Policy, and Operational Application
the future utility and applicability of Rapid Dominance, it is
crucial to consider the political context in which force is likely
to be employed. As we enter the next century, the probability
is low that an overriding, massive, direct threat posed by a peer-competitor
to the U.S. will emerge in the near term. Without compelling reasons,
public tolerance toward American sacrifice abroad will remain
low and may even decrease. This reluctance on the part of Americans
to tolerate pain is directly correlated to perceptions of threat
to U.S. interests. Without a clear and present danger, the definition
of national interest may remain narrow.
have always appreciated rapid and decisive military solutions.
But, many challenges or crises in the future are likely to be
marginal to U.S. interests and therefore may not be resolvable
before American political staying power is exhausted. In this
period, political micro-management and fine tuning are likely
to be even more prevalent as administrations respond to public
sentiments for minimizing casualties and, without a threat or
compelling reason, U.S. involvement.
and measures may likely reflect "politically correct"
alternatives. In 1991, the Gulf War came close to presenting the
nearly optimal situation for prosecution to a decisive and irreversible
conclusion. Such a course, however, was not politically feasible
because it would have shattered the allied coalition while exceeding
the authority of the UN mandate. Military operations that impact
across a whole population or cause "innocent civilians"
to suffer (e.g., some economic sanctions, collateral damage from
raids) also are likely to be only politically acceptable in aggravated
situations. For example, if economic sanctions cause malnutrition
or other health problems or collateral damage from bombing or
shelling impacts hospitals, schools, orphanages, or refugee camps,
the policy may be the ultimate victim.
The U.S. military
is more likely to find itself in a supporting foreign policy role
with discrete missions that are only one facet of a larger political
context. This context is almost certainly going to expand into
militarily grey areas of OOTW, including those impinging on law
enforcement and ensuring political stability. Forces may be called
upon to deal with or control situations on the margin rather than
to achieve total submission or defeat of an opponent. The prevailing
political preference is likely to continue to be to try to bound
these complex challenges through fine tuning, artificial constructs,
and discretely limited tasks, often performed in the midst of
internal conflict. Economic sanctions (e.g., Serbia, Iraq), "no
fly" zones (e.g., Southern and Northern Iraq and Bosnia),
"safe havens" (e.g., Bosnia), humanitarian relief delivered
by "all means necessary" (e.g., Somalia, Bosnia), and
embassy protection and evacuation (e.g., Liberia in 1991 and again
in 1996) are the kinds of OOTW tasks more likely to be assigned
by policy makers. Such tasks tend to be inconclusive and of long
duration. They also increase vulnerability to terrorist attack
such as the bombing of the Kolbah Barracks in Riyadh in June 1996.
prefer not to intervene, especially when the direct threat to
the U.S. is ambiguous, tenuous, or difficult to define. Therefore,
when intervention is necessary there is likely to be both a political
and practical imperative to have allied or international involvement
or at least the political cover of the UN, NATO, or appropriate
As more states
(and sub-national groups) acquire nuclear, chemical, and biological
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities and longer range
delivery means, the ability for rogues to inflict pain will increase
as will the ability to ratchet up the political risks. WMD can
easily complicate our ability to influence positive and constructive
behavior of possessors. Because of the threat of retaliation,
WMD capabilities may become politically acceptable targets provided
collateral damage to civilians is minimized. Preemption may become
a more realistic option along the lines of Israel's strikes against
Syria's nuclear reactors in 1982. It is, however, a responsible
state's worst nightmare to have successfully struck a chemical,
biological, or nuclear production facility with precision only
to learn the next day that hundreds of civilians have been killed
due to the inadvertent release of chemical, biological, or nuclear
also be an appropriate political context that justifies the use
of preemptive force, as opposed to less destructive or non-lethal
types of sanctions (e.g., responses to terrorism in the case of
Libya, invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, exports of WMD to a threatening
country such as Iran, the North Korean threat to South Korea and
The U.S. will,
nevertheless, need to maintain the capability to deter and defeat
both strategic and other direct threats to its vital interests,
preferably on a decisive basis. In an unsettled, less structured,
and volatile world, the ability to use force with precision, effectiveness,
impunity, and, when needed, rapidity, will still be a powerful
influence on cooperation, stability, and, where relevant, submission.
Dominance on a nation, group, or situation, if achievable, will
be a highly desirable and relevant asset in this turbulent period.
