Asymmetric Warfare

Edited by John Andreas Olsen
The Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy

Title: Asymmetric Warfare Publisher: The Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy Editor: John Andreas Olsen ISSN 1502 - 6280

Contents

Introduction Dr. John Andreas Olsen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Prologue Dr. Nils Naastad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

PART I: Perspectives on Air Power Theory Air Power Versus Asymmetric Enemies: A Framework for Evaluating Effectiveness Dr. Mark Clodfelter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 The Evolution of Airpower Theory in the United States: From World War I to Colonel John Warden’s The Air Campaign Colonel Peter Faber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Threatening What the Enemy Values: Punitive Disarmament as a Coercive Strategy Dr. Karl P. Mueller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 Small Nations and Asymmetric Air Power Wing Commander Shaun Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Asymmetric Advantage and Homeland Defence Dr. Alan Stephens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 Modern Competitiveness Theory Colonel (ret.) John A. Warden III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211

PART II: Perspectives on Military Theory Centers of Gravity and Asymmetrical Warfare Colonel (ret.) Richard Szafranski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239 Asymmetric Warfare: Rediscovering the Essence of Strategy Lieutenant Colonel Frans Osigna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267 Asymmetrical Warfare: Ends or Means? Dr. Christopher Coker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319 The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation Mr. William S. Lind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341 Some Thoughts on Warfare in 21st Century Group Captain Ian MacFarling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357 Chechnya: Russia’s Experience of Asymmetrical Warfare Mr. Ivan Safranchuk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371 Another Gathering Darkness: The Pessimist’s Guide to the Future Dr. H. P. Willmott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389

Epilogue: Mr. Øistein Espenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409 Biographical Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 419

Introduction

This book is a function of the search for terms and concepts on military operations in the Post Cold War Era. During the Cold War much of the terminology made sense: one had an understanding of the concept of war, and then there were operations other than wars (OOTW). With the last decade’s civil uprisings, air campaigns and humanitarian operations, the use of armed forces has been diverse, and the need for new terms and concepts are paramount to thinking clearly about current and future threats and responses. Sir Michael Howard, in a presentation delivered at RUSI 30 October 2001, was quite clear that the 11 September attacks on the Twin Towers, resulting in several thousand American casualties, do not qualify for a declaration of “war”: “To ‘declare war’ on terrorists, or even more illiterately, on ‘terrorism’ is at once to accord them a status and dignity that they seek and which they do not deserve. It confers on them a kind of legitimacy”. According to Howard, the use of force is then no longer a last resort, but a first, and the immediate expectations are decisive results. Such actions could furthermore be counter-productive to the qualities that are needed to conquer terrorists: “secrecy, intelligence, political sagacity, quiet ruthlessness, covert actions that remain covert, [and] above all infinite patience”. Thus, it is a “battle for hearts and minds” and a clash of cultures, but war it is not as we understand it in a Clausewitzian sense. There is definitely a span between terrorist acts and conventional military fighting, and within that span one often talks about “asymmetric warfare”. In discussing the notion of asymmetry, the following essays is one attempt to improve our understanding of our military profession, by exploring different perspectives on air power theory specifically, and military theory generally.

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Dr. Mark Clodfelter offers an analytical framework for examining various air power applications, based on five key variables that affect air power’s ability to achieve success: the nature of the enemy, the type of war that the enemy wages, the nature of the combat environment, the magnitude of military controls, and the nature of the political objectives sought. In doing so he also offers an interesting distinction between positive and negative objectives. The former goals are those that can be “achieved only by applying military force”, while the latter goals, in contrast, “can be achieved only by limiting military force”. In the second half of the paper Clodfelter uses the framework to analyse Operation Rolling Thunder, and by going into each of the five key variables he provides an assessment of what went wrong, and thus the limits of air power. He suggests that President Johnson and his advisers misread their enemy, compounding that mistake by misreading the type of war that their enemy fought. Moreover, by going for North Vietnam, rather than Viet Cong proper, the Americans went for the wrong targets. In conclusion Clodfelter argues that “the effectiveness of air power depends on how well it supports the positive goals without risking the achievement of the negative ones”. Although the framework is used to analyse the Vietnam experience, it forms the basis for analysing any application of military force, and importantly, the framework should be used to assess both sides.

Colonel Peter Faber focuses on the quest by American air power thinkers for theories, strategies, and doctrines that they could truly call their own. To support this overall theme, the article first focuses on genealogy. It describes the two dominant “languages” developed by modern military thinkers to analyse and characterise war, while also stressing the distorting effects these approaches later had on the thinking of air power theorists. The theorists, however, did not always articulate their ideas clearly, they changed them over time, or they developed concepts of operations that were not readily distinguishable from each other, or at least only at the margins. To help clarify who said what, the second part of the article provides an analytic tool that not only helps differentiate fourteen 20th century air power theories from each other, but also provides a template for the development of new theories in the future. Lastly, with both a historical context and tool for analysis readily at hand, Faber turns to the

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evolution of American air power theory, largely from 1945 through the appearance of John Warden’s seminal The Air Campaign (1988). Faber provides as such a tale of creation, loss, and recovery. He suggests it is a tale where the predecessors of the USAF struggled mightily to create a unique theory of air warfare – high altitude precision daylight bombardment against the key economic and societal nodes of modern states. It is a tale where “blue suiters” then either lost their theoretical/doctrinal bearings in the Cold War, or, to take a more charitable view, failed to elaborate and refine them further. Ultimately though, it is a tale of recovery. Faber concludes that, beginning in the mid-1980s, American airmen regained control of their long-lost intellectual destiny, and therefore ushered in a renaissance in aerospace thinking that continues to this day.

Dr. Karl P. Mueller suggests that for at least the past eighty years, debates regarding how best to employ air power and other military force for coercion have been dominated by two strategic approaches. One, associated with strategic bombing advocates and coercion theorists from Giulio Douhet to Thomas Schelling to John Warden, is based on punishing civilian populations or their leaders, in order to convince the enemy that defying the coercer’s demands will be prohibitively expensive. The other, favoured by Clausewitz and recently promoted by Robert Pape, emphasises denying the enemy the prospect of victory through attacks on military forces or war industry until the inevitability of defeat convinces the opponent to capitulate. In this essay Mueller explores a third strategic alternative: attacking the armed forces of an adversary based on their value to the enemy regime rather than their contribution to victory in the current confrontation. Mueller suggests that largely as a result of the precision weapons and sensors revolutions, threatening to destroy military assets that the enemy values highly now offers a potentially viable coercive strategy for many situations in which frustrating the enemy’s military strategy is impractical or irrelevant, without turning to attacks on civilian targets that are likely to be formally illegal, politically unacceptable, and ultimately ineffective. However, the author concludes, such “punitive disarmament” strategies are not appropriate in every case, so this chapter examines their strengths and weaknesses in order to identify factors that will make them more or less likely to succeed.

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Wing Commander Shaun Clarke’s paper is about adopting rather than countering asymmetric attack. He suggests that asymmetric warfare has been a feature of “conventional” war throughout history, as it is principally the process of pitting strength against weakness and only in the terrorist application, bereft of legal and moral consideration, is asymmetric warfare an undignified pursuit. In a world of large and medium powers, there is an unavoidable asymmetry about being small. For small nations, asymmetric warfare is a corollary of asymmetric means. The author points out that there is no victory anticipated in a frontal clash with a larger foe, and therefore no choice but to seek alternative strategies in advance. This paper is about the quest for alternative strategies – or asymmetric strategy – for small nation air strike. It recognises the typical “offensive air support” orientation of small nation air power in service of land and sea, and seeks to know whether there is a more powerful application. “Strategic bombing” against the enemy’s very will and capacity for war has remained the exclusive franchise of greater nations, and the question is whether small nations affected by scale – but not suffering any lack of skill, sophistication or agility – might be capable of more directly affecting the strategic objectives over which war is ultimately fought. Clarke asks if strategic bombing is within the reach of small modern nation offensive air power? Or are the demands of mass, tempo and sustainability – so characteristic of last century’s strategic bombing campaigns – disqualifiers for small players? The answer lies in an examination of the small nation perspective on war, an understanding of coercion theory and a review of lessons learned from revolutionary warfare.

Dr. Alan Stephens argues that the nature of homeland defence has changed as a consequence of 11 September. His paper is concerned with future military responses, suggesting that one can no longer endorse a defensive approach, and that one needs to optimise the asymmetric advantage that reside in having the technological edge. A central part of Stephens’s thesis is that the relationship between air power and ground power has changed. During the last three wars – Deliberate Force, Allied Force and Enduring Freedom – the Western coalitions chose not to use conventional ground forces. Not only must the armies therefore reassess the concepts of “mass” and “closing with the enemy”, but the whole notion of “seizing and holding territory”. Although holding ground may

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still be the “primary objective” of many military actions, it is no longer the “primary means” for achieving it, as modern warfare is more concerned with the acceptable political outcome. However, armies do still have a central role in advanced war-fighting according to the author, and in the second half of the paper he discusses air power’s technological edge in the context of “proxy” ground forces, urban warfare, the use of special forces and peace operations. The author concludes, nevertheless, that for the last decade “asymmetric aerospace power has been the key to victory in a succession of theatre-level campaigns which, when measured against the sweep of history, have been extraordinarily quick, decisive, and lowcasualty”.

Colonel (ret.) John A. Warden argues that there are sub-theories for air, ground and naval operations, but on an aggregated level it is all part of a larger competition theory. Drawing from his own operational experience, and particularly the Instant Thunder concept, which became the theoretical foundation for the first phase of Operation Desert Storm, Warden develops a set of imperatives for how to win in the modern world. The first imperative is to “design the future”, which is about assessing the environment in which one is operating, defining the end-state, guidance precepts and measures of merit. The next step is to select the right centres of gravity, “targeting for success”. It is about adding or removing energy to the system one wants to effect, acknowledging the interrelations and workings of that entity. The third step is “campaigning to win”, where one applies the resources available as effectively as possible. The final step deals with the ability to finish a campaign at the right moment, terminating while in the lead or at the top. These four imperatives are the Prometheus Process, which, according to Warden, allows you to succeed in the modern world, be it in the military or the civilian business.

Colonel (ret.) Richard Szafranski defines centres of gravity as “that which we or our adversary can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment”. After reviewing centres of gravity in the context of Tofflers’ three waves of warfare, Szafranski illustrates that the notion has changed, epoch to epoch. The first observation is that only the one dependent on them knows the genuine centres of gravity. It is a secret vulnerability cre-

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INTRODUCTION

ated by intentions, plans, and the changes in time-space-matter configurations. Next, if the centre is badly hurt, it will affect the capacity to retain the initiative and prosecute plans. Thus, an important feature of the centres is the value the owner places in them, and this “value” goes deeper than the “utility” that defines material objects. Consequently, asymmetric operations by nature have an important non-material dimension, wherein one seeks “huge psychological shock” and “rude surprises”. The target is that which the attacker perceives will surprise, unbalance, disorient and leave the target susceptible to a cascading collapse of power structures. Asymmetric operations do not attack utility as much as they attack what the holder values. In sum Szafranski argues that understanding centres of gravity and appreciating the logic of asymmetric operations help prevent the unsatisfactory outcomes that often follow the unpredictable era of great change. One finds centres of gravity by searching, moment by moment, for what adversary values, and in order to develop strategies for victory one must also search for asymmetries therein.

Lieutenant Colonel Frans Osinga argues that the current debate in the West on asymmetric warfare focuses on certain threats, weapons and tactics. The events of 11 September reinvigorated this debate, but also steered it towards a particular view on what asymmetric means with terrorism taking centre stage as an asymmetric threat. The result is that asymmetry means something different to different people, or is dismissed by some as a hollow concept, because asymmetric warfare is essentially as old as warfare itself. In this essay Osinga introduces various interpretations and comments, and attempts to shed light on the debate. His objective is to improve our understanding of asymmetric warfare, rather than formulate a new definition, and in the process he revisits a classic in strategic theory: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The author argues that finding, creating and exploiting asymmetries is the essence of strategy, and that Sun Tzu provides several important insights into the nature of asymmetric warfare – a notable one being that asymmetric warfare requires above all a specific mindset and approach to studying war and making strategy. Osinga stresses that although the debate on asymmetric warfare contains nothing new, it is far from useless. Rather, in view of the strategic mistakes of the past decades, and in view of the fact that several

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countries seem to adhere to Sun Tzu’s mode of thinking, the debate is useful as a re-education on the essence of strategy, because asymmetric warfare was, is and will remain the norm, instead of the exception.

Dr. Christopher Coker argues that the non-Western understanding of the Americans has reached an all time high, while the United States for its part is remarkably ill-informed about the rest of the world – “its ignorance may cost it dear”. He explores the underpinning nature of today’s conflicts by searching for general developments in society, emphasising that although one might be trained to kill, one does not come to grips with the concept of being willing to die for a cause. “Zero tolerance of casualties” is a notion that does not go together with the phenomenon of war, and herein lies the West’s vulnerability which any enemy will take advantage of. Coker suggests that this will only be strengthened in the future, because the next generation does no longer comprehend the sense of tragedy that one found in Greek plays, and “without a sense of the tragic it is difficult to justify casualties”. When one adds the role of the media in today’s conflict, where human suffering is no longer accepted and all intervention must be in the name of “humanitarianism”, the military becomes divided between “worriers” and “humanitarians”, a distinction that manifests the West’s vulnerability and may undermine military effectiveness. Drawing on examples from Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo, Coker suggests the West has a “risk-averse” culture that opens itself to asymmetric threats. He concludes that the “meaning of victory” needs to be reassessed. It is not all about winning, but avoiding defeat. It is about ensuring that one survives, “if necessary to fight another day”.

Mr. Willam S. Lind has developed a framework for how to examine military theory and practice through his four generations of warfare. In this paper, originally published in 1989, he speculated on the fourth generation, which contained many elements of the previous generation of manoeuvre warfare wherein non-linear tactics, mission-orders and the fluid battlefield manifested itself, as opposed to classic attrition style warfare. Lind et al. developed scenarios where the shift was driven by technology on the one hand, and ideas and concepts on the other. The

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authors stressed that the future would witness wars in which nationstates did not necessarily have a monopoly on war and the line between civilian and military would become ever less tangible. Although pointing out that terrorism did not equal fourth generation warfare, Lind speculated that it would be difficult to imagine future conflicts in which terrorism was not a central element. In hindsight it was a glimpse of the future, and in the second half Lind sets out to use the framework of the fourth generation to comment on the recent Afghan War. He argues that the most important aspect in examining the leadership of al-Quaida is that the centres of gravity in the Afghan War do not reside in Afghanistan itself, but in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Drawing on cultural, religious and ideological factors Lind argues that Washington has misperceived the very nature of the terrorism that it sets out to defeat.

Group Captain Ian MacFarling’s dictum is that “War – as in all practical activities – is a matter of communications. If communications break down then conflict – and perhaps war – will ensue. Resolution of any conflict requires that the parties resume contact”. Thus, all communications require words, and this essay discusses terms that relate to our understanding of war. What is the difference between war and warfare? Why should the word war be used with care? Why is the word asymmetric tautological when applied to war? What is a military capability? Should we develop capabilities on the basis of the threats we face, or the vulnerabilities we suffer? How should we send messages to potential opponents and what might happen if they are misinterpreted? If we are in a conflict how should we use the principles of discrimination and proportionality? The practical questions are equally important. What is the implication of using precision as the major criterion for weapon performance when we should be using accuracy? Is it reasonable to believe that we can make weapon delivery exact? Should we use historical examples to determine whether our skills at warfare have improved? The final issues that MacFarling deals with are philosophical. What does a society expect from its armed forces? If the armed forces are the sole arbiters of lethal violence in defence of the state then how should they behave in operations other than war? Air forces have always had a problem in such scenarios, and the issue of cold violence in both war and other forms of conflict is one that causes modern philosophers much concern. How should air forces edu-

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cate their members to cope with the theoretical and practical problems they might face? The author stresses that there is no place for dogma and certainty in war and warfare as one enters the Third Millennium.

Mr. Ivan Safranchuk suggests that the issue of Chechnya is extremely complicated and controversial. With the understanding that different humanitarian aspects of the conflict have already become the subject for close scrutiny, his thesis focuses mostly, if not exclusively, on the Russian military experience in facing a non-traditional, guerrilla style adversary. He argues that this is per definition asymmetrical warfare, and political questions are only covered when inseparable from the military context. According to the author asymmetrical warfare is when you have advantages in equipment and manpower, but the enemy is using tactics and means in an environment that does not provide for the opportunity to exploit the advantages of traditional military forces. Safranchuk provides a comparison of Russian and Chechen forces, defining characteristics of the conflict, identifying major tactics, analysing the means used, and summing up the lessons of the Chechen experience on four levels: the individual, the unit, the army and the regime. The author concludes that “the major problem is that in traditional societies, like the Chechen one, with unclear, but powerful clan divisions, it is not difficult to conclude a peace accord with selected clans, but it is really a challenge to make this accord comprehensive and extend it to the majority of rebels”.

Dr. H. P. Willmott provides a discourse on the 20th century, arguing that although the two world wars define the landscape, the critical moment may well have been 28 October 1929. Indeed, he suggests that the Second World War was perhaps the last war of the 19th century. Willmott’s thesis is that warfare is but one integrated part of society, and in order to get the former in proper perspective one needs to comprehend such developments as the Green Revolution, the medical revolution, the population explosion, racial hate, illiteracy, tribalism, the impact of ecological degradation and what he argues is the less notable aspects of the Information Revolution, “namely the erosion of the basis of consensus as it has evolved over time”. Willmott argues that while high technology identifies modern states military doctrine, Third World

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INTRODUCTION

countries will seek an asymmetric approach of guerrilla warfare. Added to this dimension there are the infamous genetic weapons which form an important part of the biotech revolution – the very consequence of suboptimised knowledge on the one hand, but on the other hand the Information Revolution seems to have “eroded the common base of societies as developed over the past decades”. Thus, in order to understand warfare, the author suggests that one develops an understanding for several general and specific developments throughout the century that may or may on coagulate, and consequently armed conflict is determined by a range of non-military factors that at first sight seem unrelated.

Prologue: Some Introductory Remarks

Dr. Nils Naastad (RNoAF Academy) Asymmetric warfare is a theme shrouded in some mystery. It is also a theme very much in vougue these days. One might even argue that it is on the way of replacing the prominent position held by the concept of manouever warfare during the last decade by the Norwegian military establishment. One might get the idea that changing from the creed of manouever warfare directly to asymmetrical war will require a mental flexibility that we are not likely to find in many military minds. But I say on to you – do not fear. Asymmetry is not as bad as it sounds. Most of you corageously confronted this day by studying yourself in the bathroom mirror. Whether you liked what you saw or deplored it, is no concern for us. My point is that the countenance you studied was asymmetrical. It is a fact of life that most people are not symmetrical neither above nor below the collar. Human asymmetry is a normal fact of life. Symmetry and Fighting But les us now change our focus and go on to symmetry and war, or at least symmetry and fighting. The perfect symmetry as far as fighting is concerned is the classical Western duel. People met each other on equal terms. To make sure that symmetry was maintained the duel developed into the European duel with seconds. The assisting gentlemen were there in order to make sure that the rules were agreed upon and respected. These days, duels are a thing of the past. Instead we have games, such as tennis, and to make sure that symmetry is maintained we have referees or umpires. Games have developed further, some will say degenerated, into soccer matches as we find them today, but still symmetry is main-

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tained. It is maintained by a common acceptance of the rules and by the help of referees for those who try to break the rules. It is my basic assumption that most games are possible precisely because they are symmetrical. Furhermore, to keep games symmetrical, rules are absolutely neccessary. If we had no rules, symmetry would break down. Games are not only defined by a set of rules, they are also defined by a time limit. If a clear outcome is not reached by a certain time, the game might end in a draw. If we had no referees I submit that rules would break down. The stronger might resort to force, the weaker might bring a tool to help him etc. Symmetry would break down because rules were not upheld. The game could turn nasty, and it would most likely become asymmetrical. Let me conclude: Games will stay symmetrical because they are governed by a set of rules. Games are by nature symmetrical. There are of course borderline cases. Some of you may remember when an American, Bill Koch, started skating when skiing, or when a Swede started a new trend in skijumping. They did not break the rules, they only bent them. The almost unanimous Norwegian reaction merits consideration: We were against these changes. We wanted rules against this sort of creativity. New ideas will not come from masters of the old trade. Can We Compare Games and War? In war there are also rules to obey. There are things you can do and there are things you cannot do. The problem is that if the underdog finds that rules are not to his advantage, that the rules favours his opponent, he is likely to break them. There is no umpire who can tell him to leave the field. The final arbiter is the result itself – if you break rules and win, you have created new rules. If you win you will most likely get away with it. Because of this, and in parallell with what we said about games, war has an inherent tendency to produce new rules. In other words, war has an inherent tendency to become asymmetrical. Also, and in contrast to games, there is no time limit to wars. Time therefore becomes a commodity in itself. Rules therefore tend to be broken in this respect too. One of the parts might want to go on fighting while the

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other wants to go home. Again, the one who stays the longest in the field will carry the day. What does this amount to? It amounts to a conclusion that wars are not governed by generally accepted rules. Wars are therefore by nature asymmetrical. If the underdog fights symmetrically, he does so due to lack of opitons or lack of creativity. Wars are therefore not deadly games. We ought to consider this: Military organisations are governed by a set of rather rigid operating principles; there are doctrines and the like. Wars however, obeying no rules, are the business of the creative mind. I am not entirely convinced that our daily bureaucratic business, our operating principles, encourages creativity. Examples Let me round this introduction off by a couple of examples. The mother of all wars, the First World War, or the Great War as the British will have it, was at least on the Western Front, symmetrical. It was fought to a standstill on the midfield. It ended because the Germans wanted to go home. Time became the central commodity. Out of W.W.I came Air Power. First a creation of the imagination, but then, over the years, as a reality. What was Air Power going to achieve? What was it, the prophets argued, that was going to be its main contribution? Air Power would lift war out of the trenches. It would lift war away from the symmetrical battlefield and onto segments of the enemy population who did not fight back. In other words: Air Power promised to make war asymmetrical. The Western Front symmetry resulted in a four year deadlock. Air Power promised to see to it that this did not happen again, by making a new set of rules. What about the legal rules? According to Giulio Douhet It is useless to delude ourselves. All the restrictions, all the international agreements made during peacetime are fated to be swept away like dried leaves on the winds of war... In other words, break international law if you by so doing will be able to win. Those who had the privilige of experiencing this new Western way of warfare were the inhabitants of Iraq in the early 1920s, as well

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obstreperous tribes in several areas of Africa. ”The natives and their cattle were bombed and machinegunned with good effect”, according to the RAF. Over the last decade the West has fought several wars, and fought them mainly by air power. We could of course have met our opponent on equal terms. We optet not to, and we all know why. Meeting him on his terms would not be to our advantage. Highly sophisticated air power enables us to fight asymmetrical wars. On this field air power has kept its promise: Air Power came of day promising to make wars asymmetrical. In this respect, at least with regard to the poorer part of the world, we have succeeded. Our kind of asymmetry is technological asymmetry. Our Asymmetry is the asymmetry money can buy. One of the reasons for this Western preference is the fact that we through our technology can fight clinically with next to no losses, and as you all know we have a distinct distase for losses these days. Our opponents are well aware of this. They will therefore seek other kinds of asymmetry. If our Achilles’ heel is our distaste for losses, we should know what to expect, and to achieve the asymmetry of the underdog, our opponents will break the rules. The attackers of September 11th had overlooked one lesson though – there is hardly any evidence that bombing the civilian population of a nation will weaken the national resolve. There is, however, ample evidence of the opposite. Ladies and gentlemen, Wars have been, are and will remain asymmetric. The Western way of asymmetry is the kind that technology and money can buy. We should not however, expect to be allowed to define what kind of asymmetry that will be practiced. Summary Let me summarise this introduction in a few sentences: • • Symmetrical violence is a duel You fight symmetrically because it is your only option (or because you are stupid)

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• • •

War is an inherently asymmetrical business Air power came into being to restore asymmetry to war. It has succeeded. Our opponents are not likely to fight symmetrically on our technologicial home field.

With this I leave this book to asymmetrical people to share their thoughts with us on an inherently sad and asymmetrical business, namely war.

Part I Perspectives on Air Power Theory

Air Power Versus Asymmetric Enemies: A Framework for Evaluating Effectiveness

Dr. Mark Clodfelter “Asymmetric” is the current buzzword to describe a type of warfare that has been with us much longer than the newfangled term.1 A weaker power’s use of an unanticipated means to strike at a stronger enemy’s vulnerability hearkens to the epic combat between David and Goliath, and similar examples abound throughout military history. Any type of military force can be applied asymmetrically, including air power, as Al Qaeda’s terrorists demonstrated in devastating fashion on 11 September 2001. Yet how might air power best be used against an asymmetric foe? The answer is not so different from the response to the fundamental question regarding any application of air power against any enemy – how can it be used as an effective instrument of war? Gauging air power’s effectiveness is often a difficult task. To help in that regard, the following framework may prove useful – though, like all true frameworks–this one does not provide a set of standard answers. Instead, what it offers is a consistent approach for examining various air power applications. Clausewitzian notions lurk in many of the questions that it presents, as well as in the basic belief that its questions should be asked before political leaders decide to use air power to help achieve their war aims. One caveat must be stated up front, however. What follows is a framework, not a theory. A theory provides “a codified, systematic body of propositions, related to a particular field of knowledge,” that defines, categorizes, explains, and connects.2 In contrast, the framework presents relationships rather than “systematic propositions,” and those relationships are definitely not codified. A theory also tends to anticipate – or predict – the future, while the framework offers no universal guide for success or failure. Yet it does provide considerations and cautions for the

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statesman who may decide to use air power to achieve political goals, as well as for the military commander charged with transforming political goals into military objectives. Given that conditions in war are never constant, the framework examines five key variables that affect air power’s ability to achieve success: the nature of the enemy, the type of war that the enemy wages, the nature of the combat environment, the magnitude of military controls, and the nature of the political objectives sought. The individual importance of these variables will likely change in different situations to yield different results. Thus, it is essential for those who would employ air power to understand exactly what the variables are, and how they might blend together to produce a particular outcome. America’s air war in Vietnam during the “Rolling Thunder” era of the conflict provides one example of how the variables can combine with tragic effects to undermine the various applications of air power against an asymmetric enemy. That episode, perhaps better than any other, demonstrates that flawed assumptions and a failure to consider each variable fully can doom any chance for air power success. Hopefully, the framework will provide a method for analyzing air power applications that allows for a thorough dissection of the variables and how their integration may affect air power’s ability to achieve the ultimate measure of success – the accomplishment of the desired political goals. Before delving into the framework’s particulars, a definition of the elusive term, “air power,” seems in order. The American Billy Mitchell specified it as “the ability to do something in the air,”3 but that description is really too vague to be useful. Much better is the definition offered by British Air Marshal R.J. Armitage and Air Vice Marshal R.A. Mason in their classic work, Air Power in the Nuclear Age: “The ability to project military force through a platform in the third dimension above the surface of the earth.”4 Although Armitage and Mason admit that their definition contains gray areas, such as whether it includes ballistic missiles or surfaceto-air weapons, it suffices to guide the proffered framework. Indeed, their definition recognizes qualities of air power “that are sometimes overlooked” – its latent impact, and its ability to apply force directly or to distribute it.5 These characteristics form the basic distinctions used in the framework to categorize air power missions.

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Air power’s modes of application – the ways in which it can be used – are key components of the framework. First, air power poised for use but not actually engaged in an operation is a latent application – a potential impact – that corresponds to its deterrent value. In this case, air power is not directly involved in a contingency; its use is threatened. Examples of the latent application abound: Adolf Hitler’s references to the Luftwaffe during the 1936 reoccupation of the Rhineland or the 1938 Munich crisis; President Harry Truman’s deployment of B-29s to England during the 1948 Berlin Airlift; President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning of an atomic air attack against North Korea and Manchuria during the closing stages of the Korean War; and President John Kennedy’s reliance on Strategic Air Command’s B-52s and missile force during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis are but a few instances. While the framework acknowledges such latent applications, its heart is really the actual use of air power during a contingency. In a crisis, the application of air power is twofold, based upon the purpose of the mission: it is either direct or indirect, and it is either auxiliary or independent. The direct application of air power is the intended lethal application – that designed to expend ordnance. Applications that involve dropping bombs, shooting missiles, or firing guns fall into the direct category of employment. Conversely, the indirect application is the intended nonlethal use of air power. Airlift, reconnaissance, electronic jamming, and aerial refueling provide examples of the indirect application. Besides being direct or indirect, the use of air power is also either auxiliary or independent. Auxiliary air power is that applied to support ground or sea forces on a specific battlefield, whereas independent air power aims to achieve objectives apart from those sought by armies or navies at a specific location. Close air support (CAS) is one example of the auxiliary use; so too is an air attack against enemy forces on the battlefield who are not in contact with friendly troops.6 So-called “strategic” bombing – that aimed at an enemy’s war-making potential before it can be brought to bear on the battlefield–exemplifies the independent application. Yet the terms strategic and tactical often overlap and frequently blur. Many air attacks during the last half-century’s limited wars have not only affected the ebb and flow of a particular campaign, but also have had significant “strategic” consequences. For instance, the American air strikes on Iraqi

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mobile Scud launchers during the 1991 Persian Gulf War aimed to wreck Iraq’s tactical capability to launch ballistic missiles, as well as to achieve the strategic goal of placating the Israelis and keeping them out of the conflict. Because of such blurred distinctions, the terms auxiliary and independent seem better suited than tactical and strategic to delineate various air power applications. The former terms, however, are not completely pristine themselves, because their distinction depends on how the user defines the word, “battlefield.” In modern war, a specific battlefield may extend for many hundreds of miles; in an insurgent conflict like Vietnam, the battlefield may be even larger. General William Westmoreland, the Commander of US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam from 1964–1968, described the battlefield in his conflict as “the whole country of South Vietnam.”7 While such a parameter may seem extreme, it illustrates that the definition of the battlefield depends to a large extent on the type of war being fought.8 In a “conventional” conflict fought to seize or preserve territory, a battlefield’s boundaries are likely to be much more distinct than those for a guerrilla war, especially one like Vietnam in which insurgent forces fought very infrequently. Using the framework’s terminology, each application of air power will have two designations: direct or indirect, and auxiliary or independent. For example, the American bombing of Schweinfurt’s ball-bearing factories during World War II was a direct/independent application; the 1948–1949 Berlin airlift was an indirect/independent application; the B-52 strikes around Khe Sanh during the 1968 siege in Vietnam were a direct/auxiliary application; and the C-130 airlift of supplies into the beleaguered Marine base was an indirect/auxiliary application. The dual designators describe the purpose of individual air power missions more clearly than the amorphous terms tactical and strategic. In addition, the framework’s focus on mission intent highlights air power’s inherent flexibility by showing that one type of aircraft – whether designated bomber, fighter, airlift, etc. – can participate in multiple types of application. Yet what about the air superiority mission? Where does that fit in the framework? The air control mission is either auxiliary or independent, depending on the use that will then be made of the airspace. For instance,

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obtaining air superiority over Kuwait to enable allied ground forces to attack Iraqi troops would be a direct/auxiliary application. Achieving air superiority over Baghdad to enable aircraft to strike the city’s key communication and electric power facilities would be a direct/independent application. On occasion, gaining air superiority can be both an auxiliary and an independent application. The achievement of daylight air superiority over the European continent as a result of the “Big Week” operations in February 1944 is one such example – the air control guaranteed that American bomber operations would continue against German industry, and it also provided the prerequisite protection for the Normandy invasion. Some might contend that air superiority should be a separate category in the framework, much the way that “counterair” is a distinctive “air and space power function” in the current edition of the Air Force’s basic doctrine manual.9 The framework does not list air superiority separately because air superiority is not an end in itself. Air control – which employs both direct and indirect methods – allows the direct, indirect, auxiliary, and independent applications to occur. In much the same fashion, the categorization of such indirect applications as aerial refueling, airlift, and reconnaissance depends on the type of mission that they facilitate. For example, refueling fighters that will provide close air support for ground forces would be an indirect/auxiliary application. Airlifting smart bombs for F-117 operations against Belgrade targets during Operation Allied Force would be an indirect/independent application. Obtaining reconnaissance photographs of Iraqi frontline positions in Kuwait would be an indirect/auxiliary application. Yet achieving air superiority that facilitates a cross-channel invasion, or securing reconnaissance photographs that lead to a breakthrough of Iraqi defenses, does not necessarily indicate a successful application of air power. There is only one true way to evaluate air power success, regardless of whether the application was direct, indirect, auxiliary, or independent. That criterion is the ultimate bottom line – how well did the application contribute to achieving the desired political objective? Did it, in fact, help to win the war? Answering that question first requires a determination of what is meant by “winning.” The war aims must be defined, and the application of air power must be linked to accomplishing those objectives.

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The following diagram may help illustrate the relationships:
WAR AIMS

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GRAND STRATEGY

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MILITARY STRATEGY

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MILITARY OBJECTIVES INDEP/AUX AIR OPS INDEPENDENT/AUX GROUND OPS INDEP/AUX SEA OPS

War aims are the political goals of a nation or organization at war, and can range from limited to total. Grand strategy blends diplomatic, economic, military, and informational instruments together in a concerted effort to achieve those war aims. Meanwhile, military strategy combines various components of military force to gain military objectives that should, in turn, help to achieve the political goals. Achieving the military objectives may require a mixture of ground, sea, or air operations, and the forces performing those operations may act in either independent or auxiliary fashion. These definitions and connections are relatively straightforward. These linkages are not, however, the only ones that determine whether military force – and air power in particular – will be effective in achieving the desired war aims. Besides being either limited or total, war aims are also positive or negative.10 Positive goals are those that can be achieved only by applying military force, while negative goals, in contrast, can be achieved only by limiting military force. For example, for the United States, the unconditional surrender of Germany in World War II was a positive political goal – one that required the destruction of Germany’s armed forces, government, and the National Socialist way of life – and the application of military force was essential to achieve it. Few negative objectives limited America’s use of the military instrument. By comparison, in Kosovo the United States had the positive objective of removing Serb forces from the province. Yet, at the same time, America had the negative objective of preserving the NATO alliance, and that goal restrained the

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amount of force that the United States could apply. A similar example comes from the 1991 Persian Gulf War, although there the American aim of preserving the alliance was both a positive and negative goal – President George H. Bush had to commit American military force against Iraqi Scuds to keep the Israelis out of the war, yet if he applied too much force in the air campaign he risked dissolving the coalition. While some critics might equate the notion of negative objectives to constraints, to do so would be a mistake, for negative objectives are more significant than that, and in fact are equal in importance to positive goals. Failure to secure either the positive or the negative goals results in defeat, and both must be obtained to achieve victory. The United States could not have achieved success during the 1991 Gulf War or in Kosovo in 1999 had the coalitions that backed those enterprises collapsed. A key problem in achieving positive and negative goals, of course, is that they are contradictory – what helps to achieve a positive objective works against achieving a negative one. In a limited war, negative objectives will always exist, and the more limited the war, the greater the number of negative objectives. As President Lyndon Johnson tragically found out in Vietnam, his negative objectives eclipsed his positive goals. Once that occurred, he lost the ability to achieve success with any military force, especially air power. How do positive and negative objectives affect the application of air power? The absence of negative goals encourages the design of an air campaign with few restrictions, such as World War II’s Combined Bomber Offensive against Germany, or the assault by Twentieth Air Force against Japan. A preponderance of negative goals, on the other hand, limits the application of air power. Negative objectives have restrained American air campaigns in every major conflict that the United States has fought since World War II – Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, and most recently, Afghanistan. The restrictions typically appear in the form of rules of engagement, “directives issued by competent military authority which delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered.”11 The impetus for these directives comes from political leaders and their negative goals.

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The greater the number of negative objectives – and the greater the significance attached to them by political leaders – the more difficult it becomes for air power to achieve success in obtaining the positive goals. This assessment is especially true regarding the direct, independent application of air power. If the negative objectives outweigh the positive goals, they are likely to curtail – or perhaps prohibit – air power’s ability to strike at the heart of an enemy state or organization. Yet before a user of the framework points to this statement as a basic truth, he or she should realize that the measuring of positive versus negative objectives is an inherently subjective activity. Positive and negative goals are typically not quantifiable, and even when they are, comparing numerical results is likely to equate to comparing apples and orange juice. Moreover, positive and negative objectives may be stated explicitly or only implied, which further muddies the water in terms of evaluating results. Spelling out the objectives is no guarantee of clarity, however, and the lack of clearly defined goals makes gauging their achievement particularly difficult. For instance, in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the stated American positive goals of “immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait” and “restoration of Kuwait’s legitimate government” were straightforward, and success in achieving them was easy to determine. In contrast, determining success in obtaining the stated positive objective of “security and stability of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf ” was anything but straightforward during the conflict, and its evaluation has remained uncertain in the aftermath of the war.12 In the case of the Persian Gulf War, the negative objectives of preserving the coalition, and maintaining American and world public support, did not prevent air power from helping to remove Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Likewise, the various applications of air power in the Gulf War did not stop President George H. Bush from achieving his negative goals, though the direct, independent application that hit the Al Firdos bunker in Baghdad, and direct, auxiliary applications that produced friendly fire deaths in Kuwait, made achieving the negative objectives more difficult. Ultimately, that is how air power effectiveness must be measured – in terms of how well it supported the positive goals without jeopardizing the achievement of the negative objectives.

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In determining when air power is most likely to help achieve the positive goals, five main variables come into play.13 These variables are complex factors that cannot be easily dissected, nor can one variable be considered in isolation from the others because their effects are often complementary. Each variable has a series of questions associated with it, and the questions listed are not all-inclusive – others will certainly come to mind. Answering the questions differently for one variable may cause the other variables to assume a greater or lesser importance. No formula determines which of the variables may be the most important in any particular situation, or how their combined effect may contribute to – or hinder – the achievement of the positive goals sought. Yet if all of the five variables argue against a particular application of air power, that application is unlikely to be beneficial. As the Vietnam example shows, the assumptions made in answering the questions for each variable are of critical importance. If those assumptions are flawed, the assessment of the variables is likely to be flawed as well. The first of the five variables is the nature of the enemy. What military capabilities does the enemy possess? What is the nature of its military establishment – a conscript force, a volunteer military, or a blend? Is the enemy population unified – socially, ethnically, and ideologically? Where is the bulk of the populace located? Is the populace primarily urban or agrarian? What type of government, or central leadership apparatus, does the enemy have? What about the individuals who lead it – are they strong or weak, supported by the populace or despised, or is the populace ambivalent? What is their relationship with the military and its commanders? How resolute is the political leadership? The military? The populace? How does the enemy state or organization make its money? Is it self-sufficient in any area? How important is trade? What allies does the enemy have, and how much support do they provide? If facing more than one enemy, these questions should be asked about each, plus a determination should be made as to which enemy poses the greatest threat. Besides the nature of the enemy, the type of war that the enemy fights is a key variable that affects air power’s ability to achieve a positive political objective. Is the conflict a conventional war to seize or hold territory? Is it an unconventional guerrilla struggle? An insurgency supported by a

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third party? Is the conflict a war of movement, or a stagnant fight from fixed positions? How often does the fighting occur? In general, the direct application of air power, whether applied independently or as an auxiliary function, works best against an enemy waging a fast-paced, conventional war of movement. The Korean War offers one such example, when the combination of independent and auxiliary attacks during the “dynamic” first year of the war had a telling effect on the North Korean and Chinese ability to fight. During the final two years of the conflict, when the North Koreans and Chinese fought sluggishly in a confined area along the 38th parallel, the direct application of air power made little headway in achieving President Truman’s goal of a negotiated settlement that preserved a non-communist South Korea. The third variable is the nature of the environment. What are the climate, weather, terrain, and vegetation in the hostile area? How might they affect applications of air power? Are adequate bases available? What are the distances involved in applying air power, and can those distances be overcome? What type of support is required? The fourth variable is the magnitude of military controls – constraints placed on air power applications by military, rather than political leaders. Ideally, no military controls exist, but that may or may not be the case, and military controls can stem from many sources. Is there unity of command? What are the administrative arrangements for controlling air power, and do those arrangements conflict with operational control? Is the doctrine guiding the various applications of air power adaptable to different circumstances? What are the personal beliefs of commanders regarding how best to apply air power? Personal convictions can play a significant role in limiting air power applications, as evidenced in the Korean War. There, United Nations Commander and Army General Matthew Ridgway prohibited the bombing of North Korean hydroelectric plants, even though he had the authority to conduct the raids and had been encouraged to do so by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ridgway believed that such attacks might expand the scope of the war, while his successor, General Mark Clark, had no such misgivings.14 One month after Clark took command, Air Force and Navy aircraft attacked the facilities.

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The final variable is often the most important: the nature of the political objectives sought. Are the positive goals truly achievable through the application of military force? Is the application of air power necessary to obtain the positive objectives? How committed is the leadership applying air power to achieving the positive goals? How committed is its populace? Can the positive goals be obtained without preventing the achievement of the negative objectives? How do the negative objectives limit air power’s ability to help achieve the positive goals? The direct, independent application of air power seems to work best for a belligerent with no negative objectives – provided a suitable type of enemy wages a suitable type of war in a suitable type of environment free of significant military restrictions. For the United States in World War II, the suitable conditions were present. Few negative objectives or military controls limited the application of military force. Americans had a decent understanding of both enemies, the Germans and the Japanese, who fought as expected in environments that ultimately proved conducive to the direct, independent application of air power. However, since World War II, negative objectives have played prominent roles in guiding American war efforts, and for the United States in the foreseeable future, the prospect of a war without them is remote indeed. America has also had difficulty understanding many of the enemies it has faced in its wars after 1945. Those enemies have not always fought as expected, and the environments have not always been hospitable to air power. Such asymmetric foes have had notable success in confounding American air power applications, perhaps none more telling than during the war in Vietnam. That conflict provides a relevant example for examining how the framework’s variables can affect air power’s ability to help achieve political goals against an asymmetric opponent. Lyndon Johnson’s war provided a strong mix of positive and negative objectives, and a tenacious enemy fought across a forbidding landscape in a manner that defied expectations. Military controls further disrupted the American war effort. The Vietnam analysis may provide useful insights for applying air power against similarly motivated enemies who both think and fight asymmetrically – though the way in which the variables combine to affect air power success in one conflict will never conform exactly to the way that they blend in another.

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In his war in Southeast Asia, Johnson sought the positive political goal of an “independent, stable, non-communist South Vietnam.” Whether such a goal could actually be achieved through military means – much less air power – was problematic, but the President and his advisors nevertheless set out to do so. Several negative objectives limited Johnson’s ability to pursue his positive goal. First, he aimed to avoid active Chinese or Soviet involvement in the conflict, which he thought might lead to a greatly expanded war and possibly World War III.15 Second, the President wanted to maintain a positive image of the United States on the world stage, and he could not allow a portrayal of his country as brutal Goliath wreaking havoc against a hapless North Vietnamese “David.” Finally, Johnson wanted to keep the American public’s focus on his Great Society programs for domestic social reform, not on a war 8,000 miles away in a strange land. Throughout his presidency, Johnson remained torn between the competing positive and negative goals, and he refused to yield on any of them until it was too late. “I knew from the start that I was bound to be crucified either way I moved,” he reflected in 1970. If I left the woman I really loved – the Great Society – in order to get involved in that bitch of a war on the other side of the world, then I would lose everything at home. All my programs…. Yet everything I knew about history told me that if I got out of Vietnam and let Ho Chi Minh run through the streets of Saigon, then I’d be doing exactly what Chamberlain did in World War II. I’d be giving a big fat reward to aggression.16 In the end, Johnson failed to achieve his positive goal and most of the negative ones, with the exception of keeping the Soviets and Chinese from active intervention. The preponderance of negative goals emaciated the application of direct, independent air power against targets in North Vietnam, and assured that the effort had a minimal effect on achieving a stable, independent, non-communist South. Johnson’s negative objectives dictated the targeting process that was at the heart of Operation Rolling Thunder, the direct, independent application of air power against North Vietnam that began in March 1965

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and lasted for three and a half years. Because of his fears that American military chiefs might design a campaign that prevented him from achieving his negative goals, Johnson severely limited their inputs to the air war over the North. Army General Earle Wheeler, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, could submit targeting proposals to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, but Wheeler could not – until October 1967 – participate in the actual target selection process, which typically occurred on Tuesday afternoons in the White House following lunch.17 A small number of Johnson’s key advisors, including McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy (until his replacement by Walt Rostow), and White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers were regulars; Johnson would occasionally allow trusted friends such as Clark Clifford to participate as well. The advisors had no requirement to endorse the proposals that McNamara brought with him from Wheeler, and they often made other choices. President Johnson usually approved targets for attack in only two-week increments, with a specified number of sorties designed to achieve an 80 percent rate of destruction. Until accomplishing that amount of damage, aircrews repeatedly attacked the same targets during the two-week period. The President then removed the targets from “approved” list, with no guarantee that he would add them back later. Any sorties that remained to be flown were lost.18 Johnson’s approach guaranteed that negative objectives would dominate Rolling Thunder. His targeting process, combined with rules of engagement that restricted attacks inside Hanoi and Haiphong, against MiG airfields, and along the Chinese border, severely limited any chance of conducting a campaign against enemy systems such as transportation, oil, or electric power. Without a systematic approach, Rolling Thunder evolved into a haphazard series of fits and starts without any true focus, other than its emphasis on attacking targets in North Vietnamese territory. To the President and his advisors, North Vietnam was the main enemy responsible for the war in the South. While they realized that the Viet Cong guerrillas were indigenous to South Vietnam, and formed the vast bulk of the enemy forces there, Johnson and his advisors believed that the Viet Cong were incapable of fighting without the support and direction of Ho Chi Minh’s North. This notion became Rolling Thunder’s funda-

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mental premise. Johnson and his advisors deemed the hardware and supplies that Ho gleaned from China and the Soviet Union, and in turn transferred down his namesake trail along with North Vietnamese troops, essential to the Viet Cong war effort. The President and his advisors also believed that leadership cadres from the North were the key components of Viet Cong resistance. They viewed Northern tenacity as the spark that kept the insurgency going, yet neither the President nor his advisors thought that Northern will could prevail against American resolve and resources. In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis – in which the latent application of American air power had made America’s mightiest enemy back down – Johnson and his principals could not imagine that “a raggedy-ass little fourth-rate country” like North Vietnam could win.19 As a result, they discounted the depth of North Vietnamese commitment to a unified Vietnam. Secretary of State Rusk later recalled: “I thought that the North Vietnamese would reach a point, like the Chinese and North Koreans in Korea, and Stalin during the Berlin airlift, when they would finally give in.”20 American leaders also misjudged the tenacity of the Viet Cong, and the Viet Cong, not the North Vietnamese, were the primary enemy. At the end of July 1965, only 7500 NVA troops served in South Vietnam,21 and that total had risen to just 55,000 out of a 300,000-man enemy force on the eve of the January 1968 Tet Offensive.22 American political and military leaders focused on the NVA, as well as on Hanoi’s ability and desire to perpetuate the war, although the 245,000 Viet Cong were the essence of the enemy war effort. Most of those troops fought not because of their ardor for Ho Chi Minh’s brand of communism, but because of the despicable, corrupt nature of the Saigon government. South Vietnamese leaders had made stealing land an art form and were completely out of touch with the peasantry who comprised their country. Even the religious backgrounds were incongruent – the Southern leaders were Catholics in a land that was overwhelmingly Buddhist. “I would have been able to accept almost any regime that could achieve real independence and had the welfare of the people at heart,” lamented Truong Nhu Tang, a member of the Southern aristocracy who recanted his privileged position to become Viet Cong Minister of Justice. “The Southern revolution was generated of itself, out of the emotions, conscience, and aspirations of the Southern people.”23

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Johnson and his advisors misread their enemy, and they compounded their mistake by misreading the type of war that their enemy fought. Despite frequently stating that the communist army conducted guerrilla warfare, American civilian and military leaders assumed that the destruction of resources necessary for conventional conflict would weaken the enemy’s capability and will to fight unconventionally. It did not, because the supplies were not essential to the asymmetric manner in which the Viet Cong – and their North Vietnamese allies – waged war. The number of North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam never eclipsed the number of Viet Cong during the Johnson presidency, and the Viet Cong usually fought autonomously. During the years 1967–1968, a time of “peak” combat activity relative to other periods in the war, the communist army actually fought very little. Only one percent of American combat patrols that sought the enemy on “search and destroy” missions during that two-year span made contact. When South Vietnamese combat patrols are added to that total, the number drops to one-tenth of one percent!24 Simply put, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese avoided fighting unless they had a distinct advantage. Together, they fought an average of one day out of 30 – a single day out of each month. This combat infrequency produced supply needs of only 34 tons a day from sources outside of South Vietnam – a total that could be carried by just seven two-and-a-half ton trucks.25 Against an enemy that fought so differently from American expectations, the direct, independent application of air power against North Vietnamese transportation lines was a wasted effort. So too, in many respects, was the direct, auxiliary application of air power in South Vietnam. While the preponderance of aerial firepower could, on occasion, provide salvation for a beleaguered American ground force pinned down by enemy fire, half of all ground battles occurred in less than 20 minutes, which was too short a span to call upon air power for assistance.26 Moreover, the direct, auxiliary application of air power – whether by a fixed-wing, high-speed fighter, or by an Army or Marine helicopter – was not always the most discriminate application of military force in the often-confused environment of guerrilla war. Accordingly, a favorite Viet Cong tactic was to shoot at an American patrol with one or two snipers in a hamlet, and hope that the Americans would respond with large doses of firepower that would kill or injure many innocent villagers. In a war for the “hearts and minds” of the populace, such episodes

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of high-tech retribution were excellent recruiting techniques for a tenacious enemy that was ready to sacrifice members of its own force as well as innocents to further the perceived righteous cause. Besides a failure to understand the enemy and his conduct of the war, a lack of appreciation for the environment limited air power’s ability to achieve President Johnson’s positive political goal. Triple-canopy jungle, constant heat and humidity, and unforgiving monsoons combined to undercut air power effectiveness regardless of the type of application. Monsoon weather in particular limited Rolling Thunder’s direct, independent application of air power. President Johnson’s targeting procedure allowed air commanders only two weeks to destroy most targets in North Vietnam. Because of that restriction, many air commanders felt compelled to attack the targets throughout the two-week span. Some of those strikes occurred in marginal weather, which significantly limited their probability of success. “Obviously, if you do not fly [the allocated sorties], you can make a case that you did not really need them anyway,” Major General Gilbert L. Meyers, 7th Air Force Deputy Commander, explained. “We wanted to be sure there would be no loss of future sorties on the basis that we had not flown them in the past period.”27 General Meyers’ attitude reflected the frustration felt by many air commanders in Vietnam, and that frustration produced military controls that severely limited air power applications. Perhaps the most memorable of those constraints was the development of the “Route Package” system that dissected the airspace over North Vietnam. In 1966, Pacific Command Headquarters divided North Vietnamese airspace into seven bombing zones, or Route Packages, and assigned three zones to the Air Force and four to the Navy. Originally developed to separate Air Force and Navy aircraft flying over the North, the system soon became the basis of a competition between the services to determine which one could fly the most sorties in enemy airspace, which became the services’ warped measure of success. As a result of that emphasis, aircraft attacked Northern targets with less than a full load of bombs, which in turn endangered additional flyers.28 One Navy A-4 pilot admitted that he attacked the Thanh Hoa Bridge, one of the North’s most heavily defended targets, with no bombs at all but was told simply to strafe the structure with 20mm cannon fire.29

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While the lack of unity of command plagued the direct, independent application of air power against North Vietnam, it also disrupted auxiliary applications of air power in the South. There, no less than six direct, auxiliary air efforts provided support for American and South Vietnamese ground forces, with no one individual in charge. Army helicopters provided firepower for their forces, as did Marine helicopters and fighter aircraft for theirs. Meanwhile, Navy fighters also provided close air support, as did Air Force fighters and bombers – though the control of Air Force fighters and bombers remained separate and distinct throughout the entire war. Finally, the South Vietnamese Air Force waged its own campaign of close air support for South Vietnamese ground forces. A similar lack of command coherence plagued airlift’s indirect application. Seventh Air Force controlled the C-123 Providers and C-7A Caribous (after the Army transferred control of the Caribous to the Air Force in 1966) through the 834th Air Division, headquartered in Saigon. Meanwhile, Pacific Air Forces, headquartered at Honolulu, Hawaii, directed the C-130 Hercules aircraft used in theater, and Military Airlift Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, controlled the so-called “strategic” lift provided by C-141s and C-5s.30 The conflicting command and control arrangements for both direct and indirect applications produced considerable turmoil throughout the war. Johnson’s negative objectives, the nature of the enemy and the type of war that he fought, the nature of the combat environment, and the magnitude of military controls combined to negate any chance that the direct, independent application of air power had to achieve the President’s positive political goal. In reality, any one of those variables could have precluded that application of air power from obtaining success; the fact that all five indicated failure guaranteed that result. Yet what about the auxiliary application of air power? Even without the military controls, the direct, auxiliary application offered minimum prospects for success, given the type of conflict faced – an infrequent guerrilla war fought to gain the support of the Southern populace against a corrupt regime. The indirect, auxiliary application, on the other hand, might have fared better, had it received greater emphasis and had American ground commanders changed their basic approach to the war. The essence of that approach was “search and destroy,” a strategy geared to finding the elusive enemy and then using massive quantities of firepower

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to kill as many enemy troops as possible. That strategy did little to endear itself to South Vietnamese civilians, and probably did more to bolster the Viet Cong’s ranks than it did to reduce them. An alternative approach, used with success by the Marines in the I Corps area during the initial stages of America’s combat involvement, employed an American rifle squad with South Vietnamese militia forces in a Combined Action Platoon. The Marines lived in a selected Vietnamese hamlet for several consecutive months, helping to furnish security and assisting the villagers with medical care and growing rice.31 General Westmoreland deemed the Marine effort inefficient, and directed that they abandon the program and join in search and destroy. The Marines reluctantly complied, ending a chance to conduct the war through methods less likely to cause collateral damage than Westmoreland’s preferred approach. Indirect, auxiliary air power, in the form of reconnaissance and airlift, could have proved extremely beneficial to a largescale employment of Combined Action Platoons. Such an air power application would have supported the goal of winning the villagers’ “hearts and minds,” which, in turn, would have helped to achieve the positive political goal of “an independent, stable, non-communist South Vietnam.” For President Johnson and his military and civilian advisors, achieving the positive goal required the use of military force. Indeed, in the spring of 1965, with the Saigon government tottering before Viet Cong advances, American firepower prevented the Southern regime from collapsing. The negative objectives that severely limited the direct, independent application of air power against North Vietnam had minimal effect on limiting the war in the South. There, the direct, auxiliary application of air power continued unabated. Free fire zones – hostile areas deemed free of South Vietnamese civilians – dotted the Southern landscape, and American air power attacked those zones ruthlessly in support of friendly ground forces. More than four million tons of bombs fell on South Vietnam out of the eight million dropped on all of Indochina by American aircraft, with many of the four million falling in the massive B-52 campaign known as “Arc Light.”32 Yet because of the asymmetric war waged by the enemy, that bombing had little beneficial effect.

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Regardless of the type of air power application, to succeed in Vietnam during the period of the Johnson presidency required a focus on the primary enemy, the Viet Cong. The direct, independent application against North Vietnam in Rolling Thunder contributed nil towards eliminating the Viet Cong’s capacity and desire to keep fighting. The Viet Cong’s unique approach to combat could not be thwarted by the direct application of air power – in fact, such measures were likely to strengthen its capacity to fight by gaining it new recruits. Instead, air power had to help undercut the Viet Cong’s true support base – the Southern populace – without causing collateral damage. That goal demanded the indirect, auxiliary application to sustain a highly selective use of ground force – such as that provided by the Combined Action Platoons. Yet flawed assumptions about the framework’s key variables led American political and military leaders to emphasize the direct application against the secondary enemy. What insights does the framework provide regarding the use of air power against an asymmetric foe like that encountered in Vietnam? First, the positive political goal may not be achievable through the direct application of air power. Any one of the variables may preclude the direct, independent application from achieving success, and the nature of the enemy and the type of war being fought may negate the direct, auxiliary application from producing beneficial results. Second, against the type of enemy and war that America faced in Vietnam, the indirect, auxiliary application of air power may work best. If the positive political goal is to be achieved at all in such a conflict – which may be a dubious proposition – selectively applied ground power will obtain it, and air power will play an auxiliary role. Third, while “asymmetric” may describe the way that an enemy wages war, the term applies more broadly to the way that an enemy thinks in general.33 Cultural values and beliefs may be significantly different, as well as the motivations for fighting, which are likely to cause the desired ends to be asymmetric as well as the means used to obtain them. Accordingly, most opponents can rightly be viewed as asymmetric, and the importance of the individual variables that affect air power applications is likely to be different in every case. Fourth, the variables help to determine whether a belligerent will be successful in achieving its war aims, regardless of whether the belligerent uses air power to achieve them. As such, the variables really form the basis to

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evaluate any application of military force, and the framework should be used to assess both sides. In the final analysis, the effectiveness of air power depends on how well it supports the positive political goals without risking the achievement of the negative ones. The framework offers no guarantee of success or failure, nor is it a predictor of the future. Yet it does charge those who might apply air power to think carefully before making that decision. “No one starts a war – or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so – without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it,” warns Clausewitz.34 That admonishment, delivered almost two centuries ago to readers who had fought against Napoleon with muskets and sabers, remains apt in the age of air warfare.

NOTES
1 For comments and suggestions, both heeded and unheeded, the author gratefully acknowledges Dr. Ilana Kass, Colonel James Callard, Colonel Robert Eskridge, Dr. David MacIsaac, and the students of National War College Elective Class 5855, “Air Power and Modern War.” The views expressed are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the National War College, National Defense University, or the Department of Defense. 2 Harold Winton, “A Black Hole in the Wild Blue Yonder: The Need for a Comprehensive Theory of Air Power,” Air Power History (Winter 1992): 33–34. 3 William Mitchell, Winged Defense (New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1925), p. xii. 4 M .J. Armitage and R. A. Mason, Air Power in the Nuclear Age (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1983), p. 2. 5 Ibid., p. 3. 6 The largely discarded term “Battlefield Air Interdiction” (BAI) describes this auxiliary function. 7 John Schlight, The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: The War in South Vietnam: The Years of the Offensive 1965–1968 (Washington: Office of Air Force History, 1988), p. 216. 8 Other factors may help define the battlefield as well, including the ranges of weapons possessed by deployed ground or sea forces, or the location of such demarcations as the Forward Line of Troops (FLOT) and the Fire Support Coordination Line (FSCL). Admiral William Owens, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, contended that a battlefield would consist of 40,000 square miles in a 200 by 200 mile area. While Admiral Owens’s precise delineation may be appropriate in a conventional war, it may not suit other types of conflict. See Terry L. New, “Where to Draw the Line between Air and Land Battle,” Airpower Journal 10 (Fall, 1996): 34–49 on how the battlefield is affected by the relationship between the FLOT and the FSCL;

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9 10 11 12

13

14

15

16 17 18

19

20 21 22 23 24 25

on Admiral Owens’s notion of the battlefield, see Alan D. Zimm, “Human-Centric Warfare,” Naval Institute Proceedings 125 (May 1999): 28. Air Force Doctrine Document 1, Basic Doctrine, September 1997, p. 46. These terms should not be confused with Clausewitz’s concept of positive and negative objectives, which he uses in regards to attacking and defending. Joint Pub 1–02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Washington: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 10 June 1998), p. 388. See Bard E. O’Neill and Ilana Kass, “The Persian Gulf War: A Political-Military Assessment,” Comparative Strategy 11 (April–June 1992), p. 219, for a thorough discussion of American war aims in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The Clausewitzian notion of friction also affects air power’s ability to achieve positive (and negative) political goals, but unlike the five variables, friction is a constant that cannot be specified based on assumptions and analysis. Robert F. Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea 1950–1953 (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1961), p. 447; USAF Oral History interview of General O.P. Weyland by Dr. James Hasdorff and Brigadier General Noel Parrish, San Antonio, Texas, 19 November 1974, Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA), Maxwell AFB, Alabama, file number K239.0512–813, pp. 107, 113. “Above all else,” Johnson wrote in his memoirs, “I did not want to lead this nation and the world into nuclear war or even the risk of such a war.” See Lyndon B. Johnson, The Vantage Point (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971), p. 153. Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (New York: Signet, 1976), pp. 263–264. David C. Humphrey, “Tuesday Lunch at the Johnson White House: A Preliminary Assessment,” Diplomatic History 8 (Winter 1984): 90. U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Armed Services, Preparedness Investigating Subcomittee, Air War Against North Vietnam, 90th cong., 1st sess., part 5, 27–29 August 1967, pp. 476–485; interview of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Ferguson by the author, 17 May 1985, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. In 1966, President Johnson approved five multi-week bombing programs, each one lasting from one to four months. See Wayne Thompson, To Hanoi and Back: The U.S. Air Force and North Vietnam, 1966–1973 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000), p. 24. Johnson quoted in George C. Herring, “‘Cold Blood’: LBJ’s Conduct of Limited War in Vietnam,” in Dennis E. Showalter and John G. Albert, eds., An American Dilemma: Vietnam, 1964–1973 (Chicago: Imprint Publications, 1993), p. 64. Dean Rusk interview with the author at Athens, Georgia, 15 July 1985. “Memorandum, McNamara to the President,” 3 November 1965, National Security Files, Country File: Vietnam, Folder 2EE, Box 75, Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, Texas. “Meeting with Foreign Policy Advisors on Vietnam,” 18 August 1967, Meeting Notes File, Box 1, Johnson Presidential Library. Truong Nhu Tang, A Viet Cong Memoir (New York: Vintage Books, 1985), pp. 36, 68. Edward Doyle and Samuel Lipsman, The Vietnam Experience: America Takes Over, 1965–67 (Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1982), p. 60. Headquarters USAF, Analysis of Effectiveness of Interdiction in Southeast Asia, Second Progress Report, May 1966, p.7, AFHRA, file number K168.187–21; Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcomittee, Air War Against North Vietnam, 25 August 1967, part 4, p. 299; Annex A to JCSM 613–65, 27 August 1965, National Security Files, Country File: Vietnam, Folder 2EE, Box 75, Johnson Presidential Library.

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26 Schlight, p. 216. Only three percent of all Air Force sorties flown in South Vietnam through 1966 went to close air support, and the Army requested CAS for only one out of every ten engagements with the enemy. 27 Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcomittee, Air War Against North Vietnam, part 5, 27–29 August 1967, pp. 476–485. During the southwest monsoon, the Air Force diverted as many as a thousand sorties a month from targets in the North Vietnamese heartland to the area just north of the 17th parallel. See Thompson, p. 28. 28 John Morrocco, Thunder from Above (Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1984), p. 125; Lt. Col. William H. Greenhalgh (ret.), interview with the author, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 17 May 1985. 29 Statement to the author in July 1989 by a retired Navy pilot who preferred to remain anonymous. 30 Schlight, pp. 146, 297. 31 For a brief discussion of Combined Action Platoons, see Cecil B. Currey, “Marine Combined Action Platoons,” in Spencer C. Tucker, ed., The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 249. 32 Ralph Littauer and Norman Uphoff, eds., The Air War in Indochina (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972), pp. 11, 168–172. 33 See Lawrence Freedman, “The Third World War?” Survival 43 (Winter 2001–2002): 70, 80. 34 Carl von Clausewitz, On War, edit. and trans. by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 579.

The Evolution of Airpower Theory in the United States: From World War I to Colonel John Warden’s The Air Campaign

Colonel Peter Faber The development of American airpower theory has historically occurred in fits and starts, and with each new beginning different influences have played dominant roles. Having stated and acknowledged this truism at the outset, the fundamental structure of the following article is in the form of a quest – a quest by American airpower thinkers for theories, strategies, and doctrines that they could truly call their own. To support this overall theme, the article will first focus on genealogy. It will describe the two dominant “vocabularies” developed by modern military thinkers to analyze and characterize war, while also stressing the distorting effects they subsequently had on the thinking of airpower theorists. These theorists, as we shall see, were eager to develop air-centered theories that reflected – in holistic and comprehensive ways – the unique capabilities and properties of aerial warfare. The theorists, however, did not always articulate their ideas clearly, they changed them over time, or they developed concepts of operation that were readily distinguishable from each other only at the margins. To help clarify who said what, the second part of the article will therefore provide an analytic tool that not only helps differentiate assorted 20th century airpower theories from each other, but can also guide the development of new theories for the future. Lastly, with both a historical context and tool for analysis readily at hand, the article will turn to the evolution of American airpower theory from World War I through the appearance of John Warden’s seminal The Air Campaign (1988).1 As already suggested, this is a tale of creation, loss, and recovery. It is a tale where the predecessors of the United States Air Force struggled mightily to create a unique theory of air warfare – high altitude precision daylight bombardment against the key economic and societal nodes of modern states. It is a tale where “blue suiters” then

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either lost their theoretical/doctrinal bearings in the Cold War or – to take a more charitable view – failed to elaborate and refine them further. Ultimately though, it is a tale of recovery. It is a tale where, beginning in the mid-1980s, American airmen regained control of their long-lost intellectual destiny, and therefore ushered in a renaissance in aerospace thinking that continues to this day. Given the above objectives, the necessary first step in this article is to address the question of context. No serious airpower historian will argue that the creation of theories, strategies, or doctrines is a parthenogenetic act. In other words, neither individual theorists nor military establishments develop new paradigms of war in intellectual vacuums. Despite this obvious truth, however, virtually all of the existing texts on airpower theory focus on the 20th century. They artificially neglect the intellectual patrimony that airmen have depended and drawn upon in the past. It is a patrimony – for better and worse – that provided air theorists with ready “vocabularies” to develop their own thinking about new ways of war.

Air Theory and its Intellectual Context We begin this section with a proposition – Throughout the 20th century, burgeoning concepts of airpower became inescapably entangled with the two characterizations of war that have dominated the modern era – i.e., the “rational” pseudo-scientific approach of Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers, and the “irrational,” 19th century approach of military romantics. Both approaches are not totally “reality inclusive,” and because they first – and naturally – focused on surface combat, they eventually trapped airpower thinkers within a formidable prison house of language. Forward looking airmen then compounded the problem by adopting the vocabulary of the rationalists instead of the more flexible, but less organizationally and financially exploitable, language of the romantics. As a result, until the mid- to late-1980s air thinkers overwhelmingly relied on a characterization of war that not only circumscribed their thinking, but also included an increasingly inadequate collection of terms and categories to describe the unique nature of air warfare and its objectives, as we shall now see. In the modern era, the “scientific” language of Western military theory

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and strategy had its roots in Flavius Vegetius Renatus’ Epitoma rei militari (c.384–389). Vegetius’ treatise was both a plea and a plan to revitalize the Eastern Roman army after its disastrous defeat by Fridigern’s Gothic horsemen at the Battle of Adrianople (378 A.D.).2 Unfortunately, Vegetius’ military nostrums were too narrow in scope to save an already tottering empire. Nevertheless, De re militari subsequently flourished as a practical and authoritative guide to medieval warfare in Europe.3 (European scribes copied the text so frequently that over 320 manuscripts survive even today.) The reason for its popularity was simple – it was a user-friendly compendium of ancient thinking on war. The De re militari included pithy extracts from the works of 30 largely forgotten military commentators, including Arrian, Frontinus, Polybius, Vitruvius, and others. As a “how to” guide to war, Vegetius’ compilation proved irresistible to the French Counts of Anjou and English Plantagenet kings like Henry II and Richard the Lionhearted. These warriors studied carefully all five books of the De re militari, but they particularly valued the 26 chapters on strategy, tactics, and the principles of war (or military procedure) contained in Book III.4 This book then became even more important to Italian students of war after the success of the French king Charles VIII against the Italian city-states in 1494. In particular, the sorry performance of Italian mercenary armies in what is now generally acknowledged as the first military campaign of the modern era, piqued the interest of Nicolo Machiavelli, who served as an official of the city-state of Florence from 1498-1512.5 Machiavelli used Vegetius as a foundation for his own treatise, The Art of War (1521). Not only did the structure of Machiavelli’s work mimic De re militari, but portions of the latter text, including the principles of war found at the end of Book III, “were reproduced without modification by Machiavelli.”6 However, the Florentine philosopher was not interested in merely restating past pieties. Machiavelli sought instead to adapt the old laws of Roman warfare to the new realities of 16th century Italy. He argued this was possible because human history was immutable, and not necessarily unique. The classical military legacy of Rome represented a homogenous historical experience that provided infallible and general rules of war that – if applied properly – reduced the relative impact of

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chance.7 In other words, military history was an educational tool; it provided formulaic lessons that inevitably rationalized war.8 Based on the recovered wisdom of the ancients and the updated prescriptions of Machiavelli, a rational or neoclassical language of war started to coalesce in Europe. It certainly appeared in Raimondo Montecuccoli’s On the War Against the Turks in Hungary, now more popularly known as Aphorism[s] on the Art of War (1670) and arguably the first attempt to formulate a comprehensive theory of modern warfare in the West. (Significantly, the Austrian general drew upon 15 ancient, five latemedieval and Renaissance, and 22 early modern authors.)9 Although Montecuccoli acknowledged the inductive and incalculable elements of organized violence, his prevailing approach was rational. He saw that portions of war were becoming increasingly “scientific.” Weapons fire, for example, was a form of ballistics. Siege warfare was a symptom of poliorcetics, i.e., the mathematical assault or defense of fortifications. As a result of these trends, Montecuccoli sought to develop a universal, proto-scientific paradigm of war and then support it with constant principles, axioms, and laws. The paradigm, based on Justus Lipsius’ Six Books of Politics (1589), firmly put war “within a political framework, derived from political motives and directed towards political aims.”10 As a tool of nation-states, Montecuccoli argued further, war occurred within basic parameters, i.e., it was a scientific process that led to predictable ends. The fundamental requirement for a successful commander was to decide when and where a particular axiom applied. Raimondo Montecuccoli, along with contemporary military engineers like Sébastien Vauban and Blaise de Pagan, provided a significant link between the loosely prescriptive military theorists that preceded him and the rigid mechanical-mathematical interpretations of general war that subsequently appeared during the Enlightenment. The military rationalists of that era, including Frederick the Great, Henry Lloyd, Heinrich von Bülow, Antoine-Henri Jomini, and the Auteurs Dogmatiques (the Marquise de Santa Cruz, the Marquise de Feuquières, Marshal Puységur, and others), all embraced the linear thinking of the New Physics or “Natural Philosophy” of the 18th century.11 They categorically rejected Marshal Maurice de Saxe’s characterization of war as “a science so obscure

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and imperfect” that “custom and prejudice, confirmed by ignorance, … [were] its sole foundation and support.”12 Instead, the soldier-scholars of the Enlightenment embraced the intelligible, mathematical logic of Isaac Newton and his disciples.13 Like contemporary scientists, men in arms believed that reality was “out there.” It was separate and distinct from those individuals who dispassionately (and scientifically) contemplated the world around them. Consequently, the soldier-philosophes argued, it was possible to develop an observationally based set of maxims, formalized in mathematics, to describe and explain a clockwork universe dominated by the Law of Cause and Effect.14 (The law asserted that the same conditions always produced the same results, and that nature was so precise and harmonious that its laws never varied.) Further, within a uniform, cause and effect universe, state violence was also knowable and predictable. The military philosophes repeatedly referred to war as a “machine” or “mechanism.” They agreed with Vegetius, Machiavelli, and Montecuccoli that warfare was reducible, calculable, and subject to universal and immutable principles. The key, however, remained to identify those “statistical regularities” that shaped war. Henry Lloyd, who coined the term “line of operations,” consequently thought that two foundations of war were mathematics and geography. Those who understood “tangibles like topological and geographical measurements, march tables, supply needs, and the geometrical relationship of supply lines to fighting fronts (or of armies to their bases), would be ‘in a position to initiate military operations with mathematical precision and to keep on waging war without ever being under the necessity of striking a blow.’”15 Heinrich von Bülow, in turn, stressed the quantifiable geometry of war to absurd lengths. He saw all military operations as a triangle with its apex as the objective. In a campaign or battle, the angle at the apex had to be less than ninety degrees for the opposing units, operating at the other two ends of the triangle, to attack safely. (Bülow also believed that all military theorists required a precise, metrics-based language to formulate improved theories and strategies in the future.) However, despite the contemporary prominence of the above soldier-

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scholars, it was Antoine-Henri Jomini who spoke and wrote the language of neoclassical rationalism best. Regardless of attempts by some military historians to reverse his popular image as a hidebound systematist, at the end of the day Jomini was guilty of the charge.16 He provided a near endless series of prescriptions on how to succeed in war. How many factors defined strategy? Thirteen. How many maxims ensured effective lines of operations? Twelve. How many methods were there for effective retreats? Five. Yes, Jomini was not guilty of Bülow’s extreme mathematical formalism, but his now legendary emphasis on permanent principles of war (including mass, surprise, and economy of force), and on the omnipresent tactical requirement to concentrate offensive forces against a weaker opponent at a decisive point, clearly identified him as a rationalist shaped by the New Physics of the 18th century. In multiple editions of his seminal The Art of War, Jomini sought to domesticate warfare by robbing it of its true complexity – i.e., he attempted to reduce it down to its fundamentals. In doing so, his increasingly popular writings reassured skittish European elites that Napoleonic warfare was not a murderous and revolutionary departure from the past. Yes, Napoleonic warfare involved whole nations in large and exhausting continental campaigns, Jomini admitted, but it was not a blind or insensate force that threatened the very foundations of European civilization i.e., elite privileges). Instead, it was part of a continuum; it was part of a world of predictable change where “pure cerebration” still dominated over will, force, or luck. Armed with theory, therefore, those who soberly (and properly) calculated the ends and means of human conflict would not only succeed, they would continue to refine war as a science. They would reduce the role of general fiction and chance (and therefore bound the trajectory of future events), but only if they formalized “patterns from the past in such a way as to make them usable in the present as guides to the future.”17 In other words, the rationalists practiced Machiavelli’s historical essentialism. A “lessons learned” approach to military history was both legitimate and helpful. Eternal verities always applied, provided one could identify them properly in a rational language of war. In response to the mechanistic approach of the neoclassicists, who agreed

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with Lord Grey that discussion without definition was useless, romantics or anti-rationalists like Gerhard von Scharnhorst, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder and Carl von Clausewitz developed a competing characterization of war. Their approach had its roots in the Romantic Rebellion of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and it had a formidable (and seminal) spokesman in Gerhard von Scharnhorst. The radical lexicon that Scharnhorst used to redefine war had three significant elements, among others. First, the Great Reformer repudiated the neoclassical characterization of war as a comprehensible part of a clockwork universe. Instead, war was a blind, demonic force. It was changeable, imponderable and immeasurable. It roiled with brutal, spiritual energy, and therefore involved a free play of opaque spiritual forces that defied rigid, one-sided systematization.18 And since abstract formulas could not capture war’s sheer diversity, one could not delimit it in exclusively mathematical (i.e., mechanical) terms. Second, Scharnhorst dismissed the historical essentialism of the rationalists. As a romantic, and therefore a believer in historicism, Scharnhorst thought that Machiavelli and his neoclassical disciples were wrong – the history of war was not homogenous; and the past did not repeat itself. Instead, each epoch of armed violence was unique. It involved an interplay of “possibilities, probabilities, good luck and bad” that militated against historical cycles or patterns.19 Therefore, those who tried to foist personal or absolute schemata on the past were doomed to defeat. (It was futile, Carl von Clausewitz argued in the late 1820s, for 19th century warriors to examine prior wars for hoary “lessons learned.” The similarities between past and present, he continued, did not extend beyond the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748). Prior to that historical point, there were no fixed military dictums that one could identify, catalog, and adapt to the present or future.) Third, Scharnhorst and his successors discarded the neoclassical view of nature (and war) as “out there.” The world was not separate and distinct from the observer, and therefore amenable to objective analysis. Like Berkeley and Hume, Scharnhorst did not believe external forces or principles wholly defined reality. Human perception itself was a proactive and creative act; it interacted with the great “out there” to mold and define

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reality. Human experience, therefore, was a synthesis of the physical and the psychological, i.e., the objective world was actually subjective, or Scharnhorst believed. As a result, he reached the anti-rationalistic conclusion that war was a clash of wills or moral forces unfettered by scientific laws. So if war was demonic, unrepeatable, and a lethal blend of the subjective and objective, was the neoclassical compulsion to theorize dangerous? To romantics like Gerhard von Scharnhorst, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, and Carl von Clausewitz the answer was “yes” – a general theory of war, as a “single conceptual system spanning all time,” was impossible.20 It would inevitably focus on the external forms of armed conflict and not capture the essential “inner nature of circumstances.”21 Further, it would succumb to the empty essentialism of those who sought the solace of maxims and rules. Moltke the Elder, because he dreaded the above errors, later embraced Scharnhorst’s characterization of war. Since human conflict lacked general principles, Moltke argued, successful commanders had to depend on Fingerspitzengefühl (“fingertip sense”). This principle certainly applied to strategy, which Moltke preferred to define in thoroughly romantic terms – It was both a “free, practical, artistic activity” and a “system of expediencies.”22 Carl von Clausewitz shared Scharnhorst’s and Moltke the Elder’s hostility towards compulsive systematizing, but he also muted their absolutist vocabulary. As one of Scharnhorst’s true disciples, Clausewitz recognized that war was a creative moral act. He rejected strategies of certainty that sought “static equilibria, consistent explanations, periodic regularities, and the beauty of symmetry.”23 He agreed that armed conflict was an intrinsically nonlinear phenomenon. He realized that, in addition to chance, the intangibles and dangers of war (i.e., its “fog” and “friction”) were part of its essence, and not mere aberrations one tried to calculate away. As a result, Clausewitz provided multiple (and metaphorical) definitions of war. War was a continuation of foreign policy by other means, and by a nation-state that spoke with a single voice. (One might now ask if this fundamental Clausewitzian belief is still true, given an increasingly globalized world where domestic politics have local and international

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repercussions?) Additionally, it was a game of cards, a duel, an act of commerce, or an act of force designed to impose one’s will. Lastly, it was a trinity or interplay of 1) primordial violence, hatred, enmity, and blind natural forces, as embodied in the people; 2) chance, probability, and the creative spirit, as embodied by the military commander; and 3) policy and reason, as embodied by the state.24 By providing these diverse definitions of war, Clausewitz illustrated to himself and others that there was an alternative to the “scientific” language of war. As an anti-rationalist, he treated armed conflict like a prism. By rotating the prism in his hand and observing the ever shifting shards of light that flashed fleetingly before his eyes, Clausewitz was able to express war’s complexity with a broader vocabulary than Jomini and his fellow rationalists. However, Clausewitz did not dismiss the impact of the external, physical dimensions of war. Unlike Scharnhorst and Moltke the Elder, he concluded that they did introduce some broad “statistical regularities” into armed conflict. By examining the phenomenon of war itself, and not seeking after empty maxims, principles, or laws, Clausewitz decided he could identify its essential elements and yet keep theory grounded in fact. As a result, his variety of romanticism kept “theory close to its empirical roots, not letting the language, logic, and polemics of theoretical discourse break away from the untidy, multifarious reality of actual warfare.”25 In short, Clausewitz’s language of war lay between geometry and the irrational, and thus avoided many of the intellectual traps that entangled “pure” rationalist and anti-rationalist theorists of war alike.26 As a second, competing characterization of war, military romanticism served as an antidote to the false universalism and scientism of the rationalists. Where the rationalists aimed at fixed values, the romantics postulated that everything in war was uncertain, and calculations had to be made with “variable quantities;” where the rationalists emphasized the importance of external (i.e., objective) forces in defining human conflict, the romantics highlighted the equal importance of psychological forces and effects; and where the rationalists focused on the one-sided, unilateral nature of war against a passive opponent, the romantics posited that war was “a continuous interaction of opposites.”27 Hence, by providing a second, competing characterization of war, military romantics, whether “pure” like Scharnhorst or pragmatic like Clausewitz, restored a necessary

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balance to modern theoretical speculations about organized conflicts. They checked the arrogance of the rationalists, who wrongly saw their pseudo-mathematical and predictive schemata as synonymous with science. Lastly, they weakened (but did not eliminate) the notion that rational, predictive concepts of war were somehow more truthful or “normal” than those that emphasized the equal importance of intangibles (irrationality, chance, and probability, for example.) By the time of Clausewitz’s premature death in 1831, Western military theorists had essentially established the framework for subsequent theoretical debate. As Figure 1 illustrates, they identified with one of two paradigms of war – (i.e., they were prescriptive or non-prescriptive), or they sought a middle ground defined by broad and flexible guidelines.

airpower theorists | Auteurs dogmatiques Bülow | Jomini | Lloyd Venturini | Mahan RationalistsNeoclassicists (prescriptive) | | |

Corbett

Mao Zedong

Du Picq Clausewitz | | |

Scharnhorst Moltke the Elder Berenhorst Grandmaison Anti-rationalists Romantics (nonprescriptive)

Mediators

Figure 1: Dominant Approaches to Modern Strategic Thought

However, the natural division of military strategists into rationalists, mediators, and romantics raises a fundamental question – where do most airpower theorists fall in the spectrum of modern strategic thought? Which approach, or rough combination of the two, did they first use to try and define a new way of war? Seminal airmen and organizations like Giulio Douhet, Billy Mitchell, Hugh Trenchard, the “Bomber Mafia” of the U.S. Army’s interwar Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS), and World War II targeting organizations like the Committee of Operations Analysts (COA) and the Economic Objectives Unit (EOU) all followed

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the preexisting example of the neoclassicists – i.e., they promulgated didactic, rationalist strategies of air warfare.28 The above theorists and planners had more in common with the overdeterminism of Jomini and the philosophes than the probabilism of Clausewitz and the romantics. They emphasized, for example, unilateral offensive action against curiously passive and defenseless enemies. (Unfortunately, airpower theorists up through John Warden have consistently minimized the interactive nature of air warfare, primarily because of their fixation on the “inherently offensive” nature of air weapons. Until very recently the defense has received short shrift in airpower thought.) Further, air theorists and planners repeatedly demonstrated a weakness for the architectural elegance and calculability of a theory rather than for its responsiveness to “real” threats; they inferred that if a theory was “well-balanced” it must be right, despite the inevitable biases, wishful thinking, and predispositions embedded within its structure; and they deduced theories that – despite their scientific pretensions – were not always supported by rigorous empirical proof. As a result of these general weaknesses, three stubborn pathologies have afflicted the evolution of airpower theory from its very beginnings. As previously suggested, air theorists first sought to develop their own “scientific” approach to air warfare – an approach that would apply at any time and in any place. In the 1930s, for example, U.S. Air Corps tactical School’s Bomber Mafia adopted “a Jominian … view of war – a view of war as a mathematical equation whose variables … [could] be selectively manipulated to achieve success.”29 More particularly, specific bomber advocates such as Donald Wilson and Frank Andrews argued that any untried theory, including the uniquely American theory of high altitude precision daylight bombardment against the critical economic nodes of an enemy state, required “no firmer basis than reasoned logical thinking bolstered by a grasp of the fundamentals of the application of military force and the reactions of human beings.”30 The theorists suffered from a second pathology as well – they gave free play to the rationalist’s fetish for quantification and prediction in war. For example, the American authors of the first exclusively air-centered war plan in history, AWPD-1, predicted in August 1941 that an initial

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consignment of 6,860 bombers massed against 125 German target sets would produce victory in 6 months (after a necessary build-up period, however). In turn, fighter aircraft advocate Claire Chennault predicted in 1942 that he could defeat Japan with 150 fighters and 42 bombers. Lastly, in early 1964 the Air Force and Defense Intelligence Agency developed OPLAN 37–64, which anticipated an American victory over North Vietnam in 28 days, provided that the U.S. struck 94 “strategic” targets in the North. All three examples illustrated a propensity to confuse “bookkeeping” with analysis, even though the latter should never become a reductionist “firepower equation writ large,” and always include an appreciation of context, combat efficiency, and other significant intangibles.31 Finally, and in contrast to the “rational” roots of the two previous problems, air theorists have repeatedly resorted to epistemological shortcuts or sleights of hand to support their theories and doctrines – i.e., they have used analogies and metaphors to buttress the “logic” of their arguments. Inventor and air theorist Gianni Caproni, for example, expressed his opposition to battlefield air operations as follows: “It is not by chasing each bee in a garden that you … get the better of the swarm. You should rather destroy the beehive.”32 The ACTS Bomber Mafia, in turn, “substantiated” the frailty of economic systems by comparing them to either a wispy spider’s web or a tottering house of cards – pluck the right strand or pull the right card and both structures would inevitably collapse.33 Using logic similar to his colleagues, Major General Frank Andrews further observed that modern nations were “as sensitive as a precision instrument.” If you damaged a vital part of a watch, for example, the whole mechanism ceased to function.34 Nino Salvaneschi, an Italian journalist who actively popularized the ideas of Giulio Douhet, agreed. He characterized the Great War itself as a “gigantic watchmaking factory” that was vulnerable to air attack, as did Count Caproni, who compared airpower’s possible disruption of Austrian-German war production to breaking a watch by destroying its gears.35 The above metaphors reflect the predicament that early airmen found themselves in. Yes, they parroted the “scientific” language of the Enlightenment with gusto, particularly since it allowed them to instantly “professionalize” themselves, and therefore make aggressive organizational

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and budgetary demands. At the same time, they also resorted to linguistic ruses and metaphorical turns. They did so in order to transcend the conceptual barriers they confronted when trying to use explanatory systems rooted in the past. (This understandable but unfortunate trend continued well into the 1980s. Air theorist John Warden, for example, adopted a controversial metaphor to clarify his own thinking on leadership targeting. He likened this type of targeting to severing the head from a human body – isolate it or “cut it off,” and the societal or military “body” will die. In using this metaphor, however, Warden wrongly suggested that modern societies and groups were closed rather than open systems, and therefore as vulnerable to systemic collapse as self-contained human beings.) If recent paradigms of human conflict are still influenced by the rationalist and anti-rationalist schools, which is indeed the case, and if the latter still have a distorting effect on individual attempts to develop holistic theories, strategies, and doctrines of what is now aerospace power, where do theorists need to stand today? At a minimum, it would be helpful if they remembered the following three points. First, the antirationalists are right – effective theories of aerospace power must necessarily demonstrate that armed conflict is a nonlinear, interactive process bedeviled by feedback loops, delays, “trigger effects,” and qualitative changes.36 Second, theorists must duly acknowledge, with true humility, that “Airpower is the most difficult of all forms of military force to measure, or even to express in precise terms.”37 (Successful strategic-level effects invariably seem to have a thousand parents, while equally strategic failures seem to have none.) Finally, and most importantly, airmen must self-consciously realize that they are still inmates looking out. In other words, they remain incarcerated in a prison house of language built around our previously described “vocabularies” of war. Yes, the romantic approach represented by Clausewitz remains more “reality-inclusive” than the vision promulgated by Jomini and other rationalists, but air theorists today must never forget that the “aeromaniacs” of the past, in their quest to promote a revolutionary alternative to the futility of ground combat in the Great War, opted for the instantly recognizably, principles-laden “professional” language of the rationalists. Unfortunately, that option was overwhelmingly surface-centric (as was the romantic option, actually). It inevitably defined airmen and their

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medium as mere “parsley” or “garnish” on a plate. They were supplementary, secondary, additive – i.e., they merely supported the “Queen of the Battlefield,” which would forever remain the focal point of joint warfighting. The unprecedented role of aerospace power in the 1990s taught honest military professionals otherwise, but airmen – if they are to consolidate the tip-of-the-spear legitimacy they earned in Kosovo and Afghanistan – must gently continue to push their joint communities towards a third vision of war, as partially developed by the legendary American airman John Boyd, a man who many believe was the most influential military theorist of the last 25 years. Known as “Genghis John,” the “Mad Colonel,” and “That F…ing Boyd” to both admirers and detractors alike, it was Boyd who inspired John Warden and other progressives to import and adapt the language of the New Physics, Chaos Theory, and Complexity Theory in their new approaches to war.38 According to Boyd, the success or failure of human conflicts does not necessarily have to depend on death or destruction, as an overwhelming number of rationalists and military romantics argued in the past. What ultimately matters is “decision cycle dominance” – i.e., managing the perceptions of others by observing, orienting, deciding, and acting more effectively than them. In part, you accomplish the latter by looping around and repeating the four-part process – now infamously known as the “OODA Loop” – more quickly than your opponents. If you are then on your fifteenth decision cycle and your slower responding nemeses are on their fifth, you may well expect them – at least in relation to your actions – to become increasingly disoriented, befuddled, and confused. In turn, their situational awareness or sense of reality may not only collapse, but also lead to paralyzing mental concussions or strokes. What the above approach to conflict illustrates, or so Boyd argued, was that you can deliberately disrupt or incapacitate an adversary’s ability to cope with changing events, particularly if you “fast transition” from one operational state or condition to another. The physics of “fast transitioning,” in other words, forces your opponents to operate at tempos that stress their ability to respond effectively to continuous, unpredictable change. Either their decision cycles remain too slow, or

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they become increasingly uncoordinated and/or fragmented. (It’s all about “dumping and pumping energy,” Boyd famously said.) In either case, you increasingly exercise decision cycle dominance over those who increasingly suffer the “entropy” expressed in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In closing then, it is appropriate to note that Boyd’s concepts and vocabulary are obviously Sun Tzu-like. And yet, they also exploit – in unprecedented ways – the insights and nomenclature of the New Physics. They represent a liberating Third Way that committed “airheads” can use fully to emancipate both themselves and their surface brethren from the hand-me-down rationalist and anti-rationalist “languages” of the past. The key is to build on the merely episodic momentum this approach has developed over the last 10–15 years, and to convince different joint and surface communities that – as a Third Way – it is a “win-win” conceptual and bureaucratic option for all concerned.39 (The ultimate implementation of a theory, after all, is never exclusively based on rational arguments. It additionally involves the interplay of bureaucratic, organizational, and cultural imperatives as well.)

