UW Countergovernance: Political Warfare in Great Power Competition

April 2019 No Comments

“UW Countergovernance: Political Warfare in Great Power Competition”

Speaker: Uherka, J. (US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC))

Date: 22 April 2019

Speaker Session Preview

SMA hosted a speaker session presented by MAJ Jeffrey Uherka (US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC)) as a part of its SMA NDU Speaker Series. During his presentation, MAJ Uherka discussed the 1st Special Forces Command’s (SFC) realignment in 2014. He stated that this realignment facilitated cross-functional capability by creating Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) tribes, each of which specializes in training on specific operational variables. This concept allows the 1st SFC to more effectively train, man, and equip its forces. It also allows it to better exploit operational variables by employing all tribes as a cross-functional capability. MAJ Uherka then discussed the 1st SFC’s previous attempts to wield political and economic variables in governance and identified its relevance to unconventional warfare (UW). He stated that “if governance can be separated by government, and if governance can occur wherever a group of people gather, then actors can wield the political and economic variables by, with, and through sub-state and non-state actors against the state.” Next, he explained the concept of countergovernance, which is the act—short of conventional war—of weaponizing the political and economic variables of a nation. He provided a few examples, including Iranian countergovernance in Lebanon and Russian countergovernance in both Crimea and the Donbas. MAJ Uherka then argued that ARSOF can apply this concept of countergovernance to great power competition in order to “conduct operations, activities, and investments in the human environment that intentionally undermine or compete with power holders’ governance practices (and their associated authority and influence).” To conclude, MAJ Uherka provided several recommendations for ARSOF going forward.

Speaker Session Audio File

Download MAJ Uherka’s Biography and Slides


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