Realities and Rapid Dominance
General Fred Franks
as we see it, is a markedly different concept for the use of force
to gain national security ob jectives. At its core, Rapid Dominance
blends unique capabilities of land, sea, air, space, and special
operating forces. It is important to note the vital role of jointness
in using forces from all elements and resisting the lure of gimmicks
and cost-free options that may appear within the reach of high
technology but are not.
current joint force capabilities reveals some enduring truths
that should be used to evaluate future concepts. Joint force commanders
today benefit from the wide array of capabilities available to
the joint warfighting team. The ability to combine and use forces
from all dimensions in a variety of powerful combinations to fit
mission circumstances presents a versatility of capabilities that
makes defense by adversaries difficult. Balance and versatility
are key. Balance in capabilities and the inherent versatility
to combine them in unpredictable, yet highly effective ways has
served U.S. national security interests well since the end of
the Cold War. One has only to look at the variety of methods employed
in Panama (1989), Desert Storm (1991), Somalia (1992),
Rwanda (1993), Haiti (1994), and Bosnia (1995) in both war and
operations other than war. Joint force commanders employed, and
in some cases invented, new combinations of balanced capabilities
and were willing to go beyond the confines of service doctrines
to fit mission circumstances. For example, a U.S. Army brigade
of the 10th Mountain Division with helicopters replaced much of
the carrier air wing and flew off the carrier Eisenhower
during the Haiti operation. This force packaging capability is
an advantage unique to the U.S.
As we look
beyond the present to future and bolder defense concepts such
as Rapid Dominance, the key will be to maintain that balance in
land, sea, air, space, and special operating forces combinations
available to the joint force commander. U.S. military forces are
now multidimensional in capabilities, able to use force in ways
unpredictable to an adversary. U.S. forces also have enormous
versatility, able to be used in war and what have become termed
operations other than war. Balance permits that.
joint force commanders, recognizing this capability, have found
ways to introduce land forces even more rapidly given today's
methods. Recently, a brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division rapidly
deployed by air from Ft. Hood, Texas, to Kuwait and was able to
fall in on equipment forward positioned and be available for combat
soon after arrival. A recent article in Navy Times pointed
out, "In fact, as each wave of soldiers arrived in Kuwait,
they were heading north -- combat ready -- within six hours."
This was a dramatic example of the rapid ability to combine land
forces with air and sea forces using both distant forces with
those already in the theater. That combination in that set of
strategic circumstances provided a rapid deterrent in an area
of vital national security interests to the U.S.
truth is the need for staying power and ensuring that capacity
is perceived by a potential adversary. Staying power means the
ability to press the initial advantage gained until the strategic
objective is achieved. On-the-ground presence, in addition to
forces in theater, as demonstrated in Kuwait in 1993 and again
in 1996, provided commitment and staying power to convince Iraq
that it would be disastrous to consider any form of military action.
The inherent staying power of land forces, wherever future tactical
concepts may lead, makes them a powerful contributing partner
in our Rapid Dominance concept.
is the issue of physical control. Control combines with staying
power to defeat the enemy's will. One of the many lessons of Desert
Storm is that it was not until after land forces attacked
Iraq and Kuwait that Iraqi forces were expelled from Kuwait. Despite
the awesome shock and destructive effects of attacks f rom the
air and sea, it was only after coalition ground attacks to extend
control to both Kuwait and southeastern Iraq by defeat and destruction
of defending Iraqi forces that strategic objectives were secured.
Control on land was extended past the cease fire until such time
in April as the UN passed a permanent cease fire and sanctions
resolution. Land forces remaining in southeastern Iraq provided
the staying power and control.
shape, and composition of forces that will fight in all elements
will assuredly change in the future. Early work done in advanced
warfighting experiments out of TRADOC's Battle Labs beginning
in 1992 and growing into the current Force XXI and other promising
capabilities as well as by the USMC at MCCDC at Quantico are the
precursors of how change may be discovered and implemented. The
challenge is to ensure that all components of our fighting power
are properly balanced and combined into the most effective and
lethal mixes of land, sea, air, space, and special operating forces.
This is the heart of the Rapid Dominance force of the future.
of real and perceived control over the will and ability of any
adversary to oppose or threaten us will insure and guarantee success
of initial operations, thereby maximizing Shock and Awe. Indeed,
getting forces on land rapidly and operationally will be a major
factor in achieving the enduring effects of Shock and Awe. Certainly,
as forces on land evolve and change, they must meet the requirements
of rapidity and sustainment and are vital components of any mix
of forces that seek by Shock and Awe to stun and then rapidly
dominate an adversary to achieve U.S. national security objectives.
feel that we as a nation cannot stand still in exploring defense
alternatives. We must seize this time to be bold in our thinking.
More thought and hypotheses with operational methods that break
through or expand current service doctrines are needed from a
joint perspective even as services look to the future from their
own service perspective. Then there must be rigorous experiments
using both high fidelity simulations and actual joint field trials
to determine the worth of these hypotheses to blend the wide array
of technology available to the total joint force and according
to bold new concepts. The results will determine the worth of
Rapid Dominance concepts by judging whether they will permit even
more balanced, versatile, and lethal combinations to fit known
and anticipated future strategic circumstances.
Biographies of the Study Group
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