Bosnia offers an example. At the outset of the breakup of Yugoslavia,
if we had had this type of capability, without potentially high
costs, to counter effectively the widely predicted invasion of
Bosnia, the U.S. strategy for dealing with that tangled and messy
situation might have been much different. Thousands of lives might
have been spared. In other grey or marginal situations Rapid Dominance
could make the difference between a politically acceptable response
or inadequate action with consequences similar to what happened
how Rapid Dominance might apply and might be used, it is first
important to know what it is that we want to achieve with military
force. We need to consider whether the application of force will
allow us to influence and control an adversary's will or merely
exacerbate a bad situation. Therefore, it is essential to know
what is of value to that adversary. An objective, realistic, and
in-depth situational grasp will be essential to such an understanding.
For example, disarming or destroying may produce unintended consequences.
For a conventional foe that values its military and depends on
technology, Rapid Dominance should be particularly effective and
persuasive. In the case of less developed nations, however, the
opportunity for exercising influence in this way and against military
formations may be considerably less and must be carefully assessed.
in cases of marginal direct threats to U.S. security, the cost
in casualties needs to be low. To be effective, we must take away
an opponent's ability to make it cost us in terms of casualty
levels we consider intolerable. In applying Rapid Dominance we
also must be defending something which is of value to us. The
lower the value in terms of our national interests, the lower
the price we are likely to be willing to pay.
In MRC situations,
we need to have the capability to defeat, destroy, or incapacitate
an opponent. On the other hand, in OOTW, other non-military factors
are likely to be involved and goals made more limited. For example,
it may be necessary to intimidate or capture the leadership in
order to restore order or reverse an action, or it may simply
be necessary to anticipate, prevent, and counter opposition to
conduct of a more limited mission (e.g., feeding the starving
or protecting innocent people from genocide).
In U.S. planning
for OOTW, it is a virtual given that risk will be minimized and
there will be a discrete and proportional use of force with minimal
collateral damage. This means that there must be a belief that
a mission can be accomplished and is worth the resources necessary
to do so. Before initiating action in these often confusing situations,
objectives must be clearly established and, once engaged, there
should be a willingness to persevere through the inevitable rough
an MRC or in OOTW, we first will need to know what we want to
achieve with Rapid Dominance. This is a task for political leadership
which is informed with military advice concerning what is feasible,
what is not, and what is uncertain. The extent of the mission
must be clearly defined. Is it to defeat an enemy so it will no
longer pose a threat? Do we only need to stop an adversary from
carrying out a particular act? Must we control a situation entirely
or only sufficiently to be able to carry out a specific mission?
Can we really affect the adversary's will?
give us examples of outcomes likely to be relevant in the future.
MRCs call for the full spectrum of outcomesfrom reversing
military action (e.g., the invasion of Kuwait); to establishing
a government more acceptable to the U.S. and the world, probably
using military coercion (Haiti, Panama); to eliminating a threat
to the U.S. or its allies. We may want to persuade an adversary
to cease an aggression or act of interference or otherwise change
behavior we cannot accept or tolerate. Political expectations
in MRCs are for the effective use of force and for rapid success
or at least steady progress. Casualties should be moderate or
at least acceptable, with the threshold of American pain dependent
on the directness of the threat to U.S. interests and with the
degree of compellance appropriate to the political rationale.
a different set of challenges. These challenges are likely to
require discrete dominance of specific circumstances rather than
total dominance. The general tasks may include a wide variety
of requirements. For example, it may be necessary to try to prevent
or stop genocide (e.g., Rwanda) and ethnic cleansing (e.g., Bosnia).
The task may be to cooperate with a humanitarian relief effort
(e.g., prevention of starvation in Somalia or Bosnia). The goal
of employing force may be free and fair elections (e.g., Cambodia,
Bosnia). The requirement could be to destroy a limited objective
(e.g., an above-ground or underground chemical weapons plant or
documented nuclear weapons facilities developed by hostile or
could simply be to preserve international rights (e.g., protecting
the neutral shipping of the western oil flow in the Gulf during
the Iran-Iraq war). A more testing challenge might be to accomplish
a limited political goal (e.g., gesture to deal with Israeli incursion
in Lebanon in 1982). We undoubtedly will face the future requirement
to reverse a potential threat to Americans or to a region of importance
with a limited military action (e.g., in Grenada in 1983 or the
Mayaguez rescue in Cambodia in 1975). Discrete moves to bolster
preventive diplomacy and/or overt measures to demonstrate preparedness
to assist (e.g., forces sent to Sudan to support Chad under threat
of invasion from Libya and recent Navy operations in the Taiwan
Strait) will still be relevant.
terrorism also will be part of a continuing agenda (hostage rescuee.g.,
Iran, Lebanon; hijackinge.g., Achille Lauro; deterrent
to further movese.g., the Higgins operation, Libyan raids,
missile attack on Iraq after the threat to former President Bush).