Theories of Airpower: A Tool for Analysis Having just anchored airpower thinking within two broader philosophic traditions – traditions that introduced very real stresses and challenges to those who wanted to create new, air-centric “vocabularies” – the next step in this article is to acknowledge that airpower theory, strategy, and doctrine has always been a variegated thing. In other words, there have always been “true believers” who have sought to develop theories and/or models that reflected – in holistic and comprehensive ways – the unique capabilities and properties of aerial warfare. These believers, however, did not always articulate their ideas clearly, they changed them – overtly or subtly – over time, or they developed arguments that were at first glance indistinguishable from each other. Therefore, before this article discusses the American way of air warfare in any detail, it would be helpful if it provided a user-friendly tool that students of airpower could use not only to differentiate assorted theories from each other, but also as a guide or template to develop their own hypotheses on how to use aerospace power.

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How might one go about distinguishing past air theories from each other and yet contribute to the development of new hypotheses in the future? One possible option is to use a conceptual model that answers six basic questions about the conduct of aerial warfare.40 The model is interactive and works from left to right (from planning to execution) and from right to left (from execution back to planning). As a result, the process is realistic; it reflects how things actually work in the use of aerospace power. Step One: Without exception, a working theorist or planner must first ask, “what outcome(s) do I want from my application of aerospace power?” In attacking an opposing state, for example, do I seek political concessions, a military defeat, or an actual change in government? If the first option, what particular concessions do I want? Will my opponent make these concessions if put under sufficient duress, or are my political goals unreasonable? If I concentrate on military success, do I want to annihilate my opponents in battle or merely neutralize their capabilities? Lastly, if I want a change in government, just what type of alternative do I want to help create? All of the above questions are legitimate, but they demonstrate only one type of outcome calculation. As Dr. Tom Ehrhard rightfully points out, the Doolittle Raid against Japan in 1942 was a successful application of independent airpower, but its true goal was to raise domestic morale.41 The Berlin airlift was equally successful, but its goal was to check rather than reverse Soviet encirclement. Both examples illustrate that the consideration of outcomes in Step One is not merely a narrow, destructionoriented wartime activity, nor is it just preoccupied with coercing hostile states to change their errant ways. The desired outcome could be anything, including economic disruption, changes in domestic or international opinion, continued compliance with current doctrines or regimes, the promotion of confidence building measures and collective security practices, and the creation of legal or moral precedents. To realize so many different end states, however, the theorist or aerospace planner should at a minimum raise the questions raised in Figure 2.42 The object of interest (or “receiver”) in the figure can be an international organization, an ad hoc or formal alliance system, a regional block, a nation-state, a non-government organization (NGO), a terrorist net-

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work, a criminal syndicate and more. In the particular case of a nationstate at war, Clausewitz suggests that you can at least gauge its “strength and situation,” determine the “character and abilities of its government and people,” and “evaluate the political sympathies of other states and the effect the war may have on them.”43 Without these steps, he noted further, the reciprocal nature of war will soon trap you in its inevitable “fog” and “friction.” ➾ Do I seek informal as well as formal outcomes? ➾ Do I seek short-term rather than long-term outcomes? ➾ When I seek an outcome, what interactive impact or changes do I expect: • domestically, • on the receiver, • on a third party/network/system? ➾ What factors can any of the above three categories bring to bear against my desired outcomes? Figure 2: The Process of End State Determination

Step Two: After establishing preferred outcomes and updating or replacing them as required by changing circumstances, the next step for the budding theorist or planners is to 1) gauge the specific politicomilitary capabilities – i.e., the strengths and limitations – of those on the receiving end of your desired outcome(s), and 2) to measure the extent of your own abilities to project aerospace power. Given that prior to the 1990s air theorists did over-promise on airpower’s ability to fulfill specific outcomes (at least as initially advertised), the determination of mutual capabilities remains a vital and necessary step. (Consider, for example, the absence of fighter escorts and effective bombsights in the early phases

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of the Combined Bomber Offensive against Germany in World War II. Their absence, along with other limitations, sabotaged the revolutionary promise of First-Day Warfare characterized by aerial Kesselschlachts against the vital centers of the German State.) However, when attempting to determine the actual and potential capabilities of opponents in war, the aerospace theorist or planner must always use a liberal definition of the word. As Figure 3 illustrates, there are many factors that help determine one’s capabilities.

• • • • • • •

Policy Directives Readiness Targets available Force structure Training Domestic culture Equipment performance

• • • • • •

Weather Joint requirements The Environment Tactics Defensive counters General Friction

Figure 3: Determinants of Capability

Step Three: According to Dr. Robert Pape and Dr. Pat Pentland, all theorists and planners must answer a third question, based on the first two, before they actually apply aerospace power. Pape’s specific question asks the following: should I adopt 1) a punishment strategy, which tries to push a society beyond its economic and psychological breaking point, 2) a risk strategy, which tries to do the same thing but at a gradually increasing rate rather than all at once, 3) a denial strategy, which tries to neutralize an opponent’s military ability to wage war, or 4) a decapitation strategy, which destroys or isolates an opponent’s leadership, national communications, or other politico-economic centers? (The reader might note that punishment and denial strategies try to translate military effects into political change, while decapitation strategies, in contrast, do the opposite.)44 Pentland, in turn, asks the working theorist or planner to posit a similar and yet also different question: should I adopt 1) a disabling strategy,

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which either disrupts an enemy’s capabilities or undermines his resolve, 2) a delaying strategy, which uses threats or deterrence to preserve the status quo, or 3) an enabling strategy, which tries to create stability where it is relatively weak or does not exist at all?45 In terms of using airpower, a disabling strategy includes direct attacks against specific targets. It also includes those ancillary functions (aerial refueling and reconnaissance, etc.) that support air attacks. A delaying strategy might involve air policing or an air embargo, while an enabling strategy might include air supported military assistance programs. Pentland certainly understands that as one moves from disruption to stability operations, military options becomes less effective and economic, cultural, and political ones become more so. Additionally, since Pape’s strategies primarily have a high-stakes, wartime focus that involve recognizable political actors, the virtue of Pentland’s last category (his enabling strategy) is that it accounts for the growing number of non- or quasipolitical outcomes that policy makers want aerospace power to fulfill during peacetime. (Pape’s focus is largely on Force Application, which is only one of four basic roles and missions air forces accomplish. One might argue that they also perform Control and Denial, which involves shielding a nation and its fighting forces from attack; Force Enhancement, which includes airlift, aerial refueling, electronic warfare, and surveillance operations; and Force Support, which includes logistics. The point here, as Pentland well understands, is that we need air theorists to grappled with all four categories holistically. Instead, they have focused on onethird of one-fourth of the roles and missions performed by modern air forces. It is, as we shall see, within “strategic bombing” – i.e., within a circumscribed part of the roles and missions spectrum – that one finds genuinely sophisticated theories of conventional airpower.) Ultimately, a fluid, ad hoc mixture of Pape and Pentland’s strategies may best serve the needs of those seeking future end states. Step 4: With preferred outcomes now tied to actual capabilities, and with an appropriate strategy (or strategies) now in hand, the theorist or planner must next focus on the all-important target/objective - -mechanism nexus. Here the questions are obvious. In offensive aerial warfare, what targets

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or objectives are the most important? Do they happen to be more “intangible” during peacetime than in war? In a high-stakes wartime setting, are they, as John Warden first argued, enemy leaders, “organic essentials” such as oil, information, and electricity, or – in decreasing order of value – an opponent’s industrial infrastructure, population, or fielded military forces? Lastly, are these targets or objectives important individually or in combination? Unfortunately, airmen have traditionally rushed to answer these specific and critical questions before first resolving three broader, more fundamental issues. Issue One: What aspects of an enemy’s power should you challenge, either individually or together? As Dr. Pentland points out, theorists or aerospace planners could zero in on 1) the sources of an opponent’s power, which include the military, industrial, or cultural foundations of a state; they could focus on 2) the manifestations of an opponent’s strength, which include the governmental and ideological projection of force; or they could concentrate on 3) the linkages of an enemy’s assets, which include the “human and material networks” that determine how effectively a nation organizes and employs its resources.46 Issue Two: After theorists or planners review what aspects of an enemy’s power they want to address, they should then consider what generic strategy(ies) might work best. They could, for example, adopt a strategy that includes 1) a direct approach, which emphasizes head-on assaults against enemy military capabilities; 2) an indirect approach, which emphasizes maneuver warfare and the sapping of an enemy’s will to fight; and/or 3) a rapid transition approach, based on John Boyd’s previously mentioned OODA Loop, which tries to disrupt and eventually paralyze an opponent’s decision-making calculus in relation to your own.47 On the other hand, the theorist or planner might alternatively adopt either an inside out or an outside in approach. In the outside in method, as embodied by John Warden’s Five Rings Model and virtually every other “strategic” bombing theory of airpower, the attacker strikes vital targets deep within enemy territory. Fielded military forces, Warden metaphorically argues, cannot operate effectively without a “brain” directing them. If you sever the “brain” (i.e., enemy leadership), you thus incapacitate an opponent from the “inside out.”

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An outside in strategy, in contrast, has dominated land warfare for the last 5,000 years. It necessarily focuses on the resources that surround and protect the inner core of an opposing state. By eliminating these protective layers, which can include the general population and the military, the theorist or planner can endanger the fountainhead of enemy power. Dr. Pape’s own theory of aerial coercion, which emphasizes thwarting an enemy’s military strategy, is a recent variation of the traditional outside in approach. Issue Three: After determining which generic strategy or strategies to adopt (after all, we may increasingly use “boutique” strategies in the future rather than those that are universally applicable), the theorist or air planner might ask, particularly in periods of conflict, “what level of destruction, disruption, and/or dislocation do I want?” As Kevin Williams and like-minded others have observed, air targeting inevitably causes hierarchical effects. A “first-order” effect, for example, involves the physical or functional destruction of a target within a broader system. If accomplished at a sufficient rate, it yields a “second-order” effect, which degrades a system’s overall ability to operate. Opponents will typically respond to this effect by trying to work around it and continuing to support their military strategy. In a “third-order” effect, adversaries can no longer compensate for the damage they are experiencing, and workarounds or substitutions no longer work. As a result, they must change their military strategy. Finally, a “fourth-order” effect signals victory, i.e., the imposition of your political will on your opponent. You produce this outcome by achieving third-order effects “in a unique and situationally dependent set of target systems.”48 To reach this point, however, air planners must always consider what level of destruction or dislocation they ultimately desire. With the above three issues properly resolved, one can then determine the specific target set(s) or objectives to attack. While deciding, however, the prospective attacker might want to rely on six criteria, particularly when dealing with tangible infrastructure or military-related targets.49 First, they might consider the military importance of a target. According to Karl Kaysen, this step could include “a rough classification of the value to enemy military operations of all types of equipment and supplies used

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by the enemy forces.”50 (The classification, however, is relative to the strategic situation, and to the tactics and doctrine of your opponent.) Second, one might ask: “What proportion of the target is put to direct military use?” The higher the proportion, the more important the target may be, especially in a short war scenario. Third, there is the criterion of depth; it measures the military importance of a target in terms of time. “Average depth,” according to Kaysen, “is a time concept designed to measure the average interval of time elapsing between the output of a good or service … and its appearance … in a finished military item in the hands of a tactical unit.”51 Typically, “the measure of depth is important as an indication of the time available to the enemy for the organization of substitute consumption, alternate production, and so forth, before he suffers military damage.”52 Again, in short war or – increasingly – preemption scenarios, a target with little “depth” may require immediate attention. Fourth, one should determine the economic vulnerability of a target, which could include the following – substitutability for processes and equipment, substitutability for products or services, process and plant layout vulnerabilities, an opponent’s recuperability, and ratio of capacity to output. Fifth, the planner must consider the actual physical properties of a target set and its vulnerabilities. What type of construction is it? What is it made of? Does it contain additional machinery, stocks of combustible or explosive materials, or other significant items? Finally, one must determine as accurately as possible the location and size of a target set.53 Only then is it possible to decide which specific targets require destruction and/or disruption. Step 5: So, after a theorist or planner has determined 1) what aspects of an opponent’s strengths or weaknesses to assail, 2) what types of strategy(ies) to adopt, 3) what levels of effects to seek, and 4) what actual target sets or objectives to assault, he or she still has to answer what used to be known as the “$64 Dollar Question” – i.e., what “mechanism(s)”

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do I expect an aerospace action to trigger? In other words, what changes or outcomes do I expect to occur as a result of my own efforts? Will a particular action, for example, cause economic dislocations, a loss of moral or legal standing, a political division among allies, a coup d’état, a military retreat, a popular revolt, or a decrease in the number of political risks an enemy is willing to take? Will it isolate ruling elites from their political bases, or from fielded military forces, and thus cause operational paralysis, both politically and militarily? Unfortunately, our ability to link aerospace means with ends – i.e., to establish an irrefutable causal link between specific targeting choices; 2nd, 3rd, or even further downstream effects; and the ultimate results they yield – remains iffy at best. Yes, over the last 80 years airmen have become very effective in maximizing first-order effects, but the causal calculus for cascading and indirect effects remains obscure. One obvious explanation for this predicament is that woven into any theory of airpower are a priori assumptions about mechanisms. These assumptions are not always obvious or necessarily wrong, but they nevertheless remain a collection of biases and belief systems rather than empirical proofs. As a result, airmen have historically not succeeded at recognizing mechanisms for what they are. Therefore, to improve their success rate in the future, they will need to define their assumptions more closely than before. Second, they will need to continue investing in Air & Space Operations Centers (ASOCs) that are broadly multidisciplinary in scope and include a variety of civilian specialists. Finally, and in order to apply the levers (or mechanisms) of aerospace power properly, they should “move mountains” to identify centers of gravity above and beyond traditional target sets. These COGs, for example, could include political, economic, social, or cultural beliefs and assumptions. They could also include government philosophies, social structures, special interest groups, or demographic factors. Only an expanded appreciation of these types of COGs, and the assumptions behind them, will enable theorists or planners to understand the dynamic, Janus-faced relationship between targeting and the mechanisms they trigger. Until then, understanding the relationship fully will remain the Holy Grail of aerospace power. Step 6: In providing an effective tool both to direct and analyze aerospace power, it is finally appropriate to address the issue of timing. Given the

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growing utility of aerospace power in peacetime, and the movement away from theater-level conventional operations towards asymmetric attacks that focus on disruption and paralysis, the proper timing of an aerospace action matters today like never before. There are three considerations when it comes to timing, however. First, there is the traditional question of when an action should occur? Then, should it be incremental, sequential, cumulative, or simultaneous? By answering these questions, air planners determine how to use time and space to their maximum advantage. The planners, for example, may choose to conduct a series of measured, escalatory air attacks, particularly if they subscribe to the views of Thomas Schelling. (Schelling famously argued in the 1960s that war is a form of vicious diplomacy, and therefore always retains a negotiatory character. The deliberate pauses of a gradualist campaign permit opponents to assess the growing costs and risks of a conflict. As a result, they can exchange proposals and counterproposals, and possibly reverse course before it proves too late.) On the other hand, air planners could conduct simultaneous assaults against multiple targets at different levels of intensity. With the advent of advanced data links and precision guided munitions (PGMs), the ability of well-stocked air forces to perform these types of simultaneous and devastating attacks has become commonplace. In fact, their sheer speed might cause opponents to capitulate, not because of traditional battlefield casualties, but because of the entropy and paralysis experienced by enemy command structures in compressed amounts of time and space. Finally, one might try to maintain steady-state combat operations over time. By retaining a Secure Reserve Force and withholding its use until first-strike forces are busy reconstituting themselves, combat commanders could apply constant pressure against an opponent over the long haul. As a result, they might avoid the cyclical (i.e., less effective) forms of pressure that still characterize carrier-based operations, for example. The above six categories … Desired Outcomes / Capabilities / Strategy(ies) / Targeting / Mechanisms / Timing … are not prescriptive. They support a reality-inclusive, process-oriented model – i.e., a type of “intellectual scaffolding” – that budding theorists can use to develop new concepts of

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operation in the future. As suggested earlier, however, the model can “kill two birds with one stone” – i.e., it can help distinguish past air theories from each other, and therefore help students of aerospace power avoid a common conceptual error – fixating on the “how,” “what,” and “where” of air theory, strategy, and even doctrine, rather than on the “why” behind them. Theories of Airpower: Some Pre-1945 Examples When it comes to past theories of airpower, it is critically important to remember that from the very beginning, air theorists disagreed on a key question – how do you actually persuade an opponent to abandon key political goals and objectives in wartime, and/or to adopt your own? The question spawned three “strategic”-level schools of thought, as reflected in the early airpower theories listed below. First, there were those who promoted the utility of a punishment strategy. They thought they could extract either political concessions or changes in behavior from opposing governments by terrorizing civilians, particularly with massive and indiscriminate attacks from the sky. Members of this group, including the Italian Giulio Douhet, the American William “Billy” Mitchell (late in his airpower ministry), and Great Britain’s Arthur “Bomber” Harris (also known as “Butch,” i.e., “butcher,” by Bomber Command air crews), argued that the heart of an enemy’s resistance was its population. If you used thousands of “battleplanes” to break the psychological will of the average citizen in the street, you would invariably break the will of a society at large. Second, there were those who advocated a risk strategy, which aimed at depriving an opponent the industrial capacity to wage war.54 Members of this group included the already mentioned Gianni Caproni and Nino Salvaneschi, the U.S. Army’s Air Corps Tactical School, and members of arguably the most prominent Allied targeting groups in World War II, the Committee of Operations Analysts and the Economic Objectives Unit. Finally, there were those who advocated a denial strategy, which fixated on destroying the most immediate threat one faced – an opponent’s fielded military forces. Continental military establishments such as the German and Russian General Staffs supported this option, which naturally subordinated airpower to the needs of the army.

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Theorist(s) Caproni/ Salvaneschi Douhet Mitchell Trenchard (in 1920s) Slessor

Desired Outcome Military defeat factories Change government or its behavior " " " " " "

Target Set(s) Major munitions equilibrium in equipment Population (cities) Vital centers War materiel, transportation, communications Troops, supplies, production Key econ. nodes (industrial web) Population (cities)

Mechanism Destroy

Revolution Civil Uprising Operational paralysis Interrupt or destroy equipment and supplies Social collapse, break popular will Fear, lost morale

Military defeat

ACTS

Change government or its behavior " " "

Harris Wilberg, Weber, & the Ger. General Staff COA EOU

Military defeat

Enemy field army Battlefield breakthrough, army destruction Munitions plants Materiel shortages

" "

" "

" "

Oil/transportation Operational paralysis

Figure 4: Representative Airpower Theories Prior to 1945

As to be expected, the above three schools of thought had very real limitations, both collectively and individually. In the case of their general weaknesses, the theorists/groups harbored a “Newtonian” or “Jominian” attitude towards war, as previously suggested. They believed that wars could be objectively analyzed, that identifiable principles or laws regulated

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their conduct, and that airpower could act unilaterally against impotent foes. Second, the theorists/groups were much too offensively minded. They consistently ignored the defense, and thus underestimated just how important a role it could play in aerial warfare (consider the truly lethal integrated air defense systems of today, for example). Finally, and as suggested earlier, every theorist/group confused combat effectiveness (means) with strategic effectiveness (ends) – i.e., no one could really guarantee that destroying a particular target set would trigger a specific reaction that would cause a desired political result. (In other words, they could not say “if I use X, Y will happen and lead to desired change Z.”) Douhet, therefore, could merely assume that attacking an enemy’s population would inspire it to revolt, and thus lead a responsive government to discontinue its counterproductive policies. By the same token, Caproni, Salveneschi, and the COA could only assume that destroying munitions plants would lead to equipment imbalances in the field, which would paralyze enemy military operations and eventually lead to changes in political behavior. In these cases and more, the reality was that targeting was “civilian” in nature (as it is today). Douhet and his successors were not necessarily well-tutored in politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and other related fields. As a result, their theories were not suitably holistic or multidisciplinary; their target(s)-mechanism(s) calculations ultimately depended on trial and error in war, particularly in the sphere of economics. If our theorists/groups had conceptual problems on the general level, they also had them on the specific level as well. For example, those moral agnostics who advocated punishing populations (Douhet, Harris, at times Hugh Trenchard, and the later Mitchell) either ignored or minimized the following six problems. 1) Psychological effects in conflicts are often only temporary. 2) Civilians typically become passive rather than politically active when terrorized from the sky – i.e., they do not rise up and revolt against their own government.

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3) If civilians feel their leaders are making a good faith effort to protect them from air attacks, they will not turn their anger towards them, as Douhet, Mitchell, and even Harris expected, but outward against the attacker.55 4) Authoritarian regimes are indifferent to popular suffering and will not readily respond to domestic political pressure. 5) Population attacks ignore – at their peril – the legal and moral precepts now firmly in place to preserve noncombatant immunity. 6) Civilian-centered air campaigns fly in the face of a growing number of legal-moral restraints on how you use airpower in war. In the case of those who advocated risk strategies against enemy economies (Caproni, Salvaneschi, the US Army’s Air Corps Tactical School, the wartime Committee of Operations Analysts and the Economic Objectives Unit), they ignored or minimized the following four problems. 1) Attackers tend to mirror image – i.e., they wrongly assume that an opponent’s economic/industrial infrastructure reflects their own, and therefore has the same critical vulnerabilities. 2) Modern economies are not brittle. They typically do not have clear breaking points – i.e., they do not necessarily “snap” when put under duress. Instead, they may lose their vitality much like a slow leaking balloon, even in an era of Hyperwar or Parallel Warfare (see below). 3) Air attacks against an economy/infrastructure are an indirect way to break a people’s will to resist. However, to foot-stomp yet again, the link between economic deprivation, political alienation, and changed political behavior, remains difficult to trace. 4) Attackers can have difficulty determining if an economic target is functionally destroyed, i.e., if it doesn’t work, as opposed to being physically shattered and broken. (In lengthy or gradualist campaigns, the distinction is an important one.) Lastly, those who advocated a denial strategy against an opponent’s fielded military forces (Wilberg, Slessor, et al.) invariably collided with the following biases and assumptions held by the “aeromaniacs.” (The

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latter assumed that ground commanders did not understand the value of theater-level air support against targets away from the immediate battlezone. As a result, they believed that denial strategies would only be misinterpreted by them, and therefore were ill advised.)

1. Aircraft are omnipotent; they can destroy any objective and are invulnerable to any defense. 2. Command of the air is a necessary and sufficient condition for military victory. 3. The second proposition stems from an Air Force “independent of surface forces and composed of maximum bombing power and the requisite fighting power.” 4. The independent Air Force must be a force-in-being. 5. It should always operate in mass. 6. It must devote all its efforts to the offensive, i.e., it should not divert itself to support auxiliary aviation. 7. The proper initial target of the independent Air Force is the enemy’s Air Force, especially its bases and places of production. 8. After achieving command of the air, “target selection depends on the situation of the moment and requires careful consideration.” 9. Surface forces should have a defensive function; the Air Force performs the major offensive action. Figure 5: Nine Anti-Army Propositions Regarding Airpower (Pre-1945)

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And if rejecting or adapting to the above New Orthodoxy was not enough of a problem for those wedded to denial strategies, they also had three legitimate concerns to fret about – 1) who actually controlled air assets in battle, 2) who decided what roles and missions those assets would perform, and 3) who selected the targets they attacked? Despite all of the limitations present in the 10 theories or 3 basic schools of thought schematized in Figure 4, the table also illustrates that there was a rich theoretical debate about the uses of airpower prior to 1945, and it lays out this debate in a comprehensive, easily digestible way. In short, Dr. Pape’s modified template is both an analytic tool for the past and a user-friendly template for the future.

Theories of Airpower: Some Post-War Examples (1950s–1970s) The target(s)-mechanism(s) model is equally useful for schematizing post-1945 theories of airpower, including the period-specific work of Irving Janis (1950s), Thomas Schelling (1960s), and Ernest May (1970s). Figure 6 depicts their overt and inferred theories, and provides a reference point for the discussion that follows. It also introduces a fourth basic school of thought on the proper uses of airpower (or what is now aerospace power). Not only might airmen direct aerial attacks against population, military, and/or economic/infrastructure targets, they should also concentrate on what has become known as leadership targeting. Air War and Emotional Stress (1951) was first a study sponsored by the RAND Corporation and conducted by Dr. Irving Janis, who sought to evaluate the psychological effects of air warfare on civilian populations. By analyzing the emotional responses, attitudes, and behavior of British, German, and Japanese civilians subjected to air bombardment in World War II, Janis drew two noteworthy conclusions about the impact of air power on noncombatants. First, the physical magnitude of an air attack was important to those who experienced it firsthand. Heavy bombing raids, in terms of size and tonnage, temporarily raised political apathy and the distrust of an afflicted population towards its political leaders.56 Such raids, however, were most effective if sporadic and unpredictable; they deprived an opponent the

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Theorist Janis

Political Outcome Change Policies

Target Set(s)

Mechanism

Leadership Near-Miss or Population Experiences

Schelling

Change Policies

Population/ Future Costs Military and/ and Risks or Leadership Calculations

May

Change Leaders Or Policies

Political Leadership

Pit Factions Against Each Other

Figure 6: Three Theories of Aerial Coercion

opportunity to adapt psychologically even for short periods of time. By disrupting familiar socio-political patterns, Janis concluded, irregular air attacks would discourage an opponent.57

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(The above conclusion then leads to a logical population-centered question – is it worthwhile for an air planner to lower an opposing group’s ability to adapt via sporadic air attacks, even though it inevitably raises their anger first and only discourages them later? As suggested earlier, if active or passive defenses do not exist, or if demands for retaliation go unheeded, civilians may shift their hostility from the attacker – who is the logical starting point for their resentment – to those domestic leaders or organizations that fail to provide organized support for their people [adequate shelters, integrated air defenses, relief measures, etc.]. In other words, since the aggression of a bombed population can be “diffuse and labile,” and potentially directed at all sources of authority, keeping an adversary group “off balance” with irregular bombing may be a viable politico-military option, provided one complements it with a deliberate attempt to blame the downstream consequences on the adversary’s own leaders or institutions.) In addition to stressing the virtues of sporadic air attacks, Janis also concluded that near-miss experiences – i.e., direct exposures to danger or its immediate effects – heightened fear and lowered morale. In Janis’s opinion, morale deteriorated most in those groups that narrowly escaped the effects of intense air assaults.58 The critical variable here was not the expected level of bombardment, but the degree of one’s personal involvement in an air attack. Remote-miss experiences actually calmed people’s fears, while intense, terrorizing near-miss experiences appreciably lowered their emotional ability to adapt.59 In fact, anyone who repeatedly experienced narrow escapes, Janis observed, “may become defeatist, his loyalty to his group may weaken and he may be less willing as a result to work for the achievement of his group’s aims.”60 Additionally, the afflicted person’s expectations of victory may diminish, and as his confidence ebbed, the morale-crushing impact of bombardment would only grow worse.61 There are, however, factors that undermine the utility of heavy and sporadic near-miss bombardment against civilian populations. Negative public attitudes, for example, may not necessarily lead to overt antigovernment behavior.62 Severely bombed civilians, for example, can suffer from the “law of mental inertia” – i.e., they first and foremost focus on personal survival, and therefore cling to the status quo.

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But what about opposing forces and leaders? In the first case, Stephen T. Hosmer and Group Captain Andrew Lambert, RAF, combine to argue that armies are psychologically coercible through near-miss and direct hit options if 1) they experience increasingly heavy and frequent bombardment that exceeds their expectations, 2) they are pinned-down and isolated, 3) they experience maximum discomfort and fatigue, 4) they develop a sense of expendability and hopelessness by being unable to retaliate, and 5) you provide them a political or military way out of their predicament.63 In the case of leadership, some analysts have argued that Colonel Khaddaffi’s near-miss experience with American bombers in 1986 did precipitate a significant change in the Libyan leader’s political behavior, at least in the near-term.64 But was the near-miss experience the cause? For those who agree with Janis, the question is moot. Near-miss experiences may well be a targeting option worth pursuing, especially because of continual improvements in precision munitions, stealth, and real-time platform-to-platform communications. As a working psychologist delving into the emotional responses of bombing victims, Janis’s approach was the opposite of Thomas Schelling’s rationalistic vision. The latter was a nuclear strategist in the heady days of the 1950s and early 1960s, when World War II American strategic bombing theory saw itself transformed into deterrence theory, specifically through a division of labor that occurred between civilian elites and the U.S. Air Force (see below). Strategic Air Command increasingly focused on developing mechanistic targeting plans for nuclear war, while the development of strategic theory became the responsibility of leading civilian strategists like Bernard Brodie, Herman Kahn, William Kaufman, Albert Wohlstetter, and Thomas Schelling. Schelling, as Arms and Influence (1966) confirms, was arguably the Clausewitz of nuclear theorists and the Godfather of Flexible Response, a theory the Johnson Administration applied unsuccessfully as a politico-military strategy against North Vietnam during the Second Indochina War. So what was the allure of Schelling’s theory of armed conflict, as adapted to the use of conventional airpower? Well, in the case of peacetime, he sensibly begins by arguing that airpower represents “the power to hurt.” It is, in other words, a bargaining chip that is most effective when held in

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reserve,65 where it can help mold the thinking and expectations of others, who should typically decide – through proper cost-risk calculations – that it is in their self-interest to forgo political mischief.66 But even if a war does break out, the looming, ever-present shadow of nuclear weapons almost guarantees it will be limited (again, limited wars by limited means for limited ends). The combatants will commit themselves to some level of mutual restraint, which allows conflicts to retain a negotiatory character – i.e., they remain “a bargaining process, one in which threats and proposals, counterproposals and counterthreats, offers and assurances, concessions and demonstrations, take the forms of actions rather than words, or actions accompanied by words.”67 Yet, while the bargaining continues, it is appropriate to deliberately manipulate the tempo of air operations. A gradualist approach, Professor Schelling observes, gives your enemies the opportunity to receive and respond to your signals effectively. Most importantly, it gives them the opportunity to communicate a willingness to quit fighting, which is the ultimate point of Schelling’s approach. The failure of gradualism in Vietnam seemingly invalidated Schelling’s vision of warfare as a vicious form of on-going negotiation and diplomacy. On the other hand, critics of the Rolling Thunder “strategic” bombing campaign and other measured applications of air power have conveniently ignored a key passage in Arms and Influence: “… it is so important to know who is in charge on the other side, what he treasures, what he can do for us and how long it will take him, and why we have the hard choice between being clear so that he knows what we want or vague so that he does not seem too submissive when he complies.”68 Since the Johnson Administration ultimately failed to gather this required data, or agree on the nature of the data it had, it is reasonable to assert that American policy in Vietnam was nothing more than a bastardized version of Schelling’s vision, and therefore did not necessarily represent its failure. This “blame game” issue aside, Schelling’s problems run deeper than a misplaced faith in gradualism, which interestingly enough has found new appeal in an era of calibrated, centralized command and execution warfare (see NATO operations in the Balkans in particular). However, if

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today’s aerospace power is to succeed as an instrument of vicious diplomacy and signal sending, as it ultimately did in Kosovo, its proponents must readily admit and adapt to the following problems. 1) Large government bureaucracies are not rational, unitary actors. They often lack the necessary subtlety or unity of purpose required to bargain violently for a prolonged period of time. 2) Advocates of signal sending cannot assume that messages are always clearly given and received. 3) Diplomacy based on gradualism must account for the adjustments, substitutions, and work-arounds your opponent will be able to perform. 4) Diplomacy based on gradualism may not convey your reasonableness and flexibility, but rather a negative impression – i.e., you may appear to lack resolve and/or be politically weak. 5) Diplomacy based on gradualism not only probes the political environment for problem solving opportunities, it actually alters it. Therefore, “vicious negotiations” themselves distort the signals sent and received. 6) Diplomacy based on signal sending cannot assume that the actors involved always perform costs-risks calculations that create identifiable breaking points in events. 7) Vicious diplomacy cannot assume that governments necessarily care about their people, and that they will change their behavior to spare them further suffering. 8) Vicious diplomacy tends to emphasize tinkering with the status quo. It does not necessarily involve seeking revolutionary political change. 9) Protractedness, vicious or not, may not be a “natural” diplomatic trait for some nations. In discretionary conflicts especially, where vital interests are not at stake, they may lack a capacity for prolonged signal sending.

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Finally, there is one more issue to resolve – what is the preferred target set of a gradualist, signal-sending campaign? In Schelling’s opinion, it is the enemy population – “Populations may be frightened into bringing pressure on the governments to yield or desist; they may be disorganized in a way that hampers their government; they may be led to bypass, or to revolt against, their own government to make accommodation with the attacker.”69 Schelling’s approach, however, assumes that the above nine challenges will not ultimately undermine mutual comprehension and clarity. Given the daunting problems they actually represent, one might ask whether vicious diplomacy should concentrate on more manageable populations – i.e., well-defined and homogenous ones such as military and leadership establishments. Third, there is the implicit airpower theory contained in Ernest May’s Lessons of the Past (1976). In Chapter V of the volume, May looks at early instances where governments tried to use aerial bombardment to coerce others. He identifies three failures (Italian chemical attacks against Ethiopia in the 1930s, Japanese terror attacks against the Chinese during the SinoJapanese War, and Fascist assaults against Republican troops in the Spanish Civil War), but also two successes – Italy and Japan in World War II. But why did the air weapon change political behavior in the latter two cases and not in the previous three? The answer, according to May, was factionalism; both Italy and Japan were authoritarian, faction-ridden states. In the Italian case, Mussolini routinely pitted various political and bureaucratic factions against each other in order to retain ultimate power. At the same time, under-secretaries, bureau chiefs, staff officers, and party functionaries continued to plot against him. They naturally gathered strength while Italy accumulated military defeats. Finally, when Allied Air Forces bombed railroad centers in Rome (July 1943), twothirds of the members in the Fascist Grand Council mustered the resolve to rebuke Mussolini. According to Dr. May, the bombing also inspired King Victor Emmanuel to unseat Il Duce, replace him with Pietro Badoglio and a cabinet of nonfascists, and set the stage for a separate peace. In short, if Dr. May’s reading of history is accurate, Italy’s foreign policy changed because its leadership changed, and it was the bombardment of Rome, coupled with the fear of future attacks, that contributed to these changes.70

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The same logic applied to Japan. A deified emperor ruled over fragmented elites. Civil ministries, political parties, segments of the military, aristocrats, and intellectuals all refused to cooperate with each other. As a result, the key to change was Emperor Hirohito. His decisions to dismiss General Tojo in July 1944 and surrender in August 1945 were both long overdue. Yet those factions that successfully pressured the Emperor to act were similar to those in Italy. According to May, they were concerned bureaucrats, military officers who distanced themselves from the policies of the past, and politicians working to unseat blameworthy rivals. As was the case in Italy, actual bombardment and the fear of future bombardment “had some effect” in changing Japanese foreign policy.71 In fairness to Dr. May, he repeatedly claims that his speculations constitute more of a thought-piece than a theory. He does conclude, however, that nations with fragmented ruling elites are potentially vulnerable to aerial coercion.72 Strategic air attacks may contribute to the installation of new leaders who have little or no stake in past policies, and thus are willing to change them. But which groups can assume power and adopt new policies? If they exist, can aerial bombardment either strengthen or weaken them? On the latter point, May is largely silent. He suggests that air power is just one factor among many that coalesce under historically unique circumstances to trigger a change in an opposing nation’s leadership structure. How air power contributes to this change depends on the situation and the interpretive skills of the air planner. May is quite clear, however, about which leadership factions are vulnerable to aerial suasion and capable of dislodging others. Given their access to uncensored information, it is the “pessimists” who best recognize the dangers of a particular policy, and thus can agitate for change. They include members of foreign ministries, intelligence bureaus, and internal security forces. They include ambassadors, ministers and civil servants concerned with domestic affairs, intelligence analysts, and future forecasters. Lastly, they also include internal security officers, military leaders not associated with current policies, and politicians eager to secure their own futures.73 By analyzing the above factions and how they behaved in Italy and Japan, Dr. May ultimately drew three conclusions: 1) to reduce an enemy’s

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commitment to a particular policy, multiple levels of a bureaucracy must become pessimistic about its costs; 2) those associated with foreign affairs and intelligence agencies are typically the first to recognize the weaknesses of a particular policy; and 3) the logical advocates for change are those who work in four areas – foreign relations, internal security, intelligence, and even those who work in the domestic economy. Keeping these conclusions in mind, can aerial bombardment promote disaffection between (and among) bureaucrats and ruling elites? Can air power nudge dissidents to precipitate a leadership (i.e., policy) change? According to a very cautious Dr. May, there is some evidence to suggest that the threat of bombardment “might contribute to bureaucratic anxiety … and hence enhance in some small degree the chances of governmental change resulting in a change in policy.”74 Therefore, as Figure 6 illustrates, a series of air assaults against an enemy’s leadership structure might lead to changes in personnel or policies. The mechanism of change somehow involves promoting factionalism within (and between) politico-bureaucratic elites to create conditions that allow “pessimists” to restructure the government and its policies. Dr. May’s endorsement of aerial bombardment as an instrument of coercion acknowledges that change usually occurs, in the words of Albert Hirschman, “as a result of a unique constellation of highly disparate events and is therefore amenable to paradigmatic thinking only in a very special sense.”75 However, despite May’s keen awareness of the dangers of theorization, his provisional model gives us a reason to address three coercion-related issues here – 1) the relationship between cause and effect in aerial attacks, 2) the distinction between external and internal threats to a nation or group, and 3) the recent impact of modern technology, to include PGMs and stealth systems, on political coercion. Issue 1: How do aerial attacks, via the unspecified pressures they exert, yield particular political effects? What specific targets do you attack, for example, to promote factionalism between bureaucratic pessimists and those who actually dictate policy? How can airpower empower one faction and yet weaken another? On these questions of cause and effect Dr. May is understandably silent. Although he tries to link Italian and Japanese shifts in behavior to aerial assaults, the “how” of the process

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remains unclear. Like his predecessors, May ultimately assumes, rather than empirically proves, that aerial bombardment facilitated the restructuring of enemy leadership elites and their policies. His interpretation of aerial coercion hearkens back to Jomini and the rationalists – it is elegant and symmetrical, but its historical foundations are suspect. In fact, it is sufficiently doubtful that several critics have concluded that air attacks did not inspire Japanese leaders (i.e., the Army) to reverse course in August 1945. Instead, it was Russia’s entry into the war (Paul Kecskemeti), the atom bomb (Herbert Feis), or the U.S. naval blockade, coupled with the Soviet invasion of Manchuria (Robert Pape), which dictated the timing of surrender. These interpretations, although just a limited sample, show that there is no consensus on why it took over a year to translate Japan’s obvious military defeat into actual war termination. Dr. May’s claim – that newly empowered “moderates” needed over a year to reverse past policies – is only one interpretation among many. Yet, the relationship he establishes between air attack and political behavior depends on it.76 Issue 2: Dr. May appears to believe that external threats to a leader’s power or survival are less credible and less compelling than threats that come from within his or her own country. In this respect, he seems to agree with Kenneth Waltz, who warns against confusing external means with internal control. According to Waltz, using external force is merely “a means of establishing control over a territory, not of exercising control within it.”77 External force, for example, cannot pacify a nation and establish internal political rule. These tasks, Waltz argues, involve processes that are distinct from those triggered by the external use of force, including airpower. As a result, those theorists who claim that a specific external action (air attack) can lead to a particular internal effect (a change in leadership or policy) are doomed to fail. May tries to avoid this “causality trap,” as defined by Waltz, by establishing a hierarchy between primary internal threats and secondary (or supporting) external ones. In contrast, those who fall into the trap equate military power with control, and with the ability to coerce others. And yet, merely equating power with control, as Waltz notes, does not prove that one leads to the other. “To define ‘power’ as ‘cause’ confuses process with outcome. To identify power with control is to assert that only power

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is needed in order to get one’s way.”78 Both assumptions, which infect the thinking of virtually all airpower thinkers, are dangerous. They allege that an intended act and its results are identical. In any scenario, however, the context of an action, along with an opponent’s reaction, will yield unanticipated political results. Because he believes these factors are important, Dr. May decides that faction-driven internal threats are more credible than external threats, including aerial bombardment. The latter can only prod, in some ill-defined way, internal groups to act. As a result, it can only have an indirect effect on what leaders value most – personal survival and the preservation of individual power. When all is said and done, however, creating a hierarchy of internalexternal threats may be the equivalent of “rearranging the deck chairs” when it comes to the problem of causality. Do air attacks actually motivate leadership factions to reverse themselves and reject the status quo, or do they merely provide a pretext for already disaffected groups to act? More importantly, how does bombardment indirectly increase the influence of one political faction at the expense of another? Unfortunately, by establishing a simple dichotomy in his factionalism – flexible moderates against inflexible hard-liners – May oversimplifies the relationship between air attacks and political influence. He does not clearly identify (or analyze) those myriad factors that directly shape an opponent’s external policies, nor does he relate them to the indirect impact of aerial assaults. In other words, like subsequent advocates of aerial coercion, he does not always answer the following required questions. 1) Who actually controls the foreign policy-making process? 2) What are the arguments competing bureaucratic factions use to support their policy prescriptions? 3) How skillful is each faction in promoting its prescriptions? 4) What is the level of adversary understanding of your own policies and motives? 5) Which interpretation of your motives dominates the factional debate?

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6) How do domestic factors influence the tug of war over whether to compete or cooperate with an external foe?79 Failure to answer these questions is to miss a key point – the indirect impact of coercive air attacks depends on how enemy elites see their own policies. The attacks may indirectly tumble hard-liners from power, but only if moderates successfully blame them for the attacks. In this case, the role of aerial coercion is therefore twofold – to cause unacceptable suffering and to eliminate any doubt over the root cause of the suffering. If hard-liners successfully portray your air attacks as undeserved and an expression of your ill will, their power will actually grow. The attacks will undercut those who want to change the status quo by making them appear merely ambitious and disloyal. However, if moderate “pessimists” successfully portray the attacks as a reaction to the unnecessarily hostile policies promoted by those in power, it may result in political change. In this case, the hard-liners are not guiltless victims; their wounds are largely self-inflicted. Again, the key is how opponents see their own policies and how air attacks support the manipulation of this self-perception by moderates. Issue 3: Writing in the 1970s, Dr. May understandably failed to anticipate the current revolution in military affairs. Because of superior command and control technologies, precision guided munitions and 4th generation stealth (the F-22), the ability of airpower to cause “bureaucratic anxiety” and strengthen or weaken the power of “pessimistic” enemy factions may have grown exponentially. As a result, Waltz’s “causality trap” may not be as pronounced as it once was. Precise external attacks may now directly impact the internal political dynamics of an enemy nation (as they perhaps did in the case of “crony targeting” in Operation Allied Force). If so, practitioners of aerial coercion may want to exploit factionalism in a different way than May suggests. Dr. May’s theory, after all, minimizes an obvious point – a change in leadership or political behavior (or both) may be the consequence of relative risk calculations made by a leader who sees internal and external threats as equally important and credible. If both types of threats have the same weight, then one can argue the following: 1) leaders are coercible when the threats against their personal or political survival are greater from external sources than internal sources; 2) leaders are not coercible if

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the threat from internal sources is higher than external sources; and 3) leaders are not coercible when the risks of compliance are equal to the risks of noncompliance.80 Obviously, these conclusions clash with Dr. May’s indirect approach. They assume that serious internal challenges to a leader’s power and authority will only stiffen his or her resolve. If the above is true, air planners should not indirectly aid and abet disaffected groups of “pessimists.” Instead, they should attempt to raise the perceived external risks to a leader’s personnel and political survival to a higher level than the perceived internal risks.81 The logic of this approach is simple – if hostile leaders confront both external and internal threats, they will try to reduce those threats that they have the most control over, including the elimination of opposition groups. Seen from this perspective, internal factions actually inhibit a leader’s willingness to comply with external goals – i.e., external demands “will succeed only when conditions are safe for the leader to be coerced, and that means lower relative internal risks of compliance.”82 Thus, the external actor must do the opposite of what Dr. May recommends. The actor must not rely on unmanageable internal “pessimists” to coerce an opponent to behave properly. Nor should he or she allow the perceived internal threats to an enemy rise to a level equal to or higher than external threats. If they do, calculated intransigence and repression is more likely to occur than a change in leadership or policy. But if internal opposition within an enemy nation actually impedes political change, is there a viable external, leadership-oriented option available instead? In fact, there are two immediate options worth considering, as advocated by George Quester and John Warden (see further below for Warden). In the first case, we have George Quester’s “expectancy hypothesis,” as explored by Martin Fracker.83 The foundations of the hypothesis are as follows: 1) the expectations of those who experience an air attack are more important – as psychological variables – than their capacity (and willingness) to endure pain, and 2) information that comes as a surprise has greater emotional impact than unsurprising data.84 With these two propositions firmly established, Quester’s “expectancy hypothesis” suggests that if the ferocity of an air attack exceeds the expectations of those

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attacked, they might suffer a psychological defeat and abandon future hostilities.85 Naturally, Quester’s hypothesis raises multiple questions, including a number of which also apply to Dr. May’s provisional theory. What is the threshold that triggers feelings of despair and defeat in an opponent? How much bombardment is too much? Are there other factors – cultural values, the nature of the government, political objectives, the dynamics of war termination – that raise or lower the threshold of your opponent’s resolve? Lastly, how long will the shock of exceeded expectations last, and thus possibly impact political behavior?86 These questions confirm that the cross-cultural and psychological impacts of air bombardment are still not totally understood. Nevertheless, to disrupt the psychological expectations of leadership elites may bear fruit, as might Dr. Janis’s previously highlighted approach. The discussion in the second part of this article had a dual purpose. Not only did it provide an analytic tool and points of reference for budding theorists to consider when developing their own thinking, it also employed the same tool to schematize 13 previously developed theories of airpower (or alternately, four schools of thought). In the latter case, the text paid particular attention to the possibilities and problems reflected in the ideas of Irving Janis, Thomas Schelling, and Ernest May. These individuals are noteworthy not only for what they said and when they said it, but also for what they represented. They symbolized an evolving recognition that airpower was much more than a blunt, destructioncentered instrument of total war. Instead, it had the potential to function as a tool that deterred, compelled, and coerced others in increasingly discriminate ways. However, as important a philosophic shift as this belief represented, it was civilian theorists who were largely responsible for its development and popularization. The reason for this predicament was that airmen had ceased to function as theorists in the way we had come to know Douhet, Mitchell, Slessor, and members of the Bomber Mafia as theorists. They had forgotten, for example, that theory provides compact descriptions, clues for explanations, and tools for better work.87 They had forgotten that it helps trace the different tendencies that potentially exist in a situation; that it points out the different conditions that make it possible for one tendency to prevail over another; and that it helps assess the proba-

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bility of one condition or tendency prevailing over another.88 Finally, they had forgotten that theory: Allows a senior commander to break free from the constraining bonds of petrified instruction, obsolete doctrine, and slavish adherence to ‘how we fought the last war.’ It helps the warfighter shape developing situations; it lets the leader dictate and act, not react … it determines one’s warfighting style, which in turn drives one’s doctrine. A nation’s doctrine [then] determines the type, size, and character of its force structure; the nature, quality, discipline, and morale required of its personnel; and the type of support and direction needed from political authority.89 This form of amnesia (and aphasia, for that matter) was certainly true in the case of United States, where “blue suiters” failed to improve upon, refine, or even evolve beyond the great legacy of the U.S. Army Air Corps Tactical School – high altitude precision daylight bombardment – until John Boyd’s mature work on decision-cycle dominance appeared in the 1980s.90 However, Boyd had retired by the time his ideas really took off, and his interests were never exclusively air-centric. The latter distinction belongs to John Warden, who as an active duty USAF officer not only made major contributions to aerospace power thinking in his own right, but who can also function as a convenient symbol for the quiet revolution that occurred in air and space power thinking in the mid- to late1980s, thanks to forward-looking airmen such as Generals Mike Dugan, John “Mike” Loh, Perry Smith, and others. It is for these reasons that this article will next focus on Colonel Warden as its representative thinker for the 1980s and early 1990s. Before discussing his ideas, however, it is absolutely essential to put them in context – i.e., to tell the story of loss and recovery in post-World War II American airpower theory. US Airpower Theory During the Cold War – In and Out of the Wilderness During the Cold War, the theoretical foundations of the U.S. Air Force remained the same as they had during World War II. An additional (and major) assumption did appear, however – airpower involved not only strategic (and conventional) assaults against an opponent’s economy, it also had a growing role to play in general and tactical nuclear warfare,

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general army support, and counterinsurgency operations. This growth in responsibilities was not a neutral development. Instead, it was a symptom of what would become a severe problem – airmen abandoned their work in theory and doctrine in order to become mere advocates of particular weapon systems. Let us look at how this happened in detail. Prior to 1960, there were three distinct reasons for the U.S. Air Force’s retreat from further conceptual development: 1) the inability of the service to develop comprehensive doctrine; 2) the fixation of Curtis LeMay and Strategic Air Command (SAC) on the “how” of targeting rather than the “why” of strategy; and 3) the transformation of strategic bombardment theory, as first defined by the Air Corps Tactical School, into deterrence theory.91 In the first case, postwar Air Force leaders shrank from the opportunity to formalize air theory into doctrine, and thus build a bridge between the two. Individuals like Major General Charles Chauncey, deputy chief of the Air Staff, feared that any attempt to update War Department Field Manual 100–20, Command and Employment of Air Power (1943), would alienate the Army and Navy, and thus derail attempts to create a separate air force.92 When in 1947 the Air Force did decide to formalize its thinking, it confronted three major problems. First, those assigned to update FM 100–20 claimed they had little to build on, despite the legacy of the Air Corps Tactical School. In their opinion:

The Air Force had been ‘organized and operated as a result of ideas existing in the minds of a very few men’ that had ‘never been well stated’ and had ‘never been brought together and organized into a complete and logical form’ nor ‘explained in suitable terms bearing the sanction of official approval’.93

The claim was true. Millard F. Harmon, Assistant Commandant of the Tactical School from 1938–40, once admitted to General George C. Marshall that “there is so much of what we teach that has never been documented …”94

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Second, those charged with transforming theory into doctrine lacked the skills necessary for the job. An appalled Muir Fairchild found that his Air University planners were unable to produce draft manuals that were comprehensive and yet easily understood. The completed manuals were, in the words of Major General John Barker, “stilted, expressionless, and to a considerable extent meaningless.”95 Third, the responsibility of transforming theory into doctrine, although initially performed by Air University, spread to the Air Staff and the major commands. The latter developed their own “doctrines” and were loath to relinquish that responsibility. Tactical Air Command, for example, disliked Air University’s emphasis on the indivisibility of airpower and on theater-level (rather than tactical-level) air forces. It also argued, in the guise of the USAF Air-Ground Operations School, that no organization should “surrender its basic doctrine willingly, or shift from a major to subordinate role, unless it is consulted beforehand and is prepared to accept as an emergency measure such overriding doctrine.”96 Not surprisingly, this type of internal bickering led to a serious lack of standardization within the Air Force. The above problems meant that Air Force Manual 1–2, United States Air Force Basic Doctrine, did not appear until April 1953, and then only after five painstaking years of effort.97 The manual did not aggressively reaffirm the industrial web theory developed by the Air Corps Tactical School and its wartime successors. Instead, it stressed broad principles of airpower employment, to include centralized offensive operations by an independent air force against strategic “heartland” and “peripheral” targets. These principles, which were really no more than a collection of working propositions, reappeared in the 1955 revision of AFM 1–2. The revised manual claimed that the U.S. Air Force had no equal; that airpower played a vital role throughout the spectrum of international conflict, including conflicts other than general war; and that America’s air strength worked best as an instrument of deterrence or political persuasion.98 Significantly, AFM 1–2 did not make these claims at the expense of the other military services. The language of the ten-page manual was sufficiently ambiguous and joint operations-centered to avoid any complaints. Yet because of its empty prose, and focus on broad principles and propositions, AFM 1–2 ultimately failed to transform

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theory into doctrine. As a result, the thousands of fliers that entered the Air Force during the 1950s remained largely ignorant of the theoretical debates that had preceded them. Instead of grappling with the theories previously listed in Figure 6, and attempting to improve them, they either focused on the immediate tactical problems at hand, first in Korea and then in Vietnam, or they yielded to the dogmatic vision of Curtis LeMay. If substandard operations manuals illustrated the growing intellectual poverty of the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s, so did Curtis LeMay, a supreme pragmatist who claimed that the “Bomber Mafia” of the Air Corps Tactical School had taught him nothing.99 As commander of Strategic Air Command, LeMay promoted the lethal fiction that targeting was a synonym for strategy. As a result, a schism developed in the 1950s between strategic theory and actual planning.100 Strategic theory, as developed by civilian academics like Bernard Brodie, Herman Kahn, William Kaufman and Albert Wohlstetter, did influence U.S. policy makers, but it had little impact on SAC, which merely adapted a new way of war (nuclear) to an old doctrine (precision strategic bombardment).101 SAC targeteers largely ignored the civilian theorists and focused on developing increasingly mechanical (and elaborate) targeting plans for nuclear war. They could do so because SAC had clout. Postwar economic pressures made the nuclear option a politically attractive one, and the public did see nuclear weapons as a “magic bullet” solution for thorny political problems. Additionally, SAC was a nearly autonomous unified military command that controlled the National Strategic Target List and major intelligence resources. There was nothing to prevent LeMay and company from confusing bureaucratic self-interest with national survival, which they readily did.102 The SAC targeteers used intelligence estimates as a weapon to justify huge increases in appropriations. More money meant a larger nuclear stockpile. A larger stockpile justified an expanded target list, which then required a larger bomber force. A larger force, in turn, needed more nuclear bombs. The circular logic used to overlay men and machines over a target list thus became a sorry substitute for creative thinking. The inspired theoreticians of the past (Kenneth Walker, Donald Wilson, Haywood Hansell and others) now yielded to the “techno-twits” of the atomic age, who concentrated on weapons development and the

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mechanics of target identification and destruction (two preoccupations that often focus on the tactical level – the “how” level – of war).103 As a result, civilian theories of nuclear warfare dominated Air Force thinking by 1961. Lastly, the Air Force of the 1950s lost its theoretical vigor because strategic bombardment theory evolved into deterrence theory. The end began with the New Look, a policy designed by the Eisenhower administration to deter a wide variety of Sino-Soviet threats, including nuclear attack. What made the New Look different was that it was a top down policy change promoted by civilian elites. Yet, to Air Force leaders who were increasingly unable (or unwilling) to distinguish the concept of strategic air attack from nuclear war, the introduction of the New Look did not pose a threat. Carl Spaatz, Thomas White, Nathan Twining, Curtis LeMay, and others believed that the American theory of high altitude daylight precision bombardment had succeeded in World War II, and they saw the New Look as a mere elaboration and validation of previously developed thinking.104 LeMay, for example, argued into the 1960s that basic Air Force doctrine had remained consistent and generally unchanged since the formation of the Army’s semi-independent GHQ Air Force in 1935.105 Because of such thinking, the theory of precision strategic bombardment, first developed by the ACTS “Bomber Mafia” in the 1930s and subsequently modified for nuclear warfare, remained a core belief. Yet, if the theory filled an intellectual void it did so at a price. The transformation of airpower theory into deterrence theory, and the use of deterrence to justify exceptionally large Air Force budgets in the 1950s, did nothing to fix three problems that lingered in the service: 1) the conversion of theory into doctrine, tactics, and concepts of employment remained unsteady and of questionable value, particularly in early doctrinal manuals; 2) the assumption that targeting and strategy were synonyms for each other became dogma, particularly in Strategic Air Command; and 3) Air Force leaders committed themselves to a deterrence-based theory of strategic bombardment that was not comprehensive enough to address all the ends and means of airpower, as painfully illustrated by the air war in Vietnam.106

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In the 1960s, the already failing capacity of the Air Force to theorize about airpower suffered two additional (and long-term) blows. First, its long-standing assumptions about independent bombardment went unchallenged during the Vietnam War, especially since it concentrated only 6.7% of its missions on “strategic” assaults against a nation that was neither modern nor industrialized.107 The service’s focus was overwhelmingly tactical; 75% of Air Force missions occurred in South Vietnam and included a wide variety of tasks – close air support, airlift missions, search and rescue operations, etc.108 And yet, despite the tactical nature of the air war, American airmen sought to support limited political ends with a strategy associated with unlimited military means.109 They had few opportunities, and those they had ultimately failed.110 Nevertheless, Air Force leaders like John Vogt, commander of 7th Air Force, continued to believe in past principles, particularly since the “strategic” air war had been episodic and narrow in scope. Rather than question ACTS-inspired dogma (Curtis LeMay once defined it as “let’s clean up the manure pile, [and] not swat the flies”), they fixated on assigning blame. They alternatingly blamed the media, cowardly (i.e., treasonous) civilian leaders, who failed to use airpower properly,111 or unconventional warfare itself, which was dismissed as an atypical experience in the profession of arms. By playing the blame game, however, Vogt and other air leaders ignored the confusion that existed between ends and means in the war. They confused efficiency – “sortie rates, number of bombs dropped, supplies airlanded, and how quickly or how economically airpower could perform tasks” – with effectiveness, which was measurable only in terms of the actual impact airpower had on the enemy’s willingness to fight.112 Stated differently, our air leaders confused numbers with strength, they confused technical sophistication with mission effectiveness, and they misunderstood the role of human factors in war. In part, they committed these errors in the name of an ACTSbased theory that became part mythology and part theology after World War II. If the Vietnam War did not jolt airmen back to the theoretical and doctrinal drawing board, it did leave the Air Force with a diversity of ends and means. “The end, rather than striking at the heart of the enemy, became striking at the enemy anywhere. The means came to include not just strategic bombers but tactical fighters as well as military transport,

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missile, and space systems.”113 As a result of this newfound diversity, two things happened. First, the long-standing assumption that airpower theory and aircraft were one and the same finally came to an end. Air leaders now had a choice to make – they could focus on concepts of airpower supported by multiple means, or they could neglect theory and concentrate on preserving manned aircraft as the preferred instrument of war. The airmen, according to the late RAND analyst Carl Builder, “revealed – through their decisions more than their words – that their true affection was not for the theory of airpower, but for the airplane.”114 In other words, the means became the ends. Airmen did not quarrel over air theory or doctrine per se; instead, they quarreled over the mechanics of air combat – missiles versus aircraft, manned versus unmanned systems, and spacedbased versus air-breathing platforms. As a result, the institutional Air Force began to “fractionate into factions,” and each faction promoted its own aircraft, weapon systems, and organizations.115 The breaking apart of the Air Force then contributed to a second problem; the center of power in the service shifted from Strategic Air Command to Tactical Air Command. From 1960 through 1975, and for multiple reasons, SAC lost approximately 109,000 airmen, 2,480 aircraft, and 37 air bases.116 TAC, in contrast, gained 27,185 men and retained 1,633 aircraft (25 percent more than SAC). Further, by 1975 fighter-oriented generals headed 10 of the Air Force’s 15 major commands.117 They found a sympathetic leader in General George S. Brown, the Air Force Chief of Staff. Brown’s background paralleled the growing diversity of Air Force missions. He had first-hand experience in strategic bombardment, air superiority, and close air support (particularly when he served as General Creighton Abrams’s Deputy for Air Operations in Vietnam). As a result, Brown was more than familiar with tactical air operations and their growing importance in roles and missions debates. The consequences of the above trends were real enough. First, they aggravated the intellectual drift of an organization now split into “strategic” and “tactical” camps. The Air Force no longer had a sense of community or an integrated, unifying vision. Second, the major commands became semiautonomous fiefdoms that tied their fortunes to weapon sys-

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tems rather than comprehensive theories or doctrines of airpower. (They now largely focused on hardware.) Third, fighter-oriented airmen continued to worship at the altar of strategic bombardment, but frequently with the detached, empty formality of a nonbeliever. The focus increasingly shifted to conventional war in Europe, as illustrated by the 1975 version of Air Force Manual 1–1. Like its predecessors, the manual continued to emphasize the deterrence value of strategic airpower in a nuclear role, but it also acknowledged the growing importance of tactical air forces in theater conventional warfare. The emphasis on tactical air forces, in turn, coincided with the introduction of the U.S. Army’s AirLand Battle Doctrine (ALB). According to the Army, if the Air Force could not provide itself with a truly comprehensive theory of airpower, then the Army would, even if it refused to recognize conventional strategic air attack as a formal mission. With the introduction of AirLand Battle Doctrine in 1975, Army influence spread, as illustrated by the 1978 version of Tactical Air Command Manual 2–1. On the one hand, the manual promoted orthodoxy. It claimed that the primary role of tactical airpower was deterrence, but should deterrence fail, the Air Force had the unilateral ability to win wars. On the other hand, the manual made a major concession to the Army. It abandoned the hierarchy of tactical air missions first established by FM 100–20 in World War II. Instead of arguing that air superiority took precedence over any other mission, TACM 2–1 now stated that “Success in any armed conflict may require tactical air forces to perform counter air, close air support, and interdiction operations simultaneously …”118 The manual, with caveats, committed the Air Force to support “engaged surface forces” whenever necessary. As a result, TACM 2–1 contributed, unwittingly or not, to the growing, fractious influence of AirLand Battle Doctrine within the Air Force. Support for ALB also came from other quarters. A significant number of airmen, shaped by their tactical, fighter-oriented experiences in Vietnam, readily backed the doctrine. They found its mid-1980s emphasis on airground cooperation at the theater level persuasive. General Charles Donnelly, for example, took the first step and agreed that airpower was “a theater-level concept,” and that airmen had to think, plan, and train from a theater-level perspective.119 TAC commander Robert Russ took

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the second step and subsequently observed that “Outside of strategic air defense, everything that tactical air does [in a theater] directly supports the airland battle.”120 Given the growing impact of ALB, did the 1979 and 1984 versions of Air Force Manual 1-1 confront the challenges the doctrine represented? Both versions were actually cautious in their response. In particular, the infamous “comic book” edition of 1979 contained “generalities, unsubstantiated assertions and irrelevant quotations” that restated, yet again, familiar themes (airmen must strike enemy industrial centers, etc.).121 Theorization by the Air Force was certainly a thing of the past.122 By the mid-1980s, the service had a fundamentally tactical and operational orientation to airpower, despite its continued strategic nuclear role. The tactical-operational orientation, however, now depended on a theoretical and doctrinal framework provided by the U.S. Army. This state of affairs continued until the 1980s, when a new group of airmen appeared and argued that the Air Force was more than airborne artillery or support for the Army. In their opinion, the service had lost its way. It had lost its historical, theoretical, and doctrinal bearings, unlike the Army, with its AirLand Battle Doctrine, and even the Navy, with what was then its Maritime Strategy. What the Air Force needed was a “unifying theme” around which to develop a “suitable strategic calculus.”123 Beginning in the mid-1980s, Air Force officers like Colonel John Warden began to develop such a theme. The New Aerospace Revolution and Colonel John Warden124 America’s defeat in Vietnam did inspire self-criticism in its military, although one could argue that the U.S. Air Force lagged behind the other services. Over time, however, some Air Force leaders concluded that they had not been Clausewitzian enough in their thinking. They had tried to fight a conventional war, with its emphasis on sortie rates and other mismeasures of merit, against what were largely insurgents. Reciprocally, they had neglected the subtle politico-military dimensions of an overtly political war.125 Like the Marine Corps, therefore, the American Air Force’s reaction to Vietnam was “a return to the basics.” For example, seminars on Carl von

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Clausewitz appeared in the Air War College curriculum for the first time. In turn, warrior-scholars like Perry Smith, David MacIsaac, Thomas Fabyanic, and Alan Gropman, to name just a few, argued that air strategy was actually a “mental tapestry of intentions” frustrated by the unpredictability of war. They also concluded that airmen should not subscribe to individual theories of airpower, particularly those that overstressed the importance of technology. Instead, they should contemplate a variety of theories, and thus avoid the false certainties that beclouded air planners in Vietnam. Lastly, the reformers argued that whatever theories airmen did adopt, they should apply them only in a gross fashion. Like Moltke the Elder, they claimed that each war is unique, that an enemy’s vulnerabilities are culture-specific, and that they are often identifiable only after the fact. By his own admission, John Warden initially succumbed to the above trends. He questioned his earlier faith in technology and concentrated on the psychological and political dimensions of war. However, he increasingly became uncomfortable with the mystical, romantic dimensions of the “Clausewitz Mafia.” Clausewitz was right when he talked about fog, friction, and morale; he was right, though, in a time when: … communications were almost non-existent; weapons had little more range or accuracy than those of the Roman legions; most movement was at a walking pace; battles were won or lost depending on the outcome of tens of thousands of almost personal encounters between soldiers who could see each other when they fired; and when war was largely confined to the clash of men or ships at a limited point in time and space.126 In Napoleonic warfare it was impossible to separate the physical from the intangible dimensions of war, although the latter was “to the physical as three is to one.” Warden argued, however, that with the advent of stealth technology and precision guided munitions, the equation had changed – the physical and intangible elements of war were now at least co-equal.127 In fact, we could now put the intangibles of war – chance and morale, fog and friction – into a distinct category, separate from the physical. According to Warden:

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In today’s world strategic entities, be they industrial state or guerilla [sic] organization, are heavily dependent on physical means. If the physical side of the equation can be driven close to zero, the best morale in the world is not going to produce a high number on the outcome side of the equation. Looking at this equation, we are struck by the fact that the physical side of the enemy is, in theory, perfectly knowable and predictable. Conversely, the moral side – the human side – is beyond the realm of the predictable in a particular situation because humans are so different one from another. Our war efforts, therefore, should be directed primarily at the physical side.128 The above quotations illustrate three key points about John Warden’s vision of war. First, Warden represents a necessary correction to the post1975 overemphasis on the psychological and moral dimensions of air warfare. Put another way, the Clausewitzian revival of the late 1970s yielded mixed results. Yes, it revived three-dimensional strategic thinking in a service littered with “bombs-on-target” pragmatists. On the other hand, it both promoted and reflected distinct forms of theoretical nihilism. There were airmen who felt that detailed, systematic theorization was futile, if not outright irrelevant. They argued that air theory and strategy was not universal, and that it required constant improvisation on an ad hoc basis. Further, military reformers like Jeff Record, Bill Lind, and others questioned the relative importance of technology in war. They stressed quantity as well as quality in weapons development. Technology was important, the reformers argued, but it was no panacea. John Warden flirted with the above ideas, but he and like-minded airmen ultimately returned to their service’s Positivist and Progressivist roots – i.e. they developed new sets of working propositions (or key assumptions) that were significantly more optimistic than the gloomy beliefs of the post-1975 Clausewitzians. Where as the latter were obvious reincarnations of 19th century anti-rationalists, Warden and others began emphasizing the utopian art of the possible. Figures 7 and 8 highlight some of the optimistic assumptions they developed and actively promoted about independent and joint airpower.

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1. Independent airpower deters, constrains, or eliminates enemy options via surveillance and air-space dominance. 2. It directly attacks enemy strategy(ies) and weaknesses (COGs). 3. It disrupts or destroys hostile operations through precision strikes against an enemy’s instruments of power. 4. It achieves enough attack intensity -- through simultaneous operations at all levels of war – to limit enemy adaptations or substitutions. 5. It minimizes, in significant ways, collateral damage, casualties, and unintended consequences. 6. It enables friendly forces to operate within an opponent’s decision-making cycle. 8. It denies an opponent’s war aims. 9. It significantly reduces an opponent’s capacity to resist your will. Figure 7: Nine Strengths of Independent Airpower

At the same time Warden determined he ought to “fail better” (in Samuel Beckett’s words). He began to stress repeatedly that war is both a mental and physical activity. He rejected the Clausewitzian dictum that “No degree of technical development and scientific calculation will overcome the human dimension in war.”129 Instead, Warden emphasized anew that all opponents depend on physical resources to exert their will. If these physical resources disappear or are unavailable, moral factors alone cannot carry the day (as the great advocate of fighting spirit, Ardant Du Picq, dis-

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1. Airpower in a joint environment reduces casualties, costs, risks, and follow-on commitments by offering more economical substitutes for surface actions. 2. It directly and independently engages an opponent, far and near. 3. It provides a theater-level perspective on campaigns as a whole. 4. It shapes and determines the conditions in which surface forces operate. 5. It shapes the course, tempo, and outcome of all operations in a theater. Figure 8: Five Strengths of Airpower in a Joint Setting

covered when a well-placed artillery shell made short work of him in the Franco-Prussian War). The tangible components of war matter just as much as the intangible components, Warden opined, if not more so. Third, the optimistic, progress-oriented Warden not only emphasizes the physical nature of war, he also believes that precision guided munitions make future wars largely knowable and predictable. Past wars were “probability events” where opponents saturated each other with munitions and hoped to kill enough men to trigger a retreat or surrender. In short, “Probability warfare was chancy at best. It was unpredictable, full of surprise, hard to quantify, and governed by accident.”130 With the growing use of precision weapons in Desert Storm, however, war moved into the predictable.131 Strategic airpower can now, in the words of Edward Luttwak, “paralyze governments, incapacitate armies, and destroy valuable assets at will.”132 And since “all countries look about the same at the strategic and operational level” of war, in the future we will be able to accurately predict weapons effects and munitions requirements in any conflict.

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Lastly, John Warden’s emphasis on technology and precision directly challenges the long-standing progressive belief that war is becoming an increasingly inefficient and outdated political tool. In other words, Warden believes airpower is the quintessentially American form of war, and that it can achieve quick, relatively bloodless victories in wars.133 In this vision, air warfare ceases to be an unconscionably blunt instrument or political aberration. Instead, it becomes a supple way for the United States to maintain its dominance, and “If the US is to maintain its dominance, it must maintain an aura of invincibility. In other words, it should never lose.”134 In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Warden combined the above beliefs into a series of working propositions that acted as foundation stones for a modern theory of airpower. The working propositions were as follows: 1) All organizations are fragile at the strategic level. As a result, they are subject to compellence and coercion. 2) Attacking enemy systems is preferable to attacking their component parts. 3) It is fatal to lose strategic and operational-level air superiority. 4) Strategic air attack is an important component of modern conflicts; it usually ignores enemy military forces or discounts the utility of targeting them. 5) Parallel warfare creates devastating effects (i.e., airmen can now assault a wide variety of targets simultaneously rather than serially. Simultaneity, in turn, compresses combat operations in time and space. The enemy’s ability to react collapses, and strategic paralysis sets in. As a result, entropy is the end point of air attacks. 6) Information at the strategic and operational levels of war is critical (i.e., information dominance is essential in serial and parallel warfare.) 7) Precision weapons are valuable; they minimize or “turn down” the impact of fog and friction in war.

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8) Stealth and precision weaponry have redefined the principles of mass, maneuver and surprise. A small number of weapons can now create their own mass. Further, mass and maneuver are no longer competing principles of airpower--each principle now complements the other. 9) Airpower can provide the shock effect previously reserved for landbased armor and artillery. (It can, as demonstrated in Kosovo and Afghanistan, provide the “killing stroke”). 10) The application of effective asymmetric force is now viable. 11) Surface forces at the operational level of war are fragile; they require elaborate and wide-ranging organizational support. They also require wide-ranging logistics support. 12) The aerial “occupation” of a country is now possible (this assertion, as can be imagined, was one of Warden’s more controversial ones). 13) Americans dislike large casualties on either side of a conflict (especially in limited wars by limited means by limited ends). The value of stealth and precision guided munitions is that they are “clean” – they help minimize the brutality of war. Further, they typically contribute to the strategic paralysis of an opponent rather than his or her destruction. 14) We are at the beginning of a Military-Technical Revolution (subsequently renamed the Revolution in Military Affairs); it will perpetuate itself indefinitely. As a result, the U.S. military must stay one military-technical revolution ahead of its closest competitors (but most logically in particular systems).135 The above propositions buttressed up Warden’s Five Rings Model of strategic (and operational) air warfare, which he developed in the late 1980s and then with his follow-up “System of Systems” concept (1992–1995). In both approaches, the point of a strategic air attack is twofold – to

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cause “such changes to one or more parts of the enemy’s physical system that the enemy decides to adopt our objectives,” or to make it physically impossible for anyone to mount effective opposition.136 The target of such an attack, however, is the entire enemy system, and not just military forces. “We must think of the enemy as a system composed of numerous subsystems,” Colonel Warden argued, “and if we address the system properly, its military forces will be left as a useless appendage,” unsupported by other sources of power.137 In short, both the Five Rings and System of Systems Models advocate an “inside out” approach to war. They are updated versions of the classic air theories of the past, which advocated leaping over an opponent’s defenses and striking at his or her vital centers. For John Warden, however, the ultimate COG has never been in doubt, regardless of the permutations in his thinking. Since all strategic systems relied on human beings to guide and direct them, The most critical ring is the command ring because it is the enemy command structure, be it a civilian … or a general …, which is the only element of the enemy which can make concessions, that can make the very complex decisions that are necessary to keep a country on a particular course, or that can direct a country at war.138 Given the importance of leadership, the essence of air warfare is therefore to apply intolerable pressure against an opponent’s command structure, either civil or military (see Figure 9). The pressure will then lead to a change in enemy leaders, a change in their policies, or the isolation of their policy(ies) from the enabling instruments of national power. Airmen can accomplish this objective, Warden argued, by employing a decapitation strategy, which involves, to be quite blunt about it, killing specific enemy leaders, or isolating them from their political-military base.139 Parallel warfare on multiple fronts can enhance this process by compressing military operations in time and space. The result, if we apply the Second Law of Thermodynamics to warfare, is strategic paralysis. Enemy leaders (or their successors) can either suffer its devastating effects, or they can make concessions and/or change their political behavior before entropy sets in.

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Theorist Janis

Political Outcome Change Policies

Target Set(s) Leadership or Population

Mechanism Near-Miss Experiences

Schelling Change Policies

Population/ Military and/ or Leadership

Future Costs and Risks Calculations

May

Change Leaders Or Policies

Political Leadership

Pit Factions Against Each Other Decapitation/ Strategic Paralysis

Warden

Change or Neutralize Leader(s)

Leadership + Four Rings

Figure 9: Four Theories of Aerial Coercion

Warden’s five rings and system of systems approach naturally leads to some obvious questions. Is the composite model too mechanistic, for example? Of course. Is it an example of technological determinism? Yes, but Warden does try to infuse some flexibility into his theory. He admits that the individual importance and resiliency of his systems varies from one society (and one historical period) to another. Second, he agrees that it is extremely difficult to operate directly and successfully against singleleader states or organizations. Consequently, it is normally necessary to attack an opponent’s inner rings in aggregated ways – leadership, organic essentials, and infrastructure – to induce strategic paralysis and change political behaviors. Lastly, Warden acknowledges that it may not be possible to reach anything more than populations and military forces by military means. For those states that cannot reach an enemy’s inner

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strengths or vulnerabilities, the only options they have are indirect attacks via psychological or unconventional means. The above disclaimers helped to reconcile late 1980s and early 1990s theory with reality, but even in retirement Colonel Warden remained committed to the idea that targeting leadership is of paramount importance in air warfare. He further retained a mid-Victorian faith in technology and a view of nation-states as largely rational and unitary actors. He minimized the role of cultural and religious factors in his theory, despite his balming words to the contrary. He was quietly hostile towards the use of airpower in joint operations, and he ignored the fact that leadership targeting can quickly degenerate from well-conceived policy into personal vendetta, as was the case with the American government’s “get General Addid” policy in Somalia. John Warden dismissed these concerns because he has always been part propagandist, part theologian, part power-of-positive-thinking guru, and part genuine aerospace power thinker. (Has there ever been a “pure” aircentered theorist, though?) His belief that devastating (and simultaneous) air attacks against primarily leadership targets will sever a state or organization from its “brain,” and subsequently induce strategic paralysis may be beside the point. His true value may actually be symbolic – he’s a symbol of the rationalist tradition in modern military thought, and in airpower thinking in particular; he’s a symbol of the rich theoretical insights developed by at least 14 airpower thinkers since World War I; and he’s a symbol of the USAF’s recently recovered intellectual destiny. He is, in short, a symbol of the renaissance in aerospace thinking that characterized the 1990s and continues to this day.

NOTES
Author’s Note: The opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U. S. Air Force, the U.S. Department of Defense, or any other U.S. government agency.

