Keep those Iraq War notes handy:

Small wars, not great power battles, still the most likely future fight
By: Kyle Rempfer

Great power competition has been the primary driver of the Pentagon over the past few years, but the Defense Department doesn’t get to pick the next war.

It is more likely that the U.S. military will be drawn into another conflict against an insurgent or proxy force, than it will end up fighting naval battles in the South China Sea or halting Russian armor in the Fulda Gap.

“While you’re going to have the larger force-on-force kind of engagements, at the same time, there’s going to be action in ‘gray zone’ … the space in between war and peace,” said retired Col. Frank Sobchak, co-author of the long-delayed Iraq War Study and a former Army Special Forces officer.

“We see this through proxies, we see militias, we see the involvement in democratic elections,” Sobchak said Tuesday at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies event in Washington. “All these are things that we saw in Iraq that we learned from, that same kind of gray space action is going to occur when we have conflict with a great power.”

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Author: Dian Welle