We may also need to interdict weapons, terrorists, or other discrete
cargoes moving between nations (e.g., North Korean missile shipments
to Iran, Iranian and Libyan arms exchanges).
are likely to continue to be a preferable political alternative
or a necessary political prelude to an offensive military step
(e.g., implemented as the first step in actions to counter Libyan-sponsored
terrorism; tried first as an alternative to war with Iraq; used
ineffectively against the Serbs to try to convince them not to
continue to support Bosnian Serb aggression; and tried with Haiti
as an unsuccessful alternative to occupation). Our past experience
has been that we seldom have had decisive or immediate results
from these economic measures, sanctions, and embargoes. Considerable
time is required to have impact and we have not been particularly
efficient in controlling the leakage and spillover in these situations.
Sanctions almost always require full international cooperation
which cannot be assumed or guaranteed. In Bosnia, of course, some
portions of the arms embargo were deliberately allowed to be permeable
and the U.S. turned a blind eye to Iran's support of the Bosnians.
also has taught us some relevant lessons about the potential of
Shock and Awe. Improvements in the capabilities enhancing these
outcomes could make a decisive difference in dealing with future
challenges. History also cautions us as well that there will be
restraints in employing Rapid Dominance and that there are fundamental
differences in MRC and OOTW applications.
Awe, when properly applied, have been very effective in the past.
They will be effective in the future, even when applied in limited
ways that do not reflect the more encompassing impact envisioned
by Rapid Dominance. There are many examples of how a very limited
application of force made a significant difference through the
mechanisms of Shock and Awe. Experiences, including successes
and failures, illustrate some of the potential of Rapid Dominance
if implemented effectively.
War provides certain lessons. When B-52 strikes, which made the
ground rumble, were added to the equation during the Christmas
1972 bombing of Hanoi, dragging negotiations with the North Vietnamese
on a peace agreement moved swiftly to an acceptable conclusion.
Daily reports following the controversial B-52 "carpet"
bombing raids in Cambodia talked of North Vietnamese/Vietcong
soldiers wandering around in a daze due to shock and concussion.
Both B-52s and naval gunfire, especially from 16 inch guns of
a battleship, had a similar impact on invading North Vietnamese
troop concentrations. The mining of Haiphong Harbor, although
initiated late in the war, was equally effective in immediately
stopping shipping in and out of North Vietnam.
Nixon wanted to deal with the perplexing problems of our POWs
and failing domestic morale, as well as take away substantial
political leverage from the North Vietnamese, he directed the
raid to rescue prisoners jailed just outside Hanoi. The raid itself
was well executed. American forces reached and searched the prison
and returned safely. But no Americans were freed because a last
minute transfer of the POWs from the prison had not been detected.
If there had been prisoners still there to be rescued, the operation
would have been a highly dramatic and influential event. The point
is that accurate and timely intelligence remains crucial.
to be little doubt that the combined F-111 and naval air strike
against Libya in 1986 in response to the discotheque terrorist
attack in Germany gave Gadhafi pause. The perception that he personally
might be targeted appeared to get Gadhafi's attention.
When our troops
were having difficulty dislodging Grenadian soldiers from their
main fortress, Marine tanks were sailed around the island to confront
them. At the sight of tank guns, the seemingly stubborn occupants
surrendered almost immediately without a fight.
fire in the bloody Iran-Iraq war was quick to follow after the
commencement of daily Iraqi long-range rocket bombardments of
Tehran that amounted to a reign of terror. Given that both sides
were exhausted at that point, a show of force could have been
convincing. Strong U.S. action in response to Iran's mining of
neutral waters may also have had a sobering effect on the mullahs.
Not only were Iran's vulnerable oil-producing platforms in the
Gulf boarded and destroyed with impunity by the U.S., but Iranian
naval forces that had come out to challenge the U.S. Navy were
destroyed. Iraq's reign of terror, and the strong American message
to Iran, possibly helped end the war.