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1 Given that World War II largely involved the application or rejection of airpower theories and doctrines developed in the interwar years, this article will skip over this well-documented period. For representative, tip-of-the-iceberg discussions on how U.S. Air Forces applied, modified, and rejected existing concepts of airpower in the European and Pacific Theaters, see Geoffrey Perret, Winged Victory: The Army Air Forces in World War II (New York: Random House, 1993), and Kenneth P. Werrell, Blankets of Fire (Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996). For a historiographical review of the period, see Peter R. Faber, “The Anglo-American Bombing Campaign in Europe,” in World War Two in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, with General Sources, ed. Lloyd Lee (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997). 2 For an in-depth analysis of this battle, which most military historians believe established the cavalry as the dominant arm of European warfare for the next millennium, see J. F. C. Fuller, A Military History of the Western World, 3 vols. (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1954–1957; reprint, New York: Da Capo, 1987), Vol. 1: From the Earliest Times to the Battle of Lepanto, 261–76. 3 See Charles W. Shrader, “The Influence of Vegetius’ De re militari,” Military Affairs 45 (December 1981), 167. 4 One of these rules was that military commanders should seldom resort to the “extremity” of battle. Instead, they should rely on “stratagems and finesse” to defeat an opponent in detail. “General actions” only increased the impact of chance in war, which increasingly defied rational control. The better option, therefore, was to rely on ancillary methods. They included starving, surprising, or terrorizing an opponent into defeat. See Gérard Chaliand, ed., The Art of War in World History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 209, 217. 5 Charles’ army was “not fundamentally different in composition from that which Napoleon was to lead to the same battlefields three hundred years later.” The army included Swiss pikemen, mounted cavalry, a detachment of bronze artillery, and sufficient funds to pay each soldier a regular wage. See Michael Howard, War in European History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976), 19. 6 Shrader, “The Influence of Vegetius’ De re militari,” 170. 7 See Azar Gat, The Origins of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to Clausewitz (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 8. 8 For a revisionist (and arguable) response to this traditional interpretation of Machiavelli’s thought, see Timothy R. W. Kubik, “Is Machiavelli’s Canon Spiked? Practical Readings in Military History,” The Journal of Military History 61 (January 1997), 7-30. 9 Gunther E. Rothenberg, “Maurice of Nassau, Gustavus Adolphus, Raimondo Montecuccoli, and the ‘Military Revolution’ of the Seventeenth Century,” in Makers of Modern Strategy, ed. Peter Paret, with Gordon Craig and Felix Gilbert (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), 55–57, 62–63. 10 Gat, The Origins of Military Thought, 16. 11 See, for example, Frederick the Great, Die Instruktion Friedrichs des Grossen für seine Generale von 1782; Henry Humphrey Evans Lloyd, The History of the Late War in Germany (1766) and Military Memoirs (1781); and Dietritch Adam Heinrich von Bülow, Der Geist des neuren Kriegssystems (1799). 12 Quoted in Major Edward S. Johnson, “A Science of War,” The Command and General Staff Quarterly XIV (June 1934), 90. 13 To characterize Newton as an irremediably linear and mechanistic scientist is unfair. As Barry Watts rightfully points out, it was overzealous disciples like Roger Boscovich (A Theory of Natural Philosophy Reduced to a Law of Actions Existing in Nature, 1758) and Pierre Simon de Laplace (Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, 1814) that linked the idea of linear predictability with 18th

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century mathematical physics. Newton did emphasize causality and long-term patterns, but it was Boscovich, Laplace, and others who popularized the idea that nature was entirely stable, rigidly deterministic, and required no divine intervention to work properly. See Barry D. Watts, Clausewitzian Friction and Future War, Institute for National Strategic Studies McNair Papers, no. 52 (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, October 1996), 108–12. R. David Smith, “The Inapplicability Principle: What Chaos Means for Social Science,” Behavioral Science 40 (January 1995), 30; see also Michael Howard, Clausewitz (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 13. Watts, Clausewitzian Friction and Future War, 23. However, it is important to note that Lloyd – as a theorist – was not as hidebound as his contemporaries. In his Military Memories, for example, he not only defined warfare as a science caught between “geometry and morale,” he also mused at length about the psychological dimensions of war. (For example, what inspired men and women to fight? Did emotionalism decrease military efficiency?) Given his interests, one could argue that Lloyd was a precursor of the military romantics that followed in his wake. According to Professor John Shy, Jomini’s low stature among current students of war is undeserved. He was more than a doltish, thick-witted foil to Carl von Clausewitz. He was an astute analyst of Napoleonic warfare who warned that his maxims, principles, and prescriptions were not holy writ. Nevertheless, they did form the irreducible core of what some have perhaps unfairly characterized as a “Betty Crocker” approach to war. Readers should further note that Jomini’s pious injunctions against “holy writ” usually appeared at the end of his book chapters, thus representing what one could argue were anticipatory defenses against potential criticisms. See John Shy, “Jomini,” Makers of Modern Strategy, ed. Peter Paret, with Gordon Craig and Felix Gilbert (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), 143–85. Quoted from John Lewis Gaddis, “International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War,” International Security 17 (Winter 1992/93), 6. Johnson quotes Lord Grey in “A Science of War,” 104. For a highly intriguing but very one-sided portrait of Clausewitz as a proto-chaos theorist who totally rejected the determinism of Jomini and his fellow rationalists, see Alan Beyerchen, “Clausewitz, Nonlinearity, and the Unpredictability of War,” International Security 17 (Winter 1992–93), 59–90. Beyerchen conveniently ignores how utterly conventional (i.e., 18th century) Clausewitz’s thinking is in the more mechanical middle books of On War. See Clausewitz, On War, 86. Quoted in Antulio J. Echevarria, “Moltke and the German Military Tradition: His Theories and Legacies,” Parameters XXVI (Spring 1996), 96; see also Peter Paret, Clausewitz and the State: The Man, His Theories, and His Times (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976); and Charles Edward White, “The Enlightened Soldier: Scharnhorst and the Militärische Gesellschaft in Berlin, 1801–1805,” Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1986. Quoted in Herbert Rosinski, “Scharnhorst to Schlieffen: The Rise and Decline of German Military Thought,” Naval War College Review XXIX (Summer 1976), 85. See Helmuth von Moltke, “Doctrines of War,” in War, ed. Lawrence Freedman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 220-21. Beyerchen, “Clausewitz, Nonlinearity, and War,” 86; see also Clausewitz, On War, 149. Clausewitz, On War, 85-87, 89, 148. John Shy and Thomas W. Collier, “Revolutionary Warfare,” in Makers of Modern Strategy, ed. Peter Paret (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1986), 843. Beyerchen, “Clausewitz, Nonlinearity, and War,” 59. Clausewitz’s thinking, of course, has its limitations. For example, his paradigm of war does not adequately consider whether human

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violence, in addition to being a continuation of politics by other means, was also a cultural or biological activity. It does not adequately acknowledge whether nations can stage thoroughly rational wars in service to thoroughly stupid (and ill-conceived) political ends. Further, Clausewitz’s military romanticism gives short shrift to combined operations between land and sea; coalition warfare (the dominant form of war not only in the 20th century, but especially over the last decade); the technological, economic, and moral dimensions of war (note, for example, that Clausewitz thinks soldiers are expendable in the service of the state); and guerrilla warfare, revolutionary warfare, or military operations other than war. Clausewitz, On War, 136. Members of the “Bomber Mafia” included Robert Olds, Kenneth Walker, Harold Lee George, Donald Wilson, Robert Webster, Laurence Kuter, Haywood Hansell, and Muir Fairchild. Virtually all of them became influential general officers in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. In turn, the COA and EOU were basically a mix of forward-thinking military planners and civilian economists. Colonel Thomas A. Fabyanic, USAF Ret., “War Doctrine, and the Air War College – Some Implications for the U.S. Air Force,” Air University Review XXXVII (January-February 1986), 12. Lieutenant Colonel Don Wilson, “Long Range Airplane Development,” November 1938, Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA), Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, file no. 248.211–17, 5–6. The examples appear in James C. Gaston, Planning the American Air War: Four Men and Nine Days in 1941 (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1982); Rick Atkinson, Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1993); and General William M. Momyer, Air Power in Three Wars (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978). The quotations are from Benjamin S. Lambeth, “Pitfalls in Force Planning: Structuring America’s Tactical Air Arm,” International Security 10 (Fall 1985), 92. Count Gianni Caproni, Memorandum on “Air War”, 1917, AFHRA file no. 168.66–2, 2. ACTS bomber instructor Muir “Santy” Fairchild was typical. He understood the dangers of metaphors but still subscribed enthusiastically to the “industrial web” theory of strategic bombardment. See Kenneth Schaffel, “Muir S. Fairchild: Philosopher of Air Power,” Aerospace Historian 33 (Fall 1986), 167. “Address of Major General Frank M. Andrews Before the National Aeronautical Administration,” January 16, 1939, AFHRA file no. 248.211–20, 8. Nino Salvaneschi, Let Us Kill the War: Let Us Aim at the Heart of the Enemy, 1917, AFHRA file no. 168.661–129, 31; Caproni, Memorandum on “Air War”, 2. Because Salvaneschi worked hard to popularize both Douhet’s and Caproni’s thinking in World War I, Let Us Kill the War accurately reflects their thinking at the time. Beyerchen, “Clausewitz, Nonlinearity, and War,” 63. Quoted in Andrew G. B. Vallance, “The Conceptual Structure of Air Power,” in Air Power: Collected Essays on Doctrine, ed. Vallance (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1990), 1. Warden denies this influence, but then again, so do others. In the opinion of this author, who after 5 long years can speak with some authority on how ideas get diffused and repackaged in the hallways of the Pentagon, these individuals fail to acknowledge that Boyd – who was a tireless briefer – did indeed make a major contribution to an entirely new Pentagon zeitgeist on the use force, particularly in the mid- to late-1970s and 1980s. Other thinkers working in “The Building” then harvested intriguing new ideas out of this environment, recombined and synthesized them in unique ways, and lastly pronounced them as something “new.” This type borrowing – either witting or not – was (and remains) rampant in the Pentagon. Therefore, those

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who worked there at the time and subsequently made major contributions to airpower thought should admit their overall debt to someone as disturbingly original as Boyd. Their achievements are no less respect worthy for having acknowledged the debt they owe. For an intellectual biography of Colonel Boyd, who indeed proved that uniquely talented individuals can push massive bureaucracies toward desired ends, see Grant T. Hammond, The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security (Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001). Unfortunately, when it came to the role(s) of military aviation, the U.S. Army and its Air Corps began jousting over actual words – in true “win-lose” fashion – as early as the interwar years. On the Army side, for example, Major General R. M. Beck, Jr., Assistant Army Chief of Staff, directed the Air Corps to delete all references to “independent air operations” in a draft version of Field Manual 1–5, Employment of the Aviation of the Army. A suitable substitute, in Beck’s opinion, was “operations beyond the sphere of influence of surface forces.” See Memo for the Chief of Staff, March 29, 1939, 2, in AFHRA file no. 167.5-3 (1936–1939). The following model is the creation of Dr. Robert Pape, who attempted to develop a “value neutral ordering tool” that emphasized process rather than prescription. (Process-oriented models of war are always more “reality inclusive” than those based on content-laden rules or principles.) However, the Pape model does have limitations, as then-Major Tom Ehrhard later observed. It did not account for the contexts of strategic and doctrinal planning, for example. It focused on the most severe applications of aerospace power instead of considering broad range of possible options. And finally, it did not consider “the full range of outcomes which strategists seek to achieve or avoid.“ As a result of these limitations, Ehrhard improved upon Dr. Pape’s model, and a number of these improvements appear here. The resulting framework may continue to rule out different courses of action, but as Don Herzog rightfully observes: “Any vocabulary will downplay certain possibilities, [or] will make them elusive or invisible or presumptively unacceptable.” Embedded within any language, however, are “concepts, even ideological concepts, [that] open up new possibilities we wouldn’t notice without them.” See Robert A. Pape, Jr., Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1996); Major Thomas P. Ehrhard, USAF, Making the Connection: An Air Strategy Analysis Framework (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press), 38, 50; and Don Herzog, “Interest, Principle, and Beyond: American Understanding of Conflict,” in Behavior, Culture, and Conflict in World Politics, eds. William Zimmerman and Harold K. Jacobson (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 234. See Ehrhard, Making the Connection: An Air Strategy Analysis Framework, 19. Ibid., 50, particularly for the third question in the figure. Clausewitz, On War, 586. For a discussion of each approach, see Robert A. Pape, Jr., “Coercion and Military Strategy: Why Denial Works and Punishment Doesn’t,” The Journal of Strategic Studies 15 (December 1992), 423–475. Pat A. Pentland, Theater Strategy Development, unpublished manuscript in author’s possession, 1993–94, 2–5. Ibid., 3. See Major David S. Fadock, USAF, John Boyd and John Warden: Air Power’s Quest for Strategic Paralysis (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press, 1995). Major Kevin E. Williams, USAF, “In Search of the Missing Link: Relating Destruction to Outcome in Airpower Applications” (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press, 1994), 5–7. See Carl Kaysen, Note on Some Historic Principles of Target Selection (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, Project RAND Research Memorandum 189 (RM-189), July 15, 1949.

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Ibid., 2. Ibid., 4. Ibid., 5. Ibid., 5-6. Salvaneschi, for example, claimed that the Allies “must aim, not at the army that fights, but at the factories of Essen.” See Salvaneschi, Let Us Kill the War, 38. For a major discussion of this point, see Irving L. Janis, War and Emotional Stress (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1951). Today’s logical equivalent for “tonnage” is most likely “explosive effect.” See Janis, Air War and Emotional Stress, 87, 140, 143. See also Constantine Fitzgibbon, The Winter of the Bombs (New York: Norton, 1957); Hilton P. Goss, Civilian Morale Under Aerial Bombardment 1914–1939, 2 vols. (Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Documentary Research Division, Air University Libraries, Air University, 1948); Jack Hirshleifer, Disaster and Recover: A Historical Survey (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation Research Memorandum (RM) 3079, 1963); Charles Ikle, The Social Impact of Bomb Destruction (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958); Hans Rumpf, The Bombing of Germany, trans. Edward Fitzgerald (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963); and Richard M. Titmuss, Problems of Social Policy: History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Civil Series (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1950). Janis, Air War and Emotional Stress, 118, 127, 130, 135–37, and Alexander George, “Emotional Stress and Air War – A Lecture Given at the Air War College,” November 28, 1951, 19, in AFHRA File No. K239.716251–65. For additional support that irregular bombing worked best against Germany, see K. W. Yarnold, Lessons on Morale to be Drawn From Effects of Strategic Bombing on Germany: With Special Reference to Psychological Warfare, Technical Memorandum, ORO-T-2 (Washington, D.C.: Operations Research Office, October 1949). Janis, Air War and Emotional Stress, 98, 103, 106–107, 144. Ibid., 100. George, “Emotional Stress and Air War,” 12. Ibid., 21. The United States Bombing Survey (USSBS), despite the inconsistencies that exist between its summary volumes and survey reports, largely supports Professor Janis. One USSBS report concluded that continuous heavy bombing did not produce decreases in morale proportional to the amount of bombing accomplished; it also determined that those who directly experienced the effects of air attack had much lower morale than those who experienced them indirectly. See United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on German Morale, Vol. I (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1947), 33. Janis, Air War and Emotional Stress, 127. Stephen T. Hosmer, Psychological Effects of U.S. Air Operations in Four Wars 1941–1991, (Santa Monica, California: RAND Corporation, 1996), xv-xxiii; and Group Captain A.P.N. Lambert, RAF, “The Psychological Impact of Air Power Based on Case Studies Since the 1940s,” (Master’s thesis, Cambridge University, 1995), 79–91. Major Jerry T. Sink, “Coercive Air Power: The Theory of Leadership Relative Risk,” Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: unpublished essay in the author’s possession, April 1993, 7–8; and Ehrhard, Making the Connection: An Air Strategy Analysis Framework, 22–25. Schelling defines the essence of bargaining as follows: it is “the communication of intent, the perception of intent, the manipulation of expectations about what one will accept or refuse, the issuance of threats, offers, and assurances, the display of resolve and evidence of capabilities, the communication of constraints on what one can do, the search for compromise and jointly desirable exchanges, the creation of sanctions to enforce understandings and agreements, genuine

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efforts to persuade and perform, and the creation of hostility, friendliness, mutual respect, or rules of etiquette.” See Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966), 136. See also 143 on the issue of holding a threat in reserve. To coerce or compel an adversary with airpower-based threats, however, requires several things. First, any bargaining process requires discrete and qualitative boundaries that both sides can recognize as “conspicuous stopping places, conventions and precedents to indicate what is within bounds and what is out of bounds … Second, all bargaining must be based on actions, actions and words, but never words alone. Finally, communications must be simple and form recognizable patterns, except in those limited instances where you want to send a deliberately ambiguous message. If you do not meet these preconditions, Schelling observes, threat-based (or “vicious”) diplomacy will lack the “high fidelity” it needs to succeed. And if you and your opponent do not communicate in the same “language” or “currency,” you both may spin into uncontrolled warfare. Ibid., 134–35, 164, 166. Ibid., 142. Ibid., 175. Ibid., 180. Ernest May, Lessons of the Past (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 134. Ibid., 137. These nations are typically authoritarian ones, where those in power use “divide and conquer” tactics to keep potential domestic rivals in check. Ibid., 132, 134. Ibid., 140–42. Thomas Fabyanic repeats Professor May’s conclusions, although more emphatically, in “Air Power and Conflict Termination,” in Conflict Termination and Military Strategy: Coercion, Persuasion, and War, eds. Stephen J. Cimbala and Keith A. Dunn (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1993), 155. According to Fabyanic, air power destroyed, “beyond any doubt,” the will of the Italians and the will and ability of the Japanese to wage war. In both instances, the loss of will then “brought about a change of government and new leaders who were not committed to a continuation of the war.” Significantly, Fabyanic supports these bald assertions by citing The Lessons of the Past, i.e., he depends upon the authority of another historian to “prove” his point. Hirschman, “The Search for Paradigms as a Hindrance to Understanding,” 339. See Leon Sigal, Fighting to a Finish: The Politics of War Termination in the United States and Japan, 1945 (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1988), 1–25; and Robert A. Pape, “Why Japan Surrendered,” International Security 18(Fall 1993), 154–201. Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1979), 189 (emphasis added). Ibid., 191. See Charles L. Glaser, Analyzing Strategic Nuclear Policy (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1990), 81-82. Despite the original nuclear focus of the questions, they bviously apply to conventional air operations as well. See Sink, “Coercive Air Power: The Theory of Leadership Relative Risk,” 2. Ibid. Ibid., 3. See Major Martin L. Fracker, “Psychological Effects of Aerial Bombardment,” Airpower Journal VI (Fall 1992), 56–-67; and George H. Quester, “The Psychological Effects of Bombing on Civilian Populations: Wars of the Past,” in Psychological Dimensions of War, ed. Betty Glad (Newbury Park, California: Sage Press, 1990), 201–14. Fracker, “Psychological Effects of Bombardment,” 55.

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85 Ibid., 59, 65. The attack (or campaign) must typically be massive and unrelenting. 86 Ibid., 59, 61-62. 87 Major General Charles D. Link, USAF, “An Airman’s Perspective,” transcript in the author’s possession of a presentation given in Washington, D.C., January 7, 1997, 112. 88 See Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 5th ed., revised (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), 22. 89 See Commander Joseph A. Gattuso, Jr., USN, “Warfare Theory,” Naval War College Review XLIX (Autumn 1996), 113. 90 For discussions of the U.S. Army Air Corps Tactical School and its unique theory of precision bombardment, see Peter R. Faber, “Interwar US Army Aviation and the Air Corps Tactical School: Incubators of American Airpower,” in The Paths of Heaven: The Evolution of Airpower Theory, ed. Phillip Meilinger (Air University Press, 1997); Robert T. Finney, History of the Air Corps Tactical School, USAF Historical Studies: No. 100 (Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Studies Institute, March 1955); and Thomas H. Greer, The Development of Air Doctrine in the Army Air Arm 1917–1941 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1985). 91 On the last point, see Lieutenant Colonel Phillip S. Meilinger, “The Problem with Our Air Force Doctrine,” Airpower Journal VI (Spring 1992), 24-31. For a general review of U.S. Air Force doctrinal development, see Lieutenant General John W. Pauley, “The Thread of Doctrine,” Air University Review XXVII (May–June 1976), 2–10. 92 Robert Frank Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force 1907–1960, Vol. 1 (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press, December 1989), 367. 93 Ibid, 369. 94 See Millard F. Harmon, Draft Letter, January 30, 1940, p. 2, in AFHRA file no. 245.01–1. 95 Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine, Vol. 1, 373. Barker became deputy commander of Air University in 1949. As Commandant of the Air War College, it was his responsibility to codify Air Force thinking on airpower. 96 Ibid., 389, 392. 97 The first official Air Force dictionary also took five years to produce. The publication, with its 30,000 definitions, appeared as Air Force Regulation 5–32, dated June 4, 1956. 98 Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, and Doctrine, Vol. 1, 398–400. 99 Known ironically as “the diplomat,” LeMay attended the ACTS in 1939–40. 100 See Aaron L. Friedberg, “A History of the U.S. Strategic ‘Doctrine’-1945 to 1980,” Journal of Strategic Studies 3 (December 1980), 37-71; David Alan Rosenberg, “U.S. Nuclear War Planning, 1945–1960,” in Strategic Nuclear Targeting, eds. Desmond Ball and Jeffrey Richelson (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1986), 35–56; and Scott D. Sagan, Moving Targets: Nuclear Strategy and National Security (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1989). 101 Peter J. Roman, “Curtis LeMay and the Origins of NATO Atomic Targeting,” The Journal of Strategic Studies 16 (March 1993), 47. 102 For the dangers of institutional self-interest masquerading as national policy, see Graham T. Allison, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1971). Allison observes that decision making results “from innumerable and often conflicting smaller actions by individuals at various levels of bureaucratic organizations in the service of a variety of only partially compatible conceptions of national goals … and political objectives.” As a “Model II” organization, SAC’s fixation on targeting reflected the influence of internal “procedures and programs” in addition to perceived threats. See Allison, 6.

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103 The mistaken belief that targeting was the essence of theory is best illustrated by the development of the Single Integrated Operations Plan (SIOP), which first appeared in 1960–61 and focused on preplanning a well-choreographed nuclear assault against the Soviet Union. See Peter Pringle, SIOP, the Secret U.S. Plan for Nuclear War (New York: Norton, 1983). 104 On the historical continuities between interwar strategic bombing theory and postwar nuclear warfare and deterrence, see Richard H. Kohn and Joseph P. Harahan, eds., Strategic Air Warfare: An Interview with Generals Curtis E. LeMay, Leon W. Johnson, David A. Burchinal, and Jack J. Catton (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1988); Michael Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987); George Quester, Deterrence before Hiroshima (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1986); R. J. Overy, “Air Power and the Origins of Deterrence Theory Before 1939,” Journal of Strategic Studies 15 (March 1992), 73-101; Roman, “Curtis LeMay and the Origins of NATO Atomic Targeting;” and Barry D. Watts, The Foundations of U.S. Air Doctrine: The Problem of Friction in War (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press, December 1984), Chapters 6 and 7 in particular. 105 See Robert F. Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: A History of Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force 1907–1964 (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press, 1971), 405. 106 For an opposing view, see Pauly, “The Thread of Doctrine.” Pauly skirts the issue of post-ACTS theory and its reliance on a “one-time revelation from on high.” Instead, he asserts that Air Force doctrine “has been responsive to changing times and philosophies while maintaining a consistent thread of fundamental principles.” That these principles represent a retreat from a higher level of activity – the building and testing of competing theories of airpower – goes unacknowledged by Pauly. See 3, 9. 107 John Schlight, review of Crosswinds: The Air Force’s Setup in Vietnam, by Earl H. Tilford, The Journal of Military History 53 (July 1994), 561. 108 Ibid. 109 See Colonel Dennis M. Drew, “Two Decades in the Air Power Wilderness – Do We Know Where We Are?”, Air University Review XXXVII (September-October 1986), 6–7. 110 According to Dr. Mark Clodfelter, airpower was effective only during the conventional phases of the war, and then only at certain times (i.e., Linebacker II in 1972). Against elusive and selfsufficient insurgents in South Vietnam, the interdiction campaign was ineffective. See Mark Clodfelter, The Limits of Airpower (New York: Free Press, 1989). See also Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Crosswinds: The Air Force’s Setup in Vietnam (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1993), and Donald J. Mrozek, Air Power and the Ground War in Vietnam (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, January 1988). 111 See Kohn and Harahan, Strategic Air Warfare, 125–26. 112 Robert F. Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force 19071960, Vol. II (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, December 1989), 322. 113 “The Icarus Syndrome,” RAND Research Brief, n.d., 2. 114 Karl H. Builder, The Icarus Syndrome: The Role of Air Power Theory in the Evolution and Fate of the U.S. Air Force (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1994), 35. 115 Ibid. 116 Major James M. Ford, Air Force Culture and Conventional Strategic Airpower (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: School of Advanced Airpower Studies, May 1992), 42–47. See also the United States Air Force Statistical Digest, produced annually by the Comptroller of the Air Force, Directorate of Data Systems and Statistics. 117 Ibid., 45–46.

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118 Tactical Air Command Manual 2–1, Tactical Air Operations, 15 April 1978, para. 1–3. The authors of the manual thought new command, control, communications, intelligence, and interoperability technologies would integrate air operations over the battlefield. As a result, aircraft could perform different missions simultaneously and yet function en masse. Clearly, TACM 2–1 prefigured John Warden’s emphasis on Parallel Warfare. 119 General Charles L. Donnelly Jr., USAF, Ret., “A theater-Level View of Airpower,” Airpower Journal 1 (summer 1987), 3. 120 Robert D. Russ, “The Air Force, the Army and the Battlefield of the 1990s,” Defense 88 (July/August 1988), 12–13. Note the absence of offensive strategic operations in Russ’s statement. 121 Drew, “Two Decades in the Wilderness,” 12. For a discussion of the orthodox 1984 version of AFM 1-1, see Colonel Clifford R. Krieger, “USAF Doctrine: An Enduring Challenge,” Air University Review, XXXV, (September-October 1984), 16–25. 122 Not surprisingly, those involved with the development of doctrine at the time see things differently. Major General Perry Smith, for example, remembers “the superb strategic planning system that was created in the Air Force in the 1970s …” Unfortunately, one could argue that effective planning is not a synonym for theoretical or doctrinal vitality. Maj Gen Perry M. Smith (ret.), unpublished letter in the author’s possession to Colonel Phillip Meilinger, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, October 2, 1994, 1–2. 123 Drew, “Two Decades in the Wilderness,” 7. 124 John Warden graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1965 and subsequently flew 266 combat missions as a forward air controller in Southeast Asia. After commanding the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, he returned to the Pentagon in 1988 and eventually served as the Air Staff ’s Deputy Director for Warfighting, Directorate of Plans. During this period Colonel Warden and others helped create the Air Force’s new “Global Reach, Global Power” doctrine. He also headed CHECKMATE, the planning cell that devised the strategic air campaign (INSTANT THUNDER) conducted against Iraq. Subsequent to the Gulf War, Colonel Warden served as a special assistant to Vice President Quayle on technology-related issues, and as commandant of the USAF Air Command and Staff College from 1992–1995. 125 See Andrew F. Krepinevich, The Army and Vietnam (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986). 126 Colonel John A. Warden III, USAF, “The Enemy as a System,” Airpower Journal IX (September 1995), 42. 127 Warden echoes James Spaight, who claimed that “whatever Napoleon may have said, the material factors are in … [air] warfare at least as important as the moral.” See James M. Spaight, Air Power in the Next War (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1938), 129. 128 Warden, “The Enemy as System,” 43. 129 Fleet Marine Force Manual 1 (FMFM-1), Warfighting (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters United States Marine Corps, 6 March 1989), 10. 130 John A. Warden III, “Thinking Across Historical Discontinuities,” The American Warrior, eds. Chris Morris and Janet Morris (Stamford, Connecticut: Longmeadow Press, 1992), 204. 131 Despite the impressions created by popular media, the Vietnam conflict provided a foretaste of predictability in war. For a description of early laser-guided munitions and their nascent contribution to probability warfare, see Lon O. Nordeen, Jr., Air Warfare in the Missile Age (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985). 132 Edward Luttwak and Stuart Koehl, The Persian Gulf and the Renaissance of Strategic Bombardment, unpublished manuscript in the author’s possession, 1991, Chapter V (“The

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Future of Strategic Air Power”), 24. This manuscript reflects Dr. Luttwak’s enthusiastic, largely uncritical acceptance of Colonel Warden’s theories of airpower immediately after the Gulf War. He later tempered his enthusiasm but continued to believe in the efficacy of aerospace power. 133 John A. Warden III, “Employing Air Power in the twenty-first Century,” in The Future of Air Power in the Aftermath of the Gulf War, eds. Richard H. Schultz, Jr. and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr. (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, July 1992), 61. 134 John A. Warden III, “Yugoslavia-Opportunity and Risk,” unpublished memorandum in author’s possession, 29 November 1992, 4. 135 A less exhaustive but similar list appears in John A. Warden, III, “Air Theory for the Twenty First Century,” in Battlefield of the Future: 21st century Warfare Issues, eds. Barry R. Schneider and Lawrence E. Grinter (Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University Press, September 1998). 136 Warden, “The Enemy as System” 43. 137 Ibid., 2, 14. 138 Ibid., 15; see also Warden, “Air Power in the Twenty-first Century,” 62–63, 65, 68. 139 According to Robert Pape, the U.S. Air Force unsuccessfully tried all three options in the Gulf War, and yet neither Saddam Hussein nor 42 other top government/military leaders were captured or killed during the conflict.

Threatening What the Enemy Values: Punitive Disarmament as a Coercive Strategy

Dr. Karl P. Mueller The Age of Coercive Air Power In the last two decades, coercive air power has been the dominant military tool in American statecraft. During two wars in the Balkans and one against Iraq, a number of smaller raids, prolonged maintenance of three no-fly zones, and an assortment of confrontations in which air attacks were threatened but not executed, U.S. leaders have turned to land- and sea-based air power as the instrument of choice for changing the behavior of international adversaries.2 Although the results of the efforts have been mixed – ranging from expectation-surpassing success in the Gulf War and Bosnia to the fiasco of the 1998 cruise missile attack on Khartoum – even when mis-applied, U.S. air power has performed well enough to retain its allure as a politically impressive yet comparatively low-risk response to serious international crises. For better and worse, there is every reason to expect that the prominence of aerial coercion in U.S. foreign policy will persist during the coming decades. As a result both of the demise of the cold war and the evolution of technology, most significantly the development of flexible and reliable precision-guided munitions, conventional air power is increasingly being used in situations other than large-scale wars, although many of its greatest successes continue to occur in combined-arms operations. Yet most theoretical discussions of coercive air power continue to focus on the longstanding debates among strategic bombing theories that were largely developed before and during the Second World War, particularly the choice between launching punitive attacks against civilian targets and attacking an enemy’s armed forces and war production in order to deny

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it the hope of victory.3 Moreover, essentially the same strategic concepts dominate discussions of how best to employ other military and nonmilitary coercive instruments. For these reasons, the following discussion will focus heavily on the coercive use of air power, but it is important to note that these arguments also apply to other coercive military efforts, whether involving ballistic missiles, naval gunfire, or infantry conducting peacekeeping operations. This essay suggests another strategic approach for the coercive use of air power and other military force: attacking the armed forces of an adversary based on their value to the enemy regime rather than their contribution to victory in the current confrontation. Largely as a result of the precision weapons and sensors revolutions, threatening to destroy military assets that the enemy values highly now offers a potentially viable coercive strategy for situations in which frustrating the enemy’s military strategy is impractical or irrelevant, without turning to attacks on civilian targets that are likely to be formally illegal, politically unacceptable, and ultimately ineffective. Such “punitive disarmament” strategies are not an optimal or even a suitable approach for dealing with every opponent. However, this is a strategic alternative that policymakers should consider, particularly in the sorts of limited-stakes coercive confrontations that are likely to increasingly dominate the U.S. security agenda in coming years.

The Nature of Coercion Military force, including air power, can be applied in two ways. The first is what Thomas Schelling labeled “brute force,” or what we might simply call “destruction”: attacks intended to reduce an enemy’s ability to fight or to achieve other objectives, or intended purely to destroy things for their own sake. The second is coercion, threatening harm in order to cause the enemy to change its behavior. Brute force strikes at the adversary’s capabilities, coercion strikes at its will.4 In open warfare, the line between destruction and coercion tends to blur. Almost all warfare is coercive at the strategic level, unless the enemy’s surrender will not be accepted even if it is offered. However, efforts to coerce an enemy into negotiating or surrendering also usually involve attacking its warmaking capabilities as a means to this end, and some wars end only when one

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combatant has lost the ability, and not just the will, to fight, as in the case of Germany’s surrender in 1945. In more limited uses of force, the difference between coercion and destruction is usually clearer. Israel’s 1981 raid on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq was a classic brute force application of air power, intended to make the target facility cease to exist rather than to deter Iraq from further efforts to develop nuclear weapons.5 Similarly, Operation Enduring Freedom, in late 2001, was a brute force campaign with the goal of destroying the Taliban regime in Afghanistan rather than changing its behavior. In contrast, the 1986 Operation El Dorado Canyon raid by U.S. forces against Libya was purely coercive, intended to change Libyan behavior, specifically its support for international terrorism; the physical destruction of the raid’s targets was simply intended to serve this political end, and was not expected to reduce Libya’s physical ability to support terrorism in any significant way. There are even cases in which coercion and brute force may interfere with each other. For example, during Operation Desert Storm, in which the United States and its allies sought to coerce Saddam Hussein to withdraw his forces from Kuwait, U.S. strategists were concerned that an Iraqi surrender might happen too quickly, before coalition forces could destroy brute force targets such as Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities.6 It is probably in strategic bombing that the two approaches can be most readily distinguished, since air power has greater potential for directly attacking targets other than enemy military forces than does land or naval power.7 Of the two, the use of air power as brute force is relatively well understood compared to its use for coercion. Air power scholars and practitioners have devoted far more energy over the years to advancing the tactical science of destroying targets than to studying how air attacks can be used strategically to change the behavior of a target state. Even interwar air power enthusiasts such as Giulio Douhet, Billy Mitchell, and the U.S. Army’s Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS), best remembered for their visions of how attacks on enemy industrial and population centers could attack both the enemy’s will to fight and its ability to do so, devoted most of their energies to describing how force should be applied against targets rather than exploring how this would lead in turn to successful strategic coercion.8

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Modern discussions of the coercive use of air power or other military instruments typically revolve around debates regarding the merits of “punishment” attacks against leadership, civilian infrastructure, and population targets on the one hand and “denial” attacks against enemy military capabilities on the other.9 Punishment strategies seek to make the war too painful for the enemy to sustain by attacking highly valued targets. For Douhet and many of the strategic bombing proponents who followed him, this meant razing the enemy’s cities; the same was true for most cold war nuclear strategists, including Schelling. Modern punishment advocates tend to be gentler, at least in their theories, arguing instead either for attacking targets that will “bring the war home” to the enemy people by damaging utilities and infrastructure, or else for directly attacking the enemy leadership, but still with the goal of making the price of resisting the coercer’s demands too high to be worth paying. Beyond the air power realm, similar strategic arguments lie behind most terrorist campaigns, and behind counter-terrorist strategies of reprisal. In contrast with punishment, denial strategies attempt to convince the enemy that defeat is inevitable by weakening its military capabilities, so that continuing to fight will appear futile and the enemy will surrender instead. With air power this may be based on bombing military forces directly, interdicting their logistics, or destroying the industry and infrastructure that support and sustain them. Denial is a traditional military, Clausewitzian approach to coercion, exactly the sort of thing Douhet was arguing against. Yet it has also emerged in air power theory as the major alternative to strategies of punitive attacks against civilian targets, particularly in the works of John Slessor, the nuclear warfighting theorists of the 1980s, and most recently Robert Pape.10 All of these argue that until victory appears to be out of reach, an enemy will be likely to carry on its fight even in the face of high costs, so the coercer’s primary goal should be to inflict not terror but hopelessness. Punishment and denial advocates have each identified many of the problems with the other approach. Punishment strategies often fail because civilian will frequently proves to be very resilient in the face of military attack.11 Even when it is not, this may matter little, for many governments are willing to tolerate considerable harm to their populaces, in part because civilian suffering is often most limited for national leaders and

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their privileged cronies and greatest for those with the least influence over – and the least responsibility for – national policy. Air campaigns and blockades directed against national economic systems have occasionally succeeded, but only with considerable difficulty and great weight of effort, due to the robustness of advanced economies.12 Punishment strategies directed against enemy leaders also have a poor track record: leaders who matter the most are usually hard to threaten or kill, while the most vulnerable leaders, as in democracies, tend to be easily replaced, and triggering popular uprisings or military coups against embattled national governments is notoriously difficult.13 Most seriously of all, particularly for Western leaders contemplating employing punishment strategies, deliberately harming civilians is a violation of the laws of war, and as weapons become more precise, the amount of suffering that may be inflicted upon a nation’s population without committing a war crime has plummeted. The most obvious shortcoming of denial strategies is that while they often succeed, they tend to be slow and difficult. Except when the coercer is far stronger that the target state, reducing the enemy’s military capabilities to the point that defeat truly becomes inevitable can be a very tall order. Moreover, even when defeat does become inevitable, leaders are often very slow to accept this reality, for a variety of political and psychological reasons, allowing the war to drag on while they grasp at desperately improbable hopes of a reversal of fortune as, for example, in the case of Japan in the Second World War.14 Thus a denial strategy may appear likely to be too expensive to be acceptable to the coercer, or it may not offer the prospect of a rapid enough success, particularly if time is of the essence, for example if the goal is to halt an invasion, an ethnic cleansing campaign, or some other activity that will become a fait accompli in relatively short order if not stopped quickly. There is another problem with the denial approach in certain cases: sometimes the enemy’s prospects of success cannot be denied, for several possible reasons. The enemy may be too strong to defeat due to an unfavorable balance of power, the distance separating the enemy from the sources of the coercer’s power, or constraints on the force that the coercer is able to bring to bear, such as having to be prepared to defend against an attack by a third party. Alternatively, the enemy’s strategy may

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be one that is not vulnerable to the sorts of attacks that the coercer is willing or able to mount against it, as was the case for U.S. efforts to end the insurgent war in South Vietnam by interdicting the flow of supplies from North Vietnam to the Viet Cong.15 Finally, in some cases of coercion, there is simply no question of denying the enemy’s strategy, for example if one wished to coerce a target state to cease violating the human rights of an oppressed minority. Victory or defeat on the battlefield is not an issue in cases such as El Dorado Canyon or the 1970 Israeli-Egyptian War of Attrition, and in limited conflicts such as NATO’s war against Serbia in 1999 it may be all but impossible to deny the enemy its military objectives without escalating the level of violence beyond its acceptable limits.
TARGETS Armed Forces Destruction MECHANISM Denial Pure Warfighting; Preemptive War Classical Denial People & Economy Preventive War; Genocide Strategic Denial; Economic Warfare Classical Punishment National Government Regime Replacement Strategic Paralysis Regime Destabilization

Punishment Punitive Disarmament

Traditional punishment and denial do not exhaust the range of possible coercive strategies, however.16 Another possible approach is coercing an enemy by threatening to destroy its highly valued military assets rather than its military capabilities per se, that is, pursuing a punishment strategy against a target set usually associated with denial strategies. Under the right conditions, such punitive disarmament strategies may offer a more attractive approach for coercion than either punishing civilians or trying to eliminate an enemy’s ability to fight.

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Punitive Disarmament The central proposition of Schelling’s seminal analysis of coercive violence is that in order to coerce, one should threaten what the enemy values. “To exploit a capacity for hurting and inflicting damage, one needs to know what an adversary treasures and what scares him.”17 Like Douhet and the ACTS theorists, like many of the air strategists of the Second World War, like most of his fellow nuclear deterrence theorists, and like most designers of economic sanctions, Schelling assumed that what the enemy valued most would usually be the lives and welfare of its civilian population, but in fact this need not be the case. What is valued by the enemy – and by this we mean the relevant enemy decisionmakers, whether an individual despot, a ruling cabal, or an entire national population – can range from physical objects, to the safety and well-being of the civilian populace, to intangible objectives like victory in war, the survival of an ideology, or national honor. Some of these may be susceptible to coercive threats, and some will not, either because the attacker cannot destroy them, or because it is unwilling to do so. States often place widely different values on similar possessions and aspirations, making it dangerous to draw sweeping generalizations about how best to coerce enemies. However, many – though not all – of them place great value on their armed forces and military equipment, making these into potentially important targets for punitive coercion.

The Punitive Disarmament Strategy Punitive disarmament strategies seek to change the adversary’s behavior by threatening to destroy highly valued military assets. This typically involves actually attacking military targets, and threatening to continue or escalate the campaign unless the adversary complies with the attacker’s demands. In its execution, a punitive disarmament strategy might well look much like a traditional denial strategy, but it would differ in several key respects. First, a punitive disarmament campaign would attack or threaten assets that the target state values most, not necessarily those that contribute the most to the success of ongoing or imminent military operations. In other words, a punitive disarmament strategy targets what the enemy values, while a denial strategy attacks what the coercer believes to be militarily important. For example, during Operation Allied Force, a

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pure denial strategy would have ignored Yugoslav ground forces deployed far from Kosovo on the grounds that these could not influence the fighting there and that there would be plenty of time to attack them later prior to any NATO ground invasion when they might become militarily relevant. On the other hand, a pure punitive disarmament strategy would have attacked valuable Yugoslav military forces regardless of their location, giving no special weight to those in Kosovo unless their location made Belgrade value them especially highly. The other key difference between denial and punitive disarmament strategies is that the latter can be executed even in the absence of an ongoing armed conflict, when there is no enemy strategy to defeat and thus, by definition, denial is not an option. In fact, as will be discussed below, they are likely to be most attractive when coercion occurs in an environment short of total war. Although such strategies are highly relevant options for air power, they may also be applied under appropriate circumstances by ground, naval, and special operations forces, as well as combinations of all four.18 Several mechanisms might lead to the desired strategic outcome in a punitive disarmament strategy. The simplest and most likely would be that the target government would weigh the losses of military forces, equipment and other assets that it expected to suffer as a result of not complying with the coercive demands against the expected costs of compliance, conclude that acceding to the coercer’s demands would be the less unpleasant of the two alternatives, and then capitulate in a Schellingesque rational choice to minimize its losses. A variation on this baseline would involve the nation’s military leadership (or some other domestic actor) that placed a higher value on the endangered military assets than the government did bringing pressure to bear on the national decisionmakers, demanding that the country capitulate in order to avert the expected losses. Finally, it is possible that under the right (albeit unusual) circumstances, the progressive destruction of a country’s armed forces might actually trigger a coup against a recalcitrant government by military leaders determined to surrender in order to avert the annihilation of their organizations.19

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Precedents for Punitive Disarmament Although punitive disarmament is presented here as a relatively novel type of coercive military strategy, precedents for such an approach do exist; although not all of them were successful, even those that failed can help illustrate the nature of the approach and some of the factors that might influence its prospects for success. For example, at the turn of the twentieth century, Germany’s Admiral Tirpitz advocated building a fleet strong enough to cripple the Royal Navy in the event of a war with Great Britain. Although Britain could maintain the lead in a naval arms race with Germany, needing only to provide itself with a modern navy while Germany faced major rivals both on land and at sea, Tirpitz insisted that a sufficiently powerful German “risk fleet” would deter the British from attacking lest the ensuing conflict so damage the Royal Navy that it would then be vulnerable to defeat by a third party.20 In fact, it is among cases of weaker states seeking to deter stronger ones that the largest number of precedents for punitive disarmament appear. For example, during World War II neither Sweden nor Switzerland could hope to defeat a German invasion, but each country was able to threaten to exact a relatively high price in blood and time from a substantial German invasion force. With every German division at a premium on the main fronts of the war, this was one of several factors that contributed to these states’ successful deterrence of Germany during the conflict.21 In the 1980s, John Mearsheimer persuasively argued that one of the powerful factors deterring a Soviet attack against NATO was the high probability that even if the Warsaw Pact forces were able to overrun West Germany in a conventional war, the Red Army would be horribly mauled in the process.22 Other relatively weak actors that have threatened or attacked valuable military assets include certain terrorist groups, such as the suicide bombers who crippled the destroyer USS Cole in Aden. The United States and its allies have also carried out attacks that can be considered to be punitive disarmament, at least in the context of larger coercive campaigns, such as the attacks on Iraqi Special Republican Guard units during Operation Desert Fox in 1998. Two other, more successful examples suggest something of the potential efficacy of punitive disarmament. The first was the destruction of the Iraqi air force during the 1991 Gulf War. Although Coalition forces set about

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destroying Iraq’s air force simply in order to clear the way for the main coercive and brute force air effort, the progressive and inexorable annihilation of Iraq’s military aircraft ultimately caused a remarkable decision in Baghdad: to order the surviving aircraft to flee to internment in Iran, Iraq’s longstanding and bitter regional enemy, presumably with the realization that they might never be returned (as ultimately they were not) but with the hope that at least in Iranian service they might do more to threaten the United States than they would as wrecks at home. The other example occurred during the 1982 Falklands War. As the British task force was approaching the Falklands to recapture the islands following the Argentine invasion, the cruiser General Belgrano, one of the two largest ships of the Argentine fleet, was torpedoed and sunk by a British attack submarine. Immediately after this loss, the Argentine aircraft carrier Veinticinco de Mayo was ordered to abandon the search for the British fleet and return to port, where she disembarked her aircraft (which operated from land bases during the ensuing battle). Fearing further losses, the Argentine fleet played virtually no role in the remainder of the conflict, and thus was relegated to the political sidelines in the ruling junta, in spite of having been the armed service that had most aggressively promoted the seizure of the Falklands in the first place.23

The Advantages of Punitive Disarmament Strategies Punitive disarmament strategies offer several potential advantages over either denial or traditional punishment strategies, although these will vary widely from one case to another. Most importantly, punitive disarmament may be feasible in situations where denial is not, and it will typically avoid the legal and many of the moral obstacles involved in directing punishment attacks against civilian targets. Feasibility Punitive disarmament strategies may offer important practical advantages over the traditional alternatives. As noted above, punitive attacks directed against civilian populations, either directly or indirectly, have generally been unsuccessful in the past. Coercive air campaigns designed to threaten leaders have a far shorter track record, but they have achieved little to date, and there are powerful reasons to doubt their likely effec-

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tiveness in the future; many of these relate to the practical problems of tracking and targeting elusive and well-protected individuals. In contrast, military targets tend to be more fragile than either popular will or economic might, and they are often more vulnerable to attack (and may be more difficult to replace) than national leaders. Another advantage of choosing to attack high value military targets is that it may be possible to do so with limited resources. Expensive military equipment and other assets, especially naval vessels and aircraft, but also armored fighting vehicles, air defense systems, and military installations of all sorts, tend to be quite vulnerable to attack by modern air forces employing precision-guided munitions under suitable conditions; to this list might be added space systems, both satellites in orbit and high value ground systems such as space launch and control facilities. Even a major regional power typically possesses no more than a few thousand first-line armored vehicles, some hundreds of military aircraft, and several dozen important naval vessels, while most states have far fewer. Moreover, it is often the case that a relatively small minority of these assets will be disproportionately valuable to their owners because they are the most modern, the most capable, or the most expensive. This becomes increasingly true as many armed forces adjust to the rising costs of state-of-the-art weapons, and the declining availability of military aid from the superpowers, by reducing the size of their force structures. For example, Iran is by far the largest and most powerful of the former “rogue states,” now members of the “Axis of Evil,” that have become the focus of American defense planning in recent years.24 It has rearmed significantly since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, and its air power was bolstered in 1991 by the arrival of some 125 Iraqi aircraft fleeing coalition attacks. Yet the Iranian air force possesses only about 125 combat aircraft that can reasonably be described as modern and another 175 obsolescent ones,25 while Iran’s principal naval warfare capabilities are concentrated in a mere three submarines, three frigates, and twenty missile-armed fast attack craft. A similar pattern even appears in Iran’s much larger ground forces: only 500 or so of its nominal strength of some 1,500 main battle tanks are both serviceable and modern enough to serve in even the least advanced NATO army.26 Thus a reasonably limited U.S. air campaign could destroy a large proportion of Iran’s air and naval power in relatively

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short order, and it could also cripple Iran’s armored forces over a longer period, assuming the availability of sufficient reconnaissance capabilities; in contrast, actually defeating and occupying Iran in a war would be a far more difficult and expensive undertaking.27 Much the same is true of China, a state so large and heavily armed that the United States can hardly contemplate waging a full-scale conventional war against it. In spite of the impressive size of the People’s Liberation Army, China possesses only 100 or so significant warships and less than 500 modern military aircraft, even using the most charitable interpretations of those two adjectives. States fighting wars using light infantry or irregular forces that cannot easily or economically be attacked from the air usually possess other military assets that are more vulnerable. Recognition of this fact appears to have shaped U.S. use of air power against Iraq in response to Baghdad’s suppression of the Kurds, and some of NATO’s planning for attacks against Serbia in order to change Belgrade’s policies in Kosovo. In such cases, aerial denial strategies might well be impractical, but punitive disarmament strategies could be executed (although the mere fact that the targets could be bombed does not imply that the strategy would necessarily succeed). The nature of punitive disarmament targets may also increase attackers’ ability to monitor their progress, because it is relatively straightforward to assess the amount of physical damage inflicted against military vehicles and facilities, at least compared to strategies designed to degrade enemy morale or to cause other largely intangible effects. It is important to note, however, that a target set being vulnerable does not necessarily imply that it will be easy or inexpensive to attack. In fact, high value military assets are likely to be among the most heavily defended targets a country possesses, so an air campaign directed against them may face great operational difficulties, especially if the attacker seeks to limit its own casualties to a very low level. For this reason, punitive disarmament strategies will usually be most appealing to countries that enjoy a considerable advantage in military technology over their adversaries. However, even a state fighting at a technological disadvantage might find such a strategy attractive if it were able to threaten a very valuable set of targets.

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In contrast, denial strategies may require more extensive attacks than pure punitive disarmament strategies, both because a state’s high value military hardware is often not the most important contributor to its military power, and because states tend to be very slow to recognize that they have been defeated. To return to the earlier example, delivery of a thousand precision guided weapons against Iran’s most modern ship, tanks, and aircraft could effectively set its military machine back by thirty years, at least until the weapons could be replaced. This would not force it to surrender in wartime, but might be a very powerful threat with which to pursue more limited coercive ends. Equally significantly, even a much smaller attack could destroy a very expensive set of military assets, which illustrates a subtle but important distinction between punitive disarmament and denial strategies. Denial strategies, whether directed against armies, military industrial bases, or (especially) entire national economies, must overcome the slack in the enemy system and stay ahead of adaptive responses and workarounds by the enemy. At the risk of oversimplifying, destroying the first twenty percent of anything usually does little to achieve denial, and it is only when the last twenty percent is attacked that the cumulative effects bring the target system crashing down.28 This general pattern figures prominently in the strategic bombing of Germany and Japan during World War II. In contrast, in punitive disarmament strategies it is likely to be the first bombs that do the most damage, not the last. By striking the most valuable and vulnerable targets first, even a limited attack can inflict great damage, while a massive campaign will eventually suffer from diminishing returns as the most lucrative targets disappear. Unless a state has a surplus of high value military assets, which is possible but not common, significant damage will occur from the outset. It follows, however, that if such a strategy does not coerce the enemy into conceding reasonably quickly, it is unlikely ever to succeed. Legality and Morality Significant though the feasibility advantages of punitive disarmament strategies may be, their greatest appeal probably lies in their moral, political, and legal palatability. Military assets are legally legitimate targets, by definition, which usually makes attacking them more politically attractive than striking targets such as electric powerplants and telecommuni-

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cations facilities that serve both military and civilian purposes. Moreover, high value military assets are not normally co-located with civilian populations, so attacking them usually holds relatively little risk of causing collateral damage, a consideration that has consistently loomed large for American air strategists in recent conflicts. Of course, it is intrinsically difficult by definition to punish civilian targets without making the population suffer, either during or after the conflict. Denial strategies can also be hard to execute without doing considerable damage to civilians as well as military personnel. Conversely, if the coercing state is concerned about gaining or retaining the sympathy of the enemy population, either during the confrontation or afterwards, striking military targets will be less likely to generate hostility among them than attacking civilian or dual-use targets. It may also be less likely to cause them to rally in support of their own government, although this will depend on the relationship between the state’s armed forces and its general population. It is virtually impossible to overstate the strategic importance of these considerations. Avoiding harm to civilians is not merely politically useful, but is an absolute requirement of international law, embraced by the governments and armed forces of the United States and its principal allies. As modern sensors and munitions become more accurate, both popular and legal expectations about the extent to which attackers will discriminate between damage to military and civilian targets increase. Although Western strategists may occasionally lament being victims of their own success, because they can attack militarily significant targets without inflicting disproportionate damage to civilians, they must do so. Thus, in cases where denial strategies are impractical or irrelevant, punishment strategies directed against military targets may be the only strategic alternative. It is also possible to tailor a punitive disarmament strategy to minimize even the military casualties it inflicts by attacking aircraft on the ground, ships in port, and other military targets at times and places where they can be destroyed with relatively little loss of life if appropriate munitions are employed. Although the laws of armed conflict do not require states to minimize harm to enemy military personnel, such a strategy might nevertheless be attractive in situations where killing even enemy troops is politically costly, or where the coercer wishes to injure an adversary

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government without harming or alienating those who have little choice but to serve it. However, this does not mean that punitive disarmament strategies are likely to offer the prospect of bloodless victories, and they should not be embraced in the expectation that they will do so. Although continued advances in limited-effect and non-lethal weapons will further increase their owners’ ability to mount highly discriminate attacks, eliminating all chance of collateral casualties is never possible, no matter how precise and reliable one’s weapons may be. Moreover, except when attacking virtually helpless adversaries, suppressing enemy defenses almost invariably places those manning the defenses at risk. Secondary Effects Punitive disarmament strategies also offer other potential benefits, though these are less significant than the acceptability and feasibility considerations discussed above. For example, demonstrating the ability to execute such a strategy successfully might strengthen the coercer’s deterrence credibility in future confrontations with the same or other adversaries. The most significant secondary effect of such strategies is likely to be that even an ultimately unsuccessful punitive disarmament campaign would reduce the military capabilities of the target state, thus potentially contributing to a subsequent denial effort, or simply reducing the threat posed by the adversary’s armed forces until it is able to rearm. In contrast, a punishment strategy directed at civilian targets is not likely to provide much preparation of the battlefield if it fails to coerce. However, in some cases this may be a problem: if the coercer does not wish to create a power vacuum in the region, weakening the enemy’s ability to defend itself against third party attackers may produce destabilizing effects, which strategists would want to take into account when selecting a strategy.

The Limitations of Punitive Disarmament Although punitive disarmament has a number of attractive features, no coercive strategy is a panacea that will be appropriate in every case, and this one is no exception. A strategy of punitive disarmament will be promising only under certain circumstances, some of which are peculiar

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to this approach, while others apply in equal measure to other coercive strategies. Target Vulnerability The most obvious requirement for such a strategy is that the targets actually be vulnerable to destruction, which means that the attackers must be able to locate and identify the targets, penetrate the enemy’s defenses, and finally destroy the targets, all at an acceptable cost both in losses among the attackers and in collateral and other undesired damage on the ground. The extent to which these requirements can be met will depend on a number of factors in addition to the attacker’s reconnaissance and strike capabilities, such as whether the defenders are taken by surprise, and whether the forces to be attacked are operationally active or can be dispersed and concealed. The last of these considerations can be crucial, as was vividly demonstrated by the problems NATO encountered during Operation Allied Force over Kosovo in 1999. If valuable military forces can be effectively camouflaged, or if they can be dispersed among civilian populations or placed in other locations where they will be immune from attack, the strategy will become untenable. In addition to protecting them with human shields, targets of a disarmament campaign might be placed out of harm’s way by moving them to other countries or simply out of range of the attackers, by locating them within sites of historical or cultural importance (as when Iraq parked aircraft among Sumerian ruins during the Gulf War), or by placing them in locations where attacks upon them might cause unacceptable environmental consequences. Of course, how effective such countermeasures will be depends on the technological sophistication of the attacker’s sensors and weapons and the skill with which they are used, as well as the attacker’s level of tolerance for collateral damage. For this reason, among others, naval vessels are perhaps the most attractive of all targets for a punitive disarmament strategy, being relatively large, expensive, few in number, difficult to conceal, and generally unmovable into civilian neighborhoods. Aircraft share all of these characteristics, though each to a more limited degree, as do some types of high-value military facilities. Air defense assets such as surface-to-air

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missile batteries and early warning radars may also make good countervalue targets because the attacker will probably want to strike them in the course of attacking other targets anyway, and because concealing and dispersing them imposes significant opportunity costs on the target state. It thus follows that, other things being equal, punitive disarmament strategies should be more effective against sea and air powers than against states that invest little in their navies or air forces. Value of the Targets and Costs of Compliance The second fundamental condition required in order for a punitive disarmament strategy to be viable is that the enemy must value the military assets being threatened with destruction – not what has already been destroyed – more than it values what the coercer is asking it to concede. Although this seems simplemindedly obvious, it can easily be forgotten, just as it often is when using other coercive approaches such as punitive economic sanctions.29 The value that a state places on a military asset may be based on a variety of factors. Some of these are intrinsic to the asset: the amount that it is worth to its owner in and of itself, for example because of what it cost to acquire or because of its political symbolism.30 Other elements of value are extrinsic: a function of an asset’s practical utility for gaining or protecting things that are intrinsically valuable, such as national security (usually against external threats) or political survival of a regime (particularly against internal enemies).31 Denial strategies consider only the short-term, extrinsic value of military forces: states are assumed to value their armed forces as tools to provide victory or defense in the present conflict, but not as intrinsically valuable assets. Punishment strategists tend to have the same attitude, seeing attacks on military forces either as a distraction from or merely a necessary prerequisite to threatening intrinsically valuable assets such as civilian populations and economic capacity. Punitive disarmament strategies are based instead on the proposition that military forces may be so extrinsically and intrinsically valuable that threatening to destroy them can be coercive in its own right. Value will be influenced by the scarcity of an asset – weapons, other equipment, facilities, or personnel – and in particular by the difficulty and cost of replacing it if it is destroyed. Consequently, poor states, and

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states that depend on arms imports but that have become pariahs, will tend to be better targets for punitive disarmament targeting than will states with the resources and opportunity to produce or purchase new weapons easily after a confrontation ends. Similarly, other things being equal, sophisticated systems that few countries can manufacture will tend to be better targets for such a strategy than will facilities and equipment that are available from many vendors.32 Armed forces that are deemed essential for regime survival are likely to be valued particularly highly; military regimes may be especially suitable targets for punitive disarmament since they rely on military power to provide domestic political control, and also might be expected to be more averse to military losses than civilian governments due to the high intrinsic value they place on the lives of their fellows.33 Extrinsic value will also be greatly affected by the severity and immediacy of the security threats facing the target state. The less secure a state is, the more disturbing the prospect of having its defenses weakened will be. In addition, the value of the various elements of its defense apparatus will be shaped by the nature of the potential security threats: if the greatest threat to a regime is domestic unrest, its jet aircraft and naval forces may seem to be relative luxuries, whereas mainly being concerned by threats of amphibious invasion would presumably increase the value of these units while making counterinsurgency forces something that the enemy might expect to be able to live without. In general, external threats from technologically advanced rivals will tend to make target states more susceptible to punitive disarmament coercion than will threats from insurgent or other irregular forces. In spite of such general principles, however, the value of military forces in a particular case can be very difficult for the coercion strategist to assess beforehand. As a first approximation, the fact that a state has heavily invested its resources in specific military forces will suggest that it places a high value on them, or at least that some of its decisionmakers did so at the time of the expenditure, although one should not assume that assets that were inexpensive to acquire are necessarily valued little as a result. However, the problem of determining how the adversary values the things that one might attack may be complicated by the fact that values are not only subject to change, but may be affected by the attack

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itself. For example, sinking some of the ships in a country’s navy is likely to increase the individual value of the remaining vessels (at least up to the point where the surviving fleet ceases to be an effective force), though it makes the navy as a whole less valuable.34 If this happens, it will facilitate punitive disarmament, because it will mitigate the problem of “killing the hostage.” On the other hand, international confrontations tend to stoke the fires of nationalism, making mere physical objects, and even the lives of soldiers and citizens, seem progressively less important when compared to the value of national honor or survival. In some cases, assets that do not have great value to the enemy’s national leaders may be intrinsically valuable to other actors who can influence policy. For example, military leaders might feel greater loss from the destruction of the forces they command than would a civilian government with less direct ties to the armed forces. In such a situation, the impact of threats to destroy those forces might depend on how much weight the national leadership places on the concerns of its military, and how confident the government is regarding the military’s loyalty to it. Similarly, a government that value or depends upon the support of the populace is more likely to fear the destruction of that which the people value than would an oligarchic or tyrannical state that cares little for the happiness of its subjects. Above all, however – and this point cannot be overemphasized – the first rule of punitive coercion, regardless of the target set, is that the severity of the threat must exceed the magnitude of the coercer’s demands. For this reason, opportunities for successful punitive strategies diminish as the coercive stakes rise; typically, when values such as national survival truly hang in the balance, no punitive strategy is likely to succeed because surrender will appear worse than any destructive threat, and only denial strategies will have a reasonable chance of coercing the enemy.35 Consequently, punitive disarmament strategies will show the greatest promise in cases of coercion over stakes of limited value to the defender.36 Conditionality of Demands One other aspect of the coercer’s demands should also be considered in this context, though it is not unique to punitive disarmament, or even to punishment strategies more generally. Not only must the target state care

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more about the loss of what the coercer threatens to destroy than it cares about the concessions being demanded, but it must also expect that if it concedes, the threatened assets will not be destroyed anyway. In other words, both the threat of punishment and the promise of restraint in return for surrender must be reasonably credible, or else the target state will have little incentive to comply. Herein lay the fatal flaw in the threats made against Iraq by the United States during the weapons inspection crisis of early 1998. American leaders suggested that if Baghdad did not comply with Security Council resolutions requiring complete disclosure of the extent of its programs for developing weapons of mass destruction, they would bomb any facilities from which UN arms inspectors were barred. Such threats had an intuitively appealing an-eye-for-an-eye quality, seemingly akin to a parent’s threat to confiscate toys that are not properly put away. However, since the purpose of the inspections was to dismantle Iraq’s biological and chemical weapons programs, Washington was essentially threatening to destroy some of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction unless Iraq allowed it to destroy all of them. It was far from surprising that this coercive threat failed to change Iraqi behavior. In general terms, punitive disarmament will fare best by avoiding not only threats along the lines of “disarm or we will destroy your army,” but also threats to destroy military assets until or unless the target state makes other concessions that will render it equally vulnerable to attack.

Investing in Punitive Disarmament Capabilities Developing the capabilities to execute punitive disarmament strategies is for the most part a straightforward matter. However, it does require more than the simple ability to strike and destroy whichever categories of military assets the enemy values, and to do so in the face of whatever defenses and countermeasures the adversary can place in the way. The intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) requirements of such a strategy are likely to be high, especially if resource constraints or other factors make it necessary to attack specific weapons or facilities within a general category. As Operation Allied Force vividly demonstrated, the United States has provided itself with insufficient ISR capabilities to direct and support the very large numbers of strike aircraft in its arsenal,

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and many other countries have given even shorter shrift to these and other “enabling” systems in favor of investing in combat aircraft.37 Overcoming such shortfalls will require not just more and better sensors and other hardware in order to locate and identify targets, but also greater emphasis on developing sufficiently deep strategic intelligence pictures of prospective enemies to be able to understand the values that they attach to one’s potential targets. Although punitive disarmament and denial campaigns may have much in common at the operational and tactical levels, in some respects even the armament and doctrine best suited for one may not be ideal for the other. For example, if one seeks to destroy an adversary’s valuable military hardware, destruction of enemy air defenses (DEAD) may be much more important than mere suppression of them (SEAD), which would have important implications for the munitions and tactics adopted for these missions. Punitive disarmament may also appear at first glance to represent something of a departure from the U.S. Air Force’s current doctrinal enthusiasm for “effects-based operations,” although it should not to those who fully understand the latter concept.38 Because punitive disarmament does not seek to degrade enemy capabilities, but to destroy weapons, materiel, and military forces and facilities, it places little emphasis on the ability to cause transient, synergistic, or cascading effects other than those that will facilitate the destruction of – or create the perception of destructive threat to – the high-value targets. Instead it is very much a strategy of attrition, albeit in a form designed to be highly selective and discriminate. Finally, investing in such capabilities calls for greater emphasis on wellbalanced statecraft. Like other punishment strategies, punitive disarmament will not be suitable for achieving extreme coercive objectives, and in some cases suitable targets will not exist or they will not be sufficiently vulnerable. Even when such strategies make good strategic sense, there are limits to what they can be expected to deliver: they will usually require a very substantial application of force, they will usually take time to work, and they will not eliminate bloodshed or the risk of collateral damage. As with other approaches to coercion, in order to maximize the chances of success it will be essential to exercise discretion in when, how, against whom, and for what ends these strategies are employed. If they

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are ill-used they are likely to fail (and they may fail anyway, given that war is an imprecise business), and failure can be expected to weaken the coercive leverage that similar strategies will provide subsequently. However, if used judiciously, punitive disarmament may provide a more attractive policy option in certain cases than the traditional alternatives that have dominated thinking about coercive strategy alternatives in the past.

NOTES
1 The author is an Associate Political Scientist at RAND in Washington, D.C.. The views expressed in this essay are his own, and do not represent the opinions of RAND or of any agency of the aUnited States Government. For their invaluable comments on earlier versions of this work, the author wishes to thank Scott Douglas, John Mearsheimer, John Mueller, Michelle Mueller, John Nagl, Kim Noedskov, John Olsen, Daryl Press, Dan Reiter, Alan Vick, Harold Winton, Paul Yingling, and the participants in seminars where earlier versions of this project were presented at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, RAND’s Washington and Santa Monica offices, the U.S. National War College, and USAFE/NATO AIRNORTH Headquarters. 2 Operation Enduring Freedom is not included in this list in spite of being a spectacular operational and strategic success for U.S. air power because it was not coercive in nature, as will be discussed below. 3 See Robert A. Pape, Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996); Karl Mueller, “Strategies of Coercion: Denial, Punishment, and the Future of Air Power,” Security Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Spring 1998): 182-228. The recent popularity of air power theories emphasizing high-tempo operations as a means of dazzling slower-witted enemies into bewildered psychological collapse, which has grown out of the theories of John Boyd and John Warden and now often appears under labels such as “rapid dominance,” represents an apparent exception to this gross generalization. However, in spite of the modern jargon in which they are usually expressed, most of the theoretical content of such strategies would be familiar to the air theorists of the 1930s. 4 See Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), ch. 1; Karl P. Mueller, “The Essence of Coercive Airpower: A Primer for the Military Strategist,” RAF Air Power Review, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Autumn 2001): 45-56. 5 A secondary, coercive goal of the attack may have been to deter other Middle Eastern states from pursuing nuclear weapons development lest they provoke a similar attack by Israel. However, it is highly unlikely that the Israelis believed the Osirak raid would discourage Saddam Hussein from continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction, indeed it could reasonably be expected to encourage him to redouble his efforts.

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6 Washington’s secondary but important destructive objectives were also vividly illustrated by General Colin Powell’s statement that he wanted to see burning Iraqi tanks as kilometer markers along the road from Kuwait to Baghdad. 7 Air power advocates often overstate this distinction, however. Air attacks against an adversary’s heartland do not bypass the enemy’s military forces, for they must still overcome the opposing air defenses. 8 Pape, Bombing to Win; on the other air theorists discussed here, see Phillip S. Meilinger, ed., Paths of Heaven: The Evolution of Airpower Theory (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Press, 1996). 9 See Pape, Bombing to Win and the ensuing exchange of articles in Security Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Winter 1998). 10 J. C. Slessor, Air Power and Armies (London: Oxford University Press, 1936); Karl Mueller, “Strategic Airpower and Nuclear Strategy: New Theory for a Not-Quite-So-New Apocalypse,” in Meilinger, ed., The Paths of Heaven: 279-320; Pape, Bombing to Win. To this list could be added the ACTS, whose theorists argued that attacking the enemy’s “industrial web” would both cripple its ability to fight and make its economy and society collapse, thus achieving victory through a combination of denial and punishment (though they believed that protecting the welfare of the civilian population would be the concern that would ultimately prompt the enemy to surrender). So could many contemporary suggestions that attacking enemy command and control abilities will produce strategic paralysis and leave the enemy defenseless. 11 See Pape, Bombing to Win, but also C. G. C. Treadway, “More Than Just A Nuisance: When Aerial Terror Bombing Works” (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Press, 1997). 12 See Mancur Olson Jr., The Economics of the Wartime Shortage (Durham: Duke University Press, 1963); Alfred C. Mierzejewski, The Collapse of the German War Economy, 1944–1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988). 13 Pape, Bombing to Win, 79-86; Stephen T. Hosmer, Operations Against Enemy Leaders MR-1385AF (Santa Monica: RAND, 2001). 14 For a good discussion, see Pape, Bombing to Win, 32-35. 15 Mark Clodfelter, The Limits of Air Power (New York: Free Press, 1989). 16 For further discussion, see Mueller, “Strategies of Coercion.” 17 Schelling, Arms and Influence, 3 18 In fact, they may even be relevant to the other major field of coercion: domestic law enforcement. A relatively little-known U.S. federal law prohibits perpetrators convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from owning firearms (as is the case for all felons). Although this statute was enacted primarily to protect domestic violence victims from being shot, the relatively limited enforcement of the law can be attributed in large part to many police considering loss of the right to own guns to be a disproportionately punitive response to the crime in question. 19 Although this is a highly theoretical possibility, given the failure of past air campaigns to trigger coups, it is one that should not be discounted altogether. 20 In the end, Britain dealt with the rising German threat by forming alliances with Japan and France, allowing it to shift forces from other theaters back to home waters. While the German naval threat did not deter British participation in World War I, London did turn out to be remarkably reluctant to risk the loss even of obsolescent capital ships during the conflict, notably at Gallipoli. 21 Karl P. Mueller, Strategy, Asymmetric Deterrence, and Accommodation: Middle Powers and Security in Modern Europe, Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1991, ch. 8. 22 John J. Mearsheimer, Conventional Deterrence (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983), ch. 6. In

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23 24

25

26 27

28

29

30

31

32

33 34

this case, and even without nuclear weapons, the defender would have stood a good chance of defeating an invasion, for reasons that Mearsheimer describes in some detail, though he does not give much attention to the possibility of deterrence by denial. Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins, The Battle for the Falklands (New York: Norton, 1983): 323. On the unsoundness of the rogue state concept, See John Mueller and Karl Mueller, “Methodology of Mass Destruction,” in Eric Herring, ed., Preventing the Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (London: Frank Cass, 2000), pp. 163-187, also pub. as Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1 (March 2000). The former total includes F-14As, MiG-29s, Mirage F-1EQs, Azarakhshs, Su-24s, and P-3s (26 Su-27s are also on order), while the latter includes F-6s, F-7Ms, and non-upgraded F-4s and F-5Es. The Iranian air force also operates about 90 transport and tanker aircraft, which it might value even more highly. (Jane’s World Air Forces [Coulsdon, UK: Jane’s Information Group, 2002]: 191) Charles Heyman, ed., Jane’s World Armies (Coulsdon, UK: Jane’s Information Group, 2001): 351. Actually conducting such a campaign against Iran’s land and air forces would involve significant operational challenges not addressed here due to the large geographic size of the country requiring very long range flights to attack locations such as Tehran from bases in the Persian Gulf or central Turkey, but the same difficulties would be faced by any type of air campaign, and would in fact increase the appeal of countervalue military targeting relative to more laborintensive targeting options. This is far less true at the tactical level, where slack and adaptability tend to be in much shorter supply, than at the strategic level. Of course, economies, militaries, and other systems vary widely in these respects, which is why, for example, bombing the German aircraft industry in World War II accomplished little while attacks on the transportation and liquid fuels sectors were far more successful. See Mancur Olson Jr., “The Economics of Target Selection for the Combined Bomber Offensive,” RUSI Journal, Vol. 107 (November 1962): 308–314; Mierzejewski, Collapse of the German War Economy. See “The Microfoundations of Economic Sanctions,” Security Studies, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Spring 1997): 32-64; David A. Baldwin, “The Sanctions Debate and the Logic of Choice,” International Security, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Winter 1999/2000): 80–107. Examples of states’ concern with the intrinsic value of military forces are not uncommon, ranging from Hitler’s decision to rename the pocket battleship Deutschland early in the Second World War in order to minimize the embarrassment that Germany would suffer if it were sunk, to contemporary fears that the high cost of B-2 stealth bombers will make leaders reluctant to send them into harm’s way. For further discussion of these concepts, see Michael Desch, “The Keys that Lock Up the World: Identifying American Interests in the Periphery,” International Security, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Summer 1989): 86–121. It is hardly necessary to provide examples of weapons that are and are not difficult to acquire in the international marketplace, but it may be worth observing that when facilities for producing weapons of mass destruction are in question, threats to nuclear facilities are likely to be far more effective than threats to attack plants for producing chemical or biological weapons. See Stanislaw Andreski, “On the Peaceful Disposition of Military Dictatorships,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 3, No. 3 (December 1980): 3–10. However, if the attrition were so severe that the surviving ships were no longer able to fight effectively, their extrinsic value might decline rather than rise.

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35 This is the central argument of Pape’s Bombing to Win, although Pape submits that threats of nuclear destruction are sufficiently severe to outweigh even truly vital interests. For further discussion, see Mueller, “Strategies of Coercion.” 36 Even more generally, the higher the stakes in a confrontation, the harder it will be to make an enemy back down regardless of the strategy that is employed. However, denial strategies tend to be less sensitive to this tendency because it is at least theoretically possible to convince the enemy that success is beyond reach regardless of how appealing success may be. 37 For further discussion, see Karl Mueller, “Flexible Force Projection for a Dynamic World,” in Cindy Williams, ed., Holding the Line: U.S. Defense Alternatives for the Early 21st Century (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001). 38 In reality, any sound strategy or concept of operations is by definition based on a logical plan to achieve desired effects. It has become commonplace, however, to associate effects-based operations with concepts such as nodal targeting analysis and “rapid dominance” that promise that the effects of multiple attacks on well-selected targets can be multiplicative rather than additive, and some of which emphasize disrupting enemy decision-making processes rather than influencing them.

Small Nations and Asymmetric Air Power

Wing Commander Shaun Clarke, Asymmetric Warfare and Small Nations As the dust settles in the aftermath of ‘9–11’,1 the definitions, goals and strategies of asymmetric war are under thorough re-examination. Asymmetric warfare has been defined as: Actions undertaken by state or non-state parties to circumvent or negate an opponent’s strengths and capitalise on perceived weaknesses by exploiting dissimilarities (including values, strategies, organisation and capabilities) with a view to achieving disproportionate effects and gaining the instigator an advantage, either not attainable through conventional means or more cost effectively.2 Goals and strategies have been variously defined to further mention: the generation of strategic, operational and tactical level surprise; achievement of psychological impact; pursuit of the collapse of state-based authority structures; use of weapons that differ significantly from the opponent’s mode of operations, and application of innovative means that an opponent cannot match in kind.3 If any of this is supposed to suggest something sinister, then the problem for modern, innovative, agile small nation militaries (strategising to compensate for lack of size and resources) is that it appears to be quite an attractive notion. Indeed, much in the nature of what is defined above can be learned on orthodox command and staff colleges and military exercises. Most nations, large and small, have accepted asymmetric warfare and

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even pseudo-terrorist tactics within the context of conventional warfare. The Germans in World War II posted parcel bombs by surface between England and the US. These were timed to explode mid-Atlantic and sink ships supporting Allied strategic logistics, thereby negating the risk of deploying a submarine on the same task. Even suicide bombing is not without some large nation conventional warfare precedent in Japanese Kamikaze operations of World War II. These were tactics that are not only accepted by historians of modern western liberal democracies, but celebrated as the more lateral, asymmetric and daring acts of war. These tactics provided a ‘point of difference’ and at least momentarily gave leverage or advantage to the protagonist against otherwise relatively balanced (symmetrical) forces. Such examples of asymmetric warfare are an inherent aspect of the manoeuvrist approach. They are to be expected as the sorts of outside-the-box activities that any warrior might rise to, especially against an ascendant enemy. However, in modern times, when sub-national groups utilise the same tactics – posting mail bombs and carrying out suicide bombings – they are labelled ‘terrorists’. The difference surely lies in the targeting. Targets and tactics are what actually distinguish the ‘terrorist’ from the ‘asymmetric warrior’ within the otherwise perfectly acceptable ‘convention’ of asymmetric warfare. These include killing civilians; hostage taking; disinformation attacks; biological, chemical and radiological threats and so on. It is in these areas that terrorist operations cross, or at least blur, the boundaries between criminal acts and acts of war. Terrorism generally aims to produce and capitalise ‘terror’ amongst civilians. Thus, at least in the West, terrorism can be distinguished as involving attacks ‘prosecuted with no regard to ethical, legal and moral restraints as would normally be applied by a liberal western democratic nation’.4 Small western nations choose not to employ terrorist tactics. However, whether to fight ‘asymmetrically’ is not necessarily a matter of choice. There is an unavoidable asymmetry about being small amongst big nations. Asymmetric warfare is a corollary of asymmetric means. Thinking asymmetrically is, at least for small nations, both good and necessary.

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In essence, terrorism is a subset of asymmetric warfare. To small nations: asymmetric warfare is good; terrorism is bad. The difference lies in the targeting ethics. This paper is about seeking asymmetric strategies for the application of small nation air power.

Alternative Air Strategy for Small Nation Strike While the strategic school of air power thought has long championed the independent use of air power above any supporting role in land- and seabased manoeuvre and attrition, small nation air power has generally not achieved this aspiration. Militarily subordinated by greater partners within the settings of colonialism, Cold War and/or UN coalition, small modern nations have developed offensive air power capabilities for attacking and defending elements of armies, navies and air forces in the field. Meanwhile, ‘strategic bombing’ against the enemy’s very will and capacity for war has remained the exclusive franchise of greater nations. With the modern economic imperatives facing small nations (and all nations for that matter), custodians of air power are challenged to extract maximum potential out of minimum inventory. The question is raised as to whether the traditional preoccupation with ‘fielded’ forces is the best method for resolving essentially political conflict. This is especially so in the post-Cold War environment which features a larger number of small nation wars (in contrast to a small number of large nation wars), and lacks the unifying ideological issues which once assured superpower intervention in small nation conflicts. Professional curiosity about the fullest air power potential of independent small nations and small coalitions is now of greater importance.

Power = Capability x Strategy

Air power is the product of aerospace capability and air strategy. The ‘capability’ factor is somewhat more a constant than a variable for many

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small nations. Precision guided munitions, however, do represent a very important exception. By one calculation, what required 9070 bombs (3024 aircraft) in World War II; 1100 bombs (550 aircraft) in Korea; and 176 bombs (44 aircraft) in Vietnam, required only one smart bomb and one aircraft in the Gulf War.5 Thus, through growth in affordable precision technology, one of the key capability deficiencies of small nations – mass – is apparently overcome. Notwithstanding, the greater variable in the equation above is ‘strategy’. The obvious utility of good strategy to small nations contemplating conflict is that it promises to amplify the value of even modest capability. Where resources are limited, the quest for good strategy is essential. This paper is about asymmetric warfare strategy for small nation air power. It is about seeking viable alternatives to conventional air strike strategy – alternatives within the means of small nations. It is about seeking a strategy for the application of air power which might directly access the source of conflict rather than its symptoms. It is about the prospect of small nation strategic bombing. To what extent is strategic bombing achievable by small modern air power forces? In what style might small nations carry out strategic strike? The obvious starting points are the superpower and large coalition models for strategic bombing. However, conventional large nation air campaign doctrine may be of dubious applicability. Central to the large coalition strike paradigm is the potential of air power to simply overwhelm at the national level. If there is a single set of concepts which dominates current superpower strategic bombing doctrine it is: high mass, high speed, high tech, high tempo and high sustainability; all brought together in parallel to achieve the unconditional surrender of an enemy through the single-handed application of air power. John Warden’s ‘Five Ring’ strategic targeting model of Gulf War fame is a case in point.6 Such approaches pursue ‘strategic paralysis’ – the large-scale destruction of critical functionality within the enemy nation through the felling of entire sub-systems. Superpower and large coalition strategic air strike is highly resource

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intensive and well beyond the means of small nations and small coalitions. More than 2000 combat aircraft took part in the Gulf War Coalition. Seventy percent of nations currently holding some form of air strike capability would struggle to muster more than 100 operational bombers on a good day.7 The bombing rate in large coalition campaigns across World War II, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War averaged more than 44 000 tons per month.8 Small air power nations simply cannot wage this kind of air war or hope to ‘strategically paralyse’. Then what? There is a real paucity of independent thinking on strategies for the maximal application of limited air power (outside of surface combat force support). This is somewhat surprising given the large number of small air strike users. There are 129 nations in the world with an air strike capability of some description.9 Of a total of just over 39 900 platforms, approximately 40 percent are operated by China, the USA and Russia. A similar proportion of the total capability is operated by the bottom 115 countries in the list. A great many small nations are stakeholders in the business of air strike. While some have quite significant offensive air power fleets, none even closely resembles – in size or content – the air fleets of the large nations, by, for and about whom doctrine is predominantly written. A very large number of small nations rely on the doctrine of a very small number of large nations. The validity of that doctrine to small users must be questioned on the basis of differential means.10 The real question for small nations is not how America might wage air war, but how Peru and Ecuador might better have fought their last, and how South Africa or Finland might best prepare for their next.11 Is strategic air strike possible for small nations? We should start by defining what distinguishes strategic air strike from normal air strike? Through history, strategic strike has become popularly synonymous with large numbers of aircraft carrying large weapons payloads over large distances to bomb large targets. One description to be found in the postWorld War II United States Bombing Survey states: Strategic bombing bears the same relationship to tactical bombing as does the cow to the pail of milk. To deny immediate

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aid and comfort to the enemy, tactical considerations dictate upsetting the bucket. To ensure eventual starvation, the strategic move is to kill the cow.12 In more modern times, perceptions are different. Attempts at a definition have variously and erroneously centred on aircraft type and target type. A more refined and useful distinction, however, focuses on the intended outcome of such missions – that is, the directness of effect on the actual strategic objectives over which war is fought. The multinational Strategic Aerospace Warfare Study Panel has defined the strategic application of air power as ‘the direct pursuit of primary or ultimate political-military objectives through aerospace power’.13 This is a useful definition. It shifts the focus away from operations against military surface forces and on to those that aim to influence the highest level decision-makers at the very centre of any dispute by the most direct means. The potential for small nations with limited resources to have such influence is the basic question. This definition of ‘strategic air strike’ will be useful. There will be no attempt to define ‘small nations’ however – they know who they are.

War and the Small Nation Perspective Before we can understand the feasibility of a high order strategic orientation to air strike for small nations, we need to understand the small nation perspective on war. Three propositions follow. They are suggestions on how small nations view, or rather should view, conflict and the application of offensive air power.

Proposition One: Limited War Need Not Seek Unconditional Surrender Limited war is fought for limited objectives. It is seldom fought (especially by a defender) for the annihilation of the other party. The sorts of limited policy objectives that could result in armed conflict for small nations include:

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• • • • • • •

displacement of lodgements on sovereign territory; protection of offshore resources against state sponsored plundering; interruption of foreign government sponsorship of domestic insurgency; cessation of politically motivated human rights abuses; erosion of a totalitarian regime having critically destabilising regional effects; release of nationals held hostage by a foreign state; prevention of the regional acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, and so on.

None of these objectives call for overthrow of the offending nation. Indeed, a captured or destroyed neighbour can be a significant unwanted liability. The objectives actually demand nothing more than a simple change of policy from the offending nation. This should preferably be achieved by means which allow for the eventual rebuilding of a healthy post-war relationship. There is no benefit in creating a liability, or a permanent enemy. The illusion of some greater requirement to completely paralyse the enemy in all situations has been produced by the high profile, high stakes, large nation air campaigns of the last century. The war comics of our youth would have us believe that war is only concluded when one side waves the white flag. Up until the Korean War, it was a widely held conviction in the west that ‘modern war was about the absolutes of unconditional surrender and of total victory’14 Despite the fact that attempts were made on the very existence of Japan, of Germany and of North Korea, few modern wars have actually concluded with the total arrest of sovereignty. While unconditional surrender may represent one of the highest possible prizes of war, there are in actuality a variety of conditions which otherwise represent a satisfactory conclusion to hostilities. Figure 1 suggests a simplified hierarchy of war termination states.

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Figure 1: Hierarchy of Generic Conflict Termination Conditions

A form of annihilation marked the end of World War II for Germany. There was no surrender – just continued fighting under continuous air bombardment until the country could no longer field coherent military operations and was completely occupied.15 Unconditional surrender or capitulation marked the end of World War II for Japan. She bid for conditional surrender by seeking permission to retain her emperor but (while the issue remains controversial) America made no such commitment.16 The cessation of hostilities in the Vietnam War was achieved through concession and negotiation (albeit after an important reduction in American aims). These culminated in the 1973 Paris Accords. Similarly, the Korean War did not end in surrender, but in a negotiated settlement. The final solution in the Iran-Iraq war (1980–88) grew out of a hesitation or temporary cease-fire. Surrender was not on the agenda for either nation; but offensive action produced a pause for consideration of options which eventually grew into terms for peace. While the model at Figure 1 is an oversimplification, it does illustrate a

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range of situations under which nations actually achieve war’s end. It demonstrates that war is often ultimately fought for limited objectives, that war termination does not necessarily involve forcing of surrender and that the collapse of the enemy regime need not be aspired to or achieved. The significance of this is that it effectively lowers the threshold of viability for size-limited strategic air forces. As Clausewitz points out, there is a whole category of war where defeating the enemy is simply unrealistic. When the enemy is formidable, such an objective may be simply unobtainable, and in fact unnecessary.17 The Arab/Israeli ‘Six Day War’ offers an example of how war can be won by a relatively small nation with sensibly limited and focused objectives. Total enemy surrender was not on the agenda, only the reduction of its perceived political aims. To amplify this expectation there are certain natural advantages for small nations holding purely defensive postures. According to Liddell Hart: The underlying difference of aim between an aggressor and those he attacks offers the latter a potential advantage for economy of force, and thus for superior power of ‘staying the course’. For him to succeed, he has to conquer. For them to succeed, they have only to convince him that he cannot conquer, and that continued effort will bring more loss than gain. They are thus able to wage a far less exhausting kind of war. (April 1939)18 Thus, at least in matters of territorial defence, air strategies of small nations need not be shaped to overthrow the aggressor; only to prohibitively raise the cost of his objectives. Limited means, such as those characteristic of small nations demand limited objectives. As Clausewitz notes, ‘The smaller the penalty you demand of your opponent, the less you can expect him to try and deny it to you …’.19 Thus the limitation of objectives in a small nation’s war can be an important compensator for a lack of mass and sustainability. What is required is the ability to apply sufficient force, as directly as possible, to the party who makes the decisions and concessions. This brings us to the identification of the subject of war.

