[Table of Contents] [Chapter 1]
This is a book about strategy and warfighting in the midst of a revolution in military affairs as the world moves into the twenty-first century. The book is composed of 10 essays which treat topics such as military operations against a NBC-arming sponsor of terrorism and intervention (NASTI) state, military strategy, information warfare, biological warfare, and the revolution in military affairs (RMA). The authors are either professional military officers or civilian professionals who specialize in national security issues. The books purpose is to focus attention on the operational, strategy, and threat challenges that will confront US national security decision- makers as they face some of the battlefield of the future.
In the first essay, Principles of War for the Battlefield of the Future, Dr Barry Schneider examines how traditional principles of war may have to be reassessed in light of a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) among third world states. Regarding the principal of mass, traditional theory dictated that forces be massed for an offensive breakthrough. But the Schneider essay argues that, against an enemy armed with WMD, dispersal of ones forces may, in fact, be more prudent, and fighting by means of disengaged combat prior to a decisive strike may be necessary. This requires high coordination, superior targeting and damage assessment intelligence, combined with superior high-tech weapons.
The US and allied armed forces, in confronting a Saddam Hussein with nukes might be well advised to forego massing forces (which present lucrative targets to the WMD of the enemy) in favor of maneuver, dispersion, speed, mobility, range, and deception. Furthermore, the principle of maintaining the offensive may have to be supplemented with a combination of potent defenses to avoid lethal enemy [WMD] counterstrikes.
In twenty-first century warfare, theater missile defenses (TMD) are likely to be essential, especially against future rogue regimes possessing nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) warheads and ballistic missile delivery systems. These could pose a threat against US and allied forces, ports, airfields, naval convoys, and cities within range that only effective multilayered TMD may be able to handle.
It will be even more important than in the past, when facing a WMD-armed adversary, to preserve unity of command via effective command, control, and communications during a conflict. Moreover, it is highly likely that, in an era of information warfare, both sides will attempt and may be able to disrupt and destroy each others command and control systems.
Regarding the principle of clear, obtainable objectives, Schneiders essay argues that war with a [nuclear armed terrorist state] must either be a short victorious war that starts with the neutralization or destruction of the enemys WMD, or one fought for limited objectives and prosecuted with deep respect for the power of the adversarys mass destruction capabilities. This would require a revolution in the way US regional warfighting commander-in-chiefs prepare for major regional conflicts (MRC). It might be difficult for US decision makers to sell such a strategy to an American public, given our penchant for quick, decisive victories.
Finally, security as a principle of war demands exceptionally good intelligence. In the future, it will be especially important to identify those states acquiring WMD and missile capabilities and to gauge their locations and numbers from the outset of a conflict. This will be difficult because rogue proliferator states greatly complicate accurate intelligence on their path to acquiring WMD by pursuing multiple clandestine paths to such capabilities, using underground secret facilities, camouflage, disinformation, dispersal, cheating on NPT requirements, and purchasing dual use technologies, and other means to disguise their programs and hide their facilities.
The discovery, after the Gulf War, of how far Iraq had progressed in acquiring nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile capabilities was a wake-up call to the world community. In summary, the dangers of confronting an adversary with weapons of mass destruction may prompt a very different thinking about the traditional principles of war and will require some major changes in military doctrine, operational strategy, acquisition, equipment, logistics, C3I, coalition-building and coalition warfare, war termination, and perhaps even in foreign policy regarding the kinds of commitments US capabilities and interests will permit in a more proliferated world.
This volume focuses on some of the challenges that will confront US and allied decisionmakers on some of the battlefields of the future. No claim is made that this book discusses all future threats, technologies, or types of conflict that will occur. Omitted, for example, is a discussion of low-intensity conflicts, international peace operations, and several other possible types of twenty-first century warfare.
Nevertheless, in the chapters that follow, our aim is to provide insights into how WMD in the hands of opponents can change how the US and allied leaders should approach future warfare; the role of ballistic missile defenses; the present outlines of an on-going RMA; the debate over future strategy in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War; information warfare issues; and the challenges presented by developments in biological warfare capabilities.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the US Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.
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