YPFP Events

Commander Bruce Defibaugh: Maritime Irregular Warfare

March 11, 2014 06:30 pm


1825 R St NW 20009 Washington, DC
United States

Please RSVP to Paul Taylor (please disregard any messages below indicating that the event is full)


Irregular Warfare, from my perspective, is the [key] problem we face today…Welcome to the future, it’s not going away.” - Gen. James Mattis, USMC

    U.S. Military doctrine, as outlined in Joint Publication 1, defines Irregular Warfare as “a violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant population(s).” The successful execution of IW demands a unique set of capabilities including deep foreign area knowledge, non-traditional mission sets, inter-agency cooperation, partner capacity worldwide, and agile forces. As the United States approaches the drawdown in Afghanistan, an effective Irregular Warfare capability is viewed as essential in order to prevent and meet tomorrow’s asymmetric threats across the globe. 

With its global presence, diverse platforms, renowned special operations community, and experience in counterinsurgency since 9/11, the U.S. Navy is well positioned to adapt Irregular Warfare tactics to a maritime role. While various initiatives such as the Global Maritime Partnership allow the U.S. military to build strong partner capacity with allies, the Navy also has the potential to contribute through counter-piracy operations, civic action, maritime intercept operations, counterterrorism, riverine warfare, explosive ordinance disposal, and increased intelligence collection at sea. 

Precisely how to integrate the Irregular Warfare concept into the Navy’s maritime responsibilities is a matter of current debate. With shrinking defense budgets, military planners must ensure they are meeting today’s irregular threats while maintaining adequate preparedness for tomorrow’s conventional adversaries.  Furthermore, the goal of building an international network of cooperative security in the maritime domain involves long-term commitments to our allies and the integration of diplomatic, development, political, and military initiatives. Finally, the Navy must make significant investments in language capabilities and foreign area education in order to maintain a diverse and effective foreign area officer cadre. 

Please join Young Professionals in Foreign Policy and Commander Bruce Defibaugh, USN, for a discussion on this critical subject. With his experience in the Navy Irregular Warfare Office since its inception in 2008, Commander Defibaugh holds considerable expertise in implementing maritime irregular warfare into naval doctrine. A Naval Officer since the late 1980s, Commander Defibaugh has served in leadership capacities in Fighter Squadron Two, the Joint Targeting School, and the Strategic Actions Group. Commander Defibaugh received his MS in National Strategic Studies with a concentration in Irregular Warfare from the National War College and his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron. 


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