The Gray Zone – Can America Compete?

Map - The Gray Zone and Hybrid Warfare

The Gray Zone – the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida recently rolled out a new term in September 2015 [1] to describe a specific type of conflict. The Gray Zone is method of categorization for the conflict that occurs in the space between peace and open warfare. Some would simply call it Unconventional Warfare.

What is certain is that there already exist a plethora of terms to use that come very close to the meaning of the Gray Zone. Since the appearance of this new term in favor by USSOCOM a number of military observers, international relations scholars, and national security writers have wrote articles adding their two cents to the explanation of this new security challenge that presents novel complications for U.S. policy and interests in the 21st century.

One such writer, an instructor at West Point, provides his take in two recent articles. Captain John Chambers, U.S. Army, is also a scholar with the Modern War Institute at West Point. Read his thoughts below:

“Owning the ‘gray zone'”Army Times, by John Chambers, November 6, 2016.
Countering Gray-Zone Hybrid Threats, by John Chambers, Modern War Institute, West Point, October 18, 2016.

[1] The Gray Zone, White Paper by United States Special Operations Command, 9 September 2015.

For Further Reading:
“Special Operations and the Challenge of Working in the Gray Zone”, by John Friberg,, February 1, 2016.
“Project Gray – Join the Conversation”, USAJFKSWCS,
“Gray Zone”, Special Forces Training.

About John Friberg 201 Articles
John Friberg is the Editor and Publisher of SOF News. He is a retired Command Chief Warrant Officer (CW5 180A) with 40 years service in the U.S. Army Special Forces with active duty and reserve components.