Generations vs. Generation
The concept of 4th Generation Warfare has been getting a lot of press and discussion of late. Originally presented in an article in the Marine Corps Gazette in October 1989 by William S. Lind, Colonel Keith Nightengale (USA), Captain John F. Schmitt (USMC), Colonel Joseph W. Sutton (USA), and Lieutenant Colonel Gary I. Wilson (USMCR), the authors postulated that asymmetric strategies constituted a 4th Generation of of modern warfare. (To paraphrase: The First Generation was mass armies, the Second Generation was attition warfare, and the Third Generation was so-called manuever warfare.) Colonel Thomas X. Hammes has recently updated the concept with the publication of his book The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century. (You can also read his thoughts on the matter here.)
While I don't have a lot to argue with the concepts that make up portions of 4GW, I am skeptical of the 1GW, 2GW, 3GW, 4GW typology. Guerrilla warfare and other asymmetric strategies have been with us for a long, long time. See Asprey. In any event, I think that Dr. (and also retired Army Lieutenant Colonel) Antulio Echevarria has an excellent opinion piece up at the Army's Strategic Studies Institute site where he outlines his objections with the 4GW concept. Read it.
Quasi-NS Also, I highly recommend Colin S. Gray's latest article “How Has War Changed Since the End of the Cold War?” in Parameters.