The fifth example is named after the Chinese philosopher-warrior, Sun Tzu. The "Sun Tzu" example is based on selective, instant decapitation of military or societal targets to achieve Shock and Awe. This discrete or precise nature of applying force differentiates this from Hiroshima and Massive Destruction examples. Sun Tzu was brought before Ho Lu, the King of Wu, who had read all of Sun Tzu's thirteen chapters on war and proposed a test of Sun's military skills. Ho asked if the rules applied to women. When the answer was yes, the king challenged Sun Tzu to turn the royal concubines into a marching troop. The concubines merely laughed at Sun Tzu until he had the head cut off the head concubine. The ladies still could not bring themselves to take the master's orders seriously. So, Sun Tzu had the head cut off a second concubine. From that point on, so the story goes, the ladies learned to march with the precision of a drill team.
The objectives of this example are to achieve Shock and Awe and hence compliance or capitulation through very selective, utterly brutal and ruthless, and rapid application of force to intimidate. The fundamental values or lives are the principal targets and the aim is to convince the majority that resistance is futile by targeting and harming the few. Both society and the military are the targets. In a sense, Sun Tzu attempts to achieve Hiroshima levels of Shock and Awe but through far more selective and informed targeting. Decapitation is merely one instrument. This model can easily fall outside the cultural heritage and values of the U.S. for it to be useful without major refinement. Shutting down an adversary's ability to "see" or to communicate is another variant but without many historical examples to show useful wartime applications.
A subset of the Sun Tzu example is the view that war is deception. In this subset, the attempt is to deceive the enemy into what we wish the enemy to perceive and thereby trick, cajole, induce, or force the adversary. The thrust or target is the perception, understanding, and knowledge of the adversary. In some ways, the ancient Trojan Horse is an early example of deception. However, as we will see, the deception model may have new foundations in the technological innovations that are occurring and in our ability to control the environment.
The shortcomings with Sun Tzu are similar to those of the Massive Destruction and the Blitzkreig examples. It is questionable that a decision to employ American force this ruthlessly in quasi- or real assassination will ever be made by the U.S. Further, the standard to maintain the ability to perform these missions is high and dependent on both resources and on supporting intelligence, especially human intelligence-not an American strong point.
Britain's Special Air Service provides the SAS example and is distinct from the Blitzkreig or Sun Tzu categories because it focuses on depriving an adversary of its senses in order to impose Shock and Awe. The image here is the hostage rescue team employing stun grenades to incapacitate an adversary, but on a far larger scale. The stun grenade produces blinding light and deafening noise. The result shocks and confuses the adversary and makes him senseless. The aim in this example of achieving Shock and Awe is to produce so much light and sound or the converse, to deprive the adversary of all senses, and therefore to disable and to disarm. Without senses, the adversary becomes impotent and entirely vulnerable.
A huge "battlefield" stun grenade that encompasses large areas is a dramatic if unachievable illustration. Perhaps a high altitude nuclear detonation that blacks out virtually all electronic and electrical equipment better describes the intended effect regardless of likelihood of use. Depriving the enemy, in specific areas, of the ability to communicate, observe, and to interact is a more reasonable and perhaps more achievable variant. This deprival of senses, including all electronics and substitution of false signals or data to create this feeling of impotence, is another variant. Above all, Shock and Awe are imposed instantly and the mechanism or target is deprivation of the senses.
The shortcomings of the SAS approach mirror in part shortcomings of other approaches. Technological solutions are crucial but may not be conceivable outside the EMP effects of nuclear weapons. Intelligence is clearly vital. Without precise knowledge of who and what are to be stunned, this example will not work.
