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Special Forces Unconventional Warfare

Training Circular No. 18-01, Headquarters Department of the Army, Washington, DC, 30 November 2010


Training Circular (TC) 18-01, Special Forces Unconventional Warfare, defines the current United States (U.S.) Army Special Forces (SF) concept of planning and conducting unconventional warfare (UW) operations. For the foreseeable future, U.S. forces will predominantly engage in irregular warfare (IW) operations.


TC 18-01 is authoritative but not directive. It serves as a guide and does not preclude SF units from developing their own standing operating procedures (SOPs) to meet their needs. It explains planning and the roles of SF, Military  Information  Support  operations  (MISO),  and  Civil  Affairs  (CA)  in  UW  operations.  There are appropriate manuals within the series that addresses the other primary SF missions in detail.


The primary users of this manual are commanders, staff officers, and operational personnel at the team (Special Forces operational detachment A [SFODA]), company (Special Forces operational detachment B [SFODB]), and battalion (Special Forces operational detachment C [SFODC]) levels.  This TC is specifically for SF Soldiers; however, it is also intended for use Army wide to improve the integration of SF into the plans and operations of other special operations forces (SOF) and conventional forces.


Commanders and trainers should use this and other related manuals in conjunction with command guidance and the Combined Arms Training Strategy to plan and conduct successful UW operations. This publication applies to the Active Army, the Army National Guard (ARNG)/Army National Guard of the United States (ARNGUS), and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) unless otherwise stated.


The  proponent  of  this  TC  is  the  United  States  Army  John  F.  Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS). Submit comments and recommended changes on Department of the Army (DA) Form 2028 (Recommended  Changes  to  Publications  and  Blank  Forms)  directly  to  Commander,  USAJFKSWCS, ATTN: AOJK-DTD-SF, 2175 Reilly Road, Stop A, Fort Bragg, NC 28310-5000. This TC is designed to be UNCLASSIFIED in order to ensure the widest distribution possible to the appropriate Army special operations forces  (ARSOF)  and  other  interested  Department  of  Defense  (DOD)  and  United  States  Government  (USG) agencies  while  protecting  technical  or  operational  information  from  automatic  dissemination  under  the International Exchange Program or by other means. Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns and pronouns do not refer exclusively to men.

Chapter 1: Overview

There  is  another  type  of  warfare—new  in  its  intensity,  ancient  in  its  origin—war  by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on unrest. President John F. Kennedy, 1962

The Commander, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), defines UW as activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, and guerrilla force in a denied area.


1-1.  The  intent  of  U.S.  UW  efforts  is  to  exploit  a  hostile  power’s  political,  military,  economic,  and psychological vulnerabilities by developing and sustaining resistance forces to accomplish U.S. strategic objectives.  Historically,  the  military  concept  for  the  employment  of  UW  was  primarily  in  support  of resistance  movements  during  general-war  scenarios.  While  this  concept  remains  valid,  the  operational environment  since  the  end  of  World  War  II  has  increasingly  required  U.S.  forces  to  conduct  UW  in scenarios short of general war (limited war).

1-2.  Enabling  a  resistance  movement  or  insurgency  entails  the  development  of  an  underground  and guerrilla  forces,  as  well  as  supporting  auxiliaries  for  each  of  these  elements.  Resistance movements or insurgencies always have an underground element. The armed component of these groups is the guerrilla force and is only present if the resistance transitions to conflict. The combined effects of two interrelated lines  of  effort  largely  generate  the  end  result  of  a  UW  campaign.  The  efforts  are  armed  conflict  and subversion. Forces conduct armed conflict, normally in the form of guerrilla warfare, against the security apparatus of the host nation (HN) or occupying military. Conflict also includes operations that attack and degrade enemy morale, organizational cohesion, and operational effectiveness and separate the enemy from the  population.  Over  time,  these  attacks  degrade  the  ability  of  the  HN  or  occupying  military  to  project military power and exert control over the population. Subversion undermines the power of the government or occupying element by portraying it as incapable of effective governance to the population.

1-3.  Department  of  Defense  Directive  (DODD)  3000.07,  Irregular  Warfare,  recognizes  that  IW  is  as strategically important as traditional warfare. UW is inherently a USG interagency effort, with a scope that frequently exceeds the capabilities of the DOD alone.  There are numerous, uniquely defined terms associated with UW (Figure 1-1, page 1-2).

