Guide to 5th-Gen Warfare

April 26, 2023 in News by RBN Staff


By James Corbett

Episode 441 – Your Guide to 5th-Generation Warfare

We are in the middle of a world-changing war. This is no ordinary war, however. Most of the victims of this warfare aren’t even able to identify it as war, nor do they understand that they are combatants in it. It’s called fifth-generation warfare, and I’m here to tell you all about it.

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We are in the middle of a world-changing war right now.

Oh, I don’t mean the war in Ukraine, the one that all the media are asking you to focus your attention on. Yes, that conflict continues to escalate, and every day there are new stories about provocations and threats that could lead to a nuclear exchange . . . but that’s not the war I’m referring to.

No, the war I’m talking about is an even broader war. A war that is taking place everywhere on the globe, even as I speak, and that involves virtually everyone on the planet, young and old, male and female, military and civilian. It is the war of every government against its own population and every international institution against free humanity.

This is no ordinary war, however. Most of the victims of this warfare aren’t even able to identify it as war, nor do they understand that they are combatants in it.

It’s called fifth-generation warfare, and I’m here to tell you all about it.

I am James Corbett of The Corbett Report and this is Your Guide to Fifth-Generation Warfare


What is fifth-generation warfare, anyway? And, come to think of it, what were the first four generations of warfare?

Good questions. For an in-depth answer to the latter question, you’ll want to read “The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation“—a 1989 article from the Marine Corps Gazette co-authored by William S. Lind—and you’ll want to watch “William S. Lind & Philip Giraldi – Fourth Generation Warfare & The Deep State.”

WILLIAM S. LIND: This city and every capital in the world is completely oblivious to the fact that it is caught up in a change in warfare so great that it not only makes our current defense and foreign policies obsolete, it essentially makes obsolete the whole framework within which we think about defense and foreign policy.

[. . .]

The change is what I call the rise of fourth generation war and this is specifically the fourth generation of modern war. [. . .] We now think of foreign affairs and defense within the framework of the nation-state. Armed forces are designed to fight other state armed forces. But that reality is changing.

[. . .]

What’s happening around the world today in more and more places is that state armed forces find them find themselves fighting not other state armed forces, but fourth-generation forces. Non-state forces.

SOURCE: The State and Modern War

In a nutshell, Lind et al.’s thesis is that the “modern age” of warfare began with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which, Lind opines, “gave the state a monopoly on war.” From that point on, modern warfare went through three generations, namely:

  • First-generation warfare: the tactics of line and column, developed in the era of the smoothbore musket;
  • Second-generation warfare: the tactics of indirect fire and mass movement, developed in the era of the rifled musket, breechloaders, barbed wire and the machine gun; and
  • Third-generation warfare: the tactics of nonlinear movement, including maneuver and infiltration, developed in response to the increase in battlefield firepower in WWI.

This, according to Lind and his co-authors, brought us to the late-20th century, when the nation-state began to lose its monopoly on war and military combat returned to a decentralized form. In this era—the era of fourth-generation warfare—the line between “civilian” and “military” become blurred, armies tend to engage in counter-insurgency operations rather than military battles, and enemies are often motivated by ideology and religion, making psychological operations more important than ever.

But, some argue, we have now entered a new era of warfare, namely fifth-generation warfare.

There is still much debate about what defines fifth-generation warfare, how we know we’re engaged in it, or even if it exists at all (Lind, for one, rejects the concept). Various scholars have made their own attempts at defining fifth-generation warfare (5GW), like Dr. Waseem Ahmad Qureshi, who identifies it as “the battle of perceptions and information,” or Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui of the People’s Liberation Army, who write of the era of “Unrestricted Warfare” in which “a relative reduction in military violence” has led to “an increase in political, economic, and technological violence.”

If academic debates about the changing nature of warfare are your thing, then there’s plenty of reading for you to do on the subject, from The Handbook of 5GW: A Fifth Generation of War? to a slew of academic articles.

But for the purposes of this editorial, I’m not interested in that debate. In fact, we’re going to use a decidedly non-academic definition of fifth-generation warfare from an Al Jazeera article as our starting point: “The basic idea behind this term [5GW] is that in the modern era, wars are not fought by armies or guerrillas, but in the minds of common citizens.”