The sixth example of applying Shock and Awe is the "Haitian" example (or to the purist, the Potemkin Village example). It is based on imposing Shock and Awe through a show of force and indeed through deception, misinformation, and disinformation and is different from the U.S. intervention in Haiti in 1995. In the early 1800s, native Haitians were seeking to extricate their country from French control. The Haitian leaders staged a martial parade for the visiting French military contingent and marched, reportedly, a hand full of battalions repeatedly in review. The French were deceived into believing that the native forces numbered in the tens of thousands and concluded that French military action was futile and that its forces would be overwhelmed. As a result, the Haitians were able to achieve their freedom without firing a shot.
To be sure, there are points of similarity between the Haitian example and the others. Deception, disinformation, and guile are more crucial in this regime. However, the target or focus is the will and perception of the intended target. Perhaps the Sun Tzu category comes closest to this one except that while Sun Tzu is selective in applying force, it is clear that imposing actual pain and shock are essential ingredients and deception, disin-formation, and guile are secondary. Demonstrative uses of force are also important. The issue is how to determine what demonstrations will affect the perceptions of the intended target in line with the overall political aims.
The weakness of this form of Shock and Awe is its major dependency on intelligence. One must be certain that the will and perceptions of the adversary can be manipulated. The classic misfire is the adversary who is not impressed and, instead, is further provoked to action by the unintended actions of the aggressor. Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis' invasion of Kuwait demonstrate when this Potemkin Village model can backfire. Saddam simply let his bluff be called.
The next example is that of "The Roman Legions." Achieving Shock and Awe rests in the ability to deter and overpower an adversary through the adversary's perception and fear of his vulnerability and our own invincibility, even though applying ultimate retribution could take a considerable period of time. The target set encompasses both military and societal values. In occupying a vast empire stretching from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, Rome could deploy relatively small number of forces to secure each of these territories. In the first place, Roman forces were far superior to native forces individually and collectively. In the second place, if an untoward act occurred, the perpetrator could rest assured that Roman vengeance ultimately would take place. This was similar to British "Gunboat Diplomacy" of the nineteenth century when the British fleet would return to the scene of any crime against the crown and extract its retribution through the wholesale destruction of offending villages.
There were several vital factors in Rome's ability to achieve Shock and Awe. The invincibility of its Legions, or the perception of that prowess, and the inevitability of retribution were among the most significant factors. In other words, reprisals and the use of force to exact a severe punishment, as well as the certainty that this sword of Damocles would descend, were essential ingredients. The distinction between this category and the others is the ex post facto nature of achieving Shock and Awe. In the other categories, there is the need for seizing the initiative and applying con-temporaneous force to achieve Shock and Awe. With the Roman example, the Shock and Awe have already been achieved. It is the breakdown of this regime or the rise of new and as yet unbowed adversaries that leads to the reactive use of force.
The major shortcoming is the assumption of the inevitability of reprisals and the capacity to take punitive action. That is not and may not always be the case with the United States, although we can attempt to make others believe it will be. The takeover of the Embassy in Tehran by dissident "students" in 1979 and American impotence in the aftermath are suggestive of the shortcoming. That aside, the example or perception of the invincibility of American military power is not a bad one to embellish.
The next category for achieving Shock and Awe is termed the Decay and Default model and is based on the imposition of societal breakdown over a lengthy period but without the application of massive destruction. This example is obviously not rapid but cumulative. In this example, both military and societal values are targets. Selective and focused force is applied. It is the long-term corrosive effects of the continuing breakdown in the system and society that ultimately compels an adversary to surrender or to accept terms. Shock and Awe are therefore not immediate either in application or in producing the end result. Economic embargoes, long-term policies that harass and aggravate the adversary, and other types of punitive actions that do not threaten the entire society but apply pressure as in the Chinese water torture, a drop at a time, are the mechanisms. Finally, the preoccupation with the decay and disruption of society produces a variant of Shock and Awe in the form of frustration collapsing the will to resist.
The significant weakness of this approach is time duration. In many cases, the time required to impose such a regime of Shock and Awe is unacceptably long or simply cannot be achieved by conventional or politically acceptable means.
