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McFate Piece on Irregular Warfare, Strategic Competition Published in The Hill

December 10, 2022

The Hill

Sean McFate

Sean McFate


"Irregular warfare will win ‘strategic competition’," written by Sean McFate, adjunct professor in Maxwell's Washington programs, was published in The Hill.

McFate argues that, while useful, traditional war-gaming may be teaching Department of Defense officials the wrong lesson. 

"Rightly, the Defense Department must study how to win against China and/or Russia in “strategic competition,” should it become a shooting war," says McFate. "But here’s the problem: It will not happen, at least not like this, and we may be learning the wrong lessons. As the Cold War teaches, competition between nuclear great powers risks World War III Armageddon, and why the USA and USSR avoided putting their troops into direct conflict," he says.

"The nature of war is escalation, and no one wanted another 1914 Sarajevo moment with nukes," writes McFate. "Both sides maintained large conventional forces and nuclear arsenals for deterrence, but the actual fighting was done through “irregular warfare,” such as political warfare and proxy wars."


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