What is Irregular Warfare?


Irregular Warfare is a struggle among state and non-state actors to influence populations and affect legitimacy. Irregular Warfare favors indirect and asymmetric approaches, though it may employ the full range of military and other capabilities, in order to erode an adversary's power, influence, and will. It includes specific missions of unconventional warfare (UW), stabilization, foreign internal defense (FID), counterterrorism (CT), and counterinsurgency (COIN). Related activities such as military information support operations, cyberspace operations, countering threat networks, counter-threat finance, civil-military operations, and security cooperation also shape the information environment and other population-focused arenas of competition and conflict.

Organization and History


The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD(SO/LIC)) established Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) in 1999 to consolidate its research and development programs. The research and development effort that supports the interagency Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) was the first program to transition to CTTSO. The TSWG is divided into 10 subgroups.

Section 922 of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directed ASD(SO/LIC) report directly to the Secretary of Defense. The Acting Secretary of Defense on November 18, 2020, authorized the ASD (SO/LIC) to transform the CTTSO to the Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD).

Our Mission


The mission of the IWTSD is to identify and develop capabilities for DoD to conduct Irregular Warfare against all adversaries, including Great Power competitors and non-state actors, and to deliver those capabilities to DoD components and interagency partners through rapid research and development, advanced studies and technical innovation, and provision of support to U.S. military operations.

Interested in supporting our Mission?

Our Process


The IWTSD business model identifies and prioritizes requirements of the national interagency community including defense as well as international partners through rapid research, development, testing, and evaluation while providing operational support for demonstration and field testing of irregular warfare solutions. This process prioritizes user requirements and program budgets, employs flexible contracting strategies, and leverages funding resources from partnering agencies to enable effective project selection with the best solution for the resources available.

Working with Diverse Performers to Deliver Efficient Solutions


The Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD) has a proven track record of attracting small businesses, large corporations, veteran-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, academia, government agencies, and nontraditional submitters from throughout the United States and the world.

A Global Effort


International cooperation allows IWTSD to leverage foreign experience, expertise, resources, and infrastructure in a unified approach to counter irregular warfare adversaries for the benefit of all. Therefore, in addition to its domestic interagency efforts, IWTSD directly manages bilateral agreements with five partner countries: Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.