relative and absolute terms, since the end of World War II, the
military strength and capability of the United States have never
been greater. Yet this condition of virtual military superiority
has created a paradox. Absent a massive threat or massive security
challenge, it is not clear that this military advantage can (always)
be translated into concrete political terms that advance American
interests. Nor is it clear that the current structure and foundations
for this extraordinary force can be sustained for the long term
without either spending more money or imposing major changes to
this structure that may exceed the capacity of our system to accommodate.
As a consequence, the success of the current design and configuration
of our forces may ironically become self-limiting and constraining.
That is not to claim automatically that there are better military
solutions or that the current defense program is not the best
our political system can produce. It is to say, however, that
we are well-advised to pursue alternate ideas and concepts to
balance and measure against the current and planned program.
and intrigue the reader, we note at the outset that one thrust
of Rapid Dominance is to expand on the doctrine of overwhelming
or decisive force in both depth and breadth. To push the conceptual
envelope, we ask two sets of broad questions: Can a Rapid Dominance
force lead, for example, to a force structure that can win an
MRC such as Desert Shield and Desert Storm far more
quickly and cheaply with far fewer personnel than our planned
force both in terms of stopping any invasion in its tracks and
then ejecting the invader? Can Rapid Dominance produce a force
structure with more effective capacity to deal with grey areas
such as OOTW?
achievable, can Rapid Dominance lead to a form of political deterrence
in which the capacity to make impotent or "shut down"
an adversary can actually control behavior? What are the possible
political implications of this capability and what would this
power mean for conducting coalition war and for how our allies
react and respond?
Dominance is aimed at influencing the will, perception, and understanding
of an adversary rather than simply destroying military capability,
this focus must cause us to consider the broadest spectrum of
behavior, ours and theirs, and across all aspects of war including
intelligence, training, education, doctrine, industrial capacity,
and how we organize and manage defense.
at first that even with the successful ending of the Cold War,
the response of the United States in re-evaluating its national
security and defense has been relatively and understandably modest
and cautious. In essence, while the size of the force has been
reduced from Cold War levels of 2.2 million active duty troops
to about 1.5 million, and the services have been vocal in revising
doctrine and strategy to reflect the end of the Soviet threat,
with the exception of emphasis on jointness, there are few really
fundamental differences in the design and structure of the forces
from even 10 or 15 years ago.
the Cold War, the defense of the United States rested on several
central and widely accepted and publicly supported propositions.
The "clear and apparent danger" of the Soviet threat
was real and seen as such. The USSR was to be contained and deterred
from hostile action by a combination of political, strategic,
and military actions ranging from the forging of a ring of alliances
surrounding the USSR and its allies to the deployment of tens
of thousands of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons.
the truce ending the Korean War, a large, standing military force
was maintained and defined by the operational requirements of
fighting the large formations of military forces of the USSR and
its allies with similar types of military forces, albeit outnumbered.
The role of allies, principally NATO, was assumed and taken into
account in planning, although the paradox of the issue of planning
for a long versus short war in a nuclear world remained unresolved.
as in World War II, was likewise assumed if the Cold War went
hot while, at the same time, it was hoped that any war might be
ended quickly. The largely World War II defense, industrial, and
basing structure was retained along with the intent to rely on
our technological superiority to offset numerical or geographical
It was not
by accident that this Cold War concept of defense through mobilization
was similar to the strategy that won the Second World War and
the literal ability of ultimately overwhelming the enemy using
the massive application of force, technology, and associated firepower.
Two decades later, Vietnam exposed the frailty of this approach
of dependence on massive application of firepower especially when
political limits were placed on applying that firepower.
Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 have
been taken as the examples that confirm the validity of the doctrine
of overwhelming or decisive force and of ensuring that both strategic
objectives and tactical methods were in congruence. We argue that
now is the time to re-examine these premises of reliance on overwhelming
or decisive force as currently employed and deployed in the force
structure if only as a prudent check.
however, it is clear that without a major threat to generate consensus
and to rally the country around defense and defense spending,
the military posture of the United States will erode as the defense
budget is cut. Hence, relying in the future on what is currently
seen to be as sufficient force to be "decisive" could
easily prove unachievable and the results problematic or worse
for U.S. policy.
of a direct and daunting external security threat is, of course,
a most obvious aspect of the difficulty in defining the future
defense posture of the nation. The United States has long resisted
maintaining a large standing military and the Cold War years could
prove an aberration to that history. Extending this historical
observation of small standing forces, it is clear that there is
no adversary on the horizon even remotely approaching the military
power of the former USSR. While we might conjure up nominal regional
contingencies against Korea or Iraq as sensible planning scenarios
for establishing the building blocks for force structure, it will
prove difficult to sustain the current defense program over the
long term without a real threat materializing to rally and coalesce
public support. Allocating three percent or less of GDP for defense
could easily prove to be a ceiling and not a floor. It should
be noted that in Europe, defense spending is closing in on 1 to
2 percent of GDP.
