare by other means: Special forces, terrorism and grand strategy. Small Wars & Insurgencies, 14(1), 92-108.

 

Frunzeti, T. (2012). Conventional and unconventional in military actions. Strategic Impact, 45(4), 6-13. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Frunzeti, T. (2013). Asymmetric, unconventional, and hybrid actions in 21st century warfare. Strategic Impact, 46(1), 6-15. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Frye, B., Aleardi, K., Caloianu, I., & Ryehauge, A. (2014). Russian hackers attack NATO, Lithuania girds for Unconventional War. Transitions Online, 3.

 

The Future of MISO in Unconventional Warfare. (2013). Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 26(1), 7-9. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Gal-Or, N. (1990). The Israeli Defense Forces and Unconventional Warfare: The Palestinian Factor and Israeli National Security Doctrine. Terrorism & Political Violence, 2(2), 212. Available in print in the library

 

Gallagher, G. W. (2015). Unconventional warfare. Civil War Times, 54(1), 18-22. Available from Military & Government Collection

 

Grdovic, M. (2006). Understanding unconventional warfare and U.S. Army Special Forces. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 19(5), 14-24. Retrieved from http://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/8240

 

Grdovic, M., & John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (U.S.). (2009). A leader's handbook to unconventional warfare. Fort Bragg, N.C: United States Army, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center. Available here

 

Grdovic, M. (2010). Developing a common understanding of unconventional warfare. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, (57), 136-138. Retrieved from International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Hartigan, B., & Lee, B. (2014). Preparing for ODA level initial entry UW operations in Korea. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 27(1), 59-61. Retrieved from Military & Government Collection

 

Hasler, J. (2013). Through or with: A UW refresher. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 26(1), 5. Retrieved from Military & Government Collection

 

Hasler, J. (2014). USAJFKSWCS doctrine update: Unconventional warfare. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 27(1), 7. Retrieved from Military & Government Collection

 

Huntley, T. C., & Levitz, A. D. (2014). Controlling the use of power in the shadows: Challenges in the application of Jus in Bello to clandestine and unconventional warfare activities. Harvard National Security Journal, 5(2), 461-512. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Jackson, C. B. (2011). Security Cooperation and Irregular Warfare. Marine Corps Gazette, 95(4), 16-18. Available in print in the Library

 

Jogerst, J. (2002). What's So Special about Special Operations?. Aerospace Power Journal, 16(2), 98. Available in Military & Government Collection

 

Jones, D. (2006, July). Unconventional warfare foreign internal defense and why words matter. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 19(4), 20-27. Retrieved from http://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/8241

 

Jones, F. L. (2002). Army SOF in Afghanistan learning the right lessons. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, (33), 16. Available in Military & Government Collection

 

Kern, B. S. (2015). Unconventional Warfare: Fighting the new tort reform battles. AAOS Now, 9(1), 36-38.

Kershner, M. R. (2001). Special Forces in unconventional warfare. Military Review, 81(1), 84. Available in Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection

 

Kershner, M. R. (2001). Army Special Forces' Training Focuses on Unconventional Warfare. Army Magazine, 51(7), 20. Retrieved from http://www.ausa.org/publications/armymagazine/archive/2001/7/Documents/Kershner_0701.pdf

 

Kibbe, J.D. (2004). The rise of the shadow warriors. Foreign Affairs, 83(2), 102-115. Available in JSTOR

 

Latin American Unconventional Warfare. (2012). Military Technology, 36(3), 41. Available through the Air Force Portal

 

Lee, D. (2013). A social movement approach to unconventional warfare. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School., 26(3), 27-32. Retrieved from http://www.soc.mil/swcs/swmag/archive/SW2603/SW26_03.pdf

 

Lee, D., & Johnson, G.W. (2014, December 1). Revisiting the social movement approach to unconventional warfare. Small Wars Journal. Retrieved from http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/revisiting-the-social-movement-approach-to-unconventional-warfare

 

Lewis, S. (2001). Che Guevara and Guerrilla Warfare: Training for today's nonlinear battlefields. Military Review, 81(5), 98. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Linnington, A. T. (2004). Unconventional Warfare as a Strategic Foreign Policy Tool: The Clinton Administration in Iraq and Afghanistan. Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University. Retrieved from http://dl.tufts.edu/catalog/tufts:UA015.012.DO.00032

 

Liper, R. L. (2003). Unconventional warfare in Korea: Forgotten aspect of the 'forgotten war.'. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 16(2), 26-37. Retrieved from http://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/8229

 

Livermore, D. A. (2014). Pakistani unconventional warfare against Afghanistan. Small Wars Journal. Retrieved from http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/pakistani-unconventional-warfare-against-afghanistan

 

Martin, S., & Weinberg, L. B. (September 10, 2014). Terrorism in an era of unconventional warfare. Terrorism and Political Violence, 1-18. Available in print in the Library's collection

 

Maxwell, D.S. (2013, May 21). Is the war on terrorism over? Long live unconventional warfare. Small Wars Journal. Retrieved from http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/is-the-war-on-terrorism-over-long-live-unconventional-warfare