The final example is that of "The Royal Canadian Mounted Police," whose unofficial motto was "never send a man where you can send a bullet." The distinction between this example and the others is that this example is even more selective than Sun Tzu and implies that standoff capabilities as opposed to forces in place can achieve the required objectives. There should not be too fine a point, however, in belaboring differences with the other examples in this regard over standoff. A stealthy aircraft bombing unimpededly is not distinct from a cruise missile fired at 1,000 miles regarding the effect of ordnance on target.
A few observations about these examples offer insights on which to test and evaluate means of applying Rapid Dominance. It is clear that the targets in each category include military, civilian, industrial, infrastructure, and societal components of a country or group. In certain cases, time is the crucial consideration in imposing Shock and Awe and in most of the examples, emphasis is on a rapid or sudden imposition of Shock and Awe. However, in several examples, the effects of Shock and Awe must be and are cumulative. They are either achieved over time or achieved through earlier conditioning and experiences. Not all of these categories are dependent on technology or on new technological breakthroughs. What is relatively new or different is the extent to which brilliance and competence in using force, in understanding where an adversary's weak points lie and in executing military operations with deftness, are vital. While this recognition is not new, emphasis is crucial on exploiting brilliance and therefore on the presumption that brilliance may be taught or institutionalized and is not a function only of gifted individuals.
There is also a key distinction between selective or precise and massive application of force. Technology, in the form of "zero CEP" weapons, may provide the seemingly contradictory capability of systems that are both precise and have the net consequence of imposing massive disruption, destruction, or damage. This damage goes beyond the loss of power grids and other easily identifiable industrial targeting sets. Loss of all communications can have a massively destructive impact even though physical destruction can be relatively limited.
In some of the examples, the objective is to apply brutal levels of power and force to achieve Shock and Awe. In the attempt to keep war "immaculate," at least in limiting collateral damage, one point should not be forgotten. Above all, war is a nasty business or, as Sherman put it, "war is hell." While there are surely humanitarian considerations that cannot or should not be ignored, the ability to Shock and Awe ultimately rests in the ability to frighten, scare, intimidate, and disarm. The Clausewitzian dictum concerning the violent nature of war is dismissed only at our peril.
For a policy maker in the White House or Pentagon and the concerned Member of Congress with responsibility for providing for the common defense, what lessons emerge from these examples and hierarchies? First, there are always broader sets of operational concepts and constructs available for achieving political objectives than may be realized. Not all of these alternatives are necessarily better or feasible. However, the examples suggest that further intellectual and conceptual effort is a worthwhile investment in dealing with national security options in the future.
Second, time becomes an opportunity as well as a constraint in generating new thinking. In many past cases, time was generally viewed as an adversary. We had to race against several clocks to arrive "firstest with the mostest," to prevent an enemy from advancing, or to ensure we had ample forces on station should they be required. Rapid Dominance would alleviate many of these constraints as we would have the capacity to deploy effective forces far more quickly. Therefore, in this case, we can view time as an ally. The political issue rests in longstanding arguments to limit the President from having the capacity to deploy or use force quickly, thereby involving the nation without conferring with full consultation with Congress. While this is an obvious point, it should not eliminate alternative types of force packages derived from Rapid Dominance from full consideration and experimentation. Indeed, our experience with nuclear weapons and emergency release procedures shows that delegating instant presidential authority can be handled responsibly.
Responding to the precise, rapid, and massive criteria of several models, it is clear that one capability not presently in the arsenal is a "zero-CEP" weapon, meaning one that is precise and timely. It is also clear that, while deception, guile, and brilliance are important attributes in war, there are no guarantees that they can be institutionalized in any military force.
Another capability that Rapid Dominance would stress relates to the Sun Tzu example. Suppose there are "EMP-like" or High Powered Microwave (HPM) systems that can be fielded and provide broad ability to incapacitate even a relatively primitive society. In using these weapons, the nerve centers of that society would be attacked rather than using this illustrative system to achieve hard target kill because there were few hard targets. To be sure, HPM and EMP-like systems have been and are being carefully researched.