These terms developed over the years from various military and government agencies, as well as the academic world. Many of the terms used to define UW appear to closely resemble one another and most are found in Joint Publication (JP) 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, or JP 3-05, Doctrine for Joint Special Operations.

1-4.  The  following  chapters  contain  vital  information  for  U.S.  Forces.  In addition, there are four appendixes. Appendix A provides an example of an area study, Appendix B gives an example of an SF area assessment, Appendix C contains a sample program of instruction for resistance forces, and Appendix D details SF caching.

Figure 1-1. Unconventional warfare terminology
Figure 1-1. Unconventional warfare terminology


1-5.  Three  documents  capture  the  U.S.  national  strategy:  the  National  Security  Strategy,  the  National Defense Strategy, and the National Military Strategy. The National Security Strategy states the President’s interest  and  goals.  The  National  Defense  Strategy  is  the  DOD  contribution  to  the  National  Security Strategy.  The  National  Defense  Strategy  also  provides  a  framework  for  other  DOD  strategic  guidance, specifically for campaign and contingency planning, force development, and intelligence. The goals and objectives of the President’s National Security Strategy guide the National Military Strategy. In addition, the  National  Military  Strategy  implements  the  Secretary  of  Defense’s  National  Defense  Strategy.  The National Military Strategy provides focus for military activities by defining a set of interrelated military objectives.

1-6.  USG support to a resistance or insurgency can manifest in any of the following manners:

  Indirect  support.  In  limited-war  scenarios,  overt  U.S.  support  for  a  resistance  movement  is sometimes undesirable. In these cases, the USG may indirectly render support though a coalition partner or a third-country location. The USG normally limits indirect support to logistical aid and training. Limited war presents a much more restrictive environment that requires low-profile execution of all USG support operations.

  Direct  support  (less  combat).  In  general-war  scenarios,  the  visibility  of  USG  support  is  less controversial, which expands the nature of possible USG support to include a wider scope of logistical  support,  training,  and  advisory  assistance.  U.S.  assistance  can  include  advisors  in sanctuaries or insurgent-controlled areas not in direct combat. The United States can also render assistance from a neighboring country.

  Combat support. Combat support includes all of the activities of indirect and direct support in addition to combat operations.

1-7.  Before providing support to a resistance movement or insurgency, planners must consider how the ideology and objectives of the resistance movement affect strategic interests in the region. Planners must ensure leadership clearly defines U.S. national strategy and goals before planners make any determination regarding  the  appropriateness  of  support  to  a  resistance  movement  or  insurgency.  Without  a  clear understanding of the desired effects and end state for a region or conflict, it is impossible to assess whether support to a resistance or insurgency would achieve favorable results.

1-8.  Successful planners weigh the benefits of providing support to resistance forces against the overall strategic  context  of  a  campaign.  They  must  not  allow  a  desire  to  conduct  UW  or  to  produce  a  purely military  effect  dominate  their  judgment.  Support  to  resistance  forces  does  not  simply  contribute  to  a military effort; it undoubtedly alters the geopolitical landscape of a given region. Planners may deem a specific  insurgent  effort  feasible  and  appropriate  to  the  military  effort,  but  consider  it  strategically unfavorable because of the political risk of the effort or the potential for increased regional instability.


1-9.  There  are  certain  environments  and  situations  that  make  UW  the  best  option.  Although  outside forces could alter and shape the existing environment to some degree, they cannot artificially manufacture or transplant it.

1-10.  There are two categories planners use when deciding to provide support. The first category is feasibility. Feasibility is dependent upon the physical and human conditions of the environment. The second category is appropriateness. Appropriateness is dependent upon the characteristics of the resistance movement.

1-11.  U.S. UW forces possess capabilities that can profoundly affect the human terrain through shaping operations  that  influence  behavior  in  support  of  U.S.  objectives.  They  can  also  influence  resistance movement  characteristics, making them more appropriate to the mission. For example, U.S. UW forces could emphasize guerrilla adherence to international norms and standards of behavior.

1-12.  Planners  further  break  down  feasibility  and  appropriateness  into  the  seven  dynamics  of  an insurgency. Chapter 2 discusses these dynamics in detail.


1-13.  There are specific physical and environmental conditions that allow for a successful resistance or insurgency. The three main conditions are a weakened or unconsolidated government or occupying power, a segmented population, and favorable terrain from which an element can organize and wage subversion and armed resistance.


