Loading...

U.S., Allies Must Learn to ‘Win Without Fighting’

Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Futures Command, answers a question during a panel at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition on Oct. 15, 2019.
Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Futures Command, answers a question during a panel at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition on Oct. 15, 2019.
Photo by: 
Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for AUSA
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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

ILW Near Peer Threats_audience.jpg

Audience members listen to the discussion during a forum titled “Left of Conflict – Near Peer Threats on the Horizon” at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition on Oct. 15, 2019
Audience members listen to the discussion during a forum titled “Left of Conflict – Near Peer Threats on the Horizon” at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition on Oct. 15, 2019
(Photo by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for AUSA)