By Other Means Part I: Campaigning in the Gray Zone

The United States is being confronted by the liabilities of its strength. Competitors are contesting the rules of the international system and U.S. leadership. With the significant costs of engaging the United States in combat, and the growing range of indirect and non-military tools at their disposal, rivals are finding avenues for threatening U.S. interests without triggering escalation. Their approaches lie in the contested arena between routine statecraft and open warfare--the "gray zone." The United States has yet to articulate a comprehensive approach to deterring competitors in the gray zone. A concrete and actionable campaign plan is needed to deal with the gray zone challenge; in order to do so, the United States must identify and employ a broad spectrum of tools and concepts to deter, and if needed, to compete and win contestations in the gray zone.

This report has been made possible by support from the Smith Richardson Foundation.


Lindsey R. Sheppard

Alice Hunt Friend

Hijab Shah

Asya Akca

Kathleen H. Hicks

Joseph Federici