1-14.  Conditions must sufficiently divide or weaken the organizational mechanisms that the ruling regime uses  to  maintain  control  over  the  civilian  population  for  the  resistance  to  successfully  organize  the minimum core of clandestine activities. It is extremely difficult to organize successful resistance under a fully consolidated government or occupying power with a strong internal security apparatus. Despite the general  dissatisfaction  of  the  society,  the  resistance  has  little  chance  of  developing  the  supporting infrastructure it needs to succeed. Planners need to recognize the significant differences in the ability of different elements to exert control over a population. A recent foreign occupier does not have the same ability as an indigenous long-standing dictatorial regime that has had years to consolidate power. Chapter 1


1-15.  The  population  must  possess  not  only the desire to resist but also the will to bear the significant hardships associated with repressive countermeasures by the government or occupying power. Populations that the regime subjugates or indoctrinates for long periods are less likely to possess the will required to sustain a prolonged and difficult struggle. Populations living under repressive conditions generally either retain their unique religious, cultural, and ethnic identity or begin to assimilate with the regime out of an instinct  to  survive.  Planners  need  to  distinguish  between  the  population’s  moral  opinion  of  their “oppressors” and their actual willingness to accept hardship and risk on behalf of their values and beliefs. Populations recently overtaken by an occupying military force have a very different character than those that have had to survive for decades under an oppressive regime.

1-16.  Information activities that increase dissatisfaction with the hostile regime or occupier and portray the resistance  as  a  viable  alternative  are  important  components  of  the  resistance  effort.  These  activities  can increase support for the resistance through persuasive messages that generate sympathy among populations.

1-17.  In almost every scenario, resistance movements face a population with an active minority supporting the government and an equally small militant faction supporting the resistance movement (Figure 1-2).

For the  resistance  to  succeed,  it  must  convince  the  uncommitted  middle  population,  which  includes  passive supporters of both sides, to accept it as a legitimate entity. A passive population is sometimes all a well-supported insurgency needs to seize political power. As the level of support for the insurgency increases, the passive majority will decrease.

Figure 1-2. Support for an insurgency
Figure 1-2. Support for an insurgency


1-18.  In order to conduct operations, resistance forces require human and physical terrain that provides safe  haven.  This  terrain  must  possess  enough  security  for  resistance  members  to  train,  organize,  and recuperate. The resistance must locate safe havens in relatively inaccessible areas that restrict the ability of the HN military force to project power and exert control. Examples of favorable terrain include physically inaccessible  terrain,  such  as  mountains,  jungles,  and  swamps,  or  artificial  safe  havens  (such  as  urban ghettos  or  an  international  border).  Artificial  safe  havens  replicate  actual  restrictive  terrain.  However, artificial safe havens are only restrictive for as long as the risk of penetrating them remains unacceptable to HN  forces.  In  contrast,  safe  havens  in  physically  inaccessible  terrain,  such  as  mountains  and  jungles, remain restrictive to pursuing counterinsurgent forces.

1-19.  An important aspect of the human terrain is the opportunity it presents for the resistance to access populations in enemy-controlled areas, to disseminate information about the resistance and its objectives, and to establish beneficial lines of communications (LOCs) with key communicators. Active cultivation of relationships with key communicators can lower barriers and increase cooperation between U.S. forces and the resistance movement.

1-20.  Elements  can  sometimes  negate  the  limitations  of  physical  terrain  to  shape  the  operational environment. For example, forces may use shortwave transmitters to broadcast messages in areas where mountain  ranges  prevent  line-of-sight  frequency  modulation  (FM)  radio  broadcasting  with  messages targeted at a specific segment of the population. Shortwave transmitters (such as those used on EC-130J Commando Solo) may be able to broadcast the messages to reach the populace in the target area. Note: The U.S. military uses the specially configured Commando Solo to conduct information operations to broadcast in amplitude modulation, FM, high-frequency, television, and military communications bands.


1-21.  There  are  certain  characteristics  of  a  resistance  movement  that  make  U.S.  Support favorable. Characteristics of a favorable movement include the following:

  Willingness to cooperate with the United States.

  Compatible objectives and ideology.

  Capable resistance leadership.


