Seven Pillars of Small War Power

Randy Borum, University of South Florida


We may need to modify our traditional “center of gravity” analysis to accommodate multiple centers of gravity in an asymmetric diffusion of power. Insurgencies and movements of resistance are dynamic, living systems powered by social dynamics.65 Successful insurgent movements leverage their available sources of power to gain the sympathy of the broader population and to mobilize a small cadre of armed forces. For the insurgent, these dynamics—the power of rising expectations, the power of the people, the power of the underdog, the power of agility, the power of resistance, the power of security, and the power of belonging—become the pillars of small war power. For the counterinsurgent, each of these pillars presents both a potential hazard and an exploitable vulnerability.