The Russian war in Ukraine has passed the six-month mark. U.S. and European officials say that Ukraine has successfully used a method of resistance warfare that was developed by U.S. special operations forces to fight back and bog down Russia’s vastly superior military.
The war strategy, called the Resistance Operating Concept, was developed in 2013 following Russia’s war with Georgia a few years earlier.
But its value has only now been realized after Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.
The concept provides a blueprint for smaller nations to effectively resist and confront a larger neighbor that has invaded its borders.
When Russia took over and annexed Crimea, it stunned Ukraine and the West. The takeover of Crimea intensified a study of how to build a plan for a total defense that includes not only the military but also the civilian population.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February, the strategy began to prove its ground.
The doctrine is known as the ROC and provides an innovative and unconventional approach to warfare and total defense. The ROC has guided not only Ukraine’s military but has also involved the civilian population of Ukraine as part of concerted resistance to stand against Russia’s massive army.
“It’s all hands on deck in terms of the comprehensive defense for the government of Ukraine,” said retired Lt. Gen. Mark Schwartz, who was commander of Special Operations Command Europe during the doctrine’s development. “They’re using every resource and they’re also using some highly unconventional means by which to disrupt the Russian federation military.”
Ukraine is outnumbered, outgunned, and outmanned. But the country has fought back against a military that was expected to romp through the majority of the country in only a few weeks.
Six months later, Ukraine is still standing.
“This is a way to turn the tables on a first-world power,” said Schwartz. “It’s just incredible to watch that despite the unbelievable loss of life and sacrifice, what the will to resist and the resolve to resist can do.”