1-22.  A  genuine  willingness  to  collaborate  and  cooperate  with  the  United  States  must  exist  within  the leadership of the indigenous force. It is unrealistic to expect a leader to relinquish control of his forces to the United States. In general, insurgent leaders expect to retain authority and control over their forces while benefiting their cause by collaborating with the United States. Tailored, persuasive messages targeting key leaders and groups may increase their willingness to accept U.S. support.


1-23.  Successful  movements  must  have  compatible  objectives  and  an  ideology  that  binds  their  forces together. Organizations bound through some commitment other than common ideology—such as forced conscription or hired mercenaries—typically are only marginally capable over a protracted period. Armed groups  may  find  a  common  bond  in  ethnicity,  religion,  or  tribal  ties.  Elements  can  use  persuasive techniques and messages emphasizing commonalities to unite different groups for a common cause. Once the  groups  unite,  other  messages  can  reinforce  unity  by  building  morale,  reinforcing  organizational cohesion, and emphasizing mutual goals.


1-24.  Resistance  movement  leaders  are  cautious  of  quickly  forming  new  partnerships.  In  order  to understand  insurgent  leaders,  it  is  critical  to  understand  their  motivation  and  desires.  Planners  must consider what the United States is requesting and offering in return from the insurgent’s perspective. The best leader is not always the one that is the easiest to work with initially. In fact, an overly accommodating Chapter 1  1-6  TC 18-01  30 November 2010 leader  could  be  a  desperate  and  incapable  leader  primarily  interested  in  personal  gain.  Similarly,  a seemingly indifferent leader could be an effective leader that is unimpressed with offers of support without an assurance of long-term commitment because of the potential risk involved. The determination of the appropriateness  of  U.S.  support  requires  an  in-depth  understanding  of  the  resistance  leadership  and organization. This level of fidelity normally requires a degree of first-hand observation in order to develop an educated assessment.

1-25.  Assessments are important sources of information on the psychological characteristics of leaders and groups. This analysis provides a degree of prediction about the future behavior of these potential partners. With prediction comes a degree of confidence in knowing how potential resistance leaders will conduct themselves in the UW effort. It also provides information on guerrilla leader expectations for their forces in terms of the method of fighting, treatment of civilians, and other key aspects that can have political and legal  ramifications  for  the  operation.  This  information  aids  the  commander  or  other  decision-makers  in determining the appropriateness of any support to the movement.


1-26.  Planning  remains  limited  until  leadership  validates  certain  assumptions.  If  operations  proceed without  a  proper  feasibility  assessment,  the  likelihood  of  unintended  consequences  is  high.  To  gain  an accurate  picture,  operational  personnel  need  to  meet  with  indigenous  personnel  who  represent  the resistance forces. This meeting can take place inside the denied territory, in the United States, or in a third-party nation. Although meeting representatives in the United States or a third-party nation is safer for an assessment team, it also provides a less reliable assessment of potential capabilities. Participation of all components is vital to enable an accurate assessment of potential resistance capabilities. No single ARSOF element can provide a complete picture of the movement necessary for this crucial step in the UW effort.

1-27.  The feasibility assessment analyzes the achievability, acceptability, and suitability of a mission. This is  an  assessment  based  on  mission,  enemy,  terrain  and  weather,  troops  and  support  available,  time available,  and  civil  considerations  (METT-TC)  to  determine  if  the  necessary  means  and  resources  are available  to  meet  mission  requirements.  It  also  addresses  whether  the  potential  gain  or  desired  effect outweighs or otherwise justifies the potential losses or cost. Lastly, the assessment determines if achieving the desired objectives would accomplish the desired effects.

1-28.  The normal areas of concern that make up a feasibility assessment are as follows:

  Are there groups that could develop into a viable force with assistance?

  Is  the  United  States  in  contact  with  or  can  it  make  contact  with  individuals  representing  the resistance potential in an area?

  Are there any capable leaders, whose goals are compatible with U.S. goals who are willing to cooperate with the United States?

  Can the United States influence the leaders to remain compliant with U.S. goals?

  Are the groups’ tactics and battlefield conduct acceptable by the standards established in Field Manual (FM) 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, and to the U.S. population?

  Will the environment geographically and demographically support resistance operations?

  Is the enemy effectively in control of the population?

  Is the potential gain worth the potential risk? Is this group’s participation politically acceptable to other regional partners?

