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Strategic Competition and Resistance in the 21st Century: Irregular, Catastrophic, Traditional, and Hybrid Challenges in Context

The 2005 National Defense Strategy (NDS 05) introduced the concept of the four challenges: traditional, irregular, catastrophic, and disruptive. However, since the strategy's publication in March 2005, little has emerged in the way of specific amplification of these concepts. Reference to the challenges is prolific in both formal and informal defense deliberations. Yet, there has always been some need for greater richness and granularity in their description and application in defense strategy and policy making. For three of the four challenges, the wait is over. This monograph describes the foundational substance of the traditional, irregular, and catastrophic challenges as they were conceived at the working-level during development of NDS 05. Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Freier, one of two working-level strategists responsible for conceptual development of NDS 05, examines these challenges and their implications in some detail. In the process, he also introduces what he terms the "hybrid norm"--The routine state of nature where key aspects of multiple challenges combine at once into complex hybrids. Lieutenant Colonel Freier's focus on irregular, catastrophic, hybrid, and traditional challenges, while omitting a fuller description of disruptive challenges, is intentional. It stems from an early conclusion by NDS 05's working level framers that, while irregular-cum-catastrophic and hybrid resistance and friction were increasingly more likely and more dangerous than most prospective traditional challenges, the existence of substantial traditional capacity in some key regions continued to complicate U.S. strategic calculations. The disruptive challenge, on the other hand, remained an important, but also a speculative line of strategic inquiry that was neither operative yet nor likely to be operative for some time.

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  • "The 2005 National Defense Strategy (NDS 05) introduced the concept of the four challenges: traditional, irregular, catastrophic, and disruptive. However, since the strategy's publication in March 2005, little has emerged in the way of specific amplification of these concepts. Reference to the challenges is prolific in both formal and informal defense deliberations. Yet, there has always been some need for greater richness and granularity in their description and application in defense strategy and policy making. For three of the four challenges, the wait is over. This monograph describes the foundational substance of the traditional, irregular, and catastrophic challenges as they were conceived at the working-level during development of NDS 05. Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Freier, one of two working-level strategists responsible for conceptual development of NDS 05, examines these challenges and their implications in some detail. In the process, he also introduces what he terms the "hybrid norm"--The routine state of nature where key aspects of multiple challenges combine at once into complex hybrids. Lieutenant Colonel Freier's focus on irregular, catastrophic, hybrid, and traditional challenges, while omitting a fuller description of disruptive challenges, is intentional. It stems from an early conclusion by NDS 05's working level framers that, while irregular-cum-catastrophic and hybrid resistance and friction were increasingly more likely and more dangerous than most prospective traditional challenges, the existence of substantial traditional capacity in some key regions continued to complicate U.S. strategic calculations. The disruptive challenge, on the other hand, remained an important, but also a speculative line of strategic inquiry that was neither operative yet nor likely to be operative for some time."@en
  • "The 2005 National Defense Strategy introduced the now prolific concept of the four challenges -- traditional, irregular, catastrophic, and disruptive. Reference to the challenges is now an essential feature of defense deliberations. Yet in spite of the concept's central place in the defense debates in and out of government, there have been persistent gaps in how the individual challenges are defined and how they should be applied in defense and security policymaking. Written by one of two working-level strategists responsible for the 2005 defense strategy's conceptual development, this monograph addresses that deficit. It provides the reader with the foundational substance underwriting the three most active challenges -- irregular, catastrophic, and traditional -- while introducing the concept of the "hybrid norm.""@en

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  • "Strategic Competition and Resistance in the 21st Century: Irregular, Catastrophic, Traditional, and Hybrid Challenges in Context"@en
  • "Strategic competition and resistance in the 21st century : irregular, catastrophic, traditional, and hybrid challenges in context"
  • "Strategic competition and resistance in the 21st century : irregular, catastrophic, traditional, and hybrid challenges in context"@en
  • "Strategic competition and resistance in the 21st century irregular, catastrophic, traditional, and hybrid challenges in context"@en
  • "Strategic competition and resistance in the 21st Century : irregular, catastrophic, traditional, and hybrid challenges in context"