Finally, to return to the idea that deception, disinformation, and misinformation are crucial aspects of waging war, Rapid Dominance would seek to achieve several further capabilities. By using complete signature management, larger formations could be made to look like smaller and smaller formations made to seem larger. At sea, carrier battle groups could be disguised and smaller warships could be made to appear as large formations. This signature management would apply across the entire spectrum of the senses and not just radar or electronic ranges. Indeed, gaining the ability to regulate what information and intelligence are both available and not available to the adversary is a key aim. This is more than denial or deception. It is control in the fullest sense of the word.
The next step is to match the four significant characteristics that define Rapid Dominance- knowledge, rapidity, brilliance, and control-with Shock and Awe against achievable military objectives in order to derive suitable strategies and doctrines, configure forces and force packages accordingly, and determine those integrated systems and innovative uses of technologies and capabilities that will provide the necessary means to achieve these objectives in conditions that include both the MRC and OOTW.
Strategic, Policy, and Operational Application
In assessing 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.
Americans 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.
Future actions 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.
Americans 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 NGOs.
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 materials.
There must 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 Japan).
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.
Imposing Rapid 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 in Bosnia.
In considering 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.
As noted, 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 patches.
Whether in 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?
Recent events give us examples of outcomes likely to be relevant in the future. MRCs call for the full spectrum of outcomes-from 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.
OOTW present 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 unfriendly states).
Other tasks 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.
Countering terrorism also will be part of a continuing agenda (hostage rescue-e.g., Iran, Lebanon; hijacking-e.g., Achille Lauro; deterrent to further moves-e.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).
Economic sanctions 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.
Past experience 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.
Shock and 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.
The Vietnam 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.
When President 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.
There seems 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.
The cease 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 opportunity.
During the 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.
Past failures 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).
We should 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.
Even without 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 underground facilities).
Another important 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" operations).
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 messages.
In addition 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.
More surgical 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 desirable.
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.
The "rapid" 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.
The ability 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.
The Navy's "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.
Commanders 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.
In conceptual terms, the following is suggestive of a future force configuration and the design of a mission capability package (MCP) based on Rapid Dominance.
Rapid Dominance 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.
Application 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 technology threats.
Rapid Dominance 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.
The "rapid" 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 accurately.
At whatever 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.
The first 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:
- Direct military threats to the territory of the U.S., its friends, and allies; - Blatant aggression involving a large state crushing a small state; - Rogue leader/state sponsored terrorism/use of WMD; - Egregious violations of human rights on a large scale; and - Threat to essential world markets.
Clearly, the 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.
These same 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 are surprised). - 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. - Combat must be unrelenting and omnipresent at times, places, and tempo of choosing. - Allied 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.
From these assumptions, certain operational criteria follow that help to define a Rapid Dominance Force with more specificity in improving:
- Intelligence, indications, and warning on an aggressor's actions - The length of time required for a decision to react - Decisive 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
The Rapid Dominance MCP
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.
Knowledge 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.
Rapidity means moving and acting as quickly as necessary and always on a timely basis. Rapidity can be instant or as required.
Brilliance 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.
Control of 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 instant basis.
Attacks from 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.
The remainder, 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.
Tactical employment 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.
These units 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.
Units would 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.
Protection 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.
There are, 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.
The assimilation of intelligence-strategically, culturally, and operationally-is 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.
There must 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.
There are 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 of proportionality?
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.
An Outline for System Innovation and Technological Integration
Achieving Shock and Awe is central to Rapid Dominance, and therefore must serve as the key organizing principle for any rigorous examination and exploitation of system concepts and technologies for Rapid Dominance. Understanding the interplay between technology and doctrine is not only or simply a straightforward matter of establishing operational requirements and then seeking to attain them through invention and design. It is a complex and interactive process of experimentation and discovery wherein intellect, hard work, endurance, and innovation must drive the use of technology. Rather than make changes, however significant, to modifying current capabilities or building newer, similar ones, Rapid Dominance seeks to identify and field systems specifically designed to achieve Shock and Awe-systems that may break the mold much as the Model T Ford once did years ago.
