Confronting UnRestricted Warfare



When you examine UnRestricted Warfare (URW) a work published by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui of the Peoples Liberation Army, you will find that there are multiple modalities that can be used in this type of conflict. We have examined this concept and identified 15 modalities of UnRestriced warfare. Examining the URW construct, we found that cyber warfare is directly related to three of the fifteen modalities -- information & media warfare, telecommunications & network warfare and technology warfare and is supportive of ever other modality.

The concept of URW brings to light alternative methods of attack that can be launched by a small group of individuals on anyone from anywhere in the world against a stronger and more powerful nation. There are no declarations of war; no uniforms -- just inflicted damage on an adversary. The blind, sucker-punch attacks are not designed to control areas but rather to influence public opinion, political policies and the opinions of the mass population. When contemplating URW, it is important not to fall victim to singularity. It is uncommon for only one modality to be used in an assault or an attack. Multi-modal attacks will become the modus operandi of URW warriors.

The nature and characteristics of the threat that UnRestricted Warfare poses continues to raise concerns for military leaders, law enforcement and security experts around the world. The angst has grown to the point where subject matter experts will assemble on March 24-25 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) to discuss the strategic imperatives and identify integrated strategy, analysis, and technology options that enhance interagency cooperation to respond to four distinct modalities of attack-cyber, resource, economic and financial and terrorist threats.

UnRestricted Warfare represents the tactics of choice in the age of globalization. In URW domain there are no rule, no limits and nothing is forbidden. We can expect our adversaries to employ these modalities to wage integrated URW attacks that exploit their targets diverse areas of vulnerability. Nations must rapidly retool, retrain and reevaluate their defenses against each of these fifteen modalities.

-- Kevin Coleman

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