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Proposition Two: The Ultimate Target is the Supreme Decision-Making Body Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.20 Sun Tzu The mind of the enemy and the will of his leaders is a target of far more importance than the bodies of his troops.21 Student of Mao Tse-tung The pivotal nature of the psychological contest between leaders in war has long been recognised. In pre-air power days, with battle confined principally to oceans and fields, the subject minds were those of military commanders. There was no choice but to batter down the opposing army before the vital organs of the state could be exposed. The key focus was on military decision-makers, often with little attention to the fact that these were but means to an end. Air power removed the fixation with the battlefield and took war to wherever it might otherwise be fought. The truly subordinate nature of military decision-makers to the political decision-maker was realised. ‘War is merely the continuation of policy by other means’.22 ‘(W)ar is only a branch of political activity … it is in no sense autonomous’.23 Surrender of a nation’s military leader was only ever pursued for the consequences it held on the resolve of opposing supreme decision makers. With the advent of air power, and the choice thus presented to overfly rather than overwhelm military forces, the possibility arose that the ultimate subject of war could be more directly influenced; not by destroying the military, but by destroying other targets which also had great worth to the political leadership. The ultimate strategic target became accessible by means other than the fate of their representative armies. The relationship between political and military minds is not always particularly well articulated. Political and military objectives are different but not separate.24 There is no discrete switch-over between political targeting and military targeting in terms of strategic outcomes. The

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transition is gradual and continuous with any one strike having both political and military elements to its consequences. Figure 2 illustrates the point.

Figure 2: Military versus Political Effects of Strategic Air Attack

The pursuit of increased influence over military decision-makers has led air power to higher orders of strategy. In history, while early applications were strictly in service of the battlefield, attacks were later made not directly on troops and ships but against logistics, support facilities and reserves with a view to greater strategic effect on the overall campaign. Focus was still on the enemy’s military, but through higher orders of effect. Influence on the state was still envisaged through the eventual failure of its military. When air power is applied in increasingly higher orders of strategy, however, there comes a point at which its influence on the state as a political entity becomes more significant than the influence on the military. Political response is elicited, not by the destruction of enemy military forces, but by the prospect of failure or the likely expense of victory. Political concession is made before military defeat is inevitable. Damage to war-making potential, or anticipated damage to military forces can be sufficient to produce an outcome. So in Korea, for example, the full effects of attacks on irrigation dams had not hit home before Communist resolve was already being affected at the negotiating table. In the Gulf

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War, the Coalition destruction of POL (petroleum, oil and lubricants) infrastructure was sure to have been of significance in Iraq’s overall calculation to surrender, yet at the time of surrender the inevitable fuel shortage had not reached the Iraqi front line. In the 1982 Falklands War, if Argentina had succeeded in sinking either of the British Task Force carriers, Hermes or Invincible, the war may well have been over. The act would have had both military and political ramifications, but the direct meaning of such a loss to the British government would probably have been so dominant as to render military consequences irrelevant.25 The creation of perception in the higher enemy decision-making echelons that the objective is no longer worth pursuing is paramount. Strategic air operations, by definition, focus on this perception. In NATO’s Operation Allied Force, while air strikes were simultaneously waged against both targets of concern to the political leadership and to the fielded military, the relative significance of the latter in the final solution is increasingly belittled by post-war analysts. According to General Short, the massive and laborious tank plinking effort in Kosovo was a waste of air power. The aim was to compel Milosevic to accept terms and the correct focus was against pivotal targets in Belgrade. Short wanted to target ‘everything that Milosevic held dear, and make it very clear to him that was exactly what we were doing’.26 This was eventually achieved and NATO prevailed. At the highest orders, strategic air power has direct access to the political outcome. The process is quintessentially coercive and the actual destruction of enemy forces becomes unnecessary. Real pressure is brought to bear on the authorities who actually create and hold the policy under contest. The key enemy decision-makers and their perceptions justly become the direct focus of operations. In essence, the higher the order of strategic strike, the more immediate the political effect and the less relevant the military effect. Recognition of this phenomenon is vital to small nations. Where ‘energy’ is at a premium it needs to be well directed. Energy expended on low strategic order targets (such as a fielded army unit) represents suboptimisation when an urban power station is within reach of the same weapons system. The latter stands to make the greater impression on a

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supreme decision-making body’s perception of prospects, calculation of costs, and erosion of resolve. The essential point here is that the supreme decision-making body is the ultimate subject of war. Supreme decision-making bodies make the policy over which war is fought, and they make the decisions by which war is discontinued. Any means which provides access to the supreme decision-making body’s opinion, behaviour or resolve regarding its objectives, has the potential to solve crisis (or favourably change its form) without the conventional clash of military on military. Proposition Three: The Root of Air Power Success is Joint Strategy Strategic air strike need not be judged on its potential to be unilaterally decisive in war. There is no obligation for small nations to attempt air power’s solo application, nor to criticise air power when such promise is not offered. Air power primacy – whether ‘war can be won by air power alone’27 – is a significant matter of debate in the US, with flow-on effects to the rest of the world. After Operation Desert Storm, advocates like General McPeak claimed that the campaign represented ‘the first time in history that a field army has been defeated by air power’.28 In contrast, the foyer of the Joint Staff area inside the Pentagon River Entrance carries a large plaque which states: … aided by overwhelming support from air and naval forces, and backed by a responsive and sophisticated supply system, the coalition ground force of Operation Desert Storm won a swift and complete victory.29 Any argument promoting single service primacy should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Most are based on parochialism or zealotry, or otherwise founded in the fiscal competition of separate services bidding for governments’ finite funds. Squabbling over single service primacy subverts the real issues. The degree to which strategic air power might be single-handedly decisive is a distraction to small nations.

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Air power does not win wars alone, but in concert it can contribute a significant influence to the overall outcome. The strategic air offensive may be contributory or leading in a joint military campaign, but doctrine for the independence and decisiveness of any one national power element in a conflict denies the true joint nature of influence. The success of air power for small nations – and arguably for large – is dependent on joint coordination. This is true at two levels: the operational level through joint coordination with other Services, and the strategic level through joint coordination with other national power elements. As indicated in Figure 2 above, air strike simultaneously creates pressure at both the political and military levels. In this respect, any one strategic air action serves both a military team effort and a political (or grand strategic) team effort in varied proportion. In the military team, air power combines with the efforts of land and sea power to produce a synergistic effect directed at the minds of military decision-makers. Even in independent air operations it is recognised ‘that independent operations of one service are seldom, and if successful never, irrelevant to the other services’.30 The tactic of coordinating air interdiction with land force attack to simultaneously raise the enemy’s logistics demands while reducing supply is a good demonstration of joint Service synergy. Military pressure is a product of the cumulative effects of all military arms. As Wrigley wrote: Neither a navy nor an army nor an air force (is) going to win a great war by (its) own unaided efforts. We must seek out the best methods of utilising the special attributes; how best, for instance, to combine the mobility of a navy with the resisting power of an army and the striking power of an air force.31 This pursuit of ‘jointery’ in operations is now widely recorded in doctrine and despite age-old service parochialisms – and ethos, doctrine and equipment clashes – its pursuit is common practice in western militaries. The greater focus of this paper is on the potential of air strike at the

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strategic level where non-military instruments of national power are also at play. Applied in concert, air power’s worth is closely affected by the concurrency of these other measures – diplomatic relations, trade embargoes, negotiation and concession, third party arbitration, economic sanctions, and so on. The political context (often generated behind the scenes) within which air strike takes place can make or break its effect. The coordination of national power elements is essential. As Wrigley observed even in the 1920s: (W)ar is no longer merely the business of the fighting services. We must see how to help the statesmen to combine the effect of the three fighting services with that of propaganda and of economic and financial pressure, towards the final object of breaking the will power of the enemy nation in the minimum of time.32 The role of strategic air power in the successes of the past campaigns, despite the claims of the zealots, is due to the combined effects at both the operational and strategic levels of war. In Bosnia, it was the combined effects of bombing, the consequent inability to move troops, the increasing success rate of enemy Croat and Muslim military operations against the Serbs, the enduring effects of the politically orchestrated supply stoppage, and strong diplomatic pressure which all culminated in the mind change of Bosnian Serb decision-makers.33 Similarly, the decision by Japanese leaders to surrender in August 1945 is best viewed as a combination of pressures including the Allied sea blockade, the fire bombing of cities, the confidence shattering Soviet defeat of the Japanese armies in Manchuria, military failures in the South-West Pacific, and ultimately the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Operation Allied Force, it was factors like oil trade sanctions, the publicly waning support from Milosevic’s deputy Vuk Draskovic, the West’s diplomatic victory in keeping Russia out of the war, and threats of ground invasion by NATO leaders (in particular British Prime Minister Tony Blair) which all cumulatively and critically influenced Milosevic’s thinking.

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Plainly, the coercion of decision-makers involves the accumulation and synergy of various pressure instruments – military and non-military. Air power succeeded in each case, as a major player in a critical aggregation of conditions. However, it is ultimately the product of pressures on the supreme decision-making body which bears on its decision-making, rather than the size of the largest single pressure. This small nation perspective allows for the proper employment of strategic air in the search for ‘joint effect’. In overall summary of the three propositions, small nations have (or ought to have) a special perspective on war which dictates the way they plan and fight. As the bottom line, small nations in pursuit of maximum national power in time of conflict ought to focus the limited energy of their modest military means directly at the key decision-makers of the opposing regime. They ought to limit objectives as specifically as possible, and they must also direct and coordinate the energy of other national power elements into the same focus. These are important considerations for the air strategist. Strategic Strike Methodology and Small Nations Air power, as is often said, is a rather blunt instrument. The trick lies not so much in causing damage itself, but in causing damage which translates to the desired political effects. How to actually impose one’s will on the will on the enemy has received a great deal less attention than how to conduct campaigns and destroy things.34 Devising a connection between tactical military means and political goals is the long-standing dilemma of strategists. Identification of the mechanism or linkage between cause and effect lies at the heart of air strike strategy.35 It is about first knowing what political change is required from the enemy decision-makers; and then, what situations will influence the decision-makers towards that change; what destruction can cause the desired situation; and finally, what tools are best able to create that required destruction. Good strategy is about setting the context that eventually facilitates and/or necessitates the desired enemy response. Understanding what context matters, and how to achieve it, is fundamental in the building of good strategy. A great deal of subjective judgement is required in converting air strike’s potential into effect. When one sparring individual slaps the other’s face

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in a heated two-person debate, no single outcome is guaranteed. Possibilities will range from an apology, to continued argument, to the physical withdrawal of one or both parties, to an all-out brawl. The actual result in any one scenario will be the product of many factors. These will include the intensity of the debate, the personalities of the individuals, the history of the relationship and the individually perceived importance of the issues at stake. The one identical action will have many possible outcomes. The tremendous variability in the human stimulusresponse relationship is relevant at international level.36 It serves to make ‘rule-making’ for best practice in high order strategic air operations a confused and hazardous process. Strategy is not a pure science. Air strike cause and effect planning is a probability game. Notwithstanding the above, there are models that have a useful level of universality in explaining cause and effect in human issues. In particular ‘cost-benefit analysis’ (or ‘decision calculus’) provides a useful basis for planning. It is the process at the heart of rational human decisionmaking, even across cultures. Parties tend to do things from which they stand to profit and avoid things which cause loss or pain.37 The manipulation of another’s profit and loss considerations can be used, therefore, to manipulate behaviour. In the peacetime international arena, nations pursue their political objectives for some form of profit (moral, economic, territorial or otherwise). During conflict, in rational costbenefit terms, the attacker will be expected to relinquish his objectives if their pursuit becomes too expensive. As Clausewitz wrote: Since war is not an act of senseless passion but is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it in magnitude and also in duration. Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and peace must follow.38 This succinctly summarises the task faced by small nations contemplating war. The essential challenge is to raise the expense of the enemy’s objectives to the point where the anticipated profit is no longer worth the effort. The enemy must be convinced that accepting one’s terms will be more beneficial than resisting them. Such an acceptance may be based on

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either the achievement of gains or the avoidance of losses. The decision calculus of an enemy can be usefully considered as follows:39

A = Bp(B) - Cp(C)

where: A B p(B) C p(C)

= value of continued aggression = potential benefits of aggression = probability of attaining benefits by continued aggression = potential costs of aggression = probability of suffering costs Enemy concessions occur when A < 0.

The relevance of the decision calculus to the question of small nation strategic air strike lies in the identification of specific ways to raise the enemy’s perception of the size and likelihood of costs, and/or reduce the enemy’s perceived probability of realising benefit. The process of air attack to affect such perceptions is a matter of coercion.

Air Strike and Enemy Cost-Benefit Calculus: Coercion Theory Defining Coercion In his 1960s analysis of nuclear ‘power’, Thomas Schelling discussed the diplomacy of violence in a way which also bears great relevance to small nations in limited conflict. He suggested that ‘(d)iplomacy is bargaining; it seeks outcomes that, though not ideal for either party, are better for both than some of the alternatives’.40 Force, on the other hand, can circumvent the need to bargain. By force, parties pursue their individual desires unilaterally and physically. By force, nations can repel, expel, penetrate, occupy, seize, exterminate, disarm, disable, confine, deny, access, and directly frustrate intrusion or attack – and will generally succeed as long as their military strength is greater than that of the opponent.41

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Pure diplomacy and pure force present two distinctive approaches to the handling of international conflict. Schelling, however, speculated on a function of military power which combines both force and bargain; both bullets and words. He recognised the powerful ability of force to hurt as a form of bargaining collateral. Schelling distinguished between ‘brute force’ and ‘coercive force’. His ‘brute force’ involved physically preventing certain behaviour in the opponent, normally by destroying something to remove an option. ‘Coercive force’, by subtle contrast, involved hurting or punishing an adversary in such a way as to have him change behaviour to avoid further pain.42 ‘Brute force’ corresponds to what is now more commonly referred to as ‘denial’ – the reduction or elimination of the enemy’s ability to resist.43 ‘Coercion’, on the other hand, centres on psychological effect. Figure 3 summarises the distinction. ‘Brute force’ or ‘denial’ is not, of course, without its coercive component. The removal or weakening of the enemy’s military options will naturally erode his confidence and resolve. In such cases, one bombs for military effect but ultimately with the resolve of the political sponsor in mind. In this respect, denial itself is often regarded as a form of coercion.

Figure 3: Denial and Coercion

Strategies for Coercion In essence, coercion seeks to persuade an adversary to act in an agreeable way, or alternatively, to dissuade that adversary from acting in a disagreeable way.45 It can compel an enemy to stop an action, or deter him from starting one.46 Successful coercion is manifest as new, changed or

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arrested behaviours in the enemy regime, which are to the coercer’s advantage. There are many strategies for coercion, but most can be accommodated into four conceptual categories47: denial, punishment, risk and decapitation. There is no intention to review those categories in detail here.48 However, in essence, denial is as detailed above. It is the coercive ‘side-effect’ of successful brute force military-on-military operations. Gulf War attacks on fielded armour in Kuwaiti theatre of operations ‘kill boxes’ represented a form of denial. It simply amounted to the removal of fighting pieces from the board for Saddam Hussein, but ultimately the high rate of attrition would have some bearing on the attitude and resolve of the leader for further conflict. Punishment strategy centres on the exploitation of pain caused by loss. It is based on being able to generate sufficient pain by destroying things to have a government or its supporting population compromise their objectives. The traditional targets are the national economy and anything which might cause popular revolt. Operation Allied Force, for example, targeted amongst other things power generation and bridges with General Short reasoning that with ‘no power to the refrigerator and … no way to get to work’, Milosevic’s staunchest supporters would demand justification for his policies against the cost.49 Alternatively, targets might include anything which an enemy values highly.50 Less conventional (and potentially asymmetric) considerations might include: the electoral home-town of the enemy defence minister; the stock exchange; a bank or major company in which leaders have private financial interests; the companies and interests of industrialists with direct influence on government; a paramilitary organisation charged with domestic policing for an authoritarian regime; the family of a prime minister; enemy forces involved in counter-insurgency against anti-government organisations; opium poppy fields used to fund political parties; and so on. Again, the Kosovo campaign included some targeting in this style. NATO destroyed two of Milosevic’s properties including his villa at Dobanovci (a hunting preserve amongst forests and lakes about 30 minutes from central Belgrade). Also destroyed were his daughter’s business (a television station in Belgrade) and symbolic targets like his party headquarters.

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Risk strategy can be considered a variation of punishment strategy. Its influence rests not on the damage or cost which has been incurred, but on the prospect of further damage and cost. Its targets would be similar, but it relies on there being enough high-value targets left for the enemy to accept that greater losses are in prospect.51 Pause and negotiation are features of such campaigns. ‘Rolling Thunder’ against North Vietnam from 1965 to 1968 offers one example. Risk strategies offer a great deal of scope for small nation air power. They permit, and in fact prefer, the measured rather than continuous and intense use of strike; they can be paced for maximal integration with other instruments of influence and coercion; and they provide for some control over escalation. Decapitation strategies operate on the assumption that any interference with the technical ability of a leadership to direct its nation and military in conflict will increase the prospect of its defeat. Where decision-makers are unable to control their military, communicate strategy and pass relevant intelligence, the effectiveness of fielded forces will inevitably be degraded.52 Thus, targeting for decapitation prefers headquarters and related leadership facilities, communications networks, and supporting systems such as power and transport. Decapitation is an exceptional category of coercion in that it includes elements of both punishment and denial. The isolation of the elite through the bombing of its assets and command and control apparatus is punishing in itself, but the consequences can be expected to degrade military effectiveness as well. While the actual effect in the field is important, coercion principally occurs when the leadership, struggling to maintain coherence in its offensive strategy, considers softer options. Again, the Gulf War demonstrated this approach.53 Assassination is a variant of decapitation strategy, but it is marginally legal and assumes the follow-on leadership will bring a better situation. Decapitation is an attractive strategic strike option for small nations. The target sets tends to be smaller and limited, easily justified as military

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targets, and the strategy is aimed most directly at the psychology of the ultimate leader. The relevance of coercion theory to small nations is clear. It offers a process by which a satisfactory outcome to dispute can be pursued through the manipulation of enemy decision-maker cost-benefit analysis, without having to physically crush its military. The strategy centres on resolve of the leadership rather than the capability of its military – a target more accessible to limited resources cleverly applied.

Towards a New Asymmetric Paradigm

Punching Above Your Weight There was once a young non-commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Air Force by the name of Noel Cundy. He was famous on two counts: his small stature and his prowess in the boxing ring. During his career he held a number of amateur boxing titles and was well known for regularly defeating opponents much larger than himself. He was once asked how such a small man was able to consistently beat such large opponents. He replied, ‘by making myself smaller’.

Thinking Outside the Box: Lessons From Revolutionary Warfare In general, small nations have few air strike assets and tend to prepare their limited capabilities for surface combat support in pursuit of military victory. Any search for a more ambitious air strategy should necessarily include deeper consideration of asymmetric warfare strategies. We might, for example, consider the doctrine of revolutionary war (often referred to as guerrilla warfare). After all, that approach has an immensely successful tradition. Richard Simpkin writes that there have been only two cases of organisations employing revolutionary warfare techniques,

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in which the protagonists did not at least hold their own; namely, the Contras in Nicaragua and the rebels in the Malayan Emergency. In contrast, applications of unconventional warfare in Korea, Vietnam and Northern Ireland remain widely heralded as undefeated by the much more substantial conventional military forces which have opposed them. One is tempted to conclude that ‘the span of military techniques covered by the term “revolutionary” warfare may actually represent a more effective way of waging war than operations by organised forces’.54 Richard Simpkin suggests that the various forms of modern land warfare, including revolutionary warfare and manoeuvre warfare can be arranged on a continuum. At the right of the continuum lie mass armies; at the left, terrorists. Small-force manoeuvre warfare and guerrilla warfare sit right and left respectively, but adjacent to each other on the same continuum.55 The difference between terrorism and guerrilla warfare doctrine on the one hand, and small nation combat doctrine on the other, lies primarily in the fact that only the latter tends to comply with the ‘conventions’ of large nation war-fighting. Clausewitz’s preoccupation was with these conventions, emphasising destruction of the enemy’s forces and decreeing that ‘only great and general engagements will produce great results’.56 Giap, on the other hand, dealt with less conventional struggle. He wrote of North Vietnam: ‘(t)here was no clearly-defined front in this war. It was there where the enemy was. The front was nowhere, it was everywhere’.57 The connection between small nation military operations, and revolutionary warfare and terrorism at the lower end of the continuum, lies primarily in the limitation of means available to the proponent. Terrorism and revolutionary war are both waged by generally small and/or poorly equipped cooperatives. In this, and the need to make the best of simple resources, they share a challenge in common with small nation conventional war-fighting organisations. This connection warrants a closer small nation look at non-conventional war-fighting techniques.58 Successes in terrorism demonstrate graphically how small organisations can generate a vastly disproportionate amount of power and influence through non-conventional strategy. It is no ambition of this paper to dig-

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nify terrorism. The US counter-terrorist policy of ‘make no deals … treat terrorists as criminals … (and) apply maximum pressure on states that sponsor and support terrorists’59 is one increasingly subscribed to by other nations in the wake of ‘9–11’, and one certainly supported by the author. However, principles of oblique relevance to small air forces do exist. Terrorists target strategically. Operations create disruption, fear and economic damage, often before a world-wide audience, in order to interfere with political decision-making processes. The damage may not always be directly or obviously linked with specific terrorist demands (where they exist), but it carries anticipated flow on effects nevertheless intended to culminate in policy change. Decision-makers are usually quick to denounce terrorist actions and state that no concessions will be made. However, from the moment any such official response is given, terrorists can be considered to have engaged political decision-makers publicly on the issues they pursue. This alone represents a degree of victory otherwise less attainable through conventional lobbying. Examples include the 1996 series of suicide bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by extremist groups aiming to destroy the Middle East peace process. The attacks killed 60 civilians and the issues that were raised led to early elections and a change of government in Israel.60 The pattern of success for terrorist organisations lies not in an ability to fight the policy makers on their own terms. Given the difficulties for dissident groups to gain access to the decision-makers by conventional means, such groups resort to targeting indirectly for strategic effect. They act to manipulate the context within which the political regimes they oppose struggle to exist. By this mechanism they can achieve remarkable results with negligible infrastructure and minimal technical skills and equipment. Some terrorist groups have so skilfully capitalised on the strategic potential of violence that they manoeuvre themselves into permanent positions of power within the establishment. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is one such organisation. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) has also, more recently, gained a significant foothold in conventional politics after a long history of terrorism.

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Since forming in 1969 as a clandestine armed wing of the republican organisation Sinn Fein, the IRA has been held responsible for a variety of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, extortion cases and robberies. In late 1994 a cease-fire was brought into effect. However, in February 1996 (after just 17 months) it was broken again with IRA bombing operations continuing against rail stations and shopping areas on the British mainland. A further truce was coordinated with IRA guerrillas and, as a reward, Sinn Fein was offered a seat in multi-party talks on the future of Northern Ireland. On 18 January 1998, Gerry Adams (the President of Sinn Fein) had an historic meeting at 10 Downing Street with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss the issue of Irish Republicanism. It was the first time an Irish republican leader had entered the British Prime Minister’s residence in 76 years of conflict. Sinn Fein’s new political access represented a significant victory for the IRA. Subsequent negotiations led to the signing of the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ on 10 April 1998, and major changes in the political structures and processes of Ireland continue.61 In essence, a terrorist groups effectively achieved high-level political access to the British government by strategic targeting. They did not have to muster or employ decisive combat power in a traditional military sense. Instead, with what meagre military means they did have, they targeted key sensitivities in a campaign of coercion. To the government, the military and public they presented a long-term constant threat of violence, the possible removal of which gave them significant bargaining power. This was clearly a coercion strategy capitalising the ‘risk’ approach. Short of using violence for political outcomes, any immediate doctrinal connection between terrorism and small nation strategic air power would be tenuous. However, terrorism does offer proof of concept that relatively minor powers can directly affect major political outcomes through strategic targeting with minimal resources. It shows that persistent, inescapable, low intensity, high impact coercive operations accompanied by concise demands can beat conventional military mass. Revolutionary warfare, like terrorism, features a dispersed and spasmodic yet persistent mode of operation based on the maintenance of initiative

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and the optimisation of stealth and surprise. The applicability of such approaches to small nation air power should not be too quickly discarded. There are certain circumstances which could quite gainfully employ a less coherent, more dispersed and painfully persistent campaign against small and relatively unprotected, yet collectively relevant targets. Such a campaign would have quite distinct advantages for small nation air strike. It would for example be sustainable with limited resources; it would offer the seizure of the initiative with all the associated advantages; the unpredictability of attacks would assist in the avoidance of attrition from air defence; and the impact of the attacks could be regulated to achieve the required harassment without breaching the thresholds for conflict escalation or international wrath. The mechanism for effect, like some forms of revolutionary war, might be considered one of eventual victim fatigue. ‘There is in guerrilla warfare no such thing as a decisive battle …’62 The aim would instead be the progressive breach of the enemy leadership’s tolerance for persistent and accumulating low-level cost. Such a strategy may well have applicability where a defending small nation lacks the resources for conventional military expulsion of a foreign force lodged on sovereign soil, for example. In looking to coercive opportunities within the aggressor’s homeland, the non-conventional options may present a very humane, non-inflammatory and effective mode of response. The persistent and progressive destruction of certain targets (say, every road and rail bridge in the aggressor nation which can be associated with communication to the theatre) might add quite significantly and perhaps even critically to the joint accumulation of political, diplomatic and economic pressures. There is a perverse lack of logic in ethics-based objections to this sort of operation. The anticipation of enemy raids and harassment activity is commonplace in the contingency planning of nations like Australia. Yet the builders of air power strategy seem intent on dealing with such nonconventional forms of assault by strictly conventional means.63 This incongruency favours the attacker and disadvantages the small nation defender. Strong evidence exists for the ineffectiveness of large organised forces against revolutionary warfare strategies; Vietnam being a clear case in point. Alternative land-based counter-measures are sometimes con-

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templated involving Special Forces in clandestine and ‘quasi-guerrilla’ modes of operation.64 The same logic, however, seldom seems to be extended to air power. One wonders what could be so objectionable about replying to state-sponsored guerrilla warfare intrusions of one’s own shores with similar but air power sourced counter-intrusions of enemy homeland. When the stakes are high the fixation with convention is even more uncanny. While the non-conventional methods of warfare are more legally risky, when the very survival of one’s small nation is at stake, any obsession with convention must be checked for common sense. Is it better to have lost a fair war, or to have won by exploiting all available options including the unconventional if necessary? The guerrillas of North Vietnam, Cuba and Algeria would be quick to provide an answer. Revolutionary warfare oriented applications of force are surely legitimate. Revolutionary warfare is, after all, one of the four generally recognised major theories on war strategy (along with the maritime, continental and air theories). Its origins can be traced as far back as Sun Tzu.65 Throughout the historical literature reviewing guerrilla warfare, there seems to be a tacit acceptance of it as an inevitable method of warfighting for forces too poorly resourced to fully exploit conventional methods. It is interesting, and perhaps puzzling, that the use of aeroplanes in a guerrilla style offensive (by nation states) is never contemplated. Revolutionary warfare principles seem tied to the ground. The use of air power in the style of guerrilla warfare would, of course, demand numerous other considerations. Such risks as similar enemy operations in reprisal, damage to domestic support and the chance of adverse third party response would need case-by-case assessment. However, none of these variables should automatically be considered to rule out less conventional options. Circumstances, as well as ‘rules’, figure in acceptability. With regards to international opinion, for example, if the invading nation were one already widely condemned, and already facing international sanctions, then the world’s response to a small nation’s unorthodox counter-action may be quite sympathetic. While ‘going nonconventional’ might be expected to attract scorn, it may not so easily divert it. The victim or underdog seems to enjoy some licence when it

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comes to defensive action. International tolerance of Israel’s legally marginal ‘anticipatory self-defence’ (as in the Six Day War and Operation Babylon66) illustrates the point.67 In summary, the quest for alternative strategy for small nation strike should include consideration of other asymmetric warfare precedent. This paper does not suggest that revolutionary warfare theory might offer a wholesale solution to the quest. No one approach can suit all circumstances. This paper does suggest that the conventional employment of force against military targets need not always be considered the only option, especially when the stakes involve defence for national survival. We must ask: ‘Do other options exist?’ and ‘How little adjustment in thinking would be necessary to establish and maintain non-conventional options in reserve?’ Open-minded, small air power strategists should allow themselves to be influenced by successful non-conventional example.

Spot Bombing An understanding of the perspectives, constraints and precedents outlined in this paper – along with a basic understanding of air power doctrine and history – forms an adequate basis for speculation on possibilities for alternative small nation air strike strategy. A customised small nation approach should prefer strategies employing small, high impact, discrete operations. The limited energy should be focused on achieving mind changes for political purposes rather than system collapse for military purposes. Coercion-based strategies should therefore feature with the resolve of the supreme decision-makers foremost in mind. Campaigns should involve the comprehensive orchestration, in joint strategy, of other military and especially non-military functions engaging the same decision-makers. The exploitation of surprise, and of affordable precision, stand-off and night technologies might be pursued with the same tactical doctrine as larger nations. However, operations should not aim to overwhelm. They might instead aim to contribute to coercive pressure – to appeal to decision-makers and persuade. Such a paradigm could be summarised as Strategic Persuasion Oriented Targeting (SPOT) – or for convenience, ‘spot bombing’. The summary notion principally involves the opportunity-based employment of small

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nation air power for the direct influence of politicians rather than militaries. It would not necessarily replace conventional brute force applications. It would merely provide another option in the small nation repertoire for influence. It would not call for a change in technical capability; just a change in planning orientation. There is no historical precedent to speak of, but Operations Babylon, El Dorado Canyon68 and Deliberate Force69 may offer some guidance. Spot Bombing and Asymmetry The dominant feature of the spot bombing notion is its inherently asymmetric nature. One of the great inhibitors of strategic creativity is the inexplicable tendency for humans to respond to the offensive actions of others only ‘in kind’. ‘Punishment by reciprocity’ seems to appeal to a human emotional construct which associates proportion with justice. While appropriate in our courts, adherence in the handling of hostile enemy acts may be less appropriate. Although writing in a Cold War context in the 1960s, Schelling asks a relevant and provocative question: What is the compulsion to embody coherence and pattern in one’s action, especially against somebody who has just tried to shoot up your destroyers or has violated your airspace with a reconnaissance plane? Rules are easy to understand among countries that try to get along with each other, that respect each other, subscribe to a common etiquette and are trying to establish a set of laws to govern their behaviour; but when somebody flies U-2 spy planes over your missile sites, why not kidnap a few of his ballerinas? Consideration of wartime response must avoid artificial constraint. Small nations contemplating desperate defensive scenarios must question the rationale of proportional or symmetric response. Disadvantaged by size, they need to search more laterally for advantage. Where proportional response is maintained, it should be so as a matter of choice rather than default. A small nation facing an amphibious invasion, for example, would benefit by not limiting its response to a land-based counter manoeuvre when the invader’s homeland is within range. To fail here would be to

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leave a large aggressor with the initiative, and risk a war of attrition that small nations can least afford. Avoiding ‘response in kind’ also avoids predictability. Where a threat nation makes a submarine attack, it expects a counterattack on its submarine facilities and prepares defences accordingly. Small nations should take their counterattack elsewhere – somewhere unpredictable – seizing the initiative and in so doing making allowance for its own strengths and weaknesses.70 There should be no provision for etiquette. Effective coercion is not about a fair fight.71 Asymmetric warfare and spot bombing are about seeking enemy weakness rather than strengths. Liddell Hart identifies as the crux of all conflict the need to: (p)ick out your opponent’s weak spot and hit him there with all possible force, whilst at the same time guarding against the risk that he may knock you out instead.72 Planning of an asymmetric response involves search for the line of least resistance in undermining of enemy resolve. In the words of the strategic thinker Alan Hinge, ‘Hit him where he aint’.73 This approach calls for greater effort in searching for and identifying coercive opportunities. Inroads to the thinking of decision-makers will not only exist in their military but also in their population, their governmental system, and through the personal ‘valuables’ which they most cherish or depend on for their power and well-being. In searching for mechanisms that might culminate in the desired mind change, no stone should be left unturned. Non-conventional defensive approaches are not new. In 1986 the Australian Secretary of the Department of Defence, W.B. Pritchett, spoke in the following terms: Moreover the strategy of denial allows the enemy to impose his plan of campaign on us and to force us into disproportionate effort.74 But two can play at that game. We too can harass and raid and mine; and we can strike at bases and other land targets exacting penalties and costs. Our defence preparation should not

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be such as to rule this out for government or make it too difficult or hazardous a course to adopt.75 While Pritchett was emphasising the ability to strike offensively from within a strictly defensive stance, the concept of conventional force executing non-conventional harassment raids against an enemy government is nevertheless introduced. Small nations must target innovatively and (depending on the desperateness of the situation) to the limits of moral, legal, domestic and third party acceptability. Symmetrical response as a self-imposed handicap could be critically undermining. Spot Bombing and Law Law is one of the key vulnerabilities to the employment of any asymmetric strategy. Asymmetric response is almost by definition the avoidance of convention, and most conventions have a legal basis. Strategic air strike is constrained by international law of armed conflict (LOAC). Bombing has evoked moral and legal debate since its earliest application.76 Yet the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions represent the first substantial attempt at its control. The dominant theme in the Protocols is the reduction of harm to civilians.77 Small nations with a defensive outlook generally sign up to the Protocols as they stand to be significant beneficiaries of such a law well supported. The highly discretionary approach of spot bombing (considering all potential targets rather than just proportional responses) would give ample scope for adherence to the Protocols. A spot bombing approach would not be immune from producing collateral damage, but no bombing approach is – a point acknowledged and provided for in LOAC. The principle of ‘proportionality’ requires that the military commander weigh the anticipated military value of attack against the possible harm to protected persons and objects.78 It requires that the losses or damage be proportionate to, rather than excessive with respect to, the military advantage expected from a successful operation.79 Thus the military necessity of an operation is allowed to have some

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bearing on whether risk to civilians is acceptable or not. Small nations contemplating a more strategic approach to strike, but at the same time maintaining high ideals in the protection of civilians, are adequately accommodated within the law. Spot bombing should offer significant discretion over whether high collateral-risk missions need be undertaken but, where militarily justified, such actions will be possible without contravening the international norms. The second LOAC constraint on spot bombing is the requirement that targets have a military connection. The law contains that ‘only military objectives are legitimate objects of attack’. However, these objectives include a very wide range of persons, locations and objects. Besides the obvious inclusions of combatants and the facilities and materials they use, legitimate objectives include any: … objects which, by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.80 Attacks are legitimate against: civilians who take direct part in hostilities; production, storage, transportation and communication facilities with any military utility; economic targets that indirectly support operations; and any object normally dedicated to civilian purposes which is used for military purposes.81 The scope is therefore considerable and the majority of targets that a small attacker might consider most useful in coercion will often comply. Even the bombing of a stock exchange, for example, would seem justifiable when one realises the fundamental importance of the national economy to the funding of the enemy’s war effort. However, one must be cautious with the excessively liberal interpretation of LOAC. Almost any non-human target can be justified against the LOAC criteria with an adequate imagination. If one makes a liberal interpretation of what constitutes ‘definite military advantage’, then attacks affecting the psychological resolve of the supreme enemy leadership will certainly be considered legitimate. If one

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takes a more conservative approach towards LOAC, that ‘definite military advantage’ in no way implies or accommodates ‘definite political advantage’ (albeit aimed at progress towards peace), then motives at the very core of all strategic bombing and coercion theory would become legally questionable. In fact, strategic targeting (especially for coercion) recognises that some targets well removed from the actual fight and only distantly connected to the military effort itself may be at least as significant in bringing about the end of war. Strategic bombing for coercion submits that carefully planned ‘surgical’ removal or destruction of well chosen targets (military or not), whilst violent in the short term, can actually save lives, property, time and money through the earlier cessation of hostilities. Indeed, the belief that the destruction of vital targets has a long-term humane effect if it significantly shortens the conflict is recognised by the law of armed conflict.82 Confining attacks to a narrow military focus is specifically what air power promised to liberate us from after the Somme and Paschendale, and is particularly what small nations facing a larger foe need to be liberated from. The whole gist of strategic targeting is to move away from the fixation with the fielded military and approach the political problem at its source – the policy makers. Such pursuits are not always best served by targets with a clear military connection. While conscientiously observing the humanitarian ideals of LOAC, spot bombing would function on the selection of targets, not just on their pure military value but on their coercive political value. Leadership and economic targets would be amongst those considered. Many such targets were attacked in the Operation Desert Storm which was subsequently considered to have substantially complied with the Protocols.83 The search for better small nation air strike application suggests that small nations must exploit every possible advantage in the application of their air power, that small nations must target innovatively and to the limits of acceptability, and that blind or unquestioning adherence to conventions can produce unnecessary handicaps. These directions do not necessarily challenge LOAC. LOAC is not black and white. It is rather

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an attempt to strike general norms (based on humanitarian ideals) for the moderation of an awesome capability. Compliance with LOAC is not a matter of simple obedience. Its rules are hardly specific or exhaustive enough for all of war’s many facets to be individually covered. The more sophisticated challenge for planners in LOAC is to achieve the mission while at the same time complying with the humanitarian ideals that underlie the Protocols.84 LOAC is the code of ethics for the profession of arms85 It is not a checklist but a general moral prescription which requires interpretation in each contingency. The challenge for the spot bombing strategist – for both moral and political reasons – is to seek targets that appropriately stimulate the desired cost-benefit calculations and political reactions, without crossing the line. Spot bombing demands lateral thought and risk taking, but ‘(t)he right to adopt means of defeating the enemy is not unlimited’.86 Asymmetry and legality are fundamental aspects of spot bombing deserving of greater analysis. Other features, however, deserve brief coverage on the way to understanding the spot bombing approach and its feasibility. These include impact, communication and denial. Spot Bombing and ‘Impact’ While high tempo or high intensity strategic operations are outside easy reach for small nations (and outside the demands of spot bombing), high impact operations are not. High impact is essential to coercion and (like coercion itself ) is predominantly psychological. It can be considered a combination of shock, damage and visibility.

Impact = Shock x Damage x Visibility

Shock is the sudden and disruptive psychological effect of air power. It is the product of aircraft noise, the rapidness of onset of attack and the general impression of vulnerability for victims on the ground. Surprise is an amplifier of shock. America’s strike on Libya in 1986 achieved high levels of both shock and surprise. The attack was launched in complete

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radio silence amid heavy electronic countermeasures, and from 200 feet and 540 miles per hour over populated areas in the dead of night. A credible level of damage is required for impact. Failure in this area risks sending a negative message of vacillation or lack of commitment. In Operation El Dorado Canyon, significant damage was achieved to air defence (SAM) systems, buildings, runways and aircraft on the ground. Collateral damage did occur but this was minimised through very restrictive rules of engagement. Visibility is concerned with the size of both immediate and subsequent audiences. Generally, the more spectacular the circumstances of the strike, the more interest it generates. The media serves an important role in achieving visibility. Again, the Libyan strike was based specifically on visibility criteria. All the targets were in the highly populated Tripoli and Benghazi regions and included high profile military facilities, Tripoli International Airport and, most significantly, the principle residence of Qaddafi at Azizia barracks. News of the attack was widely broadcast through the media. Spot bombing, and coercion generally, involve message sending. Impact is about making the message clear and making it stick. Impact is both feasible for small competent air strike forces and naturally occurring in the spot bombing approach. As ‘stand-alone’ attacks, the discrete operations of spot bombing would naturally tend to be of higher impact than operations embedded in broader conflict. Achievement of high impact would be a planning requirement for the spot bombing strategist, but it is within means of small forces and is a viable substitute for intensity and tempo in a non-conventional approach. Spot Bombing and Communication The important role of non-military instruments in joint strategy has already been stressed. Any coercion strategy capitalising a mix of bullets and words demands proportional attention to the words. Clever communication is vital. It is important for the coercer to make his intentions clear and unambiguous.87 As Schelling wrote:

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War is always a bargaining process, one in which threats and proposals, counterproposals and counterthreats, offers and assurances, concessions and demonstrations, take the form of actions rather than words, or actions accompanied by words. It is in the war that we have come to call ‘limited wars’ that the bargaining appears most vividly and is conducted most consciously. The critical targets in such a war are in the mind of the enemy as much as on the battlefield; the state of the enemy’s expectations is as important as the state of his troops; the threat of violence in reserve is more important than the commitment of force in the field.88 While brute force operations tend to speak for themselves, higher orders of strategy benefit by effective dialogue. Concurrent diplomacy was a strong feature of Operation Deliberate Force. Ongoing talks were also a significant player in the bombing of North Korea and Vietnam. Indeed, bombing served the aim of the talks more than talking enhanced the success of the bombing. The grand strategist must not only produce incentives for concession, but work to dissolve the disincentives. Diplomacy, economics and politics are involved. Parallel high-level functions must be coordinated in the air campaign to complete the coercion formula. Effective communication is a fundamental feature of spot bombing, and any small nation strategist contemplating this approach must plan for the integration of dialogue in any campaign. Spot Bombing and ‘Brute Force’ There is one final point which must be made about spot bombing. This paper does not criticise the more non-coercive brute force or denial strategies in the employment of small nation air power. On the contrary, roles such as interdiction and CAS are the current ‘bread and butter’ of small air strike operations. This paper does, however, seek a higher order strategic application for small nation air strike, and in so doing has preferred to consider coercion through careful strategic targeting. Notwithstanding this, there is precedent for a form of high order strategic

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air strike which is not coercive in nature but deserves special mention. Operation Babylon demonstrated high order political intervention through brute force. It demonstrated the complete removal of a critical enemy option as opposed to the coercion of the enemy to not exercise that option. The Iraqi acquisition of nuclear weapons was delayed indefinitely and the context of Middle Eastern politics was altered for at least the next decade. Political objectives were achieved without war, and without deferring to enemy decision-makers. The direct style of strategic strike illustrated in Operation Babylon is outside of what is being suggested here as spot bombing. Such an operation might well be small, discrete and surprise-based, but would not share the functional aspects of impact, joint strategy and the erosion of leadership resolve, which are central to spot bombing. Such action is involved more with removing choice than influencing choice. The approach is mentioned here not as a conformer to spot bombing but as a viable exception. It is an additional methodology by which small nations could expect to apply meagre air strike resources for powerful strategic effect. This fait accompli approach might be applied not only to WMD counter-proliferation, but also to any situation where objectionable enemy intent has a physical manifestation. Consider, for example, the prevention of another nation from building its oil rigs in ones own territorial waters. This strategic application of denial would be viable for small nations with strategically orientated air strike planners. There are three other important features of strategic bombing which small nations would capitalise through spot bombing. These are the opportunities for reduction of casualties, seizure of initiative and the achievement of deterrence. These advantages are by no means exclusive to the spot bombing paradigm, and their doctrine is adequate covered elsewhere.89 They are advantages of high order strategic air power generally, but they are particularly pertinent to small nation needs.

Conclusion This paper has been about the feasibility of strategic air strike for small nations. By default – by seeking strategy for small nations of asymmetric means with larger foe – it has also been about asymmetric air power. It

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has notably not been about countering asymmetric attack. It has been about adopting asymmetric attack. Asymmetric warfare is not some new form of cheating. It is well represented and celebrated throughout conventional warfare history. It is an inherent feature of the manoeuvrist approach and a natural corollary of any conflict where one side has might or achieves ascendency over the other. When small nations foresee failure against larger opponents using conventional warfare means, they must seek alternatives. The challenge this paper puts to small nations is to raise the strategic order of air strike operations – to prepare not just for the direct and indirect support of fielded battle but also for the exploitation of opportunity to more directly influence the ultimate strategic aims in conflict. The task of devising a realistic approach by which small nations might attempt such direct influence on ultimate aims demands an understanding of the nature of war in general, and of the small nation perspective on war in particular. First, small nations do not pursue unconditional surrender. History shows that war has been successfully terminated by other means, and sensibly limiting the objectives greatly increases the authority of limited force. The aim of war is the abandonment of an enemy’s political aims, and this may not necessitate the complete collapse of the enemy nation’s ability to function and support war. Second, the real focus of war is the psychology of the enemy’s supreme decisionmaking body. This, after all, is the body which formulates, upholds and potentially relinquishes the offending policy about which war is fought. Recognising the ultimate focal point of one’s war effort greatly enhances the chances of correctly directing one’s limited energy. Third, small nations do not argue for the unilateral decisiveness of strategic air strike. History suggests that single-handed air power victory is an illusion. By approaching air power as one chess piece on a board of many national power elements, its effect can be amplified through collaboration and synergy. Small nations seek a coordinated contribution from air strike, and not a complete solution.90 Armed with these understandings, and with a full comprehension of coercion theory, methodologies for the high order strategic application of

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small nation air strike can be contemplated. Small nations cannot realistically generate and sustain the mass, tempo and simultaneity in air strike which typifies large nation air strike methodologies. In this respect, such methodologies and the plethora of doctrine and musings which surround them are misleading to small nations. Given sufficient intelligence, small nations could work to identify coercive opportunities against the enemy leadership. Such opportunities need not gel into a comprehensive strategic air campaign. Individual opportunities might be exploited, instead, as ad hoc supplements to a grand strategic campaign involving other streams of national power (economic, diplomatic and political) with a similar focus. Discrete offensive strategic air actions might be conducted for their value in directly supplementing and compounding the existing pressures brought to bear on the enemy leadership (including, if necessary, whatever pressure can be brought to bear by ongoing conventional fielded battle). Strategic Persuasion Oriented Targeting, or spot bombing, is offered as one alternative approach for the utilisation of existing air strike capabilities. It is an approach which accommodates the constraints of small nation air power, yet concentrates on affecting the ultimate objectives of the enemy. It borrows from revolutionary warfare theory, exploits ‘impact’ rather than ‘tempo’, employs high level communication and tests the laws of armed conflict – and as such represents a new paradigm for the use of small nation air power. It detracts nothing from existing small nation offensive air power preoccupations. The ability of small nations to carry out offensive air support missions like CAS, AI and maritime strike is uncompromised by the suggestion that strategic strike options might also exist. Strategic air strike is promoted simply as an extra dimension to existing air power applications, offering choice to the grand strategist – a potent extra device to variously employ in manoeuvres for peace. The ‘optionality’ is important, as coercive opportunities against the enemy leadership may not always be apparent, and in low level conflict a strategic bombing approach may not be warranted. Spot bombing is mooted as a demonstration that strategic bombing

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should be considered feasible for small nations. This paper has been intended to encourage a strategic orientation to air strike in those who have so far considered its conduct exclusive to superpowers or large nation coalitions. The added bonus for small nations contemplating strategic air strike is that the process forces them to also examine their own vulnerabilities to asymmetric operations. One is encouraged to consider factors such as the strength of one’s own national economy; the identity and likely physical and psychological accessibility of the supreme decision-making body; the depth of organic supporting industry; the likely reliability of specific third parties; the likely resilience and vulnerabilities of the national population under stress; and the accessibility of (and redundancy levels in) financial, communications and other civil infrastructures, to name a few. Such concerns are highly relevant in the context of current events regarding the most unethical and illegal branch of asymmetric warfare – terrorism. The challenge for small nations is to gear up to apply air power where its effects on the overall conflict are most significant – raising the strategic order of application. Strategic air power is about improving strategy to maximise the value of existing capability. While there may be preferred hardware and infrastructural co-requisites, adopting the strategy is not as much about capability, as planning orientation. It is about thinking harder rather than working harder; about treating diseases rather than symptoms. The secondary message of this paper is that small nations are not necessarily well served by the abundance of large nation air power doctrine. There is a general need for small nations to look critically at such doctrine and ask more searching questions about their own maximum potential with modest means. There is too little independent thought and original material being generated by small nations attending to their own particular circumstances. Creative strategy is required. There is little precedent for small nation air strike outside of major alliances and coalitions. But air power is young. There is a great deal more to look forward to than back on. Therefore,

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with due respect to history, we should make it our servant rather than our master. With a history of larger partners, small nations and small coalitions have simply not had the need or opportunity to think strategically about air strike. But the post-Cold War world is an uncertain place, characterised more by a large number of small nation wars than the small number of large nation wars in our past. This challenge may call for more creative foresight than historical analysis. It was General Heinz Guderian’s creativity and innovation which led to Blitzkreig,91 not some slavish adherence to historical precedent. It was Colonel John Warden’s ingeniously fresh combination of ideas which contributed to Gulf War victory, not blind reverence to extant doctrine. We celebrate these strategic architects for creating precedent, not copying it. Small nation thinkers need to look beyond the hackneyed conventions of large nation air war in the quest for greater leverage from limited resources. Asymmetric air power is the core business.

NOTES
1 The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in which highjacked airliners were flown into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in the US. 2 A definition given by Major General Tony Milton, UK, ‘Asymmetric Warfare: The British View’ (unpublished), a presentation to ‘New Zealand Defence Force Symposium 2002 – Asymmetric Warfare: Defeating Trans-National Terrorist Campaigns’, Trentham, New Zealand, 14–15 May 2002. 3 List derived from excellent analysis by Dr Cathy Downes, ‘Addressing 21st Century Asymmetric Conflict’ (unpublished), a presentation to ‘New Zealand Defence Force Symposium 2002’, 14–15 May 2002. 4 A definition actually applied to ‘unconventional war’ by Admiral Chris Ritchie, ‘Asymmetric Warfare: The Australian View’ (unpublished), in a presentation to ‘New Zealand Defence Force Symposium 2002’, 14–15 May 2002. This is written with a clear conscience as an air power agent from a small nation with no capability or intent for the mass killing of civilians. The author cannot speak for how the major powers that continue to harbour nuclear weapons (and therefore abstain from signing the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions protecting civilians) rationalise their situations. 5 Richard P. Hallion, Precision Guided Munitions and the New Era of Warfare, APSC Paper No. 53, Air Power Studies Centre, Canberra, April 1997, p. 4. 6 Applied in the Gulf War, the five concentric circles depict a hierarchy of sub-systems within a

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7 8

9

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national system. The model suggests a means of prioritising targets by identifying generic centres of gravity for an enemy’s sustainment of a national war effort. In priority order these include: leadership, system essentials, infrastructure, population and fielded forces. However, with sufficient air power, target sets can be attacked in parallel rather than in series. See Shaun Clarke, Strategy, Air Strike and Small Nations, Air Power Studies Centre, Canberra, 1999, p. 76. Derived from statistics in: ibid., pp. 80-83. A figure derived from statistics in Reaching Globally, Reaching Powerfully: The United States Air Force in the Gulf War, A Department of the Air Force Report, September 1991, p. 29. As cited in Waters, Gulf Lesson One, p. 163. Although the census is somewhat general. These figures include all types of bombers, fighters, anti-shipping and anti-submarine aircraft – any platform with the slightest capability to destroy a surface target. See Clarke, Strategy, Air Strike and Small Nations, pp. 187–190. While there is no doubt that air doctrine has a measure of universal applicability at the tactical level, the limited means of small nations become critically discriminating at the strategic campaign level. With 135 and 122 platforms respectively. As cited in Michael Knight, Strategic Offensive Air Operations, Brassey’s (UK) Ltd, 1989, p. 1. Strategic Aerospace Warfare Study Panel (SAWS), Aerospace Power for the 21st Century: A Theory to Fly By, (unpublished), Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, 4 October 1996, p. iv. M.J. Armitage and R.A. Mason, Air Power in the Nuclear Age: 1945–84, Macmillan Press, London, 1983, p. 44. Robert A. Pape, Bombing to Win, Cornell University Press, New York, 1996, p. 254. Leon V. Sigal, Fighting to a Finish: The Politics of War Termination in the United States and Japan, 1945, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1988. As cited in Pape, Bombing to Win, p. 88. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, translated and edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, USA, 1984, p. 91. B.H. Liddell Hart, Thoughts on War, Faber & Faber, London, 1944, p. 47. Clausewitz, On War, p. 81. Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Shambala, Boston, 1988, p. 67. As described by a student regarding the target of Mao Tse-tung’s ‘indirect approach’. Brigadier General S.B. Griffith II in his ‘Introduction’ to Mao Tse-tung and Che Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare, Cassell, London, 1961, p. 20. Clausewitz, On War, p. 87. ibid., p. 605. B.H. Liddell Hart, Strategy, 2nd rev. edn, Frederick A. Praegar Inc., New York, 1967, p. 351. And what is more, through such high strategic order action a relatively small and poorly resourced force (Argentina) would have prevailed over the much greater one. John A. Tirpak, ‘Short’s View of The Air Campaign’, Air Force Magazine, September 1999. A claim made by John Keegan regarding Operations Allied Force in ‘Please Mr Blair, Never Take Such A Risk Again’, Daily Telegraph, 6 June 1999. General Merrill A. McPeak, Selected Works 1990–1994, Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, August 1995, p. 18. The subtitle of the plaque is ‘Operation Desert Storm: 24–28 February 1991’. Yet this period acknowledges just five days of a 42-day campaign. In ‘Air Force Basic Doctrine’, a presentation by Lieutenant Colonel Vinnie Farrell, 613th Air Operations Squadron , at the ‘Pacific Rim Air Doctrine Symposium’, Guam, 04–07 April 2000. Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, History of the Second World War: The Strategic Air

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40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53

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Offensive against Germany 1939–1945, Vol II, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1961, p. 9. Air Vice-Marshal H.N. Wrigley, The Decisive Factor: Air Power Doctrine, (edited by Alan Stephens and Brendan O’Loghlin), Australian Government Publishing Service Press, Canberra, 1990. pp. 12–13. ibid., p. 13. Andrew Lambert, ‘Coercion and Air Power’, Air Clues, Vol. 50, No. 12, December 1996, p. 449. Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1966, p. vi. Mechanisms include the likes of popular revolt, the prospect of future loss, leadership change and battlefield breakthrough. Air strike applied to appropriate targets produces these effects or ‘mechanisms’. These in turn translate to desired political level changes. Pape, Bombing to Win, p. 328. In World War II, Japan and Germany faced very similar strategic bombing pressure. Japan surrendered; Germany did not. Any given air strike campaign will produce different outcomes dependent on the specific context of the application. Even ‘suicide terrorism’ is not irrational in this sense, with sacrifice or martyrdom considered ‘profitable’. Clausewitz, On War, p. 92. This is an equation from Pape, with a semantic modification that ‘aggression’ replaces ‘resistance’ so as to solely depict the perspective of a small defensive nation under attack. Pape, Bombing to Win, pp. 15–16. Schelling, Arms and Influence, p. 1. ibid. ibid., pp. 2–6. Major Scott Walker, ‘The Unified Field Theory of Coercive Airpower’, Airpower Journal, Summer 1997, p. 73. Lambert, ‘Coercion and Air Power’, p. 445. ibid., p. 446. Walker, ‘The Unified Field Theory of Coercive Airpower’, p. 71. Recently collated into a taxonomy, Pape, Bombing to Win, p. 328. For full treatment with specific attention to small nations, see Clarke, Strategy, Air Strike and Small Nations, pp. 115–134. John A. Tirpak, ‘Short’s View of The Air Campaign’, 1999. Walker, ‘The Unified Field Theory of Coercive Airpower’, p. 73. ibid., p. 74. ibid. Forty-four leadership and 156 command and control facilities including palaces, command bunkers and telecommunications nodes were attacked from the air. Pape, Bombing to Win, pp. 80, 82. Saddam Hussein is said to have been woefully unaware of the state of his troops for much of the conflict. Richard E. Simpkin, Race to the Swift: Thoughts on Twenty-First Century Warfare, Brassey’s Future Warfare Series Volume I, Brassey’s, London, 1985, p. 313. ibid., p. 311. Wylie, J.C., Military Strategy: A General Theory of Power Control, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1967, p. 63. Vo Nguyen Giap, People’s War People’s Army, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Hanoi, 1961, p. 21. As cited in ibid., p. 61.

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58 ‘Non-conventional’ here refers to any method (e.g. guerrilla warfare) that represents an alternative to ‘conventional’ warfare. This group includes the subset of ‘unconventional’ which specifically covers terrorism. 59 Patterns of Global Terrorism 1996, United States Department of State, April 1997, p. iv. 60 ibid., p. iii. 61 Internet, http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/peace/ pp9398.htm, and http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/peace/ pp9899.htm, 17 May 2002. 62 Samuel B. Griffith (trans), Mao Tse-Tung on Guerrilla Warfare, Praeger, 1961, p. 52. As cited in Wylie, Military Strategy, p. 60. 63 Ross Babbage, A Coast Too Long: Defending Australia Beyond the 1990s, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Australia, 1990, pp. 100–124. 64 Simpkin, Race to the Swift, p. 318. 65 Wylie, Military Strategy, p. 37. 66 Operation Babylon was Israel’s aerial destruction of the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad, Iraq in 1981. It was a successful mission designed to set back Iraq’s attempts to develop an atomic weapon. 67 For brief but useful treatment of the anticipatory self-defence issue see K.A. Kyriakides, ‘Air Power and International Air Law’ in Stuart Peach (ed.), Perspectives on Air Power: Air Power In Its Wider Context, Defence Studies (RAF), Joint Services Command Staff College Bracknell, 1998, pp. 117–120. 68 Operation El Dorado Canyon was the 1986 American air strike on Libya in response to alleged state sponsored terrorism under the rule of the leader, Colonel Qaddafi. 69 Operation Deliberate Force over Bosnia was the successful 11 day NATO air offensive against Bosnian Serbs aimed at stopping attacks on ‘Safe Areas’ occupied mainly by Bosnian Muslims. 70 For example, avoiding high-risk penetration environments where EW, SEAD and self protection systems are lacking. 71 Lambert, ‘Coercion and Air Power’, p. 446. 72 B.H. Liddell Hart, Thoughts on War, p. 179. 73 As cited in Babbage, A Coast Too Long, p. 61. 74 ‘Denial’ in this context does not refer to the coercion strategy, but simply refers a national security strategy for a protective shield (in contrast to forward defence options) designed to prevent an enemy reaching Australia’s shores. Paul Dibb, Review of Australia’s Defence Capabilities, report to the Minister of Defence, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1986, p. 35. 75 W.B. Pritchett, The Dibb Report: Strategy and Force Structure, a paper presented to the Australian Fabian Society Conference on Australian Defence, Melbourne, 2 August 1986, p. 8. As cited in Babbage, A Coast Too Long, p. 123, footnote 27. 76 Even the very first series of raids by the Italian Gavotti in 1911 were condemned by the Turks who claimed damage to a field hospital. Saundby, R., Air Bombardment: The Story of its Development, Chatto & Windus, London, 1961, p. 7. 77 For example, the civilian population shall not be the subject of attack; military operations shall only take place against military objectives. Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva, 1977, art 48 and 51(1). 78 That is, non-combatants, civilian and specially protected objects as defined in law of armed conflict. . Australian Defence Force Publication 37 (ADFP 37): Law of Armed Conflict, first edn, 1996, p. 5–3, para. 509. 79 ibid., p. 2–2, para. 208.

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80 ibid., p. xxv. Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions, art 52. 81 ibid., p. 5–5, para. 527. 82 DI(AF) AAP 1000: The Air Power Manual (2nd edn), Air Power Studies Centre, Royal Australian Air Force, 1994, p. 18. 83 Wing Commander E.E. Casagrande, Air Bombardment and the Law of Armed Conflict, Paper No. 10, Air Power Studies Centre, Canberra, February 1993, p. 17. 84 ibid., pp. 14–18. 85 DI(AF) AAP 1000: The Air Power Manual (2nd edn), p. 17. 86 Australian Defence Force Publication 23 (ADFP 23): Targeting, first edn (draft version), 1997, p. 4–2, para. 410. 87 Lambert, ‘Coercion and Air Power’, p. 447. 88 Schelling, Arms and Influence, pp. 142–43. 89 For some treatment of these factors in the specific context of small nations, see Clarke, Strategy, Air Strike and Small Nations, pp. 156–163. 90 For air power zealots this idea will be somewhat deflating because it steps back from the long standing but elusive prospect of a ‘knock out’ blow. It sees air power as an independent function, but one inextricably woven into the national power fabric; not a hero but a worker. 91 Blitzkreig: ‘the brilliant combination of fast-moving armour, infantry and strike aircraft which constituted one of the genuine war-fighting break-throughs of the 20th century.’ Alan Stephens, ‘Changing Technology and Interoperability’ in ANZUS After 45 Years: Seminar Proceedings, 11–12 August 1997, Parliament House, Canberra, September 1997, p. 84.

Asymmetric Advantage and Homeland Defence

Dr. Alan Stephens The attack on America on 11th September 2001 was shocking but it should not have been surprising. Many security analysts had been predicting some kind of devastating terrorist/asymmetric assault on the West for decades. Now it has happened and it will probably happen again. Consequently, the nature of homeland defence has changed forever, for all countries, regardless of their size and wealth. A diverse range of responses to the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, including military, diplomatic, economic and social measures, is already being pursued against the organisation primarily responsible, the Al Qaeda network, and its sponsors, and will be extended in the future. This paper is concerned with military responses. Two aspects of the war against terrorism as demonstrated by the American-led military campaign against Al Qaeda and the Taliban demand the serious attention of responsible officials. The first is that states can no longer rationally endorse a national defence strategy predicated on an essentially defensive outlook. That approach not only concedes the initiative to an aggressor, but also allows him to prepare and grow strong in his own time. ‘Homeland Defence’ will be a credible catch-phrase only when it incorporates the commitment and the military capabilities to go out and destroy the enemy, wherever his bases and strength may be. Waiting for something to happen is not an option. That conclusion has clear implications for force-structuring. The second aspect is that the American-led military campaign in Afghanistan is merely the latest iteration of a warfighting model that gives advanced nations an overwhelming asymmetric advantage of their

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own against any kind of aggressor in any circumstances. Symbolically, the essential form of this 21st century model of warfare is defined at the top end by stealthy fighters, and at the bottom end by massed armies. The aphorism that generals prepare for the next war by planning for the last one is writ large for those defence forces that are not working assiduously right now to maximise their speed, precision, mobility and firepower, and to minimise their visibility and footprint. It might seem curious that although this model has become increasingly obvious over the past ten years, it still has not been fully embraced by many military professionals and government decision-makers. Taxpayers whose contributions continue to subsidise outdated defence force structures, systems and ideas have every right to feel aggrieved at the way in which their money has been misused and, consequently, their security compromised. The basic problem in most, if not all, Western nations has been poorly informed politicians, who decide how defence budgets will be disbursed, and who therefore shape force structures and capabilities, too often for the worse; and insular single-services which continue to cleave to legacy systems and obsolescent concepts of operations at the expense of 21st century capabilities. Even the Americans, whose campaigns in Iraq, the Balkans and Afghanistan in the past decade have provided the template for present and future warfighting, have succeeded as much by sheer size (which allows room within their total force structure for most emerging capabilities and ideas) and the determination of a handful of genuine strategic thinkers, as by any inspired, widely-shared organisational vision.1 The most striking evidence of this is provided by the United States Army which, with the exception of its special forces, has not played a meaningful warfighting role in any of America’s last three major campaigns: Deliberate Force in Bosnia in 1995, Allied Force in Kosovo in 1999, and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001–2 (and indeed was fully involved in the fighting for only four of the forty-two days of the preceding campaign, against Saddam Hussein in 1991). As one of the Army’s leading intellectuals, Colonel Douglas Macgregor, has noted, thus far, his heavy, slow and intellectually diffident service has found the

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challenge of adapting to the new defence environment ‘insurmountable’. In Macgregor’s opinion the 21st century environment requires a ‘new operational paradigm’ based on ‘air, space, missile, and information power …’2 (Incidentally, it was disappointing to read in the Washington Post shortly after the conclusion of the main air campaign in Operation Enduring Freedom that Colonel MacGregor was ‘shuffled’ by the US Army into a desk job ‘where he [felt] muzzled’, and that instead of working on plans to reform his service he was instead ‘contemplating retirement’.3) According to another respected army thinker, retired General Robert L. Scales, his former service’s present doctrinal crisis may be attributable to its near-religious belief in ‘mass’ and ‘closing with the enemy’.4 Whatever the reason, the US Army should be asking itself why it has not been needed for seven years and three wars. Irrelevance is a dangerous condition. The fact is, ‘mass’ and ‘closing with the enemy’ are obsolete concepts within advanced defence organisations, having been replaced by ‘irresistible knowledge’, which in turn is translated into lethal force by elusive platforms (primarily airborne, and of which stealth is the exemplar) and stand-off precision weapons. ‘Knowledge’ defined as the ability to precisely and discretely target a hostile regime has continued to make remarkable progress in recent years. Critics who did not fully understand the implications of emerging technologies and sophisticated targeting strategies conceded after the 1991 Gulf War that aerospace-based weapons systems could ‘do’ deserts but asserted they could not do mountains and/or forests. Operations Deliberate Force and Allied Force in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1999 demonstrated otherwise. So then the assertion was made that the same systems could not do ‘small’ wars, or guerilla wars, or dug-in tribesmen; this time it has been the air campaign in Afghanistan that has given the lie.5 Urban warfare will be the next test, and there are already signs of significant progress. The key to dominating any battlespace with aerospace power is the symbiotic relationship between the weapons that hit the targets and the ideas

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that inform the use of those weapons. Precision-guided munitions, stealth, and all-weather tracking devices have been central to the revolution in offensive air warfare, but unless those tools are directed against the critical targets they will be no more than that – tools. It is reassuring, therefore, to note that while the targeting methodology applied in recent campaigns has basically been the same in each case, the critical targets (the centres of gravity) have varied, having been chosen to meet the particular circumstances.6 The end result, however, has been the same. Subverting the enemy leadership has properly been the objective in each case, but aim points have been chosen according to the specific conditions and have included such diverse categories as individuals, praetorian guards, the wealth of the ruling elite (their factories, banks, mansions, etc), vital logistics dumps and war reserves, and so on. A previouslyabsent sensitivity to the prevailing cultural values has been a crucial addition to the process. In other words, for the first time since offensive air power began to be used systematically in 1914, campaign planners have been consistently getting the strategic targeting right. It is a technological certainty that aerospace capabilities will continue to improve and, as they migrate into space, become even more potent, notwithstanding the dogmatic refusal of many officials to believe the evidence of their own eyes. Impressive doctrinal and technical progress has been made in the five years since the USAF’s then-chief of staff General Ronald Fogleman stated that ‘in the near future we will be able to find, fix, track and target – in real-time – anything of consequence that moves or is located on the face of the earth’ (an assessment which was subsequently endorsed by his successor, General Michael E. Ryan).7 A classic illustration of the kind of capability Fogleman was identifying occurred during the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, in an operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden’s senior military commander, Mohammad Atef. An enemy convoy fleeing south from Kabul was apparently routinely detected and tracked by remote airborne sensors.8 Back in US Central Command in Florida, where General Tommy Franks was running the war, staff officers monitoring events in near-real-time were attracted by the convoy’s extreme (but unsuccessful) attempts to disguise its move-

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ments. Concluding that the group probably consisted of Al Qaeda terrorists rather than rank-and-file Taliban, Central Command decided against calling-in an air strike immediately, hoping instead that the convoy would lead them to bigger game. Unseen by the enemy, surveillance platforms like Predator UAVs and JSTARS aircraft using electrooptical and infrared sensors, and synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator systems, tracked the convoy for two days despite elaborate efforts by the terrorists to avoid detection. Eventually, just after midnight on the second day, the convoy arrived at a building where a high-level meeting appeared to be in progress. Pictures of a crowded car park and frantic activity were transmitted back to Florida by a Predator circling overhead but unheard. Assessing that the time was now right, Central Command called in three USAF F-15s armed with 1200 kg PGMs. The fighters each dropped one 1200-kg laser-guided bomb onto the building, scoring direct hits; simultaneously, the Predator fired two Hellfire missiles into the car park. Mohammad Atef was among the 100 or so dead, and General Fogleman’s credibility was enhanced. Remote all-weather, 24-hour warfighting capabilities will become even more powerful when, for example, a constellation of satellites fitted with synthetic aperture radar is placed into orbit. Yet after Fogleman made his comment he was derided by US Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper, who told a Congressional subcommittee hearing that ‘… these [Fogleman’s] assertions … represent a considerable ignorance of war and a certain arrogance’.9 The difficulty of presenting new ideas that challenge rigid mindsets should never be underestimated. Opposition to the new is much stronger when it is not just traditional weapons but institutions that are endangered. Horse cavalry disappeared from the armies of the great powers only after the Germans’ successful blitzkrieg campaigns through Poland and France. The British and French armies grossly misused their tanks in 1940 because they insisted on absorbing them into the infantry and cavalry, instead of creating new tank-centred formations like the Germans had. Edward Luttwak summed up the problem neatly when he observed that equipment does not innovate, men do, which is why the

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successive military revolutions that have changed the course of warfare over the centuries have always resulted from major institutional reforms imposed by determined leaders, rather than from the spontaneous effect of new weapons or new circumstances.10 At least the British Army seems to have grasped the new calculus. Addressing a symposium on indirect battlefield effects in January, the assistant chief of the general staff, Major General Richard Dannatt, told delegates, ‘One must always be wary of absolutes, but perhaps air maneuver really does offer the most exciting development in emerging military capability since 1945 … The land component must therefore move swiftly to understand how the entire battlespace – not just the ground environment – can be exploited; it must become second nature’.11 As technology continues to apply its relentless authority, there are also signs of progress in the United States, where demands reportedly are being made for the development of a new ground combat system which would replace tanks and other armoured vehicles with manned and robotic land cruisers, directed energy weapons and UAVs, all connected by advanced intelligence sensors and data networks.12 A caveat is needed at this stage. This paper is not arguing that an offensive aerospace campaign will invariably be the best military response to every defence contingency. It will not. But for developed nations generally it will, and the circumstances under which such campaigns can be exploited are continually growing. Surveillance systems that provide high-resolution, 24-hours-a-day, all-weather, real-time information are close to reality, and the weapons systems needed to prosecute the resultant knowledge already exist and will continue to become even more effective. To repeat a point made above, in most circumstances those kinds of capabilities will represent an overwhelming asymmetric advantage for advanced nations.

Notwithstanding the obsolescence of traditional (land force) mass and the experience of the campaigns of the past decade, armies still have a

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central role to play in advanced warfighting. The issues here concern ‘proxy’ ground forces, urban warfare, and the increasing use of special forces. Peace operations also warrant discussion, even though they do not strictly come under the heading of either advanced warfighting or asymmetric advantage. It would be ingenuous to suggest that there is not or never would be a place for old-style mass on the modern battlefield. On the contrary, traditionally-structured land forces have been an integral part of all of the West’s recent major campaigns. However, those massed forces have not been provided by the advanced nations which in each case intervened for the greater good, but which at the same time would not accept the risk of high casualties in circumstances that did not threaten their national survival. Thus, in Bosnia in 1995 Nato air power was supplemented by Bosnian Croat and Muslim armies, and in Kosovo in 1999 by the Kosovo Liberation Army; while in Afghanistan in 2001–2 American air power was supplemented by numerous local armies, notably the United Front (popularly known as the Northern Alliance) in the north and a number of predominantly Pashtun tribes in the south. While the indigenous armies played a minor, albeit necessary, role in the Balkans, they were critical in Afghanistan. The question was one of how to kill or force the surrender of substantial numbers of seemingly intractable Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists. Frequently the Americans were confronted by besieged fortress-cities (Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Kabul, Kunduz, Kandahar) whose enemy garrisons could have been destroyed either by bombing, which would have caused the death of non-combatants at the hands of Western air power, or by massed warfare between the local armies, which was highly likely to involve heavy casualties, massacres and war crimes. In the event precision bombing was more effective against urban targets than perhaps ever before, but on most occasions indigenous ground forces were required to clean-up pockets of resistance. The subject is nothing if not sensitive, raising the dreadful moral question of the relative weighting placed on indigenous and (in this case) American lives. On the other hand, the moral question would be no less challenging if a society which possessed the means to fight with an over-

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whelming advantage chose not to do so and therefore placed the lives of its young men and women needlessly in harm’s way. And at the risk of being politically incorrect, it is noteworthy that in many of the world’s most volatile regions (Iraq, Korea, Israel, Iran, Taiwan, Pakistan, the Sudan) large indigenous land forces would be ready and willing to facilitate the application of externally-provided incontestable air power. Which leads to the question of the employment of armies in 21st century warfare. There is no reason why effects-based planning and execution, information operations, network-centric approaches, and precision engagement should be the exclusive purview of any one of the military services. It is in that context that special forces operating behind enemy lines in Afghanistan provided a prototype for future operations for advanced armies. Reportedly ‘given an unrestricted license to kill’ during the crucial stages of the war, somewhere between 800 and 2000 American and allied marines, commandos and Special Air Service soldiers displayed all of the characteristics associated with contemporary air power – knowledge dominance, speed, precision, deadly force, a fleeting footprint (stealth), and high mobility – as they appeared unexpectedly to create havoc amongst the Taliban and their Al Qaeda accomplices.13 They apparently ambushed and killed ‘hundreds’ of enemy soldiers, cleaned-up pockets of resistance, destroyed scores of vehicles, cut-off retreats, found hideouts, designated targets, and called-in air strikes. Materialising suddenly out of the night in fast, light combat vehicles, these special forces would either do the job themselves or, depending on the circumstances, summon a precision strike from nearby missile-armed helicopters or orbiting bombers. Target designation was an especially noteworthy mission, combining as it did the matchless asset of the man-on-the-ground with the de facto mass of irresistible air-delivered precision firepower. Ground-based forward air controllers have been a feature of air/land warfare since World War I but the effectiveness of the technique reached new heights in Afghanistan. According to the commander of the air war, USAF General

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Charles F. Wald, the rapid advance of Northern Alliance troops in early November after weeks of inaction was largely made possible by the targeting provided by ‘three or four [special forces] guys’ on the ground who used high-technology communications and navigation systems to guide B-52 strikes onto Taliban troop concentrations.14 US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld took the argument further, stating that the turning point in the war came a month after the start when special operations target-spotters began to call-in ‘precise and devastating’ B-52 raids on Taliban frontlines. Mazar-i-Sharif fell within ten days, quickly followed by Herat and Kabul. ‘Each place [the deployment of ground spotters] happened, the results got very good, very quickly’, Rumsfeld noted.15 In President George W. Bush’s words, ‘There is no substitute for good intelligence officers, for people on the ground. These are the people who find the targets [and who] follow our enemies’.16 A text-book illustration of the technique involving moving or so-called ‘flexible’ targets was provided on 18 November near the regional centre of Tarin Kot, a place regarded by the leader of Afghanistan’s interim government, Hamid Karzai, as ‘the heart of the Taliban’, and therefore as the alliance’s primary military target.17 In what Karzai apparently believed was ‘the decisive battle in the … war’, US fighter jets guided by special forces decimated a convoy of about 1000 Taliban soldiers travelling in some 100 vehicles. Devastated by their helplessness, those Taliban who survived simply ‘fled’ the battlefield, having reportedly come to realise that they ‘should not fight with America’, a message they presumably later relayed to their colleagues. Once the Taliban’s and Al Qaeda’s formal organisations in Afghanistan had been broken, allied special forces were given a new task that seems likely to be long-term, namely, waging independent, sometimes secret, battles to exterminate terrorism throughout the country.18 Only elite land forces are suitable for this demanding and highly dangerous task. As detection and targeting systems become even more pervasive, discrete and precise, and as advanced defence forces continue to redefine mass, the kinds of land battles fought by indigenous armies in Afghanistan will become increasingly obsolescent – for those who have the technology and the doctrine.

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Urban warfare represents the last major frontier for the application of decisive aerospace power, and even there important progress has been made since the Russians’ reprehensible and inept misuse of firepower during their air assault on the city of Grozny in the late-1990s. Significant developments include the exploitation by land forces of technologies that look around corners and through walls, and the use of soldiers to designate targets for strike aircraft. Given the emphasis now placed on directly targeting an enemy regime’s leadership – their assets, their interests, their values, their lives – the Israeli Air Force’s employment of attack helicopters and fast jets in urban environments is noteworthy.19 So too is the example of the American air offensive against the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, which fell following two months of discrete strikes against pin-point targets, including Mullah Mohammad Omar’s palace and other residences used by the Taliban hierarchy. According to an eyewitness report, ‘a trip around the city … indicated that, for the most part, the bombs hit their targets and there were relatively few civilian injuries’.20 The death of the Taliban’s once-feared intelligence chief Qari Ahmadullah, killed when a house in which he was hiding was singled-out by American jets in late December, provided another compelling demonstration.21

Perhaps the main obstacle to the full development of new era warfare is the dogmatic attachment of many soldiers to the mantra of ‘seize and hold ground’, a doctrine which has been an article of faith in armies for thousands of years. There is no doubt that the imperative to take territory almost as an end in itself was valid for the majority of pre-21st century conflicts, and the concept retains considerable force today. But it is no longer necessarily the key to success. Two issues are paramount. First, modern warfare is concerned more with acceptable political outcomes than with seizing and holding ground. And second, while seizing and holding ground might still be a primary objective of many military actions, it is no longer the primary means for achieving that objective. Therefore, neither should it any longer be regarded as the primary task of surface forces. The issue is the relationship between land and aerospace power in joint warfare. Whereas historically air strikes have been used to support large-scale land manoeuvre forces, now ‘it is the ground forces

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that are supporting the air operation by revealing the location of the enemy or forcing it into the open’, a development acknowledged by General Scales as representing ‘a tectonic shift in the nature of how ground forces fight’.22 As Scales argues, the imperative to fight at a distance should ‘induce an evolutionary shift’ in the approach to warfighting of armies in general and infantry in particular.23 Instead of seeking to close with and destroy the enemy, armies should instead act as ‘finding and fixing’ forces whose main purpose is to determine the size and nature of the enemy formation, and then to hold it in place while stand-off precision firepower is brought to bear ‘to do the killing with efficiency, discretion and dispatch’. That fundamental shift in an army’s role can be summarised as follows: The main task of surface forces in 21st century warfare is to facilitate the application of overwhelming aerospace power. Thus, among other things, armies should be vigorously pursuing technologies and concepts of operations that complement aerospace power capabilities. The single greatest challenge here is not the technology, which is either largely available or rapidly emerging, but rather the culture and attitude within armies. Even though aerospace-based capabilities increasingly are the focus of contemporary army forcestructuring, the place of high technology air weapons within land force concepts of operations remains problematical.24 During the debate in early-2000 over the future of the US Army (which turned essentially on whether the army should become much lighter and more mobile), Lieutenant General Johnny Riggs, the then-commanding general of the US 1st Army and one of his service’s leading aviators, stated that little thought was being given to aviation in the new Army vision, to the extent that the branch was in ‘crisis’. (Incidentally, arguments over the US Army’s need for major reform to accommodate new era warfare are not new, having been in progress for at least twenty years.)25 An equally revealing insight into culture and attitude comes from the Australian Army, widely regarded as being among the best in the world. Although purpose-designed attack helicopters have existed for over thirty

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years, none has yet found its way into that army’s order of battle. And when the Eurocopter Tigers now on order eventually arrive in around 2004 they will be known as ‘armed reconnaissance helicopters’, even though some army specialists consider them to be potentially the single ‘most potent capability’ their service will have operated in its 100-year history.26 The official description, however, suggests that the Tigers will be regarded primarily as a supporting capability within a concept of operations based on the traditional mass of infantry and armour. The final aspect of land forces and 21st century homeland defence that requires comment is peace operations, an activity which has assumed an increasingly high profile in the past twenty years. Peace operations clearly contribute to national security defined in a broad sense, and because of their manpower-intensive nature they are dominated by armies. They do not, however, constitute warfighting, and they therefore should not be used as a primary force-structure determinant. Furthermore, successful peace operations almost invariably rely on the cooperation of the organisation whose unacceptable behaviour made them necessary in the first place, a precondition that reveals an interesting relationship between compellence and cooperation. The relatively successful peace operations mounted in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, for instance, were both preceded by air campaigns which punished the ruling Serbs sufficiently to make them decide that intervention by an international peacekeeping force was preferable to the alternative of more air attacks. The occupation of East Timor by a United Nations force in 1999 discloses an equally instructive association between military means and peace operations ends. While there was almost no fighting between the aggressor West Timorese militia and their patrons from the Indonesian Army on the one hand, and United Nations forces (who initially consisted primarily of members of the Australian Defence Force) on the other hand, the weapon of deterrence was plainly evident. The entire UN intervention in East Timor was underwritten, firstly, by the deployment to northern Australia (that is, to within range of Timor) of ADF F-111 bombers and F-18 fighters; and secondly, by behind-the-scenes pressure from the United States. In the event the

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ADF’s air strike forces were not needed, but there should be no doubt that the implied threat was well-understood. The peace operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor provide a stark contrast to America’s salutary experience in Somalia in October 1993, when the US Army special forces that were put ashore without any preceding application of overwhelming air power suffered politically unacceptable losses at the hands of recalcitrant local warlords and were compelled to make a humiliating withdrawal. Presently only the United States can fully apply the form of advanced military power described in this paper, and very few countries possess the skills, qualities and resources to develop the necessary capabilities within the next twenty years. But for those that do the goal is now more achievable than ever before. The essential ingredients are a highly-educated workforce, a strong indigenous technological base (including defence research and development), a resilient economy, a close security relationship with the United States, and a robust air power tradition. (It has been suggested that only liberal democracies enjoy the social conditions needed to develop and to properly exploit advanced aerospace power, a proposition which seems to be validated by the history of air warfare.)27 In the near-term the handful of nations that satisfy those criteria should benefit from tremendous advances in at least the following technologies: miniaturisation, which reduces costs and increases payloads of aeroplanes, unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles, and satellites; low observability; communications (including real-time data sharing); information collection; and knowledge dissemination. Those kinds of developments will make the required architecture both more accessible and cheaper. That is, the fundamentals of a 21st century defence force based on asymmetric aerospace power will be affordable as long as budgets are not diverted to legacy capabilities. For those nations other than the US that wish to transform their defence force there are two issues of superseding importance, one related to homeland defence and the other to technology.

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As noted above, the events of September 11 have redefined the boundaries of ‘homeland’, which now effectively must encompass the entire globe. At the same time, domestic political imperatives will ensure that protecting people inside the national borders will remain the priority. There need not, however, be a conflict between the dual responsibilities of deploying overseas to defeat a threat and staying at home to defend the nation’s shores. The key is to realise maximum flexibility within those force element groups that more than any others define 21st century military power, namely, those that deliver control of the air and precision strike. As a medium-sized nation with an advanced defence force, Australia provides a useful case-study. Official Australian defence policy properly recognises control of the air as the ‘most important single capability for the defence of Australia, because control of the air over our territory and maritime approaches is critical to all other types of operation …’28 (That same strategic assessment, incidentally, was seen in practice in the US after September 11, when fighter aircraft and other elements of the national air defence system provided a continuous protective screen over selected cities.) Protection from threats thus is the necessary start point. But it is only the start point. September 11 showed that if threats are to be defeated it is likely they will have to be attacked at their source, and it is here that air control and air strike come together. To reiterate, it is incontestable aerospace power that constitutes the developed world’s greatest asymmetric advantage, and it is incontestable aerospace power that has underwritten extraordinary military success in a series of campaigns fought against allegedly insuperable enemies in dramatically contrasting geographical settings. From the Gulf to Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, control of the air was the necessary precondition, decisive bombing was the sufficient war-winner. Just as massed armies provide the symbolism for 20th century warfare, so stealthy strike/fighters symbolise 21st century warfare. Stealth is not unstoppable, but it does confer an enormous tactical advantage. One authoritative independent report has concluded that the greatly reduced radar cross-section of stealthy aircraft is so difficult to counter that ‘as long as jet aircraft offer the most reliable option for air superiority and

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air attack, stealth will be indispensable’.29 Wartime experience has thus far vindicated that judgment. Moreover, investment in stealth implies a commitment to the technological supremacy that is one of the pillars of modern warfighting. Currently only two genuinely stealthy manned aircraft are either in or are about to enter production, the US’s F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The F-22 will be the world’s outstanding air superiority fighter for the next twenty-five years, far surpassing any of its rivals; while the JSF will be at least the equal of the rest, in addition to being the predominant all-purpose surface attack platform. With an indicative cost of US$100 million, perhaps more, the F-22 is likely to be banished from most acquisition programs. The JSF’s prospects will be discussed shortly. As one of the handful of nations with the potential to leverage 21st century air power, Australia serves as a useful case-study for small- to medium-sized defence forces and the defining roles of air combat and precision strike, both deployed and home-based. It is almost inconceivable that Australia (or any other country capable of constructing a 21st century defence force) would deploy to a major overseas campaign other than as part of an American-led coalition. The US, therefore, could reasonably be expected to provide the control of the air and the global knowledge architecture an advanced air campaign demands. Within that setting, allies equipped with, say, JSFs or fourthgeneration strike/fighters such as Rafale, Gripen, Eurofighter/Typhoon, and F-18E/F would in the first instance leave the USAF’s F-22s to establish control of the air before making their contribution, probably in the precision strike role. Interoperability would be crucial, especially the ability to link-up with American information systems (satellites, AEW&C, JSTARS, UAVs, other combat platforms, command centres, and so on). For operations conducted from home or not as part of a coalition, it has to be assumed that the indigenous air force would conduct control of the air and precision strike without external combat assistance, at the same time noting that the US historically has been very generous with logistics and information support for its allies in such circumstances (the Yom Kippur War, the Falklands War, the UN intervention in East Timor).

