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The 21st Century Security Environment: Weak States, Armed Groups, Irregular Conflicts Professor Richard. H. Shultz, Jr. PowerPoint Presentation
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The 21st Century Security Environment: Weak States, Armed Groups, Irregular Conflicts Professor Richard. H. Shultz, Jr. The 21st Century Security Environment: Weak States, Armed Groups, Irregular Conflicts.

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The 21st Century Security Environment:Weak States, Armed Groups, Irregular ConflictsProfessorRichard. H. Shultz, Jr.

the 21st century security environment weak states armed groups irregular conflicts
The 21st Century Security Environment:Weak States, Armed Groups, Irregular Conflicts
  • General Charles Krulak observed in a 1997 speech at the National Press Club that conflict and war in the future would be “Not Like Yesterday.”
  • “[O]ur enemies will not allow us to fight the son of Desert Storm...Our most dangerous enemies will challenge us asymmetrically in ways against which we are least able to bring strength to bear--as we witnessed in the slums of Mogadishu.”
  • The Commandant proved prescient! But in 1997 he was out of step with those U.S. security institutions responsible for the conduct of warfare, diplomacy, and intelligence.
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A paradigm shift in war has undoubtedly occurred: from armies with comparable forces doing battle to a strategic confrontation between a range of combatants…using different types of weapons, often improvised. The old paradigm was that of interstate industrialized war. The new one is the paradigm of war amongst the people…[It] can take place anywhere: in the presence of civilians, against civilians, in defense of civilians.

General RupertSmith--Former Deputy SACEUR and author of The Utility ofForce: The Art of War in the Modern World

  • This is a different kind of fight…Our strategy cannot be focused on…destroying insurgent forces; our objective must be the population. In the struggle to gain the support of the people, every action we take must enable this effort…[W]e must interact more closely with the population and focus on operations that bring stability, while shielding them from insurgent violence, corruption, and coercion. [This] demands a persistent presence.

General StanleyMcChrystal--Commander, US Forces/International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan

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The conflicts that General Krulak saw emerging in the 1990s, that General Smith dealt with in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Kosovo, and that General McChrystal is engaged in today in the Afghanistan-Pakistan war all diverged considerably from the 20th century “interstate industrialized war” that they had learned to fight during the Cold War.
  • And these conflicts are (and will be) a pervasive part of a complex 21st century international security environment in which conflict and war differ markedly from the ways the US (and other states) thought about and prepared for armed discord during most of the 20th century.
  • The 21st century security paradigm -- “Not like Yesterday.”
  • Our question for today“What are these differences, new complexities, and changed conditions that characterize the 21st century security environment?”
the 21st century security environment three broad characteristics
The 21st Century Security Environment:Three Broad Characteristics
  • 1). A proliferation in both the number of weak and failing states, as well as of powerful armed groups that will be able to affect security and stability in major and even strategic ways.
  • 2). This proliferation of state and non-state actors creates new interactions and interrelationships between and among local, regional, and global players.
  • 3). These first two developments, in turn, foster the emergence of coalitions that will be comprised of states, armed groups and other non-state actors. And these formal and informal groupings will compete and fight with one another.