Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 80

history and is familiar to many of today’s military officers. Many of its best historical examples come from the series of conflicts we collectively refer to as the Indian Wars. Braddock’s defeat highlights as many useful insights as contemporary examples of asymmetric action, like Russian battles with the Chechens. Overcoming future challenges will require that we both understand the lessons from the past and develop strategies and tactics appropriate to tomorrow’s battlefield. While asymmetric warfare is not something new, it is very much in vogue today in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War. Given America’s resounding success in that conflict, potential adversaries have learned Iraq’s lesson that it is foolish to try to match us conventionally. Instead, they are seeking ways to turn our strengths against us. This is the heart of the concept of asymmetry, broadly defined by Steven Metz and Douglas Johnson of the U.S. Army War College as: “In the realm of military affairs and national security, asymmetry is acting, organizing, and thinking differently than opponents in order to maximize one’s own advantages, exploit an opponent’s weaknesses, attain the initiative, or gain greater freedom of action.