Fourth Generation Warfare

  • 16 May 2016

Fourth generation warfare is a new complicated concept that transcends the traditional understanding of conventional wars, i.e. direct military confrontation between two or a group of states. This new controversial concept has stirred a heated debate, notably with regard to its tools and goals. Several military circles do not credit this concept because they consider it as an approach that may or may not offer reasonable answers and explanations on warfare nature and methods. Fourth Generation Warfare are wars that are characterized with unclear objectives that do not aim at crushing the military capabilities of the opponent, but rather at igniting internal strife, discord and causing instability. Therefore, there is no doubt that the understanding of Fourth Generation Warfare has direct and indirect implications on the peace and stability of states, which requires a thorough and accurate analysis of this concept and its complications.

In this context, the ECSSR organizes, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan- may god protect him, a conference on Fourth Generation Warfare from Monday to Tuesday at the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hall in the Center’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi. The event reflects awareness about the importance of the developments at the international and regional level and the emergence of actors with transborder influence. These actors use to their advantage technological and communication advancements as well as the inability of the state to ensure a monopoly over the means of violence as well as the surge of terrorist groups.

The organization by the ECSSR of the conference also aims at shedding light on key strategic issues and the development of conflicts and wars. In this regard, fourth generation wars refers do not fit into the conventional military understanding of war, as they combine soft-power and hard-power including social media which is increasingly used by extremist organizations to disseminate destructive ideas, create strife, and cause instability and infighting.

While giving due attention to theoretical issues such as the tactics, techniques and procedures of fourth generation warfare, the Center also makes sure to analyze the tools used in this type of wars such as communications and social media. Light will also be shed on the relation between international and regional crises and fourth generation warfare. The conference is also designed to put forth proposals to help states deal with the challenges of fourth generation warfare through the elaboration of effective strategies.

In light of the scale of the challenges relating to fourth generation warfare, the conference is held at the right time to present a comprehensive view on this issue in a way that enables the understanding of its multiple dimensions and the anticipation of future prospects.