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Course Details

Course Number: 90-741

Irregular Warfare in the 21st Century

Units: 6

The conflicts that will be most common in the early 21st century will not be of the industrial warfare type that defined warfare in the mid-20th century. Rather, they will be small wars and actions, more akin to the wars of the 19th and early 20th century, and conflicts with transnational terrorists. Capabilities such as those provided by modern communications, increasingly easy access to WMD technologies, and the proliferation of highly capable small arms and explosives, will give these small wars a new and virulent character. Enemies who are not uniformed soldiers and who blend in with the population will further complicate responses to these threats.

This class will examine two principal types of irregular warfare – insurgencies and terrorism – and ask the question of whether or not modern western militaries, built on industrial war assumptions, are the best suited for irregular warfare.

Terrence Kelly