The genetic decoders in bioengineering laboratories, computer-aided design tools used by engineers, vast database management systems in place in corporate offices, computer-controlled machines enabling composite materials, and the countless academic, business, and personal computers are all evidence of the prominent and ever increasing role information technologies have assumed in modern economies. Many of the technologies underlying the Information Age are being spearheaded by U.S. small business and its entrepreneurial culture. Certainly, from the huge consumer electronics firms in Japan to software development businesses in India, the rest of the world participates and competes. But few can deny that U.S. industry provides the leadership in and is the preeminent developer of information technologies as they are most broadly defined. This leadership position, properly leveraged, provides the United States with an ever increasing military advantage over competing nations.
Leveraging technology requires more than merely incorporating it into U.S. forces; it is likely to include a significant redesign of both forces and leadership to embrace these rapidly evolving technologies. Many of the technologies that will support Rapid Dominance are already discernible. Unlike the impact of nuclear weapons, it is unlikely that a single technology or system will emerge to produce Rapid Dominance. It will only be attainable through the broadest integration of strategic concepts, doctrine, operational needs, technological advances, system design, and appropriate organization of command, control, training and education. And only a large, immensely capable country such as the U.S. may be able to achieve this.
Rapid Dominance seeks to integrate this confluence of strategy, technology, and innovation. Four core characteristics were defined earlier as crucial:
- Complete knowledge of self, adversary, and the environment; - Rapidity; - Brilliance of execution; and - Control of the environment.
What follows is illustrative rather than exhaustive of how technology can be used in a broad system approach. Many of these technologies currently are being addressed within the defense community. Analysts, military strategists, acquisition planners, and even "futurists" are wrestling with the meaning and consequences of the Information Age. Our focus on systems and technologies begins with these four characteristics.
Knowledge of Self, Adversary, and Environment
In the modern threat environment, it is difficult to estimate where the next crisis may occur, let alone the next war. Even 5 years ago, who would have foreseen the significant involvement of the U.S. military in places like Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia, and the South China Sea? To which hot spots can we expect to see U.S. troops deployed over the next 5 years? Over the next 20? In this section we argue that, in addition to improving our force capabilities, the U.S. must develop an intelligence repository far more extensive than during the Cold War, covering virtually all the important regions and organizational structures throughout the world.
During the Cold War, intelligence agencies focused more on a bipolar world and built sizable organizations to collect information on "the other side." This same intelligence structure, in the main, is in place today facing a multipolar world, where any number of power structures-whether they be states, international organizations, or even small groups of individuals-must be monitored with an understanding that extends to their leadership, culture, economic direction, and military capability.
As the technologies relevant to knowing the adversary and his environment are examined, an emerging theme is the clear shift from technology developments that once resided within our government to those driven by commercial demands. For example, the information technologies used by U.S. intelligence agencies are of such complexity, importance, and expense that they are referred to as "national assets" and are developed and managed by large, dedicated organizations. Even here, commercial companies are rapidly encroaching on what once seemed to be an unassailable market position in Earth observation systems. One may already purchase synthetic aperture radar interferometry images from any number of sources, and panchromatic visual images with one meter resolution will soon be available over the counter for remarkably little cost. Indeed, the only real barrier to this burgeoning market is the understandable concerns that governments have with allowing such technology to be widely available. In areas such as encryption and data security, commercial developers are more likely to reach limits of government acceptance before those of technological capability.
With untold billions invested in communications systems, even the most modern U.S. military communication systems often compare poorly with commercial systems. While this has long been the case for fielded systems, it is becoming true for even the most sophisticated research and development programs being undertaken by defense organizations.
