At this stage, Rapid
Dominance is an intellectual construct based on these key points.
First, Rapid Dominance has evolved from the collective professional,
policy, and operational experience of the study group covering
the last four decades. This experience ran from Vietnam to
Desert Storm and from serving with operational units in the
field to being part of the decision-making process in the Oval
Office in Washington. It also included immersion in technology
and systems from thermonuclear weapons to advanced weapons software.
Second, Rapid Dominance
seeks to exploit the unique juncture of strategy, technology,
and innovation created by the end of the Cold War and to establish
an alternative foundation for military doctrine and force structure.
Third, Rapid Dominance
draws on the strategic uses of force as envisaged by Sun Tzu and
Clausewitz to overpower or affect the will, perception, and understanding
of the adversary for strategic aims and military objectives. But,
in Rapid Dominance, the principal mechanism for affecting the
adversary's will is through the imposition of a regime of Shock
and Awe sufficient to achieve the aims of policy. It is this relationship
with and reliance on Shock and Awe that differentiates Rapid Dominance
from attrition, maneuver, and other military doctrines including
Shock and Awe impact
on psychological, perceptual, and physical levels. At one level,
destroying an adversary's military force leaving the enemy impotent
and vulnerable may provide the necessary Shock and Awe. At another
level, the certainty of this outcome may cause an adversary to
accept our terms well short of conflict. In the great middle ground,
the appropriate balance of Shock and Awe must cause the perception
and anticipation of certain defeat and the threat and fear of
action that may shut down all or part of the adversary's society
or render his ability to fight useless short of complete physical
Finally, in order to
impose enough Shock and Awe to affect an adversary's will, four
core characteristics of a Rapid Dominance-configured force were
defined. First, complete knowledge and understanding of self,
of the adversary, and of the environment are essential. This knowledge
and understanding exceed the expectations of dominant battlefield
awareness and DBA becomes a subset of Rapid Dominance.
Rather like the wise
investor and not the speculator who is only familiar with a particular
company and not the stock market in general, the Rapid Dominance
force must have complete knowledge and understanding of many likely
adversaries and regions. This requirement for knowledge and understanding
will place a huge, new burden on the military forces and necessitate
fundamental changes in policy, organization, training, education,
structure, and equipage.
Second is rapidity.
Rapidity combines speed, timeliness, and agility and the ability
to sustain control after the initial shock. Rapidity enables us
to act as quickly as needed and always more quickly than the adversary
can react or take counter-actions. Rapidity is also an antidote
to surprise. If we cannot anticipate surprise, or are surprised,
rapidity provides a correcting capacity to neutralize the effects
of that surprise.
Third, and most provocatively,
is setting the standard of operations and execution in terms of
brilliance. The consequences and implications of setting brilliance
as the standard and achieving it are profound. Reconfiguration
of command authority and organization possibly to decentrali-zation
down to individual troops must follow. Allowing and encouraging
an operational doctrine of the "first to respond" will
set the tempo provided that effective de-confliction of friendly
on friendly engagements has been assured.
This, of course, means
that complete revision of doctrine, training, and organization
will be required. The matter is not just "fighting smarter."
It is learning to fight at even higher standards of skill and
Fourth is control of
the environment. Control is defined in the broadest sense: physical
control of the land, air, sea, and space and control of the "ether"
in which information is passed and received. This requires signature
management throughout the full conflict spectrumdeception,
disinformation, verification, information control, and target
managementall with rapidity in both physical and psychological
impact. By depriving an adversary of the physical use of time,
space, and the ether, we play on the adversary's will and offer
the prospect of certain destruction should resistance follow.
The next step in this
process must be specifically defining this Rapid Dominance force
in terms of force structure, capabilities, doctrine, organization,
and order of battle. We have begun this effort and are focusing
on a joint task force sized somewhere between a reinforced division
and a full corps (i.e., a strength of 75,000 - 200,000). We also
have the aim of being able to deploy this force within 5 to 10
days of the order to move and, of course, will be able to send
smaller force packages on a nearly instantaneous basis. We appreciate
the mobility and logistical implications of this requirement.