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Australia has already established the foundations of an excellent regional surveillance and reconnaissance (that is, knowledge) system in the form of very long-range over-the-horizon radar, micro-wave radars, on-order AEW&C systems, advanced electronic intelligence aircraft, access to satellite data and, most importantly, an advanced command and control system to pull everything together. Global Hawk surveillance UAVs may also be acquired.30 As far as a piloted platform to do the fighting is concerned, current thinking favours a single type to replace the F-111 bombers and F/A-18 fighters now in RAAF service. Taking in to account all of the issues raised so far in this paper, the short takeoff and vertical landing (Stovl) JSF seems to offer a potentially powerful strategic option.31 JSF’s superior stealth, state-of-the-art systems, and unquestioned compatibility with US weapons and facilities should make it at least comparable with any fighter except the F-22, and the prospect of the RAAF having to confront F-22s in combat is so remote as to be unrealistic. Should strike rather than air combat be the priority, the JSF’s ability to penetrate defences with minimal support (derived from its superior stealth) would be critical. Also critical will be the development of the small diameter bomb, a precision-guided munition expected to appear in the US’s inventory in about 2009, and which because of its reduced size will dramatically boost the capacity of small air fleets to prosecute punishing strikes.32 Stovl would provide unequalled operational flexibility for both air combat and strike. Fixed bases have been air power’s Achilles’ heel since World War I, firstly because they identify the places from which operations can be mounted and the distances aircraft can penetrate; and secondly because they are large, easily-found, high-value targets. And more recently the Afghanistan campaign highlighted another troublesome dimension, related to the age of intervention, namely, the sensitivities associated with any requirement to establish large, fixed, highlyvisible bases in politically uncertain states. Some thirteen such bases were constructed to support Operation Enduring Freedom, almost all in countries where a Western military presence can cause violent resentment.33 Air-to-air refuelling provides an answer to part of the first prob-

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lem but brings with it more expense and complexity and new vulnerabilities. The capacity Stovl offers for operations from a vast range of localities and platforms, including ships if necessary, redefines the notion of flexibility. The introduction of a Stovl strike/fighter might also encourage greater flexibility in meeting the always-challenging task of logistical support, with perhaps more use being made of short-takeoff and landing fixedwing airlifters capable of operating from unsealed surfaces (for example, the C-130, C-27, CASA-235), heavy-lift helicopters, and airdrops. Similarly, the Expeditionary Combat Support Squadrons introduced by the RAAF several years ago to sustain deployments in Australia and overseas, from primitive locations if necessary, would be complementary. Should the imperatives of homeland defence require deployment abroad as part of a coalition, Stovl would provide a solution to a problem which has affected most recent allied deployments, namely, finding suitable airfields convenient to targets. Remote basing placed major demands on tanking, carrier aviation and, not least, crews, during Desert Storm, Deliberate Force and Allied Force, and if anything the burden was even greater for Enduring Freedom. The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus reported that while US Navy crews and aircraft performed well during the strikes on Afghanistan they did so at a ‘massive cost’ in terms of support, especially tankers; similarly, Marcus pointed to the relatively minor role played by USAF land-based short-range aircraft such as the F-15 and F-16.34 Indeed, the great majority of weapons were dropped by USAF heavy bombers (B-52s, B-1s, B-2s) which had to transit thousands of kilometres to reach the theatre.35 As a direct consequence of the forced reliance on distant bases, debate over whether the B-2 production line should be reopened has once again flared-up in America.36 B-2 bombers (or B-1s or B-52s) supported by an armada of air-to-air tankers are not, of course, an option for anyone else, but Stovl strike/fighters deployed to numerous potential sites on the perimeter of a theatre of operations are. Stovl does come at a cost, namely, a reduced payload of fuel and weapons to offset the increased demand for engine power made by short/and or

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vertical takeoffs and landings. And because the F-35 will utilise a forward-mounted shaft-driven lift-fan to supplement the traditional thrust-vectoring from the engine’s rear nozzle, it will carry around 1500 kilograms of additional weight at all times. The lift-fan will, however, reportedly provide significant additional thrust for Stovl manoeuvres. Wing-mounted ducts which are used for lateral control will also contribute some thrust. Special reference should also be made to the Boeing X-45 stealthy unmanned combat air vehicle, not so much for its particular capabilities but more for the broad potential it represents. Until recently the X-45 was expected to enter limited operational service with the USAF in 2008, but such is the interest it is creating that the defence budget request for 2003 has proposed fast tracking the project with the objective of deploying fourteen aircraft in that year.37 The initial X-45 will be capable of striking fixed, pre-programmed targets at a radius of around 1600 kilometres, with follow-on models being capable of ranging further and responding inflight to pursue time-critical targets of opportunity.38 A conventional weapons load might consist of either two 450-kilogram Jdams or twelve small diameter bombs in two weapons bays which, interestingly, will be the same dimension as those of the F-35. The X-45’s price, however, is claimed to be one-third of the F-35’s. Current concepts of operations envisage formations of X-45s undertaking the high-risk mission of clearing a path through hostile air defence systems, thus enabling trailing piloted aircraft to exploit their superior flexibility to attack key targets. The combination of capabilities likely to be inherent in a fleet of X-45s and F-35s holds enormous promise for small- to medium-sized air forces.

For ten years now asymmetric aerospace power has been the key to victory in a succession of theatre-level campaigns which, when measured against the sweep of history, have been extraordinarily quick, decisive, and low-casualty. Those victories have been achieved against apparently powerful conventionally-arrayed armies (Saddam Hussein), ruthless war criminals (Milosevic), and allegedly insuperable guerillas (the Taliban). And they have been fought day and night, in all weather, in deserts, mountains, dense forests, caves and cities. Those facts indicate that what

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has been happening is neither an aberration nor a trend, but a proven model. Surface forces have an essential role to play in that model, but only surface forces of a fundamentally different shape and outlook from those favoured by traditional army doctrine. Symbolised by fifth-generation strike/fighter aircraft, 21st century warfare will be accessible only to a handful of nations. It is a strategically rare opportunity.

NOTES
1 Among the more significant of these thinkers are Colonel John Warden, Colonel John Boyd, General David Deptula, Colonel Douglas Macgregor, General Robert Scales, and Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski. 2 Douglas A. Macgregor, ‘Resurrecting Transformation for the Post-Industrial Era’, in Defense Horizons, September 2001, pp. 2, 8. See also Thomas E. Ricks, ‘Bull’s-Eye War: Pinpoint Bombing Shifts Role of GI Joe’, in The Washington Post, 3 December 2001, p. A01; Vernon Loeb, ‘Marines’ Mission Stirs Army Debate’, in The Washington Post, December 9, 2001, p. A32; and Steven Lee Myers, ‘Marines Dig In but They Find Little to Battle’, in The New York Times, December 1, 2001. 3 ‘A Test for Bush’s Military Reform Pledge? Some Decry Transfer of Reform Advocate to Army Staff Job’, in The Washington Post, February 20, 2002, p. 13. 4 Robert L. Scales, ‘Checkmate by Operational Maneuver’, in Armed Forces Journal International, October 2001, pp. 38–42. 5 The contrast between the US’s largely unsuccessful bombing attacks against Viet Cong tunnels and the destruction of Taliban caves, which for many terrorists have become tombs, could st scarcely be more striking. See William M. Arkin, ‘In 21 Century War, 2 Cavemen Stand Out’, in the Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2001; and ‘Battle leaves caves mute and bloodied’, in The Australian, December 13, 2001, p. 9. 6 For authoritative accounts which include detailed targeting analyses see: for the Gulf War, Richard P. Hallion, Storm over Iraq (Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1992); for Bosnia, Robert C. Owen, Deliberate Force: A Case Study in Effective Air Campaigning (AU Press, Maxwell AFB, 2000); and for Allied Force, Benjamin S. Lambeth, Nato’s Air War for Kosovo (Rand, Santa Monica, 2001). 7 General Ronald Fogleman, Address to the Strategic Air Warfare Study Panel, Maxwell Air Force Base, February 1996; and General Michael E. Ryan, ‘New World Vistas: USAF Air and Space Power for the 21st Century’ in Shaun Clarke (ed.), Testing the Limits, Air Power Studies Centre, Fairbairn, 1998, p. 14.

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8 See ‘Iron fist reaches out from the other side of the globe’, in The Australian, November 19, 2001, pp. 1, 8. The precise means of detecting and tracking hostile (and indeed friendly) forces in Afghanistan is classified. For one insight into the technologies and broad approach see William B. Scott, ‘Improved Milspace Key to Antiterrorism War’, in Aviation Week & Space Technology, December 10, 2001, pp. 36–7. 9 United States and Nato Military Operations Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Hearing Before the Committee on Armed Services House of Representatives, April 28, 1999. 10 Edward N. Luttwak, Book Review, ‘Lifting the Fog of War by Bill Owens with Ed Offley’, New York Times Book Review, January 21, 2001, p. 21. 11 Quoted in ‘Apache underbid threatens Air Maneuver’, in Jane’s International Defense Review, March 01, 2002. 12 The Washington Post, February 25, 2002, p. 21. 13 ‘Special forces act on orders to kill’, in The Australian, November 26, 2001, p. 9. 14 Cited in Thomas E. Ricks, ‘Bull’s-Eye War: Pinpoint Bombing Shifts Role of GI Joe’, in The Washington Post, 3 December 2001, p. A01. See also Michael R. Gordon, ‘New U.S. War: Commandos, Airstrikes and Allies on the Ground’, in The New York Times, December 29, 2001. 15 Cited in Thomas E. Ricks, ‘Rumsfeld’s Hands-On War’, in The Washington Post, December 9, 2001, p. A01. 16 Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2001, p. 1. 17 ‘In a Desert Outpost, Afghan War Was Won: U.S. Firepower Decimated Taliban at Tarin Kot’, in The Washington Post, December 31, 2001, p. 1. For detail on the evolution of ‘flex targeting’ during the Kosovo air campaign, see Benjamin S. Lambeth, Nato’s Air War for Kosovo (Rand, Santa Monica, 2001), pp. 120–136. 18 ‘How Special Ops Forces are Hunting Al Qaeda’, in U.S. News and World Report, February 25, 2002. 19 Mark Hewish, ‘David versus Goliath’, in Jane’s International Defense Review, November 2001, pp. 24-36; Barbara Opell-Rome, ‘Israeli Gunship Crews Train for Assassination Missions’, in Defense News, November 26-December 2, 2001, p. 30. 20 John Pomfret, ‘Kandahar Bombs Hit Their Marks: Few Civilian Deaths Evident’, in The Washington Post, December 12, 2001, p. A01. 21 ‘Taliban Intelligence Chief Killed in Attacks’, in The New York Times, January 2, 2002. 22 Major General Robert L. Scales, quoted in ‘US programmes likely to receive increased investment because of proven roles in Afghanistan’, in Jane’s Defence Weekly, January 2, 2002. 23 Major General Robert L. Scales, ‘Checkmate by Operational Maneuver’, in Armed Forces Journal International, October 2001, p. 42. 24 Daniel G. Dupont, ‘Skeptics and Believers: Aviation has little visibility in the new Army vision’, in Armed Forces Journal International, March 2000, pp. 28-34. 25 See Christopher Lawson, ‘Shinseki Wants Larger, More Flexible U.S. Army’, in Defense News, July 19, 1999, p. 18; and in the same issue Dov Zakheim, ‘20 Years Later, Commanders Still Seek Lighter U.S. Army’, p. 15. 26 Colonel Trevor Jones, quoted in Max Hawkins, ‘Army Beefs Up its Most “Potent Capability”’, in The Australian, Defence Update, November 20, 1998, p. 2. 27 For an examination of this proposition see Lieutenant Colonel Charles M. Westenhoff, ‘Air Power and Political Culture’, Air Power Studies Centre Working Paper No. 42, Air Power Studies Centre, Fairbairn, 1996. 28 Defence 2000 – Our Future Defence, Department of Defence, Canberra, 2000, par. 8.37. 29 Rebecca Grant, The Radar Game: Understanding Stealth and Aircraft Survivability, IRIS Independent Research, Arlington, 1998, p. 50.

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30 A more developed example of the emerging Australian aerospace-power model can be seen in Israel, a country which views military defence with a life-or-death seriousness. In response to the new security calculus the Israelis are emphasising asymmetric air and space systems across the board. Those systems will (or already) include: the Arrow anti-ballistic missile defence system; the Python 5 enhanced short-range air-to-air missile; a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile; a very long-range, precise, high-speed air-to-surface missile; a long-endurance, high altitude UAV armed with those missiles and which can loiter over a threat area for about sixty hours; a second long-endurance, high-altitude UAV, this time low observable and with an information gathering function; AWACS systems; manned JSTARS and Sigint systems; and a space program including Israeli-owned and -operated satellites. David A. Fulghum and John D. Morrocco, ‘Israel Air Force to Grow in Size, Power and Range’, in Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 10, 2000, pp. 62-5; and Barbara Opall-Rome, ‘IAI Completes Ofeq Spy Satellite, Begins Launcher Work’, in DefenseNews, December 17–23, 2001, p. 18. 31 The author has no connection with Lockheed Martin and used only publicly-available sources to prepare this article. 32 Two variants of the SDB are planned, one guided by GPS for use against fixed and stationary targets, and another with a terminal-seeker and an automatic target-recognition system for use against mobile targets. As an illustration of the effect SDB could have on campaign planning and target prosecution, the B-2, which can carry 16 joint direct attack munitions, may carry 324 SDBs. 33 William M. Arkin, ‘U.S. Air Bases Forge Double-Edged Sword’, in the Los Angeles Times, January 6, 2002. 34 Jonathan Marcus, BBC News, ‘Analysis: The military lessons’, 15 December 2001. 35 Early information indicates that heavy bombers flying primarily from Diego Garcia – a roundtrip of 6500 kilometres – dropped about 70% of all weapons. See ‘Afghan War Will Shape Future U.S. Military Structure’, Stratfor Strategic Forecasting, PRIVATE HREF=»» MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor http://www.stratfor.com.home/0110232100.htm, viewed October 26, 2001. 36 James Dao and Eric Schmitt, ‘New Pentagon Debate Over Stealth Plane’, in The New York Times, December 11, 2001. 37 Robert Wall, ‘Air Force UCAV Design Reworked’, in Aviation Week & Space Technology, February 25, 2002, pp. 28–30. 38 Michael Sirak, ‘UCAV programme nears first flight’, in Jane’s Defence Weekly, 6 March 2002, p. 9; Robert A. Wall and David A. Fulghum, ‘UAVs Spotlighted as Defense Priority’, in Aviation Week & Space Technology, February 11, 2002, p. 26.

Modern Competitiveness Theory

Colonel (ret.) John A. Warden III [Editor’s note: Transcript of oral presentation.] Good morning all! It is always a pleasure to be back on the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) stage, where I have spent quite some time. It is nice to see some old friends and associates, and likewise, it is nice to see some people that I have not yet met, but with whom I hope to have a conversation as we move through the morning. I want to talk about air power theory and winning in the twenty-first century. We have to think about what theory really is, and particularly what air theory is. It has occurred to me that in a certain sense there is neither air theory, ground theory nor sea theory, but there is competition theory. There is strategy for achieving something. There is strategy for winning, and whether you are using air, land or sea components, what you primarily want to do is make sure that you are successful. You want to know that you are going to win. The kind of business that we are in is the kind of business where winning is what counts. Coming in second does not count. So what I have been trying to do over a fairly extensive period of time is to put together a series of ideas that will allow you to be successful. These ideas will allow you to win regardless of what competition you are in, but I will provide an obvious focus on the military side. Given that overarching concept, theory or strategy, you start thinking about the tools that are most suitable for allowing you to make things happen in order to win. At that point you have a sub-theory: air subtheory, ground sub-theory or sea sub-theory. So that is the thrust of what I want to talk about today. Now, as we are going through this, if anybody has something they want to say, because they think it is wrong or they have a comment, please do not hesitate to stop me. I think one of the useful things to do before we get into this, is to talk a little bit about my background in order to provide you with some

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additional insight into where my ideas come from. I want you to be aware of what drove me, because frequently when you understand why somebody has come up with something, that helps you with the evaluation. It may prejudge your evaluation, but in any event knowing a little bit about the background is useful. There are several things that were significant in my life. I primarily flew F-4s, OV-10s and F-15s at various times and places. There were some things that were part of my early career that really got me thinking in a particular way and the first one was my experience in Vietnam. I served in Vietnam in 1969-1970, with more than 250 combat missions. I was hit a few times. Not personally, I was kind of lucky, but my airplane was hit. A couple of times I was on the verge of bailing out into territory that was not particularly attractive, but fortunately I did not have to do that. At the end of my year in Vietnam, where I spent half of the time working with the 1st Air Cavalry in South Vietnam, and the other half flying over the Ho Chi Minh trail, I started looking around. I had lost friends from both the ground side and from the air side, and at the end of my year in Vietnam the situation and progress was about the same as when I arrived there. I did not like this at all. The idea of making this kind of effort without winning does not make any sense. My resolution at that time was that I was never going to be part of anything as senseless as this ever again. We ought to plan to win, and if we are not going to win we should not be playing at all. It is easy to make a resolution, but what you do about it is entirely different. Of course, it was only five years later that the North Vietnamese flag went up over Saigon, and we lost for sure. Now, when you start thinking about it in more depth, however, something interesting strikes you, because for all practical purposes we won all the battles. If there was one thousand battles in total between the Americans and the North Vietnamese, whether they were Vietcong or regular troops, we probably won 995, and the five we did not win were utterly inconsequential and would be inconsequential in any other war. How could it be that you win all these darn battles and lose the war? The answer becomes pretty clear, at least to me – the other guy obviously had a significantly better strategy. The flip side of that is also quite interesting. It says that you can succeed in war even if you fail in battle. You can succeed in war even if you are tactically inferior – as long as you have the

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right strategy. So you begin thinking about the real importance of strategy and what you are going to do with it. This is sort of event number one for me. Event number two is that I found myself reporting to the Pentagon for the first time in the mid-seventies. I was rapidly getting involved in geopolitics and war-planning among other things. I had more than a little bit of involvement at that particular time with working on American war-plans in the event of a conventional conflict with the Soviet Union in Europe. As I am looking at these war plans it becomes obvious to me that the way that they are laid out is very similar to the way we laid it out in Vietnam. There was simply the expectation that we are going up headto-head with the Soviets. It is assumed that we are going to fight them man-to-man, airplane-to-airplane and tank-to-tank, and because we are superior we are going to win. In other words, we were planning to fight an attrition war against an opponent who had more to attrit and had shown an ability to be careless about losses in World War Two. This does not make a lot of sense, and as you start reflecting upon military history you realize that in an attrition kind of a war, predicting who the winner is going to be is very difficult. I believe, in fact, that it is a matter of chance. It is almost pure chance for a lot of reasons. So that again drove me to say that there has to be a better way of thinking about these things. Of course, like all of you in your careers right now, you do not have a lot of time to sit down and write books. But I finally had the opportunity when I went to the National War College in the mid-eighties to focus on air power and to actually write a book – The Air Campaign. I wanted to look into the fact that there are some better ways to employ existing assets, not future assets, but existing assets. There had to be a better way to employ them in order to come up with a significantly higher probability of winning and to take some of the chance out of war. Obviously, what we want to do whether we are in a business operation or in a war operation is to reduce chance as much as possible. Now, we can get into an interesting philosophical discussion about Carl von Clausewitz, but I think that to say that war is a crapshoot is simply irresponsible. You want to load the dice as much as you possibly can, and that is the name of the game.

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I found that the ideas in The Air Campaign had a good deal of applicability even at a wing level. I was the Vice Commander and next the Wing Commander in Bitburg, Germany, and I began to apply some of the concepts in The Air Campaign and found that they worked pretty well even at a wing level. I next went back to Washington and the Pentagon. Not too long after that I was asked by Lieutenant General Michael Dugan, who was then the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, whether there was some way that we could take some of the ideas articulated in The Air Campaign and elevate them to a higher level, in order to make them Air-Force-wide. I said we could start working on it, and in that process we began to develop the Five Rings concept. We began to move the whole idea of The Air Campaign up to another level. Then, as you all know, we had the opportunity right after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, to present a set of ideas to General Norman Schwarzkopf and General Colin Powell. They accepted the concept, and finally a few months later it was tested pretty much the way it had been laid out. It was obviously expanded, but pretty much the way it had been laid out, and the Gulf War worked pretty well. I say pretty well, because if we could go back and do it over again now, I think we could do it significantly faster. There was no reason that it had to take forty-two days, no reason why we had to lose over one hundred of our own people, and no reason why it had to end quite the way it did. There are a lot of things that we could do better, but nevertheless, it worked reasonably well, especially in contrast to my experience in Vietnam. The next part of my career was the opportunity to go to the White House. As you know, something that happens to us frequently in uniform or in government in one way or the other is that regardless of what your background or your qualifications are there is a strong likelihood that you are going to be assigned to something for which you have no background and no qualification. That was my experience in the White House, where my job was to work on American competitiveness. How can we make the United States more competitive in the world, and not from a military standpoint, but from a business, commercial and economic standpoint? I found that I could apply some of the same theories, and some of the same concepts that were put together and used in the Gulf War. I began to apply some of the ideas in the political environment

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in the White House, and it worked out reasonably well. Unfortunately the majority of them were never put into serious practice, because that was the end of the George Bush Senior administration. So I came down here to the ACSC, and again used many of the same sets of ideas as kind of guidelines to put together a new curriculum, and the thing that was sort of a start for what you are all into now. That was the military career. After the military career in 1995, when I left the USAF, I thought that there was a pretty high probability that business competition was not very different from military competition. Why could we not just take the same sets of ideas, and apply them in the business world? That is what we decided to do. Take for example the market capitalization of Texas Instruments. Market capitalization, in very simple terms, is merely a multiplication of the total number of shares of stock outstanding in a company times the share price. If you look at Texas Instruments you see that over a fifteen-year period the share price did not go anywhere. In other words, the company was not doing very much. The company, in 1994 and 1995, made an internal decision that their problem was not their inability to make good computers and good chips, but their problem was one of strategy. They had a bad strategy so they started to think about strategy. We had the opportunity to come in and start working with them with many of the same sets of ideas in early 1996. Their strategic focus, augmented with what I was able to teach them, allowed them to increase their value to themselves and their shareholders significantly in a pretty short period of time, according to the current Chairman and CEO, and that is the power of strategy. There are a couple of reasons for me saying this. First, the concepts that we are going to lay out are things that we had a chance of working with in several different environments, and that has given me the confidence that in fact they have a fairly good set of applications. The other reason is that when we are talking to business audiences we are using a lot of the same terms that we use in the military world. We use a lot of examples from the Gulf War and some other military operations in history in order to illustrate how these concepts are put into effect. What we have found is that when you present to a business audience a set of ideas that are from another world, a military world, it gives them a different lens through which to examine their own operations. Frequently when you

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can back-off and look at yourself from a different perspective you get some insights and understanding that are difficult to get when you are looking introspectively. So what I am going to do today is kind of the opposite, and that is to use some of the business ideas, not very many but some of the business illustrations, to provide a lens through which to view this whole concept of strategy. First I want to make a point that is already made, but I want to reemphasize it. One of the things that struck me, certainly in the early part of my flying career, was the idea that winning was a matter of flying the airplanes better and dropping the bombs better, and if you can get really good at that you were certain to win. But it is already said that in fact that does not seem to happen in the real world and there are a couple of examples here. The North Vietnamese beat the United States with inferior tactics, inferior capabilities and by losing all the battles. If we switch that into the business world, and go back twenty years, we recall that Apple Computer had the first really great solution to what we now think of as PCs. Apple was a really nice computer, probably technically superior to the IBM PC, but because Apple Computer had an old world proprietary strategy and IBM had a new world open architecture strategy, the PC, even though an inferior box and an inferior piece of equipment simply destroyed Apple. It simply marginalized Apple over a period of time. It did not make any difference that the Apple computer was in fact better. The strategy was bad so things did not work out particularly well. So, if the strategy is bad then you have a serious problem. The whole concept of theory, and of competition theory, is to give you the ability to develop the kind of strategies that will lead to success. What can we think of in evaluating strategies? First of all, military theories are only useful in the context of an overall geopolitical theory, because we do not execute military operations for their own sake – we do them in order to reach some geopolitical end. Useful theories, or good theories, have to take you from one state of peace through conflict to a better state of peace. If they do not do that then they are only partial theories and they are not particularly effective. Good theories have to be workable, and the models on which they are based must be founded in the real world. It does not make any difference how elegant they are if they do not reflect the real world. Finally, good theories produce

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reasonably replicable good results in a wide variety of circumstances. So it seems to me that these are the kind of things we always ought to be thinking about when we are evaluating, whether it is a new investment concept, a new military theory or a political plan. The structure and essence is represented in the four-phased “Prometheus Process”.

Here is very simply what we believe the outlines for good strategy need to be and what the outlines are for the theory that we have tried to work with and develop over a long period of time. The words that we use are the words that we are using in the business world. I am going to go through them very briefly, then expand this and finally talk in some detail about each of the component parts. Number one, we believe that any theory or strategy must start with a very accurate definition of what you want the future to be. The very first step is that you design the future. In other words, you design the peace that is going to follow the war. That becomes the thing from which all else is derived. Number two, you always have a limited number of assets, whether they are airplanes, money, guns or whatever they may happen to be. You have a limited number of assets. There are on the other hand a potentially infinite number of targets, and you can think of targets as anything from a tank to a president. You have an infinite number of targets, but a limited number of assets. If you apply the assets to the wrong targets, then you are not going to succeed. So the second part of the concept is that you target for success, which in other words means

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that you spend a lot of time to make sure that you get the targets right. The third step is campaigning to win, which simply means that you are going to create the organization, and you are going to orchestrate the resources that you have available to you, so that you get the future you have decided that you are going to create. Then the fourth step is the one that we typically ignore in business and in the military. In the business world we talk about it as finishing with finesse. It is war termination or the idea that all wars end and everything ends. If you do not end it well, then you have not done your job. So all four of these things need to go together and we think of these as the four imperatives. There are other parts obviously, that are connected with this. There are sets of general rules that flow across all aspects of the planning and the execution, and underneath each one of these are a variety of additional ideas. We are now going into these.

Design the Future Under design the future we have four sets of notions that are important. The first one is the concept of understanding the general environment in which you are working. The macro environment, the technical and cultural aspects for example. Number two is painting a very solid and very real picture of the future that you are going to try to create. Number three is developing a set of guiding presets, the rules that you are going to follow as you go forward in your operations. The last thing is identifying the strategic measures of merit that tell you when you have achieved your future picture. Let us explore these four areas. I think when we are talking about the macro environment in which we find ourselves, we can in a broad sense relate it to the very concept of precision. Now, you are of course aware of what has happened in precision, so I am not going to belabor it, but I want to review it very quickly. Compare the number of bombs that needed to be dropped in the Second World War to have a 90% probability of putting a single bomb on a target about half the size of this auditorium, with the number of bombs required in the Gulf War, and the war in Serbia subsequently. In World War Two as we all know, 90% percent probability required 9,000 bombs, 1,000 B-17 and 10,000 men flying directly over the targets. So the chances of any given bomb hitting anything was very

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small. It is important to realize, however, that this was not a situation that was unique to bombs. This was exactly the same thing that applied to rocks, arrows, spears, sword-trusts, bullets and machineguns. Since the very advent of war, the overwhelming majority of weapons have missed, and that was simply what we had to live with until recently. What happened recently was something that changed matters dramatically. Rather than the majority of things missing, almost everything hits. Take a look at a photo of an Iraqi airfield complex. What do you not see that you have seen in every combat photo since the birth of combat photography? In the Gulf War there were few craters, and craters represent misses. With the aircraft shelters in 1991 there are very few misses. You could now deliver things with precision. We have in other words gone from a world in which almost everything misses to a world in which almost everything hits. Now think about that a little bit. All of our military experience for thousands and thousands of years, all of our organizations, the principles of war and everything else have all been designed to manage misses. You get a lot of people together so that one or two of the rocks or the bullets you throw may hit the right person, or the right set of things on the other side. Everything we have done has been built around the management of misses. Over night we shift to a problem which is not managing misses, but managing hits. This is a completely different mindset, a completely different set of problems than the problems we have lived with for thousands of years. I do not think any of us in the military or the business environment have really yet come to grips with what this means and what the profound impact is on virtually everything we do. So, that is idea number one – we have to understand the environment in which we find ourselves. Now idea number two is a little bit different. Idea number two has to do with how do you manage planning and operations in a world that is very complex and moving very quickly, in which information moves instantly? CNN, NBC and other news channels are right there with the right information ready to go. Now, we believe that it is pretty straightforward, that everything you do really has to be done in the open. Let me elaborate. On 6 August 1990 I pulled together a handful of people to start putting a war-plan together for the Gulf operation. We did not have any idea on how we were going to sell it, but we thought we would figure

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it out later, so our immediate concern was not about how we were going to sell it. Well, as we know, two days later General Norman Schwarzkopf called General Michael Dugan, now the USAF Chief of Staff, to discuss an air option. He got hold of General Michael Loh instead, because Dugan was out of town, and General Loh told him that we had some people working on an option, and that we would be happy to come down to tell him how to win the war on 10 August. General Schwarzkopf did not believe we could come up with an option in two days, but was of course very interested. Right after that General Loh called me and told me that he had told Schwartzkopf that I would go down to Tampa in two days to tell him how to win the war. He said, “do you have any problems with that”! Well, the war-plans against the Soviets that I mentioned earlier had gone on for the previous twenty years, and by the time that our opponent went away it was still in my view not ready to be executed. So, in 48 hours we were going to present something that was different from thirty years of planning! The question is, how do you go about actually doing that sort of planning? Well obviously one option is to grab a couple of your really smart people – individuals that you really trust. Then you go into a closet someplace, you put up some compartment and no access signs so that you are not disturbed. Then you can come up with this perfect plan, but in the real world, and this struck me as I am walking down the hall on my way back to the basement of the Pentagon, it is such a complex operation requiring so many different ideas that the isolated approach would be fatal. I had recalled seeing some instances in my previous tour of the Pentagon, where a Chief of Staff of the Air Force and later a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, had sort of a mania of doing things in secrecy, pulling together small groups of people. I saw time after time that the result, no matter how smart the people were, was that they missed things that were important and in fact ended up being fatal in a couple of instances. So rather than trying to do small planning we were going to bring a lot of people together and we were going to open the doors. We basically opened the doors down in Checkmate. We basically said that if you have an American uniform on and have some ideas, then we want you to take part in this planning operation. Needless to say, the security people were

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strongly opposed to this. They said we could not do that, arguing that we have to control this, but in fact we cannot plan a war unless we have many people involved. I believe, considering the environment we are in, that this is the only way you can do good planning for a couple of reasons. One, because you need an awful lot of ideas if you are going to get the right ideas put together quickly. Number two, if people are not involved in the planning, when they have to go out and execute at an operational level, the chances of them doing what the little group of planners in Washington, or the 9th Air Force had put together, are very small. Basically because people miss all the nuances on all the important things if they are not actually part of the planning. So in my view this becomes then absolutely critical and is really a part of the environment in which we live. We can no longer afford to do the secret compartment planning. You have to get it out in the open and you win not by secrets, but by exploiting information ideas and concepts faster than anybody else. The future picture has to include a compelling measurable objective picture of the post-conflict situation. One of the driving concepts that we put together very rapidly for the Gulf War planning was that we wanted the Middle East to be more stable after the war than it was before. In very simple terms, what that meant was that Iraq, which pre-conflict was a regional superpower and had made everything unstable, needed to be driven down sufficiently so that it could not be a strategic threat to its enemies. But on the other hand, because you want more stability, you cannot drive it down to zero, which will lead to all kinds of problems on the opposite end of the spectrum. So the fact that you are determined to drive Iraq down then becomes the things that determines what the targets are. You have to have that picture in front of you. When you are planning, whether it is business planning or war planning, and do not have a hard measurable picture you have a serious problem. If you are given the job of working on something without that picture, then you have a serious problem and you have to fix it. You cannot plan if you do not know the future you are trying to create. You need guiding presets. You have to have some things that are going to guide your strategic and operational behavior. In the Gulf War there were four basic things that we laid out for General Schwarzkopf, and he agreed

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to them. One was that the war was going to be focused against Saddam Hussein – not as a single target, but against Saddam Hussein and his policies rather than the Iraqi people. Number two was that we would do everything possible to keep Iraqi civilian casualties and property damage to an absolute minimum. Number three was that we would do everything possible to keep our own casualties to an absolute minimum, and number four was that we would at all times fight the war asymmetrically. In other words, we would always avoid the head-to-head kind of operations, which was likely to drag us into an attrition kind of war. Finally, the strategic measures of merit become extremely difficult because we are not used to thinking in these terms. We have a tendency to say that we are going to measure the success of our operations by how many sorties we flew, how many bombs we dropped, and how many targets we hit. These are the things we did in Vietnam. Those are not strategic measures of merit, so you have to get these things up at the right level if you are going to be successful. That is sort of a quick run-down of the first part of the strategic concept, which we term designing the future.

Target for Success The second part has to do with this whole business of how you go about finding the right kind of targets. It is absolutely imperative in business, war and politics that you think about targets in terms of systems. You have to see your opponent as a system and you have to see yourself as a system. Once you have identified the systems, then you have the ability to note what the centers of gravity are. I need to emphasize centers of gravity, not center. After you have identified the centers of gravity, then you need to decide what should happen to them. Not how you are going to make it happen, but what it is that needs to happen to them to change the systems so that they correspond to the future that you have defined. Let us go into some details. First of all let us think about an opponent as having some fairly significant amount of energy. There was for example a pre-hostility level of energy available to Iraq. Obviously there was a lot, because it had done a pretty nice job with Kuwait and clearly it had the ability to do some

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other things. Our objective is, in one sense or another, to identify the minimum amount of what the opponent needs in order to do certain things. Once you have identified the level of energy, which the enemy system needs in order to succeed with his aggression, then your process becomes fairly straightforward, because you then need to reduce the system energy of your opponent down below the level that is required for him to succeed. By dealing with the level of energy you are changing the system. We put this in slightly different terms when using the Five Rings Model as a general analogy for a system. Any system has a degree of energy and with a military opponent our problem is to change that energy level by parallel operation in order to drive it down to a point that is acceptable to you. You can drive it down to zero if you want to, and every once in a while this is the case, although it is pretty rare. Probably the classic example of driving it down to zero is of course what the Romans did with Carthage in the Third Punic War, which simply meant that Carthage was gone forever as it was utterly and completely destroyed. If we are looking at this from a business standpoint we do not focus our energy on our opponents, but we focus our energy on the market that we want to change, and we apply our assets in such a way as to increase the energy level of a market so that we can make some money from it, so that the

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market moves in the direction that we want it to move. It is still the same thing: positive energy and negative energy. We normally think of war as a negative energy event, but there are probably some positive things that ought to be going on at the same time. In business as a general rule it is almost all positive. You are all familiar with the concept of the Five Rings and you have had a lot of discussions on it, so I would just like to make a couple of points. First of all, I believe that what the Five Rings really does is describe how the real world is organized. It does not make any difference whether it is a company, a squadron, a market, a country or anything else. Every system has these components. Every system has something that provides leadership; has something that converts energy from one form to another; has an infrastructure to hold it together; has population; and has some kind of forces or agents. There is absolutely no exception to this. We can put it into this form for a couple of reasons. First, when we put the whole country or the whole market or the whole company together in one place, we then know that we have the focus on changing the whole thing. That is our objective. We also begin to get some general ideas about where relative priorities lie. We know that, in general, if you can get the leadership of a country, a company or a market to be going in a particular direction, then there is a tendency that the country, company or market starts going in the direction which you prefer. Sometimes that is all you need. On the other hand, if you put an enormous amount of effort on the outer ring, the fielded forces ring, then it is unlikely to have much impact on the overall system. For example, during the planning part of the Gulf War there was a number of people who said, for a variety of reasons, that what we ought to do is focus strictly and solely on the Iraqi army in Kuwait. Let us make the assumption that we destroy the Iraqi army in Kuwait. 500,000 people are killed or captured. A couple of thousand tanks are destroyed etc. Those losses would probably have been a little bit less than what the Iraqis had suffered in the war with Iran, during which time Iraq had become significantly stronger, significantly more powerful and a significantly bigger threat in the region. In other words, the things that are in the outer ring, whether they are armies, air forces, navies, sale forces or a variety of other things, they are in the periphery. It is not that they are not important,

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but they are not the core part of the system. What we are really trying to do, therefore, is to use this model to choose the centers of gravity, which is the targets that will allow us to change the system in the way that we need to change it. Our objective is to change the whole system in such a way as to get where we want to go. Now there are a couple of other points I would like to make about this. We need to understand that the efficiency of the system is a function of its leadership times some functions of the key production processes times some function of the infrastructure and the population and the fielded forces. I think we would all agree on that. How these things are weighted is obviously going to vary somewhat from situation to situation, but nevertheless that is the way the real world works. Given that, we then begin to select the targets in such a way that our limited assets, and they are always very limited, are going to make the system change as rapidly as possible. I want to make one other point here as we are talking about systems. Our probability of success against an opponent is a combination of two things: the physical capability of this system, and if you will, the morale of this system. Let us think about this for a second. If we can drive either one of these to zero, then the probability of them being successful goes down to zero. We can be the strongest people in the world, but if we have no will to do anything, then it does not make any difference. There is no question about that. Likewise, we can have the most will in the world but if we have zero physical capability, in other words if we are dead, it does not make any difference how much will we have. So, in accepting that, where does our focus go? Well we could focus on morale, but nobody quite knows how to do it. On the other hand, what we do know is what the physical components are of any system. We know who the leaders are, we know who the people are and we know what the infrastructure is etc. What is it on the other hand that has an impact on morale? Well, basically what has impact on morale is the people’s appreciation of what their physical prospects are. Do I have a gun to fight with? Is there somebody back home? Is there a road over which I can travel and a whole variety of other things? So all we are saying here is not that the morale business is not important, but in fact that it is impossible to do anything about the morale other than focusing on some physical aspect of it.

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Maybe directly against a person, maybe more generally, but in the final analysis the only place in which you can put your efforts is against something physical. So, this reasonably describes the physical state of an opponent, and thereby the model becomes useful. We will see now in a couple of instances of business that it does allow us fairly rapidly at a working level to understand how a system works, which again allows us to choose the right targets and then make something happen to it.

Campaign to Win Let us next move into the campaign to win aspect. I want to address a couple of things here. Obviously what we are talking about doing in the campaign stage, is creating a master attack plan, because the chances that we can attack all those centers of gravity at the same time are probably fairly small. We want to take a cross section that will allow us to begin moving this system in the direction, in which we want it to move. Then we need to create an organization that is designed specifically to accomplish the objectives that we have made for ourselves. The last aspect is bringing this whole system under parallel attack in order to generate as quick a movement as possible. I would like at this point to just focus on a couple of these aspects. The first one is organization. We make the point that you have new objectives, new technology and new situations, so from an organizational standpoint you have two choices. You can either try to make the old organization work, or you can make a new organization. Now in general it is sort of interesting that the people in business or war who have tried to make the old organizations work have not done very well. Conversely, the people who have created new organizations have tended to do fairly well. Consider the French and the Germans 1930. Both of them developed new technology, new airplanes and new tanks. The French decision was basically to put these new technologies into the organization created three hundred years previously by Louis XIV. The Germans, on the other hand, decided to apply the new technology in tank armies and air armies. I suppose there are some real experts in here on this situation, but I would argue that probably as much as fifty per cent of the reason of the rapid German success starting in May 1940 against the French was not because the French were not good fighters or that they did not have good equipment, but because of an organizational superiority on the part of the Germans. So that organization, although quite imperfect,

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was still able to overcome the organization of the French. If we look at the organization that we generally have in the military today it is not much different from the organization that Frederick the Great had some 250 years ago. If we in fact have new technology and different sets of ideas etc., then it is a fairly good chance that this is no longer the right kind of organization. In fact, rather than being in this organization it needs to be what we think of as an organization on demand, where you have a lot of different little groups that are doing things that are all strategically aligned, because they have all been part of this planning process. Then one or the other simply assumes a greater degree of importance. This is pretty much the situation that we had of the organization when Iraq invaded Kuwait. One of these things was Checkmate, which sent out tentacles or communication lines depending on how you like to think about it, in order to bring a lot of these things together in Washington and a lot of other places, in order to develop sufficient energy to be able to plan and execute a different kind of war in a different amount of time. This brings me to parallel attack. Regarding Iraq, in the old world we would have approached this problem serially. An awful lot of people wanted to do this serially. This is the problem. You identify target sets within the Iraqi army in Kuwait, focusing on that aspect and spend a little bit of time on local air superiority and then sometime on interdiction. Then, maybe, we would get into the Iraqi homeland at some point. As you are doing things serially, very interesting things happen. As you are applying all your effort down in the theatre, the whole remainder of the country is able to function in order to respond, reinforce and conduct counter offences, including world diplomatic offences of all kinds. So the serial operation depends on you getting a whole variety of steps right, and the chances that you are going to get those right are always far less than one. If you have to string a lot of them together, the multiplication of probabilities is very bad as you multiply a lot of probabilities that are less than one. Pretty soon you get down to that your probability of success is less than fifty per cent. Now fifty per cent is not bad if you like to gamble, and if you like to go to Las Vegas and put it on the red and black on the roulette, but if you are in the business of war then fifty-fifty is not a very good deal. It s too darn expensive, because you cannot afford those sort of odds. So what we were looking for in the Iraqi case was to approach it from a different direction. Rather than doing the target set thing, we

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thought of Iraq as a system with some centers of gravity and then we put these things under parallel attack in such a way that we significantly reduced the system energy of Iraq. Once that is done, the fact that the military ground forces are out there does not make much difference anymore, because you have addressed the problem from a system approach as opposed to dealing with it from an individual serial approach. The difference is extraordinary. In the serial world if you do not succeed with your first target set, you generally cannot move on to the second target set, so you have to get all the things right. If you approach things from a system perspective you can afford to get a lot of the targets wrong, you can afford to miss a lot, because your measure of merit is not hitting a particular target, but your measure of merit is having a system impact. Take the operations against the electrical systems. I could not begin to tell you now, and I am not even sure that I knew at the time either, what percentage of the electrical targets we hit in the first twenty minutes of the war. But we did not care, and the reason that we did not care is because five minutes into the war the lights went out in Baghdad, and they did not come back on. So we have this system, where that part of the energy was simply not operating, and in a certain sense it did not even make a difference whether the Iraqis had simply turned off their entire electrical grid. It did not matter. The lights were out, and therefore the Iraqis did not have this benefit. Thus, we had this mini-system effect and that is what we are looking for. So it is a completely different mindset again. I do not care whether we hit that particular target. What we are looking for is a system-effect and we want to do these things in parallel in such a way as to create a very rapid collapse, which, incidentally, you can do with very few things being hit. It does not take much energy to do this if you take the right things. The system collapses and basically now you are in a significantly better situation than what would otherwise have been the case. System collapse is what you want. You want the lights to go out in Baghdad.

Finishing with Finesse Now let us go into the last step. Under finishing with finesse there are basically three sets of ideas. The main idea is obviously that if you are going to fight a war, or do business operations, you make darn sure that we are

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happy with the ending and that the transition into the next phase makes sense. This means we have to define the exit points. We frequently think about exit points as failure exit points, but they can be both positive and negative. What do we want the good exit points to be? How are we going to make sure they happen? In the event that things do not happen the way we thought they would, how are we going to get ourselves out? If you do not think about the things back here you have a serious problem. We see this in business all the time, where people get so wedded to a particular product or a particular business methodology that even when it starts going down the backside of its lifecycle they are emotionally, culturally and mentally unable to appreciate that it has served its purpose and it is time to get out. If, on the other hand, you have made the decision early on, then when things starts to go to the backside or they go the way you do not want them to go, it is much easier to say we have already talked about this. We have discussed this and it is not a failure, it simply did not work out so it is time to move on to something else. You have to make this part of the planning and it has to take place at the time you do the rest of the plan. You need exit points. Exit points then obviously need to have a termination plan of some sort. Obviously that was one of the major things we did not do as well as we should have done with the Gulf War. Likewise, associated with this, a war may end but that does not mean that you are entering a perpetual state of peace, and that everyone is going to live with the results. So, one part of the finish with finesse imperative is that you at

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the beginning start to think about how you are going to reconstitute your resources so that you are ready to go again and make the things happen that may need to happen in the next conflict. Or it may be a case of simply keeping the war you have just finished under control. Those are basically the four imperatives. We can wrap these together with a couple of sets of ideas. What we are always looking for in war or business is a high probability of success. I believe that almost incontrovertibly this is the case, because we can almost demonstrate mathematically and physically that if you bring the right centers of gravity under attack pretty rapidly, you then bring about system collapse, or system expansion if you are talking about a business situation. You have a very high probability of being successful if you make those things happen in a very short period of time. If on the other hand you take a long period of time your probability of success drops. It drops because you move from the parallel world to the serial world which has always been a world of low probability. It has always been so, whether it was for Napoleon or Frederick the Great. This is a little counter-intuitive, because it does not say that if you have a low probability fighting a long war then it means that the other guy has a high probability. This applies to both sides, because both sides have sets of centers of gravity that they need to attack and if they do not bring them under attack quickly their probability of success just goes down. Now, what that says then, is that we want things to happen, as simultaneously as we can, preclude enemy action, create system change and system decline very rapidly. There is another side to this, which is interesting, again both in business and in war. As time passes in any war or any business operation – product interdiction or whatever it happens to be – the cost goes up significantly, whether the cost is measured in blood, in lost equipment, in political damage and all kinds of other things. So we have a very interesting situation: the lowest cost for fighting a war or a business operation is early on, which paradoxically is in the period that gives you the highest probability for success. The place that you know is going to cost you the most is if you know you are going to be in a long conflict and paradoxically, that gives you the lowest probability of success. So it becomes imperative, regardless of what we are doing, to consider this element of timing.

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I believe it is essential to understand that we simply have to act. In today’s world where things are moving quickly, if you goof around a long time trying to make the plan perfect and get everyone to agree etc., then the chances are high that you are not going to do very well. So good enough plans violently executed are far superior to perfect plans with a long delay. Additionally, when we put a plan together, we really want it to work. Now the best plan is the one that seizes the initiative and never ever lets it go. The worst plan is the one which deliberately gives away the initiative and turns it over to the market or your opponent or whatever it may happen to be. This is so obvious that you presume that nobody would ever create this kind of plan. The fact is, however, that these are by far the most common plans in the military and business worlds alike. We just saw this in the Serbian operation. I had a rather interesting conversation with a friend of mine, who had dinner with the Secretary of State the night before the Serbian war started. There were two interesting things that came out of this conversation. One was a question for the Secretary of State: What is your objective? The answer was that they wanted to get Slobodan Milosevic back to the bargaining table. That is fine, but what happens next? Getting him back to the bargaining table does not provide for a clear and absolute hard picture of what was supposed to happen after all of this had been done. It is merely another serial step. Well, suppose he does not agree then. I think we just have to figure out something else. Then the next thing: What are we going to do tomorrow morning? We know that we are going to drop some bombs on this guy Milosevic. The Secretary of State says she knows Milosevic, and all we have to do is drop some bombs on him, and he will fold. So that is what we are going to do. So we drop some bombs on him and mostly we drop them in places that you know is annoying, but it did not touch the presidential palace. So the next morning he looks around and says “this is uncomfortable, but it is not that bad. I can live with this”. Now we have basically turned our planning over to Milosevic, and what do you want to do now Mr. Milosevic. Please tell us. We do not want to do that kind of operation, and in fact it is those things that allow those wars to last for a long time. It means that a lot of things happens, like in this particular case an awfully lot of people get displaced and driven out of Kosovo etc. We pay an enormous price for turning over our planning to Milosevic rather than impose our will on the system that we are trying to change.

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Take another case. What we put forward to General Schwarzkopf was fundamentally different. We wanted to win the war and the peace. It was Instant Thunder and not Vietnam. In other words we were going to perform parallel operations. We were going to concentrate on the whole Iraqi system going for quick paralyzes. We imposed our plan on Iraq and there was nothing that the Iraqis could do to keep us from being successful. We were going to preempt their responses. In this particular case we are looking at the thing that is going to give us the most bang for the buck, and that is to be coming from the third dimension. We are going to accompany the bombing operation with strategic psychological warfare, which actually did not happen, and I do not think that we are prepared to do it still. It is a lesson that is still not learned. We are going to get in and get out. We leave the area better than it was. We did reasonably well. It could have been done significantly better. We should have written the cease-fire terms right before the war begun. I did not spend nearly as much time on this during the fall of 1990 as I should have in retrospect, and although we did some of it we did not put in the effort to sell it. We did not put half the effort into the back-end of the war as we did to the front-end, and we paid for it. It is as simple as that, and to me it is a compelling lesson. There were problems for sure. We had no strategic psychological operation campaign. Everybody said, including General Schwarzkopf, that we needed to have it. Let us briefly look at the essence of such a campaign. Some commentators that have said that what we had was a decapitation plan. It was simply not so. What we had was a plan to reduce the overall energy level, the nasty negative energy level of Iraq, to the point where it was necessary. One of the things that would contribute to that was to take out Saddam Hussein, so we make every effort to take out Saddam Hussein, but you never ever build war-plans on things where you can give yourselves single point failures. Because if you do not get Saddam Hussein, and that is all your operations are about, then you are lost. So this is in fact where the system thinking comes in. You are not going after Saddam Hussein only, but you are also going to have effect on the other parts of the Iraqi leadership. You are going to reduce its communication, its power availability, electricity etc. You are going to take away its nuclear, biological, and chemical research and development production storage as much as you can. You are going to have some

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impact on the infrastructure and with the strategic psychological campaign the idea was to get at least some of the Iraqi population to be, if at the minimum only, a little bit less energetic and supportive of the war than they otherwise might have been. That was the minimum. At the maximum you are hoping that the strategically psychological operation campaign would lead the army or the air force or some other set of people in Iraq to say we have had enough of Saddam do something about it. You do not depending on that, however, because it is not predictable. You do not know for sure that you are going to to be able to do it, but because you are going after system effects then you can actually afford to miss this completely. We missed somethings one hundred per cent and still we were generally successful, because you are setting yourself at the system and you are not setting yourselves up for single point failure. Now the reasons why there was no strategic psychological campaign are complex, but what they really come down to is that there was no organization within the United States government that was willing to take on that responsibility, which required coordinating across a variety of different agencies and doing a lot of things which a lot of people thought might be somewhat risky. Adding to that, obviously, was the termination of the war. I do not mean the President saying we will end this war right now and the Republican Guard getting away. That was no big deal. What was a big deal, however, was having General Schwarzkopf go to Safwan to meet with the Iraqi high command with no competent instructions from Washington. He is basically sent there with the instructions to conclude a cease-fire. If Washington had done its job, me included, then he would have gone to Safwan with a very clear understanding of what the downstream Iraq was supposed to be. The demands that he would have made on the Iraqi high command would have been significantly different than the ones that he made. We could probably have demanded whatever we wanted, because the high command had little or no choice, but we had not thought it through. I find that General Schwarzkof is literally a great guy, but if he did not have the right set of instructions, then there was not very much that he could do. The last problem was the problem of measuring progress, and this goes back in some sense to this business of the transition from managing misses to managing hits. The one set of ideas was that progress was going to be measured by the number of sorties that were flown in particular

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sectors and particular areas. The other set of measuring success was whether the lights were out or not. Those two are so diametrically opposed that they did not come together during the course of the war. There was a constant conflict, and as far as I know that kind of conflict is not yet entirely resolved, although you would have a much better feel for that than I do. Now, a quick thought here. Suppose you are an Iraqi or a Serbian and you are presented with the problem that you are going to accomplish something. What do you do? You need to be very careful about your evaluation of your own objectives. In other words, if the Iraqis had gone through this theoretical process that we have just been through, then I think that they in fact could have achieved virtually anything that they wanted to achieve. You need to take great care in choosing your enemy. It is a really big mistake to get the meanest guy around mad at you, and since there are ways to avoid getting the biggest guy around mad at you they needed to think that one out very clearly. They needed to think about their enemy’s centers of gravity even if they allowed us to be enemies. Then they needed to think about the real centers of gravity, and what they needed to do to affect them. From a military standpoint there is probably nothing that they could do. From a psychological, political and economical standpoint there was probably a lot that they could do if they had thought about it in broader terms as opposed to really limiting themselves to the military aspect of the invasion of Kuwait. They needed to think asymmetrically, obviously, because once the war commences they will have a problem, even if we do not fight it very well. We need to be very agile. One of the things which was interesting in our initial discussion with General Schwarzkopf, was that he agreed that we were going to go after Saddam, but asked what we were going to do if he decided after the first morning of bombing to raise the white flag? The analogy that I used was as follows. You remember Lord Nelson, the English sea captain who sailed into Copenhagen to attack the enemy fleet. His flag-lieutenant tapped him on the shoulder and said the admiral was signaling us to break off the action and return. So Nelson asked for the telescope, which he picked up and held to his patched eye and said, “I see no signal. Proceed”! That was what he did and he was very successful. So I told General Schwarzkopf that we could do the

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same. We are going to make darn sure that we are not going to be able to see any white flag. Now, that is an anecdote, an interesting anecdote, but the real point here is that if Saddam Hussein had been a very agile guy, and there are not very many agile people that are in command of business operations or military operations, then he could have said that he made a mistake on the first morning of the war and declared a withdrawal from Kuwait. We would have had to stop the war right then, and the thing that has happened to Iraq that drove the energy level down and gave us control fairly simply would not have taken place, and Iraq would have remained a very dangerous and a very capable country that had only suffered a minor setback. You simply have to do risk-reward exercises. Lastly something that we have not talked about specifically is using a Red Team. One of the things we did when using this open planning in Checkmate was to have a group of people in Long Range Planning Division playing the Red Team. They would participate and listen to all of the planning that is going on at a daily basis. Then they would come in and tell me what they would have done if they were the smartest and most asset-rich Iraqis in the world. How would you beat this plan that you know perfectly? They would lie out things and we looked at it and discussed it and if we concluded that they could do something we would suggest a countermove in advance that would prevent them from succeeding. So you have a Red Team that keeps you from getting into a group-thinking mode. It is institutionally charged with criticizing you. If Saddam had a Red Team he may have received some additional ideas as opposed to a whole group of people saying “Yes Saddam. Yes Saddam”. Now we can laugh at that a little bit, but how many times, when a fourstar general or a president says we all ought to do something then we all say “Yes Sir. Yes Sir”. The Red Team gives you an institutional way to work around that kind of a problem.

Summary In summing up, the theory that we have discussed seems to have worked reasonably well. It seems to be scaleable, it seems to be adaptable and we have applied it to several different places. So it seems to work. Second, territory in itself is generally not a center of gravity and you do not need to worry particularly about that. Parallel attack is very hard to counter.

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In fact I do not know any way to counter parallel attack once it is underway. The combination of stealth and precision really has redefined mass and concentration. I guess at this point I would go a little bit further and say that I suspect it is time to throw away, at least on a hypothetical basis, all of the existing principles of war and rethink where we are now. Then there is information. It is a very fast moving world, so everybody needs to know what is going on and why it is happening. So when we keep secrets that means that people that are out there do not know what it is that they are supposed to do, and because they are good and smart people they will end up making perfectly logical decisions that may have a dangerous strategic impact. People have to know and we simply can no longer afford to live with compartmentalization and the kinds of secrets that we have lived with. Every bomb counts in today’s world and every bomb is a political bomb. It is political in the sense that if it goes off in the wrong place it will have political repercussions, and if it goes in the right place it will lead to desirable political impacts. Moreover, we can have the best technology in the world with airplanes and tanks, but if they are not applied smartly with an approach that makes sense and comes to the problem from the right direction, then being technically superior does not give you any particular good value. The last point I would make is that we are pretty darn good with precision of impact. We can drop a bomb ninety-nine times out of one hundred in the middle of this auditorium, but we sure cannot control the damage that is done once it comes in. If our objective is to take out this computer, because this is the key to this operation with bombs, then we cannot do that. We can drop a bomb on it, but we are also going to destroy the rest of the building. That becomes more and more of a problem for us, so we need to have precision of effect where bombs only take out computers or they only take out that seat.

Part II Perspectives on Military Theory

Centers of Gravity and Asymmetrical Warfare

Colonel (ret.) Richard Szafranski Introduction All good strategists are paranoid.1 They also are control freaks. Great strategists are paranoid, too, but unlike the merely “good” strategists, great strategists are not control freaks. Great strategists are opportunity freaks. That is, a great strategist knows the objective and seeks to meet it by capitalizing on whatever opportunities the environment presents, asserting control effectively wherever and whenever control is possible, even in spite of resistance. Good strategists understand centers of gravity. Great strategists understand asymmetric operations and how to exploit them. Centers of gravity and asymmetrical operations are complex matters. Although they smack of lofty “strategy” and “strategic thinking,” they often degenerate into rehashing history on the one hand or bizarre theoretical meanderings on the other. Rarely do either of these two antipodes rise to the level of the useful. I aim to give you something useful. My thesis is that understanding centers of gravity and appreciating the logic of asymmetric operations helps prevent the unsatisfactory outcomes that often follow rude surprises during an era of great change, that things are changing, and that we are likely to be victimized by rude surprises unless we strive to become great strategists. Rude surprises can cause difficulties in an industry, ruin a business, cause the loss of a battle, or demoralize or ruin a nation. The bursting of the “dot-com” bubble was a rude surprise to some. Default on a loan can be a rude surprise to others. A coalition of right-thinking people visited a series of rude surprises on Iraq’s armed forces during the Gulf War. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda fielded forces in Afghanistan experienced many surprises. None of these were strategic surprises, although any might have been.

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All of us must be wary of the possibility for rude surprises ahead, hence this symposium. The right knowledge and the will to act on it can help prevent one from being caught unawares. In competitive activities, especially those where the stakes are high, a key element, perhaps the key element of knowledge is the understanding of the relationship of centers of gravity to balance. Those unbalanced entities can be put on road to ruin. Given that knowledge – a rich awareness of centers of gravity and their significance and an appreciation of the logic of asymmetric operations – one cannot be easily unbalanced, even if one is taken by surprise. Where the stakes are so high that they involve the survival of the state, or mortal risks and consequences, it is negligence to be ignorant of these matters. So that there is no doubt as to the importance of this knowledge let me assert that only amateurs are ever surprised, and – in warfare – only fools are unbalanced. We have been visited by what should not have been a rude surprise, but those who sought to unbalance us are fools because they did not. The one thing I hope to attain in this discussion is awareness so deep that they – those fools – cannot in the future.

Moving Toward the Center Let me begin by advancing some ideas regarding centers of gravity; keeping in mind that understanding centers of gravity is essential to perceiving the logic of asymmetric operations. Usually such examinations of the center or the centers of gravity are journeys into points and people from the past and near present. Such journeys that take us to various deceased Prussians and Germans and cause us to wend our way through Hart and Dupuy for soldiers, and, for airmen, Douhet and “The Five Rings.” Along the way we find constructs like “the correlation of forces,” “effects-based operations,” and “network-centric warfare.” We also find airpower paradigms like “Rapid Decisive Operations” or “Rapid Halt.” Homey constructs like “kick down the door” are unavoidable additional waypoints. Territory Creates Wealth This time let’s take a different route toward the center. Let’s take a journey into the future by surveying across the sweep of time, the waves of change. Waves radiate from some center point and our quest is to

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understand “the” center. At the center, to me, is the way people create wealth. Alvin and Heidi Toffler’s book, Creating a New Civilization: The Politics of the Third Wave, discusses what they call the “wave theory of conflict.”2 The Tofflers explain that the sweep of history is the sweep of waves of civilization, arising, spreading, coexisting, and colliding. The First Wave of civilization “was and still is inescapably attached to the land.”3 It was the product of the agricultural revolution and began whenever humankind changed from nomadic hunting and gathering to the more pastoral and sedentary life of flocks and farming. The land yielded its sustenance, wealth, and bounty according to the rhythm and tempo of the seasons. The flock, the herd, planting and the harvest framed life and living. Warfare in the First Wave usually was seasonal, so of course the belligerents planned warfare, battles, and wars around the need to sow and reap. The ancients describe this eloquently, but even as late as our own Civil War, soldiers deserted to return to their land for planting. War was about the land, the source of subsistence and wealth. The historian Robert L. O’Connell writes, “agriculture would dictate that war among the settled would be essentially about territory, both on the battlefield and in a larger political sense.”4 The way we make war, the Tofflers tell us, is the way we make wealth – keep this point in mind – and the wealth of First Wave societies is embedded in their land. And what did soldiers and armies seek to know in the First Wave? They sought first to master the weapons of warfare that were not surprisingly the weapons of the hunt and the farm. Leaders, generals, and armies sought to know the geographical boundaries of territory, the limits of the land of families and clans, where the “not us” were, their numbers and arms, when they would approach, and what they might want. Each of these potentially was knowable, and “meaning” was derived from seeing the objects or behavior that transformed the unknown into the known. They – the enemy – wanted land, the bounty of the land, living space, or the means of producing people, crops, and herds. Scouts could count them. We could use our spies and their traitors to try to learn of their intentions. Yet, even in the First Wave there are mysteries, things that one clan or group cannot easily understand about another clan or group. Because Waves include social forms, everything in a society is affected and circumscribed by the Wave. Many of these First Wave mysteries are and were religious in the sense that they pivoted on tribal totems or

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taboos. Some, such as the effects of killing the chieftain or capturing the monarch, affected fighting. Other mysteries did not affect fighting. The trick, we are told, is not being “knowable,” even in the First Wave. The T’ai Kung tells us: Strategic power is exercised in accord with the enemy’s movements. Changes stem from the confrontation between two armies. Unorthodox [ch’i] and orthodox [cheng] tactics are produced from the inexhaustible resources of the mind … In movement nothing is more important than the unexpected. In planning nothing is more important than not being knowable.5 What human qualities are and were treasured in the First Wave? The lateCarl Builder, drawing heavily on the Tofflers’ works, suggests that families and clans of First Wave societies value animal strength and cunning.6 Strength overpowered enemies and the cunning of the likes of T’ai Kung, or Sun Tzu, or Wu Tzu, or Machiavelli introduced additional mystery and deception to amplify the effects of physical power. The knowledge needed about the enemy essentially was intention, time, location, and numbers. From these simple bits of data, centers of power and strength could be discerned. No small chore, but not as difficult as the challenges we face today. Even while we still have First Wave societies (and thinking), the Second Wave emerged. Production Capacity Creates Wealth The Second Wave, depending on your point of view, either simplified or complicated society and life. The Tofflers observe that: Industrial civilization, the product of the great Second Wave of change, took root most rapidly on the northern shores of the great Atlantic Basin. As the Atlantic Powers industrialized, they needed markets and cheap raw materials from distant regions. The advanced Second Wave powers thus waged wars of colonial conquest and came to dominate the remaining First Wave states and tribal units all over Asia and Africa. It was the master conflict again – Second Wave industrial powers versus First Wave agrarian powers – but this time on a

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global rather than domestic scale, and it was this struggle that basically determined the shape of the world until recent times. It set the frame within which most wars took place.7 The Second Wave created “mass societies that reflected and required mass production.”8 The late-Carl Builder accordingly noted that Second Wave societies valued “organization and discipline,” simply because planning for mass production (to increase wealth) and producing mass warfare (to steal or protect wealth) required those values.9 When humans organize for mass production, then standardization, rationalization, mass transportation, and all kinds of engineering become important. Successfully waging war in the Second Wave required a massive war economy – money still and forever constituting Cicero’s “sinews of war” – the levée en masse, military engineers, and a mass of killing appliances and machines.10 The dimensions of time, space, and matter mattered to Second Wave military strategists and “concentrating mass,” that very Second Wave notion, continues to appeal to those who treasure mass for the talismanic “decisiveness” that some believe it can produce. Armies, tied to the land as they are, remain very much oriented between the First Wave and the Second Wave. But air forces and navies also are affected by such vestigial thinking. “Winning” is rendering enemy mass ineffective using “stuff.” Hence, to Second Wave states and groups there also is a large incentive for out-producing competitors in masses of lethality: we need more and better “stuff ” than the enemy. The Second Wave battlefield, even when manned aircraft and missiles enter it, remains a linear battlefield defined by land, sea, air, and, to some degree, near-earth space. The FEBA (forward edge of the battle area), the FSCL (fire support coordination line), and the high, deep, and rear battle may all be products or vestiges of this Second Wave thinking. The same thinking that gave us the notion of military “control”: sea control; airspace control, and space control.11 Time, space, and matter still define the prime space, but borders now less and less frequently circumscribe these. Although the geographically defined “theater” or “area of responsibility” is aging thinking, to Second Wave thinkers the territoriality of “theater” or “area of responsibility” is prime.12 Why? Because we must be organized, they think, to operate in geographical space to not interfere with one another. Once a space is

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assigned, we can “roll” and make tough choices as befit the commandersin-chief. We can decide about the antipodes of concentration and dispersion, the choice of massing or de-massing, vexed only by the need to “concentrate mass” at the decisive point and time and knowing that massing presents a like-minded enemy with very economical targets.13 Even to the great Clausewitz, however, there were some mysteries in the Second Wave: friction and chance. The Second Wave’s military theorists searched for the secrets governing the role of chance and friction in the clockwork universe of warfare. They hoped to unravel the mysteries of chaos. All here know that “things happen” on both sides when we let slip the dogs of war, but few can anticipate “why.” Second Wave warfare becomes much easier to prosecute when we use Third Wave implements and capabilities. We can use computers and software to make connections, discern patterns, model action and reaction, stimulus and response, measures and countermeasures. We can simulate fights. Using this knowledge we believe we can then use “dominant battlespace knowledge” to create the initial condition, and it is our adversary, not us, who is victimized by confusion and chaos.14 Thus, the Third Wave is critically important to Second Wave warfare forms.

Knowledge Creates Wealth But what is this Third Wave? The Third Wave is the Wave sweeping over advanced societies today. In the words of the Tofflers: …We are speeding toward a totally different structure of power that will create not a world cut in two but sharply divided into three contrasting and competing civilizations – the first still symbolized by the hoe; the second by the assembly line; and the third by the computer. In this trisected world the First Wave sector supplies agricultural and mineral resources, the Second Wave sector provides cheap labor and does the mass production, and a rapidly expanding Third Wave sector rises to dominance based on the new ways in which it creates and exploits knowledge.

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Third Wave nations sell information and innovation, management, culture and pop culture, advanced technology, software, education, training, medical care, and financial and other services to the world.15 What human qualities does it take to flourish and make wealth in the Third Wave? It takes knowledge, intelligence, initiative, creativity and innovation. The vestiges of old forms – processes, structures, organizations, etc. – remain, but are altered. But there may be, as the Tofflers observe, some surprising parallels between the greatly demassified and highly individualized First Wave and the greatly demassified and customized Third Wave. As one example, are not the knowledge, intelligence, and creativity of the Third Wave closely akin to the “cunning” of the First Wave? Another example might be the nature of work in the Third Wave. In the First Wave, work occurred in and around the home. Children stayed close to parents. In a world of increasing telecommunications capabilities, might not more work occur in the home? Might not more parents find it possible to work and attend to their children in the home? As a third example, consider that the First Wave citizen-soldier brought the scythe from the field or the squirrel gun from the farm to fight in First Wave wars. Can we not envision the Third Wave citizensoldier bringing the computer, the software, the business innovation, and the advanced technology of the Third Wave to the militia and to the fights of tomorrow? And yet, we see Second Wave thinking seducing us into overlooking such similarities. How are such oversights possible? Confusion is possible because we have been in the Third Wave knowledge-based economy for a fraction of time and very few people seem to understand its essential features well. The Third Wave is as different from the Second Wave as the Second Wave is from the First Wave. Our genes come from well before the First Wave and many of our memes only appear to be Second Wave ones.16 A lot will change before human nature and our genetic makeup changes.17 Confusion also is possible in the armed forces because the armed forces are each organized as an authoritarian hierarchy. Confusion in hierarchies, if it exists, can be imposed from the top down.18 If knowledge, intelligence, initiative, creativity and innovation

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are the keys to success in the Third Wave, then ought not our armed forces – indeed all the state’s governing bodies – be organized in ways attending to liberating and using those traits? But, mostly, the armed forces are separate from the other instruments of power the state possesses and remain organized into separate hierarchies with, some argue, variety and texture provided by a lot of “stovepipes.”19 More importantly, David Ronfeldt tells us that where “knowledge” is the commodity being transacted in the Third Wave, the best way to make that transaction is through a network, not a hierarchy.20 Yet, that great oxymoron “Military Intelligence” is organized in hierarchical forms even today.21 For example, “network-centric” warfare, an attempt to understand how warfare has and will change, focuses more on the “network” than on the struggle. Lastly, confusion is likely because we must strive to understand three very different forms of society that now co-exist on our trisected planet. Even as the “rapidly expanding Third Wave sector rises to dominance,” the First and Second Wave still demarcate large societies and billions of people on the planet. Moreover, Third Wave societies may have within them Second Wave sectors, just as Second Wave societies can have Third Wave sectors within them. The First and Second Wave have not disappeared. Rather the world is dangerously “trisected.” There are other “waves,” too. Harry S. Dent, Jr. suggests that birth “waves” drive economic waves and economic revolutions.22 A wave of births is followed by a wave of innovation. The wave of innovation is followed by a wave of spending, and the wave of spending is followed by a wave of power. The wave of power exhausts itself and the waves pulsate on. A message in all of this may be that innovation is power, and power is wealth. So What? Why we should care? We should care because notions of centers of gravity must change to prevent being surprised and then unbalanced by asymmetric operations. With economic security underpinning national security we have entered an era where our old Second Wave thinking and organizational forms, built solidly around the requirements for success in the industrial age, no longer suit us. Rather than replace them, reorganize ourselves, or take entirely fresh approaches to the problems that we face, new problems, we limp along applying one band-aid after another and missing the fundamental realization that things have changed. The

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problem today is not that we do not possess an abundance of the physical military power to apply our brute force solutions to the problems that erupt. We have plenty of brute force. The problem is that we lack the brain force to cope with the changes. Hence we face the likelihood of rude surprises. What does this have to do with “centers of gravity”? Let’s go to an unlikely place – the US Civil War – and an unlikely strategist, General Ulysses S. Grant. Grant was not a professional military theorist or strategist by disposition. He was unsuccessful in every endeavor he attempted, except warfare. In his book, Campaigning With Grant, Grant’s wartime aide-de-camp, Horace Porter, describes Grant as a general who “talked less and thought more than anyone in the service.”23 Grant also was obsessed with studying charts. So immersed would Grant become in his maps, that on one occasion he stayed fixated even while random fire bombarded his camp. What was Grant, the pragmatist, searching for in these charts? He was searching, his aide recalls, for vulnerabilities in the disposition of his forces, especially his forces on the move. The US Civil War represented an interval of significant changes in warfare, at all levels. Grant carried few theoretical prejudices. He had to noodle his way into theory, by being a good practitioner of warfare in the environment in which he found himself and his forces. I submit that in all his immersion in his charts he was seeking to understand his center of gravity and how it might be changing, moment by moment. Grant knew that an army has multiple points of vulnerability, because it cannot be strong everywhere, and that any single vulnerability, if exploited, could change the initial condition and cause the cascading collapse of the line or the front. Unlike other Union Civil War generals, Grant never worried too much about the opposing Confederate generalin-chief, Robert E. Lee, or what Lee might be doing. Grant worried about destroying Lee’s army – whether Lee cooperated or not – and preventing any of the inevitable weaknesses his own lines or his own movement had created from being exploited, especially as he closed on Lee. Grant’s job, as seen by Grant, was to “whip” the enemy.24 Whipping the enemy meant husbanding the strength of the Union forces as he

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exhausted them consuming the enemy. Grant knew his own operational center of gravity and worked to protect it. Grant’s boss, Abraham Lincoln, knew the Union’s strategic center of gravity – the will to end the war with the South’s unconditional surrender and return to the Union – and worked to protect it. This case, and other evidence and experience, convinces me, and leads me to try to persuade you, that the way to think about a center of gravity is to understand a center of gravity as that which we or our adversary can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment.

Enter “Information” and “Value” This “understanding” of vulnerability is derived from “information.” I accept the definition that asserts, “Information is data endowed with relevance and purpose.”25 Relevance data are data on the key variables of “things” in the prime space and data on their movement or change. Data on purpose are data that reveal value preferences – choices made – regarding the employment of “things” in the prime space and data on their movement or change. Value and “utility” are not the same. Utility or usefulness is resident in things and their change or movement. Value is ascribed to things based on some hierarchy of preference. We will return to this idea later, when we examine asymmetry, but for now it merely is important to note that what we judge we can least afford to have hurt is that which defines our center of gravity, whether the competitive enterprise is selling software solutions or whipping a military adversary. What the adversary values most, apart from its utility in the competition, helps define the enemy’s center of gravity. In former times, the key Clausewitzian variables of time, space, and mass dominated.26 Military science then (like today) lagged or was no better than the science of the age. Time was the measurement of change. It often was as seasonal, as epochal as campaigns. Space was not understood as the separation between bodies, it was understood better as the room to maneuver on the ground. And mass was understood fundamentally as being the proxy term for “the army.” Today, the significance of the variables, and indeed the variables themselves, may be different. Although military science today still trails “real science” by decades, we are each well aware – the protestations of soldiers notwithstanding – that warfare

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is changing.27 Why? Warfare is changing because today the key variables bounding the prime space may still be time, space, and matter, but a new variable – information28 – exerts a more powerful effect on the other three. Yes, the enemy is a complex “system.” Yes, there are “networks” and “netwars.” These are interesting, but derivative of larger changes. The larger changes result from the disproportionate effects that information and value now assert, and will continue to assert in the future. Having data on time, space, and matter and knowing the relationships between time, space, and matter – information – affects each of the other variables and the system as a whole. Information – data endowed with relevance and purpose – has thus become a “commodity” or a “basic resource” in business parlance. This commodity now affects time, space, and matter configurations in ways that create complexity and admit novelty on a scale impossible in former times. Information on consumption rates or consumer preferences, for example, can substitute for “inventory” in retail or manufacturing. Substituting information for inventory originally was novel, but the purpose of introducing this novelty was not so much for its usefulness (although novelty can be especially useful in warfare), as it was for satisfying some higher order preference or value. The value was wealth creation. The usefulness of armed force derives not from winning battles, inducing “paralysis” on the enemy system, or destroying the center of any of “the five rings,” rather armed forces derive value from their ability to contribute to what their stakeholders value: the ability to satisfy their owners’ preferences by subduing actions and will hostile to those preferences. Thus, changes in the effectiveness of matter, the tempo of operations, and the expansiveness of space (up to and including cislunar space) create levels of potential differentiation and complexity onerous enough to confound strategists of all kinds. In former times a lot of matter was required to create “energetic effects” and damage. Today a small amount of nuclear material or a few microscopic spores can wreck havoc. In the old days it took weeks to suppress enemy defenses. Today stealth obviates many defenses and audacity allows raids into an enemy’s camps. In the past, great “distance” translated into a great amount of “time.” Rockets, missiles, photons, and lines of code have broken the barrier of great distances.

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When notions of information and value are added it becomes unwise to define the center of gravity as the singular point upon which all power and movement depends, except at the highest strategic level. Beneath the strategic level the facts have rendered this formulation approximately correct, but precisely wrong. It is approximately correct because a pivotal center may be apparent in any nano-second slice of time, but it is precisely wrong because both action and inaction can change it and both action and inaction can mask it, all in a matter of seconds. Fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, or quantum physics are the frameworks we should better appreciate, not the mechanical engineering models described in Clausewitz. Hence, we should begin by considering that the potential complexity of military operations has created the possibility for multiple and rapidly shifting centers of balance. Timespace-matter relationship can change or be changed and, when they change, that which our adversary or we can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment changes. The center of gravity one moment ago has been demoted, in army jargon, to a “decisive point” and another point may have become a, or even “the” center of gravity.

Besting the Challenge The complexity described poses no small set of challenges. Time, space, and matter each have dimensions. Information on each of these and on all of these – and what they signify in terms of what an adversary values – is necessary to cope. Subtle, rapid, or massive changes in any of the dimensions can change that which our adversary or we can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment. Worse, there are axiological, aesthetic, and cultural variations that complicate the matter. Take “time.” For the future, the American military’s simple view of the temporal dimensions of strategy leaves it vulnerable to adversaries who may place different measures and different values on time. In the physical world, scientists are unsure of time’s consistency, and Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity rests on time’s elasticity. In the political world, cultures use discrepant measures of time. Western societies tend to mark time by constant velocity in standard ways: minute, hour, day, month, and year; this is a pattern especially true of colder-climate societies with large

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populations and prominent urbanization. However, societies elsewhere may reference time not to clocks but to events; in this worldview, time is less discrete and more variant. Certain languages, moreover, contain no functional analogue to the word time, and the conjugation of verb tense is not universal. Surveying the variety of time, one keen observer notes that ‘some Mediterranean and Arab cultures define only three sets of time: no time at all, now (which is of varying duration), and forever (too long).’ Clearly, different cultures approach time with different attitudes.29 The differentiations and potential complexity make it as unwise to envision one, slowly changing center of gravity as it is unwise to reduce adversaries to an equivalence of values. If “time” is different to different groups, we must presume that “value” also might be different. Thus, the challenge appears to be discerning the value an enemy ascribes to time, space, and matter configurations based on data transformed into information. More complex still is the notion of enemy or adversary. In any given disagreement or contest, precisely “who” are we talking about? In their discussion of the future of power, Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri write: Throughout the years of the cold war there was both a multiplication of international organisms capable of producing right and a reduction of the resistance to their functioning….the proliferation of these different international organisms and their consolidation in a set of symbiotic relationships – as if the one asked the other for its own legitimation – pushed beyond a conception of international right based in contract or negotiation, and alluded instead to a central authority, a legitimate supranational motor of juridical action.30 Thus, the wronged parties in a dispute can include states, groups, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, and even individuals. Depending on where one stands, the “enemy” could be any one of these. Each may have their view of the rightness of their grievance. Each may have the wherewithal to hurt another. Each may have different values

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and different information. Some may disagree and, for whatever reason, reduce the enemy to an equivalence of values: Enemies, whether they be states, criminal organizations, or individuals, all do the same thing; they almost always act or don’t act based on some kind of cost-benefit ratio. The enemy may not assess a situation the way we do, and we may disagree with his assessment, but assessments are part and parcel of every decision. From an airpower standpoint, it is our job to determine what price (positive or negative) it will take to induce an enemy to accept our conditions.31 The convolutions I see and am trying to illuminate make such glib statements difficult for me to comprehend. A center of gravity exists in time, can be positioned in space – even if the space is cyberspace – and must have some material manifestation. Even “computational” power is manifest in computing machines and the availability of electrical power. There are many ways to appreciate and understand “time,” as Hughes pointed out in “The Cult of the Quick.” “Space” is even more complex, especially as we learn more about quantum mechanics. “Matter” in an age of both tangible and intangible value is more complex still. Matter, military matter – forces or equipment – have discernible characteristics, if we consider the exclusively military sphere. That is, they create some kind of signature, they have some amount of lethality, and they have some degree of mobility. One might place them, based on an analysis of their characteristics, into one of three categories: agile engagement forces, control forces, and enabling forces.32 For each of these force elements and each configuration in time and space we need data infused with meaning and purpose regarding the rival’s or the rivals’ (and even spectators’) objectives and values based on the preferences their behavior reveals. From all of this we can begin to postulate that which our adversary or we can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment: the military center or centers of gravity. But this is naïve. We are stuck in Second Wave thinking, trotting out the old, dead Germans and Prussians with authority. Thinking about these tactical centers of gravity and how they are objectified or reified in forces may

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provides focus – center of gravity thinking – as long as we appreciate the complexity and enormity of the task in the present environment. A problem is that we have not followed Clausewitz’s Rule Number One – understanding the nature and the character of the war in which we find ourselves – or Sun Tzu’s Rule Number One: war is a matter of the survival of the state. The “state,” the governing body, and not the armed forces, must survive. Military power is derivative of a larger power. To the state or the governing body, there is no choice but to treat forces and equipment as expendable. In warfare “human capital” is liquidated, but only so that the governing body can survive. But if this is so, then why do we focus our attention on such small things as military operations when we contemplate centers of gravity? As one commentator noted: One way to achieve … focus is the concept of the ‘center of gravity’ – defined in the U.S. military as ‘those characteristics, capabilities, or localities from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight.’ Specifically, American joint doctrine suggests that ‘the centers of gravity concept is useful as an analytical tool, while designing campaigns and operations, to assist commanders and staffs in analyzing friendly and enemy sources of strength as well as weaknesses and vulnerabilities.’ 33 The utility of such thinking is dependent on a like amount of thinking devoted to answering the question, “What is that which our adversary can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment?” and its companion, “What is that which we can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment?” The answer to both questions pivots on the amount and quality of information the sides possess and what the sides value at the highest level. There can be imbalances in information34 and there can be other asymmetries. But it is the complex nexus of interests and activities of the governing body – state and non-state alike – that should command our attention. The United States has no equal on the planet in its ability to project military power and conclude a military action. The United States has the right people and, in many dimensions, those people have the right stuff. That assertion cannot be contested by any data, using any measures of merit. But we, and others who care about national security, are fools-in-waiting if we concentrate just on “military” forces or

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“military” sources of strength, weaknesses, or vulnerabilities. Like it or not, we must move from the complex to the realm of brain-hurting analysis, and the analysis begins by thinking in time.

Asymmetries For the decade after the Cold War’s end, many analysts and pundits struggled to perceive the outlines and underlying dynamics of a new world order. Most analysts talked of “asymmetrical” warfare. In fact, some of the experts talked so slickly of asymmetrical warfare that it was clear they failed to appreciate that the aim of all warfare is to create asymmetries to best an enemy. Asymmetric operations are not only the aim of all military operations, they also are the aim of every competitive operation. They aim to offset an attacker’s weakness by striking at a center of mass that shocks, disorients, and unbalances an adversary. Asymmetric operations intend to create “rude surprises.” The target is that which the attacker perceives will surprise, unbalance, disorient and leave the target susceptible to a cascading collapse of power structures. Asymmetric operations do not attack utility as much as they attack what the holder values. On September 11th, 2001, a terrible surprise was visited on us as thousands of innocent Americans were attacked and murdered. The enemy ripped instruments of American global aerospace power – longrange airliners – from the hands of their crews and used our own fueland passenger-laden commercial aircraft against us with hateful and perhaps strategic effect. Four months after the attack the US President acknowledged: “Time and distance from the events of September the 11th will not make us safer unless we act on its lessons. America is no longer protected by vast oceans. We are protected from attack only by vigorous action abroad and increased vigilance at home.”35 Why were we surprised? In 1993 the book War and Anti-War gave warning of an asymmetric attack, ironically against US economic centers: Imagine … the World Trade Towers or the Wall Street district. The ensuing financial chaos – with bank transfer networks, stock and bond markets, commodity trading systems, credit card networks, telephone and data transmission lines, Quotron

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machines, and general commercial communications disrupted or destroyed – would have sent a financial shock wave across the world. Nor does one need such sophisticated weaponry to accomplish a similar effect.36 The majority of people in the US were shocked and surprised by the attacks on September 11th, but the Chinese colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui must not have been taken aback. In 1999 they had daringly outlined over a score of forms of unrestricted, or, as they called it, “beyond limits” warfare. And, just as Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui anticipated, the aerial attackers in New York City took the war “downtown.” The target of the attack, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui wrote, is always a place that will result in a huge psychological shock to the adversary. Asymmetry as a principle is described as a fulcrum for unbalancing the normal rules. Understanding asymmetry allows an adversary to find and exploit an enemy’s soft spots, especially those spots where the adversary does not expect to be hit.37 Asymmetry can indeed manifest itself in every aspect of warfare, every arena of competition. We have already shown the likelihood of asymmetries in time, space, and matter. We have already shown that “it’s the governing body, stupid.” The attacks on the World Trade Center evidenced using asymmetries of all kinds, including stunning asymmetries in information38 and in the asymmetric values of the attackers and the victims. Yet some begin with an accounting ledger approach to asymmetries, although concluding near the right place. The terms ‘asymmetry,’ ‘asymmetric warfare,’ ‘asymmetric approaches’ and ‘asymmetric options’ are popular sound bites found in many military journals today. Asymmetric-related terms are commonly associated with a potential opponent’s operations or actions against US interests or forces. The attacks are commonly described as chemical, biological, nuclear, terrorist or information attacks, or attacks against weak points. Arguably, these attacks are not asymmetric. In fact, except for the terrorist example, these are symmetrical attacks. The United States has chemical, biological, nuclear and information means; therefore, such attacks cannot be asymmetric.

