Confrontation Analysis: How to Win Operations Other Than War

Nigel Howard
01 May 1999

FREE via website or 2nd hand from over £100    Paperback: 330 pages   Publisher: Evidence Based Research, Incorporated, 1999 (1 May 1999)     ISBN: 1893723003
This book is based on research commissioned by the United Kingdom's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 1997 into how Confrontation Analysis might be applied to Peace Support Operations. The book presents a simple idea: a Peace Operations campaign (or Operation Other Than War) should be seen as a linked sequence of confrontations in contrast to a traditional, warfighting campaign, which is a linked sequence of battles. The objective in each confrontation is to bring about certain "compliant" behavior on the part of other parties, until in the end the campaign objective is reached. This is a state of sufficient compliance to enable the military to leave the theater. If this simple idea is accepted, one can show how the new technique of Confrontation Analysis (derived from Game Theory) can be applied to win an Operation Other Than War. Since this book was written, further research carried out in the Bosnia theater has clearly revealed that Special Forces commanders are already doing it. They are winning confrontations, or campaigns, made up of linked sequences of confrontations on a day-to-day basis. But they are doing it without a clear, uniform system of concepts specifically designed for a confrontational campaign. Using practical good sense, they are instead taking doctrinal concepts developed primarily for warfighting, and adapting them for use in confrontations. For example, they are using concepts of artillery targeting to plan how to "target" noncompliant parties (e.g., a local Mayor and police chief who are refusing to provide security for returning refugees from a different ethnic group). Such common-sensical adaptation of standard warfighting systems and concepts is admirable, and it works. The author believes, however, that a system that treats confrontations as confrontations, distinguishing them from battles both conceptually and in terms of planning procedures, will make British forces still more effective.