1-29.  All U.S. UW elements are able to assist the commander in answering these questions. They assist with

individual perspectives for developing a particular resistance capability, as well as for an overall feasibility


1-30.  Expatriates are a valuable resource, particularly in regions where the culture is largely unfamiliar or alien to a planner’s frame of reference. However, planners should carefully ensure the individual’s claims are valid. An expatriate’s influence in a given country can be inversely proportional to the length of time he  has  been  away  from  his  former  homeland.  Although  there  are  many  reasons  an  expatriate  might exaggerate his influence in a region and attempt to exploit the situation in his favor, he may be legitimately surprised to find his own assessment of his influence to be grossly inaccurate. During normal peacetime conditions,  a  person  can  spend  years  away  from  a  country  and  expect  to  maintain  their  contacts  and influence. This period significantly shrinks under the pressures of a harsh regime or occupying force.

1-31.  While  determining  the  feasibility  of  a  potential  campaign,  planning  personnel  must  have  clear objectives, a desired end state, and knowledge of exactly what level of support is available and acceptable. Without  these  specifics,  negotiations  with  potential  resistance  forces  are  futile.  If  planners  determine conditions  are  unfavorable  during  the  assessment,  then  they  need  to  consider  any  measures  that  could transform the current situation into a more favorable one. For example, can the United States—

  Persuade a potential resistance group to cease unacceptable tactics or behavior?

  Persuade  a  coalition  to  accept  a  specific  resistance  group’s  participation  under  certain


  Degrade the enemy’s control over the population?

  Bolster the will of the population to resist?

  Achieve desired objectives within the given time constraints?

1-32.  SF,  Military  Information  Support  (MIS),  and  CA  Soldiers  can  actively  engage  their  resistance counterparts  to  encourage  adherence  to  international  norms  of behavior and law. They can also change attitudes and beliefs about other groups participating in the resistance effort as part of unity and cohesion building.

1-33.  Planners need to be careful of attempting to overcome a potential resistance shortcoming by creating surrogate forces that are not indigenous. Historically, the United States has not had success creating and transplanting these types of resistance forces to the operations environment without an existing clandestine infrastructure that connects the local population to the foreign forces.


1-34.  The United States conducts two types of UW. The United States executes UW with the anticipation of large-scale U.S. military involvement or without anticipation of large-scale U.S. military involvement.


1-35.  There are two possible goals of large-scale involvement. The goal is either to facilitate the eventual introduction of conventional forces or to divert enemy resources away from other parts of the operational area.

1-36.  UW forces can function as effective instruments in the psychological preparation of the population for  the  introduction  of  conventional  forces.  Furthermore,  deception  and  other  measures  can  convince enemy leaders to divert resources away from the main area of effort when it is not necessary to do so. For example, the United States can disseminate messages suggesting guerrilla operations will occur in certain locations, causing enemy leaders to divert their forces away from the actual route of advance to meet a nonexistent threat. Examples of this type of UW effort by the United States include the following:

  European and Pacific Theaters (1942–1945).

  North Korea (1951–1953).

  Cold War Contingency Plans for Eastern Europe (1952–1989).

  Kuwait (1990–1991).

  Afghanistan (2001–2002).

  Iraq (2002–2003).

1-37.  During large-scale UW, operations focus largely on military aspects of the conflict because of the eventual introduction of conventional forces. The task is normally to disrupt or degrade enemy military capabilities in order to make them more vulnerable to the pending introduction of conventional invasion forces.  The  United  States  can  use  actions  and  messages  to  increase  the  disruption  and  degradation  of Chapter 1  1-8  TC 18-01  30 November 2010 enemy capabilities by lowering their morale and unit cohesion. This can increase desertion, surrender, and malingering among their ranks. Use of such techniques increases the potential for enemy unit breakdown to the point of rendering them combat-ineffective.

1-38.  Resistance forces assume a one-time greater degree of risk in large-scale involvement scenarios by exposing  almost  their  entire  infrastructure  in  exchange  for  the  possibility  of  success  and  linkup  with friendly coalition forces following an invasion. The ultimate challenge is synchronizing resistance efforts while maintaining a degree of operational security for the invasion.

1-39.  If the intent of the UW operation is to develop an area in order to facilitate the entry of an invasion force, the challenge is to ensure that the operations of the resistance complement (rather than inadvertently interfere with or even compromise) those of the invasion forces. If the timing is wrong or the conventional invasion forces fail to liberate the territory and linkup with resistance forces, it is likely that the resistance organization (guerrillas, underground, and auxiliary personnel) will suffer significant losses.

