Mastering the Gray Zone: Understanding a Changing Era of Conflict

Mastering the Gray Zone: Understanding a Changing Era of Conflict
Mastering the Gray Zone: Understanding a Changing Era of Conflict
USA Price: 
Low stock
GPO Stock Number:

History Repeats Itself in Today’s Increasing Use of Advanced “Gray Zone” Strategies

Discussions of an emerging practice of “gray zone” conflict have become increasingly common throughout the U.S. Army and the wider national security community, but the concept remains ill-defined and poorly understood. This monograph aims to contribute to the emerging dialogue about competition and rivalry in the gray zone by defining the term, comparing and contrasting it with related theories, and offering tentative hypotheses about this increasingly important form of state competition. The idea of operating gradually and somewhat covertly to remain below key thresholds of response is hardly new. Many approaches being used today—such as support for proxy forces and insurgent militias—have been employed for millennia. The monograph argues that the emergence of this more coherent and intentional form of gray zone conflict is best understood as the confluence of three factors. Understood in this context, gray zone strategies can be defined as a form of conflict that pursues political objectives through integrated campaigns; employs mostly nonmilitary or nonkinetic tools; strives to remain under key escalatory or red line thresholds to avoid outright conventional conflict; and moves gradually toward its objectives rather than seeking conclusive results in a relatively limited period of time. Having examined the scope and character of gray zone conflict, the monograph offers seven hypotheses about this emerging form of rivalry. Finally, the monograph gives recommendations for the United States and its friends and allies to deal with this challenge.


Military leaders, staff and soldiers within the U.S. Army and wider defense community (including the special operations community), and international relations scholars may be interested in this work.  Graduate students pursuing coursework in military science degree programs or world history may be interested in this analysis for research papers.

Product Details

Availability Details:
In Stock
USA Price:
International Price:
Defense Dept., Army, U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute
  • Mazarr, Michael J.
Key Phrases:
  • Advancing Strategic Thought Series
  • Understanding a Changing Era of Conflict
  • Security, International
  • International relations
  • Strategy
Quantity Price:
Unit of Issue (US):
Unit of Issue (Non-US):
Record Creation Date:
Last Status Update:
Back to Top