U.S., Allies Must Learn to ‘Win Without Fighting’
The United States and its allies and partners must solve the problem of how to face adversaries in so-called "left of conflict" competition, a panel of experts said Oct. 15 during a forum at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.
The term describes the concept of engaging without combat. Russia, a potential near-peer adversary, is highly skilled at "left of conflict" operations, the panelists said.
"In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea without firing a shot," said Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, deputy commanding general for Futures and Concepts at U.S. Army Futures Command. "Left of conflict means something."
The concept represents a sometimes-awkward approach for Americans, one panelist said. "We like clean lines," said Kathleen Hicks from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "This is much messier. We like to have clean lines" delineating war and peace.
Nevertheless, Wesley said, the West needs to adjust. "We are not doing enough."
"It's about winning without fighting," said Maj. Gen. Kathryn Toohey, head of force integration for the Australian Army.
- Susan Katz Keating for AUSA