asymmetric warfare

noun
variants: or less commonly asymmetrical warfare

Definition of asymmetric warfare

:warfare that is between opposing forces which differ greatly in military power and that typically involves the use of unconventional weapons and tactics (such as those associated with guerrilla warfare and terrorist attacks)
  • Challenging the United States in conventional combat is an invitation to disaster; combat operations emphatically demonstrated that when Iraq's army disintegrated under pressure from U.S. airstrikes and ground assaults. So Iraqi insurgents have increasingly resorted to unconventional or “asymmetricwarfare—hit-and-run ambushes, snipings and the extensive use of homemade bombs—to inflict casualties while minimizing their own risks.
  • —Ed TimmsDallas Morning News13 Nov. 2003
  • But the kind of asymmetric warfare that typifies combat with terrorist and other armed groups is nothing new.
  • —Kenneth RothState News Service30 Dec. 2009
  • … Marines would become key players in irregular and asymmetrical warfare
  • —John D. BurrowMarine Corps GazetteJanuary 2011

asymmetric war

or less commonly asymmetrical war noun
    • The United States and its allies are already fighting asymmetric wars in Afghanistan and Iraq …
    • —Anthony H. Cordesman et al.Lessons of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War2007
    • General (Retired) Montgomery Meigs stated that asymmetric war dominates the attention of the public today, as we face this new challenge of terrorism within America’s borders …
    • —John M. HouseWhy War? Why an Army?2008

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First Known Use of asymmetric warfare

1991


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