As a case in point, one may consider a program recently initiated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called Battlefield Awareness and Data Dissemination (BADD). At the heart of this program, large amounts of data are collected within a vast database residing on commercial computers and enterprise management systems. This information is then disseminated to the troops through the commercial Global Broadcast System (GBS) onto "set-top" boxes, an enabling technology that was developed commercially. Even with this leveraging of private industry, there is a real question as to whether DARPA will be able to field a system that would compete well with surprisingly similar commercial systems. Internet channels planned by media industry giants such as BSkyB will offer multi-megabit, interactive, digital data connections to the Net merely as an enticement for subscribers to enroll for their full digital broadcasting service (200 to 300 channels of digital video and sound). Understanding that there is much more to BADD than the little discussed here, one still almost wonders whether DARPA could simply buy a subscription and connect it to an appropriate, commercial, network management system. More to the point, if even well funded and aggressive technology development organizations such as DARPA find it difficult to remain ahead of commercial advancements, there may be a fundamental lesson to be learned regarding the management of defense-related technologies.
Knowledge and Intelligence
"Intelligence" is comprised of five categories of knowledge and understanding: a society's leadership; culture and values; the strategic, political, economic, and physical environment; military capabilities and orders of battle; and comprehensive battlefield information. Examples of technologies and system approaches of potential relevance in these areas are discussed below.
Understanding potential adversaries, coalition partners, and involved neutral countries implies an infrastructure for acquiring an in-depth knowledge about cultures, leadership values, and other driving factors that allow us, when needed and on a timely basis, to get "into their minds." Applicable technologies include automated language translators, interactive and autonomous computer simulations, advanced database systems for organizing and understanding data and transactions of individuals and institutions, and computerized educational systems for training and learning these skills.
Collecting sufficient and timely environmental information is crucial to Rapid Dominance. Logistics, demographics, and infrastructure are broad areas of collection along with geography, road/rail/ship lanes, utility sites and corridors, manufacturing, government sites, military and paramilitary facilities, population demographics, economic and financial pressure points (such as oil wells or gold mines), and major dams and bridges. Technologies used to provide environmental awareness include traditional means such as satellites that can be augmented with dynamic sensor management tools for optimizing observation routines. The vast quantities of data that reside on the world's computer networks, if properly exploited, provide another rich source of information. Data mining tools, such as Web crawlers, gatherers, brokers, and repositories that pull and organize data from public networks, will be essential to building a more complete picture of potential adversaries. Since not all databases and host computers are cooperative with these methods, offensive information warfare tools will be required to obtain specific pieces of information that are vital for national security purposes.
Once data are collected, they must be processed and disseminated and then stored for future access. Enterprise data storage and retrieval systems that are capable of working with many terrabytes (1,000 gigabytes) of information are already commonplace. Since it is impossible for humans to comprehend such vast quantities of information without some assistance, data exploitation tools (filters, fusion, automatic target recognition, image understanding, etc.) will be crucial technologies. Finally, the information, once processed, will be of little use if not disseminated to the right people in a timely fashion. "Intelligent data" dissemination and wide bandwidth communications are examples of essential technologies emerging in this area.
In addition to knowledge about regions and locations where U.S. force may be applied, it is important to maintain vigilance and up-to-date knowledge on specific "hot spots" and to have sufficient flexibility within the system to shift attention rapidly to new areas. Systems addressing this more time-sensitive set of tasks would include light, quickly deployable satellites, high altitude and endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, manned platforms, and unattended ground sensors.
As a crisis unfolds and the insertion of U.S. troops or other military action becomes more probable, information needs and the number of information consumers both increase dramatically. Information that must be collected and correlated include targeting, battle damage assessment (BDA), weather, terrain, infrastructure, tracking of special targets, logistics, position and status of our own troops, identification friend or foe (IFF), and status of material. It is vitally important that sufficient sensor systems work in all weather conditions and at night to maintain the "operations tempo" required by Rapid Dominance.