There are two important things to note about this definition. The first is that fifth-generation warfare is not waged against either standing armies of nation-states or guerrilla insurgents but against everyday citizens. The second is that this war is not being fought in a battlefield somewhere, but in the mind.

I will expand the definition somewhat to include the fact that this war is being waged at all levels, not just the mental. The gist of it is this: Fifth-generation warfare is an all-out war that is being waged against all of us by our governments and the international organizations to which they belong. It is being waged against each and every one of us right now, and it is a battle for full-spectrum dominance over every single aspect of your life: your movements and interactions, your transactions, even your innermost thoughts and feelings and desires. Governments the world over are working with corporations to leverage technology to control you down to the genomic level, and they will not stop until each and every person who resists them is subdued or eliminated.

The most incredible part of all of this is that so few know that the war is even taking place, let alone that they are a combatant in it.

The best way to understand this war is to look at some of the ways that it is being waged against us.


Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but this is an infowar and the powers-that-shouldn’t-be are engaged in “a war for your mind.”

Of course, you have heard of “Infowars” if you’ve been in the alternative media space for any length of time. And for good reason: information warfare is an absolutely essential part of the war on everyone that defines fifth-generation warfare.

The most obvious way to understand this is to look at the actual military forces that are engaging in psychological operations against their own citizens.

DAN DICKS: It says here:

“A letter from the Nova Scotia government sent out to residents to warn about a pack of wolves on the loose in the province was forged by Canadian military personnel as part of a propaganda training mission that went off the rails.

“The letter told residents to be wary of wolves that had been reintroduced into the area by the provincial and federal governments and warned the animals were now roaming the Annapolis Valley. The letter, which later became public, sparked concern and questions among residents but was later branded as ‘fake’ by the Nova Scotia government which didn’t know the military was behind the deception.

“The training also involved using a loudspeaker to generate wolf sounds, the Canadian Forces confirmed to this newspaper.”

Guys, let that sink in for a second. They created a fake letter from the government, put it out there saying that there’s dangerous wolves, and they set up loud speakers in the area projecting out wolf noises!

This isn’t just research, you know. This isn’t just a training exercise. They’re actively engaging in this psychological operation to scare people using loudspeakers.

This is unbelievable.

SOURCE: Canadian Military Fake Wolves Fear Campaign Exposed! but You Won’T Believe What They Are Doing Next!

But it’s not just out-and-out military operations by soldiers dressed up in camo fatigues that are part of this fifth-generation infowar. In the war on everyone, the establishment uses every means at its disposal to manipulate the public’s perception.

Thus, Richard Stengel—the former editor of Time who bestowed Time‘s person of the year (dis)honour on You! back in 2006—is happy to chair a Council on Foreign Relations conversation in which he defends the US government’s use of propaganda against its own citizens.

RICHARD STENGEL: Basically, every country creates their own narrative story. And, you know, my old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the chief propagandist job.

We haven’t talked about propaganda. I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it and they have to do it to their own population and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.

SOURCE: Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News

Or take Hill & Knowlton—the PR firm hired by the Kuwaiti government to create the Nayirah deception in the First Gulf War . . .

“NAYIRAH”: They took the babies out of incubators  . . . They took the incubators and left the children to die on the cold floor.

SOURCE: Human Rights Violations in Kuwait

. . . who were retained by the WHO in 2020 to identify celebrity “influencers” who could be used to amplify the scamdemic messaging.

ANNOUNCER: The One World Together At Home event showcased a Who’s Who of top music stars and celebrities, who came together over the weekend for a special broadcast of music, comedy and personal messages, all in gratitude to those around the world on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: So what can we do? We’ve got to take care of our health workers and we’ve got to buy them time by taking care of ourselves.

ANNOUNCER: The event was led by the World Health Organization and the non-profit group, Global Citizen.

SOURCE: Celebrities Perform Virtual ‘One World’ Concert: ‘A Love Letter to the World’

Or take the UK government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours, which outright admits that they use psychological techniques to manipulate the public into fearing the scamdemic, a move that some of the panel members called “totalitarian” . . . and no one bats an eyelid.