Once we design this
"paper" force and equip it with "paper" systems,
we must evaluate it against the five basic questions and tests
we noted in the Prologue.
The first test of this
Rapid Dominance force will be against the MRC. The comparison,
in the broadest sense, must be with the programmed force and whatever
emerges from the Quadrennial Defense Review of 1997. We will need
to examine closely how and where and why Rapid Dominance and Shock
and Awe work and where they do not. At the very least, we expect
that this will help strengthen the current force and improve current
capabilities. Of course, it is our hope that this test will validate
Rapid Dominance as a legitimate doctrine.
Second, the Rapid Dominance
force must be tested across the entire spectrum of OOTW. These
are the most difficult tests because, in some of them, no force
may be suitable and no force may work.
Third, the test of
determining the political consequences of Rapid Dominance must
be conducted. On one hand, if this force capability can be achieved
and Shock and Awe administered to affect an adversary's will,
can a form of political deterrence be created? In the most approximate
sense, and we emphasize approximate, the analogy with nuclear
deterrence might be drawn. An adversary may be persuaded or deterred
from taking action in the first instance. On the other hand, this
capacity may be seen as politically unusable and allies and others
within the United States may not be fully trusting of the possessor
always to employ this force responsibly.
Fourth is the test
of the implications of Rapid Dominance for alliances and for waging
coalition warfare. Our allies are already concerned that the United
States is leaving them far behind in military technology and capability.
If we possess this force and our allies or partners do not, how
do we fight together? Our view is that this can be worked out
through technology sharing and perhaps new divisions of labor
and mission specialization. However, these are important points
to be considered.
Finally, what does
all this mean for resource investments in defense?
It is also likely that
because Rapid Dominance will cause profound consequences, the
iron grip of the political bureaucracy will make a fair examination
difficult. It is no accident that other attempts at change, especially
those that ask for or are tainted with reform, have had a short
life span. It is interesting to note in this regard that the President's
Commission on Intelligence and its fine report that recommended
changes and refinements to the U.S. intelligence community, despite
a very positive initial reception, led to only a few meaningful
This discussion leads
to two final points. We are all too well aware that any strategy
and force structure have vulnerabilities and potential weaknesses.
The experiences that this study group collectively had in Vietnam
makes this concern very strongly held. We observe that in the
private sector, the vulnerability of information systems is real
and is being exploited. A former director of the FBI has told
us that in New York, for example, the number one recruiting target
for organized crime is the teenage computer whiz. We think that
this "hacking," writ large in the private sector, must
be assumed as part of the defense problem. Hence, sensitivity
to vulnerabilities must be even greater, perhaps ironically, than
it was during the Cold War, because exploitation can come from
many more sources in the future.
Second, wags may criticize
Rapid Dominance as attempting to create a "Mission Impossible
Force." To be sure, we emphasize and demand brilliance as
the operational goal. However, we also know that the military
today is seen as a leading example of the best American society
has to offer. We wish to build on this reality. We note the experience
and the performance, albeit under highly unusual circumstances,
of Desert Storm. We see no reason why that level of performance
cannot be made a permanent part of the fabric of the American
Because we have entered
a period of transition in which we enjoy a dominant military position
and a greatly reduced window of vulnerability, this is the right
time for experimentation and demonstration. Rapid Dominance is
still a concept and a work in progress, not a final road map or
blueprint. But the concept does warrant, in our view, a commitment
to explore and an opportunity that could lead to dramatically
We believe that through
Rapid Dominance and the commitment to examine the entire range
of defense across all components and aspects, a revolution is
possible. If Rapid Dominance can be harnessed in an affordable
and efficient way and an operational capability fielded to impose
sufficient Shock and Awe to affect an adversary's will, then this
will be the real Revolution in Military Affairs. We ask those
who are intrigued by this prospect to join us.
Appendix A. Thoughts on Rapid Dominance
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