In our troublesome
stay in Somalia, AC-130 gunships earned immediate respect from
potential troublemakers with their ability to see wide areas night
or day, remain on station for hours as night patrols, and strike
with precision and relative impunity. The methodical drone of
AC-130s circling in the air was enough to restore some order,
although a few civilians found the noise unsettling. In another
situation, the aftermath of systematic UN efforts to destroy faction
leader Mohamed Aideed's illegal arms facilities generated an unexpected
reaction from other warlords, including those colluding with him,
which was to volunteer to hand over their own weapons storage
areas. For a fleeting moment, Shock and Awe created an important
many vagaries of the Bosnia tragedy, it would appear that when
NATO accurately delivered potent doses of air power, rather than
occasional pin pricks, the Serbs seemed finally to understand
that an appearance of cooperation rather than defiance was in
their interest. This NATO message in the form of air power, of
course, was strengthened by the effectiveness of the accompanying
Croatian/Muslim counter-offensive and the fatigue of Bosnian Serb
fighters. Sustaining the shock effect with forces on the ground
was a necessary combination to gain the staying power effect to
change the will of the Serbs. It was not accomplished by air alone.
Timing remains important.
also offer examples of how Rapid Dominance might have made a difference
in reacting to those difficult situations. Rapid Dominance might
have provided a better response to those setbacks or might have
offered a more effective alternative that would have avoided the
vulnerabilities in those situations in the first place (e.g.,
Bay of Pigs, Iran embassy rescue in 1980, Lebanon Marine barracks
bombing in 1983, response to the Pueblo seizure by North Korea
in 1968, and the reaction to the downed helicopters during the
Ranger raid in Somalia).
also learn from other states who have demonstrated effective application
of the characteristics of Rapid Dominance. Israel's rout of Syria's
air force and missile defenses in Lebanon's Baaka Valley shows
how dramatic success can have political spillover. On the other
hand, Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor produced the reverse
effects of Shock and Awe and had the unintended consequence of
galvanizing the U.S. into action.
a Rapid Dominance capability or when facing a more technologically
dependent opponent, it is clear from these examples and many others
in recent U.S. experiences that certain improvements in capabilities
would provide us with greater flexibility in the future. This
is especially true in OOTW situations, which require a multiplicity
of effective instruments at our disposal. It is also true that
certain operations such as peacekeeping tend to be manpower intensive.
If we are
to stay ahead of an adversary and deny things of value to that
adversary, dynamic, accurate, and integrated intelligence is essential.
Intelligence needs to move to levels unprecedented in scope, timeliness,
accuracy, and availability in real time. The Gulf War, despite
its success, showed classic limitations in intelligence. Even
though we had nearly every intelligence asset designed to deal
with the USSR available for use, we were unable to detect the
full extent of Iraq's WMD capability; unable to find mobile missile
launchers even with a major expenditure of on-scene assets; in
some cases, we could only "see" kilometers in front
of our advancing forces; and we mistakenly attacked targets we
thought were legitimate but had civilians inside. In some instances,
only reliable human intelligence may provide the necessary information
(for example, in order to understand what is happening in deep
capability we should try to achieve in the future is the ability
to intimidate, capture, convince, or significantly influence the
perceptions and understanding of individual troublemakers. This
need has been demonstrated repeatedly in recent years (e.g., Gadhafi
in Libya, Aideed in Somalia, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Noreiga in
Panama). Such a perception is particularly relevant when the problem
appears not to be caused by a unified population but by the ambitions
of individual leaders who have intimidated or killed off any likely
internal opposition. Such a capability requires effective real-time
intelligence and a variety of methods for accomplishing the task
(from exceptionally precise weapons to effective "snatch"
In a world
in which non-lethal sanctions are a political imperative, we will
continue to need the ability to shut down all commerce into and
out of any country from shipping, air, rail, and roads. We ought
to be able to do this in a much more thorough, decisive, and shocking
way than we have in the past. The ability to apply pressure or
cause acquiescence employing non-lethal means also will be important
in some circumstances. Weapons that shock and awe, stun and paralyze,
but do not kill in significant numbers may be the only ones that
are politically acceptable in the future. This also means that
crowd control with minimum violence may be needed. In certain
circumstances, the costs of having to resort to lethal force may
be too politically expensive in terms of local support as well
as support in the U.S. and internationally.