Perhaps the most insidious part of the fifth-generation infowar is that it has become so normalized that everyone knows it is happening, but no one thinks of it as warfare. Of course everything is “advertising” and “propaganda.” And of course it’s being used to manipulate our behaviour. That’s just how the world works, isn’t it?

But we ignore the real nature of the infowar at our own peril. After all, I have often observed that this is a war for your mind and that the most contested battlespace in the world is the space between your ears. You might have thought I meant that metaphorically, but actually I mean it quite literally. Which brings us to . . .


If you listen to Dr. James Giordano speak without listening to what he’s saying, you get the impression he is merely an articulate, well-informed scientist who is passionate about his research. When you do listen to what he’s saying, however—or even just look at his PowerPoint slides, like the “NeuroS/T for NSID” slide—you realize that he is Dr. Strangelove. Or, if not Dr. Strangelove himself, then at least Dr. Strangelove’s spokesman.

But it’s not nuclear Armageddon that motivates Giordano, it’s what he calls “weapons of mass disruption”—the various technologies for neurological intervention that the US military and militaries around the world are developing.

These include (in Giordano’s well-rehearsed patter) the “drugs, bugs, toxins and devices” that can either enhance or disrupt the cognitive functions of their target, like the “high CNS aggregation” nanoparticulates that, according to Giordano, “clump in the brain or in the vasculature” and “create essentially what looks like a hemorrhagic diathesis.” As sci-fi as this sounds, he insists these nanoparticulates (and many, many other horrific neurological weapons) are already being worked on:

JAMES GIORDANO: The idea here is that I can get with something called high CNS aggregation material that is essentially invisible to the naked eye and even to most scanners because it is so small that it selectively goes through most levels of filter porosity. These are then inhaled—either through the nasal mucosa or absorbed through the oral mucosa. They have high CNS affinity. They clump in the brain or in the vasculature and they create essentially what looks like a hemorrhagic diathesis; in other words, a hemorrhage predisposition or a clot predisposition in the brain. What I’ve done is I’ve created a stroking agent, and it’s very, very difficult to gain attribution to do that.

I can use that on a variety of levels, from the individual to the group. Highly disruptive. And, in fact, this is one of the things that has been entertained and examined to some extent by my colleagues in NATO and to those who are working on the worst use of neurobiological sciences to create populational disruption. Very, very worried about the potential for these nanoparticulate agents to be CNS aggregating agents to cause neural disruption.

SOURCE: Brain Science from Bench to Battlefield: The Realities – and Risks – of Neuroweapons | CGSR Seminar

And just in case you didn’t get the point, you’ll notice he illustrates his slide with an image of a human brain in the crosshairs of one of these neurological weapons. There’s nothing hard to understand about the picture that is being painted here: we are at war with an enemy who is literally targeting our brains.

But yet again, it isn’t just the literal use of neurological weapons by conventional militaries in conventional warfare settings that we—the largely unwitting combatants of the fifth-generation war on everyone—have to worry about. As my listeners already know, avowed technocrat Elon Musk is trying to sell his Neuralink brain chip technology to the hipster crowd as a cool and sexy way to upgrade your cognition . . . or so that the coming AI godhead will have mercy on us. Or something like that. Anyway, you should totally stick the Neuralink in your head at your earliest opportunity! And definitely don’t ask any questions about why so many of the macaque monkeys and other test animals that Neuralink was using as test animals in their “brain-machine interface” experiment have dropped dead.

To anyone not yet a victim of the information warfare operation designed to prepare humanity for the coming transhuman dystopia, all of this sounds insane. But for those who have fallen for the infowars psyop of the enemy, these types of mind-altering technologies are exactly as advertised: exciting opportunities to “upgrade” the feeble biological wetware we call our brain.

But if you think you can avoid the biological aspect of the fifth-generation war by simply avoiding the brain chip, you’re out of luck. You’re also going to have to deal with . . .


The biowarfare narrative is, understandably, back at the forefront of the public consciousness in recent years, not just because of the scamdemic but also because of the questions being raised about the US-backed Ukrainian biolabs and whatever work they may or may not be doing on Russia’s doorstep.

This picture, for example, comes straight from, which was only too happy to brag as recently as last July [2021] that US soldiers were conducting “hands-on training and field training exercises with Ukrainian troops in laboratory and field environments” that included ensuring the readiness of “deployable mobile laboratories.” Nothing to see here, folks. (Perhaps the only surprising thing about the article is that they haven’t scrubbed it from their website . . . yet.)

Yet, once again, if we are only thinking of biowarfare in conventional military terms, we neglect the much, much wider operation to manipulate, control and weaponize all aspects of our environment, our food supply and even our genome itself for the purposes of the ruling oligarchs. This fifth-generation biological warfare being waged against us includes:

  • The mRNA and DNA and genetically-modified adenovirus vector “vaccines” that have been “normalized” over the past two years and which, as the miraculously “lucky” companies that bet it all on this technology like to brag, is re-programming the “software of life.”
  • The genetically-modified organisms—both gmo crops and gmo animals—that are now being unleashed upon the world in an uncontrolled experiment that puts our health and the very future of the biosphere in jeopardy.
  • The push toward synthetic, lab-based “food” that is being funded by the usual eugenicist billionaires and which threatens to sever humanity from the natural abundance of the earth, make us dependent on an increasingly shrinking number of companies for our food supply, and, ultimately, to drive us toward a Soylent Green-style future.

I’m sure you can fill in the blanks with myriad other examples of the attacks upon the world’s air, water and biome that constitute this unconstrained fifth-generation biological war being waged against us.

When and if you do put the pieces of this puzzle together and seek to warn people en masse that they are under attack, your ability to resist this agenda will be predicated on your ability to use your accumulated resources (your wealth) to foster communities of resistance. Don’t worry, though; the enemy has that domain covered, too. . . .


Given the events of recent weeks, even the sleepiest of the sleepy now realize that we are in a period of economic warfare.

This war, too, has its conventional aspects. On the 2D board, we’ve seen the NATO empire launch its Weapons of Financial Destruction at Russia in recent weeks, and, exactly as predicted, it has resulted in the consolidation of a convenient geopolitical bogeyman bloc and a gigantic loss of faith in the international monetary system itself. And, also as predicted, it has supplied the “Problem” and “Reaction” needed for the technocrats to present their pre-determined “Solution” of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). Just ask Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock:

The war will prompt countries to re-evaluate their currency dependencies. Even before the war, several governments were looking to play a more active role in digital currencies and define the regulatory frameworks under which they operate.

This is not merely a battle between nation-states or even competing power blocs. This is a battle being waged by every authoritarian power structure and every government (but I repeat myself) against their own citizens for control of the most important resource of all: their wallets.

Yes, we are seeing the beginning of a truly world-historic moment: the collapse of Pax Americana, the death of the dollar reserve system, and the beginning of an entirely new monetary paradigm, the “Central Bank Digital Currency” system of programmable money that will be able to algorithmically control when, how and if you are allowed to transact in the economy at all. We only have to look to recent events in Canada to understand what this will look like.

This perfect control of humanity down to the level of being able to witness and, ultimately, to allow or disallow any transaction between any individuals at any time, represents the apotheosis of technocracy and one of the key objectives of the fifth-generation war itself. As this nightmare comes closer and closer to reality, all seems hopeless.

But then again, that’s exactly the point. . . .


I could go on. And on and on and on. But hopefully you get the point by now: There is a world war happening right now. It is a fifth-generation war (or whatever you want to call it). It is being waged across every domain simultaneously. It is a war for full-spectrum dominance of every battlefield and every terrain, from the farthest reaches of the globe (and beyond) to the inner spaces of your body and even to your innermost thoughts. And it is a war on you.

Recognizing this, the task we face seems nearly insurmountable. How are we to fight back in a war that the majority of people don’t even recognize is taking place? How do we fight back against an enemy that has spent decades refining its weapons of economic and military and technological and biological control? How do we fight back in a war that is not taking place on two fronts or even three fronts, but in every domain and battlespace simultaneously?

Framed like this, our prospects do indeed appear hopeless. But therein lies the key: our perception that it is our duty to “fight back” against the enemy in their war on their battlefield on their terms of engagement is itself a narrative frame. And that narrative itself is a weapon that is being wielded against us in the battle for our minds.

You’ll allow me space here to quote myself at length because this is a point I have made many times before, perhaps most notably in my conversation on “The Anatomy of the New World Order” that I had with Julian Charles on The Mind Renewed podcast ten years ago:

I’m intrigued by the idea that we’ve been given false templates to follow in terms of solving our problems—one being to “fight our enemies”—templates provided for us through so much social conditioning and the media. Here, the idea is that we must find the heart or the head of the organization and somehow kill that person or that group, or whatever it is; eliminate that, and everything will magically turn to the better!

Thinking in broad terms, that false template appears in virtually every science fiction dystopia you’ve ever seen: if it turns out well in the end, it’s only because they have managed to decapitate the Head of the Beast, whether it be The Lord of the Rings or Tron, or any such movie. I think that’s fundamentally and completely the wrong way to look at it, because at the end of the day the particular individuals who may or may not be holding the ‘Ring of Power’ are replaceable. Indeed, there are very many people who would be chomping at the bit to get into that position of power should that old guard be swept away for whatever reason.

I think what’s needed is a more fundamental revolution: not of overthrowing a specific instantiation of this idea, but of overthrowing the idea altogether. And that can only come, I think, from building up an alternative system to which people actually want to apply themselves. I think we have to detach ourselves from this system that we’ve been woven into. Unfortunately that’s probably as difficult to do as that analogy would make it sound, because we are so woven into the fabric of society that it’s difficult to imagine extricating ourselves from all these processes.

We rely for so many of our daily needs on this vast, unwieldy corporate system that ties into these very organizations that pull the strings of governmental institutions, that it can seem quite overwhelming. How can a single individual affect this? But I think we have to look for any and every possible point at which we can start to detach ourselves from those systems of control, and to start to reassert some kind of independence. That can be an extremely small thing like, just for example: instead of buying groceries at the grocery store, perhaps buy them at a farmers’ market, or at least some of your groceries. Or perhaps you could grow them yourself in a vegetable garden. Something of that sort is a tiny thing on the individual level, but I think it’s the only thing in the long run that can lead to the type of society we want to bring to fruition. Again, I think it’s small things like that, if we start to apply ourselves with diligence and perseverance, that will eventually be able to overthrow this. But, unfortunately, as I say, we are on the cusp of this scientific revolution which makes scientific dictatorship possible, so unfortunately we don’t necessarily have generations of time. That gives a time perspective to all this—I won’t say it’s a time bomb—but you get the idea. We don’t have a lot of time to waste.

We have a choice. Either we continue going into this technological, corporate matrix—which involves even things like buying the next generation of iPhone, which they’re already saying is going to have its own fingerprint scanning technology, and all of these corporate, military, Big Brother elements to it that we’re willingly signing up to every day of our lives, and actually paying money for—or we start to create alternative structures which don’t rely on that system. It’s a choice that we have to make in our lives, I would say more quickly than has been apparent at any other time in human history.

My regular viewers will understand what I am proposing here: the creation of a parallel society. We will not achieve this by asking for more scraps from the master’s table, or by gently complying as we are herded into ever more constrictive technological pens, or by thinking that we can win this war by engaging the enemy in their controlled domain. We can only achieve this by creating our own table, our own economy and our own communities of interest. This will require the long and difficult task of increasing our independence from the authoritarian systems in every domain: the information domain, the food domain, the health domain, the monetary domain, the mental domain and every other contested battlespace in this all-out, fifth-generation war.

Easier said than done, of course. But there is no alternative.

Some will say “But won’t they come after that parallel society?” as if that is a rebuttal to what I have laid out here. The point is that you are already the target of the enemy in a war that most people but dimly understand is happening. Yes, the enemy will come after you. But they are already dominating you in more ways than any one person can fully understand. That does not stop just because you comply with their demands or take part in their system.

We must stop playing their game. We must stop fighting their war. We must stop ceding our power, our authority, our time, our attention, our energy and our resources to engaging the enemy in their terms in their battlefield.

We must create our own parallel society on our own terms.

And so we rediscover an old piece of wisdom. To paraphrase: “Fifth-generation warfare is a strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

War is over . . . if we want it.