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The concept was first described by the authors William S. Lind, Colonel Keith Nightengale (USA), Captain John F. Schmitt (USMC), Colonel Joseph W. Sutton (USA), and Lieutenant Colonel Gary I. Wilson (USMCR) in a 1989 Marine Corps Gazette article entitled 'The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation'.

The generations of warfare described by these authors are,

1st Generation, Tactics of line and column, which developed during the age of the musket. Examples being English Civil War, American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

2nd Generation, Tactics of linear fire and movement, with reliance on indirect fire.

Examples being American Civil War, World War 1, Spanish Civil War and World War 2

3rd Generation, Tactics of infiltration to bypass and collapse the enemies combat forces rather than seeking to close with and destroy them, and defense in depth.

Examples being, Korean War, Six Day War, Yom Kippur War and the Gulf War.

4th Generation, The use of fourth generation warfare can be traced to the post World War 2 Cold War period, as Superpowers and Major Powers attempted to retain their grip on Colonies and captured territories.

Fourth Generation warfare has often involved an insurgent group or non-state entity trying to implement their own government or reestablish an old government over the current ruling power.

Unable to withstand direct combat against bombers, tanks and machine guns etc, the non state entity has used secrecy, confusion and terror to overcome the technological gap.

In a nutshell Fourth Generation warfare is the fight against Terrorism.

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Q: What is the 4 Generations of War theory?
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