The clean break of XGW from GMW has is amazing. Not only does it represent the greatest advance since the first descriptions of 5GW, it’s simply liberating to no longer carry the water for thsoe more interested in Idealism than in advancing our understanding of war.
Today, I’ve come across a number of thought-provoking articles in Arms and Influence, Castle Arg, Dreaming 5GW, Simulated Laughter, and Soob. They made me think of XGW in terms of the words we use. In particular, two suggestions came to me.
1. The Term “Generation” Must Be Abandoned.
Just as the abandonment of GMW (The Generations of Modern War) is a critical step in the evolution of XGW theory, the abandonment of “Generation” is the next step. Consider the many criticisms of “4GW” available on the web. Previously, proponents of XGW had to argue against these criticism, and assert that the critics did not really understand 4GW. Now, proponents can agree with the criticism, generalize them to criticism of GMW, and present XGW as an alternative.
I propose Grade, thus making XGW X Grade War Theory. The first four definitions of “grade” are:
# A stage or degree in a process.
# A position in a scale of size, quality, or intensity: a poor grade of lumber.
# An accepted level or standard.
# A set of persons or things all falling in the same specified limits; a class.
These fits how G is used in XGW theory.
Grade also has the benefit of not having the strict timeline implications of “generation” while not doing away entirely with the parts of the timeline of XGW that make sense.
This leaves open the question of whether Roman or Arabic numerals should be use. That is, whether “4th Grade War,” “Grade 4 War,” “IVth Grade War,” or “Grade IV War” is clearer as to what it implies.
2. The “Stages of 4GW” Must Be Abandoned
4GWS1, 4GWS2, and 4GWS3 properly refer to only one form of 4GW, the Maoist model, and so exclude any form of 4GW that is not Maoist. Boyd’s PISRR-Loop is both more precise and more general. I’ve mapped the 3 Stages onto PISRR before, but that earlier work is limited. Instead of S1, we should clarify whether we are talking about Penetration anad Isolation. Instead of Stage 3, we should be precise if we meant Reorientation or Reharmonization, and so on.
3. In Conclusion
Consider one of the final actions in winning a 4GW. In GMW, this would properly be referred to as:
“The Third Stage of the 4th Generation of Modern War” (long form)
“4GWS3” (short form)
I propose instead:
???? (long form)
“4GW Reharmonization” (short form)