Madison Committee
on Foreign Relations

Reshaping U.S. Defense Forces for the Fourth Generation of Warfare: Small, Smart, and Multiple

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • The University Club, 803 State Street, Madison, WI

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Col. Thomas X. Hammes, USMC (Ret), Ph.D
Distinguished Research Fellow, Center for Strategic Research
National Defense University, Washington, D.C.

Dr.  T.X. Hammes will discuss the challenges facing the U.S. armed forces as they adapt to a new world of conflict that is international, transnational and subnational - and do so with a restricted budget. He sees a convergence on new technologies leading to a world of “small, smart, and many” versus the “few and exquisite” systems the United States is currently building.

Dr. Hammes is a specialist on counter insurgency warfare and an influential theoretician of the concept of the “fourth generation of warfare” as a new model for conflict and designing war fighting technology and doctrine.  An evolved form of insurgency, fourth generation warfare makes use of all available networks – diplomatic, economic, and military – to attack the opposition leadership’s will to fight.  We are seeing it executed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Israel today.   Although his theme will be broader than the current Middle Eastern conflict, we will have many observations on it as a lesson for modern war fighters and peace keepers.

Dr. Thomas X. Hammes joined the National Defense University INSS in June, 2009.  His areas of expertise include Military Strategy, Future Conflict, and Insurgency.  He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975, and holds a Masters in Historical Research and Doctorate in Modern History from Oxford University.   His publications include The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century and Forgotten Warriors: the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, the Corps Ethos, and the Korean War.  His many publications are used widely in staff and defense colleges, and he lectures extensively at these institutions.  Col. Hammes served for 30 years in the United States Marine Corps including command of an intelligence battalion, an infantry battalion, and the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force.  He participated in military operations in Somalia and Iraq and trained insurgents in various locations.

See this short sample of his current ideas:  “Future War:  Why Quantity will Trump Quality,” The Diplomat, 20 Nov 2014, http://thediplomat.com/2014/11/future-war-why-quantity-will-trump-quality/.

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