As is already
well recognized, we need to be able to shut down key electronic
communications to, from, and within a country (or within a specific
sub-group or faction). We also need the ability to control radio
and television within a country. It is important, however, in
all cases, to be able to deny an adversary's ability to communicate
and to have our own means of reaching the population with appropriate
to being able to eliminate military capabilities selectively,
including weapons systems, overt and covert stockpiles, fuel,
WMD, and related logistics, we will need to have the capability
selectively to incapacitate, neutralize, or destroy other things
considered of great value to opponents. Increased targeting precision
will compound effectiveness as well as help to avoid the political
pitfalls of using force such as the inevitable, unintended collateral
damage that has been the pattern of the past.
and carefully crafted applications of force, however, will only
partially reduce the restraints and limits on utilizing Rapid
Dominance in MRCs and OOTW. There are substantial differences
in the political constraints likely to be imposed in dealing with
MRCs and with OOTW. For example, there is much greater latitude
to use dominant force and Shock and Awe in MRCs than in OOTW.
In MRC situations,
we are often likely to face conventional powers which are well
organized, well equipped, and broadly dependent on technology.
Although more powerful, these developed states are also likely
to be especially vulnerable to a technologically sophisticated
approach such as Rapid Dominance as long as we maintain this military
edge and the ability to neutralize their military systems. Even
in the most compelling circumstance where a Rapid Dominance force
is used, however, support from other nations will be politically
In most circumstances
there will be limits to the targets of value to an adversary which
can be destroyed as well as to the numbers and types of weapons
that can be employed. For example, the political circumstances
in which nuclear weapons could be employed are quite limited.
In both MRCs and OOTW, certain actions are politically as well
as morally unacceptable except in extreme cases. Such restrictions
are likely to apply to targets affecting control of access to
food, water, and clean air, and to destruction of religious and
cultural centers, even if there is low collateral damage.
In OOTW situations,
we are much more vulnerable to criticism of using excessive force,
especially if there is civilian or collateral damage. The concept
of proportionality is likely to remain an operative principle
in U.S. policy and may be taken to extremes, especially if the
marginal nature of a situation leads to a marginal and ineffective
response. Some people, both military and civilian, even argue
that superior technology should not be employed in such situations
and that an adversary should be fought on his own terms. While
such arguments should be rejected, they nonetheless sometimes
have a political influence that must be considered. We should
always use technology to minimize our casualties, give us every
advantage, reduce collateral damage, and make us look more formidable.
At the same time, there needs to be sufficient provocation to
warrant destruction or denial. Our actions must always be consistent
with our own system of values.
component of Rapid Dominance is one of the most appealing aspects
of the concept, both politically and militarily. The ability to
take action that is timely and decisive multiplies substantially
the chances of ultimate success. Action needs to be taken precisely
when it will have greatest impact. Often initial public outrage
and political support for action in response to a provocation
subsides if a prolonged buildup is necessary in order to prepare
to take action.
to react faster than an adversary, to assimilate information and
act on it effectively, is also an important advantage. In a NATO
region-wide dynamic computer war game a few years ago, it was
clear that the simulated enemy was advancing faster than the defensive
chain of command could make counter moves. The tradition of sending
decisions up the line was simply too slow to cope with the dynamic
challenge posed by the adversary. Commanders on scene lacked the
authority to respond and adjust to rapidly changing situations.
The exercise graphically demonstrated to the country involved
the need to institute fundamental command and control streamlining.
It also demonstrated the advantages of being able to make local
decisions in real time while still effectively coordinating and
optimizing the overall effort.
"command by negation" concept evolved in the 1980s in
order to deal with the rapidity of the air/missile threat and
the need to integrate dynamically the offensive and defensive
missile, air, sea, and undersea capabilities of a battle group
and its joint components (e.g., AWACs). This concept was one way
of solving the time problem while keeping the overall commander
in the picture. The commander could then intervene and modify
actions as necessary to conform to the broader strategy. This
type of control was helped by the evolution of electronic links
and secure communications and the availability of satellites.
employing Rapid Dominance will need to orchestrate it using similar
principles, while applying greater selective ability to turn on
and off a variety of systems, sensors, and devices influencing
the whole operational picture. Technology should also give commanders
a much better grasp of what is evolving during a battle. Just
as the American military of today has made "owning the night"
part of its tactical advantage, "owning" the dimension
of time will be critical to the success of Rapid Dominance.
terms, the following is suggestive of a future force configuration
and the design of a mission capability package (MCP) based on
is based on affecting the adversary's will, perception, and knowledge
through imposing sufficient Shock and Awe to overcome resistance,
allowing us to achieve our aims. Four characteristics are vital:
knowledge, rapidity, brilliance, and control of the environment.
of all or of selective capabilities within the Rapid Dominance
systems of systems will then decisively direct the application
of military/defense resources and produce the requisite outcome.
