This investigation explains the dynamics of Gray Zone conflict in Colombia with particular emphasis on the role of violent non-state actors (VNSAs) and the instruments of power utilized. We define Gray Zone, in concert with a broader research effort, as “a conceptual space between peace and war, occurring when actors purposefully use multiple instruments of power to achieve political-security objectives with activities that are ambiguous or cloud attribution and exceed the threshold of ordinary competition, yet fall below the level of large-scale direct military conflict, and threaten U.S. and allied interests by challenging, undermining, or violating international customs, norms, or laws.” This research aims to assist practitioners and policy makers in determining how the types of actors involved in a conflict can influence which instruments of power deserve special consideration in that conflict.
 Department of Defense Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment, “Gray Zone Effort Update,” September 2016.
Koven, Barnett. 2016. "Demystifying Gray Zone Conflict: A Typology of Conflict Dyads and Instruments of Power in Colombia, 2002-present." College Park, MD: START (December). https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_DemystifyingGrayZoneColombia_ResearchBrief_Dec2016.pdf