as the Department of Defense seeks to come to grips with this
new world, the structural limitations and constraints in how we
develop systems and procure weapons based on current technological
and industrial capacity for producing them will be exacerbated
by downward fiscal pressure giving us little room for mistakes
and flexibility. Air, land, space, and sea forces are currently
limited in the actual numbers and types of systems that are available
for purchase and more limited in that there are virtually no new
major systems on the horizon. That could change.
tank is in production only for foreign sales. Despite the allure
of the Arsenal Ship, the Navy still has only four active classes
of warships from which to replace its capability and, for the
first time this century since aircraft entered the inventory,
is without a new aircraft in development. The Air Force can be
placed in similar straits if the F-22 program is deferred or canceled
because of rising cost and fiscal constraints. Time will tell
what happens to the Joint Strike Fighter. Assumptions about reliance
on technology and R&D providing insurance policies for future
defense needs may prove ill-advised if and as DOD is forced to
cut back and reduce those programs even further. Indeed, over
time, commercial R&D could become the main source for procuring
software and other systems needed to upgrade today's weapons systems
and for so-called "leap-ahead" technologies that may
prove elusive to create.
There is also
the crucial issue of revising or indeed developing new doctrine
and military thought to deal with these changing circumstances.
But, without a compelling rationale and with the clear bureaucratic
and political pressures of preparing and defending an annual budget,
more of the same (or more likely, less of the same) becomes an
almost irresistible outcome. While the JCS or OSD or CINCs may
have genuine need for jointly packaged forces that are rapidly
deployable irrespective of Army, Navy, Marine, or Air Force labels,
the services cannot be expected to reverse the years of viewing
the world through service- specific arguments and doctrine.
absolute danger has been dramatically reduced with the end of
the USSR, it would be the height of folly to assume that there
are no risks to the nation nor an absence of evil-doers wishing
this nation harm. It would also be shortsighted to expect that
potential adversaries are unintelligent and would not rely on
superior knowledge of their environment and simplicity to overcome
our current military and technical superiority much as the North
Vietnamese did. In addition, as technology diffuses around, over,
and under borders, our assumptions about guarantees of permanent
technological superiority should welcome thoughtful examination.
the question, "what is to be done?" As a start, the
United States should act to exploit the several major advantages
it possesses. First, we have time. The clarity and danger of future
threats is sufficiently removed for us to take a longer view.
While we may have deferred adding to the inventory of future systems
in development, current systems possess more than enough military
capability to get us through this transition period, even if this
period were to last for more than a decade. This does not mean
we can rest on our oars; if we take advantage of this opportunity,
time is on our side. If we squander this opportunity, then we
could ultimately find ourselves in trouble.
combination of American technical know-how, the luxury of the
best technically educated and trained society in the world, and
the entrepreneurial spirit of our system offers vast potential
if we are clever enough to exploit this extraordinary resource.
of significant changes in law and organization regarding the military,
particularly the Goldwater-Nichols Act, and through a willingness
to examine alternatives, the Department of Defense has actively
sought new ideas and concepts. The enhanced role of the CINCs
and the acceptance of jointness are positive illustrations. Yet,
for understandable structural and political realities noted above,
assuring productive innovation continues will not be automatic.
Against these conducive signs, vision, true joint thinking, and
tactical advances still are premium commodities to be nourished
an alternative intellectual concept, it is useful to rely on successful
lessons of the past. For five decades, we have been successful
in applying containment and deterrence in the Cold War. When deterrence
or diplomacy failed as in Kuwait, then the use of force was inevitable.
A first-order issue is how can we augment or improve the use of
existing military capability should it be required.
be needed, our proposal calls for establishing a regime of Rapid
Dominance throughout the area of strategic as well as operational
concern. By Rapid Dominance, we are seeking the capability to
dominate, control, and isolate the entire environment in, around,
over, and under the objective area as quickly as possible, and
with fewer forces than currently envisaged, although direct insertion
of forces is an important component depending upon the tactical
situation. In many cases, this capacity need not be the traditional
firepower solution of only physically destroying an adversary's
military capabilities. Our focus is on the Clausewitzian principle
of affecting the adversary's will to resist as the first order
of business, quickly if not nearly instantaneously. A second goal
would be to stop an attack during the first stages. A third goal,
should it be achievable, would be to promote a regime of political
deterrence that might restrain aggression in the first place.