Rapid Dominance envisages the execution of specific actions in
real or near real time to counter actions or intentions deemed
detrimental to U.S. interests. On the high end of conflict, Rapid
Dominance would introduce a reaction of Shock and Awe in areas
of highest value to the threatening individual, group, or state.
In many cases, prior understanding of the power of Rapid Dominance
would act as a deterrent to the objectionable action. When used,
Rapid Dominance would ensure favorable early resolution of issues
with minimal loss of lives and collateral damage. The concept
theoretically should be able to impact adversarial situations
that apply across the board to high, mid, low, no, or minimal
expands the art of joint combined arms war fighting capabilities
to a new level. Rapid Dominance requires a sophisticated, interconnected,
and interoperable grid of netted intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance,
communications systems, data analysis, and real-time deliverable
actionable information to the shooter. This network must provide
total situational awareness and supporting nodal analysis that
enables U.S. forces to act inside the adversary's decision loop
in a manner that on the high end produces Shock and Awe among
the threat parties. Properly detailed nodal analysis of this knowledge
grid will enable the shutting down of specific functions or all
essential functions near simultaneously. This will often times
be netted pieces of data where the sum of the parts gives the
answer and the battlefield advantage to the force possessing this
rapidly netted information.
part of the equation becomes the ability to get real-time actionable
targeting information to the appropriate shooter, whether the
shooter is a tank division, an individual tank, an artillery battery,
an individual rifle man, a naval battle group, an individual ship,
an air wing/squadron, or an aircraft in flight. This means the
need to have the right shooter in the right place; locating and
identifying the target correctly and quickly; allocating and assigning
targets rapidly; getting the "shoot" order or general
authority to the shooter; and then assessing the battle damage
the unit level, Shock and Awe are provided by the speed and effectiveness
of this cycle. Then, the ability to do this simultaneously throughout
the battlefield creates a strategic Shock and Awe on the opposing
forces, their leadership, and populous. This simultaneity and
concurrency are central tenets of imposing Shock and Awe. When
the video results of these attacks are broadcast in real time
worldwide on CNN, the positive impact on coalition support and
negative impact on potential threat support can be decisive.
priority of a doctrine of Rapid Dominance should be to deter,
alter, or affect the will and therefore those actions that are
either unacceptable to U.S. national security interests or endanger
the democratic community of states and access to free markets.
These political objectives are generally those envisioned in the
major and lower regional conflict scenarios (MRC & LRC). Should
deterrence fail, the application of Rapid Dominance in these circumstances
should create sufficient Shock and Awe to the immediate threat
forces and leadership as well as provide a clear message for other
potential threat partners. The doctrine of Rapid Dominance would
not be limited to MRC and LRC scenarios. It has applications in
a variety of areas such as countering WMD, terrorism, and perhaps
other tasks. The challenge is that should deterrence fail, the
execution of a response based on Rapid Dominance must be proportional
to the threat, yet decisive enough to convey the right degree
of Shock and Awe. Rapid Dominance cannot solve all or even most
of the world's problems. We repeat our disclaimer that this is
not a silver bullet. However, Rapid Dominance and its capacity
for achieving Shock and Awe could be applied for egregious threats
or violations of international law, such as:
military threats to the territory of the U.S., its friends,
aggression involving a large state crushing a small state;
- Rogue leader/state
sponsored terrorism/use of WMD;
violations of human rights on a large scale; and
to essential world markets.
Information Highway is crossing all sovereign borders and penetrating
even the most closed societies. The inequities and benefits in
all societies are becoming known to the masses as well as the
power brokers. The requirement for Rapid Dominance to develop
sophisticated capabilities to penetrate the Information Highway
and create road blocks as well as control inputs/outputs to the
highway both overtly and covertly is fundamental to the concept.
techniques also apply to law enforcement agencies targeting international
crime and drug cartels using the highway. Closer interagency cooperations
and coordination between military and law enforcement activities
and capabilities must be established. Experience with the military
involvement in the drug war revealed considerable cultural differences
between these organizations. Overcoming these cultural differences
among organizations is not easy. The required trust and confidence
for sharing sensitive information and support between these agencies
and the military needs to be developed further. Interagency coordination
and cooperation must be raised to a new level of sophistication.
