Washington, D.C. – In an address at the Semi-Annual Irregular Warfare Forum, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher P. Maier, underlined the crucial role of Irregular Warfare (IW) in national security. The event, a collaborative initiative between the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and the National Defense University College of International Security Affairs, brought together leaders from various sectors.
Maier’s speech focused on the vital importance of IW as a key element in achieving national security goals. He emphasized that IW is instrumental in facilitating a whole-of-government approach during strategic competition, aiding in both campaigning and deterrence. These points resonate with the core principles of the National Defense Strategy.
Drawing on his extensive two-decade experience in counterterrorism and stabilization operations, Maier emphasized the need for layered effects to maximize impact. His insights are particularly timely, aligning with the efforts of the Joint Staff’s Director for Joint Force Development, Lt. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, who is spearheading a realignment of IW policy with the 2022 National Defense Strategy.
A development highlighted at the forum was the publication of the Irregular Warfare Implementation Guidance by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. This document is now a cornerstone of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) effort to integrate IW into its plans and capabilities, marking a considerable shift in the department’s focus.
The guidance aligns with the DoD’s broader strategy of customizing deterrence and enhancing coordination both within and outside the department. For the Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict sectors, this means involving both conventional and special operations forces in IW planning and campaigning. This approach is aimed at effectively achieving the strategic objectives of the National Defense Strategy.
The forum provided a crucial platform for dialogue among military, government, business, and academic leaders, fostering robust discussions on IW policy, doctrine, training, and education in the context of global strategic competition. Maier’s address and the subsequent discussions underscore the evolving nature of warfare and the DoD’s commitment to adapting its strategies to meet these challenges.