the rendering an adversary incapable of action means neutralizing
the ability to command; to provide logistics; to organize society;
and to function; as well as to control, regulate and deny the
adversary of information, intelligence, and understanding of what
is and what is not happening. This means we must control all necessary
intelligence and information on our forcesthe ultimate form
of stealthand on an adversary's forces as well and then
exploit total situational awareness for rapid action.
the emergence of current military thought and doctrine, as implied
earlier, warfare today may be in the early and far less mature
stages of a major revolution than is generally assumed. It is
understandable that despite major strategic reassessments, current
doctrine is still highly influenced by Cold War tactics and strategy
and perhaps by the iron grip of the history of conflict since
the early 19th century.
the conduct of war between major states has been largely dominated
by combining industrial might with vast amounts of manpower over
time and space. The United States advanced Napoleon's use of industry
and mass armies in the Civil War and our planning up to the Cold
War tended to follow this same pattern. World War II, of course,
exemplified the triumph of this industrial, mobilization, and
massive use of force approach.
In the evolution
of U.S. military theory, it can be argued that this model combining
massive industrial might and manpower finally ended in 1989. Although,
by then, technological advances to conventional military capabilities
seemed to be approaching the destructive power, or more precisely,
the system lethality of nuclear weapons. In other words, modern
non-nuclear precision weapons perhaps could produce effects against
enemy targets roughly comparable to the military lethality of
theater-level nuclear weapons. If this condition proves true,
could this new lethality fundamentally change the construct for
designing American doctrine and strategy? This question is at
the heart of the "precision and battlefield awareness"
school of decisive force thinking that believes that this fundamental
change is in place.
end of the Cold War and, with it, the end of the need to prepare
our forces to fight a more or less equally powerful adversary,
the United States military has conducted two post-Cold War crises
against lesser adversaries quite differently than it fought the
Cold War. In the Panama intervention in 1990 and in Kuwait shortly
thereafter, the suggestion of newer and different methods of warfare
was present. Perhaps both will turn out to be transition campaigns,
where there is much of the old, but also signs of the new. But
there are specific pieces of evidence that should command our
the planning for Operation Just Cause in Panama and Desert
Shield/Storm in Kuwait was the premeditated incorporation
of a series of rapid, simultaneous attacks designed to apply decisive
force. The aim was to stun, and then rapidly defeat the enemy
through a series of carefully orchestrated land, sea, air, and
special operating forces strikes that took place nearly simultaneously
across a wide battle space and against many military targets.
The purpose of these rapid, simultaneous attacks was to produce
immediate paralysis of both the national state and its armed forces
that would lead to prompt neutralization and capitulation.
In both Just
Cause and Desert Storm, the United States (plus coalition
forces in Desert Storm) had such overwhelming military
capabilities that, in retrospect, the outcome was largely a matter
of drafting a cogent and coordinated operation plan based on using
the entire system of capabilities, and then executing that plan
to produce a decisive victory. The Haitian incursion in 1995 used
similar principles of intimidation to eliminate any real fighting.
However, in Desert Storm unlike Haiti, it took the U.S.
and its allies nearly 6 months to deploy over a half million troops
before the fighting began.
published JCS Pub 3.0 and the U.S. Army's 525-5 Pamphlet reflect
and exploit operational rapidity and simultaneity. Yet, progress
in these operational directions may be in danger of faltering
if only old Cold War yardsticks are used to make future force
investments and to direct studies about future force structure
and associated infrastructure. As in any transition period, innovation
must be joined by a willingness to experiment. This means the
establishment and cultivation of an experimental apparatus to
test and evaluate new concepts are matters of importance both
to foster innovation and assess its application.
We build on
the trends of rapidity and simultaneity and seek to emphasize
control and time. Control is necessary to force behavioral change
in adversaries to achieve strategic or political ends. Control
and then influence come from a range of threats and outcomes,
including putting at risk the targets an adversary holds dear,
to imposing a hierarchy of Shock and Awe, to affecting will, perception,
and understanding. Achieving control may now be theoretically
possible in even more compressed or shortened time periods because
of the potential superiority of enhanced U.S. military capability
and further training and education. To obtain this level of military
superiority that can affect the adversary's will and perception,
or at least achieve the practical military consequences, a great
deal of thought, debate, and experimentation over new concepts
will be needed if only to test and validate contemporary doctrine.