 

Maxwell, D.S. (2014, October 23). Do we really understand unconventional warfare? Small Wars Journal. Retrieved from http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/do-we-really-understand-unconventional-warfare

 

Newman, D. S. (2005). Operation White Star: A UW operation against an insurgency. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 17(4), 28-36. Retrieved from http://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/8235

 

Newson, R.A.(2014, October 23). Counter-unconventional warfare is the way of the future. How can we get there? Small Wars Journal. Retrieved from  http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/counter-unconventional-warfare-is-the-way-of-the-future-how-can-we-get-there

 

Petit, B. (2012). Social media and unconventional warfare. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 25(2), 22-28. Retrieved from International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Radzius, R., Pand, K., & Gandy, S. (2014).1st SFG(A) Operational cycle: The continuous execution of FID and UW. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 27(1), 30-33. Retrieved from Military & Government Collection

 

Robinson, C. (2005). The Russian Ground Forces Today: A Structural Status Examination. Journal Of Slavic Military Studies, 18(2), 189-206. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Thiel, J., Saong, Y., & Couture, J. (2014). Foal Eagle 2013: Combined unconventional warfare. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 27(1), 62-65. Retrieved from International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Terry, J. P. (2009). "Operationalizing" Legal Requirements for Unconventional Warfare. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, (52), 134. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

United States Army Special Operations Command. (2014, September 26). Counter-unconventional warfare white paper. Retrieved from http://www.soc.mil/AUSA2014/USASOC-CounterUnconventionalWarfare.pdf

 

Webb, G. C. (2001). A new twist in unconventional war undermining airpower. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, (28), 88. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Weiss, Y. (2014, November 20). What if the military has been focusing on the wrong thing the whole time?. Small Wars Journal. Retrieved from http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/what-if-the-military-has-been-focusing-on-the-wrong-thing-the-whole-time

 

Williams, B. G. (December 01, 2010). General Dostum and the Mazar i Sharif Campaign: new light on the role of Northern Alliance warlords in Operation Enduring Freedom. Small Wars & Insurgencies, 21, 4, 610-632. Retrieved from http://www.brianglynwilliams.com/pdfs/930854297(3).pdf

 

Witty, D. M. (2010). The Great UW Debate. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 23(2), 9-17. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

 

Woolard, M., & Cooper, M. E. (2011). Expanding the UW reach. Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin Of The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 24(2), 18-21. Retrieved from Military & Government Collection

 

World's Foremost Unconventional Warfare Excercise Turns 35. (2009). Special Warfare: The Professional Bulletin of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School, 22(2), 14-20. Available in International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

UW in 1962

Bjelajac, S.N. (1962, May). Unconventional warfare: American and Soviet approaches. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 341, 74-81. Available in JSTOR

 

Garthoff, R.L. (1962, July). Unconventional warfare in communist strategy. Foreign Affairs, 40(4), 566-575. Available in JSTOR

 

Greenspan, M. (1962, May). International law and its protection for participants in unconventional warfare. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 341, 30-41. Available in JSTOR

 

Kling, M. (1962, May). Cuba: A case study of a successful attempt to seize political power by the application of unconventional warfare. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 341, 42-52. Available in JSTOR

 

Knorr, K. (1962). Unconventional warfare: Strategy and tactics in internal political strife. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 341, 53-64. Available in JSTOR

 

Lindsay, F.A. (1962, January). Unconventional warfare. Foreign Affairs, 40(2), 264-274. Available in  JSTOR

 

Marshall, C.B. (1962, May).  Unconventional warfare as a concern of American foreign policy. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 341, 93-101. Available in JSTOR

 

Unconventional warfare-problems and questions. (1962). Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 341, 102-107. Available in JSTOR

 

Williams, R. M. (1962, May). Are Americans and their cultural values adaptable to the concept and techniques of unconventional warfare?.  Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 341, 82-92. Available in JSTOR

 

Yarborough, W.P. (1962, May). Unconventional warfare: One military view. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 341, 1-7. Available in JSTOR

News & Current Affairs

 

Specialized LexisNexis news links

Hot Topic Link: Ukraine

Hot Topic Link: Russia

Search the Associated Press

Search The New York Times

Search the Washington Post

Search Non-U.S. Newspapers and Wires

Search Wire Service Stories

Books

Search the Catalog for More Books


 

 

Other Bibliographies

 

Gardner, L. (2009). Irregular warfare: A selected bibliography. U.S. Army War College Library. Retrieved from http://www.carlisle.army.mil/library/bibs/iwnov09.pdf

*See section on "Special Operations and Unconventional Warfare"

 

Tompkins, P. J., In Newton, S., United States Army Special Operations Command,, & Johns Hopkins University. (2011). Irregular warfare: A bibliography. Retrieved from http://www.soc.mil/ARIS/13-01654%20ARIS%20IW%20Bibliography-small.pdf

*See section III for an overview and bibliography on UW