Some laws may need to be changed. War in Cyberspace does not recognize
domestic or foreign boundaries. In this environment the subjects
of Information Warfare and Information In Warfare take on new
meaning and require focused development. We must become proficient
within this environment.
- The enemy
picks the time and place to initiate the conflict (i.e., we
- We then
attain control of the initiative through superior speed, knowledge,
and capacity to act and react.
- Our forces
are perceived to be invincible; engagements must convince the
enemy there is no hope.
must be unrelenting and omnipresent at times, places, and tempo
operations must be thoroughly integrated, from political objectives
through combat to include psychological warfare.
- The enemy
must be hit in those areas of greatest importance to him and
devastated by the ferocity and swiftness of our attack.
assumptions, certain operational criteria follow that help to
define a Rapid Dominance Force with more specificity in improving:
indications, and warning on an aggressor's actions
- The length
of time required for a decision to react
responses at various levels and times after the crises or conflict
begins to develop:
Respond in 1 to 3 days with air and missile
strikes and special forces
Respond in 5 to 10 days with more massive
power up to and including a joint task force of corps size
Respond in 10 to 30 days with a second corps
As a next
step, we need to sketch out what a Rapid Dominance Force might
look like for a corps-sized air, ground, sea, and space joint
task force supported by necessary intelligence assets that can
impose sufficient Shock and Awe to break the will of the adversary.
First, this force will emphasize capabilities to maximize the
core characteristics of knowledge of self, adversary, and environment;
rapidity; brilliance in execution; and control of the environment.
means more than dominant battlefield awareness. It means understanding
the adversary's mind and anticipating his reactions. It means
targeting those things that will produce the intended Shock and
Awe. And, it means having feedback and good, timely battle assessment
to enable knowledge to be used dynamically as well as to know
how our forces will react.
moving and acting as quickly as necessary and always on a timely
basis. Rapidity can be instant or as required.
in operations means achieving the highest standards of operational
competence and, through a superiority of knowledge, maintaining
the ability to impose Shock and Awe through continuously surprising
and psychologically and physically breaking the adversary's will
to resist. This will require training and exercising of joint
land, sea, air, space, and special forces to new standards of
excellence and competence. It is mainly in training where the
difference lies in achieving operational brilliance. This desired
standard of performance can be achieved by making innovations
to permit new levels of battlefield fidelity for training units
and developing leaders.
the environment would include complete signature control on the
entire battle area out to hundreds of miles. We would control
our signatures as well as what we wanted the adversary to see
or hear and what we do not want the enemy to know. Destruction
of the adversary's systems would begin with long-range stealthy,
or "stand-off" Zero CEP weapons, extend to FOG-M type
battlefield weapons to close-in systems. Small units would be
able to call in "fires" for 360 degrees on a nearly
all aspects would be complemented by deception, disinformation,
surveillance, targeting, and killing. "Pulse" weapons
would be used to disarm and actively deceive the enemy through
disrupting and attacking all aspects of the adversary's electronics,
information, and C4I infrastructure. It is this "lay down"
of total power across all areas in rapid and simultaneous actions
that would impose the Shock and Awe.
roughly a third of this Joint Task Force, would consist of traditional
platforms including conventional ground, air, and amphibious forces,
naval battle group forces, and the necessary supporting logistical,
C4I, medical and other capabilities and ground forces to conduct
and sustain conventional or traditional operations if needed and
to support or defend traditionally vulnerable targets such as
ports, roads, and other infrastructure.
is, of course, dependent on the conditions of the MRC. In general,
the most rapidly deployable units of this corps, the future equivalent
of the Eighteenth Airborne Corps, would be sent to secure or reinforce
a limited area into which the remainder of the force would flow.
This AOR would be self-protected. Our goal is that perhaps a Rapid
Dominance force of as few as 2,000 troops could successfully defend
against an enemy of 10-20,000 in an MRC and that a full corps
can be deployed within 5 to 10 days.
would arrive quickly and, as directed, begin disarming, destroying,
and disabling the enemy's military wherewithal using "stand-off"
capabilities. Forward-based or long-range reconnaissance units
could be employed/supported by UAVs and overhead surveillance.
be forward deployed in accordance with their time phased plan.
These units would be used either to complete the attack or to
carry it to the adversary, occupy selective territory physically,
or carry out the requirements of the post-war occupation campaign.