If the political
objective is to achieve a level of Shock and Awe beyond only temporary
paralysis, then further actions must follow. The end point will
be to dominate the enemy in such a way as to achieve the desired
objectives. From this concept follows the need to shut down either
a state or an organized enemy through the rapid and simultaneous
application (or threat of application) of land, sea, air, space,
and special operating forces against the broadest spectrum of
the adversary's power base and center or centers of gravity and
against the adversary's will and perception at tactical and strategic
Storm, the objectives were first to evict Iraqi forces from
Kuwait and then to restore the legitimate government. From these
objectives, more limited strategic and political objectives followed,
some for purposes of maintaining coalition solidarity and UN-imposed
sanctions. Not occupying Baghdad was one such political limitation.
These strategic objectives led to identification of the enemy's
centers of gravity as the basis for the application of force to
destroy these centers. This planning led to the repeated, rapid,
and simultaneous use of massive force with great effect.
tactical objective was to eliminate Saddam Hussein's command and
control. This was accomplished by simultaneous and massive attacks.
Once command and control was destroyed, Iraqi forces in the Kuwait
Theater of Operations (KTO) would be destroyed as quickly as possible
with overwhelming force and with minimum casualties. As General
Colin Powell simply stated, "My plan is to cut off Saddam's
army and then kill it."
no sanctuary for Iraqi forces in the KTO. They were completely
vulnerable to unrelenting and devastating attack. Outside the
KTO, targeting was more selective, not because the means were
unavailable for imposing sufficient damage but because our military
objectives were purposely limited. Given the effectiveness of
the air campaign and the overwhelming superiority on the ground,
coalition land forces required only 4 of the 41 days of the war
to defeat and to eject Iraq's forces from Kuwait.
Desert Storm-type campaign were fought 20 years from now
based on a plan that exploited the concept of Rapid Dominance.
Further assume that Iraq has improved (and rebuilt) its military
and that, in a series of simultaneous and nearly instantaneous
actions, our primary objective was still to shut Iraq down, threaten
or destroy its leadership, and isolate and destroy its military
forces as we did in 1991. However, two decades hence, Rapid Dominance
might conceivably achieve this objective in a matter of days (or
perhaps hours) and not after the 6 months or the 500,000 troops
that were required in 1990 to 1991. Rapid Dominance may even offer
the prospect of stopping an invasion in its tracks.
country down would entail both the physical destruction of appropriate
infrastructure and the shutdown and control of the flow of all
vital information and associated commerce so rapidly as to achieve
a level of national shock akin to the effect that dropping nuclear
weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on the Japanese. Simultaneously,
Iraq's armed forces would be paralyzed with the neutralization
or destruction of its capabilities. Deception, disinformation,
and misinformation would be applied massively.
of simultaneity and Rapid Dominance must also demonstrate to the
adversary our endurance and staying power, that is, the capability
to dominate over as much time as is necessary less an enemy mistakenly
try to wait it out and use time between attacks to recover sufficiently.
If the enemy still resisted, then conventional forms of attack
would follow resulting in the physical occupation of territory.
Control is thus best gained by the demonstrated ability to sustain
the stun effects of the initial rapid series of blows long enough
to affect the enemy's will and his means to continue. There must
be staying power effect on the enemy or they merely absorb the
blows, gain in confidence and their ability to resist, and change
tactics much as occurred during the WWII bombing campaigns and
the air war over North Vietnam.
these levels of Shock and Awe requires a wide versatility and
competence in employing land, sea, air, space, and special operating
forces and in investment in technology to produce Rapid Dominance.
Different methods for commanding the battle using both hierarchical
and non-hierarchical command to control and direct our forces
are likely to be required especially given the simultaneous application
of capabilities throughout the given battle space by the full
spectrum of our forces. To use these combinations of forces will
require adjustment of current service doctrine and prescribed
roles and functions. Rapid Dominance also means looking to invest
in technologies perhaps not fully or currently captured by the
Cold War paradigm.
the proper combination of forces and future technology investment
for Rapid Dominance, extensive experimentation with this core
concept will be required. This exper-imentation must apply to
all levels of military educational institutions; it must be joint;
it can be accelerated by availability of recent advances in simulation
technology; and it must have operational trials in the field.
this concept, technology and its infrastructure and application
are vital. Here, understanding several facts is important. The
U.S. today is graduating through its college and universities
system approximately 200,000 American and foreign scientists and
engineers per year. This is a great national resource. This technology
infrastructure is dimensions larger in number and scope than the
aggregate of anywhere else in the world. Through appreciation
and exploitation of this potential, a U.S. position of pre-eminence
in science and technology could be assured for the foreseeable
of this technology revolution is in the information and information
management areas which, in the U.S., are heavily commercially
oriented. Future military application may well be analogous to
the impact of the internal combustion engine and wireless radio
on land, sea, and air forces in the 1920s and 1930s. The size
of this technological lead between ourselves and the rest of the
world, especially in the base for new information products and
services, should widen further in knowledge and in application.