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The asymmetric aspect of a chemical, nuclear, information or traditional attack actually relates to asymmetries in capabilities, reliance, vulnerabilities and values. The capabilities of certain forces – some information systems can shut down command and control systems and prevent nuclear systems from launching – constitute one variable. A nation’s reliance on a particular system is another. For example, both sides can have information weapons, but one side may rely more on them than the other. The vulnerability of a system or platform’s performance parameters, operating principles or situational context is another asymmetric opening, the one most often associated with weak spots. Finally, cultural values determine whether a nation will or will not use one of these methods.39 Of these aspects, we have expanded the field beyond “states” and emphasized the importance of information and the importance of values. Values are preferences ascribed by humans. The thing that differentiates the “system” that is a belligerent nation or militarily aggressive group is that these are human organizations. The philosopher-historians Will and Ariel Durant go so far as to say that Our states, being ourselves multiplied, are what we are; they write our natures in bolder type, and do our good and evil on an elephantine scale. We are acquisitive, greedy, and pugnacious because our blood remembers millenniums through which our forebears had to chase and fight and kill in order to survive, and had to eat to their gastric capacity for fear they should not soon capture another feast. War is a nation’s way of eating.40 States are complex human organizations. Moreover, states are not the only complex human organizations with the capacity to do harm, witness Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and genocidal ethnic factions. States must insure that the people have the necessities for life, among which are food, water, and perhaps even gainful employment. To fulfill these basic requirements for life, states must have some territory, some place to grow food, some wealth, and a more or less secure environment in which the people live. A state must provide its citizens protection from other states, just as the Talibanic state was obligated to afford its members and the people of

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Afghanistan protection – albeit failing most miserably. Although providing necessities is the government’s role, or at least providing the environment in which the people can secure necessities, hostile groups and states can threaten even this. Thus, states and groups attend to their defense. When they attend to their defense they produce “things” that they believe are useful tools for defense. If they do not understand the threats they face as a group and do not produce the right tools, their group can be surprised, can become unbalanced, and render their people defenseless. At the strategic level, there may be but one center of gravity. In the Third Wave knowledgebased economy that center may be, crudely, money. Economic power underpins the power of any state or group.41 To destroy a state or a group, destroy its economy, its finances, and its wealth-producing systems. A poor – or sometimes even a “poorer” – nation cannot easily produce the stuff for warfare, as we knew warfare in the past. An impoverished nation can ill defend itself. Belligerent actions, surprise attacks, are easier to mount. Very little wealth is required for some of these military-type operations, even if the operations are aimed at producing strategic effects. Strategic effects are effects that, as we asserted earlier, we can least afford to bear at any given moment. They hit our strategic center and hurt us badly. They hurt that which we most value. In advanced nations, these operations strike at ability to be whole. And our ability to be whole is underpinned by the satisfaction of many lesser needs. These needs are fulfilled because of our wealth. Our wealth, because of all that it makes possible, is the source of all power and movement in an advanced nation or group. Abraham Maslow attempted to classify needs, and hence values, relevant to individuals and to organizational behavior. What can teach us about asymmetries?42

Enter Maslow and Values as a Center of Gravity Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” formulation suggests that we have a ladder of needs; that is, some needs are assumed more important or potent than others, and those that are the most important must be satisfied before the other needs can serve as motivators.

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This hierarchy suggests that values are a legitimate framing device for knowing the information we must acquire about ourselves or an adversary and understanding that which our adversary or we can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment. We should test this.

Asymmetric Warfare in Action The attacks of September 11th may offer proof. Let us hypothesize that the aim of the attacks was to use whatever means were available to AlQaeda – the weaker side – to mount an attack that would drive citizens of the US several rungs down on their ladder of values: to ensure that for millions of us it would be difficult to meet higher order needs. In one attack, thousands were murdered and scores of millions were moved from the pinnacle of “self-realization and fulfillment” to needing to have their unmet “safety and security” needs satisfied. If we doubt this is so, it may be useful to map remarks made by the President of the United States in the January 2002, “State of the Union” address to an ascent up Maslow’s ladder. President Bush summoned Americans to rise on the ladder to meet loftier needs than the needs

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Americans pursued prior to September 11th. The remarks indicate that the “if it feels good, do it” form of self-realization and fulfillment had yielded to or must become a “new culture of responsibility.” “Goals larger than self ” would become a means of restoring our esteem and status and create new ways to gain fulfillment. A “new USA Freedom Corps” focusing on “responding in case of crisis at home, rebuilding our communities, and extending American compassion throughout the world” would enhance esteem and be a new form of belonging and social activity. “Jobs,” and for each American “a good job,” ensured basic needs could be satisfied. Most telling perhaps is the emphasis on safety and security. The attacks and the threat of more attacks had at least a transitory strategic effect. If that is so, the attacks must have been directed against a center of gravity. For the targets or victims to constitute a center or centers of gravity, the attackers would have had to understand our values based on information. The attackers’ values would have to be incompatible with ours; ours would have to be intolerable to them. The enemy then would

Georg W. Bush, “President Bush’s State of the Union Address,” The Washington Post, Jan 30, 2002; p. A16

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select an asymmetric configuration of force orchestrating time, space, and matter as best he could. By his admission, Bin-Laden’s target was the US economy.43 Bin-Laden calculated the existing asymmetries in US and Al-Qaeda capabilities, reliance, vulnerabilities, and cultural values. The attackers’ leaders did what they could to configure (including piracy) the matter they had (or could steal) in time and space and strike how, where, and when they judged us vulnerable. They struck violently at the US economy. Some effects were transitory, but some will be more durable. We were surprised, but have not yet been unbalanced. We assembled a no-nonsense coalition and, taking the lead because we were the most aggrieved of parties, quickly went after Al-Qaeda’s globally deployed armed forces. Simultaneously, we stopped money flowing to the enemy through a number of sham enterprises. Then, in the finest tradition of U.S. Grant, we took the fight to the field and began the unceasing process of whipping this enemy, committed to whipping all who would engage in terrorism. We put entire nations on notice. We analyzed our vulnerabilities, bolstered our defenses, and continue – and will continue – to put remedies in place. We used our wealth to do this. It will be a protracted war and one with risks. As the US Secretary of Defense said, “You can’t defend at every place at every time against every technique. You just can’t do it, because they just keep changing techniques, times, and you have to go after ‘em.”44 We can, of course, draw many lessons from this. One lesson, offered by Douhet, is, “To bend the enemy’s will, one must put him in intolerable circumstances; and the best way to do that is to attack directly the defenseless population of his cities and great industrial centers. It is as sure as fate that, as long as such a direct method of attack exists, it will be used.”45 Al-Qaeda used that method, employing unconventional means. Another lesson is that an asymmetric attack that is not exploited by follow-on attacks, may fail to unbalance the attacked party. A third lesson is that the US has the means to put any adversary state or group in intolerable circumstances and, after September 11th, 2001, we have the will.

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Conclusion We are engaged in a protracted struggle, precipitated by an asymmetric attack against our center of gravity. How will it turn out? I agree with this assessment: “There’s no doubt that terrorists will cause another major disaster some time in the next couple of years … But while that will be dreadful, like the IRA and similar groups, the current lot have no chance of ultimately ‘defeating’ the USA and the rest of the Western coalition.”46 They will not defeat us because we’re tenacious, we’re learners, and we’re innovators. We now sense or know what our center of gravity is, what are centers are, and we will protect it and them vigilantly from the rude surprises that the weak may hope to visit on us. We’ve learned from the rude surprise and are innovating solutions to problems we have not encountered yet. We know that asymmetric operations can aim at what we value. Thus a new target set emerges. In sum, understanding centers of gravity and appreciating the logic of asymmetric operations helps prevents the unsatisfactory outcomes that often follow rude surprises during an era of great change. Centers of gravity are those things that our adversary or we can least afford to have

Adapted from Abraham Maslow, Motivation and Personality (New York: Harper and Row, 1954)

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badly hurt at any given moment. We find them by searching, moment by moment, for what an adversary values. We look for asymmetries. We configure the matter we have in time and space and affect those things that our adversary can least afford to have badly hurt at any given moment. We constantly research and develop better matter. We protect ourselves. We must become expert in these matters or we will be surprised. Some surprises could unbalance us. We – you and me – share an obligation to prevent that. And so we will.

NOTES
1 The views expressed here are my own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Alvin or Heidi Toffler, Toffler Associates, or any of Toffler Associates’ customers. 2 Alvin and Heidi Toffler, with a Foreword by Newt Gingrich, Creating a New Civilization: The Politics of the Third Wave (Washington DC: The Progress and Freedom Foundation, 1994). 3 The Tofflers do not use “civilization” in the very narrow and largely “religious” sense that Samuel Huntington uses it. Rather, they use it in the sense of “super-civilization”: bigger than a specific culture, religion, or set of institutions. See Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 3 (Summer 1993), pp. 22–49. 4 Robert L. O’Connell, Ride of the Second Horseman: The Birth and Death of War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 82–83. In a conversation at Carlisle Barracks, O’Connell explained that his subsistence taxonomy is another way of looking at Waves. See also Robert L. O’Connell, Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989). 5 Ralph D. Sawyer, translator and commentator, with Mei-chun Sawyer, “T’ai Kung’s Six Secret Teachings,” The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China [Wu ching ch’i shu], (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993), pp. 68–69. 6 Carl H. Builder, “Peering Into the Future: Trying to Get the Enterprise Right,” unpublished and unclassified lecture to the National Reconnaissance Office, March 11, 1997. 7 Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Creating a New Civilization, p. 12. 8 Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Creating a New Civilization, p. 13. 9 Carl H. Builder, “Peering Into the Future.” 10 One need only to scan Frederick, Jomini, Clausewitz, von Moltke, Schlieffen, and Schlichting to recognize that the machinery of warfare extended to the mechanical way in which massed armies were formed, trained, and employed. The motto of the German Fuhurüngsakadamie der Bundeswehr is “The mind moves the mass,” but students there assert that the mass moves the curriculum. See Daniel J. Hughes, ed., translated by Daniel J. Hughes and Harry Bell, Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1993).

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11 Second Wave thinking includes holding the belief that all systems are closed systems. See Erich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1980), p. 7 quoted in Margaret J. Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organization from an Orderly Universe (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 1992), p. 18. 12 “New Unified Command Plan Ensures Every Nation Is Covered,” Inside The Pentagon, January 24, 2002, p. 4. 13 Airmen often criticize soldiers for their obsession with “mass,” but the airman’s mass raid or “gorilla package” show a closer bond than usually admitted. 14 See: Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature (Boulder: New Science Library, 1984), pp. 171–6, 297–313; James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science (New York: Penguin Books, 1987); and John R. Boyd, “Creation and Destruction,” in “A Discourse on Winning and Losing,” August 1987. 15 Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993), pp. 21–23. 16 Richard Brodie, A Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme (Seattle: Integral Press, 1996). 17 Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967). See also Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), who assert that states behave like humans writ large. 18 If Joint Vision 2020 is wrong, for example, and it is authoritative, then it is wrong for many. 19 Carl Builder The Icarus Syndrome: The Role of Air Power Theory in the Evolution and Fate of US Air Force (New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1993). 20 David Ronfeldt, Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks: A Framework About Societal Evolution (Santa Monica: RAND Report P-7967, 1996). The chart on p. 17 is instructive. See also John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, The Advent of Netwar (Santa Monica: RAND, 1996). See also John Arguilla and David Ronfeldt, Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy (Santa Monica CA: RAND, 2001). 21 Many Second Wave mass-production forms seem evident in the ways in which the “intelligence community” is organized. One could argue that this community is organized around the separate human senses(eyes or ears(with the necessary integration of the senses a bureaucratic function. 22 Harry S. Dent, Jr., The Roaring 2000s (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998). 23 Horace Porter, Campaigning With Grant (New York: Bantam Books, 1991), pp.174–6. This is an abridged reprint of a book published originally in 1897. 24 Porter, Campaigning With Grant, p. 212, reports: In speaking of his visit to the Middle Military Division, General Grant said: ‘I ordered Sheridan to move out and whip Early [Confederate Major General Jubal Early].’ An officer present ventured the remark: ‘I presume the actual form of the order was to move out and attack him.’ ‘No,’ answered the general; I mean just what I say: I gave the order to whip him. 25 Peter F. Drucker, “The Coming of the New Organization,” Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management (Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, 1998), p. 5. 26 The plural suggests that there is more than the strategic level center of gravity, even to Clausewitz. John Osgood, “A Study of Clausewitz’s Concept of the Military Center of Gravity,” http://pw1.netcom.com/~jrosgood/wc4.htm, writes: Clausewitz’s discussion of the issue suggests that at the operational level the center of gravity is ‘always found where the mass is concentrated most densely.’ He believed that at the operational level a commander must understand the dynamics of space, mass, and time. Space was the theater of operations, mass was the army and time was the campaign. Enemy vulnerabilities or decisive points were not to be confused with center of gravity.

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27 Armies are huge enterprises. To govern them, one needs doctrine. Doctrine does not change quickly in armies. 28 More than one year before he died, John Boyd, wondered aloud to me if there were only three “things that matter” in the universe: time, space, and matter, all of which were “held together” by “information.” He wondered aloud that, since “space” was the separation between bits of matter, perhaps there was only time, space, and information. We will test the discernment that gives us. 29 Thomas Hughes, “The Cult of the Quick,” Aerospace Power Journal, Vol. XI No. 4, Winter 2001, p. 64. 30 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), p. 181. 31 John A. Warden III, “Air Theory for the Twenty-first Century,” in Barry R. Schneider and Lawrence E. Grinter, Battlefield of the Future: 21st Century Warfare Issues (Maxwell AFB AL: Air University Press, 1995), p. 106. 32 Adapted from Frank B. Strickland Jr., “It’s Not About Mousetraps: Measuring the Value of Knowledge for Operators,” Joint Forces Quarterly, Autumn 1996, http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/jfq_pubs/1913.pdf 33 Jeffrey A. Harley, “Information, Technology, and the Center of Gravity,” Naval war College Review, Winter 1997 at http://www.nwc.navy.mil/press/Review/1997/winter/art4wi97.htm. 34 Information on who really is an adversary and who really is an ally is becoming more difficult to come by, for example. 35 George W. Bush, “President Bush’s State of the Union Address,” The Washington Post, (eMediaMillWorks), January 30, 2002; p. A16. 36 Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1993), p. 149. 37 Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, “Unrestricted Warfare: Assumptions on War and Tactics in the Age of Globalization” (Beijing: PLA Literature and Arts Publishing House, 1999), p.149. Note the emphasis on the “weaker side.” 38 “2 Panels To Probe Spying Failures,” Washington Times, January 30, 2002, p. 9. 39 Timothy L. Thomas, “Deciphering Asymmetry’s Word Game,” Military Review, July–August 2001 at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/milrev/English/JulAug01/thomas.htm. 40 Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), p. 19. 41 Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 ((New York: Random House, 1987). 42 Abraham H. Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Psychological Review Volume 50, 1943, pp. 370–396 and Motivation and Personality, (New York: Harper and Row, 1954). He postulated there are five categories. At the basic level are the physiological needs, such as thirst, hunger and sex drives. To satisfy this level of needs makes us hunt for food, breed cattle, grow crops, dig wells and look for mates. When these basic needs have been satisfied, the next higher level becomes a more important motivator; the level of safety and security needs, which is represented by freedom from fear of external harm, climatic extremes, or criminal activity. To satisfy this level, we build tents, huts and houses, we organize ourselves in tribes, villages, cities, states, we establish policing forces and armies, and we formulate rules and laws. The next higher level corresponds with belonging and social activity or affiliation needs. This level motivates us to undertake action in exchange for support, affection, and friendship. The fourth level represents our drive for esteem and status; it makes us strive for status and respect, adopt behavior to get access to and be accepted by those we admire. At last, when all previous levels of needs have been fulfilled to our satisfaction, we strive for self-actualization, for self-realization and fulfillment.

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43 BBC, “Osama Bin Laden urges targeting US economy,” December 27, 2001, 19:57 GMT, Transcript: Bin Laden video excerpts, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1729000/1729882.stm 44 Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, “Bush Awaits History’s Judgment: President’s Scorecard Shows Much Left to Do,” The Washington Post, February 3, 2002; p. A15. 45 Guilio Douhet, Dino Ferrari trans … The Command of the Air (New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1942), p. 282. 46 Email from my friend, the RAAF Historian, and noted airpower thinker, Dr. Alan Stephens, January 29, 2002.

Asymmetric Warfare: Rediscovering the Essence of Strategy

Lieutenant Colonel Frans Osinga Clear and Present Danger or Hollow Concept: The Debate on Asymmetric War Asymmetric warfare has become a buzzword; it is the term du jour,1 and asymmetrical threat is the new military watchword.2 In the past few years, more than a hundred articles have been published on this topic.3 The attacks on the US on September 11 have reinvigorated the study of asymmetric warfare and influence the debate on future warfare. The terrorist attacks are considered a sure sign that the main challenge of the future will be asymmetric warfare, with an opponent waging war with chemical, nuclear or biological weapons as the worst kind.4 The term is not new. It has been a common term in strategic literature since the Vietnam War, and has resurfaced in particular after the stunning success of the demonstrated Western style of warfare in Desert Storm.5 But in the latter half of the nineties the term has been elevated to a concept informing and shaping security and defence policy in various countries, most notably in the US, where this term has been incorporated in various long term visions about the future of the US military. Its meaning has also evolved in that process. Now, asymmetry seems to have become the icon for every form of warfare that does not conform to the favored Western way. It may arise from information warfare, terrorist attacks, the employment of ‘dirty nuclear bombs’, attacks against domestic infrastructure, and any other ‘unfair’ method of fighting.6 The awareness of the rise (or danger) of complex terrorism and the highly publicized vulnerability of open modern (Western) societies feed the ‘spread’ of asymmetric warfare.7 The problem with buzzwords is that they tend to be underspecified, overemployed and badly understood. In fact, the concept has gradually been

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deprived of useful meaning.8 An overview of the development of the notion in the past few years bears this out, leading one analyst to dismiss the entire concept as hollow.9 To shed light on the debate, this chapter examines the nature of asymmetric warfare by going back to Sun Tzu’s famous classic The Art of War. But first a few words on the debate and perception of the meaning of asymmetric warfare. In a 1995 US Joint Doctrine Publication listed asymmetric engagements as clashes occurring between elements of dissimilar forces, specifically air versus land, air versus sea, etc. The 1995 US National Military Strategy approached the issue somewhat more broadly, listing terrorism, the use or threatened use of weapons of mass destruction, and information warfare as asymmetric challenges. In 1997, the concept of asymmetric threat began to receive greater attention. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) stated that ‘US dominance in the conventional military arena may encourage adversaries to use asymmetric means to attack our interests overseas and Americans at home’.10 The National Defense Panel, a senior level group working as advisors to the US congress, elaborated on this dialectic nature of warfare. It stated that we can assume that our enemies and future adversaries have learned from the Gulf War. They are unlikely to confront us conventionally with mass armor formations, air superiority forces and deep-water naval fleets of their own, all areas of overwhelming US strength today. Instead, they may find new ways to attack our interests, our forces, and our citizens. They will look for ways to match their strength against our weaknesses.11 In a somewhat similar vein, the US 1999 Joint Strategy Review defined asymmetric approaches as those that attempted to ‘circumvent or undermine US strengths while exploiting US weaknesses using methods that differ significantly from the United States expected method of operations’. But this review adds a short and useful description. It states that asymmetric approaches generally seek a major psychological impact, such as shock or confusion

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that affects an opponent’s initiative, freedom of action or will. Asymmetric methods require an appreciation of an opponent’s vulnerabilities. Asymmetric approaches often employ innovative, nontraditional tactics, weapons or technologies, and can be applied to all levels of warfare and across the spectrum of military operations.12 In a widely announced comprehensive analysis preceding the then upcoming 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, the impression that ‘asymmetric’ refers to anything that is different from the western style of warfare was reinforced. In a chapter specifically addressing asymmetric threats, asymmetric warfare is defined as ‘leveraging inferior tactical or operational strength against the vulnerabilities of a superior opponent to achieve disproportionate effect with the aim of undermining the opponent’s will in order to achieve the asymmetric actor’s strategic objectives’.13 Attention to this form of warfare is necessary because ‘hostile nations and groups will inevitably seek ways to undermine U.S. strength by attacking its vulnerabilities’.14 The analysis follows with a discussion of asymmetric threats which are listed as Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons, Information Operations, High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse, Alternative Operational Concepts and Terrorism.15 Subsequently, two reflections inform this study. First, the most current Western definitions about asymmetry offer only a limited view on the nature of asymmetric warfare and are Western or US oriented. It is considered to be something that other people ‘do’ against Western nations and their armed forces.16 This is obviously a fallacy. It is not only directed against US or Western interests nor is it not only offensive. It may not be a deliberate policy or doctrine. It may be purely reactive and opportunistic, or a way of fighting opted for by default. It may occur due to the West’s own interventionist policy whereby Western countries bring troops or actions to bear on a locally raging conflict.17 Western action executed according to the reigning Western style of warfare, that is dominated by long range observation and standoff precision attacks, is thoroughly asymmetric to anyone on the receiving end on these attacks, as the Taliban in Afghanistan will attest to. One commentator rightly said that the United States is the world’s most asymmetric military force.18

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An additional striking feature of the discussions in Western literature is the focus on a specific threat or weapon, which serves as the embodiment of asymmetric warfare. The concept of asymmetric warfare is employed to argue that a certain threat ‘niche’, such as the threat of rogue state owned ballistic missiles carrying WMD or bioterrorism, has not been ‘covered’ sufficiently. It follows that this niche threat warrants attention, countermeasures and investments in weapon programs, disregarding the fact that Western countries, the US in particular, also hold similar weapons in their arsenal, making an exchange of such weapons academically symmetric.19 Thus asymmetric war is regarded as an argument in defence policy. The official treatment of the concept of asymmetry indicates the extent to which it has come to reflect more a domestic debate on (US) vulnerabilities than an analysis of the plan and intentions of potential adversaries.20 Second, asymmetric war should not be considered novel, unique and contemporary nor fuzzy, vague or a feature of Western forces meeting non-Western forces. Experiences from the Second World War, Korea and Vietnam should have alerted the West to the presence of adaptive enemies, as Robert Scales labeled them. In those conflicts, the enemy knew how to mitigate the significance of the technological and tactical superiority of a foe through: Clever organization; variation in styles of operation; the creation of redundancy and dispersion in and of its logistical facilities; the reduction of sensitivity through hardening, concealment and camouflage; the employment of decoys; superior motivation and endurance; and finally through sophisticated media play. Developments in Yugoslavia and Iraq in the past decade show that such methods have not lost their relevance. ‘Air denial’ tactics had been refined, alliance cohesion was targeted, and Western casualty sensitivity was a key area to be exploited.21 But asymmetric war has not been confined to struggles where Western forces meet those of non-Western countries. The Russian experience in Afghanistan in the eighties and Chechnya in the nineties may be considered a very unwelcome and costly encounter with asymmetric warfare, with the urban battles for Grozny as an exponent of it,22 and several authors have proposed that what is now considered ‘asymmetric’ is actually the norm in quite a few conflicts in the ‘third world’.

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These conflicts can be labeled as intrastate, civil wars, ethnic wars, religious wars or just clashes of armed mobs. Uniting these conflicts are the methods employed in the struggle. Holsti cites Martin van Creveld: ‘There are no fronts, no campaigns, no bases, no uniforms, no publicly displayed honors, and no respect for the territorial limits of states’. Further on he notes ‘in wars between communities as opposed to armies, everyone is automatically labeled a combatant merely by virtue of their identity. In wars of the third kind, the deadly game is played in every home, church, government office, school, highway and village’.23 The protected status of cultural and religious objects, granted by the Hague and Geneva Conventions, is deliberately violated in these New Wars, as Mary Kaldor has labeled them, for these are targets of high value due to their symbolic nature. Kaldor also points to the influence of guerilla and counter-insurgency doctrines in which violence is often directed at innocent civilians. Conventional armed combat is mostly avoided. The strategic aim is the acquisition of territory through political power, not military force, and political power is achieved through deliberate ethnic cleansing, rape, and assassination of key opponents, spreading fear and causing terror. Bribery, extortion and torture complete the list of distinctly asymmetric methods.24 The participants in an asymmetric conflict are as unconventional as the methods they employ. Instead of traditional armed forces and distinguishable combatants, ‘combat’ actions and sporadic gunfights are conducted by irregular armed gangs, terrorist factions and criminal organizations. ‘This is a new age of warlordism’ posits Ralph Peters: ‘paramilitary warriors – thugs whose talent for violence blossoms in civil war – defy legitimate governments and increasingly end up leading the governments they have overturned’.25 These observations of trends were also noted in a wave of publications on ‘fourth generation warfare’, that commenced with the publication of a widely debated article in 1989 bearing that title. This article may actually be regarded as the forerunner of the current debate on asymmetric warfare. The fourth generation encompassed the methods Holsti, van Creveld and others described, while the potential of dual use technology

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for military purposes, was added. In fourth generation war, the methods of internal conflicts would be turned against the US.26 Asymmetric warfare is endemic, it seems, if the current interpretation (anything that differs from the Western style of warfare) is followed. But what the Western discussion on asymmetry during the nineties really reveals, is a struggle to come to grips with non-Clausewitzian warfare. In the West, Clausewitzian warfare – interstate war with war being an instrument of policy, fought by the state operated military – has become a paradigmatic and normative framework for studying, planning and conducting war. This is not a critique on this state of affairs, or on the acknowledged brilliance of Clausewitz, who indeed wrote perhaps the only truly great book on war.27 But in the West, war is regarded proper and justified (if possible) if it accords with this particular model of state versus state warfare waged by conventional armies that employ technologically very sophisticated weapon systems to bring the war to a rapid end by achieving political objectives fully in accordance with established conventions, rules and high moral expectations with a minimum of bloodshed (on both sides) and collateral damage.28 And as van Creveld, Holsti and Kaldor are at pains to point out, the conflicts and combat methods they describe cannot be explained, studied or resolved by conforming to the Clausewitzian model. They are fundamentally different from interstate wars. As van Creveld notes ‘War as an instrument of state policy is a relatively new form of organized violence … the main purpose of the use of force in Europe for the past 350 years has been to advance and/or protect the interests of the state. War has been political’. But ‘war as a continuation of politics by other means’ is no longer applicable here: when the stakes are highest and a community strains every sinew in a life and death struggle that the ordinary strategic terminology fails […] to say that war is ‘an instrument’ serving the ‘policy’of the community that ‘wages’ it, is to stretch all three terms to the point of meaninglessness. Where the distinction between ends and means breaks down, even the idea of war fought ‘for’ something is only barely applicable. […] war of this type […] merges with policy, becomes policy, is policy.29

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The argument that there is a non-Clausewitzian realm out there is an important point to make, and awareness of the merits and limits of one’s paradigms in strategic affairs seems indispensable.30 However, the term ‘asymmetric’ must not be considered synonymous with specific threats or weapons, and the debate on asymmetric warfare must not be confused with the debate on the merits of the Clausewitzian dictum. Asymmetry occurs within Clausewitzian and non-Clausewitzian models of warfare, as well as in the clash between these two warforms, a useful term the Tofflers have suggested to indicate a specific style of warfare, such as the Clausewitzian and non-Clausewitzian warform.31 Asymmetry thus straddles warforms.

Towards Understanding the Nature of Asymmetric Warfare In order to understand asymmetric warfare, and avoid contributing to the confusion concerning the concept, two things are in order. First, a more rigorous definition is required, as well as some more common sense. Freedman suggests that the weak have to employ asymmetrical methods against the strong, and the methods chosen will depend on the weak party’s analysis of the vulnerabilities of the stronger party’.32 Charles Dunlap suggests that in the broadest sense, the concept of asymmetry in conflict describes ‘warfare that seeks to avoid an opponent’s strengths;…an approach that tries to focus on whatever may be one side’s comparative advantages against an enemy’s relative weaknesses’.33 Although these descriptions are obviously not false, they are not very informative nor very distinctive. Another definition recently suggested is somewhat more useful because it points to the different dimensions in which war can be waged and in which asymmetries may be found and exploited: ‘Through the application of military, political, economic and technological leverage, asymmetric strategies may successfully undermine an opponent’s strengths. Although one contestant may not be able to win on a traditionally framed battlefield, the strategies employed may nullify the adversary’s conventional advantages, erode his will to fight, disrupt his ability to operate effectively, or deter him from action entirely’ commented one author recently.34 Newman provides a welcome additional taxonomy by listing three dif-

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ferent asymmetric approaches that span the various dimensions. He distinguishes Configuration Asymmetry (employing different warforms), asymmetry resulting from differences in Legal Compliance, and asymmetries due to differences among the contestants of issues that are at stake in a conflict.35 In a similar vein RAND published the following definition: Asymmetric strategies attack vulnerabilities not appreciated by the ‘target’ (victim) or capitalize on the victim’s limited preparation against the threat. These strategies rely on [concepts of operations] that are fundamentally different from the victim’s and/or from those of recent history. They often employ new or different weapons. Additionally, they can serve political or strategic objectives that are not the same as those the victim pursues.36 Steven Metz and Douglas Johnson have suggested a more general and complete definition of (strategic) asymmetry as ‘acting, organizing, and thinking differently than opponents in order to maximize one’s own advantages, exploit an opponent’s weaknesses, attain initiative, or gain greater freedom of action’. This is the working definition employed here. It offers insight into the fundamental dialectic nature of war – asymmetric war is an activity that all sides (states or other types of actors) can and will engage in – and it avoids the trap of thinking in terms of threats or weapons or a certain ‘warform’. Instead, it shows that it is the result of actions, organizational choices and the cognitive domain of the interacting contestants. This definition also brings attention to the fact that asymmetric war is far from a contemporary phenomenon. Freedman may disagree with this definition because it ‘is hard to see how asymmetric warfare defined so broadly is that different from all other types of strategic thought’. I find that however a particular strength.37 As Metz records in another discussion on the meaning of asymmetry, while the word ‘asymmetry’ only recently entered American strategic lexicon, the idea is not new. From Sun Tzu’s contention that all warfare is based on deception through B.H. Liddell

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Hart’s advocacy of the indirect approach to Edward Luttwak’s ‘paradoxical logic of strategy’, strategic thinkers have always declared the wisdom of avoiding the enemy’s strength and probing for his weakness […] It is the core logic of all competitive endeavors, whether sports, business, or war.38 Metz’ observation leads to the second suggestion. In order to truly understand what asymmetric means, and in order to avoid the pitfalls discussing it within the reigning paradigm, we could do worse than refer to pre-Clausewitzian strategic thinkers, such as Sun Tzu. Metz’s remarks are pertinent in this context, but not conclusive. For although he makes a significant observation, he falls short of the mark. I agree with him that asymmetric warfare and asymmetric strategy are concepts as old as warfare itself. But the really important argument is that asymmetric warfare – finding, creating and exploiting asymmetries – is the essence of strategy. And if Metz does not misread the master, at least he does not do Sun Tzu justice. Deception is indeed important in Sun Tzu, but Sun Tzu should not be read solely for that insight. Indeed, for the discussion on asymmetric warfare, a proper understanding of Sun Tzu’s military thought, one that goes beyond the sound bite quotations, is very enlightening, as Sun Tzu’s work can be justly regarded as a treatise on asymmetric warfare. Contrary to the current debate, his work goes far beyond tactics, technology and weapon programs. As will be argued below, reading the classics to illuminate today’s strategic problems is very educational. Sun Tzu’s work is very comprehensive and it points to the various dimensions in which asymmetric war can and should be waged and through which methods. Reading Sun Tzu deflates the hype surrounding the concept of asymmetric warfare while underpinning its significance and establishing the real nature of it. And the identification of the principle characteristics of asymmetry is probably more fruitful to better understand asymmetric threats than attempting to establish a perfect definition, as Gray noted after a survey of the ongoing debate.39 To substantiate this assertion, I will condense the already short book by concentrating on its core concepts that combine to provide a coherent guide for the art of strategy and operation.40 These core concepts are not precisely and coherently dealt with in one or two chapters but must be

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distilled through reading the whole text. Thus I will draw statements, notions and ideas together from several chapters. This exercise will show how the ideas across the chapters are related. The picture that emerges strongly suggests that one can indeed discern several core concepts that together form a coherent, consistent and logically constructed strategic approach that is holistic in nature and that constitutes an approach to waging war in which multidimensional asymmetry is key. A look into the philosophical, historical and cultural background of The Art of War will provide the basis for a proper understanding of the logic of ideas, concepts, and notions. Following that discussion, I will address a few core ideas that serve as guidelines for any leader at the grand and military strategic level. Next I will distill 10 interrelated concepts that serve as guidelines for waging war, in particular at the strategic and tactical level. I will conclude with a summary in which I endeavor to lay out the essence of The Art of War and show the relevance of this discussion for the discussion surrounding asymmetric warfare.41

Illuminating Tomorrow’s Wars: Reading Sun Tzu Interpreting The Art of War. Like the Bible, Sun Tzu’s famous work The Art of War is open to multiple interpretations. There are always problems with understanding any work that was written in the 5th century BC, and the fact that the work emanates from a non-Western culture does not help. First of all, lack of knowledge of the Chinese language blunts a scholar’s full appreciation of The Art of War. The Chinese language consists of characters that have multiple meanings depending on the context in which a certain character is used. This difference in meaning may be indicated by nothing more than a certain shape of the slant in a character. The language is furthermore one of nuance, words are emblematic and thoughts are put forward in metaphors and images. This is a major problem in The Art of War, which contains quasi-poetic passages. The text is suggestive and full of ambiguity. And this vagueness and indirectness are at odds with the western urge for precise definitions and clarity in expression. This leads to the second problem of the gap between cultures and the role of the translator. Even when he is conscious of the particular socio-

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cultural lens through which he analyses and interprets Sun Tzu, he has no other tools to explain Sun Tzu and translations are therefore likely to give a narrower meaning than Sun Tzu intended. The meaning and concept of time can serve as an example. Ancient Chinese time is characterized in the following way: Time and space are integrated, time is cyclical, time is made up of discrete but very large units, and time is heterogeneous and discontinuous. The western concept that time is fleeting, unidirectional and divided into measurable and equally long intervals does not exist. This has implications for writing history because when thinking in cyclical time, there is no particular difference between what happened 300 years ago or just yesterday which means tomorrow will not be that different and that lessons from 300 years ago are perfectly valid 100 years from now. However, there must be no doubt about the status of Sun Tzu in the Chinese strategic literature or about the fact that there actually was such a person as Sun Tzu (Tzu means master, by the way, so his name really is just Sun). Sun lived in the Warring States period, a period in which the kingdoms of the Chinese realm frequently fought each other. Sun made his mark as a military commander in some battles and was appropriately named Sun Wu, Sun the Warrior. Sun offered his services to King Ho Lu of Wu (514-496 B.C.), a small state at the mouth of the Yangtze river. After impressing the King with his earnestness by executing two of the king’s concubines who failed to follow orders, Sun Tzu was made a general in the army of Wu which he led to victories against larger armies.42 These victories gave Sun credibility in writing his lessons. For that is what they are. The Art of War is an instruction addressed to the King on how to conduct the most serious affair of the state; war. As much as it is descriptive it also is prescriptive and normative. The wisdom of his lessons was widely recognized throughout the Chinese kingdoms for centuries. Various commentators interpreted the text43 and in 1082, a compilation was ordered of the most important military texts to serve as a basis for improving the performance of the Sung armies. This compilation, called The Seven Military Classics, centered on Sun Tzu’s text. In the 19th century Sun Tzu was translated into French. Sun Tzu has

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become almost a household name within military circles after Liddell Hart referred to him in his most widely read work ‘Strategy: The Indirect Approach’. The victory of Mao and the defeat of the USA in Vietnam also established Sun Tzu’s name, deservedly or not. In the seventies and eighties, Sun Tzu’s unique approach to war and war-fighting was incorporated by John Boyd in his extensive set of briefings called ‘A Discourse on Winning and Losing’ which gave rise to the now familiar OODA loop and the ideas on outthinking one’s enemy.44 Apparently then, we have before us an important text that is real and written by a real author, but handed down to the western reader in a rather dilapidated form. Keeping in mind that our comprehension of this old, but important text will always remain somewhat ambiguous and open for debate, I will endeavor to distill the essence of it. The Warring States Period, ‘All Under One Heaven’ and Tao Some knowledge about Chinese philosophy and the historical context of the period helps with regards to clarifying some ideas, because understanding Sun Tzu begins with some insight into the concepts of ‘All under One Heaven’, the Tao and Harmony. So before we turn to the text of The Art of War and the strategic and operational level concepts, we will take a short journey into the wider context of the book. The setting is primarily one of autocratic kingdoms in agrarian societies with the trade business at a rise and in the Warring States period, the ‘All Under One Heaven’ concept was established in a period of turbulence and disharmony. ‘All Under One Heaven’ means that everybody and everything is in the same boat and peoples, kings, events, plans and strategies cannot be seen in isolation. So although one may be at war with one people, they and we are all Under One Heaven and what we do to them is connected to other dimensions besides the opponent. It indicates that everything is connected in the Realm, as we may describe the area and peoples living in the warring States. In one sense it makes us aware of the fact that the peoples and kingdoms at war belonged to the same ethnic people; the Chin people, and we are basically witnessing a large scale civil war. It also brings up the point that war cannot be separated from other state affairs. The concept of ‘All Under One Heaven’ is crucial in order to understand Sun Tzu and other Chinese strategic works and it is closely related to the central concepts of Tao and Harmony.45 In the dominant view of classical

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China there exists a continuous concrete world that is the source and locus of all of our experience. Order is ‘imminent’; things belong to each other and are inherently connected. Order and regularity are not derived or imposed upon the world by some independent power but are inherent parts of the world. Change and continuity are equal. The world is dynamic, autogenerative and self-organizing. Put slightly more metaphysical, this world is constituted as a sea of ch’i, psychophysical energy that disposes itself in various concentrations, configurations and perturbations. The pattern that connects phenomena and explains them, the truth in things and events, the wisdom coming from correctly recognizing the world and knowing the ways of it is expressed as Tao (pronounced as dao). It is the pathway that can be traced out to make one’s place and one’s context coherent. Tao, ‘the way’, is at any given time both what the world is and how it is. In this tradition, there is no final distinction between an independent source of order and what it orders. The world and its order at any particular time are self-causing. There is no beginning or teleological end. There is also no objectivity as there is no place outside the world for it is the only one there is (indeed, we talking about quite a holistic perspective here). And each one of us is invariably experiencing the world as one within the context of many.46 Without objectivity, objects are not static but are snapshots in a process of change and change occurs along a continuum, both ends of which are normally indicated with Yin (sunny side) and Yang (the shady side). The property of an object is expressed as a point on a continuum relative to the point of another objective on that continuum. Things are categorized as relative to each other. So nothing is black unless there is something white or at least something less black (gray comes to mind) to contrast it with. There are no formal, absolute and unique properties but shades, nuances, analogies and cross referencing. A thing is associated with another by virtue of the contrastive and hierarchical relations that sets it off from other things. This evokes that and one evokes many. Coherence in this world, then, is not so much analytic or formally abstract. Rather it tends to be synthetic and constitutive. Its relations and associations with other objects define the character of an object. The vocabulary of opposites also reflects the assumption that any situation

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definable on a continuum can be manipulated into its polar opposite. Order can be teased out of disorder, victory can be lifted out of defeat, and weakness can be turned into strength. Tao perceives the shape, spirit and character of things in relation to each other correctly. Intuition, the Clausewitzian concept of ‘coup d’euil’, and John Boyd’s emphasis on Orientation in his OODA loop model as the vital element in one’s decision making process conform to this view of the nature of knowledge. Knowledge and Order The Chinese concept of ‘Knowledge’ is strongly connected to the centrality of order. To know also means to comprehend. Knowledge involves comprehension. All conditions interrelate and collaborate in greater or lesser degree to constitute a particular event as a confluence of experiences. As there is no distinction between cause and effect, knowledge, explanations and prescriptions are the results of the ability to trace and manipulate those conditions far and near that will come to affect the shifting configurations of one’s own place. Knowledge discerns the pattern of things, and makes us able to anticipate what will ensue from them when we are fully aware of the changing shapes and conditions of all things. Knowing is tracing, both in the sense of etching a pattern and of following it. To know is to realize, to make. Knowing becomes reality and gains a prescriptive, normative quality. Because this is the pattern, one should behave accordingly. The path is not given but is made in the treading of it. Thus one’s own actions are always a significant factor in shaping the world which in turn shapes one’s actions. A person then is not a fixed identity but is shaped by the physical, psychological and social dispositions that are present at any given time. These dispositions are determined by the environment, and these shape one’s perceptions of the environment and this in turn shapes one’s actions within that environment thus shaping the environment. The purpose of one’s existence is to try to create and maintain a state of harmony among all the factors that shape one’s environment in order to make the most of one’s position at a particular time. Another objective is to coordinate the various ingredients that constitute one’s particular contemporary world and to negotiate these in order to create productive harmony. But not all

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the methods of creating harmony are equally successful and some dispositions are more fruitfully creative than others. It is the capacity to anticipate the patterned flow of circumstance, to encourage those dispositions most conductive to a productive harmony and ultimately to participate in negotiating a world order that will make the most of its creative possibilities. Harmony is attained through the art of contextualizing, and anyone who succeeds at that is capable of imposing order on others so there will also be harmony in the hierarchical structure of society. The leader is at the center carrying the order of the whole and from this emanates his authority. Authority is constituted as other centers are drawn up into one encompassing center and suspended within it through patterns of deference. Authority involves a position in a hierarchy, relations between members in the hierarchy as well as norms and cultural traditions defining appropriate behavior. A leader is a leader because he must have greater capacity to discern order and impose it, otherwise someone else would be leader. Therefore, this leader deserves allegiance. In social and political life there are several layers of order, and these are combined by lateral and hierarchical relations to form some sort of harmony. The quality of these relations defines the character of the harmony. Harmony, then, is the creation of order between things and as harmony involves the art of contextualizing, constantly changing the properties of things, order is not static but rather dynamic. To maintain order is to maintain a balance among the changing properties, to correctly discern the pattern of change. Order is an emergent property; it begins with the coordination of specific details and expands to include more and more dimensions, events and connections. To conclude this bit of Chinese philosophy, the cultivation of harmony is at the core of the classical Chinese worldview. And turning towards the subject of war, harmony or the lack of it permeates the attitude towards war, the functions of it and the concept of victory. War as a Disturbance of Order War is the most important issue a state should concern itself with, according to Sun Tzu. It is a matter of life and death and will determine

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the fate of a state. A state should be able to wage war effectively. A state should therefore always be prepared for war, be vigilant and possess a ready, capable force for deterrence as well as for fighting. This should not be taken as a state of enthusiasm with respect to waging war. On the contrary, war is to be avoided as much and as long as possible because inherent in war is the chance of catastrophe for the state. Besides, war is a very costly affair for everyone involved. To solve crisis a state should use regular diplomatic means, as well as irregular, what we would perhaps consider devious and illegitimate means, such as assassination of the enemy’s leader or his generals, bribing key figures among the leader’s staff and persuading his allies to change sides. This view on statecraft is consistent with the ancient view on war, which is fundamentally one of disturbance of order. As all things are normally in a state of order, when there is war, the cause must be a disturbance of the order. War can only be waged for the purpose of restoring order47. This is the legitimizing factor. What makes any military action appropriate as opposed to self-seeking is the claim that it serves the quality of the socio-political order as a whole rather than any particular interest group within it. As in the socio-political order, all orders are interdependent and mutually entailing, the system has within it a mechanism for reordering. There is no right or wrong in waging war. It is in favor of the social order or against it, as the latter can never be justified. That is, unless a leader has forfeited his authority by squandering his integrity or is abusing his people, because leadership also means to behave in accord with one’s people; the Tao of the leader is that which causes the people to be in harmony with their leaders. So the harmony within a state between the leader and those ruled over extends to a sense of harmony in the whole system. War then not only means restoring order in the whole system but also in a state and as such involves a sense of punishment against the leader of the state. As a matter of fact, there is a deep and abiding association in the Chinese world between the execution of punishment and warfare. In both instances the central authority is acting in the interest of the whole to define the sociopolitical order at its boundaries. Also ‘to order’, ‘to govern’ and ‘to dispatch a punitive expedition’ are expressed with the same character ‘cheng’. And ‘to shape’ is expressed with the same character as

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the one used for punishment (hsing), which is perversely interesting if one knows that punishments generally took on the form of mutilations, amputations and other forms of disfigurement, thus in a sense reshaping someone. War then is an attempt to redefine sociopolitical order.48 This view on war and its function also shape the attitude towards it. There is a fundamental distaste for war as it means that something has already been lost and war will cost resources and lives, thereby also creating a danger for instability within the states that wage war to restore order. War always constitutes loss. This outlook provides the context for properly understanding the following statements from The Art of War: to win a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the pinnacle of excellence. Subjugating the enemy’s army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence’.49 ‘Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, the Tao to survival or extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed.50 ‘Thus one who excels at employing the military subjugates other people’s armies without engaging in battle, captures other people’s fortified cities without attacking them and destroys other people’s states without prolonged fighting. He must fight under Heaven with the paramount aim of preservation.51 And here we come across a crucial point. War is only justifiable when all possible alternatives have been exhausted and must be entertained with the utmost seriousness and restraint. The commander must be in pursuit of quick termination and preservation of life and resources, not only one’s own but also those of the opponent. If war must be fought, it must be fought at minimum cost.52 As the fighting is conducted by people who belong to All Under One Heaven and who were good neighbors yesterday and perhaps will be again tomorrow, the war should basically aim at removing the sore from the rebellious state, and that sore is most likely the leader. War must be fought while constantly keeping in mind the need to be able to resume normal life and relations after hostilities. In an agrarian society, which cannot rapidly replenish lost crops and lost labor force, serious losses had serious repercussions. Preservation means maintaining the capability to achieve harmony.

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Preservation then becomes the guiding word in order to understand the rest of Sun Tzu’s text: Preservation of the state system, the state, the army, the people, the enemy: In general, the method for employing the military is this: Preserving the enemy’s state capital is best, destroying their state capital second best. Preserving their army is best, destroying their army second best’ and so it goes all the way down to squads.53 It also provides suggestions for asymmetric war. Instead of going after the armed forces in full battle, other methods must be employed in different dimensions in order to prevent actual combat or to win the war at a lesser cost. Disrupting the alliance, or threatening and besieging cities could undermine the will to continue fighting. Preservation also underlies the quest for intelligence before embarking on war and before going into battle. This is the reason for striving for quick victories and it underlies the schemes for gaining easy victories by putting the enemy off balance before joining battle with him. As Sun Tzu states [when] employing them in battle, a victory that is long in coming will blunt their weapons and dampen their ardor. If you attack cities, their (your own soldiers) strength will be exhausted. If you expose the army to prolonged campaign, the state’s resources will be inadequate…No country has ever profited from protracted warfare…Therefore, a general who understands warfare is a master of fate for the people, ruler of the state’s security or endangerment.54 As we shall see, preservation of one’s own harmony and disrupting the opponent’s capability to preserve his harmony is the art of war. Preservation of harmony means guarding the factors that affect cohesion, such as morale, commanders being fair and strict, it entails keeping plans secret and keeping the initiative. And it all starts with the state being prepared and the leader having foreknowledge. Three Core Concepts Now we have entered The Art of War proper. I indicated how The Art of War evidences the dominant Chinese views on warfare as a disturbance

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of order. The previous section has indicated the mindset with which Sun Tzu approaches problems in general and I will now turn to these problems. This section starts with a description of some core concepts at the grand strategic level and it will subsequently discuss lower levels of war. We will see that at each level we come across more or less the same core concepts, although at each level the concept may have a slightly different meaning or impact. Alternatively, a concept may materialize in different ways at different levels of war. There is, however, a strong continuity across the levels. The concepts, which describe strategic behavior, are scalable, to speak in modern complexity theory terms. Grand strategy and Shih. Throughout the book, Sun Tzu mandates careful planning and the formulation of an overall strategy before the commencement of a campaign. The focus of all planning in grand strategy and military operations must be the development and maintenance of a prosperous, contented populace whose willing allegiance to their leader is unquestioned. Thereafter, diplomatic initiatives can be put into effect, but military preparations should never be neglected, a theme that also permeates Seven MilitaryClassics. Preservation informs the preference of the tools of statecraft: The highest realization of warfare is to attack the enemy plans; next is to attack their alliances; next to attack their army and the lowest to attack their fortified cities.55 Whenever possible, ‘victory’ should be achieved through diplomatic coercion, thwarting the enemy’s plans and alliances and frustrating his strategy. These are all recurring themes in the other six military classics of Chinese strategy. Only when a state is threatened with military action by an enemy or otherwise refuses to give in to demands, should the government resort to armed conflict. But this attitude does not prescribe passiveness. In order to safeguard against constant intrusions, to deter and wield power in the diplomatic sphere, constant vigilance and a ready, well trained and disciplined army was necessary. The Chinese equivalent of ‘si vis pacem, para bellum’ lies in: ‘do not depend on the enemy not coming, depend rather on being ready for him’.56 It is not suggested, however, that the other tools of statecraft cease to

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be of value when war is embarked upon. War happens within the totality of a changing context and this context will have a continuous influence on the war. A good leader will attempt to shape the environment to further his interest and thus create conditions for a quick decision in war. This brings us to the importance of shis. A crucial activity for a leader is to keep a constant eye on one’s relative position of power or what we would perhaps call the state of national security. The Chinese term that is associated with this is shih. Shih is an ambiguous concept and is used at all levels, not just the grand strategic level.57 It has a cluster of meanings such as situation, circumstances, outward shape, force, influence, authority, latent energy, tactical power, positional advantage and strategic advantage.58 The shih constantly shifts according to what is happening in the internal and external environment of the state. At any time the shih is formed by intangible factors such as morale, opportunity, timing, psychology and logistics. A suitable term for it is strategic configurations of power. A leader needs to be constantly scanning his environment and shih indicates that war does not occur as some independent and isolated event, but rather unfolds within the broader field of unique natural, social and political conditions. These conditions and relations among them are constantly changing. Again, this pattern of change can be discerned if one knows the Tao and it can be manipulated to further one’s interest. Here again we see that the environment shapes the perceptions but also that perception shapes the environment and lead to actions. One’s disposition and any change in it is a factor in the environment of any neighboring state and will also exert influence on the total state of harmony. Shih is a continuum and one’s position on it can be discerned and influenced. We will come back to shih when we talk about the military concept for victory. It is mentioned here to indicate the importance of constant vigilance and the need to observe changes in one’s environment, because this fuels the need for foreknowledge. Foreknowledge. Like shih, the gathering of knowledge about the entire environment is required at all levels of activity and, unlike Clausewitz’s belief, it is possible to have complete knowledge. This is the mark of a good commander and besides it is in complete accord with the Chinese

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mental outlook, which stresses comprehensiveness as the basis of knowledge.59 A leader needs knowledge in order to be able to form a correct estimate of one’s shih. Sun Tzu is quite specific in the first chapter regarding the relevant factors one needs to be aware of and also what certain signs may indicate. Detailed calculations were made, becoming more specific when battle was imminent. In Chapter 1, aptly titled ‘Initial Estimations’ Sun Tzu states: Thus when making a comparative evaluation through estimations, seeking out its true nature, ask: Which ruler has the Tao?60 Which general has greater ability? Who has gained the advantages of heaven and earth? Whose laws and orders are more thoroughly implemented? Whose forces are stronger? Whose officers and men are better trained? Whose rewards and punishments are clearer? From these I will know victory and defeat.61 In ‘Military Dispositions’, chapter 4, he becomes more specific: Terrain gives birth to measurement, measurements produce estimations (of forces). Estimations give rise to calculation (the number of men). Calculation gives rise to weighing (strength). Weighing gives birth to victory.62 Across several chapters, Sun Tzu develops a variety of dimensions (of continuums) with which to measure an opponent before committing to the engagement. The point of the exercise is to avoid throwing the army into battle too lightly and to prevent the unnecessary mobilization of an army.63 At both the strategic and tactical level, the advice is avoid engaging the enemy when you are not ready or when you are outnumbered or find yourself in a disadvantageous position or: The victorious army first realizes the conditions for victory, and then seeks to engage in battle.64 Only when victory is assured should one start a campaign for ‘the victorious army first realizes the conditions for victory and then seeks to engage in battle’.65 When an offensive is impossible, one should assume a solid defense.66 Chapter 12 concludes with

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If objectives cannot be attained, do not employ the army. Unless endangered do not engage in warfare … a vanquished state cannot be revived, the dead not be brought back to life. Thus the enlightened ruler is cautious about it, the good general respectful of it. This is the Tao for bringing security to the state and preserving the army intact. Knowledge is essential for security. Taking that into account, the perhaps excessive emphasize on and optimism about obtaining information is understandable. The quest for information, however, is not an absolute measure, it must be understood in two senses. First, one needs better understanding than the opponent, hence one’s efforts to conceal one’s plans and positions. Secondly, we need to understand foreknowledge in the same sense as the Chinese concept of general knowledge. This concept comes from being able to discern patterns and relations and it is holistic in the sense that an object can only be understood in light of its context. It is a penetrating form of comprehension67 about changes and their implications. Chapter 9 states that perfect information is of no value, unless one has a penetrating understanding of its meaning and is able to see the emerging patterns. Information must be coupled to judgment. In the chapter devoted to the use of spies for the purpose of gaining information and disseminating false information, Sun Tzu again warns us that: Unless someone has the wisdom of the sage, he cannot use spies;…unless he is subtle and perspicacious, he cannot perceive the substance in intelligence reports’.68 Now this wonderful word, perspicacious, encompasses the words perceptive, discerning, clear sighted, penetrating, sensitive, observant and incisive. So it is not necessarily the one with more information who will be victorious, it is the one with better judgment, the one who is better at discerning patterns. One might interpret the emphasize on information and foreknowledge as a manifestation that in the Chinese view, the course of events can be predicted as long as one has enough information and foreknowledge. There appears to be no friction. This is incorrect for three reasons. First

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of all, information is only as valuable as the commander’s wisdom and his capacity to discern patterns from this information. This implies that although information is important, the man in the loop determines what will happen because of this information and the opponent has the same predicament. Foreknowledge does not equate absolute certainty. Foreknowledge is a relational concept in that it gives advantage to the side that is better able to form proper judgements on the basis of the facts and that knows what to look for among the facts. Second, although we find reference to shih in page 1 of Chapter 1, this is an initial estimate, a broad-brush look, which gives an indication whether war should be embarked upon at all, and what the strategic possibilities are. To speak in systems terms, it gives an impression of the decision space, the range and quality of options the leader and his opponent have. All Sun Tzu says is that one who excels at warfare can tell when a situation will offer possibilities of victory or defeat, realizing that this particular impression of shih is a snapshot from a distance at a particular time. The closer in time and space war and battles approach, the finer becomes the detail of Sun Tzu’s investigations, all the way down to indicators of the actions of an army setting up camp and the order of flags in tactical formations. With this comes the third reason to dismiss any sense of determinism in Chinese thought. As we will see in the next section, Sun Tzu stresses the importance of constant adaptation to the enemy. This concept of ‘according with the enemy’ fundamentally denies the possibility of exact long-term predictions and deterministic thinking. The commander must constantly make estimates about the context at hand and this is in a constant state of change so his plans must change accordingly. This is reflected in the following statement: ‘One should not fix a time and place for battle in advance’. The same notion is also stated in the concluding line on page 2 of Chapter 1 in the basic outline of the mechanism for defeating an opponent: ‘They cannot be spoken of in advance’. In other words, as the campaign and battles progress, one needs to adjust. Knowledge, Order, Preservation of harmony, preservation of the state and the army, shih and foreknowledge are thus logically intertwined and the one who wins is the one who understands the world better, who

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knows the patterns and order and can shape the world accordingly. And this also applies when we look to the situation when war and operations are actually planned in advance. And here we enter the field of strategy and tactics.

Strategy and Tactics: Using Harmony to Create Disorder, Discord and Chaos In chapters 1 and 3, Sun Tzu reveals his ideas of how to conduct a campaign once the estimate of shih has indicated that it is both necessary and feasible to embark upon war. First he returns to shih: After estimating the advantages in accord with what you have heard, put it into effect with strategic power, supplemented by field tactics that respond to external factors. As for strategic power, (it is) controlling the tactical imbalance of power in accord with the gains to be realized’. Then he follows with the famous statement that is often quoted out of context: Warfare is the Tao of deception. Thus although you are capable, display incapability to them. When committed to employing your forces, feign inactivity. When your objective is nearby, make it appear as if distant; when far away, create the illusion of being nearby. Display profits to entice him. Create disorder (in their forces) and take them69. If they are substantial, prepare for them; if they are strong, avoid them. If they are angry, perturb them; be deferential to foster their arrogance. If they are rested, force them to exert themselves. If they are united, cause them to be separated. Attack where they are unprepared. Go forth where they will not expect it. These are the ways military strategists are victorious. They cannot be spoken of in advance.70 Several concepts from this short section of the book are further developed later. These all derive from the basic concept that strategy is about putting the

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enemy off balance, about creating disharmony and chaos. And, so the last sentence tells us, there is no way of exactly knowing in advance how this can or will be accomplished, for it depends on a myriad of contextual factors, the prime one being the need to shape one’s actions in accordance with the opponent’s actions and reactions. That is the mechanism for victory. Sun Tzu thus focuses upon manipulation, thereby shaping the enemy and creating an opportunity for an easy (as in less costly) victory by applying maximum power at the appropriate time and place(s). To this end, Sun Tzu explores the possibilities offered by certain types of terrain and indicates what type of terrain should be avoided and what type of terrain is best suited for the various forms of operation. The advantage of possessing better judgment of terrain must be exploited. He proposes tactics for probing, manipulating and weakening the opponent. To this end, one needs to know the opponent’s plans, positions and future moves. A commander should try to divide the opponent’s forces, weaken the bonds that tie the troops into a cohesive mass, weaken mutual trust between men, units, officers, troops and allies: In, antiquity those who were referred to as excelling in the employment of the army, were able to keep the enemy’s forward and rear forces from connecting, the many and the few from relying on each other; the noble and lowly from coming to each other’s rescue; the upper and lower ranks from trusting each other; the troops to be separated, unable to reassemble, or when assembled, not to be well ordered.71 A commander should also know about the five dangerous personality traits of his opponent so as to exploit his weaknesses.72 The enemy must be lured into untenable positions with prospects of gain, which means that one must know what the opponent values.73 Troops must be enervated by being wearied and exhausted before the attack and penetrated by forces that are suddenly concentrated at vulnerable points.74 More concisely, the opponent should be left unsure of one’s actions, plans and positions. He should be confused. To that end, he should be deceived and confronted with a rapidly changing and unanticipated sequence of events.75 And even if he is not confused, he should be denied the option

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of reacting adequately with his troops. To this end, units need to be separated and generally dislocated. They must be exhausted through being forced to be constantly on their guard and on the move. Their trust in their leaders and that between units must be corroded. Finally they must be inspired by fear. Thus, the enemy will be weakened through confusion about our position, through the subsequent dislocation of his forces and the state of disorder. All these strategic and tactical factors, which span the mental, the moral and the physical dimensions,76 together with the grand strategic factors such as the quality of the alliances of the opponent, combine to put the enemy off balance. The aim is to get the opponent in a position against which the shih and hsing, all the potential energy of one’s army, can be released with the maximum effect, against a disorganized and locally inferior force. The basic idea is to go forth where they do not expect it and attack where they are not prepared.77 Battle must be avoided until one is certain that a favorable balance of power (not just in terms of numbers) has been created. Several statements relate to this mechanism: Those that excelled in warfare first made themselves unconquerable in order to await (the moment) the enemy could be conquered. Being unconquerable lies with yourself; being conquerable lies with the enemy. Those …referred to as excelling at warfare conquered those who were easy to defeat… Their victories were free of errors. One who is free from error directs his measures towards certain victory, conquering those who are already conquered. Thus the one who excels at warfare first establishes himself in a position where he cannot be defeated while not losing any opportunity to defeat the enemy. For this reason, the victorious army first realizes the conditions for victory and then seeks to engage in battle.78 The one who excels at moving the enemy deploys in a configuration to which the enemy must respond. He offers something the enemy must seize. With profit he moves them, with foundation he awaits them. Thus, one who excels at warfare seeks victory through the strategic configurations of power, not from reliance on men.

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When all that is accomplished and the conditions for victory have been established, all the preserved latent energy will be released: Thus the victorious army is like a ton compared with an ounce, while the defeated army is like an ounce weighed against a ton. The combat of the victorious is like the sudden release of a pent-up torrent down a thousand-fathom gorge. This is the strategic disposition of force (hsing).79 So, this is what is really behind the familiar statements: One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious’,80 and ‘one who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements.81 Lastly, the familiar but often misunderstood statement ‘Subjugating the enemy’s army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence’’82 is thus put within a logical context of the aim for preservation and the aim of fighting an enemy who is completely off balance and about to collapse. Concepts for Winning Sun Tzu’s mechanism for victory is a subtle one. Building on the foundation explained above, it relies on the cumulative effect of adhering to the following concepts, which can be considered as modes of behavior, or desired effects. Accordance with the enemy Foreknowledge Cohesion Surprise Deception & Deceit Formlessness & being Unfathomable High Speed Variety & Flexibility Orthodox & Unorthodox Vacuous & Substantial

In order to get a clear understanding of the above concepts, we need to take a look at them separately. His mechanism starts with the assumption that one can shape an opponent through the principle of ‘accordance with the enemy’. This concept underlies the whole idea of putting the enemy off balance. The assumption is that one can shape the opponent by according to his actions, plans etc. After a short description of this

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concept, I will address two requirements for the whole scheme to work, namely foreknowledge and cohesion. Together, these three concepts gird the scheme of putting the opponent off balance by the use of surprise through deception and deceit, and the methods Sun Tzu proposes to achieve surprise: The idea of formlessness and being unfathomable, maintaining high speed, ensuring variety and flexibility in actions, the idea of using the unorthodox and orthodox, and finally of knowing how to discern the vacuous and substantial. These ten concepts are valuable for operations at all levels of war, although they are most frequently used when Sun Tzu discusses those activities at what we would call the operational and tactical level. Most of these have not been mentioned before, but now that we know what Sun Tzu proposes as the basic mechanism, we can easily see what they mean and how and where they fit in. ‘Accordance with the enemy’. This concept intellectually forms the basis of the whole idea. It is the assumption that one can shape the opponent and for that one should act in accordance with the opponent’s actions. This is an essential idea in Chinese philosophy and it is expressed as yin. Every situation has its advantages and disadvantages and can be turned into an opportunity. Yin involves responsiveness to one’s context, to adapt oneself to a situation in such a manner as to take full advantage of the defining circumstances, and to avail oneself of the possibilities of the situation in order to achieve one’s own purposes. Shape and adapt, attack what they love first. ‘Do not fix any time for battle, assess and react to the enemy in order to determine the strategy for battle’.83 Yin requires sensitivity and adaptability. Sensitivity is necessary to register the full range of forces that define one’s situation, and on the basis of this awareness, to anticipate the various possibilities that may ensue from the situation. Adaptability refers to the conscious fluidity of one’s own disposition. One can only turn prevailing circumstances to account if one maintains an attitude of readiness and flexibility. One must adapt oneself to the enemy’s changing posture as naturally and as effortlessly as flowing water winding down a hillside:84 The army’s disposition of force (hsing) is like water. Water’s configuration avoids heights and races downward. The army’s disposition of force avoids the substantial and strikes the vacuous. Water configures its flow in accordance with the

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terrain; the army controls its victory in accordance with the enemy. Thus, the army does not maintain a constant strategic configuration of power (shih), water has no constant shape. Anyone who is able to change and transform in accordance with the enemy and wrest victory, is termed spiritual.85 Yin means shifting your position so adroitly and imperceptibly that, from the enemy’s perspective, you are inscrutable.86 To act in accordance with the opponent, one needs to know the opponent’s aims, plans and position of forces as well as the character of the commander. And this leads us to a second look at foreknowledge, this time specifically for the strategic and tactical level as opposed to the grand strategic level we have dealt with before. Foreknowledge. As we already have seen above, this is essential for the grand strategic level, but it permeates the whole body of thought: ‘The prosecution of military affairs depends upon acting in accordance with the enemy and learning in detail about his intentions’.87 It is easy to recognize in The Art of War that foreknowledge means something different at each level of war. Sun Tzu specifies the different answers a general would want to know at a certain level. For each level, there are different issues to address on different levels of detail. At the grand strategic level, Sun Tzu states that we should be concerned about alliances, the internal political cohesion and the support a leader is likely to get for his endeavors. At the tactical levels, a general needs to know the number of campfires in the enemy camp and the sounds that emanate from it. Gaining foreknowledge can be done through the employment of spies and through knowing the telltale signs of armies on the move as Sun Tzu indicates in ch 9: If large numbers of trees move, they are approaching. If the army is turbulent, the general lacks severity, if they kill their horses and eat the meat, the army lacks grain. One whose troops repeatedly congregate in small groups here and there, whispering together, has lost the masses .88 Furthermore, he states that

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for this reason, one who does not know the plans of the feudal lords cannot forge preparatory alliances. One who does not know the topography of mountains and forests, ravines and defiles, wetlands and marshes cannot maneuver the army. One who does not employ local guides will not secure advantages of terrain. One who does not know one of these four or five cannot command the army89 [and] The means by which enlightened leaders and sagacious generals moved and conquered others, that their achievements surpassed the masses, was advance knowledge. Advance knowledge… must be gained from men, for this is the knowledge of the enemy’s true situation’90. Foreknowledge and knowledge in general make possible the other concepts we will discuss later, such as deception, being fathomless and formless, attacking the vacuous, the use of orthodox and the unorthodox. Cohesion. Maintaining cohesion in one’s own army is another important prerequisite for creating and exploiting disorder through the concepts of deception, rapid movement etc. There are many references to the methods available to a commander in order for him to maintain cohesion among his troops. Generally, it depends on the commander taking well care of his troops, preserving them, handing out praise as well as punishment where and when it is due, but being fair, disciplined and strict. We have already learned that it was important to know which commander had clearer rewards and punishments. If you impose punishment on the troops before they have become attached, they will not be submissive. If they are not submissive they will be difficult to employ. If you do not impose punishment after the troops have become attached, they cannot be used. Command them with the civil and unify them through the martial, this is what is referred to as to take them. If orders are consistently implemented to instruct the people, then the people will submit… One whose orders are consistently carried out has established a mutual relationship with the people.91 The corollary of attacking when the ch’i, or spirit, of the enemy troops is low, is that one should guard one’s own so as to ‘with the rested await the

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fatigued, with the sated await the hungry’.92 Elsewhere Sun Tzu says that the troops should be looked upon as beloved children.93 Maintaining cohesion also involves paying attention to the use of flags, gongs, drums, banners and other objects that can be seen and recognized in the heat of battle.94 These can be used to give orders to units and as symbols for units to gather around. It also extends to dividing loot fairly among the troops. Other motivating and unifying factors are the deep penetration into enemy terrain and the shared exposure to risk by the commander, officers and troops. The bottom line is that the commander must be able to direct his troops as though commanding one man95 and ‘one whose upper and lower ranks have the same desires (and will thus be victorious)96 so he can ‘in order await the disordered’.97 As Sun Tzu notes: Control gives birth to (simulated) chaos. Thus harmony, order and cohesion are used to create disorder. Surprise. From these concepts we can now turn to the basic mechanism of attacking where the enemy does not expect it, and the ensuing achievement of surprise. Without surprise at some stage in the encounter with the opponent, it will be difficult to mass superior force. Surprise is achieved through the interaction of several methods applied simultaneously. Sun Tzu’s military thought has frequently been erroneously identified solely with deceit and deception. These two terms, however, connect ideas that ultimately need to produce surprise. Only twice do deception and deceit appear explicitly in the book. The most famous one is found in Chapter 1, where it is stated that ‘warfare is the Tao of deception. Thus although you are capable, display incapability to them. When committed to employing your forces, feign inactivity. When your objective is nearby, make it appear as if distant; when far away, create the illusion of being nearby’. The second one appears in Chapter 7 and states that ‘thus the army is established by deceit, moves for advantage, and changes through segmenting and reuniting’. Deception and Deceit. Deception and deceit are achieved by moving separately and keeping the opponent guessing where one will unite. If one is already united, one can disperse again in the hope that the opponent has united and thereby committed his forces. Troop deployments or the image thereof are used together with misinformation from (expendable)

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spies, as well as the feigning of certain activities that serve as indicators of upcoming operations to the trained eye of the opposing commander. All the above means are used to deceive the opponent. Of course, all efforts to deceive must be matched by making sure one’s real intentions and movements are shrouded in secrecy, and with this we arrive at the concept of being unfathomable. Being Formless and Unfathomable. Sun Tzu stresses the need for a commander to be unfathomable and obscure, never revealing his plans or intentions even to his own troops.98 Being unfathomable through deception and deceit will cause the opposing commander to be confused or forced to respond in a way that is not in accordance with his initial plan. He is forced to react, especially when he suddenly discovers that we are moving towards an object that he needs to defend. Thus he is shaped. We recognize these notions in the following statement: One who excels at moving the enemy deploys in a configuration to which the enemy must respond. He offers something that the enemy must seize. With profit he moves them, with foundation he awaits them.99 Related to deception and being unfathomable is the idea of being formless. Whenever the army deploys onto the battlefield, its immediately apparent configuration will evoke a reaction (he too is in accordance with the enemy) in the enemy. Whether the enemy will then modify his original anticipations, vary his tactics or view the events as confirming a preconceived battle plan, depends upon his evaluation of the unfolding situation. Now by being formless, that is without having a recognizable configuration, this evaluation becomes rather difficult. Thus being formless also implies being unfathomable. False appearances kept secret in turn help being unfathomable. Here we see how these notions interact. The concept of formless may also mean that one lacks an identifiable mass, which means that the enemy cannot discern a pattern or a main body, perhaps due to the true physical dispersion of our forces or through being unfathomable, employing deceit and being successful in deception activities. He must disperse his forces in order to defend what he treasures and to cover the possible routes we can take, as he is not aware of our position.

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This we see mirrored in: If I determine the enemy’s disposition of forces while I have no perceptible form, I can concentrate my forces while the enemy is fragmented. If we are concentrated into a single force while he is fragmented into ten, then we can attack him with ten times his strength. Thus we are many and the enemy is few. If we attack his few with our many, those whom we engage in battle will be severely constrained. And furthermore in: They must not know the location where we will engage the enemy. If it is not known, then the positions that they must prepare to defend are numerous. If the positions the enemy prepares to defend are numerous, then the forces we engage will be few.100 Speed and Rapidity. So all these terms aim at getting the opponent dislocated and confused. And to enhance the creation of confusion and being unfathomable, one should use superior speed. Rapidity of movement and attacks help shaping the opponent and will wear him down: It is the nature of the army to stress speed, to take advantage of the enemy’s absence…101 Whoever occupies the battleground first and awaits the enemy is at ease; whoever occupies the battleground afterward and must race to the conflict will be fatigued. Thus one who excels at warfare compels men and is not compelled by other men. Variety and Flexibility. The use of variety and flexibility in response as well as never being predictable are additional tools that help you being unfathomable. This is reflected in It is essential for a general to be tranquil and obscure, upright and self disciplined, and able to stupefy the eyes and ears of officers and troops, keeping them ignorant. He alters his management of affairs and changes his strategies to keep other people from recognizing them. He shifts his positions and

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traverses indirect routes to keep other people from being able to anticipate him,102 [and also in:] ‘Men all know the disposition by which we attain victory, but no one knows the configuration through which we control the victory. Thus a victorious battle (strategy) is not repeated, the configurations of response to the enemy are inexhaustible.103 The Orthodox (cheng) and the Unorthodox (ch’i). There is one set of polar opposites whose multitude of variations is inexhaustible and which leads to the enemy being completely wrong footed. This is the concept of using the orthodox (cheng) and the unorthodox (ch’i). This is an important set of polar opposites. They can be translated as the straightforward method and the crafty method or the direct method and the indirect method. Ch’i and Cheng must be understood in the widest sense as meaning energy, strategy, ideas, forces (moral, mental and physical). The point is that one can use force (and not forces as in specific types of units) in conventional, traditional or imaginative unconventional ways in dealing with an opponent. Nothing in itself is straightforward or crafty, direct or indirect. The concept is characterized by the notion that the unorthodox can become the orthodox, which is typical of the Chinese use of polar opposites. Whether it is one or the other depends on what one thinks the opponent will expect in the particular circumstances of the battle in question. The concept of ch’i and cheng is about conceptualizing, characterizing, and manipulating forces, and by exploiting an enemy’s matrix of expectations. When a frontal attack is expected, a conclusion derived from one’s previous strategy and tactics and one’s disposition of forces at that particular moment is the orthodox method and an enveloping movement will be the unorthodox method. The concept also refers to the functions of forces; to fix the opponent is the orthodox but the coup the grace will be delivered by the unorthodox in a flanking attack. The extraordinary forces are used to take the enemy by surprise, or, as Sun Tzu states: Generally in battle one engages with the orthodox and gains victory through the unorthodox […] the changes of the unorthodox and orthodox can never be completely exhausted. The unorthodox and the orthodox mutually produce each other, just like an endless cycle. Who can exhaust them?.104

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Indeed, what is unorthodox and orthodox, expected or strange, direct or indirect, regular or irregular, extraordinary or normal (to name a few implications of cheng and ch’i) is dependent on the opponent, so the actions of both sides mutually influence each other. This is again a concept that aims at putting the opponent off balance, this time using the expectations of the opponent’s commander and employing forces in ways, times, places, movements and formations he does not expect. It is important to note that Sun Tzu does not advocate one above the other, neither the indirect nor the direct, but stresses the novel combination of both.105 It is from the interaction of the unorthodox and the orthodox that the enemy is confused, demoralized, disorganized, dislocated, looking in the wrong direction etc. As we have seen before, variation and novel combinations of types of forces, maneuvers and methods of deception and deceit are important. Emptiness (hsu) and Fullness, or Solidity (shih). Understanding the enemy’s dispositions (hsing) and potential power (shih) and knowing how to apply the concept of the orthodox and unorthodox is not enough. One does not possess complete comprehension unless one knows how to target one’s forces against the enemy’s disposition and power. The commander must have an appreciation of the concept of the polar opposites emptiness (hsu) and fullness, or solidity (shih), or the vacuous and substantial. Hsu means empty or weak in a sense that goes beyond the physical. To be empty in the Hsu sense may indicate a poorly defended position or a well-defended position burdened with feeble leadership, a lack of legitimate purpose or weak morale. Hsu indicates the crevices in an opponent’s defenses that allow penetration. Conversely, shih can be a strongly defended position or a capable force that has every positive quality. It has high morale, strong leadership and its actions are in accordance with its moral code. The problem is that no position of force is permanently solid (or empty for that matter) and Sun Tzu sees this as a way of providing the opponent with the dilemma we have already happened upon: What to defend and what to attack.106 The correct use of the concept of emptiness and solidity combined with the effects of previous concepts, create a situation where one will be able to find and attack a weak spot in the enemy’s defenses. By being formless, unfathomable and quick, we force the opponent to disperse, as we

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have seen, and by attacking or moving towards objects he values we disrupt his plans and disperse his units even further. Thus we create a situation where the opponent does indeed have identifiable strong points and weaknesses, which we can subsequently exploit by suddenly concentrating our force which must be superior in mental, moral and physical power. Interconnected and Mutually Reinforcing Concepts The connection between the ideas of foreknowledge, preservation, accordance with the enemy, shih, shaping, variety, the formless and unfathomable, the emptiness and fullness, etc, show in this concluding part of Chapter 6: Thus if I determine the enemy’s disposition of forces while I have no perceptible form, I can concentrate while the enemy is dispersed […] thus we are many and the enemy is few. If we attack his few with our many those who we engage in battle will be severely constrained. The location where we will engage the enemy must not become known to them. If it is not known, then the positions they must prepare to defend will be numerous. If the positions…are numerous, the forces we will engage will be few. If there is no position left undefended there will be no place with more than a few… Thus critically analyze them to know the estimations for gain and loss. Stimulate them to know the patterns of their movement and stopping. Determine their disposition of force to know the tenable and fatal terrain. Probe them to know where they have excess, and where they have insufficiency. Thus the pinnacle of military deployment approaches the formless…In accordance with the enemy’s disposition we impose measures on the masses that produce victory…but no one knows the configurations through which we control the victory. Thus a victorious battle strategy is not repeated… now the armies disposition of force is like water…the armies disposition of force avoids the substantial and strikes the vacuous. Water configures its flow in accord with the terrain; the army controls its victory in accord with the enemy. Thus the army does not maintain any constant strategic configuration of power, water has no constant shape. One who is able to change and transform

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in accordance with the enemy and wrest victory is termed spiritual. Thus none of the five phases constantly dominates; the four seasons do not have constant positions; the sun shines for longer and shorter periods; and the moon wanes and waxes.107

From the Essence of The Art of War to the Essence of Asymmetric War It is obvious that The Art of War is informative in order to understand the meaning of asymmetric warfare. For Sun Tzu, the creation of asymmetries is the key to victory. The Art of War can be seen as the embodiment of asymmetric warfare or at least as a very good example of it. The first point Sun Tzu makes clear is that asymmetries can be found and created in various domains and dimensions. Sun Tzu points out a variety of potential leverage points with which to achieve an asymmetric situation, at the tactical, operational, strategic and political level, in the physical, temporal, spatial and, importantly, the cognitive and moral domain. For Sun Tzu, war is a multi-level and multi- dimensional contest, where military operations and actual fighting are an important, but not the only part. Sun Tzu has a keen eye for statecraft and the different dimensions in which war is waged. The political, diplomatic, economic and moral dimensions are not omitted, in fact, he warns against a singular exclusive focus on the military dimension. Therefore, he addresses alliances, national infrastructure, the economy, political leadership and military leadership. He focuses on the moral dimension. Alliance cohesion, unit cohesion, trust among political and military leaders, trust among military leaders and their troops, and the morale of the troops are discussed. All the above notions can be affected through physical actions, threats, misinformation, lack of information, and bribery; military and non-military methods. Numerical, organizational, positional and temporal advantages can be created and exploited. Surprising novel and varying combinations of weapons and methods are advocated, and not all of them are military in nature, nor do they all involve combat. Similar leverage points were also identified by Metz and Johnson and various other authors. They argue that asymmetry can be political-strategic, military-strategic, operational or a combination of these. It can entail methods,

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technologies, values, organizations, time perspectives, or some combination of these. It can be short term or long term, deliberate or by default. It can be discrete or pursued in conjunction with symmetric approaches. Finally, it can have both psychological and physical dimensions.108 Second, although The Art of War offers a useful encyclopedia of potential asymmetries, forcing one to think beyond the military dimension, it’s value for the understanding of asymmetric warfare is rooted in more fundamental views about the nature of war, the appropriate way to wage it and the formulation of strategy. The Art of War points to the requirements for waging war and formulating strategies, and both are normatively asymmetric. And this starts with the basic approach to studying war. While Metz and Johnson stated that asymmetric warfare is acting, organizing and thinking differently, this order should be reversed. Understanding Sun Tzu and asymmetric warfare begins with the understanding that a different frame of thought is the core concept. What is striking about The Art Of War, is the fact that it covers such a wide array of issues, that it addresses all levels of war, and that Sun Tzu had a keen eye for the multi-dimensional character of war and the way several dimensions may have an impact on the outcome of war. With some justification, Colin Gray labels The Art of War as a general theory of war.109 In fact, an essential feature of The Art of War is that Sun Tzu advocates a holistic approach when studying or pondering war and in formulating strategies. A holistic approach regards war as a multidimensional and multi-domain contest, with the military dimension just one of many. Understanding and waging asymmetric warfare requires a holistic approach. The fact that Sun Tzu favors a holistic approach is not surprising, as Chinese thought is distinctly holistic and contextual. It stresses context, connections, change and the recognition of patterns as prime factors for cognition. This outlook permeates Sun Tzu’s work and is most obviously present in the idea that order can be discerned and accordingly the world can be shaped. It is the one who possesses the superior ability to discern order who is able to impose harmony between himself and the environment, thereby shaping the opponent’s environment and making it difficult for the him to do the same. This applies to all the levels we encounter in The Art of War, and leads to an additional important insight

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provided by Sun Tzu on the nature of asymmetric war, an element that is absent or not emphasized in the current debate on asymmetry. This element may also explain some of the surprises the West has encountered in operations during the nineties. Fundamentally, asymmetric war is not about certain technologies, weapons or threats. It is about recognizing the fundamental dialectic, the contextual and interactive nature of war. Asymmetry is relationally defined and constituted. The ability to wage asymmetric warfare starts with a mindset that is able to understand this nature. War and strategy revolve around the mind – one’s own and the opponent’s mind. According to Sun Tzu, victory depends on informational advantage, or more accurately, better judgement, coupled with an attitude and capability of infinite flexibility and adaptability. ‘Know thine enemy’ is not an empty slogan. The West has often interpreted this as a requirement for information dominance. However, as the discussion of Sun Tzu above demonstrates, it should not be equated with information per se, but with study, a keen awareness of the dynamics of war, of the motives, habits, experiences, doctrines, interests, character, strengths and weaknesses of an opponent. It relates to judgement, perception and recognition of patterns. The mind of the opponent is the prime target, the basis on which to form one’s own strategy. Combat and is secondary and follows from that. This must not be construed as an unwillingness to engage in combat. The ancient Chinese strategic concept of ‘not fighting and subduing the enemy’ must not be interpreted as a preference for avoiding war at all cost. Instead, it forces one to think in different dimensions before and beyond actual combat in order to shape events, actions and intentions so as to facilitate combat if it occurs, while during combat, it makes one concentrate on the mind of the opponent and the impact of ones actions’, instead of the tactical engagements themselves. A holistic approach and the idea that ‘everything’ is connected within a larger context also affect the basic view on the preferable strategy: None in particular and all stratagems together in varying combinations and sequences. The highly contextual nature of war forces one to an approach based on flexibility. This notion resides in organizational flexibility and adaptability, and in conceptual flexibility, which allows one to choose from a varied and wide repertoire of options when approaching the opponent. We see the tenets of a holistic approach, flexibility and adapt-

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ability, in the dimensions and domains covered by the methods used when approaching an opponent. None is exclusively aimed at one particular domain, be it the physical, mental or moral one. For Sun Tzu, any favorable outcome of a conflict is the result of multiple methods applied simultaneously at several levels, reinforcing one another and shaping conditions for others to be effective. At the grand strategic level this is manifest in the list of available strategies which include diplomatic, economic and military methods. At the operational, tactical and military strategic levels, we see it in the interactions of the supporting concepts which all aim to put the enemy off balance, to isolate sections of the opponent’s forces at different aggregation levels of his system and thereby shaping him. Military disadvantages can for instance be mitigated through waging war in nonmilitary domains. Alternatively, military parity can be turned into advantage through the disruption of the opponent’s alliance. In other words, Sun Tzu describes methods that affect the whole, in that he regards the environment as a whole which includes the enemy. This leads to another essential ingredient of asymmetric warfare. Waging war successfully requires a superior capability to adapt while affecting the opponent’s capability to adapt.110 The prime concept that reflects this, is the idea that one should be in accordance with the enemy (which of course is in line with notion of the contextual, dialectic and relational character of asymmetric warfare). It reflects the understanding that the opponent behaves unpredictably and in a non-linear fashion, and one’s efforts should be to constantly monitor the state of the opponent and his options and attempt to shape these options and limit their range and variety. This drives one’s actions and the whole idea is about the need to constantly adapt. Adapting means taking into account the opponent’s responses, which are reflections of his attempts to adapt. The corollary of building upon flexibility and adaptability is to devise ways of degrading the opponent’s ability to adapt and to decrease his measure of flexibility, to shrink his ‘decision space’ and his range of options. The disruption of harmony between people and units features prominently in The Art of War. In fact, the first page of the first chapter deals with the important aspect of harmony, in this case the importance

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of always maintaining harmony on one’s own side. Sun Tzu aims at disrupting connections (moral, informational, spatial, ideational, and logistical). In The Art of War, Sun Tzu addresses relations between the leader and his people; between the commander and his troops, and between units. Sun Tzu states in various passages that these connections can be manipulated or destroyed by: physically separating them; isolating them; dislocating them; by morally disrupting cohesion through creating distrust; through decreasing support for the leader by thwarting his plans and taking away his army; by spreading false information; by bribing officials:111 through diplomatic pressure; through disrupting his alliances; and generally chipping away at the greatness of the leader and the legitimacy and integrity of his actions. The political goals of warfare could be achieved by creating a state of chaos in the enemy’s society, which in the days of Sun Tzu meant the destruction of the psychological, social and political order, which was the ideal of classical Chinese society. Sun Tzu believed the goal of warfare was to destroy the conditions of prosperity and order that formed the link between the leader and his people. If the link was broken, then the leader’s claim for legitimacy was forfeited. The creation of a state of chaos meant the moral failure of a leader and the shift of moral leadership to the opposition, namely a rebel, usurper or invader.112 Sun Tzu also lists disorganization, distrust, ruin, collapse, flight and insubordination as factors that can undermine an army, factors that induce chaos and lead the commander away from a state of harmony. Through the combination of the above factors and unanticipated physical movement, Sun Tzu aims to confuse (mental sphere) the enemy and work on his morale. Through the use of secrecy, rapid movements and attacks, by attacking where not expected, by the combined use of orthodox and unorthodox methods the enemy will be dislocated, confused and numerically inferior, which affects the morale of the troops. The simultaneous employment of multiple (and varying) methods affects moral, mental and physical aspects at all levels of the enemy’s system. The whole idea of preservation of harmony at all levels, of inducing chaos at all levels of the enemy camp, of acquiring information and being formless, fathomless and of maintaining secrecy, etc, is about the need to maintain and affect the capability to adapt. The aim is to take action in

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the various domains where he cannot react or does not know how to respond. In fact, when flexibility is degraded, so is his capability to adapt. Asymmetric warfare is thus as old as warfare itself, and asymmetric strategy is the proper way to wage it. Sun Tzu points out that finding, creating and exploiting asymmetries is the essence of strategy and shows which elements are required in order to be successful at it. This discussion of the essence of The Art of War reveals what ‘acting, organizing and thinking differently’ in the definition of Metz and Johnson really means. This study of Sun Tzu’s thoughts reveals that asymmetric warfare is not about weapons, threats or tactics, although they are inherently part of it. New types of weapons, new combinations and varying deployment patters can create asymmetry, albeit perhaps briefly. But asymmetric warfare is definitely not confined to the military dimension. The political, moral, informational, spatial, temporal and cognitive dimensions offer potential leverage points for more devastating asymmetries. Above all, this analysis shows that asymmetric warfare is about a mindset that is holistic, that values flexibility and adaptability and that recognizes the contextual and dialectic nature of war. Colin Gray hits the mark when he states in a list of the various ways asymmetric threats ‘work’, that ‘asymmetric threats work by defeating our strategic imagination’.113

Concluding Remarks The essence of strategy and the argument that asymmetry is as old as warfare itself may seem to be rather trivial issues, and as irrelevant as the entire debate on asymmetric war. Colin Gray has been very sceptical with respect to the concern and debate on asymmetric warfare, describing asymmetry as a hollow concept precisely because ‘defense and war planning always have significant asymmetrical dimension’.114 There is, of course, some merit to his position. However, three reasons underpin the significance of coming to grips with the concept and understanding the nature of it, even if it means restating old truths about war and strategy. The first reason lies in the fact that in this era, when the West has shown a particular appetite for military interventions, the chance of encountering asymmetric responses (in the sense of non-Western methods and rules)

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increases. The second reason lies in the West’s constant surprise when an opponent does not rapidly give in to the obvious demonstrations of Western military power.115 Stating that asymmetric warfare is about the mind is not trite or trivial. Luttwak, Gooch and Cohen and scores of others have pointed out that failure to react, learn and anticipate will bring failure to armies and nations.116 Others state that, despite the experiences in Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo, the essence of strategy apparently eludes political and military leaders in the West. There appears to be little or no recognition and application of the strategic-level lessons of the Vietnam War and the hundreds of other, smaller conflicts that have taken place over the past several years. This was recently stated in a study on asymmetric warfare by an expert on strategy and ‘small wars’.117 Revisiting a classic in strategic theory appears warranted if it results in a better comprehension of a (perceived) policy problem, no matter how hollow it may be. The final reason is the obvious fact that various countries deliberately examine the current Western style of warfare to form asymmetric responses. The Serbs learned about patterns of Western air operations from the Iraqis and incorporated these lessons in their air defense system during Allied Force. The concern for the WMD capacity of Iraq and North – Korea is reinforced by the deliberate attempts by these countries to bury and harden their research, production and storage facilities expressly in response to Western air ordnance capabilities and limitations. For some countries, asymmetry is apparently shifting from a reactive and defensive doctrine to a deliberate feature of defence planning. In a recent book called Unrestricted Warfare, two serving Chinese colonels declared that since it cannot possibly win a conventional conflict with the United States, it needs to devise a different form of warfare, one which does not adhere to the rules of war that are set by the West. Although arguing that achieving some form of asymmetry is the essence of strategy is perhaps stating the obvious, this is not an academic exercise. This Chinese book has caused quite a furor in the West because it demonstrates what is really behind the ‘not fighting’ concept. The authors, Chinese serving Colonels, unveiled their view on how to counter the Western style of warfare. It begins with a thorough examination of the way the West, and in particular the US, has fought wars in the past decade. They recognize the

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pattern. In response, their approach is multi-dimensional and deliberately not confined to the military dimension. In the following table are listed the domains in which war can be waged according to the authors.118 Military War Nuclear Conventional Bio-Chemical Ecological Space Electronic Guerilla Terrorism Beyond Military War Diplomatic Internet Information Ops Psychological High Tech Smuggling Drug Deterrence Nonmilitary War Financial Trade Natural Resource Economic Aid Law and Regulations Sanctions Media Ideological

They advocate nonmilitary means, for instance Information Warfare and related concepts, such as the use of hackers, the mass media and financial information terrorism. Rules and conventions, such as the Laws of Armed Combat are not adhered to, while the West’s political, moral and military restraints are fully exploited. The key is the unique alignment and integration of psychological and diplomatic resources and other warfare techniques. Weapons and combat methods are not necessarily related to military hardware or organizations. More philosophically, the authors turn the West’s perception concerning the nature, the meaning and the purpose of war against itself. War is not violent military clashes, instead it must be understood as a constant contest or struggle. The authors deliberately redefine the meaning of war and stretch it far beyond what most political leaders consider to be the current meaning of war. Thus academically they open the possibility of being engaged in a war, employing non-military methods to achieve their aim, while the West would not recognize that it was actually engaged in one. The book is a demonstration of the mindset that Sun Tzu favors. It is the holistic and dialectic mind in action. It also demonstrates the practice of a concept called quan bian, or absolute flexibility, that is related to the idea of ‘according with the enemy’. This concept can be described as ‘to respond flexibly and create conditions for victory’.119 This is obviously not official Chinese security or defense policy.

