The Israel Defense Forces have gained much experience against hybrid opponents — Hezbollah and Hamas — in the recent conflicts in Lebanon and Gaza. The lessons from these Israeli experiences are relevant to understanding the capabilities the U.S. Army and the joint force will require in the future. Principal findings include the following. The basics of combined arms fire and maneuver are necessary for successful operations against sophisticated hybrid opponents who, like Hezbollah and Hamas, have a modicum of training, organization, and advanced weapons, particularly if they are operating “among the people.” Additionally, precision, standoff fires are critical, but not sufficient, to cope with sophisticated hybrid opponents. Furthermore, responsive and adequate air, artillery, and unmanned aerial system support are critical components of the combined arms fight against hybrid opponents. Finally, heavy forces — based on tanks and infantry fighting vehicles — are key elements of any force that will fight sophisticated irregular opponents, because they reduce operational risk and minimize friendly casualties.
The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.