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    DTRA hosts timely forum on Iran’s use of ‘Gray Zone Warfare’

    Michael Eisenstadt, a Kahn Fellow and Director of the Military and Security Studies Program at the Institute answers questions from members of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency

    Photo By Sunghee Chon | Strategic Trends Forum - Iran and Gray Zone Warfare. Guest speaker: Mr. Michael...... read more read more



    Story by Melissa Tune 

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency

    DTRA hosts timely forum on Iran’s use of ‘Gray Zone Warfare’
    By: Melissa Tune, Defense Threat Reduction Agency Public Affairs

    FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA – The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) hosted a Middle East security affairs expert from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy for a discussion on Iran January 8.

    Michael Eisenstadt, a Kahn Fellow and Director of the Military and Security Studies Program at the Institute, spoke to the DTRA workforce on the ways in which Iran competes with the United States and its allies and partners below the level of armed conflict. As an expert in Persian Gulf policies and Arab-Israeli security affairs, Eisenstadt has published works on irregular and conventional warfare and nuclear weapons proliferation in parts of the Middle East. He has also authored numerous publications with his most recent writing titled “Operating in the Gray Zone: Countering Iran's Asymmetric War of War.” A retired U.S. Army Officer, Eisenstadt served numerous tours in the Middle East both in uniform and as a civilian. He has worked for the Department of Defense, Department of State, and Congressional committees examining issues related to Iraq and Iran.

    His latest writing was the topic of his briefing at Wednesday’s event and while Eisenstadt’s visit was previously scheduled, the discussion followed a recent series of escalatory moves between the United States and Iran.

    “Countries like Iran, Russia, and China often operate in the gray zone between war and peace in order to challenge the status quo, while managing risk and avoiding war,” said Eisenstadt during his talk. “They create ambiguity regarding objectives (through incremental action) and attribution (through unacknowledged covert or proxy activities), denying adversaries a legal justification for action and creating uncertainty about how to respond.”

    Eisenstadt explained that since 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has distinguished itself as perhaps the world’s foremost practitioner of “gray zone” warfare. During a question and answer session following his remarks, he offered his insight and expert opinion on how Iran’s gray–zone use is being examined by scholars around the world and closed out his session with a prediction.

    “An effective U.S. gray zone strategy could help foil Iran’s counter pressure campaign, constrain its ability to engage in destabilizing regional activities, and dissuade it from eventually attempting a slow-motion nuclear breakout. Moreover, the gray zone construct can provide a strategic framework for the ‘by, with, and through’ operational approach in the Middle East, where economy-of-force operations will become increasingly necessary as military focus and assets shift to the Indo-Pacific region.”

    Eisenstadt’s appearance was the most recent iteration of DTRA’s Strategic Trends Forum series. As part of this series, DTRA regularly hosts guest speakers from various DoD, interagency and international partners to provide the in-depth dialogue on the strategic implications of the issues behind the headlines.

    “Mr. Eisenstadt provided insightful and timely commentary on the challenges posed by Iran,” said Robert Peters, who leads DTRA’s Office of Strategic Trends and Effects. “I think his talk is yet another indication of the caliber of speakers and senior attendees that the Strategic Trends Forums draw.”



    Date Taken: 01.10.2020
    Date Posted: 01.10.2020 09:26
    Story ID: 358666
    Location: FORT BELVOIR, VA, US 

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