Legitimacy as the center of gravity in Hybrid warfare: Notes from the Colombian Battlefield


  • General (ret'd) Carlos Ospina Ovalle National Defense University, Washington.


These notes from the fields summarise a presentation on the topic of legitimacy, understood as the center of gravity (CoG), in hybrid warfare. In his work On War, Clausewitz defined the CoG as “the source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act.”  The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC) used the Vietnamese variant of Mao’s doctrine called ‘’interlocking war’’. In this variant, the three phases of war run simultaneously. We challenged the traditional understanding of the CoG used by the US in Vietnam and adopted the same type of CoG as the insurgency. We developed several ideas and techniques around the concept of CoG. In my view this specific way of understanding the CoG was a key to our success in the Colombian war.

Author Biography

General (ret'd) Carlos Ospina Ovalle, National Defense University, Washington.

National Defense University, Washington. General Ospina Ovalle was named by President Álvaro Uribe Vélez as Commander of the Colombian Armed Forces (2004 - 2007).






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