1-40.  With  a  few  exceptions,  it  is  relatively  simple  for  U.S.  forces  to  compel  an  adversary  to  commit forces to an area away from a possible invasion site. The challenge in this scenario is determining which resistance actions trigger the desirable responses and when to begin those operations to appropriately affect the adversary’s decision cycle. If U.S. forces do not coordinate these operations with the invasion force or time the operations incorrectly, they can cause significant negative consequences.


1-41.  In general, the United States uses limited-involvement operations to pressure an adversary. Examples of this type of UW effort by the United States include the following:

  The Baltic States (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia–1950s).

  Guatemala (1954).

  Albania (1949–1954).

  Tibet (1955–1965).

  Indonesia (1958).

  Cuba (1960s).

  North Vietnam (1961–1964).

  Afghanistan (1980s).

  Nicaragua (1980s).

1-42.  During limited-involvement missions, the overall operation takes place in the absence of overt or eventual  hostilities  from  the  sponsor.  Such  operations  take  on  a  strategic  and  sensitive  political  aspect. Typically,  the  United  States  limits  its  direct  involvement,  which  mitigates  the  risks  of  unintended consequences or premature escalation of the conflict. During limited-involvement operations, the manner in which forces operate significantly differs from that of large-scale involvement scenarios. Without the benefit of a conventional invasion force, the resistance forces must limit overt exposure of their forces and supporting  infrastructure  in  order  to  sustain  operations  over  a  protracted  period.  Forces  must  conduct operations in a manner that accounts for the enemy’s response and retaliation.

1-43.  If retaliation occurs, the resistance can exploit the negative consequences to garner more sympathy and support from the population by emphasizing the sacrifices and hardship the resistance is enduring on behalf of “the people.” If retaliation is ineffective or does not occur, the resistance can use this as proof of its ability to wage effect combat against the enemy. In addition, the resistance can portray the inability or reluctance of the enemy to retaliate as a weakness, which will demoralize enemy forces and instill a belief in their eventual defeat.


1-44.  The  seven-phase  UW  framework  is  a  conceptual  construct  that  aids  in  planning  (Figure  1-3).  It depicts the normal phases of a UW operation. Personnel should not confuse the seven phases of UW with the phases of development through which friendly resistance forces progress. It is important for planners to recognize when factors, such as time, compress or change the normal progression of the seven phases. In addition, operational elements may only support a portion of the overall campaign and therefore may miss some  of  the  seven  phases.  However,  all  operational  elements  should  understand  how  their  individual efforts fit into the overall campaign. Chapter 3 contains more information on the seven phases of UW.

Figure 1-3. Phases of unconventional warfare
Figure 1-3. Phases of unconventional warfare


1-45.  The operational requirements for conducting and supporting UW present some significant challenges when compared to other types of special and conventional operations. UW efforts are normally of long duration  and  primarily  occur  in  denied  areas.  These  conditions  require  participating  forces  to  have  the capability of operating in a truly decentralized manner without the benefit of well-established LOCs. These factors make many of the existing techniques for command and control (C2) and logistics inappropriate.


1-46.  Whereas other special operations and governmental organizations support UW, SF are the only unit specifically designed to conduct UW. Unique SF capabilities include—

  Infiltrating denied territory and linking up with resistance forces.  Chapter 1

1-10  TC 18-01  30 November 2010

  Training and advising the guerrilla or underground forces part of a resistance.

  Coordinating and synchronizing the various resistance command elements with U.S. efforts.


1-47.  U.S.  forces  can  use  MISO  as  part  of  ARSOF  capabilities  or  in  conjunction  with  other  USG capabilities to reduce the need for military force. When military force is necessary, Soldiers conduct MISO to multiply the effects of the operations. Specifically, MIS elements—

  Determine key psychological factors in the operational environment.

  Provide  training  and  advisory  assistance  to  insurgent  leaders  and  units  on  the  development, organization, and employment of resistance information capabilities.

  Identify  actions  with  psychological  effects  that  can  create,  change,  or  reinforce  desired behaviors in identified target groups or individuals.

  Shape popular perceptions to support UW objectives.

  Counter enemy misinformation and disinformation that can undermine the UW mission.