Should traditional forces be needed, they would of course be available.
and self-defense would partly be provided by controlling the environment.
In effect, we would cast a cloak around the adversary and permit
the adversary to see and know what we alone provided. This would
leave an adversary blind, deaf, and dumb. With superior and rapid
firepower, the blinded, deafened enemy would be destroyed and
defeated as we saw fit. This would maximize Shock and Awe and
help break the adversary's will.
In OOTW, the
Rapid Dominance JTF might function as follows. First, the ability
to deploy dominant force rapidly to attack or threaten to attack
appropriate targets could be brought to bear without involving
manpower-intense or manned sensors and weapons. Second, once deployed,
since self-defense is likely to be required against small arms,
mines, and shoulder carried or mortar weapons, certainly some
form of "armor" or protective vehicles and shelters
would be necessary. However, through the UAVs, C4I, and virtual
reality systems, as well as through signature management and other
Shock and Awe weapons including High Powered Microwave (HPM) and
"stun-like" systems, this force would have more than
dominant battlefield awareness.
of course, caveats. Unless strategic or policy objectives are
in line with operational capabilities, military force is unlikely
to be a useful instrument. It is also unlikely that any operational
construct, no matter how brilliantly conceived, could overcome
such a disconnect. Vietnam and Somalia remind us of these limitations.
of intelligencestrategically, culturally, and operationallyis
a central thrust and component of the knowledge aspect of Rapid
Dominance. Our forces must not only fight smarter; these forces,
at all or most levels, must be educated and trained differently
with far more emphasis on intelligence, broadly defined. This
knowledge, when applied rapidly under conditions of brilliance
and in a controlled environment, is a centerpiece of Rapid Dominance.
be full comprehension of the adversary across strategic, political,
military, cultural, intellectual, and perceptual lines. This understanding
must go beyond how an adversary might use military force. Those
crucial values that motivate and underlie a nation or a group
must be understood if the appropriate level of Shock and Awe is
to be achieved.
also obvious questions that must be answered. Does Rapid Dominance
apply only or mostly to the high end of the conflict spectrum
involving more traditional applications of force to achieve political
objectives, as envisioned in the MRC and LRC scenarios? Yet to
be explored is the degree to which a concept of Rapid Dominance
with Shock and Awe applies to OOTW, countering terrorism against
U.S. interests, controlling rogue states/leaders, etc. What are
the political and military prerequisites to apply Rapid Dominance?
Are they applicable and realistically achievable in the increasingly
complex interaction of national non-government organizations (PVOs/NGOs)
present worldwide to provide health and humanitarian care to refugees
and other disenfranchised people? Would the concept of Rapid Dominance
with a degree of Shock and Awe offend and generate counterproductive
public relations backlash from those who believe force should
only be used as a last resort and then with a measurable degree
At this point,
we can only raise questions and expect to have them answered at
a later date. This line of questions, concerns, and issues as
well as a host of others, needs to be examined up front and answered
in the Rapid Dominance concept development process. We must be
careful that we do not overvisualize Rapid Dominance versus the
reality of credible/affordable capabilities to execute the concept.
Rapid Dominance must still confront the fog of war. Decisions
will still be made based on judgment and confidence in the intelligence
provided, the estimate of threat intentions, knowledge of true
center of gravity targets, and confidence in our own force capabilities
to inflict Shock and Awe. In fact, the key will be the ability
to penetrate this fog with increased clarity and to control events
now unmanageable through more rapid gathering, analyzing, and
distributing actionable information. Complicating the issue is
the fact that the U.S. has not clearly defined its role in the
post-Cold War era. As the world's only credible superpower, the
U.S. cannot avoid a leadership role but neither can it avoid the
focused criticism applied to all leaders. This is the classical
"damned if you do and damned if you don't" syndrome.
At this stage,
the concept of Rapid Dominance is a work in progress. It needs
to be "operationalized." By designing a nominal MCP
and fitting with it paper systems and capabilities, we can explore
the answers to many of the questions we raised above. Three steps
are needed to proceed down the road on the way to a real capability.
First, feasibility of the requisite technical capabilities needs
to be established. Second, wargaming of the MCP must be done.
Third, and perhaps most difficult, deriving the means for implementing
the most promising aspects of Rapid Dominance must occur.
Chapter 4. An Outline for System
Innovation and Technological Integration
Table of Contents