Gray Zones: A New Look at the Conflict Spectrum

Gray Zones: A New Look at the Conflict Spectrum

Thursday, March 15, 7PM

Please join us for a discussion of the concept of “gray zone” conflict and competition. Recent criticism of the US military tendency to employ a binary war/peace concept of conflict has lead to a surge of study of what is now know as “the gray zone,” or “conflict short of armed conflict.”

Proponents of this concept argue that there is a gap in America’s preparedness to confront challenges that are above the level of normal competition but do not cross the threshold beyond which the U.S. is prepared to employ its overwhelming military force; and that its competitors have figured out how to exploit this gap.

Examples of gray zone conflict/competition include China’s actions in the South China Sea and Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its continued military activity in Ukraine, each trying to deny and/or justify their actions avoid repercussions and escalation.

Irregular warfare analyst and YPFP Defense Discussion Group Chair, Paul W. Taylor, and former U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel, Professor David S. Maxwell, will discuss the nature of the gray zone and how well the U.S. military is prepared for such challenges.


Prof. David S. Maxwell


David  S.  Maxwell  is  an  independent  national  security  consultant  and  the  former   Associate  Director  of    the  Security  Studies  Program  at  Georgetown  University.  He  is  a   30  year  veteran  of  the  US  Army  retiring  in  2011  as  a  Special  Forces  Colonel  with  his   final  assignment  serving  on  the  military  faculty  teaching  national  security  strategy  at  the   National  War  College.  He  is  a  graduate  of  Miami  University  in  Oxford,  Ohio  and  holds   Masters  of  Military  Arts  and  Science  degrees  from  the  US  Army  Command  and  General   Staff  College  and  the  School  of  Advanced  Military  Studies  and  a  Master  of  Science   degree  in  National  Security  Studies  from  the  National  War  College  of  the  National   Defense  University.  He  is  currently  pursuing  his  Doctorate  of  Liberal  Studies  (ABD)  at   Georgetown  writing  a  dissertation  titled  “The  Statesman,  the  Strategist,  and  the  Special   Forces  Soldier:  A  Philosophy  of  Unconventional  and  Political  Warfare.”


Paul W. Taylor


Paul W. Taylor is an irregular warfare analyst and the current Chair of the YPFP Defense Discussion Group. For the past 5 years, he has been a strategy and policy analyst supporting the advancement of Navy and Joint doctrine, strategy, and policy to address irregular challenges. He has provided subject matter expertise and reviewed policy documents on the topics of irregular warfare, special operations, security force assistance, maritime security, regional engagement, CBRN and CWMD, and unconventional warfare. He has also engaged with Joint Staff and Naval Services on irregular warfare-related doctrine development. He holds a J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law, as well as a Master's Degree from the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall.



When: Thursday, March 15, 7PM (Check-in at 6:30PM)


Where: GWU Elliott School of International Affairs, Room 505 (1957 E. Street NW)


Note: This event is open to YPFP members and GWU students, faculty, and alumni



March 15, 2018 at 7pm - 8:30pm
GWU Elliott School Room 505
1957 E Street NW
Room 505
Washington, DC 20052
United States
Google map and directions
Alexander Wilson ·

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