1-48.  CA personnel augment the SF headquarters (HQ) by providing expertise in civil-military operations (CMO). Although CMO plays a small role in resistance operations, planning CMO early in the campaign is critical. CMO efforts can play a significant role in—

  Mitigating  the  suffering  of  the  population  during  resistance  operations  through  humanitarian assistance (HA) efforts. (Forces must conduct CMO and HA efforts in a manner that does not link the population to the resistance effort, thereby bringing the retaliation of adversary forces.)

  Planning mobilization of popular support to the UW campaign.

  Analyzing  impacts  of  resistance  on  indigenous  populations  and  institutions  and  centers  of gravity through CA inputs to intelligence preparation of the operational environment (IPOE).

  Providing  the  supported  commander  with  critical  elements  of  civil  information  to  improve situational awareness and understanding within the operational environment.

  Assisting in stabilization post conflict.

  Assisting in the demobilization and transition of former resistance forces post conflict. Note: FM 3-05.40, Civil Affairs Operations, contains additional information on CA support to UW.


1-49.  Because of the military and political nature of UW, the U.S. interagency involvement is critical to achieving  a  whole-of-government  approach  and  long-term  success.  The  full  integration  of  joint, interagency,  intergovernmental,  and  multinational  communities  is  necessary  at  various  stages  of  an unconventional conflict.

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PREFACE ………………………………………………………….. iv
Chapter 1  OVERVIEW …………………………………… 1-1
Introduction to Unconventional Warfare ……………………………… 1-1
The Role of Unconventional Warfare in United States National Strategy……. 1-2
Feasibility for United States Sponsorship ……………….. 1-3
Physical and Human Environmental Conditions ………………… 1-3
Resistance Movement Characteristics …………………………………. 1-5
The Criticality of the Feasibility Assessment ………………….. 1-6
Ways the United States Conducts Unconventional Warfare ……………… 1-7
The Seven Phases of Unconventional Warfare …………………………… 1-8
Elements in Unconventional Warfare ………………………………. 1-9
Why Populations Resist ……………………… 2-1
Dynamics of Successful Insurgencies ………………………….. 2-3
The Components of an Insurgency …………………… 2-8
Additional Elements of an Insurgency …………………… 2-12
Infrastructure of a Resistance Movement or Insurgency ……. 2-13
Organization of Medical Support Within the Area Complex ….. 2-17
Insurgent Support Networks ……………………….. 2-18  Contents
Chapter 3  CONCEPT OF EMPLOYMENT …………………. 3-1
Planning for Unconventional Warfare ………………….. 3-1
Seven Phases of Unconventional Warfare ……………………. 3-2
Civil Affairs Support to the Seven Phases of Unconventional Warfare ….. 3-8
Logistics Considerations ……………………………………….. 3-9
Supply Considerations ………………………………………… 3-10
Command and Control ……………………………………………….. 3-13
Legal Principles ………………………………………………… 3-15
Appendix A  AREA STUDY ……………………………………………………… A-1
Appendix D  SPECIAL FORCES CACHING……………………………… D-1
GLOSSARY …………………………………………………… Glossary-1
REFERENCES ……………………………………………… References-1
INDEX …………………….. Index-1
Figure 1-1. Unconventional warfare terminology …………………… 1-2
Figure 1-2. Support for an insurgency ………………………………… 1-4
Figure 1-3. Phases of unconventional warfare ……………………… 1-9
Figure 2-1. Resistance terminology …………………………. 2-2
Figure 2-2. Structure of an insurgency or resistance movement …. 2-4
Figure 2-3. Operational cell ……………………………. 2-9
Figure 2-4. Intelligence cell ……………………………… 2-9
Figure 2-5. Parallel cells …………………………….. 2-10
Figure 2-6. Auxiliary cell ……………………… 2-11
Figure 2-7. Cells in series ………………………………. 2-11
Figure 2-8. Resistance structure with government-in-exile …….. 2-13
Figure 2-9. Area complex ……………………………. 2-14
Figure 2-10. Permanent base security ………………….. 2-15
Figure 3-1. Unconventional warfare elements …………… 3-2
Figure A-1. Area study outline format ……………………. A-1
Figure B-1. Sample principal assessment …………………….. B-1  Contents
Figure C-1. Sample master training plan for 30-day leadership course ……. C-1
Figure C-2. Sample master training plan for 10-day leadership course …….. C-2
Figure C-3. Data card—personnel and training record …………….. C-4
Table D-1. Buoyancy chart …………………… D-16


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