Outplayed: Regaining Strategic Initiative in the Gray Zone, A Report Sponsored by the Army Capabilities Integration Center in Coordination with Joint Staff J-39/Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Branch
Authored by Mr. Nathan P. Freier, Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Burnett, Colonel William J. Cain Jr., Lieutenant Colonel Christopher D. Compton, Lieutenant Colonel Sean M. Hankard, Professor Robert S. Hume, Lieutenant Colonel Gary R. Kramlich II, Colonel J. Matthew Lissner, Lieutenant Colonel Tobin A. Magsig, Colonel Daniel E. Mouton, Mr. Michael S. Muztafago, Colonel James M. Schultze, Professor John F. Troxell, Lieutenant Colonel Dennis G. Wille.
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U.S. competitors pursuing meaningful revision or rejection of the current U.S.-led status quo are employing a host of hybrid methods to advance and secure interests contrary to those of the United States. These challengers employ unique combinations of influence, intimidation, coercion, and aggression to incrementally crowd out effective resistance, establish local or regional advantage, and manipulate risk perceptions in their favor. So far, the United States has not come up with a coherent countervailing approach. It is in this “gray zone”—the awkward and uncomfortable space between traditional conceptions of war and peace—where the United States and its defense enterprise face systemic challenges to U.S. position and authority. Gray zone competition and conflict present fundamental challenges to U.S. and partner security and, consequently, should be important pacers for U.S. defense strategy.
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