Strategic Competition and Resistance in the 21st Century: Irregular, Catastrophic, Traditional, and Hybrid Challenges in Context

  • May 01, 2007
  • Mr Nathan P Freier

The 2005 National Defense Strategy introduced the now prolific concept of the four challenges--traditional, irregular, catastrophic, and disruptive. Reference to the challenges is now an essential feature of defense deliberations. Yet in spite of the concept’s central place in the defense debates in and out of government, there have been persistent gaps in how the individual challenges are defined and how they should be applied in defense and security policymaking. Written by one of two working-level strategists responsible for the 2005 defense strategy’s conceptual development, this monograph addresses that deficit. It provides the reader with the foundational substance underwriting the three most active challenges--irregular, catastrophic, and traditional--while introducing the concept of the “hybrid norm.”