Battlefield awareness requires three information technologies: collection, fusion, and dissemination of real-time actionable information to a shooter. Rapid Dominance requires an unprecedented level of real-time information collection that will be provided by sensor systems such as space platforms, UAVs, unattended ground sensors, and advanced manned reconnaissance platforms. In addition, the entire infosphere of the adversary will be monitored not only for classic information such as operational commands but also to determine the shock effect being created by Rapid Dominance operations. Collecting data from cooperative sources such as one's own troops, allies, and friendly non-combatants is also critical. While Operation Desert Storm showed the value of self-location sensors such as GPS, the friendly fire casualties demonstrated that there is still work to be done in terms of giving each commander and soldier sufficient information to operate effectively. Much of this information, such as the physiological status of individual combatants, is not currently collected, and much of what is sensed is not properly disseminated.
It would be hard to overstate the importance of information dissemination within Rapid Dominance. Administering Shock and Awe requires a spectrum of attacks that the adversary is unable to fathom, but our own forces must operate effectively, even aggressively, within an environment that could easily lead to serious information bottlenecks and overload. Commercial technologies will be key to the U.S. developing a structure to effectively disseminate information. Already, commercial communications technologies such as global broadcast satellites and protocols like those underlying the Internet have been used as stop gaps by the U.S. military in major deployments.
Merely transmitting the right information at the right time will not be sufficient for operations enabling Rapid Dominance. Information will need to be fused to create knowledge-based displays. The technologies that will be important in this area go beyond the data fusion algorithms currently in place and should leverage heavily off of technologies in fields such as computer image generation, virtual reality, and advanced simulation.
In a technology sense, rapidity includes the speed of operational planning, determining appropriate action, deployment, and employment all focused toward minimizing response time. Three factors combine to make military planning far more difficult today than in the Cold War era. First, there is great uncertainty early on in the location of a conflict, who the adversary may be, and with whom one may be allied. Second, there is normally very little time available for planning, with the military sometimes having only weeks or days before committing troops to an unanticipated mission. Third, vastly more information is available to the planner, which is both a blessing and a curse. Several technologies that partially define Intelligent Dynamic Planning will make it easier for the commander to plan Rapid Dominance:
- Model based planning - Machine intelligence - Dynamic planning based upon feedback and new information - Selectively automated decision aides (commanders associate) - Imbedded rehearsal and training - Brilliance in Execution
It is impossible to institutionalize brilliance. However, the standard can be set. The Dynamic Planning noted above is part of the capability for this characteristic as are the systems and technologies discussed below.
Technologies Critical to Achieving Brilliance in Rapid Dominance
For shock to be administered with minimum collateral damage, key targets of value must be neutralized or destroyed, and the enemy must be made to feel completely helpless and unable to consider a meaningful response. Furthermore, the enemy's confusion must be complete, adding to a general impression of impotence. Most importantly, strategic targets, military forces, leadership and key societal resources must be located, tracked, and targeted. This will require substantial sensor, computational, and communication technologies. Designated targets must be destroyed rapidly and with assurance. Finally, the status and position of friendly forces must be known at all times, and the logistics supporting them must be sufficiently flexible to allow for rapid movement, reconfiguration, and decentralization of location.
Several technologies that can help in this are discussed below, as divided into the following subsections: sensors, computational systems, communications and system integration.
Sensor technologies are grouped into four areas: active, passive, imbedded, and processing.
Active sensors: By far, the most important of the energy-emitting sensors is radar. Among the best all-weather capabilities of any type of sensor, the role for and capabilities of radar have steadily increased since the Second World War. Radar systems are used for early warning, air defense, air asset management, air traffic control, naval fleet defense, detection and tracking of moving ground targets, missile targeting, missile terminal guidance, terrain data development, and weather prediction. For Rapid Dominance, radars and other active sensors must operate with low probability of intercept. Particularly with stealthy systems, this will present a unique challenge to military systems where one may not expect a great amount of "spin-on" from the commercial sector. It is vitally important to be able to sense the enemy under all conditions and environments. Sensors must penetrate foliage and walls and detect threats such as underground and underwater mines.
