This study focuses on the unique characteristics in integrating the historically overt Territorial Defence Forces (TDF) with clandestine underground resistance organisations as part of efforts by various countries to build national resistance capacities prior to a conflict. This paper provides the theoretical and historical underpinnings of the concept of TDF and underground integration, including observations from the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Case studies of the Polish Home Army’s integration into the Polish Underground State in WWII under primarily German occupation and subsequently the Polish Independent Underground until 1963 under Soviet occupation are used to better understand the unique aspects of TDF and underground integration. In both cases, the respective TDFs were operating against equally brutal but distinctly different occupiers. The case study analysis identifies and discusses three key lessons for integrating military and civilian capabilities in national resistance programs built prior to a conflict: 1) the criticality of civilian control, 2) ambiguity, protractedness, and the TDF, and 3) the scaling the TDF and underground. Finally, recommendations are offered to support the implementation of the lessons learned. While these lessons and recommendations are focused on TDF and underground resistance organisation integration, they also similarly apply to every ministry, department, and agency of nations developing similar capabilities and may enable the successful implementation of related efforts. No single ministry or department can effectively establish a viable national resistance organisation in a vacuum. This research also sets the conditions for further distinct analysis to increase the theoretical understanding of these concepts.
In preparation for gray zone or conventional warfare conducted by Russian or Chinese adversaries and their proxies, threatened nations can apply a Total Defense approach to safeguard their territorial integrity and political sovereignty. Two key components for any effective Total Defense concept are national special operations forces (SOF) and volunteer, citizen-soldier territorial defense forces (TDF). This article examines the role of special operations forces as significant multi-dimensional, entrepreneurial integrators in Total Defense. In particular, it demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between special operations and territorial defense forces in the complex mission of national resistance during crisis and occupation.
This paper will discuss the Resistance Operating Concept and how nations should prepare to resist a potential enemy before an invasion takes place. Oriented towards the self-defense of small countries by a resistance or partisan force, it describes past examples of resistance groups in Europe. Specifically, by discussing the long-term survival of resilient organizations, its focus will be on the basic factors crucial for an underground resistance, including security, organization, and training. It also considers the need for a practitioner-oriented manual that can be disseminated at the widest levels to guide and enable future resistance operations.
The paper aims to contribute to discussion on comprehensive defence development by looking into Resistance Operating Concept and Comprehensive Defence Handbook. These two documents are designed as a guide for the countries facing a formidable adversary to help them develop resistance (including violent) infrastructure before the potential invasion. After discussing the main tenets of the concept and suggesting a wider engagement with case studies and scientific literature on this and similar topics, the paper addresses the pitfalls and considerations of preparing such resistance in peacetime, focusing on five areas: C2, legitimacy, recruitment, potential problems in long-term and communication.
This article explores how comprehensive defence has been introduced in Latvia, and focuses on society’s involvement and tasks in the state defence. This approach envisages a significant change in society’s relationship with the armed forces and state defence. Differently from many other countries, Latvia maintains its system without introducing conscription and instead puts efforts towards youth education in defence. Additionally, the Ministry of Defence involves different society groups and NGOs in defining their role in state defence. This article also discusses the concepts of resistance and non-collaboration as part of comprehensive defence.