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However, it shows that the West’s experiences with surprising and unnerving political and military countermoves by adaptive enemies, were not exceptional events, and did not happen by chance or default. Asymmetric warfare, in the sense of ‘according with the enemy’, is for an increasing number of states, armed forces and warlords a deliberately adopted approach. This reinforces the conclusion that, whereas the West discusses ‘asymmetric’ as the deviation from the norm, asymmetric warfare is in fact the norm in warfare. And Sun Tzu points the ways, or Tao, to wage it. We are indeed rediscovering the essence of strategy. The current concept of asymmetric warfare may be hollow, and the debate a misguided hype, but the re-educational side-effects may have a tremendously advantageous effect by creating an awareness of the boundaries of one’s own thinking and practices. In light of the strategic mistakes made in the past two centuries, nobody can deny that that in itself is very important indeed. As Colin Gray remarked so beautifully, ‘an important argument is not necessarily original […] because old truths can be forgotten, mislaid, misapplied, ignored, or even explicitly defied, their periodic repetition or even rediscovery is useful’.120

NOTES
1 Vincent J. Goulding, Jr., ‘Back to the Future with Asymmetric Warfare’, Parameters, Winter, 2000–2001, p. 21. 2 ‘Asymmetrical Threats New Military Watchword’, Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 27, 1998, p. 55. In this article this refers to ‘weapons and tactics that relatively weak enemies could use to foil or circumvent the West’s technological supremacy’. 3 See for instance the bibliography of asymmetric warfare of the US National Defense University at www.ndu.edu/library/pubs/warfare.html, which listed in August 2001 104 articles, books and reports, most of which were published after 1995. 4 Lawrence Freedman, ‘The Third World War?’, in Survival, Vol. 43, no.4,Winter 2001–02, p. 73. 5 Several authors have noted this. See for instance in ibid, p. 70., Freedman observes that ‘the very success of Operation Desert Storm made it less likely that future enemies would fight in a way that so conformed to American preferences’. 6 Ibid. A 1998 report from the National Defense University defined asymmetry as ‘not fighting fair’. This can be found in chapter eleven of the NDU/INSS publication Strategic Assessment 1998,which is titled ‘Asymmetric Threats’. See www.ndu.edu/inss/sa98/sa98ch11.html. 7 Thomas Homer Dixon, ‘The Rise of Complex Terrorism’, Foreign Policy, January-February st 2002, pp. 52–63; Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War, Survival at the Dawn of the 21

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8 9 10 11 12 13

14 15

16

17 18 19

20 21

Century, Little, Brown and Company, London, 1993; and several chapters in John Arquilla and David Ronfledt, In Athena’s Camp, RAND, Santa Monica, 1997, in particular chapter 12, ‘The Advent of Netwar’. Freedman, p. 71. Colin Gray, ‘Thinking Asymmetrically in Times of Terror’, Parameters, Spring 2002, p. 5. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review, Washington, D.C., Department of Defense, May 1997, Section II. st Transforming Defense: National Security in the 21 Century, Report of the National Defense Panel, Washington, D.C. December 1997, p. 11. US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Strategy Review 1999, Washington, D.C. p. 2. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr, ‘The Rise of Asymmetric Threats: Priorities for Defense Planning’, Michele A. Flournoy (ed), ,QDR 2001, Strategy Driven Choices for America’s Security, National Defense University Press, Washington, D.C. 2001, p. 76. Ibid, p. 75 Ibid, pp.78-90. This approach to the meaning of asymmetry has not only been typical of military or defence reports. See for instance the Spring 2000 article in Orbis by Winn Schwartau titled ‘Asymmetric Adversaries’. The already mentioned strategic assessment falls into this category, as do various other articles, for instance an article that summarized the proceedings of a conference debating the question emanating from Joint Vision 2010, whether ‘this nation [ the US] be defeated by asymmetric means that strike at known Achilles heels of the Armed Forces as well as key nodes in a largely unprotected civil infrastructure?’ See Robert David Steele, ‘The Asymmetric Threat: Listening to the Debate’, Joint Forces Quarterly, Autumn-Winter 1998–99, pp. 78. See for instance Nicholas Newman, Asymmetric Threats to British Military Intervention Operations, RUSI, Whitehall Paper Series, no. 49, London, 2000. Timothy L. Thomas, ‘Deciphering Asymmetry’s Word Game’, Military Review, July–August 2001, p. 33. For instance the US planning document Joint Vision 2020 addresses asymmetric threats using the threat of long-range ballistic missiles as a key example; Department of Defense, Joint Vision 2020, Washington, D.C., The Joint Staff, 2000, p.5. See Freedman for this somewhat cynical, but nevertheless pertinent remark. Freedman, pp. 71–72. During the Second World War, the Germans displayed surprising adaptability in dispersing their war production facilities, delaying the materialization of the full effect of the Allied strategic air offensive. See for instance Richard Overy, The Air War 1939–1945, Stein and Day, New York, 1980, or Why The Allies Won, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1995. For the various Korean countermeasures, see for instance Robert Futrell, The United States A ir Force in Korea 1950–1953, Revised Edition, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C., 1983. The interdiction campaigns in Vietnam are well documented. Insightful and well known are the analyses offered by Mark Clodfelter, The Limits of Air Power, The Free Press, New York, 1989, and by Robert Pape, Bombing to Win, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1996, in particular chapter 6. For analyses of these tactics in recent operations, see for instance Benjamin Lambeth, NATO’s Air War for Kosovo, A Strategic and Operational Assessment, RAND, Santa Monica, 2001; B.R. Posen, ‘The War for Kosovo; Serbia’s Political-Military Strategy’, International Security, 26, 1, pp. 93–128; Daniel Byman and Matthew Waxman, ‘Defeating US Coercion’, Survival, vol. 41, no.2, Summer 1999, pp. 107-20; D. Byman, K. Polak & M. Waxman, ‘Coercing Saddam Hussein: Lessons from the Past’, Survival, 40, 3, pp. 127–51;

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22 23 24

25 26

27 28

29 30 31 32 33

34 35 36 37

Robert Scales, ‘Adaptive Enemies, Dealing with the Strategic Threat After 2010’, Strategic Review, Winter 1999, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 5–14. See for this argument for instance Goulding. K.J. Holsti, The State, War and the State of War, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 36–39. Mary Kaldor, ‘Introduction’, Global Insecurity, Restructuring the GlobalMilitary Sector, Volume III, Pinter, New York, 2000, p. 6. In this chapter she summarizes key arguments from her insightful book New & Old Wars, Organized violence in a Global Era, Polity Press, London, 1999. Ralph Peters, ‘The New Warrior Class’, Parameters, Summer 1994, p. 16. See William Lind, et al, ‘The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation’, Marine Corps Gazette, October 1989; Thomas X. Hammes, ‘The Evolution of War: The Fourth Generation’, Marine Corps Gazette, September 1994, and William Lind, et al, ‘Fourth Generation Warfare: Another Look’, Marine Corps Gazette, December 1994. As Colin Gray argues, not without reason, in chapters 3 and 4 in Modern Strategy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999. Various authors besides van Creveld. Kaldor and Holsti have made this point,. See for instance Freedman, p. 61, which is a repetition of a point he made earlier in The Revolution in Strategic Affairs, Adelphi Paper 318, Oxford University Press for IISS, London, 1998; Edward Luttwak, ‘Towards Post-Heroic Warfare’, Foreign Affairs, 74.3 (May–June 1995) or Byman and Waxman, p. 108. The same observation is often made by authors debating the revolution in military affairs, the literature about which is vast. An early influential paper arguing that an RMA was underway, appeared not long after Desert Storm: Eliot Cohen, ‘A Revolution in Warfare’, Foreign Affairs, no. 73, 1994, pp. 109–124. A useful short summary and discussion has been produced by Colin Gray, Weapons for Strategic Effect, Occasional Paper No. 21, Center for Strategy and Technology, Air War College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, January 2001. Most recently Gray discussed this topic in ‘The RMA and Intervention: A Sceptical View’, Contemporary Security Policy, vol. 22, no. 3, December 2001, pp. 52–65. Here he explicitly makes the connection with asymmetric war. Other useful discussions that go beyond the slogans include Craig A. Snyder and J. Mohan Malik, ‘Developments in Modern Warfare’ and Andrew Latham, ‘Re-Imagining Warfare: The Revolution in Military Affairs’, both in Craig Snyder (ed), Contemporary Security and Strategy, MacMillan Press, London, 1999. Martin van Creveld, The Transformation of War, New York, 1991, p. 142–143, also cited in Holsti, p. 38 Quite a few experts have contributed to this debate, for instance John Keegan, Christopher Bassford, Colin Gray, Robert Bunker. The Tofflers discern first, second and third wave wars, and clashes of warforms. See War and Anti-War. Freedman, p. 71. Charles Dunlap, ‘Asymmetric Warfare and the Western Mindset’, in Matthews, L.J. (ed), Challenging the United States Symetrically and Asymetrically: Can America be Defended?, US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, 1998, p. 1, cited in Newman, p. 7. Kristin S. Kolet, ‘Asymmetric Threats to the United States’, Comparative Strategy, 20, 2001, p. 277. Newman, pp. 2–4, 92. Bennett, B.W. , Twomey, C.P., Treverton, G.F., What are Asymmetric Strategies?, RAND, 1999, p. 3. Freedman, p. 84.

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38 Steven Metz, Armed Conflict in the 21 Century: The Information Revolution and Post-Modern Warfare, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, April 2000, p. 22. Basil Liddell Hart summarized his thoughts in an eight point advise in Strategy, Preager , New York, 1967, in particular chapter XX. Interestingly, this edition includes a two -page introduction with citations from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Edward Luttwak basically argued that precisely because a certain strategy, doctrine, weapon, or method has proved its value in combat, it will not be successful the next time because the opponent, and third parties observing the events, will learn, respond and will attempt to nullify the advantage by taking countermeasures or by adopting the successful practices. See Edward Luttwak, Strategy, The Logic of War and Peace, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Ma, 1987. Charles Dunlap has illustrated how technological superiority, as demonstrated by the West in the nineties, creates its own counteractions, problems and dilemmas; Charles Dunlap, ‘Technology: Complicating moral life for the nation’s defenders’, Parameters, vol. 29, no. 3, 1999, pp. 24–53. 39 Colin Gray, ‘Thinking Asymmetrically in Times of Terror’, p. 5. 40 Several excellent interpretations have been published in the past decade. I rely in particular on Ralph D. Sawyer’s new translation The Art of War, Bopulder, Co, 1994, with an extensive introduction for reference to the text. Additionally, I refer to Roger Ames, Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Balantine Books, New York, 1993, for additional explanation of some concepts, Ames being particularly valuable for the intellectual context of The Art of War. 41 There are some pitfalls when interpreting Sun Tzu. Through analyzing Sun Tzu, one destroys structures which may have a particular value or purpose. One may see what seems like relations, connections and continuities, but only after ripping apart the original setting of parts of the text. However, keeping in mind that what we know of The Art of War is to some extent fragmentary anyway, there can’t be much harm in fragmenting it slightly further, if for no other purpose than to see if one is able to increase one’s understanding or perhaps reveal new insights, as long as we realize that it is a mental exercise taking place in the 21th century in which meaning and language may be differently connected than when The Art of War was written. 42 O’Dowd and Waldron, ‘Sun Tzu for Strategists’, Comparative Strategy, Volume 10, p. 25. 43 For the sake of readability I have avoided enumerating all the Chinese names of the Chinese commentators and translators, anyone interested in them should take a look at O’Dowd and Waldron, p. 26. 44 This is a very rough and unbalanced description of Boyd’s rich body of thought. 45 This section about some fundamentals of Chinese thinking comes from Ames, pp. 43–66. 46 This is not easily digestible material. However, anyone familiar with the ideas of modernity in sociology will recognize similarities between this section and the concept of reflexivity. See for instance Anthony Giddens, The Conseqences of Modernity, Blackwells, Oxford, 1990, p.36 47 In ancient China , righteous wars were of three types. The first and primary form of war was a punitive expedition carried out by the central authority against a local feudal leader for offences. The second form was revolutionary war or rebellion, which was justifiable only when the king or emperor seriously deviated from the publicly accepted deeds of a leader and subsequently inflicted extreme hardship on the people. The third form of war was a war started by a feudal leader of a state against the leader of another state. This was considered an extraordinary phenomenon. See Chen-Ya Tien, Chinese Military Theory, Ancient and Modern, Mosaic Press, Oakville, 1992, p.31. 48 See Ames, pp. 68–70 49 Sawyer, Ch 3, p. 177. 50 Ibid, Ch 1, p. 167.

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51 Ibid, Ch 3, p. 177. 52 Which is not saying that the battles in the Warring States period were bloodless. During the Warring States period, the scale of conflict surged phenomenally, sustained by the increasing agricultural productivity and expanding material prosperity. Weaker states could easily field armies of 100.000 men and there are reports of armies being mobilized to a total of 600.000 men. Numerical strength has become crucial. Casualty figures read like reports from the First World War: 100.000 casualties in the battle of Ma-ling in 341 B.C., a number growing to 450.000 men being slaughtered in a single battle in 260 B.C. This also gives a glimpse into the required level of sophisticated planning and coordination. See Sawyer, introduction, pp. 53–57. 53 Ibid, ch 3, p. 177. 54 Ibid, ch 2, 173–174. 55 Ibid, Ch 3, p. 177. 56 Ibid, Ch 8, p. 203–204. 57 Although in the classical Chinese philosophical framework, our common division into grand strategic, strategic, operational and tactical levels does not make any sense as they are interwoven. 58 For some additional meanings see Ames. p. 73. 59 In that respect I do not agree with Micheal Handel who, in his comparison of Sun Tzu, Clasuewitz and Jomini, states that Sun Tzu is merely overoptimistic about the possibility of gaining total knowledge and of shaping the environment. Handel also states that the differences between Sun Tzu and Clasuewitz are definitely not due to different cultural outlooks. I think I demonstrated that Sun Tzu’s emphasize on gaining information to shape the environment can be perfectly understood within the framework of Chinese philosophy. It is completely consistent with it. See Michael Handel, Masters of War. 60 The Tao causes the people to be in accordance with the leader, ch 1, p. 167. 61 Sawyer, ch 1, p. 167.Note that the first, the fourth and the seventh are about factors that affect cohesion in various levels of the system. The second takes into account the personal traits and qualities of the commander, qualities that are elsewhere defined in terms of discipline, wisdom, fairness, experience, righteousness and in character traits such as vanity and greed which may be exploited (see Sawyer, p. 133). The third is about the extent to which the season and the terrain are favorable for a campaign. Here the fact that we are dealing with an agrarian society is important, for soldiers needed food and the harvest needed to be secured so the men could only in certain periods be gone from the state. The fifth is about quantity of the forces and the sixth about the quality of those forces. So Sun Tzu makes sure that the most relevant factors are taken into account. 62 Ibid, ch 4, p. 184. 63 Ibid, ch 12, p. 228. 64 Ibid, ch 4, p. 184. 65 Ibid, ch 4, p. 183 66 Ibid, ‘one who cannot be victorious assumes a defensive posture, one who can be victorious attacks’, ch 4, p. 183. Here too preservations are paramount to exploiting opportunities later in the campaign. 67 Ibid, ch 9, p. 203. Here is a crucial part for understanding the meaning of Sun Tzu’s quest for information. ‘Thus the general who has penetrating understanding of the advantages of the nine changes knows how to employ the army. If a general does not have a penetrating understanding of the nine changes, even though he is familiar with the topography, he will not be able to realize the advantages of terrain … even though he is familiar with the five advantages, he will not be able to control men.

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68 Ibid, ch 9, p. 232, my emphasis. 69 The idea that order and disorder are important notions in The Art of War is further substantiated in ch 7p, 198–199, ‘in order await the disordered’ and do not intercept well ordered flags, do not attack well regulated formations; do not attack animated troops. 70 This comes from Sawyer, ch. 1, p. 168. 71 Ibid, ch. 11, p. 220. 72 Ibid, ch. 8, p. 204. 73 Ibid, p. 134. 74 See for instance Sawyer, ch. 7, p. 198: The ch’i (spirit, morale) … can be snatched away; the commanding general’s mind can be seized … in the morning their ch’i is ardent; during the day their ch’i becomes indolent; at dusk their ch’i is exhausted. Thus one who excels at employing the army avoids their ardent ch’i and strikes when ch’i is indolent or exhausted. This is the way to manipulate ch’i. 75 Thus one’s army is established by deceit, moves to gain advantage, and changes through segmenting and reuniting. Thus it’s speed is like the wind, its slowness like the forest; its invasion like a fire; unmoving it is like the mountain. It is as difficult to know as the darkness; in movement it is like thunder’, Sawyer, ch .7, p. 198. 76 Although it may seem that confusion is all that matters to Sun Tzu, numbers and physical aspects frequently appear in his deliberations. In Ch 3 he brings the relative strength of opponents in relations to possible actions such as ‘if your strength is ten times theirs, surround them; if five then attack him, if double, then divide your force…if outmatched, you can avoid him. Thus a small enemy that acts inflexibly will become the captives of a large enemy. 77 Sawyer, ch 6, p. 191. 78 Ibid, ch. 4, p. 183–184. 79 Ibid. 80 Ibid, ch. 3, p. 178. 81 Ibid, ch. 1, p. 179. 82 Ibid, ch. 3, p. 177. 83 Ibid, ch. 11, p. 224. 84 Ames, p. 84. 85 Sawyer, ch 7, p. 193. 86 Ames, p. 84. 87 Sawyer, ch. 11, p. 224. 88 Ibid, ch 9, 208-209. 89 Ibid, ch. 11, p. 223. 90 Ibid, ch. 13, p. 231. 91 Ibid, ch. 9, p. 210. 92 Ibid, ch. 7, p. 199. 93 Ibid, ch. 10, p. 215 94 Ibid, ch. 7, p. 198. 95 Ibid, ch. 11, p. 224. 96 Ibid, ch. 3, p. 178. 97 Ibid, ch. 7, p. 199. 98 Ibid, ch. 11, p. 222 99 Ibid, ch. 5, p. 188. 100 Ibid, ch. 6, p. 192. 101 Ibid, ch. 11, p. 220.

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102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109

110 111 112 113 114 115

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Ibid, ch. 11, p. 222 Ibid, ch. 6, p. 193. Ibid, ch. 5, p. 187. Saywer has a good discussion on this on pp. 147–150, but see also Hamlett, pp. 13–15 and O’Dowd and Waldon p. 30. The source for this section is O’Dowd and Waldron, p. 31–32. Ibid, ch. 6, p. 193 Metz and Johnson, pp. 5–6. Colin Gray, Modern Strategy, Oxford, 1999, pp. 124–126. Gray accords Sun Tzu a similar accolade, but earlier in the book ( p.84) he dismisses Sun Tzu as a general theorist of war because Sun Tzu ‘provides cook-book guidance for statecraft, rather than a comprehensive theory of war’. If the discussion of The Art of War in this chapter is not too far off the mark, I suggest that this impression needs at least to be somewhat amended in favor of Sun Tzu . Metz and Johnson stay very close to Sun Tzu when they stated that maximum conceptual and organizational adaptability is the key for waging asymmetric warfare. Although not covered here, anyone interested in subverting a government from within should take a look at the T’ai K’ung’s Six Secret Teachings in The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China. O’Dowd and Waldron, p. 27. Gray, ‘Thinking Asymmetrically in Times of Terror’, p. 8. Ibid, p. 14. During Allied Force, NATO was surprised to notice how Milosovic did not adhere to the NATO assessment that he would give in after three days of light bombing. Another surprise was how he managed to counter NATO actions through a media offensive that bolstered Serb morale while undermining the public perception of the legitimacy of the NATO operations, through cunning tactical countermeasures that mitigated NATO’s the air advantage, and various other moves. The latest of such a surprise was voiced by Pentagon’s spokesman ViceAdmiral Stoofflebeam when the Taliban ignored the fact that was already defeated and continued fighting. Saddam Hussein also employs a variety of measures. See Byman, Polak and Waxman. Additionally see, Gary C. Webb, ‘A New Twist in Unconventional War; Undermining Airpower’, Joint Forces Quarterly, Spring/Summer 2001, pp. 88–93. Eliot Cohen and John Gooch, Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Military Failures, New York, 1990. Max G. Manwaring, Internal Wars: Rethinking Problem and Response, US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, September 2001, p.1. This is the second publication of SSI of a series dedicated to Studies in Asymmetry. This is derived from a lecture by Prof. George Stein at the Netherlands Defence College, January 2000. Timothy Thomas, ‘Human Network Attacks’, Military Review, September-October 1999, p. 26. Colin Gray, Explorations in Strategy, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1996, p. 235.

Asymmetrical Warfare: Ends or Means?

Dr. Christopher Coker Asymmetrical warfare is one of the most widely used terms of art in the US military. For an example of asymmetry at work we need look no further than the September 11 World Trade Center attack: a low-tech attack on a high-tech society; an attack on a state by a non-state actor; an act of terror rather than a conventional use of force. And it is this last factor that should be most worrying for the West. For the Western world is engaged in managing insecurity against a range of threats of which terrorism is just one. In its use of force, however, it is attempting to make war both more humane and less ‘risk averse’. Its enemies, by comparison, are trying to do the opposite: to make it more inhumane and make it more unpredictable. In a word, the West is now particularly vulnerable to asymmetrical strategies. The end set by other societies is not to impose its will on the West (our way of understanding war) but to prevent countries like the United States from imposing its will on them. The means is to turn the West’s strengths against it. As William Perry remarked in 1998: “our enemies will follow Sun Tzu and turn our strengths against us”. Sun Tzu tells us that “one gains victory through the unorthodox”. And the means to do that, he also tells us, is to know the enemy: “the general who knows his enemy will not be endangered in a hundred engagements”. What he meant by ‘knows’ does not mean merely intelligence about enemy plans or formations; knowledge goes beyond the simple acquisition of information to include an understanding of the thought processes and value systems of an enemy leadership as well as an enemy population. That understanding has never been greater when it comes to a nonWestern understanding of the Western world today. Last year 72% of all programmes and films on TV worldwide were American in origin. The

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United States is being watched every day yet America is remarkably illinformed about the rest of the world. Its ignorance may cost it dear.

Why Asymmetrical Warfare is Fashionable There are three reasons why asymmetrical warfare has become the vogue term invoked in military academies and institutes across the Western world. The first, as the Gulf War showed, is that no non-Western society can challenge the United States in a conventional war. American military superiority is greater today than ever. It enjoys organisation, technology, education and capital to engage non-Western societies on terms of its own choosing. If they are to have any hope of success they have to change the rules. The second reason is the West is only planning to fight non-Western societies in future. All Western forces have been reconfigured to become expeditionary forces, fighting disengaged conflicts, projecting force far afield. Thirdly, asymmetric warfare is as old as war itself but the way the West now fights its wars makes it especially vulnerable to asymmetric strategies. It expects a decisive victory; it abhors casualties; it is less warlike than at any time in its history. Once the resort of the strong, writes Michael Mandelbaum, war is now the resort of the weak. Western societies use war as a means of last resort; weaker societies use it as a means of first, in part, because the weak have much less to lose. Faced with the reality of Western military power (the dismantling of another country like Afghanistan in two months); faced with the reality of American hegemony in the early twenty-first century (the 200,000 air sorties flown near Iraq alone in the 1990s); faced with the renewed confidence and self-assertiveness as a result of the September 11 attack what do non-Western societies do? They look at the West’s vulnerability and choose their means accordingly. The end is to prevent the West from turning war into crisis management. The means is to prevent it from being fought humanely and in a risk-averse fashion. It is to make it as bloody as possible, and as unpredictable as one can.

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Humane Warfare When using the term ‘humane’ one is looking at three factors. First, the attempt to minimise casualties on one’s own side, to reduce risk to one’s own men. The second is to fight one’s enemies humanely: with the minimum of collateral damage to citizens and non-belligerents alike. The third is to be seen to be acting in a humanitarian fashion. Indeed Western soldiers are increasingly encouraged to see themselves as humanitarians. Some research suggests that the body bag syndrome is exaggerated. If American public opinion does not like incurring casualties it does not insist either on bloodless wars. In Kosovo the American people stood by as their country applied the decisive use of force. The air war may not have won the campaign but it represented an enormous commitment of military power. The United States deployed two thirds as many planes as it would now envisage in another war against Iraq and flew a third as many sorties as it did in ‘Desert Storm’. When governments deploy force decisively they indicate that operations are important and by implication suggest that a military reverse might actually matter. It seems to me that such arguments, though well taken, miss the point on a number of counts. First, ‘zero tolerance’ is real enough in the minds of those who advise policy makers including the military. Whether the perception of casualty aversion is accurate or not it seems to shape current American military planning as well as long term force development. In a society which is structured around the avoidance of risks in all walks of life the military will also be encouraged to see risk aversion as its principal mission. ‘Force protection has become the air force’s highest priority’ writes Brigadier-Gen. Richard Coleman, the Director of USAF security forces, ‘conducting that mission is now as important as projecting our combat power’. The second problem is that many of the West’s adversaries are fully aware that societies they may have to fight are risk averse. America’s adversaries are watching it closely. Its withdrawal from Somalia was a disaster for its standing in the Islamic world where a willingness to die for one’s belief tends to be seen as a sign of moral conviction. Interviewed on ABC news the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden made the following observation:

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We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American Government and the weakness of the American soldier who is ready to wage cold wars and unprepared to fight long wars. This was proven in Beirut when the Marines fled after two explosions. It also proves they can run in less than 24 hours and that was also repeated in Somalia. A few years later he drove home the point by unleashing an attack on New York. His dismissive attitude was shared by other political factions in the Middle East. A few years earlier the Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard told a CNN anchorman that he expected the Americans to balk not only at war related deaths but soldiers taken prisoner in battle. If Iran were to be invaded he expected to take 20,000 prisoners but he also thought that Washington would be at the negotiating table after losing only a thousand. Islamic fundamentalists (or for that matter anyone else) can hardly be blamed for arriving at the opinion when our unqualified respect for individual life is making it increasingly difficult to hazard life in battle. What else are they to conclude when they see the US flying 500 sorties in 1995 (about a third of the British sorties flown during the entire Kosovo conflict) to rescue one downed air pilot, Capt Scot O’Grady. Concern for excessive force protection is expressed by America’s allies as well. Many are worried that the low tolerance of casualties has become the benchmark of expectation of success in war. They are critical for the Pentagon’s enthusiasm for ‘disengaged conflict’ – the ability to use standoff weapons where possible to avoid committing ground troops. And when troops are deployed on the ground the situation is often no better. Conservative operation procedures created problems at senior NATO levels when the Americans were sent to Bosnia. Once there their troops were safely ensconced in their base camps they became ‘ninja turtles’ in the eyes of the locals. Some described them as ‘prisoners of peace’, locked away like POWs behind the safety of their barbed wire fences. In Somalia the insistence of the Americans on wearing their helmets and body armour on patrol (they were called ‘human tanks’ by the locals), and their reluctance to mount street patrols without combat support from helicopter gun ships overhead, produced a fatal combination. They both

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inspired fear and appeared to be fearful, a paradox which was an important factor in provoking a hostile response on the part of the local population. Zero tolerance of casualties may be an example of our respect for human life but it is also a reflection of something more profound and disturbing, our belief that a life lost is a waste. Hence the popular euphemism for killing, not taking life but ‘wasting’ it. One of the principal reasons we cannot justify casualties any longer is that we can no longer make sense of the waste of life in the complex situations that demand the use of force. Our soldiers have lost a sense of tragedy they inherited from the Greeks and which was such a central feature of western humanism. “It was a watershed”, one State Department official observed of the Somalia fiasco, a watershed for the naïve belief “that good, decent, innocent people were being opposed by evil, thuggish leaders”. Like many of the soldiers this particular official could not comprehend a society in which people claimed to want peace but were not prepared to share it with other clans in order to attain it. People in these countries – Bosnia is a more recent example – don’t want peace. They want victory. They want power … Somalia was the experience that taught us that people in these places bear much of the responsibility for things being the way they are. The hatred and the killing continues because they want it to. Because they don’t want peace enough to stop it. It is an opinion that reflects an idea of history defined in starkly etched colours and contrasts, rather than history’s true colour: the hue of grey. It is only our sense of the tragic that tells us that there are not always solutions in life because no resolution is ever final, and few causes are ever totally just. Tragedy usually involves, not the clash of good versus bad but two half truths – the fact that they are half true is what makes life tragic. But then the United States is no longer a society that is in touch with tragedy as a way of understanding life. Some years ago the military historian, Williamson Murray, took an informal poll of 65 students on his military history courses in three different universities and found only

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five had been exposed at high school or university to a single Greek tragedy. The academic world, he warns, is producing a generation of Americans who are incapable of understanding the nature of the tragic through the medium of books. One day they may find themselves disadvantaged when they find themselves fighting people beyond their comprehension. There is not a problem that confronted the Greeks. The great virtue of reading Euripides’ Trojan War plays (the most savage indictment of the cruelty of war to be found anywhere in the Western canon) is that arguments are never resolved by scholarly argument. The counter proposition would have been incomprehensible to the Greeks. And it is precisely because their tragedies grew out of a chaotic world in which violence was often random and ever present that what they had to say about it should still be of interest to us. For the great tragedies convey the image of a radically plural world in which there is no ultimate principle and no ultimate judge to reconcile all differences. Differences have to resolve themselves. The American philosopher, Richard Rorty, describes himself as ‘a tragic liberal’ for that reason. Alisdair MacIntyre, though eschewing that description himself, comes up with a similar diagnosis. He agrees with Rorty that we have lost the point of reference that allows us to judge, that is why the work of Sophocles and Euripides is so vital for the world they portray has no common reference point either. That life could be the site of an agon (conflict) between opposing sides, each believing itself to be justified was obvious to both playwrights. It sufficed that religion gave little explicit instruction how to overcome such conflicts, let alone resolve them, but instead made apparent that conflict was a normal part of life. One relied on one’s own arguments (not the truth) and continued the fight as long as one’s argument was coherent. The force of that logic on the battlefield is what gave war its humanistic colouring. Is the problem the medium rather than the message? In a world in which the cinema to a very large extent determines our perception of the world, the sense of the tragic is also largely absent. Most of the Hollywood fare offered on our cinema and TV screens is not in itself necessarily selflimiting but its life-enhancing themes, usually describing triumph over adversity, do not always describe the world as it is.

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The issue, writes Mark Le Fanu, hinges on the notion of seriousness, and taking seriousness seriously. “A measure of bleakness is part of the human condition and it used to be possible to reflect this in art”. It seems impossible to do so any longer. If we take a defining event: the war in Bosnia which claimed over 250,000 lives in the first half of the 1990s, the war passed almost without comment in Hollywood. Those films that did emerge from the conflict had an energy and inventiveness which put them in a different league. But how many were seen in the West? Emir Kusturica’s diptych about the war, ‘Underground’ (1995) and ‘Black Cat, White Cat’ (1998) found few takers at the box office in the West. And filmmakers would have had to have been astute indeed to catch the other great films about the war: Goran Paskaljevic’s ‘The Powder Keg’, Srdjan Dragojevic’s ‘Pretty Village, Pretty Flame’, Stole Popov’s ‘Gypsy Magic’ and, most memorably, Ademir Kenovic’s melancholy masterpiece ‘The Perfect Circle’. Each of them in their different ways were compelling works of art, imbued with a concept of tragedy that would have helped decode the conflict for a Western audience had there been one of any significant size. Without a sense of the tragic it is difficult to justify casualties. The extent to which the West has turned its back on its own tragic heritage is confirmation perhaps that its humanism now runs skin deep. It is, of course, not a specific American problem. It is inherent in all power and perhaps, the United States, more powerful now than ever before, merely reflects that fact more than any other country. Power, after all, is often associated with the privilege of not having to learn. MacIntyre quotes the Australian John Anderson who urges us “not to ask of the social institution: ‘what end or purpose does it serve?’” but rather, “of what conflicts is it the scene?” It was the Greeks’ unique insight that it is through conflict and sometimes only through conflict that the warrior learns what his own ends and purposes are. It is that understanding that makes him a true moral agent. Let me turn to a second dilemma. For not only are western societies unwilling to demand too much of their own soldiers; they are also increasingly reluctant to appear insensitive to human suffering. Instead they are expected to experience humanity in both senses of the word. During the Kosovo war, for example, the Director of Information Strategy and News of the British Ministry of Defence, when asked to name the Ministry’s greatest success, had no hesitation. Every time the

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alliance was criticised for collateral damage, accidental attacks on refugee convoys and later the death of civilians incurred in raids on Belgrade, it was able “to get the message back on line” – to the plight of refugees on whose behalf they were at war with Milosevic. They were able to concentrate public opinion on the humanitarian disaster that was unfolding on the ground. NATO remained ‘on message’ until the end of the crisis. As the refugees were seen streaming across the frontier to be penned in over-crowded refugee camps, the West was able to wrap its actions in a humanitarian discourse. But that is the problem. The humanity of our soldiers has to be seen on television if the media itself is not to become an ‘asymmetric asset’. And today the media scrutiny of war is unprecedented and exerts a strong influence on the way Western democracies fight. Learning from its experience in Vietnam the US imposed strict controls on the mass media. Few gruesome pictures were shown during the Gulf War. Of the 1,104 ‘Desert Storm’ photographs which appeared in the nation’s three major news magazines, only 38 showed actual combat, while 249 were ‘catalogue’ style photographs of military hardware. In the end, General Powell terminated combat operations before they fulfilled the objective of destroying Iraq’s elite Republican Guard. The media had obtained footage of carnage on the road to Basra which they were quick to name emotively “the highway of death”. They also began running stories of pilots who had expressed misgivings about shooting up Iraqi troops who were powerless to defend themselves. Real time broadcasting was also a problem in Somalia. In February 1995 the US Marines could have used non-lethal weapons: in this case sticky foam to enhance barbed wire and other barriers. But they were deterred from doing so, even though weapons were not lethal, because of their fear of Somali youths getting stuck and then injuring themselves struggling to break free. As one Marine officer put it at the time: If the sticky foam had been used to cover unattended portions of barbed wire during the night, in the morning we would have found a dozen Somali youths stuck to the wire, entangled in a bloody trap. Removing the trespassers from the wire would be difficult and not play well on CNN.

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When it comes to the news media, and especially the cable channels and networks proliferating within the Western world, the West, of course, is not entirely on the defensive. It would be wrong to exaggerate the extent to which a transparent media environment is a necessary handicap for military operations. Recent Chinese writing on the Revolution in Military Affairs displays a fascination with the West’s ability to determine reality not only for itself but the world. In the Gulf the West was able to use news reports from over 100 on site reporters, exaggerating the success of the Patriot missiles to keep Israel out of the war and to hold the alliance together. And it made effective use of TV news releases and radio broadcasts and real time transmission to make the war appear more bloodless than it was. The West is also well placed to fight media wars for another reason, even more important. It owns most of the real time cable news networks. And the latter tend to frame the debate in Western terms, in the vernacular of a democratic discourse. If an Arab company (rather than CNN) had been present when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 it might have framed the event, not as an act of aggression, but an attempt to reverse over a century of colonial humiliation. And the gradual allied build up during ‘Desert Shield’ produced such an imbalance of forces between the coalition and Iraq that an Arab news agency might have chosen to frame the debate in terms of the humiliation of a fellow Arab nation. Indeed this is what happened when the network Al-Jazeera covered President Bush’s first ‘war of the twenty-first century’, the war against terrorism. The newscasters showed not so much a war against Islam but the humiliation of yet another Moslem society, this time Afghanistan, a theme which had much greater resonance in the Arab world. Thirdly, Western institutions are still seen as transparent and therefore credible. In an information age credibility is a crucial resource and “asymmetrical credibility is a key source of power”. To establish credibility you need to develop a reputation for providing correct information even when it may reflect badly on your own side. After all, it is the perceived impartiality of Western reporters that makes credible their reports. In an age when legitimacy matters more than strict legality Western governments can treat this credulity as a crucial resource. Given the abundance of information in the world, the ability to determine the interpretation of facts is extremely important. Political struggles, we are

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told, now focus less on control over the ability to transmit information than over the creation and destruction of credibility. And that is especially important not only for world opinion, but public opinion at home. For western democracies too are becoming more interested in legitimacy than strict legality. While the rule of law is a central characteristic of a democratic state, its belief in the legitimacy of an international norm and observance of that norm does not imply the state is law abiding or submissive to authority. As Ian Hird points out, often the opposite is true: “A normative conviction about legitimacy might lead to non-compliance with law when laws are considered in conflict with that conviction”. Arguably that was the case with NATO and Kosovo. But while the West certainly has an advantage when it comes to the transmission and dissemination of news, it suffers from several disadvantages as well which allow non-western actors to maximise its own sense of unease. The fact that the global media channels are Western promotes “virtual convergence”. It makes the world into a single cognitive space, a variation of the global village. The non-Western world knows much more about the United States than the United States knows about it. As Martin Libicki warns, small states may be able to use “the globalisation of perception” to cast themselves as victims even in the eyes of Americans. Reading the psyche of the American people is considerably easier than reading that of the Chinese. In fact, many non western societies have proved adept at exploiting US sensibilities. There are many examples – the use made of women and children as human shields by Somali warlords or Saddam Hussein’s decision to ring his palaces with civilians to deter American air strikes in 1998, or the decision by groups of Belgrade Serbs wearing ‘target patches’ who lined the main bridges to forestall NATO air strikes in the 1999 war. And the very fact that Western societies now seem to care more for legitimacy than legality is problematic. To be legitimate these days you must be humane. You must avoid the pain and suffering that Nietzsche (speaking for the Greeks) recognised is what makes life subjective: the need to experience it and make sense of suffering, not conjure it away. Today, the strict enforcement of international law must be seen to be upheld

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whatever the cost in casualties. By contrast the enforcement of a legitimate norm demands a different set of rules. The contest in Kosovo, writes Michael Ignatieff, was so unequal, and seen as such on TV, that NATO could only occupy the moral high ground by observing especially strict rules of engagement. Even earlier, the rules of engagement (ROEs) for Operation Deliberate Force (1995) had posed a problem. Special instructions were issued to pilots who were involved in attacking bridges. They were expected to make a dry run over the target and attack on an axis perpendicular to it, releasing one bomb per pass. Those responsible for suppressing enemy air defence were not permitted to conduct pre-emptive reactive strikes against surface to air missile sites, except under strict conditions. Fear of producing casualties also involves troops on the ground. In Somalia the Tenth Mountain Division was trained to work in combined arms terms, usually with tanks, and infantry fighting vehicles attached to infantry units. But it was not allowed to use its artillery to blast through doors or windows that might be booby trapped. AC-130s, the gunship variant of the C130 turboprop transport, were also not available on October 3 because their previous employment had resulted in an unacceptable level of collateral damage. As Colin Powell put it at the time: “they wrecked a few buildings and it was not the greatest imagery on CNN”. But it seems to me that the problems of appearing ‘humane’ run much deeper. The modern soldier is the product of a purely visual culture. He has spent his childhood watching films, and playing computer games. As a result he is a creature of an age which has made violence largely ‘virtual’ and war an entertainment which raises few questions, moral or political. And the civilians who send him to battle the enemies of humanitarianism are creatures of the age too. For while televised images of human suffering may impel them to act, they do not provide any insight into anything that approaches irony, conflict or dilemma – the dilemma, for example, of having to act cruelly in the name of humanity or humanitarianism, or at the very least accept the need for a human cost. The third dilemma western armies face is rather different. Our soldiers are being asked to confront a ‘post-modern humanism’ which allows us to recognise in others our own complex selves, making the stranger for the first time fully accessible and imaginable. As Julia Kristeva claims

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“strangely the foreigner lives within us: he is the hidden face of our identity, the space that wrecks our abode, the time in which understanding and affinity found us. By recognising him within ourselves, we are spared detesting him in himself ”. As a result we are grounding our moral commitment to war no longer on abstract metaphysical principles but on a biological commitment to avoid inflicting pain on others, and to punish those who inflict pain on their own citizens. Tzestvan Todorov is right to attribute this largely to the West. By contrast with other cultures this is Western humanism taken further. Todorov, incidentally, is not claiming any superiority for Western civilisation, he is merely making an observation. It is only the West which has changed its own behaviour in dialogue with others. Its human rights agenda and its interest in humanitarian wars is largely a product of the lessons learned from the anti-colonial, anti-apartheid, and other struggles which marked the western retreat from empire. All this may appear rather remote from the practical concerns of soldiering. But there are many people who would like to see the military empathise even more with others. Some analysts would like to see the military more actively involved in vaccination programmes; the management of food centres; the distribution of relief items. They would like to see the last vestige of the warrior ethos disappear altogether. The problem with this is that the military is becoming divided between those who still see themselves as warriors and those who see themselves as humanitarians. It is a danger that has been analyses by two American sociologists of the military who take as their case study, American involvement in Somalia. We must be careful, of course, about using Somalia as our only case study. It was not a war. It was described from the start as a humanitarian mission. Most of the soldiers interviewed claimed they had been told they were coming to rescue the Somalis and that they would largely be involved in relief work similar to that which had been undertaken after ‘Hurricane Andrew’ in Florida the previous summer. And so in a sense they were, though most of the relief work was undertaken by engineers working in rural areas, clearing land mines and building roads. By contrast, the marines in Mogadishu soon found themselves instead in the middle of a civil war.

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Soon afterwards the cultural fault lines running through the military began to be exposed. Black soldiers were especially vulnerable. They had been drawn to the conflict by the fact that it was one of the first American military missions in Africa, offering them a once in a lifetime opportunity to discover their African roots. But they were soon singled out as the main object of hatred and scorn. The Somalis expected them to be able to speak their language and when they discovered they couldn’t took it as a personal affront. They were also racially different. Because they were not Semitic Somali children frequently abused them on patrol by calling them ‘adorn’, the Somali word for slave. Black women soldiers were especially singled out and accused of being ‘whores’ for not covering their heads while out on patrol. The Americans themselves repaid the compliment. Many soldiers anyway had a low opinion of the Somalis whom they found lazy and anarchistic and excessively prone to argument and violence. Unusually, they didn’t invent a pejorative word for the Somalis as they had for the Vietnamese (gooks). As one soldier commented, the word ‘Somali’ was bad enough. But despite the abuse they suffered black soldiers, especially women, were prepared to give the Somalis the benefit of the doubt. Many found the attitudes of their own white colleagues to be racist. There is much more in the study I have just quoted about internal divisions within the military, between whites and blacks and men and women. But one of the key ones was between those who saw themselves as warriors (bitterly critical of the restraining orders preventing them from dealing as harshly with the Somalis as other contingents were allowed to) and those who saw themselves as humanitarians, who put a premium on being humane. What is even more striking, however, is that few of the soldiers who thought of themselves as ‘humanitarians’ seem to have been aware of how they were seen by the Somalis themselves. There was much respect for their humanitarian mission but not for humanitarian soldiers. And this was not just because a warrior culture despised a post-modern military. Even the Somalis who originally welcomed the American intervention found themselves at odds with the American mission. They particularly disliked the Rangers and their use of Black Hawks (helicopter transports)

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which flew over the city continuously, swooping down so low that they destroyed whole neighbourhoods, blowing down market stalls and terrorising cattle. The helicopters would create havoc on the streets leaving the crowds below choking on dust and exhaust. Often women walking down the streets would have their robes blown off. Some had children torn from their arms by the powerful up-draught made by the helicopters as they hovered overhead. In a word, many Somalis felt brutalised. In an account of the famous fire fight on October 18 which left 18 Rangers dead, the journalist Mark Bowden tells one story, that of a young man who had been educated in South Carolina and knew and liked Americans but found their actions increasingly offensive. The helicopters had become an evil presence over the city. Yusuf remembered lying in bed one night with his wife who was pregnant when Black Hawks had come. One hovered directly over their house. The walls shook and the noise was deafening and he was afraid his roof, like others in the village, would be sucked off. In the racket his wife reached over and placed his hand on her belly: ‘Can you feel it’, she asked. He felt his son kicking in her womb, as if thrashing with fright. As a lawyer who spoke fluent English, Yusuf had led a group of his villagers to the UN compound to complain. They were told nothing could be done about the Rangers. They were not under UN command. Soon every death associated with the fighting was blamed on the Rangers. Somalis joked bitterly that the United States had come to feed them just to fatten them up for the slaughter. In short, the operation in Somalia was not a true inter-subjective experience for the Americans because they never understood their enemies, or tried very hard to. In the end, the US military was deeply demoralised in Mogadishu, particularly as a result of finding that the other side wouldn’t allow it to be humane and even more finding that its technology did not always allow it to fight humanely. That is the fate, however, of the purely instrumental warrior. He – or she – has great difficulty in finding war life enhancing; and that goes for humanitarian soldiers too.

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Risk Aversion If you go on one of the war games or exercises conducted in the United States you find the US military is turning increasingly to comic books and films to come up with striking names for its new enemies. In the Mojave Desert, ‘Hamchuks’ and ‘Samarians’ run about in their green jumpsuits and black berets. In Orange County, San Francisco, ‘Boolean’ refugees present a new security challenge. If you ask commanders for the real country or real name you get the same reply: “we don’t do countries, we do uncertainties”. Uncertainty, declared Tom Ridge, the US Homeland Defense Chief after September 11, is now the name of the game. Non-Western societies or movements are likely to play on Western anxieties, specially the fear of risk. Our societies are risk-averse because they are so anxious about the side-effects of technology, the fall-out effects of change, the unintended consequences of their own actions. A society factored around risk will breed a risk-averse military culture and a risk-averse culture is open to three asymmetric tactics which rely on making war more risky than ever. Deterrence When discussing deterrence we face the problem that much of the literature emerged from the context of the nuclear stand-off which characterised the Cold War. The concept of deterrence – convincing an opponent that the risks of a particular course of action (such as military intervention) outweigh any possible gains are not new, but in consulting the existing literature we find the requirements for deterrence revolve around the idea of perfect rationality and are usually centred around Western models of cost-benefit analysis or economic utility. The factor that generally complicates deterrence operationally (ie that make it difficult to deter countries from behaving in a particular way) are largely cultural. Subjective and cultural differences between the actors involved such as objectives, means, commitment and so on do not always apply. Even then, much of the discussion of deterrence today looks at how the West might deter a leader like Saddam Hussein from invading Kuwait or Milosovic, Kosovo. There is remarkably little discussion of how both might deter the United States from intervening against them.

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The fact is, deterrence works both ways. The West sees war as an alternative to bargaining; many non-Western societies see it as a process of bargaining. The power to hurt rather than military strength represents their most impressive military capability, and it is pain and violence, not force in the traditional sense, which is characteristic of that capability. The fact that military victory on the battlefield may be out of reach is not the issue. Deterrence is not threatening to defeat an adversary if it crosses a line, but hurt him. Deterrence in these circumstances is the science of intimidation (rather than coercion). Just before the Kuwait crisis began, just a week before the invasion, Saddam told April Gillespie, the US Ambassador in Iraq, “that yours is a society which cannot accept 10,000 dead in one battle”. Similarly, Milosovic told the German Foreign Minister, Josckar Fischer, before the Kosovo War, “I can stand death… lots of it, but you can’t”. Both were intending to intimidate their enemies. Unlike nuclear deterrence, asymmetrical deterrence is not especially rational. It is also a bluff that can be called, and was on both occasions. But that does not necessarily mean it will not succeed in the future. Disruption The next best thing when deterrence fails is to disrupt an enemy’s operations, especially in the build-up phase which can take some time. This option was certainly open to Saddam Hussein. It is generally conceded by military experts that at least during the first four weeks of August 1990 he could have launched an attack on Saudi Arabia and captured the ports of Jubayl, Damman and Dhahran, through which most of the coalition supplies were later routed. The only unit that was in any condition to defend the ports was the 82nd Airborne Division. But its firepower was much too light, and its tactical mobility too restricted, to have defeated a major attack. In default, writes Geoffrey Record, the coalition would have been forced to use the operationally remote ports of Jiddah and Yambu on the Red Sea – on the opposite side of the theatre of operations, in a confined body of water crowded with commercial traffic and controlled geographically at one end by the Yemen, one of Iraq’s few allies.

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Alternatively Iraq could have made greater use of terrorism. After all, Saddam promised a terrorist attack on the West but never delivered it. One reason is that many terrorism movements were sponsored by coalition members such as Syria. Another was simply lack of time and planning; another may have been a belief that the West would engage in more effective counter-terrorist measures than it had in the past. Also the very short period between the time the crisis erupted and the war began probably left most of the region’s principal terrorist groups unprepared for the kind of operations which they might have launched with support from Baghdad. Finally, Iraq did not have the capabilities to threaten the most vulnerable part of a force which is engaged in a military build-up: the means of power projection: aircraft carriers, maritime transport, often unprotected merchant ships, and strategic airlift. Iraq didn’t have anti-ship cruise missiles, though he did have mines which were not an inconsiderable feature in dissuading the United States once war began from launching an amphibious attack on Kuwait. Low levels of attrition may have minimal operational impact (the loss of an aircraft carrier apart) but there again clandestine operations against airbases and ports might have caused significant virtual attrition and certainly undermined the coalition’s resolve. Cyberspace too offers a tempting target. A society so anxious about technology failure that it spent $139bn against an unproven millennium bug, the Y2K, is a society likely to be particularly anxious about cyberterrorism. It has been used, as far as we know, only once, in 1996 when the Pentagon computers were hacked into by an unknown source (possibly Iraq) with the result that US troop movements to the Gulf were delayed by a couple of months. The potential, in theory, is enormous. Take the DoD exercise ‘Eligible Receiver’ in 1997 which employed a team of 95 ‘North Koreans’ to attack 1900 sites from the US energy grid to Pacific Command in Honolulu. Over 38,000 attacks were launched. What is disturbing is that only 4% of the victims realised they were under attack; and only one in 150 reported an intrusion to a higher authority.

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Defeat Given that the chances of defeating the West are more remote than deterring it or setting back its plans, other societies are more likely to pose a different question: not whether they can defeat the West but whether they can prevent themselves from being defeated. The two questions are very different. They can assure, for example, that their defeat is provisional, and the result incomplete. As General Charles Boyd admitted in the summer of 1995, speaking of operations in Bosnia, “at the end of the day the US must face the reality that it cannot produce an enduring solution of military force (or on the ground) – only one that lasts until it departs”. Indeed, one of the extraordinary features of the Middle East and one of the most difficult for the West to grasp is that political regimes survive defeat fairly easily. Nasser, after all, remained in power until he died despite the humiliating loss of the Sinai Peninsular in 1967. Sadat survived an ‘inconclusive victory’ in 1973 which was no victory at all. Saddam Hussein survived two ruinously costly wars that were both total failures. Quadaffi survived the humiliation of a US air strike in 1986. In most other societies governments would not have survived such defeats – witness the fall of the generals in Argentina in 1982. What explains their persistence in power? The Islamic world has seen many changes since Napoleon arrived in Egypt in 1798 and inaugurated what a contemporary historian called ‘the great rupture’. But though it has come to terms with modernity and capitalism and the nation state and even the old dichotomy between men and women as more and more women enter the workplace, what is striking is that so much that is ancient has survived. The central importance of Islam as a source of identity and hope; the fatalism of life (which accurately reflects its continued precariousness in the region, the result of entrenched and endemic underdevelopment); and the legitimacy still attached to personal power. If the political order of the Middle East has failed to produce genuine power-sharing or accountability or parliamentary institutions, the continued fatalism of its people, their dread of anarchy, and the precariousness of their lives, tends to lead to the admiration of a strong, capable ruler. Elsewhere in societies such as Afghanistan, the Taliban may lack popular

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appeal, but beneath the universal faith of Islam the intermediate structures of state and civil society are viewed by the pious as corrupt, or as the arena for personal aggrandisement by the impious and the strong. Civil society of a kind has emerged in villages and regions, but once the state is introduced into the equation, civic responsibility frequently breaks down. Arabs and Iranians cherish personal freedom but have no sense of wider citizenship. And what gives them confidence that they do not need a political framework or a strong political institution, is their faith in Islam. There is a Pukhtun proverb: “Even the bravest will not go to war against custom”. And while leaders such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq are ruthless in quelling rebellions and unrest, they tend to observe the prohibitions of Islam and rely on the legitimacy it confers to retain power. Their rule very rarely penetrates down into society or challenges age-old customs or beliefs. That makes them so difficult to take on successfully. The warrior is he who defends the faith against the unfaithful or nonbeliever. It is in the battle itself that victory lies, not its issue which is why Iraq could describe its defeat in the Gulf War as “the prelude for the victory of the faithful”. For that very reason it is important to consider the contingent role of concepts in history, specifically the impact of strategic cultures for these affect both the choice of opponent and the purpose and nature of war-making. There is little point in discussing why one side won a war unless the question of ‘what did victory mean’ is addressed. Looked at differently military capability is a matter of fitness for purpose but this purpose is culturally constructed. In surviving against the allied coalition Saddam Hussein triumphed. As he told a group of French parliamentarians as early as January 3 1991, a few days before the Coalition began bombing him, he knew that he could not win but he also added that as he found himself confronting 30 countries, merely political survival alone would constitute victory. As a result, what is left of the Coalition (the United States and Britain) has been engaged for the past few years in a long and inconclusive siege – occasionally launching cruise missile strikes (many more than used in Desert Storm) against his palaces, and against strategic and economic

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targets in Iraq – all to no avail. In doing so they have engaged not in a war but a siege, and sieges can be broken. In 1991 Saddam secured his survival by the way he chose to fight – thus denying the Alliance any chance to go on to Baghdad and remove him. By launching SCUDS only against Israel (who the US successfully deterred from retaliating) and by not using the chemical and biological weapons he had in his possession, he signalled his willingness to play ‘by the rules’. By showing restraint he signalled that the retention of Kuwait was a national interest but not a matter of national survival. Unlike Napoleon at the Congress of Vienna he avoided being described as an international outlaw and thus made it difficult, if not impossible, for him to be removed physically from power. Only by doing so could the United States have won an unconditional victory. He gambled, successfully, that the US and the world would be deterred from going further and removing him from power. Hizbollah is the archetypal new movement and what makes it formidable is that it is a thoroughly post-modern one. It succeeded in ten years where the PLO failed. The PLO was and remains an old-fashioned, Western-style, modern, largely secular, formerly Soviet supported organisation. Hizbollah is a new, networked, ‘post-modern’, largely religious and independent organisation. And it is highly adaptive. Hizbollah was not able to match Israeli airpower in Southern Lebanon so it used Stinger missiles forcing the Israelis to conserve the lives of their pilots by employing more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles which in this context were especially effective. Then they responded to the Israeli dominance of the air with a horizontal terrorist strategy, a retaliating against air-strikes at home through acts of terror as far afield as Buenos Aires. The bomb against the Jewish Cultural Centre there in 1996 deterred the Israelis from targeting the Hizbollah leadership in the Lebanon itself. But the object of asymmetry is not so much the defeat of superior force as to ensure that its victory is conditional. Sometimes the victory only lasts as long as the forces remain in the ground (thereby tying them down to an endless presence, witness the NATO semi-protectorates in Bosnia and Kosovo). At other times, a power can rely on its enemies to lose their

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cohesion. As the English historian A J P Taylor wrote “victory in war lasts only as long as the coalition that produces it remains intact”. He was describing the collapse of the Allied coalition against Russia that had imposed terms on the country in 1856. With France out of the equation after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Russia was able to tear up the terms of the Treaty of Paris and restore the status ante. Similarly, the coalition which defeated Saddam Hussein in 1991 soon dissolved leaving only Britain and the United States to face down the dictator. Saddam survived and the frustration engendered by a present administration which includes the first Bush government in 1991 explains its desire to get rid of him. This question of conditional defeat in victory illustrates how the ends and means equation I have been asked to address cannot be separated. For the chief asymmetry is between the non-Western way of warfare (a way of thinking about war and conceptualising it) and the Western way of planning and practising it. Let me illustrate this with three examples. (1) The importance of the decisive engagement (vital to the way the West has seen war since the Greeks engaged the Persians at Marathon) cannot be overstated. Bringing the enemy to the fight, to a make or break engagement that will determine all in an afternoon has been a traditional Western way of practising war for two millennia. Many non-Western societies, by comparison, have chosen to avoid battle, to out-manoeuvre their enemies, to keep their forces in being, prolong the war until the enemy gets demoralised or gives up. This was Sun Tzu’s advice to a successful general and it has been the Chinese way of practising war ever since. (2) The West has also invested an enormous amount in technology. It has used it to impose its will on the enemy quickly and decisively. Other armies have often only been interested in preventing their enemies from imposing their will on them, technology has been less important. They have chosen to use their technologies for indirect rather than direct purposes and sometimes not even that. And time and time again they have succeeded: the Mujahadin rebels facing a high-tech Soviet army

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with its tanks and helicopter gunships; Islamic militants chasing out of the Lebanon the world’s most heavily armed power. (3) Finally, the importance of what Thucydides called the ‘sinews of war’ or capital resources, the use of wealth to equip and kit out an army in the field, has been a way by which Western societies have prevailed on the battlefield. Other communities, however, have chosen to use war to make money and to prolong it enough to make serious money at that. Of course, some of these strategies will be dismissed as ‘strategems’ and thought unworthy of militaries that study the philosophies and principles and maxims of Sun Tzu. We would be unwise to deny them the term of ‘strategy’. For they embody more than just the principles of war: they embody the philosophies of an entire society. And they go back a long way. Many of them are to be found in the military classics of ancient China. So I conclude by stating that the purpose or end of fighting is in itself often asymmetrical. It is not to win but to avoid defeat. It is to ensure that a victory is conditional, or too costly. It is to ensure above all that one survives, if necessary to fight another day. William Perry is right. The country with the military superiority enjoyed by the United States (with a lead time of its nearest competitors of probably 15-20 years) must expect its enemies to target its strengths, not its weaknesses, and turn them against it. Whether they have the imagination to do so is another question. For the greatest Western strength has been to learn from defeat (as in Vietnam); to improvise as many American soldiers did in the Gulf War, where the technology initially did not work; and to find new ways to fight (which, arguably, is the decisive lesson learned in Afghanistan, in the first campaign, at least, of the ‘war against terrorism’).

The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation

Mr. William S. Lind [Editor’s note: According to Abu Ubeid al-Qurashi, a writer for the London based Arabic newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, the organisation of al-Quida acknowledged that it carried out the 11 September attacks.1 Moreover, it argued that its combat doctrine was in part based on the “fourth generation of warfare”, published by William S. Lind et al. in the Marine Corps Gazette (October 1989).2 A reprint of the article is presented here, followed by some observations, which Lind committed to paper on 22 January 2002.]

The Fourth Generation of Warfare The peacetime soldier’s principal task is to prepare effectively for the next war. In order to do so, he must anticipate what the next war will be like. This is a difficult task that gets continuously more difficult. German Gen Franz Uhle-Wettler writes: At an earlier time, a commander could be certain that a future war would resemble past and present ones. This enabled him to analyze appropriate tactics from past and present. The troop commander of today no longer has this possibility. He knows only that whoever fails to adapt the experiences of the last war will surely lose the next one.

The Central Question If we look at the development of warfare in the modern era, we see three distinct generations. In the United States, the Army and the Marine Corps are now coming to grips with the change to the third generation. This transition is entirely for the good. However, third generation war-

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fare was conceptually developed by the German offensive in the spring of 1918. It is now more than 70 years old. This suggests some interesting questions: Is it not about time for a fourth generation to appear? If so, what might it look like? These questions are of central importance. Whoever is first to recognize, understand, and implement a generational change can gain a decisive advantage. Conversely, a nation that is slow to adapt to generational change opens itself to catastrophic defeat. Our purpose here is less to answer these questions than to pose them. Nonetheless, we will offer some tentative answers. To begin to see what these might be, we need to put the questions into historical context.

Three Generations of Warfare While military development is generally a continuous evolutionary process, the modern era has witnessed three watersheds in which change has been dialectically qualitative. Consequently, modern military development comprises three distinct generations. First generation warfare reflects tactics of the era of the smoothbore musket, the tactics of line and column. These tactics were developed partially in response to technological factors – the line maximized firepower, rigid drill was necessary to generate a high rate of fire, etc. – and partially in response to social conditions and ideas, e.g., the columns of the French revolutionary armies reflected both the élan of the revolution and the low training levels of conscripted troops. Although rendered obsolete with the replacement of the smoothbore by the rifled musket, vestiges of first generation tactics survive today, especially in a frequently encountered desire for linearity on the battlefield. Operational art in the first generation did not exist as a concept although it was practiced by individual commanders, most prominently Napoleon. Second generation warfare was a response to the rifled musket, breechloaders, barbed wire, the machinegun, and indirect fire. Tactics were based on fire and movement, and they remained essentially linear. The defense still attempted to prevent all penetrations, and in the attack a laterally dispersed line advanced by rushes in small groups. Perhaps the principal change from first generation tactics was heavy reliance on

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indirect fire; second generation tactics were summed up in the French maxim, “the artillery conquers, the infantry occupies.” Massed firepower replaced massed manpower. Second generation tactics remained the basis of U.S. doctrine until the 1980s, and they are still practiced by most American units in the field. While ideas played a role in the development of second generation tactics (particularly the idea of lateral dispersion), technology was the principal driver of change. Technology manifested itself both qualitatively, in such things as heavier artillery and bombing aircraft, and quantitatively, in the ability of an industrialized economy to fight a battle of materiel (Materialschlacht). The second generation saw the formal recognition and adoption of the operational art, initially by the Prussian army. Again, both ideas and technology drove the change. The ideas sprang largely from Prussian studies of Napoleon’s campaigns. Technological factors included von Moltke’s realization that modern tactical firepower mandated battles of encirclement and the desire to exploit the capabilities of the railway and the telegraph. Third generation warfare was also a response to the increase in battlefield firepower. However, the driving force was primarily ideas. Aware they could not prevail in a contest of materiel because of their weaker industrial base in World War I, the Germans developed radically new tactics. Based on maneuver rather than attrition, third generation tactics were the first truly nonlinear tactics. The attack relied on infiltration to bypass and collapse the enemy’s combat forces rather than seeking to close with and destroy them. The defense was in depth and often invited penetration, which set the enemy up for a counterattack. While the basic concepts of third generation tactics were in place by the end of 1918, the addition of a new technological element-tanks – brought about a major shift at the operational level in World War II. That shift was blitzkrieg. In the blitzkrieg, the basis of the operational art shifted from place (as in Liddell-Hart’s indirect approach) to time. This shift was explicitly recognized only recently in the work of retired Air Force Colonel John Boyd and his “OODA (observation-orientationdecision-action) theory”. Thus we see two major catalysts for change in

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previous generational shifts: technology and ideas. What perspective do we gain from these earlier shifts as we look toward a potential fourth generation of warfare?

Elements That Carry Over Earlier generational shifts, especially the shift from the second to the third generation, were marked by growing emphasis on several central ideas. Four of these seem likely to carry over into the fourth generation, and indeed to expand their influence. The first is mission orders. Each generational change has been marked by greater dispersion on the battlefield. The fourth generation battlefield is likely to include the whole of the enemy’s society. Such dispersion, coupled with what seems likely to be increased importance for actions by very small groups of combatants, will require even the lowest level to operate flexibly on the basis of the commander’s intent. Second is decreasing dependence on centralized logistics. Dispersion, coupled with increased value placed on tempo, will require a high degree of ability to live off the land and the enemy. Third is more emphasis on maneuver. Mass, of men or fire power, will no longer be an overwhelming factor. In fact, mass may become a disadvantage as it will be easy to target. Small, highly maneuverable, agile forces will tend to dominate. Fourth is a goal of collapsing the enemy internally rather than physically destroying him. Targets will include such things as the population’s support for the war and the enemy’s culture. Correct identification of enemy strategic centers of gravity will be highly important. In broad terms, fourth generation warfare seems likely to be widely dispersed and largely undefined; the distinction between war and peace will be blurred to the vanishing point. It will be nonlinear, possibly to the point of having no definable battlefields or fronts. The distinction between “civilian” and “military” may disappear. Actions will occur concurrently throughout all participants’ depth, including their society as a cultural, not just a physical, entity. Major military facilities, such as airfields, fixed communications sites, and large headquarters will become rarities because of their vulnerability; the same may be true of civilian equivalents, such as seats of government, power plants, and industrial sites (including knowledge as well as manufacturing industries). Success

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will depend heavily on effectiveness in joint operations as lines between responsibility and mission become very blurred. Again, all these elements are present in third generation warfare; fourth generation will merely accentuate them.

A Potential Technology-Driven Fourth Generation If we combine the above general characteristics of fourth generation warfare with new technology, we see one possible outline of the new generation. For example, directed energy may permit small elements to destroy targets they could not attack with conventional energy weapons. Directed energy may permit the achievement of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) effects without a nuclear blast. Research in superconductivity suggests the possibility of storing and using large quantities of energy in very small packages. Technologically, it is possible that a very few soldiers could have the same battlefield effect as a current brigade. The growth of robotics, remotely piloted vehicles, low probability of intercept communications, and artificial intelligence may offer a potential for radically altered tactics. In turn, growing dependence on such technology may open the door to new vulnerabilities, such as the vulnerability to computer viruses. Small, highly mobile elements composed of very intelligent soldiers armed with high technology weapons may range over wide areas seeking critical targets. Targets may be more in the civilian than the military sector. Front-rear terms will be replaced with targeted-untargeted. This may in turn radically alter the way in which military Services are organized and structured. Units will combine reconnaissance and strike functions. Remote, “smart” assets with preprogrammed artificial intelligence may play a key role. Concurrently, the greatest defensive strengths may be the ability to hide from and spoof these assets. The tactical and strategic levels will blend as the opponent’s political infrastructure and civilian society become battlefield targets. It will be critically important to isolate the enemy from one’s own homeland

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because a small number of people will be able to render great damage in a very short time. Leaders will have to be masters of both the art of war and technology, a difficult combination as two different mindsets are involved. Primary challenges facing commanders at all levels will include target selection (which will be a political and cultural, not just a military, decision), the ability to concentrate suddenly from very wide dispersion, and selection of subordinates who can manage the challenge of minimal or no supervision in a rapidly changing environment. A major challenge will be handling the tremendous potential information overload without losing sight of the operational and strategic objectives. Psychological operations may become the dominant operational and strategic weapon in the form of media/information intervention. Logic bombs and computer viruses, including latent viruses, may be used to disrupt civilian as well as military operations. Fourth generation adversaries will be adept at manipulating the media to alter domestic and world opinion to the point where skillful use of psychological operations will sometimes preclude the commitment of combat forces. A major target will be the enemy population’s support of its government and the war. Television news may become a more powerful operational weapon than armored divisions. This kind of high-technology fourth generation warfare may carry in it the seeds of nuclear destruction. Its effectiveness could rapidly eliminate the ability of a nuclear-armed opponent to wage war conventionally. Destruction or disruption of vital industrial capacities, political infrastructure, and social fabric, coupled with sudden shifts in the balance of power and concomitant emotions, could easily lead to escalation to nuclear weapons. This risk may deter fourth generation warfare among nuclear armed powers just as it deters major conventional warfare among them today. A major caveat must be placed on the possibility of a technologically driven fourth generation, at least in the American context Even if the technological state of the art permits a high-technology fourth generation and this is not clearly the case – the technology itself must be

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translated into weapons that are effective in actual combat. At present, our research, development, and procurement process has great difficulty making this transition. It often produces weapons that incorporate high technology irrelevant in combat or too complex to work in the chaos of combat. Too many so-called “smart” weapons provide examples; in combat they are easy to counter, fail of their own complexity, or make impossible demands on their operators. The current American research, development, and procurement process may simply not be able to make the transition to a militarily effective fourth generation of weapons.

A Potential Idea-Driven Fourth Generation Technology was the primary driver of the second generation of warfare; ideas were the primary driver of the third. An idea-based fourth generation is also conceivable. For about the last 500 years, the West has defined warfare. For a military to be effective it generally had to follow Western models. Because the West’s strength is technology, it may tend to conceive of a fourth generation in technological terms. However, the West no longer dominates the world. A fourth generation may emerge from non-Western cultural traditions, such as Islamic or Asiatic traditions. The fact that some non-Western areas, such as the Islamic world, are not strong in technology may lead them to develop a fourth generation through ideas rather than technology. The genesis of an idea-based fourth generation may be visible in terrorism. This is not to say that terrorism is fourth generation warfare, but rather that elements of it may be signs pointing toward a fourth generation. Some elements in terrorism appear to reflect the previously noted “carryovers” from third generation warfare. The more successful terrorists appear to operate on broad mission orders that carry down to the level of the individual terrorist. The ‘battlefield” is highly dispersed and includes the whole of the enemy’s society. The terrorist lives almost completely off the land and the enemy. Terrorism is very much a matter of maneuver: the terrorist’s firepower is small, and where and when he applies it is critical. Two additional carryovers must be noted as they may be useful “signposts” pointing toward the fourth generation. The first is a component

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of collapsing the enemy. It is a shift in focus from the enemy’s front to his rear. Terrorism must seek to collapse the enemy from within as it has little capability (at least at present) to inflict widespread destruction. First generation warfare focused tactically and operationally (when operational art was practiced) on the enemy’s front, his combat forces. Second generation warfare remained frontal tactically, but at least in Prussian practice it focused operationally on the enemy’s rear through the emphasis on encirclement The third generation shifted the tactical as well as the operational focus to the enemy’s rear. Terrorism takes this a major step further. It attempts to bypass the enemy’s military entirely and strike directly at his homeland at civilian targets. Ideally, the enemy’s military is simply irrelevant to the terrorist. The second signpost is the way terrorism seeks to use the enemy’s strength against him This “judo” concept of warfare begins to manifest itself in the second generation, in the campaign and battle of encirclement. The enemy’s fortresses, such as Metz and Sedan, became fatal traps. It was pushed further in the third generation where, on the defensive, one side often tries to let the other penetrate so his own momentum makes him less able to turn and deal with a counterstroke. Terrorists use a free society’s freedom and openness, its greatest strengths, against it. They can move freely within our society while actively working to subvert it. They use our democratic rights not only to penetrate but also to defend themselves. If we treat them within our laws, they gain many protections; if we simply shoot them down, the television news can easily make them appear to be the victims. Terrorists can effectively wage their form of warfare while being protected by the society they are attacking. If we are forced to set aside our own system of legal protections to deal with terrorists, the terrorists win another sort of victory. Terrorism also appears to represent a solution to a problem that has been generated by previous generational changes but not really addressed by any of them. It is the contradiction between the nature of the modern battlefield and the traditional military culture. That culture, embodied in ranks, saluting uniforms, drill, etc., is largely a product of first generation warfare. It is a culture of order. At the time it evolved it was consistent with the battlefield, which was itself dominated by order. The ideal army

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was a perfectly oiled machine, and that was what the military culture of order sought to produce. However, each new generation has brought a major shift toward a battlefield of disorder. The military culture, which has remained a culture of order, has become contradictory to the battlefield. Even in the third generation warfare, the contradiction has not been insoluble; the Wehrmacht bridged it effectively, outwardly maintaining the traditional culture of order while in combat demonstrating the adaptability and fluidity a disorderly battlefield demands. But other militaries, such as the British, have been less successful at dealing with the contradiction. They have often attempted to carry the culture of order over onto the battlefield with disastrous results. At Biddulphsberg, in the Boer War, for example, a handful of Boers defeated two British Guards battalions that fought as if on parade. The contradiction between the military culture and the nature of modern war confronts a traditional military Service with a dilemma. Terrorists resolve the dilemma by eliminating the culture of order. Terrorists do not have uniforms, drill, saluting or, for the most part, ranks. Potentially, they have or could develop a military culture that is consistent with the disorderly nature of modern war. The fact that their broader culture may be non-Western may facilitate this development. Even in equipment, terrorism may point toward signs of a change in generations. Typically, an older generation requires much greater resources to achieve a given end than does its successor. Today, the United States is spending $500 million apiece for stealth bombers. A terrorist stealth bomber is a car with a bomb in the trunk – a car that looks like every other car.

Terrorism, Technology, and Beyond Again, we are not suggesting terrorism is the fourth generation. It is not a new phenomenon, and so far it has proven largely ineffective. However, what do we see if we combine terrorism with some of the new technology we have discussed? For example, that effectiveness might the terrorist have if his car bomb were a product of genetic engineering rather than

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high explosives? To draw our potential fourth generation out still further, what if we combined terrorism, high technology, and the following additional elements? 1) A non-national or transnational base, such as an ideology or religion. Our national security capabilities are designed to operate within a nation-state framework. Outside that framework, they have great difficulties. The drug war provides an example. Because the drug traffic has no nation-state base, it is very difficult to attack. The nation-state shields the drug lords but cannot control them. We cannot attack them without violating the sovereignty of a friendly nation. A fourth-generation attacker could well operate in a similar manner, as some Middle Eastern terrorists already do. 2) A direct attack on the enemy’s culture. Such an attack works from within as well as from without. It can bypass not only the enemy’s military but the state itself. The United States is already suffering heavily from such a cultural attack in the form of the drug traffic. Drugs directly attack our culture. They have the support of a powerful “fifth column,” the drug buyers. They bypass the entire state apparatus despite our best efforts. Some ideological elements in South America see drugs as a weapon; they call them the “poor man’s intercontinental ballistic missile.” They prize the drug traffic not only for the money it brings in through which we finance the war against ourselves – but also for the damage it does to the hated North Americans. 3) Highly sophisticated psychological warfare, especially through manipulation of the media, particularly television news. Some terrorists already know how to play this game. More broadly, hostile forces could easily take advantage of a significant product of television reporting – the fact that on television the enemy’s casualties can be almost as devastating on the home front as are friendly casualties. If we bomb an enemy city, the pictures of enemy civilian dead brought into every living room in the country on the evening news can easily turn what may have been a military success (assuming we also hit the military target) into a serious defeat.

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All of these elements already exist. They are not the product of “futurism,” of gazing into a crystal ball. We are simply asking what would we face if they were all combined? Would such a combination constitute at least the beginnings of a fourth generation of warfare? One thought that suggests they might is that third (not to speak of second) generation militaries would seem to have little capability against such a synthesis. This is typical of generational shifts. The purpose of this paper is to pose a question, not to answer it. The partial answers suggested here may in fact prove to be false leads. But in view of the fact that third generation warfare is now over 70 years old, we should be asking ourselves the question, what will the fourth generation be? * Some Thoughts on the Current State of the War in Afghanistan The initial campaign in America’s first Afghan War appears to be over. We find ourselves now in a temporary pause, where such American military activity as continues is largely an exercise in public relations. We may or may not eventually kill or capture Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden; it matters little either way. It is an appropriate time to stop and reflect on what has passed thus far and what still awaits us. As always, an important caution is that the information currently at our disposal is of uncertain quality. Much is still claims, and claims almost always prove exaggerated, often absurdly so. There is much we simply don’t know; it was several years after the end of the Gulf War before we found out that the Iraqi Republican Guard had escaped largely intact. Any conclusions we reach at this point must be considered tentative. Yet it is still worthwhile to reflect. The official line in Washington is that the world’s only superpower has won yet another glorious victory, more stellar, if that were possible, than even its triumphs in Grenada and Panama (Saddam’s survival has knocked a bit of the tinsel off the Gulf War, Lebanon is best forgotten, and we seem to be moving to get our revenge for the unfortunate affair in Somalia). As Olivares said of Nordlingen, it is the greatest victory of

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the age. More, we have successfully reduced war to little more than airstrikes, called in by a few intrepid Green Berets on the ground. The only risks are taken by whatever local allies we can rent for the occasion. As General Nivelle put it, “we have the formula,” and we can apply it anywhere. Iraq appears to be the next likely laboratory. Unfortunately, there is less to all this than meets the eye. While Washington attributes the Taliban’s (possibly temporary) collapse to American actions, particularly air attacks, there were others factors in play. As a Pashtun-based movement, it was never strong in non-Pashtun parts of Afghanistan; before the first bomb fell, Mullah Omar said that the Taliban would lose Kabul and the government. The Northern Alliance’s new Russian-supplied tanks and other heavy weapons may have had Russian crews as well. Money – perhaps the most powerful weapon in this sort of war – undoubtedly played a role in the sideswitching. The surprise of the campaign was the rapid collapse of the Taliban in its own Pashtun region. Here, however, the decisive factor was not what we did right but what they had done wrong. The Taliban had broken the first rule of all politics: it had alienated its own base (the Arabs of Al Quaeda did the same by alienating most of the Afghans). By ignoring tribal rulers and tribal customs, playing the bully and simply not meeting average Afghans’ basic needs, the Taliban had cut the ground out from under itself. It only took a small push to make it fall. That small push American airpower and American Special Forces, operating in the role for which they have trained, assisting local allies, were able to supply. But it only worked because the Taliban itself had already created the conditions for it to work. That is not likely to be true elsewhere, and it may not remain true in Afghanistan. As chaos spreads there (and it is spreading), the Taliban may start looking pretty good in retrospect. And now we come to an interesting if carefully overlooked fact: The Taliban is almost all still there. When the Taliban had a state, we were able to fight it. But its essence was never being a state, much less having “facilities” we could blow up with missiles. The Taliban was a movement,

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a non-state actor made up of people with a shared world-view, a worldview for which they were willing to fight. Those people have not been killed, nor taken prisoner (with a very few exceptions), nor driven out. They are in Afghanistan, waiting. Today, they say they are not Taliban. Tomorrow, they can be Taliban again, or something similar with a new mullah and a new name. And, now that the Taliban is not a state, we cannot fight it. The Taliban or its successor and our Second Generation armed forces are ships passing in the night. What of Al Quaeda? It seems to be the big loser thus far. While its casualties have probably been small, it has lost its base in Afghanistan, possibly for good (again, a base it had alienated). But is that how Al Quaeda sees the strategic picture? Possibly not. From its perspective, it may have effectively applied the old lesson from fighting the Crusaders. When the Western knights put on their impenetrable plate armor, mount their massive, powerful horses and charge, you scatter. At the end of the day, they hold the battlefield, but nothing more. You survive, and when they return to their camp, dismount, and take off their armor, you sneak up and shoot in some arrows. They win most of the battles, but in the end, you win the war. More, the leadership of Al Quaeda may understand the most important point that Washington does not: the centers of gravity of this Afghan War are not and never have been in Afghanistan itself. The centers of gravity are, first, Pakistan, and secondly Saudi Arabia and Egypt. If the Taliban is utterly destroyed, Al Quaeda driven out, Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden killed, etc., but we have the Islamic Emirate of Pakistan (with nukes) or Saudi Arabia (with the oil for America’s SUVs) or Egypt (keystone of the Mediterranean), America will have suffered a strategic defeat and militant Islam won a great victory. Here we see the consequence of Washington thinking of this conflict as a “war against terrorism” instead of the vastly larger phenomenon we call Fourth Generation Warfare. The essence of Fourth Generation war is a universal crisis of legitimacy of the state. The central strategic question is therefore whether events and America’s actions thus far have strengthened or weakened the legitimacy of the pro-American regimes in

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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. While the answer is yet unclear, it may well be that those regimes’ legitimacy, already shaky, has been further weakened. Indeed, by forcing them to publicly line up with America against “terrorism” and bin Laden – and thus also against large segments of their own populations – we may have pushed them closer to a fall. If just one of them does fall – not to mention two or three going – bin Laden will have good reason to think himself the victor, even if he is doing so in Hell. Of the three centers of gravity, the most critical is Pakistan, because it has nuclear weapons and the most competent conventional forces in the Islamic world (our aircraft carriers will be out of the region very quickly if Pakistani subs start hunting them). It may also be the country where the regime’s legitimacy is most fragile. It is difficult to think that the course of the Afghan war thus far has made its legitimacy stronger. The pro-American Pakistani government has: • • • • Seen the fall of the Afghan Taliban government it created, indeed been compelled to assist in its replacement; Watched American bombs kill Pakistanis who went to fight for the Taliban, while American aircraft operated from Pakistani bases; Been helpless as the new government in Kabul openly allied with India; Been forced to turn against the forces of Islam within Pakistan, arresting mullahs, closing schools and agreeing that the guerillas it has long supported in Kashmir are now “terrorists.”