There are many other important active sensor classes, three of which are active acoustics, lidar and magnetic anomaly detectors. Broadband underwater active acoustics could address pressing needs such as shallow-water anti-submarine warfare and mine detection (both buried and silt covered). The practical application of lidar is a relatively recent development enabled by advances in laser, power management, and data processing technologies. Lidar can be used for fire control, weapon guidance, foliage penetration (vegetation is translucent in the near infrared (NIR) regime), and target imaging/recognition. Lidar detects shape directly and shape fluctuations such as vibration and motion and has proven very hard to spoof. Magnetic anomaly detectors will continue to find application in areas of anti-mine and anti-submarine warfare and in screening for weapons at security checkpoints and elsewhere.
Electronic emissions are of themselves a liability only where they create a signature of use to an enemy. The ability to emit energy, yet in ways that are less discernible, should be an attractive avenue to explore for the future. The coordinated application of many sensor platforms, some of which may be completely passive, in conjunction with emitting sensors is a potentially major area of exploration.
Passive sensors: Among the passive sensor types, the most important for U.S. forces is forward-looking infrared (FLIR). FLIR technology has allowed the U.S. to "own the night," as was handily displayed in Operation Desert Storm. Some of the significant technology advancements underway in this area include multiple wavelength sensors, very large focal planes, and the increasing performance of uncooled sensors. Particularly in the area of uncooled sensors, commercial developments are underway that promise to drastically reduce the cost of competent IR sensors.
Other passive sensor technologies of note include hyperspectral visible/NIR collection and processing and inexpensive, scatterable, unattended ground sensors (acoustic, seismic, "hot spot," etc.). Hyperspectral imaging allows target searches to be conducted in the frequency domain, as opposed to the spatial domain as is the norm today. This provides a powerful new input for automatic target recognition (ATR) systems, is useful for addressing low observables (LO), and is especially important for remote imaging assets.
Unattended ground sensors allow critical areas to be monitored continually. For example, the actual area of operations for Scuds in ODS was relatively small, but it was very difficult for then-current sensing systems to oversee. Technologies being developed in the area of microelectromechanical systems, in particular, hold promise for enabling capable and inexpensive sensor fields.
Imbedded sensors: Monitoring the position and status of Blue and friendly forces and assets is of equal importance in tracking the enemy. GPS presented a tremendous advantage to troops in ODS. This capability needs to be extended down to the individual soldier, and the status of all critical material and personnel needs to be tracked.
Sensor signal processing: Finally, the signals from modern sensors are of limited use without proper processing and presentation to the user. This area will be developed further in the computational technologies section. Technologies that are historically grouped with sensor systems include automatic target recognition, imbedded multisensor fusion and correlation, and displays.
The capabilities of the integrated circuit (IC), and in particular the microprocessor, continue to increase unabated. Certainly, physical limits must be approached at some point, but each looming barrier has so far been met by technological innovation. Nevertheless, should the march of IC improvements slow somewhat, the software and networking technologies that are being developed at an accelerating pace will permit the vision of Rapid Dominance to become of ever increasing utility.
Rapid Dominance requires the collection, management, and fast access of enormous quantities of information. Technologies that will enable this include computational hardware advances such as increasingly powerful workstations, reduced-cost image generators, massively parallel machines, compact displays, reduced-cost memory devices (i.e., DRAM, RAID, and optical jukeboxes) client/server-specific database engines, reconfigurable simulation cells, "wearable" PCs, advanced human-computer interface (HCI) techniques (i.e., voice interfaces and those coming to define "virtual reality"), and PCMCIA technology for peripherals (i.e., digital comms boards, miniaturized hard drives, and modems).
Software advances will be even more critical for Rapid Dominance. Areas of importance include:
- Network data engines - Object-oriented architectures - Advanced modeling and simulation - Machine intelligence - Automatic target recognition - Computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools