Analysis / Strategy

By Other Means – Part I: Campaigning in the Gray Zone

The United States is being confronted with the liabilities of its strength. Competitors are contesting the rules of the international system and U.S. leadership. With the significant costs of engaging the United States in combat, and the growing range of indirect and non-military tools at their disposal, rivals are finding avenues for threatening U.S. interests without triggering escalation. Their coercive tools range the spectrum of fake news and online troll farms to terrorist financing and paramilitary provocations. Such approaches lie in the contested arena somewhere between routine statecraft and open warfare—the “gray zone.” A concrete and actionable campaign plan is needed to deal with this challenge; in order to do so, the United States must identify and employ a broad spectrum of tools and concepts to deter, and if needed, to compete and win contestations in the gray zone.

Download the Report

Download the Executive Summary

For more CSIS analysis on gray zone approaches, visit the project web page here.

CSIS Reports are produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s). 

© 2019 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

TAGS: , , , ,