One Man’s ASW is Another Man’s NCT


Recent events in the Persia-Middle East theatre give reason to ponder what the asymmetric warfare (ASW) doctrine, narratives, policies and activities mean for the NCT professional; probably much and it has more to do with simulation and training than what might initially be apparent.


One way of defining ASW includes using military and non-military actors who perform acts of war in a non-conventional manner, i.e. not openly or face-to-face. Objectively, guerilla tactics and terrorist attacks fall into the definition of “ASW.” It also depends heavily on employing non-conventional threats (NCT). ASW / NCT allows one party of combatants to effectively counter the strength of another party’s (far) superior military forces. Ironically, the tactics of the USA’s “Continental Army” in the rebellion against Great Britain in the late 1700s and the recent US Air Force drone strike against an Iranian target in early 2020 are both of ASW or non-conventional military nature.  


In all historical instances of ASW, civilian or “soft targets” were allowed and necessary for effectiveness against an enemy. This puts ASW and terrorism on the same footing, regardless of one’s politics. Moreover, this paradigm raises questions about civilian NCT preparedness and resilience capabilities during a state of war.  


As ASW is becoming an increasingly important and ubiquitous modern warfare method, its preference underscores the need for militaries and civilian authorities to coordinate and train together more often.  

The military needs to share its technical understanding of ASW with civilian partners in the context and delivery of NCTs because many of the ASW tactics are similar to the agents of NCT. Therefore, the military can help first responders and public safety / public order agencies to better prepare and respond to an NCT in an ASW context.


NCT response training has never before been more important than it is now. In light of that fact, there is much content dedicated to NCT simulation and training in this issue of NCT magazine – and we will re-focus attention on simulation and training throughout the year. 


Readers with expertise and opinions to share with our NCT community are welcome to contact us and offer their thoughts as a letter to the editor or a proposition for an article. Your knowledge and experience in NCT Simulation and Training helps us bring the content of this journal to life. Please join us and…


Stay safe!


Curtis Hand, Chief Editorial Advisor