Owning the Gray Zone

In this Army Times op-ed, Capt. John Chambers argues that to counter threats from near peers like Russia, the US Army needs to get comfortable operating in the “gray zone.”

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Fighting a Hybrid Enemy

By COL (Ret.) William Betson        

                    In July, 2006, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) invaded Lebanon in response to provocations from Hezbollah forces near the Lebanese-Israeli border. The IDF mission was to stop the firing of missiles into Israel, to obtain the release of several captured Israeli soldiers, and to force the disarming of Hezbollah militia in that region.  Over-confident Israeli forces, which had been focused on counter-insurgent operations for several years, were shocked as fierce resistance brought their elite attacking formations to an abrupt halt at places like Maroun al-Ras, Bint Jbiel, and Wadi Saluki. Although there has been much argument as to whether the IDF were “defeated,” by Hezbollah “militia,” there is no doubt that the IDF failed to achieve its nations political objectives during the campaign. The Hezbollah militias faced by the IDF in 2006 (and later in 2008) were a formidable foe, and with their successful performance against the IDF, they represent a model for others to emulate.  Indeed, a Hezbollah-like enemy comprises the most dangerous form of the “hybrid” enemy force that current US doctrine sees as its most likely future adversary.

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