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For an ongoing project entitled “An Army for Full Spectrum Operations: Lessons from Irregular Wars,” RAND Arroyo Center researchers assessed recent “irregular” conflicts and their implications for U.S. Army force mix and capabilities, as well as for the elements that support or operate with ground forces. This paper provides initial research observations on how various militaries view the role of heavy forces (tanks and other armored vehicles) in irregular warfare (IW) and hybrid warfare environments. The views of the U.S. Marine Corps, the British Army, the Canadian Army, the Danish Army, and the Israeli Army are discussed. What emerges from the research to date is that each of these forces believes that there is a role in IW and hybrid warfare for heavy forces, including tanks, because they reduce operational risk, minimize friendly casualties, and provide an intimidation factor against adversaries.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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