Jointly hosted Irregular Warfare Forum provides critical discussion on IW policy, doctrine, training, education

Jointly hosted Irregular Warfare Forum provides critical discussion on IW policy, doctrine, training, education

ARLINGTON, Va. – More than 400 senior leaders, academia, subject matter experts, and guests gathered to attend the Irregular Warfare Forum in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 5-7.

Jointly hosted by the Irregular Warfare Center, National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs, and the U.S. Army John. F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, the forum laid the foundation for in-depth discussions about irregular warfare.

“We are proud to host and play a pivotal role in the IW Forum alongside the National Defense University, College of International Security Affairs and John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Command and School,” said Irregular Warfare Center Director, Dr. Dennis Walters. “The theme for the event, preparing for strategic competition through policy, doctrine, training and education, provided attendees an opportunity to engage with a plethora of subject matter experts and organizations while discussing the importance of IW education throughout the community. We are delighted to work collectively with these extraordinary organizations in helping to move this critical mission forward.”

SWCS Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Guillaume “Will” Beaurpere, and NDU CISA’s Acting Chancellor, Denise Marsh, provided opening remarks and welcomed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher P. Maier. Maier delivered the keynote address focusing on the critical role of IW in achieving national security objectives.

“We planned this specifically to expand the communities of interest and seek wider interagency and DoD perspectives on irregular warfare,” said Beaurpere. “Though prepare we must, what I would tell you is that it has to be with a sense of urgency. This forum is strategically driven, threat informed, and operationally focused. ”

Marsh added, “This call to action requires formulating concrete ways to collaborate with people and organizations outside our comfort zone … The 2022 NDS calls for the ‘incorporation of allied and partner perspectives at all stages of defense planning,’ and CISA lays the groundwork to do so, building partner capacity in the classroom and beyond. We will continue to test IW concepts in the classroom and in forums like this to better develop tomorrow’s Irregular Warfare leaders.”

The three-day event emphasized a variety of topics focusing on setting the scene for future competition, preparing for the future of irregular warfare, and the voices of experience and the demands of the future.

For the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Deputy Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, information technology is a vital component to irregular warfare.

“Everybody should have a basic understanding of data,” said Roberson. “Using data and being data literate at the lowest levels gives us a huge advantage.”

For an attendee, the forum presented a platform to see how irregular warfare is studied and applied across the interagency.

“We have a lot of discussions about strategy at the policy level of irregular warfare, and I’m very interested in hearing about how that is making its way into the operational level and how it’s being activated,” said Jessica Rice, Irregular Warfare Forum attendee.

Irregular Warfare forums are held every six months. The next forum will be held in May 2024 at Fort Liberty, North Carolina.

“We at the Center encourage all attendees to learn more about the IWC and utilize all of our educational resources as we continue to evolve and grow in serving as the central mechanism for developing the Department of Defense’s irregular warfare knowledge and advancing the Department’s understanding of irregular warfare concepts and doctrine in collaboration with key allies and partners,” said Walters.

Note: Elvia Kelly, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Public Affairs officer; David Wyscaver, Irregular Warfare Center Public Affairs and Strategic Communications manager; and Catherine Nguyen, College of International Security Affairs Strategic Communications specialist, contributed to this article.