The "Silicon Valley" revolution is likely to continue
increasing computer capacity on an almost annual basis. By the
year 2005, computing power should be many fold times today's capacityperhaps
ultimately beginning to close in on the ability of humans to handle
data flow as well as the ability to condense and synthesize data.
to advances in computing power will be the ability to transfer
information into and out of the hands of individual users. The
addition of virtual reality and other technical aids will enhance
and potentially quicken individual decision-making ability. Technologies
associated with bioscience and bioengineering are likely to be
of particular importance in enhancing these capabilities and are
also an area of American predominance. Material sciences, software,
and communications are all American strengths, and should remain
so well into the next century.
element supporting this explosion in applied information and other
technologies is the American free enterprise system and its entrepreneurial
character. This drive is needed to translate this technology into
military hardware. The nature of the U.S. market and its competitive
basis reinforce this element. The largest challenges may be to
shape and exploit this commercial potential and then to ensure
that its enduring advantages become fundamental in the makeup
of our military forces. Unlike the defense industrial base required
during the Cold War, this new commercial base is neither heavy
nor is it a massive industry relying on producing large things.
Indeed, its edge has depended on getting "smaller, smarter,
technology thrust for channeling this new American industrial
base to support Rapid Dominance must be toward the control and
management of everything that is significant to the operations
bearing on the particular Area of Interest (AOI). And we mean
everything! Control of the environment is far broader than only
the objective of achieving dominant battlefield awareness. Control
means the ability to change, to a greater or lesser degree, the
"signatures" of all of the combat forces engaged in
the AOI. With this concept, the operational frameworks in applying
force across the entire spectrum of platforms (satellites, aircraft,
land vehicles, ships) can be measured (and controlled) from many
minus decibels of cross section, to many plus decibels; communications
can be entirely covert, i.e., many dB less than the ambient environment,
or that approaching "white noise." The location of both
the individual and his unit can be measured in real time in meters,
if not feet, anywhere in the world. Through virtual reality, movement
in three-dimensional grids over hundreds of square kilometers,
offer precise location and movement control, both during day and
night in conditions of unprecedented confidence. This occurs in
real time. Denying or deceiving the adversary, including real-time
manipulation of senses and inputs, is part of this control.
A Rapid Dominance-configured
force would enter an AOI and immediately control the operational/environmental
signatures both individually and in the aggregate. As needed,
line and non-line-of-sight weapons of near pin-point accuracy
would be delivered across the entire area of operation. Stealthy
UAVs and mobile robotics systems, together with decoys, would
be deployed in large numbers for surveillance, targeting, strike,
and deception and would produce their own impact of electronic
Shock and Awe on the enemy. This application of force can be done
as rapidly as political and strategic conditions demand.
mean literally "turning on and off" the "lights"
that enable any potential aggressor to see or appreciate the conditions
and events concerning his forces and, ultimately, his society.
What is radically different in Rapid Dominance is the comprehensive
system assemblage and integration of many evolving and even revolutionary
technical advances in dominant battlefield awareness squaredmaterials
application, sensor and signature control, computer and bioengineering
applied to massive amounts of data, enable weapon application
with simultaneity, precision, and lethality that to date have
not been applied as a total system. Deception, disinformation,
and misinformation will become major elements of this systemic
reality is that technology advances will likely come from the
commercial world as the DOD base continues to shrink. It is clear
that in certain areas, DOD must remain involved where there is
no private R&D or to fill gaps in R&D. Warships, fighter
aircraft, tanks, and missile defense are examples. However, advances
in commercial technology in the Information Age are unlikely to
be matched by DOD.
Of equal importance
is how we train, organize, and educate our combat officers and
key enlisted personnel. Command must be geared to achieving the
best of the bestnot the best among the good. Assimilating
in real time the vast amount of information and putting information
to use will no doubt lead to major changes in the composition,
competence, and authority of (even and especially) individual
military unit commanders perhaps to the squad or private soldier
even with the most perfect information, an unqualified, inexperienced,
or unprepared military commander may not win except with extraordinary
luck or an incompetent foe. And, we repeat that there are cases
where NO military force may be able to succeed if the objectives
are unobtainable. The match of the entrepreneurial individual
with the potential of the technology base is key. Optimizing and
integrating all elements into a total system is a certain way
to exploit the opportunity that we can perceive becoming more
visible in the coming years.
Chapter 2. Shock and Awe
Table of Contents