Events are now moving toward the next and possibly final act in the fall of the regime in Pakistan. If war does break out between India and Pakistan – and having spent this much money on mobilization, India is more likely to fight than not – Pakistan is likely to be defeated. Its only alternative appears to be public humiliation by agreeing to India’s terms and ending its support for the Islamic guerillas in Kashmir. Either event makes it probable that General Musharraf ’s head will be the ball in an informal if enthusiastic game of soccer, and Pakistan will find itself with a Taliban-like government. America’s position in Afghanistan, as well as in-the entire region, will be untenable, and our “glorious victory” through airpower will have turned to ashes in our mouth.

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What of our situation in Afghanistan if the current Pakistani government somehow does manage to hang on? Even then, the American tide has probably reached its culminating point and will begin to recede. In the current drole de guerre, the remnants of the Taliban and warlords not bought off or brought into the current Kabul regime are catching their breath. They are digesting the lessons of the recent campaign and developing new techniques for confronting the latest foreign invader. Sooner or later, they will go on the offensive, and Americans will start to die. The spreading chaos will make Taliban rule seem like the “good old days.” The Quisling government in Kabul – a classic government of exiles, who like the Bourbons will have forgotten nothing and learned nothing – may buy some time by spreading foreign money around, but the population is not likely to see much of it. Its authority is not likely to run beyond the boundaries of Kabul in any case. Month by month, the American and other foreign troops will find’ the population growing more hostile, “incidents” increasing, and airpower more and more irrelevant. In the end, we will be driven out, as every invader of Afghanistan is driven out, only too thankful to be gone. What is to be done? First, we should get out of Afghanistan now, while the getting is good. Contrary to the beliefs of the Wilsonians, who think that if we can just teach them to make cookoo clocks and cheese with holes in it, the Afghans will become Swiss, the best state we can hope for in Afghanistan is a permanent, low-level civil war. That applies the Afghans’ fighting spirits where they are applied best, to each other. Unfortunately, the momentum in Washington is now toward another exercise in “nation building,” which means we are likely to stay, and pay for it. Second, focus all our energies on preventing another war between India and Pakistan. Washington is beginning to wake up to this, but it remains mesmerized by day-to-day events in Afghanistan, and India and Pakistan get a second-best effort. While General Musharraf may not survive even without a defeat by India, he is virtually certain to go down if Pakistan is beaten. If he goes, so do we. Third, get out of Saudi Arabia. Whatever military advantages we gain by being there are far outweighed by the fact that our presence continually undermines the legitimacy of the current pro-American al Saud govern-

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ment. Some recent press reports suggest the Saudis themselves may ask us to leave; we should pray those reports are correct. Finally, we must understand once and for all that the problem we are facing is not merely “terrorism.” It is Fourth Generation Warfare, and it is the biggest change in war since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The entire American national security establishment needs to bend its efforts to understanding what a Fourth Generation world is likely to be like. Regrettably, since this task requires ideas, not more “programs” with vast budgets, it is presently not receiving any attention in Washington. In today’s Pentagon, the program is the product. The Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan eventually led to the fall of the Soviet regime itself. Of course, we know the same thing could never happen here.

NOTES

1 Chuck Spinney, correspondence with William S. Lind, transcript, 11 February 2002. 2 William S. Lind, Colonel Keith Nightengale (USA), Captain John F. Schmitt (USMC), Colonel Joseph W. Sutton (USA), and Lieutenant Colonel Gary I. Wilson (USMCR). “The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation”, Marine Corps Gazette, October 1989.

Some Thoughts on Warfare in 21st Century

Group Captain Ian MacFarling With a host of furious fancies Whereof I am commander, With a burning spear, & a horse of air, To the wilderness I wander. By a knight of ghosts & shadows, I summon’d am to a tourney Ten leagues beyond the wide world’s end: Me thinks ‘tis no journey Tom O’Bedlam’s Song Anon1 Introduction The brilliant anonymous English poem Tom O’Bedlam’s Song is about the physical and mental wanderings of a highly intelligent madman four centuries ago. However, the final stanza set out above could well be a useful description of modern warfare – particularly information operations. It contains all the issues we should be thinking about in war, such as force structure and capability, psychological warfare, modified weapons and platforms, uncertainty, shadowy opponents, and the confidence, perhaps sometimes misplaced, that we will be able to fight whenever and wherever the battle takes us. The title of the book of essays for which this paper was originally written includes the word ‘asymmetric’ as it applies to warfare.2 Two points need clarification here. There is a difference between war and warfare. War is the condition; warfare is the fighting and its associated processes that we undertake while at war with another party. Secondly, the term ‘asymmetric warfare’ is tautological. It has been used frequently to imply

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that only the weak use ‘asymmetric warfare’ because the strength of a large opponent leaves them no alternative. This is wrong. All wars are asymmetric. They must be by definition because both sides will be seeking the other’s weak points while masking and protecting their vulnerabilities. The antithesis of this is attrition warfare; a term which implies that both sides are so closely balanced that neither has an advantage, and consequently they must bludgeon it out on the field of battle until one of them sues for peace. In this case the winning side will also be so exhausted that it is unlikely to be able to take advantage of its pseudovictory. The major historical example of this was the trench warfare on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918. Nowadays, any national leader who allowed himself to be drawn into such folly would have to possess the two dominating personality traits of persistence and aggressive stupidity, which are endearing in young pet animals, but inappropriate in politicians and senior military officers at the start of the 21st Century. War is an affair of states. If the parties fighting one another are not states then it is not a war. If we use the term war in describing non-state violence then we give the protagonists more rights and a level of social acknowledgment than if we had used another term. The British, who for half a century faced revolts and insurgencies in former colonies from Malaya to Kenya and Cyprus, always defined such violent confrontations as ‘emergencies’. This ensured that their opponents rarely, if ever, enjoyed the luxury of legal recognition or particular status – such as prisoner-ofwar – where that status afforded certain undeserved benefits3. If neither side involved in a violent confrontation is a state then, however lethal it may be, it is merely a brawl or a gangland fight for power. Even if the winning side gathers enough power to form a state in what was previously unoccupied territory that was up for grabs, the original dispute was not a war. There was no law that governed the behaviour of the participants or set out the sanctions they would face if they committed crimes. If only one side is a state then the conflict could be a rebellion, an

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insurgency, or police operations in the pursuit of major crime. In all of these one imagines armed forces playing an ancillary role while the police shoulder the main burden of bringing the criminals to justice. There may however be times when the criminals possess such armed might that the police are unable to meet their challenge and military forces have to be used instead. This brings some problems to the fore, particularly the issue of a constabulary role for military forces and level of force that is acceptable in bringing a conflict to an enduring close. This paper will consider the issues of war and warfare in 21st Century and offer comment on how we can prevent such disasters. The methodology will be to use Tom O’Bedlam’s list of issues – though not perhaps in the order his creator set them out.

Defence Capabilities and Military Force Structure Creating a military force structure and defining its capability implies that we already have a context. Is there one? If not then how have we structured the force we currently have? Is it a legacy of history? Is it still valid? Having a force that cannot undertake the operations required by government is a completely ineffective way of defending the state from external aggression. Perhaps it is better to consider the capabilities we need to defend the state, then work out the tasks needed to fulfil those capability requirements, and finally define the roles and subordinate mission sets required to meet the tasks. Only then should we try to match military forces and their equipment to the roles and missions. Capabilities can be quite broad. They essentially relate to the various physical environments, that is: space, air, land, and sea, and try to express the level of control we feel we should have in each. Some will be impossible to achieve, for example: control of space, while most of the others will only be practicable in a very small geographical area. It is – for example – unrealistic to expect that an air force can have unchallenged control of the air in any large battlespace. Control seems to be inversely proportional to the size of the area involved. There is a problem in structuring a force based on threats. A threat is comprised of capability, motive and intent. If one of those elements is

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missing then there is no threat. However, they can all change rapidly and – given the anarchic nature of the international community – enemies can turn into allies and old friends can become bitter antagonists. The British and French fought as allies in the First World War but they came close to fighting each other in 1923 over French demands for reparations from their former mutual enemy Germany. This merely illustrates the point that in international relations the only factor that guides the policy of every nation on the planet is national interest. It is more logical to base a force structure on vulnerabilities, but logic is not necessarily helpful in this instance. Threats are externally generated and subject to rapid change, while vulnerabilities are internal and tend to be semi-permanent. Vulnerabilities are rarely military in nature but they must be an essential element in any military plan to defend the nation. They thus present a conundrum for most defence planners because there is seldom a purely military answer for their removal – though many solutions to the problems they cause will require a military input. Do vulnerabilities provide us with a context with which to develop force structure? The answer is an unhelpful ‘maybe’. They will only be useful if an adversary defines our vulnerabilities as our centres of gravity that will then be his target set. Will we know this in peacetime? It is highly unlikely. If we develop a catalogue of our own vulnerabilities do we make that catalogue highly classified? This will be difficult because, as mentioned earlier, most of the weak points in a society are seldom military in nature. In these days of information being readily available from a host of sources how do you classify – and thereafter protect – knowledge about a power grid that the whole nation uses, a telephone network that relies on a foreign-owned satellite constellation, or conceal that you only have only one railway line into an area of significant strategic importance? What is essential is to classify – perhaps very highly – what you intend to do to protect these vulnerabilities, all the while knowing that it should not be too difficult for any potential enemy to develop a thorough knowledge of your country and then link your force structure to the defence of the most vital elements. It may well be that he will know long before you that you have made a complete mess of developing your forces and that what you have created will not really defend you from a well considered attack. The other issue that affects the nature of both threats and vulnerabilities

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is perception. This is multi-dimensional and probably one of the unsung problems of information operations. The Oracle at Delphi had it right when she said ‘know thyself ’, but there is an additional factor which we tend to overlook. We not only need to know ourselves, we need to know our enemy as well as possible. The latter requirement includes the almost impossible task of trying to determine how both our enemies and our allies perceive us. It would be extremely valuable if we could understand how outsiders defined our motives for doing something, because history shows that they (and we) seldom get it right and usually make the consequent vital decisions on the basis of theory and supposition rather than fact. An example was the United States’ decision to send a carrier battle group into the Taiwan Straits in 1996 when, following statements about Taiwanese sovereignty during a political campaign in Taiwan, the Chinese held manoeuvres that culminated in missiles being fired out to sea near Taiwan. The Chinese did not mind the US battle group being there. They appear to have expected such a move. The issue for them was that the US sent the USS Independence carrier battle group. It seems that the American reason for sending it was because it was the closest to the scene of action, but the Chinese ascribed a more sophisticated motive for the action, believing that the US was using the aircraft carrier’s name to make a implicit policy statement that deliberately challenged China’s long-stated policy of integrating Taiwan into the People’s Republic of China at some future date.

Psychological Warfare Psychological warfare is all about convincing your adversary that you have a hidden capability and in fact can do more than your capabilities suggest. Commanding a ‘host of furious fancies’ – even if they are only in your head – is actually quite useful if you can convince the knight of ghosts and shadows that they do exist and are capable of defeating him. Hitler was extremely successful in convincing the European powers of German might in the late 1930s – to the consternation of his own generals4 – long before the Wehrmacht was actually able to do what he claimed. Shadowy opponents are always more of a concern than those who are well defined. We are frightened by our own lack of knowledge about

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them. What if they have the capacity to do something unexpected using methods for which we are unprepared? The irony in the 21st Century is that in war, where states by definition are involved on both sides, we generally have a reasonable idea of the potential adversaries’ force structure and their equipment. Where we fall down is in human issues and history shows we seem to be pathologically incapable of getting this right. The Western Allies underestimated the Japanese in 1941 and paid a heavy price, while 40 years later the British were taken completely by surprise by the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands and South Georgia. Shadowy opponents also make it essential to have keen grasp on reality so that you avoid believing your own propaganda. Stanley Baldwin, the British Prime Minister in the early 1930s, was so convinced of the effectiveness of aerial attack against civilians that he handed the political initiative to the Germans even though they never did develop an effective long-range bomber throughout the short life of the Third Reich. In fact, no major power had the capacity to conduct the sort of air attack that worried Baldwin until 1943. His personal conviction and consequent influence, however, were so overwhelming that large segments of the British population were issued with gas masks before World War Two to protect them against a German air attack that – following Douhet – was fully expected to include gas. The problem of poorly defined enemies gets worse when the adversary is a terrorist. Secret societies have long been the bane of state leaders5. Osama bin Laden and al Qu’ida are no different, they are just more widespread and thus threaten a larger number of societies. Terrorists are so difficult to pin down that we tend to credit them with more power than they really have. We must remember that their form of violence is the cry of the weak and they will use any method to make their mark. Their general ploy is to exploit vulnerabilities not match the capabilities of the states they are trying to bring down. Their concepts will frequently be subtle, but we must not confuse subtlety of conception with subtlety of execution. There is little doubt that some would use weapons of mass destruction if they could acquire them, though to date – with the exception of the Aum Shinrikyo sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway in March 1995 – they have used either conventional weapons, commercial explosives, or civil airliners in the guise of missiles to great effect.

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These successes have reinforced the popular myths of their invincibility, and now they only have to whisper that they might be going to do something violent and we all feel the need to respond immediately. They have rediscovered a very inexpensive way of conducting a campaign. Fear has its own lexicon, which may not include the actual use of force.

Modern Weapons For most of recorded history it was the mark of a great commander that he husbanded his forces and used only the minimum necessary to complete the task. Lesser commanders used what they had and then either lost the battle or retreated to within reach of their logistics system for hasty replenishment. The advent of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has – for the last fifty years – provided even mediocre commanders with so much firepower that only the insane or the desperate would contemplate using it. WMD are so dangerous that they require absolute political control and are the ultimate reason for the existence of states and their unchallenged prerogative for making war. WMD in the hands of nonstate actors are a recipe for the destruction of civilisation and a retreat to the dark ages. In short, such a situation must be prevented at all costs. New technologies have increased the effectiveness of conventional weapons to a level hitherto unimaginable. A single B-1B Lancer bomber armed with its maximum load of JDAMs6 is singularly effective. Each weapon is capable of destroying its designated target, which is a remarkable feat, but we should leave it at that. As Shakespeare’s idiot constable Dogberry might have said comparisons are odorous, and to compare a B-1B sortie against a range of targets across Afghanistan in 2002 with a Lancaster raid during World War Two is to misunderstand what comparative analysis and evaluation mean. The essential element in both instances is the context in which such weapons were used. Lancasters were dispatched to wreak havoc on the German population in order to destroy its morale and undermine the Nazi leadership. At the time it did not matter that the definition of their targets was limited to the name of a city. The poor accuracy of delivery and the German countermeasures sometimes meant that the attacking force missed even a target as large as that – and even that did not matter too much to the Allies. In 1942 aerial bombardment of the German homeland was seen as the only way of

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striking back and creating a virtual second front that took some pressure off the Soviet Union, which was fighting for its very survival. War, as it is practiced by the United States and its allies at the turn of the Third Millennium, is influenced by a range of factors. These include the Law of Armed Conflict, and the general belief that war should be precise. This last element is another error and demonstrates the folly of sloppy language. (As Sir Ernest Gower noted so cogently in his Complete Plain Words the two alternatives in what appears to be the poor use of language are that the writer is either expressing a clear idea poorly or describing a woolly concept with great clarity.7) In the case of war studies many writers are guilty of both, but it is usually sloppy language that is their major crime. The conduct of war should be accurate and, given the lethality of modern weapons, warfare should be as accurate as possible. The term accuracy defines how close a result comes to the true value. If a person fires several bullets at the bullseye of a target and all of their shots as a group are centred on the bullseye then their firing can be said to be accurate. If another person fires at the bullseye and all of their shots are clustered in a very tight group - but not centred on the target – then their firing can be said to be precise. If we combine these two terms as an analytical tool we can say that something that is both accurate and precise is exact. We would be living in a fool’s paradise to expect that warfare will ever be exact – but it is something for which we should strive because it implies that we trying to have as much control as is humanly possible over the conduct of the war. Small but far-reaching tragedies such as the destruction of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade demonstrate that even today we are still long on precision and short on accuracy. The key to targeting is intelligence8 and – as I have noted elsewhere – this has two meanings. All the good intelligence is worthless unless you have the intelligence to use it properly9. And this need for practical intelligence and common sense is not limited to air commanders, combat crews and planners. In modern war politicians should be the people responsible for defining what outcomes they want from the war they are prosecuting. They too must develop the skills that enable them to understand what armed forces can and – equally importantly – cannot do.

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Modern warfare also requires all parties to use discrimination and proportionality. Discrimination means that we must never wittingly target the innocent so – yet again – we must ensure that we have good intelligence to be able to discern who exactly it is that is attacking us. This will often be difficult if we face an opponent who uses proxies or ensures their attacks are disavowable. It will be harder still if do not understand the reasons why we are being attacked. When we do respond it is important that we do so with the greatest of skill. Such skill is essential in the military staff officers who specify weapon performance parameters, the weapon designer who creates the weapon in accordance with the specification, the constructor, the technician on the flight line, and the aircrew who launch the weapon. Modern weapons have to have a level of lethality that ensures that the target is obliterated, but at the same time they must be sophisticated enough to ensure that their effects do not harm innocent bystanders who happen to be nearby. Proportionality is harder to achieve. A grenade that targets a large number of women and children in a market place is an outrage, but the response should never be a concentrated attack on the refugee camp that houses the probable culprits by modern strike aircraft using precision guided munitions. Such a reaction is not only immoral, it is also illegal because it is out of all proportion to the original attack and has the potential to start the well-known cycle of revenge where each side ups the ante and hatred becomes a way of life. A grenade attack is at the lower end of the spectrum of conflict. It is a crime rather than an act of war and the appropriate response is a police raid and subsequent legal action that sees the culprits gaoled for an extended period. In the police action and any support that might be given by air forces the weapons used must be appropriate and at a level that does not increase the tempo of the conflict. This leads to the question of popular expectations about the roles of armed forces – particularly air forces. Armed forces have always been the sole arbiter of violence in defence of the nation state and its allies. They are the tools of last resort when all other avenues have failed. But since 1945 they have been asked to take on a wide range of additional tasks – usually in international peace-making and enforcement coalitions – that are still frequently violent in nature but less than war. On many occasions

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military personnel have become what Michael Ignatieff elegantly calls ‘the people who make the misery of others their business’10. This is to be expected. With the demise of European colonialism after World War Two and the bitter ethnic disputes in what were previously colonial empires, and the expanding nature of the battlefield the casualties of war have changed. At the start of the 20th Century eight soldiers died for every civilian who was killed in war. At the end of that Century eight civilians died for every member of the armed forces who was killed on active service11. The question is whether armed forces are the appropriate people for the task. It can be argued that military personnel have an unlimited liability clause in their contracts and therefore they are expected to perform whatever task they are given by the government of the day. In giving them these roles their government must be aware that the skills required for fighting in a war are different from those needed to enforce peace in a bitterly divided country where the culture and societal mores are entirely different from those in the country supplying the peace keepers. Furthermore, some cultural practices in those places where peacekeeping is necessary will be abhorrent to those maintaining or enforcing the peace. The term ‘constabulary’ shows the dilemma faced by military forces. In war they are expected to engage the enemy and kill or capture them. In a peace operation where they may be operating in a constabulary role they will be expected to behave like police who never take life except as a last resort. The change of mindset is difficult to accommodate – particularly in the Western world where the Judeo-Christian ethic has commandments that forbid killing. Discipline demands that you do as you are told, while your conscience - that reflects the standards of your society - tells you that killing is wrong. It may well be that the word constabulary should disappear from the military lexicon, not to lessen the restraint on killing that all humans should feel, but to limit the roles of armed forces. If operations other than war (OOTW) are to become the main task of most armed services then maybe we should consider other force structures where the warfighting element moves in to stabilise the situation and, when that is complete, hands over the task of reconstruction to another element. This could be comprised of older

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people – perhaps mainly women – who could help the victims, who will statistically be women and children, in ways that warfighters might not be able to do. Some cultures will only allow women to talk to other women on certain issues. This concept, while only in embryonic form here, has other advantages given the number of conflicts in the world and the paucity of highly trained warfighters to undertake the necessarily violent elements of OOTW. Air forces have an additional problem in OOTW. It is what Jonathan Glover calls ‘cold violence’12 and reflects the unique nature of air power. Air power relies on sophisticated technology and it is lethal13 in ways that land power generally is not. The main issue is that air power provides us with the capacity to launch attacks at a significant distance from the target. This allows us to husband our forces, protect our people, and engage the enemy in a way that should convince him that we have the advantage and it is in his interests to surrender. There is however a significant downside. As Jonathan Glover notes ‘technology has created forms of cold violence which should disturb us far more than the beast of rage in man. The great military atrocities now use bombs or missiles. The decisions are taken coldly, far away’14. It is possible to disagree with Glover here. He uses the present tense, which is incorrect. There were – to be sure – terrible atrocities conducted using air power during the 20th Century from the Japanese raids in China in the 1930s, the attack on Guernica in April 1937, the Italian operations in Abyssinia, and in many of the German and Allied raids through to the end of the Second World War. However, since the end of the Cold War most of the shocking crimes perpetrated by mankind have been with other – much less sophisticated – weapons. The genocide in Rwanda in the late 1990s was conducted using machetes. The message Glover wants to get across however is still valid. Distance from the target must not be allowed to reduce the responsibilities of those selecting the aim point and firing the weapons at it. In all acts of war there must be humans in the control loop of the weapons being used – and those people must be military for a variety of reasons – and they must be highly trained in a range of skills. But such training is still not enough. Training is about functional skills that enable us to perform practical tasks successfully. The essential element in the development of

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military officers is a broad education. This should include philosophy, politics, history, and culture. It does not include management studies and accountancy. These two subjects are best seen as advanced training because of their practical, functional nature and also the pragmatism that is associated with commercial business administration. Such advanced training is important to the success of certain lower echelon military functions, but it has been given too much attention – and the practitioners have been accorded too much power in a field where their skills should be seen as subordinate to military activity in the battlespace. What is needed now are senior military personnel who have a clear understanding of the reasons why they are doing what they are doing. There is no place now for King Henry V’s ‘dogs of war’, who only have a knowledge of how and when things should be done, and are unleashed at the supposedly right time and place by those who control them. The development of educated and thoughtful senior military officers can only be achieved by a long exposure to all aspects of war and warfare and the kind of education mentioned above. For all his faults and limitations Clausewitz was right on this point – ‘analysis, and observation, theory and experience must never disdain or exclude each other; on the contrary they support each other.15’ An area where commercial pragmatism could cause significant problems is the operation of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) during conflict. It has been chosen here because it flies in the face of Clausewitz’s aphorism set out above. The apparently benign capabilities of UAVs and the fact that much of their flight regime is automated mean that they could be seen as a prime candidate for operation by commercial contractors who – so conventional wisdom holds – are significantly cheaper than Service personnel. The problem could arise if such civilian commercial operation of UAVs was extended to uncrewed combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) – perhaps operating at distances over thousands of nautical miles from their home base to attack the enemy. The combination of cold violence, the use of non-military personnel to fire the weapons in combat, and business-style imperatives of profit and efficiency have the potential to lead to disaster. It does not accord with the spirit of international law. It would contradict many constitutions because these usually declare that the armed forces of the nation defined by that constitution have the sole right to wield violence in the defence of their state. It disavows the basic

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tenets of military professionalism, and displays a singular lack of trust on the part of the government towards its armed services. In short it would expose the lack of thought being displayed by national leaders who perhaps have an ideological disposition to market efficiency rather than military effectiveness in the face of danger. In essence such a scenario would mean we have returned to the age of condottieri with all of the problems that an amoral gun-for-hire brings with him. Such people were around fighting in the 30 Years War when Tom O’Bedlam’s Song was first published. That war ended with the Treaty of Westphalia that heralded the rise of the modern nation-state and started the demise of the mercenary calling in most of the civilised world. The challenges to the state system, the increase in power of non-state actors, and the potential for the use of cold violence as a matter of policy in the settlement of disputes should be a cause for concern at the start of the 21st Century.

NOTES

1 This is the final stanza of the anonymous poem that first appeared in print in 1620. Some critics suggest this may have been a poem by Shakespeare from an unpublished play. The version cited here is in Harold Bloom: How to Read and Why. HarperCollinsPublishers, London, 2001, p. 110. 2 Note of Thanks. I would like to thank the staff and fellows of the Aerospace Centre at RAAF Fairbairn in Canberra, Australia for reading the original manuscript and making valuable comment on its content. The errors that remain are mine. Disclaimer. The content of this essay sets out the personal thoughts of the author. It in no way reflects the policy of the Australian Federal Government, the Australian Defence Organisation, the Royal Australian Air Force or the Aerospace Centre. 3 For a persuasive argument on this subject see Sir Michael Howard’s address Mistake to declare this a ‘war’ to the Royal United Services Institute in London in October 2001. Reported by Associated Newspapers Ltd., 31 October 2001 on http://www.thisislondon.c…/story.html?in_review_id+470295&in_review_text_id=42415. 4 Ernest R May. Strange Victory: Hitler’s Conquest of France. I B Tauris, London, 2000, pp. 40-52. 5 For a useful description of some of the odd thinking that accompanies terrorism see Carl Sagan, The Demon- Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Headline Book Publishing, London, 1997, pp. 19-20.

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6 The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a guidance tail kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate, adverse weather “smart” munitions. With the addition of a new tail section that contains an inertial navigational system and a global positioning system guidance control unit, JDAM improves the accuracy of unguided, general purpose bombs in any weather condition. JDAM is a guided air-to-surface weapon that uses either the 2,000-pound BLU-109/MK 84 or the 1,000-pound BLU-110/MK 83 warheads as the payload. JDAM enables employment of accurate air-to-surface weapons against high priority fixed and relocatable targets from fighter and bomber aircraft. Guidance is facilitated through a tail control system and a GPS-aided INS. The navigation system is initialised by transfer alignment from the aircraft that provides position and velocity vectors from the aircraft systems. Once released from the aircraft, the JDAM autonomously navigates to the designated target coordinates. Target coordinates can be loaded into the aircraft before takeoff, manually altered by the aircrew before weapon release, and automatically entered through target designation with onboard aircraft sensors. In its most accurate mode, the JDAM system will provide a weapon circular error probable of 13 meters or less during free flight when GPS data is available. If GPS data is denied, the JDAM will achieve a 30-meter CEP or less for free flight times up to 100 seconds with a GPS quality hand-off from the aircraft. JDAM can be launched from very low to very high altitudes in a dive, toss and loft or in straight and level flight with an on-axis or off-axis delivery. JDAM enables multiple weapons to be directed against single or multiple targets on a single pass. (dated 22 April 2002). Sir Ernest Gowers, The Complete Plain Words – Third Edition. Crown Copyright, London, 1986, p. 38. This is a maxim developed by the noted American air power theorist and historian Dr Phillip Meilinger. See Phillip S Meilinger. 10 Propositions Regarding Air Power. Air Force History & Museums Program, Washington, 1995, p. 20. ‘Asymmetric Warfare: Myth or Reality’ in Future Warfare – Proceedings of Australian Chief of Army’s Conference Proceedings. Alan Ryan [ed.], Allen & Unwin Pty. Ltd, Sydney, 2002, p. 187. Michael Ignatieff, The Warrior’s Honor, Vintage, London, 1999, p. 60. Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars. Polity Press, London, 1999, p. 8. Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century. Yale University Press, New Haven, 2000, p. 64. In discussing these issues with the staff at the RAAF’s Aerospace Centre it was pointed out to me that air forces have generally been tardy in developing non-lethal weapons. Glover, Humanity p. 64. Carl von Clausewitz, On War. translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1976m p. 61.

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9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Chechnya: Russia’s Experience of Asymmetrical Warfare

Mr. Ivan Safranchuk Introduction The issue of the Chechen conflict is extremely complicated and controversial.1 Researchers’ attempts to present an objective and comprehensive picture of Russia’s experience in the conflict are challenging because of the strict procedures regarding the formatting or dosing of information. This leads to numerous tales about the situation in the conflict zone. Like every conflict this one has social and human aspects, as well as military and military industry components. The various humanitarian aspects of the conflict have already become the subject for close scrutiny by many Russian and foreign researchers as well as international organizations. This paper will mostly, if not exclusively, focus on the military experience of Russia facing nontraditional, guerilla type of conflict, which may be defined as asymmetrical warfare. Political questions are also covered, but only where they are inseparable from military elements. The topic is therefore Russia’s experience in operating asymmetrical warfare.

The Problematical Definition of “Asymmetrical Warfare” The definition of “asymmetrical” is still a matter for discussion. This becomes particularly evident as one tries to move from theoretical discussions on “asymmetry” in modern warfare to an analysis of concrete examples of such conflicts. What is the place of asymmetrical warfare in the generation gradation of warfare? With the notion that any conflict may be asymmetrical and that asymmetry has always existed in wars we must admit that “asymmetry” does not coincide with generation gradation: second-, third- and fourth-

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generation conflicts2 can all be asymmetrical in a sense. Some authors suggest that asymmetrical warfare is “threatening or actually attacking civilian population or infrastructure”.3 This does not, however, seem to fully reflect the practice of asymmetrical warfare. So the asymmetry phenomenon fits neither generation gradation nor the maneuver concept of warfare: “Fourth-generation warfare, while indeed highly “asymmetric”, is not the same as “asymmetric warfare”, since maneuver warfare is also “asymmetric” and calls for creating and exploiting enemy weaknesses, rather than engaging and trying to reduce his formations and fortified positions directly”.4 However, the same author also assumes that “fourth-generation warfare is in a sense an “asymmetric” conflict pushed to its limits”.5 The author fails to give a comprehensive definition of the term “asymmetrical warfare”. I do not consider any one of the existing definitions to be completely satisfactory, and this is also the case regarding the Chechnya example. However, the major characteristics of “asymmetrical warfare” (based on the Chechnya case, but not limited to it, unless otherwise specified) are the following: • • • • • • • The enemy is a quasi state in formation. The enemy army consists of a combination of regular units and militiamen. The enemy is not adhering to the traditional rules of war. The enemy is supported or is at least not internally opposed by the indigenous population. The enemy quasi state (regime) has better knowledge of local traditions, area, roots etc. than its enemy. The enemy has international contacts and some international support. The enemy is familiar with your tactics, unit structures, training and equipment conditions (this is a unique characteristic of the Chechen conflict).6

A pure case of asymmetrical warfare is when you have the advantage with regards to traditional military factors such as equipment, combatants etc, but the enemy is using tactics and means that do not give you the

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opportunity to exploit this advantage. The military action is probably also taking place on enemy-friendly territory.

Limitations on Russia’s Experience as a General Example of Asymmetrical Warfare Russia’s experience in Chechnya is not a very good example of how to face an asymmetrical challenge. Or maybe, particularly in the beginning of the first war in 1994, it is a good example of how not to deal with an asymmetrical challenge. Nonetheless, a negative result is also a result, and negative experience is also experience. But the combat losses suffered by the Russian people are a high price to pay in an asymmetrical conflict. A serious drawback with regards to Russia’ experience is the lack of analysis of the military aspects of the conflict. This is mostly due to a limited amount of information, as well as the non-declared taboo regarding expert debates on the issue. A few examples of memoir-style descriptions of the conflict cannot substitute expert, by-partisan analysis of this warfighting tactics, based on relevant and sufficient information and data. The latter is a significant problem: Most of the information and data concerning the conflict is either classified or simply unavailable. Available figures are basically fragmentary, and sometimes conflicting and con-fusing. A glaring example is the puzzling official figures on losses in the first Chechen conflict (1994–1996). General Lebed, who was then Secretary of the Security Council, gave these figures: 3826 – dead, 17892 – wounded, 1906 – missing;7 Joint Command of Federal Forces in Chechnya: 4103 – dead, 19794 – wounded, 1231 – missing;8 Ministry of Defense: 2941 – dead; General Staff: 1233 – missing; the staff of Joint Command of Federal Forces in Chechnya: 2846 – dead, 13280 – wounded, 858 – missing. Not surprisingly, the official analysis of the Chechen conflict appears even slower than expert reflections. Four major doctrinal documents adapted after the beginning of the first Chechen conflict do not refer directly to the Chechen experience, namely “The Presidential Address on National Security” (1996), “The Concept of National Security” (1997), “The Concept of National Security” (2000), “Military Doctrine” (2000). The Concept of National Security and Military Doctrine was revised in

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early 2000. These revisions did not, however, concentrate on the Chechen conflict. For instance, the military doctrine revision, which was completed in early 2000, did not reflect the Chechen experience. This is true for both the military doctrine draft that appeared in October 1999 as well as for the final document that was officially approved by the president in April 2000. The need for a new military doctrine was not motivated by the Chechen experience. The official reason for revising the documents was the NATO war against Yugoslavia.9 However, the first Chechen war that ended in 1996 gave a good reason for reconsideration of doctrinal lines in the temporary military doctrine adapted in November 1993. The second Chechen conflict that broke out in August 1999 coincided with decisive stages of completing the draft (September–October) and the final (December–February) versions of the document. There does exist some evidence of Chechen influence, however. This influence may be of an indirect nature, but is strongly related to the issue of “asymmetrical warfare”. In the doctrinal documents adapted in 2000, the sections on terrorism were expanded. In the military doctrine the list of internal threats (they are considered to prevail over external threats) focuses on terrorism – five out of six named threats are related to terrorism.10 Incidentally the list of external threats also includes diversion and terrorism. In the last Concept of National Security terrorism is considered to be one of the major threats to Russian security.11 Moreover the Concept concentrates not only on internal terrorism, which has its roots mostly in criminal activity, but also on transnational (international) terrorism that is a challenge to Russian integrity. Taking into account that Moscow insisted on regarding the second Chechen conflict (from August 1999) as an example of international terrorism, the phraseology of the doctrinal documents adapted in 2000 seems to cover the Chechen case (albeit in a vague and indirect form) and to refer to Russia’s experience of asymmetrical warfare. So the Chechen experience is analyzed, but quite slowly. At the same time the two Chechen conflicts revealed a lot of problems in the Russian army: Many of the current tactics and force structures proved not to be efficient enough in the conflict.12 It also brought to light terminology

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problems as well as PR and propaganda weaknesses regarding how the story of the conflict was presented to the general public. For example political leaders and military establishments are in constant turmoil with regards to the labeling and development of the conflict.13 Officially it is defined as a“counter-terrorism operation”, emphasizing strongly that this is not a war, but rather a “special force action” (the primary goal being to bring order, not to defeat the enemy). Nonetheless, even officials cannot help the occasional slip of the tongue, calling it “war”. In nonofficial language the label “first and second Chechen wars” prevail in most debates on the issue. The major problem with Russia’s experience is that this conflict cannot be called a pure case of asymmetrical warfare, defined above, as long as a state has full dominance in hardware and software – in second-generation military factors. The problem is that due to poor funding, corruption and disintegration, the Russian army was far from being fully equipped and trained. In November 1994 General Grachev, at that time Russian minister of defense, prepared a classified document (_ _-0010), where he aimed to prove that the Russian army was completely disabled.14 The Chechen operation was initiated just 10 days after the formal approval of this document.15 However, even taking into account the poor conditions, the Russian army was still vastly superior with respect to traditional military factors – heavy armaments and on the army level. In the author’s view, all these limitations regarding the Chechen experience do not undermine it as an example of asymmetrical warfare.

Russian and Chechen Forces: Comparison The comparison of Chechen and Russian powers is summarized in Table 1.16

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Individual Level Chechen Advantages (average combatant) Better training*

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Unit Level Better motivation

Army Level Better motivation

Regime Level Sympathy from many countries and groups Direct support from some international organizations Indirect support from some governments

Better equipped

Better means of communication** Better night vision equipment** More maneuverable (mobile)** Better supply of food and medical staff Better knowledge of the area (in most cases) Can expect help from local population (accommodation, food). Heavy equipment Full superiority with respect to airpower. Complete control of the airs pace throughout the conflict**** Superiority with respect to fire support*****

Better means of communication More maneuverable (mobile)

Better fed

Better skilled Better motivation

Better knowledge of the area Can always expect help from local population (accommodation, food). Russian advantages 1) None 2) Exception – special forces (particularly units of the General Staff military intelligence, GRU)***

More equipment, 1) None (in the heavy armaments first war) Full superiority with respect to airpower**** 2) Internal state consensus (in the second war)

Superiority with respect to fire support***** Support from the population

Comparable (Balance)

Unit training****** Supply of munitions (recently Russia is possibly taking some advantage)

Knowledge of the area Supply of food and medical staff Coordination

Table 1

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*

**

***

****

***** ******

One should keep in mind that Chechens have an ingrained “rifle culture” which means that the male population admire weapons, small arms are regarded as symbols of power and prosperity etc. This “love” of weapons is an important factor with respect to individual training and arms maintenance. Three factors, namely means of communication, night vision equipment and maneuverability (mobility) proved to be of great importance with regards to the relative efficiency of the ground troops. The superior side with respect to these components had a huge advantage over the other side. The second Chechen conflict is characterized by a more active involvement by special forces from different branches of the military and police structures (Ministry of Defense, General Staff, Police, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Federal Service of Security). Air superiority did not become a decisive factor in the Chechen conflict. One may argue that without Russian air superiority the situation would have been even more complicated, and this is probably true. However, as the important issue in the two Chechen conflicts was to effectively use airpower against mostly dispersed small enemy 17 formations, air superiority in itself was not of great importance. But even if a gathering of enemy forces, which is a good target for air attack, is detected, this usually happens within or close to villages, with a high number of civilian losses as the consequence of effective engagement of air power. Nonetheless it proved to be efficient with regards to the destroying and blocking of enemy fortifications and camps in the mountain areas. However, as these areas are frequently exposed to unfavorable weather conditions (mountain fog), the efficiency of air power is decreased. Skilful use of fire support, in particular long range artillery, gave the opportunity to min18 imize Russian combat losses in the second Chechen conflict. Although unit level training is mostly comparable, small Chechen units are by some parameters better than Russian ones, due to better individual training. For instance, a unit of 7/8 Chechens is usually able to provide more fire density than a comparable Russian unit.

Table 1 displays the shift in military capacities depending on level (individual, unit, and army). By moving through this gradation from individual to army level, one can see that the number of advantages shifts from the Chechen to the Russian side. Table 2 concludes the comparison of Chechen and Russian forces:

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Individual Level Chechens are better by all parameters.

Unit Level

The balance could be comparable, but the Chechens have advantages with respect to three key factors (communications, night vision equipment, mobility).

Army Level

On this level, the sides are mostly equal, with the Russian forces having a slight advantage (on this level communication, mobility and night vision equipment are less important components and are compensated by superiority in heavy armaments). But the comparison (balance) between armies is not important. There are no traditional big scale operations.

Regime Level

Internal support of regimes is comparable, the international situation is more favorable for the Chechen side.

Table 2

Components of Asymmetrical Warfare: Chechen Conflict Experience Based on the Chechen experience, asymmetrical warfare can be divided into military, security and political components and has the structure given in Table 3. Military: Field Operation On level ground: Except in the early stages of the first Chechen conflict there were no major problems. The problems that existed were attributed not to the specifics of asymmetric warfare, but to the internal army problems with respect to the training of soldiers and officers, operation planning, lack of air and fire support and lack of fuel and munitions. Field operations against big and medium-size enemy units (20-100 combatants) are relatively easy tasks. The most effective tactics is to surround the enemy unit and prevent it from maneuvering and moving away by means of accurate fire and air support. This will also lead to disorder and loss within the blocked unit.19 Airborne troops will then follow to finish the work on the ground.20 In the mountains. Field offensive operations are difficult. The key factors for a successful operation are air and fire support.21 Artillery fire support is more efficient against mobile targets, as it provides a more rapid

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Goal To defeat enemy units To bring disorder and interrupt supply of munitions

Component Military

Mission Field operations Control of infrastructure

Control of territory(area) To prevent enemy maneuvers Security Home defense To prevent terrorist activities away from the conflict area To prevent terrorist activities against indigenous collaborators To develop necessary conditions for a peaceful life To guarantee and respect the human rights of the local population Political In the conflict area Internal Search for indigenous collaborators Public support raising To raise local support

Conflict Area Security

To improve motivation of military units To maintain sustainable course in the conflict

International

International support raising

To prevent the military being limited by international public opinion, which in most cases decreases efficiency

Table 3

reaction to enemy maneuvers, but artillery must have a wide enough angle for hill operations. Tactical aviation is more efficient against fixed targets. Attacks from small enemy groups. Enemy forces will usually seek to avoid open warfare against big and medium-size units. They prefer to carry out surprise attacks and then either disperse or retreat to hidden positions.

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Rocket/artillery fire as well as small arms fire are more effective than aircraft fire in reaction to such attacks. Detection and defeat of small enemy groups in towns (villages). This type of action is extremely unpopular amongst the local population. The major problem is that enemy combatants may represent only 1–2 per cent of the village population. The most effective way to execute such an operation is to establish a full blockade of the town and evacuate the population while passport control is carried out and detected enemy combatants are arrested. With regards to human rights it is a brutal operation, but there are no other ways to minimize the risk of combatants escaping and to prevent them from free access to housing, food, water etc. in the villages. The locals are not necessarily more friendly to rebels, but they are prepared to provide whatever support they need, because they have to keep in mind that “Russians come and leave, but we have to live here”. This means that the local people are usually willing to help the rebels, as they are afraid of them, not necessarily because they are friendlier toward them. This makes for an urgent need to create conditions for a peaceful life and provide order and security guarantees for civilians. Search for small enemy groups. The detection and defeat of small enemy units became the most important type of operation. This task can be effectively implemented with small groups that are mobile, well equipped and in possession of good means of communication. These groups search enemy units autonomously for up to a week, relying on agent information, reconnaissance, and interceptions of rebel radio transmits. Reconnaissance and agent information. These are useful tools for a successful defeat of the enemy, in particular for the effective use of airpower. Snipers. Both sides considered the snipers to be extremely efficient during the conflict. Chechen snipers practice autonomous patrolling for up to several weeks (winter and summer). Chechen sniper tactics is extremely efficient since they try to eliminate all low-rank officers, thus completely disrupting the chain of command.22

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Permanent command and control. Interrupted command chains on unit level (in an operation with more than one unit) is a hazard in maneuver warfare, and rebels try to take advantage of this fact by invading command and control schemes, through simulating orders, interfering with army radio frequencies etc. All this was extremely useful in the first Chechen conflict when the regular army was unprepared for such a complicated resistance. Later on, Russian forces minimized their vulnerability to such tricks, but there are still two major problems with respect to maintaining continuous command and control: The Russian army has to make use of outdated communication equipment and they suffer from a lack of low-ranking officers on the battlefield due to the achievements of enemy snipers’ or just lack of order. Military: Control of Infrastructure Observation points and control posts. These measures cause disorder, but are not in itself enough to interrupt supply routes. Local authorities and collaborators. Due to their knowledge of the area and the support they get from the population, the local authorities and their collaborators are able to efficiently disrupt enemy supply routes. Corruption within the army. Corrupt officers are an asset with regards to the organizing and maintaining of enemy supply routes, but corruption also exists within the ranks of the rebel forces. This is not necessarily based on money, but on a complicated mixture of prestige, status and financial motivation. Corruption may, however, be used to turn the local population into collaborators and thereby control the local infrastructure. Border blockade. The Russian inability to secure the mountain border to Georgia provided the rebels with backup relief,23 and helped the enemy to secure their supply routes. A blockade is even more important in order to cut off international contacts, which provide the rebels with an opportunity to obtain support, manpower and advice from international groups.24

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Military: Control of Territory Observation points and control posts. This does not solve the problem. Local authorities and collaborators. This is the only sustainable way to maintain territorial control. Security: Home Defense This is an extremely important task, as the enemy tries to reach cities and even the capital. There are some controversies with regards to the issue of home defense. On the one hand, terrorist attacks are considered by the enemy to be a success. On the other hand, they contribute to raise internal public support and army motivation, which helps the troops on the battlefield. A defeated enemy will be motivated to commit acts of terror, but at the same time, the enemy’s defeat will create the basis for a switch to political measures of conflict resolution on acceptable terms. Thus prevention of terrorist action is the best way to shift toward political means as soon as possible, since acts of terror are very likely to destroy any endeavors for peaceful crisis management by alienating the public opinion. The general public will expect retaliation, and is not likely to easily accept peace after terror. Security: Conflict Area Security This component is essential for shifting toward political means of conflict resolution. It is very important to observe human rights and local traditions. The local population will only show sympathy if the conditions for order, safety and a peaceful life are present. Understanding this, the rebels use various tricks to nurture indigenous disbelief and concern and to convert these feelings into hatred toward the Russian troops. These tricks include the practice of “ghosts”: Rebel forces wear Russian uniforms and commit violent actions. This appears to be extremely efficient in the “macho-culture” atmosphere that exists in the Chechen society, as it leads to upheavals of revenge. Rebels are taking advantage of this motivation, using women and children for ground reconnaissance and the supply of medical stuff and foodm,25 particularly in preparation for counter-assault attacks. Any attempts to secure the conflict area by restricting movement and imposing individual searches

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for ordinary people (usually women and children) lead to confrontations with the local population. Political Component Political measures are the only way to ensure long-term conflict resolution. Table 4 provides the conclusion of the analysis on the means used for the different components of the Chechen conflict.26

Russia’s Experience of Asymmetrical Warfare in the Chechen Conflict The following are some conclusions drawn from the analysis of the Chechen conflict experience divided into military, security and political realms. Most of these conclusions are not exclusive for this particular conflict, and may be applicable to other asymmetrical wars. Military Realm • Military means are essential, but reach only a limited number of conflict resolution goals. • Communication and mobility are essential notions. • Unit coordination is vital. • Initiative is important. It is easier to prevent an enemy from attacking (making use of control posts and permanent search/ detection operations), than to defend and react once attacked. It is particularly important not to give the enemy initiative at night. • Military activities should be limited in time. After a rapid defeat of major enemy forces, the military should demonstrate power through presence, thus proving to be the essence of deterrence and stability. The problem is that the military acts of retaliation, and counterretaliation lead to an accumulation of public discomfort and revenge motivation. • The record of using “professionals” (not conscripts, but so called contractors and officers) is mostly negative in the Chechen conflict. This is a unique Russian experience not applicable to other asymmetrical wars. The problem is that Russian “professionals” tend to take the war too personally in that they are heavily motivated by the loss of friends etc., sometimes even more so than by the belief in the

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Component Military

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Mission Field operations Control of infrastructure

Goal To combat enemy units To bring disorder and interrupt supply of munitions

Means Military* Mixture of military and nonmilitary measures, the latter are more sustainable and efficient. Nonmilitary means are more effective Responsibility of the police and special agencies Responsibility of the police and special agencies. They can be effectively implemented only through the assistance of local support and reliable collaborators life

Territorial control

To prevent enemy maneuvers To prevent terrorist activities far from the conflict area To prevent terrorist activities against indigenous collaborators

Security

Home defense

Conflict Area Security

To create conditions for a peaceful life To provide maximum respect for the human rights of the local population Political In the conflict area Internal Search for indigenous collaborators Raising of public support To raise local support Political means

To improve the motivation of military units To maintain a sustainable course

International Raising of international support

To prevent the military from being limited by the international public opinion, which in most cases decreases their efficiency

Table 4
* The use of police forces in field operations proved to be inefficient, so these forces should rather 27 be used to guarantee territorial control.

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rightness of command and mission.28 To prevent this sort of problems, one has to be morally prepared for a mission, in particularly if it is likely to become a long one. Security Realm Security forces consisting of local people are less efficient and reliable than the external police force, and the former are not necessarily more friendly to the indigenous population. The problem is that in a society like the Chechen one, the clan structure is just as strong and important as ethnic orientation. The former even prevails as soon as the direct outside threat diminishes.29 So police and security forces consisting of local people may cross the lines of the traditional division of power among the clans. However these forces can be really useful if they operate within a limited area where the population is friendly to them (or their clans). Political Realm • It is better to bring a local collaborator (indigenous, but living outside the conflict area), than to choose someone from the ranks of the enemy to cooperate with. In this situation, the problem of local public support will become apparent, but this is better solved through creating conditions for a peaceful life, rather than through relying on a popular local figure. • International criticism is a very important negative factor. With international pressure to stop the conflict, efficient military actions are next to impossible, as collateral damage cannot be completely avoided. • Internal political support is an important positive factor. It is important to choose the right time for the shift toward a peaceful conflict resolution. The major problem is that in traditional societies, like the Chechen one, with unclear, but powerful clan divisions it is not difficult to conclude a peace accord with selected clans, but it is really a challenge to make this accord comprehensive and extend it to the majority of rebels. The problem is partly cultural. Chechens are obsessed with status and prestige (money is just an element of this, usually not even the dominant element). Thus they are ready to make an accord, but this accord must contribute to improving their position versus other

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clans: Every single warlord wants better conditions than the others.30 So local leaders do not observe the principle of universality, thus making whatever agreement fragmentary and temporary.

NOTES

1 Based on the speech “Russia’s experience of asymmetrical warfare: battle against separatism and terrorism” of 6 February 2002 at the 2002 Royal Norwegian Air Force’s Air Power Symposium, 5–7 February 2002. 2 Second-generation (or Industrial Age) warfare: “This style of war-fighting tends to be linear and slow moving, relying on masses of men and material to physically crush (albeit not necessarily through frontal assaults) or threaten to crush an opponent”. Third-generation: This type of warfighting “breaks battlefield linearity by seeking and exploiting a combination of “spaces and timing” vis-à-vis an enemy (…), anticipating the actions of the opponent and preempting his intentions via unexpected thrusts and parries by highly agile, dispersed friendly forces brought together quickly for the mission and just as quickly dispersed when the action is finished. This type of warfare also may free forces from the ponderous support structure characteristic of Industrial Age warfare”. Fourth generation: “This primarily involves land forces (although targets can be naval vessels and air assets) – irregular or guerilla warfare carried out by groups motivated by ideology, revenge, lust for power, ethnicity, religion or some other unifying bond”. (Col. Daniel Smith (ret.), Marcus Corbin, Christopher Hellman. Reforging the Sword. Forces for A 21st Century Security Strategy (Condensed Report). Center for Defense Information, September 2001. pp. 20–21) 3 Col. Daniel Smith (ret.), Marcus Corbin, Christopher Hellman. Reforging the Sword. Forces for st A 21 Century Security Strategy (Condensed Report). Center for Defense Information, September 2001. p. 21 4 Chester W. Richards. A Swift, Elusive Sword. What If Sun Tzu and John Boyd Did A National Defense Review? Center for Defense Information, May 2001. p. 23. 5 Chester W. Richards. A Swift, Elusive Sword. What If Sun Tzu and John Boyd Did A National Defense Review? Center for Defense Information, May 2001. p. 47. 6 A lot of Chechen “generals” were officers in the Soviet Army: Dgohar Dudaev (the self-declared president and supreme commander of Chechen rebels before his death in 1996) was a general in the Soviet Army, Aslan Mashadov (the current president and supreme commander) was a colonel, etc. Most of the ordinary rebels were serving in the Soviet Army as conscripts. All this gave rebel forces perfect knowledge of hardware, software and nonmaterial conditions of the central Moscow armed forces. 7 Interfax, 2 October 1996 (with reference to Lebed’s speech in the Russian State Duma). 8 Moskovskiy Komsomolets (a popular Moscow newspaper), 14 January 1997 (figures valid for 13 October 1996). 9 Of course the war against Yugoslavia may also be regarded as a worthy reason for updating doctrines with regards to new military operations. However in referring to the Yugoslavian conflict, the Russian political leaders and military establishment were covering not warfare practices, but

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10 11

12

13

14 15

16

17

18

19

issues of international politics. Marshall Sergeev (then Russian minister of defense) stated in May 1999 that the NATO action in Yugoslavia “makes Russia conceptually revise its military doctrine”. He further explained that the president had already issued the directive authorizing such a revision. Minyaem Voennuu Doktrinu (Change of Military Doctrine). Rossiyskay Gazeta (Russia’s Newspaper), 15 May 1999. Voennay Doktrina Rossiyskoy Federatsii (The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation). Rossiyskay Gazeta (Russia’s Newspaper), 25 April 2000. Konseptia Natsionalnoy Besobasnosti (The Concept of National Security). Krasnay Zvezda (Red Star Newspaper), 20 January 2000. In Autumn 1999, the then Deputy Secretary of the Security Council (this body was responsible for developing the Concept) stated (but in a slightly vague way) that the need to extend sections on terrorism was justified by the events in Dagestan (which signalled the beginning of the second Chechen conflict) and terrorist actions inside Russia. Na Soveshanii Chlenov Sovbeza V Kremle Prinyata Novayz Kontseptsiyz Natsionalynoy Bezopasnosti Rossii (The New Concept of National Security is adapted at the Security Council Meeting in Kremlin). Interfax, 05 October 1999). This seems to be the only officially voiced correlation between doctrinal document revision and Chechen conflict experience. However, even in this statement, the Chechen issue was mentioned after the reference to the NATO actions in Yugoslavia as the reason for changing the Concept. Report by the Chief of the Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, dated 14 December 2000. This report is available (in Russian) at the website www.grani.ru (http://www.grani.ru/chechenya_mil/facts/lessons1). Salavat Suleymenov. Chechnay: vse ge voina, a ne spetsoperatsia … (Chechnya: A war, rather then a special force operation … ). Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie (Independent Military Review), 01 February 2002. Moskovskiy Komsomolets (a popular Moscow newspaper), 26 January 1995. This apparent contradiction may be explained by the hypothesis that in fact Moscow did not intend to fight: The assumption was that a demonstration of massive power would be enough to put Dudaev on his knees. The table gives Chechen and Russian advantages on individual combatant, unit, army and regime levels. The table presents only advantages, with the assumption that one’s advantage is the other’s disadvantage (weakness). General Dudaev was preparing his Air Forces and Air Defense Forces, relying on 426 aircraft (including 5 fighters) and 2 helicopters, as well as 27 air defense systems (including some portable). Gen. Dudaev organized the training of about 100 pilots and sent another 40 people to train as pilots in Turkey. His army had about 40 trained pilots. However at the very outbreak of the conflict in November/ December 1994, the Russian army destroyed all Dudaev’s aircraft, including his personal one. In this connection, Dudaev sent a telegram to the commander of the Russian Air Forces, Petr Deinekin, which said “I congratulate you with full air superiority, but we will meet on the ground”. (Novichkov N.N., Snegovskiy V.Y., Sokolov A.G., Shvarev V.U. Rossiiskie voorugenniye siliy v chechenskom konflikte: analiz, itogi, viyvodiy. (Russian armed forces in the Chechen conflict: Analysis, results, conclusions). Moscow 1995, pp. 14, 15, 108, 112) Report by the Chief of artillery and rocket forces of the Russian Army, Gen.-Col. Karatuev, dated 14 December 2000. This report is available (in Russian) at the website www.grani.ru (http://www.grani.ru/chechenya_mil/facts/lessons2). Report by the Chief of the Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, dated 14 December 2000. This report is available (in Russian) at the website www.grani.ru (http://www.grani.ru/chechenya_mil/facts/lessons1).

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20 If an enemy unit escapes from surrounding enemies, it may be traced for several days, partly due to the Chechen tradition of removing the dead and wounded from the battlefield. They will violate this tradition in the most desperate and difficult cases, however. 21 Report by the Chief of the Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, dated 14 December 2000. This report is available (in Russian) at the website www.grani.ru (http://www.grani.ru/chechenya_mil/facts/lessons1). 22 This sniper tactics played its tragic part in the New Year 1994–95 assault on Grozny (the capital of Chechnya). By early January there were practically no officers left on the levels of platoon and company, according to some estimates made by the troops that took part in this assault. (Novichkov N.N., Snegovskiy V.Y., Sokolov A.G., Shvarev V.U. Rossiiskie voorugenniye siliy v chechenskom konflikte: analiz, itogi, viyvodiy. (Russian armed forces in the Chechen conflict: Analysis, results, conclusions). Moscow 1995, p. 42). 23 A possible assumption is that in the beginning of the second Chechen conflict in 1999, Russia purposefully left this loophole open, keeping in mind that rebels escaping to Georgia would relieve the situation in Chechnya and create a lever to influence the Georgian leadership. 24 Russian authorities are continuously insisting that there are existing links between Chechen rebels and an international terrorist network, namely the Al-Qaida. Matthew McAllester. Tape Backs Claim. Video Supports Russia on al-Qaida role in Chechenya. New York Newsday, 20 January 2002. 25 Vyacheslav Mironov. Ya Biyl Na Etoy Voyene. Chechnya 1995 (I was at this war. Chechnya, 1995). Moscow 2001, pp. 402–405. 26 This is table 3 plus the column “means”. 27 Report by the Chief of the Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, dated 14 December 2000. This report is available (in Russian) at the website www.grani.ru (http://www.grani.ru/chechenya_mil/facts/lessons1). 28 On the contrary, professionals are expressing mistrust in political leadership, high-rank commanders, the mission itself etc. Vyacheslav Mironov. Ya Biyl Na Etoy Voyene. Chechnya 1995 (I was at this war. Chechnya, 1995). Moscow 2001, pp. 289–329. 29 For example in the period between the two Chechen conflicts in 1996-1999 Chechen commanders were engaged in a bloody struggle among their own people, organizing raids and assaults against each other. 30 The head of the pro-Moscow Chechen Administration, Ahmad Kadiyrov, said in this regard: “If the Russian troops stay there will be no war. If they leave, every area (clan) will have its own law. That’s why power (leadership) must be elected and rely on force. Currently, this force must be Russian”. Argumenty i Factiy (a popular Russian newspaper), 09 February 2000.

Another Gathering Darkness: The Pessimist’s Guide to the Future

Dr. H. P. Willmott If I were one of the celestial bodies I would look with complete detachment upon this miserable ball of dust and dirt… I would shine upon the good and evil alike… But I am a man… As long as I breathe, I shall fight for the future, the radiant future in which man,1 strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it toward the boundless horizon of beauty, joy and happiness… The nineteenth century has in many ways satisfied and has in even more ways deceived the hopes of the optimist … It has compelled him to transfer most of his hopes to the twentieth century… And now that century has come! What has it brought with it at the outset? In France – the poisonous foam of racial hatred; in Austria – nationalist strife … in South Africa – the agony of a tiny people, which is being murdered by a colossus; on the “free” island itself – triumphant hymns to the victorious greed of jingoist jobbers; dramatic “complications” in the east; rebellions of starving popular masses in Italy, Bulgaria, Romania … Hatred and murder, famine and blood … It seems as if the new century, this gigantic newcomer, were bent at the very moment of its appearance to drive the optimist into absolute pessimism and nirvana. – Death to Utopia! Death to faith! Death to love! Death to hope! thunders the twentieth century in salvoes of fire and in the rumbling of guns. – Surrender, you pathetic dreamer. Here I am, your long awaited twentieth century, your “future.”

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– No, replies the unhumbled optimist: You – you are only the present. The twentieth century would seem to draw to its chronological close having profoundly disappointed such optimism. The most violent century in Man’s history – perhaps only the third century B.C. and the thirteenth century compare in terms of destruction and death in war – ends with the irony of its having confirmed not the confidence and hope expressed, perhaps surprisingly, by Trotsky2 but the pessimism of Acton. The latter’s two-part belief that advances in science and technology would bestow upon twentieth-century man an unprecedented ability to inflict suffering upon himself and that this facility would be used in full measure would seem to have been proven by events. It is somewhat ironic that rationalism is generally pessimistic, at least in terms of the present and short-term future: its view of the better future represents faith and belief, not reason. It is even more ironic that at the end of what had been, for good and ill, the American century, the United States approaches the new millennium pessimistically and with uncertainty, though given the nature of the presidency and congress and their present incumbents perhaps this is not altogether surprising. But after having been among the victors in two of the greatest wars in History and then having presided over the defeat and disintegration of the only other superpower, the United States, with a constitution that more than any other single document embodies the concept of hope but burdened with the responsibilities of leadership in a landscape largely devoid of familiar landmarks, heads an international system confronted by upheaval and strife and by a bewildering, quickening pace of change. Bronowski wrote that “the future will say of (the Industrial Revolution) that in the ascent of man it is a step, a stride, as powerful as the Renaissance. The Renaissance established the dignity of man. The Industrial Revolution established the unity of nature.”3 If this assertion is correct, it may well be that this same future will regard the changes of the twentieth century as responsible for the destruction of these achievements, if not for a reason that is immediately identifiable. These changes would vie with one another in any consideration of the factors that have altered society, transformed the world from the way in which individuals

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live to the nature of the international order. These factors are many, as many as there are dates that may be considered to be “the defining moment” of twentieth century history. 6 August 1945, the date of the attack on Hiroshima, is perhaps the most obvious of these: 21 July 1969 and the first lunar walk is perhaps another not simply because of Man’s reaching beyond his own planet but because of its real-time transmission. It was perhaps the first global “event,” and perhaps also the last. By the mid-Seventies, and after such unprecedented successes as the Indian immunisation programmes, television began to surrender its collectivist identity and social function under the pressure of an ever more blatant commercialism and a so-called entertainment industry. But in terms of society and the international order, the collapse of an Eurocentric world, the rise of two non-European states as the most powerful and important countries in the world, the shift of industrial and financial power away from western Europe, and indeed even away from North America, into the Pacific rim represent massive changes. Arguably such developments as the Green Revolution, the medical revolution that was heralded by the advent of such drugs as salvarsan and penicillin, and the population explosion have been no less important. At the present time the attention paid to such matters as the information super-highway and thirdgeneration Information Revolution developments has served to obscure the significance of developments that formed the basis of these advancements and other related matters, such as the impact upon everyday life of electrification, though perhaps the most far-reaching development of the twentieth century has been the internal combustion engine. Though neither electrification nor the internal combustion engine were twentieth century inventions their application belongs to this century, and their importance in changing the way we live needs little in the way of elaboration. Likewise the communications revolution of the present time serves to conceal the change that photography has come to represent in the course of the twentieth century as any casual perusal of serious newspapers around the turn of the century will reveal, and it is too easy to forget that this same century is the first century of mass literacy throughout the world even though in China alone 400,000,000 people, or one-third of the population or more than the population of western Europe, remain illiterate. But any serious consideration of twentieth century history returns to war

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and its impact, but even if John Lukacs was correct in seeing the two world wars as defining the landscape of twentieth century history, perhaps the defining moment that separates the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were the events of 28 October 1929. This statement, of course, does not accord with the view that the Second World War was the last war of the nineteenth century and that in historical terms the present century dates from 15 August 1945, but this particular argument cannot be dismissed lightly. The Great Depression that followed in the wake of the Wall Street Crash, besides inflicting possibly unprecedented hardship and suffering on a global scale, marked the end of nineteenth century ideas of progress. The Great Depression shattered the illusion of competence on the part of the capitalist system. It, the Great Depression, revealed a brittleness of an economic system that had been largely forgotten as a result of three decades without major and prolonged recession. It proved that the capitalist economic system and the great powers of the day had not been given guarantees that had been denied previous civilizations. But war, specifically in the shape of two global conflicts, has shaped the history of the twentieth century in a manner that no other phenomenon can equal. The Russian and Chinese revolutions, the impetus given to struggles for national selfdetermination on the part of colonial territories, first the League and then the United Nations, the Manhattan project and a host of scientific, technological and medical developments flowed directly from the two world wars, in whole or in very large measure. Preparation for war in the period after 1945 ensured that the military remained the leader of technological development, and if in the last ten or fifteen years this primacy has been overtaken, specifically in the field of information technology, the fact remains that whatever economic prosperity was commanded in western societies in the third quarter of the century was underpinned in no small measure by military spending. While defence industries in a number of countries remain very important in terms of employment and foreign earnings, the critical importance of these industries in terms of their effect upon their national economies and research and development has passed. But war remains very much with us, its place in the (mis)conduct of human affairs assured, despite the evidence of the twentieth century of the ineffectiveness of war and the use of force in the realization of national objectives.

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It is quite possible to regard the changes that are being brought about by the Information Revolution and in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet system optimistically. The last six or seven years have been years of unprecedented optimism in terms of the collapse of Soviet communism, the triumph of liberal democracy and the casual assumption that the latter – and specifically the American version – represents the future. One has as much confidence in such notions as one retains in such assurances that battle has become so terrible that it is certain to abolish itself,4 though one point of optimism that has flowed from the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact cannot be denied: the prospect of global nuclear war has receded. But the collapse of the Soviet Union brought an end to a period of stability within Europe and it did not bring peace. The process of Soviet disintegration spawned a series of conflicts that added to those already being fought around the world. It has been estimated that in 1992 there were more than sixty wars being fought and the most serious of these were ones that had flowed from the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. In the long term the consequences of the passing of the Soviet Union may well be profoundly disruptive in two quite different but related spheres – nuclear proliferation and organized crime. The significance of former Soviet central Asia replacing Afghanistan, Burma and Thailand as the major centres of opium production has provoked fears that the Russian Mafiya, with control of the heroin trade, could register an achievement – the undermining of the integrity of the western banking system – that proved beyond the Soviet Union,5 while the latter’s passing may well be a source of regret with respect to her having been a major obstacle to nuclear proliferation. The little-known Indo-Pakistani crisis of May 1990, which was only defused because of the American ability to confront both parties with the reality and likely consequences of their own actions but which many Washington insiders regarded at the time as the most dangerous international crisis since Cuba, represents a salutary warning of the dangers that will attend crises between regional powers that have strategic weapons in their arsenals. The likelihood of proliferation in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union may and has to be assumed with all the potential for instability thus entailed, most obviously in the Middle East, on the Indian sub-continent and on and around the Korean peninsula. Herein may be the real tragedy of the last fifty years, that the Cold War was merely the period of nuclear initiation, that proliferation cannot be con-

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tained, that the rest of the world will follow the example of powers irresponsible enough to vest their security in the threat of annihilation. If the passing of the Soviet Union and empire brought to an end the danger of one form of war, we can be assured that liberal democracy will have little change to show from a future series of conflicts that are certain to follow the basic fault line of twentieth century history. Much, most, of twentieth century strife has concerned itself with the struggle of identity. At the start of this century virtually the whole of humanity outside the western hemisphere belonged to some twelve or thirteen empires, either as citizens or subjects. The First World War was fought about, or at least the treaties that ended that conflict tried to base themselves upon, the principle of national self-determination within Europe. The Second World War and its aftermath saw that same principle extend itself to colonial empires. With the collapse of the Soviet system and the passing of time that has placed independence from colonial rule at the distance of at least one generation, the search for identity has taken on new dimensions that have given rise to a new “frontiersmanship” at the expense of previously-existing national and state characteristics as different groups have sought to establish and confirm their individual and separate singularity, whether within or across existing boundaries. In various parts of the world this breakdown of consensus and reassertion of traditional loyalties and identities held in check by some form of ancien regime has been accompanied by a savagery and ferocity that suggests a new barbarism. In different parts of Africa a relapse into tribalism has been accompanied by a re-primitivization of warfare in terms of weaponry and practice, and international disinterestedness. In such places as Bosnia-Herzogovina knowledge of the crucifixion and quartering of children and the burning alive of whole communities – atrocities which were repaid in kind by the Serbs on the Moslems and Croats when opportunity permitted – proved to be the basis of inaction on the part of the international community, and the latter’s final involvement in this particular crisis was surprising in its tardiness. It is possible to see in such developments as the passing of the apartheid regime in South Africa and the repatriation of Hutu refugees and attempts of reconciliation in Rwanda as the base for a certain cautious, very guarded optimism. But it is possible to see in parallel and more frequent events of

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recent years, specifically the upsurge in armed conflict, as merely the first stage in a process that lends itself to portrayal in apocalyptical terms. In the last years of the second millennium we stand on the brink of three major and obvious crises which, when they break, will present themselves in their most virulent form in the developing countries. At the present time some 80% of humanity has access to about 20% of the world’s resources. The vast majority of the world’s population – which has doubled in the last two generations and which experienced a three-fold increase between 1945 and 1995 – does not have access or has only very limited access to proper shelter and decent clothing, while a quarter of humanity does not have access clean water. One in five people in developing countries, some 840,000,000 souls, suffer serious hunger, and if 200,000,000 children between the ages of seven and eleven years are obliged to work for most of the hours of daylight, three in ten of all adults that form the world’s employable population lack work and the means to sustain themselves and their dependents. Given continued population growth, in part the result of the continued importance of the family in terms of generating income and security, this situation can only worsen, obviously in terms of pressure on resources but no less importantly because of changing work patterns. At the present time Kenya devotes 23% of its total state expenditure on education, half of this total on primary education, but in 1989 the total number of children in state secondary education numbered but 30,000. With the population of 27,000,000 in 1993 expected to rise to 35,000,000 in 2000, the fact is that Kenya and other states in the Third World will be obliged to devote increased resources for longer periods in order to provide the skilled base for future production, and with two obvious riders. Such resources are not and will not become available, and at least in relative terms, the human base for future production is ever-shrinking. But lurking over the horizon are the food and fuel crises. In October 1994 an article in the International Herald Tribune posed the question of whether China could survive beyond the year 2034, by which time China would require the total surplus food requirement of the world. The question was meaningless. The food crisis, given the depletion of the resources of the sea and the fact that in the next decade a quarter of all arable land in the United States will go out of production, is going to

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explode long before 2034, and in any case the China crisis will present itself in the next decade. Between 1994 and 2004 China must create 250,000,000 new jobs in the agrarian sector of the economy alone merely to maintain present levels of employment and prosperity. Since it would appear that this could only be achieved by a diversification of light engineering and consumer production, the resultant energy requirement will be equal to the present level of world surplus energy capacity. All other considerations being equal, China’s requirements can be met at least in the short-term, but seemingly only at the expense of a major increase in energy prices at a time when alternative food sources must be developed, and none need reminding of the disastrous consequences of the 1974 and 1978 oil price increases for the countries of the Third World. Whether the United States and Europe will accept continuing trade arrangements that favour China and which alone would provide her with the means of paying for these needs is quite another matter. In light of these developing crises of food, fuel and employment it seems unlikely that western-style democracy will have little if anything to offer the greater part of humanity in years to come, and this leaves aside the fact that what we in the West understand to be the basis of liberal democracy – the rule of law, consent, compromise, the concept of opposition and the denial of the right of any individual issue to justify systemic resistance – are not well founded in Third World countries. Indeed, even in the western world such values are under an attack unprecedented in the last fifty years. Yet the real point is that the western capitalist system, which has imposed itself upon the world, since the time of Locke and Smith has been based upon a double premise in terms of the stability of expansion and an acceptance of labour dislocation as the short-term cost inherent in long-term growth and advancing prosperity. We have been assured that “technology makes possible the limitless accumulation of wealth” and that liberal principles in economics – the “free market” – has spread, and have succeeded in producing unprecedented levels of material prosperity, both in industrially developed countries and in countries that had been, at the close of World War II, part of the impoverished Third World,6 but one remains less than convinced – not merely on account of the deprivation in such countries as Bangladesh where per capita income totals £3 per week and two-thirds of all children suffer from malnourishment, but because both elements

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of the double premise that have underpinned the capitalist system would seem to be dead. Leaving aside the fact that we have no guarantee that the trough is not finite, that at the end of such a process as the limitless accumulation of wealth one would not be forced back on the definitive reality of food resources as the basis of real wealth, the real social problem that is likely to emerge is the reality of permanent labour dislocation. The impact of the Information Revolution has been to reduce the wealthproducing base within society in real terms, while the pattern of education and social development of the last fifty years means that those who fall outside this base are unlikely ever to regain a position within it and that the greater part of society will remain outside it. The long-term implications of an ever greater concentration of wealth in relatively fewer hands and the existence of political expectation created in a previous age can hardly be missed. One suspects that even as a new generation emerges with lower levels of expectation in the first couple of decades of the coming century the greatest source of tension in western society will be the clash of interests of a shrinking class of producers and the demands of a growing class of consumers, most members of the latter certainly lacking the means and perhaps even the inclination to join the ranks of the other. Moreover, the tendency toward a global levelling of income over the last three decades promises no relief for western societies, quite the reverse since it has partially involved the loss of traditional manufacturing industries.7 But it also carries massively disruptive implications for the developing countries because the same manifestations of social divisiveness so apparent in western societies relative to persistently high levels of unemployment and growing income inequality within national economies has attended their development. The tendency toward a levelling of income has not been more evenly spread in Third World countries any more than it has been evenly spread in western society, but it has taken place even at a time when the terms of trade, specifically in terms of earnings from food and primary products, have worsened massively for these countries.8 No process of industrialization has ever taken place without massive upheaval and social strife. The shift of industry into the Third World represents a movement into areas that are generally unstable, and industrialization likely only to aggravate this instability because the immediate impact is certain to depress living

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standards. The living conditions of the majority of the population of South Korea equate to those of Victorian Britain, and realistically conditions cannot be expected to be better in other countries. Events in South Korea at the end of 1996 point very clearly to the profound political problems that have associated themselves with “democracy Korean-style,” a euphemism for dictatorship, backed by the military and which has ruled without respect to the rule of law and increasingly for the benefit of a corrupt establishment elite for decades, though the basis of this crisis is economic. Having undercut western industries, even Japan, South Korea has been presented with their problems in its turn, and all the Pacific rim “Tiger Economies” face the long-term problems associated with industrialization – the breakdown of the nuclear family and under- or lack of insurance – that form the down-side of their impressive economic performances of the last three decades. In addition, the events of July-August 1997 with respect to the enforced devaluation of the currencies of southeast Asia demonstrated the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the Tiger Economies despite – and in some ways – as a result of economic growth: dependence on foreign capital, trade deficits, ingrained corruption and the burden of change falling upon those least able to bear it.9 And none of this takes any account of the impact of ecological degradation, climatic changes and continuing desiccation, the perversity of existing borders and enforced mass movement of populations. In terms of the search for identity, one can only presume that the changes presently in hand cannot work in favour of permanence and accord. Herein may be repetition. Rationalism, in the form of the primacy of the Left, did not survive its post-war success, and after seven decades in which the idea of the centrally planned economy proved wanting in terms of the creation of wealth and ensuring decent living standards, economic liberalism, laissez-faire capitalism, may not survive its victory. If, at one end of the spectrum, the future of warfare is to be dominated by advanced technology, it would appear very likely that at the other end some form of guerrilla warfare remains undiminished in potency and relevance. The Soviet Union may have passed from the scene and with its passing, and the subsequent loss of patronage and support for revolutionary struggle, other forms of political struggle may emerge as alternatives to revolutionary warfare. But the balance of probability must

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be that revolutionary warfare remains undiminished in its relevance given the poverty that will continue to embrace so much of humanity. Indeed it is possible to see revolutionary warfare having enhanced relevance as a result of considerations of rising cost affecting the ability of states to conduct protracted war. But if such a situation is predictable enough in terms of Third World countries, the relevance of armed struggle within advanced western societies may well have been enhanced as a result of one of the less notable aspects of the Information Revolution, namely the erosion of the basis of social consensus as it has evolved over time. Satellite television will ensure the importing of outside values, perhaps anti-values would be a better word in some cases, while the movement away from mass programming to individual payment of television cannot have any effect other than to weaken the degree of social cohesion which broadcasting has provided for most societies over the last three generations. The days when everyone watched the same few programmes or read the same few newspapers is over, and with it, perhaps, the basis of social consensus, not least because of television’s capacity to import the expectations of other societies and its gearing of advertising to levels of wealth deliberately denied a permanent part of society that is outside the economic and political system. The emergence of a permanent underclass – with all the associated problems of family breakdown, poor health and worse living conditions in inner city areas,10 racial tensions and inadequacy of educational facilities – that consists of individuals stranded at the bottom of the qualifications league and therefore wholly unappealing to any potential employer has already resulted in depressed city centres, a rise of drug-related criminal violence in these same areas, and a mass refusal to participate in the political system – a deliberate self-disenfranchisement on the part of an alienated part of society that has equipped itself with its own mores and culture. While western Europe has yet to experience anything like the Eighteenth Street phenomenon in the United States, the example of the current struggle in Algeria with its progressive weakening of the state in direct relationship to its manifest inability to protect its citizens from such organizations as the Armed Islamic Group and the increase of racketeering, prostitution, drug dealing and revenge killings in the urban areas, point to the dangers presented by urban-based militants even in a society where the state and the military possess the determination to

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sustain themselves. The possible implication of such developments for advanced western states, specifically those states where there has been a deliberate repudiation of the concept of society on the part of government11 intent on the shedding of powers and responsibilities that have been gathered for most of this century, are self-evident, though not necessarily for reasons that are self-obvious. The last twenty years have witnessed western societies grapple with intractable economic problems, and the persistence of a depression that has existed for two decades without formal acknowledgement. In one very obvious sense politics in this time, perhaps politics in any time, has concerned itself with the management of illusions, and illusions of prosperity have been maintained by deliberately divisive social policies and the marginalisation of impact through the deliberate infliction of the cost of these problems upon the powerless underclass. In Britain this burden has fallen upon the unemployed and in the United States the black community, and in the latter case this has had the impact of maintaining racial segregation and setting aside most of the achievements registered in the civil rights movement of the Sixties: the black share of national wealth in 1994 was smaller than it was in 1968. It is somewhat ironic to question in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet system whether in western countries or in developing economies, Engels’ The Condition of the Working Classes in England has a relevance in the 1990s that it lost in the period 1945–1975. Between 1967 and 1986 the percentage of working population involved in manufacture in the United States fell by a third, but the massaging of the employment figures was disguised by the enforced movement of the otherwise unemployed into the lowest paid ranks of the service industries. One is reminded of the cartoon depicting an American senator, at a dinner, claiming responsibility for the creation of so many million new jobs, and in the background a waiter thinking to himself that he had three of them. The cartoon would be amusing but for its uncomfortable brush with truth: as it is, in 1997 Britain had more actors than miners. In any event the state has been weakened over the last two decades, but in ways that extend beyond a failing police control over deprived inner city areas. The real weakening of the state exists in the erosion of power, authority and will, specifically in terms of the use of power in an anticipatory manner. Moreover, anticipatory demands are increasing and,

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because of the impact of television and the Information Revolution, the time available to meet such demands has lessened. In western society we may be witness to the enfeebled politics of increasing poverty and elsewhere enfeebled authoritarianism may well become the norm, the latter being accompanied in many parts of the world by the spin-off from the many conflicts that have erupted over the last decade. A permanent lowgrade militarization of society in many Third World countries12 and the development of the politics of grievance in advanced western societies may well be the constants of political life in future. Arguably, already in the west we have seen both. The rise of the militias in the United States and the emergence of what has been dubbed sub-political activity – protest and the rise of the politics of grievance – would seem to be permanent, irreducible features of national life, and armed militancy may well follow in their wake. Most certainly militancy has underpinned religious fundamentalism – whether Christian, Hindu, Islamic or Jewish – in the last decade in a response to the stresses of modern society, most obviously in dealing with non-believers. Such could be the basis of struggle in the years to come: increasingly polarized societies, the rise of the politics of anxiety and the emergence of what has been described as “the anxious classes” or more recently “the anxious middle;” increasingly dismissive attitudes on the part of those who own and work the means of wealth toward the underclass, be it foreign or domestic; a growing portion of society permanent alienated from prevailing institutions and values, and a resultant increase of unpolitical and anti-political protest; and over the last twenty years perhaps as much as one-fifth of adults of working age have been marginalised in the advanced western societies; increasing poverty and desperation; a weakening state the tax basis of which has been massively impaired not least because of the massive shift of balance between productive and non-productive elements of society.13 And a technology that may well provide the militantly disaffected with unprecedented means of disruption – the revolutionary hacker, given the extensive use of the notice board by various militant organizations from Mexico to Northern Ireland for propaganda and the critical preparation phase, cannot be long delayed, if, indeed, the phenomenon has not manifested itself. The claim that the United States could be paralysed by two capable hackers and a billion dollars certainly cannot be dismissed lightly, and

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presumably has been entertained since 1991 by such countries as Iraq.14 The Virtual Nation is with us, and quite possibly military operations as we presently understand that term are upon the point of passing into history because other, more efficient forms of warfare are or will be to hand. Among the more powerful states information and economic warfare present the attraction of use of superiority, minimal casualties and maximum returns in the form of control of resources without commensurate responsibilities. For lesser states and societies the lesson of 1991, and perhaps even more relevantly of Mogadishu, must be to wage war in cities where enemy – i.e. in general western but specifically American – advantages would be at a discount. The lesson of the Gulf campaign must be never to fight the United States in the field but by other means, and herein the example of Groznyy and the U.S. Marine Corps’ experience in Exercise Urban Warrior and in autumn 1996 in Exercise Sea Dragon must be salutary. Perhaps, and as with everything that has been placed before you in this essay, perhaps not. One is very aware that historically similar such prognostications have not been borne out by events that were even-handed in their effects. The 1590s was a period of acute uncertainties and severe economic disruption and privation, of severe disorder and unrest, and if the first half of the seventeenth century more than amply justified worst fears the second half more than exceeded hopes. The scenario that has been recounted tends toward the apocalyptic, and perhaps unrealistically so, but one wonders on four points with respect to the future of war and the changing nature of political argument, and another matter does impinge upon deliberations. Every generation has its Cassandra and its Jeremiah and Lamentations, but at some stage or another they will be proved right by events, though there will be no prizes for correctly predicting the end of the world. At the conventional level one ponders the implications of the 1991 campaign in terms of the new technology having restored the power of decision to war that was denied by deterrence and the Cold War. One wonders whether this will affect the willingness of states to engage in war with an anticipation of success that did not previously exist. In terms of the conduct of future war one wonders the impact of new weapons systems that will come into service in the next two decades. Automated and networked tanks, robotic infantry – six-legged automatons capable

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of lifting weights of one ton – and laser weapons already exist and are certain to enter service. In the next generation will change both the battlefield and the basic structure of armies as a result of the reduction of “teeth” in order to increase “tail” and to accommodate the networking of formations. Radiators are certain to blur the distinction between the conventional and the strategic. New camouflage-suits that can make individual soldiers all but disappear and netting that can render tanks undetectable even by infra-red surveillance point to the “empty battlefield” being superseded by either the automated or the invisible battlefield, perhaps both. One prefers not to think of the real alternative battlefield that might become reality with the deployment and use of genetic weapons – the biotech revolution – presently in the process of being developed. One wonders, too, the future in terms of a world directorate that still consists primarily of western countries that owed their claims on positions of privilege to rights that are no longer unique, and one wonders, in the long term, of the constancy of links between the United States and western Europe. One wonders, for example, what will be the consequences of the American contempt for her various allies and associates as displayed by the Helms-Burton Act and the decision to set aside the World Trade Organization ruling on its legality. One wonders what the impact of the U.N. Agenda for Change might be in terms of a commitment to “permanent revolution” at the very time when western countries must decide whether the United Nations exists as the instrument of change or as the means of trying to preserve what is. One wonders, too, whether a re-alignment of loyalties will not follow the disappearance of the Soviet Union in the sense that historically a single great power has invariably raised an association of lesser powers against herself. At the level of society and civil war one wonders if one stands on the brink of a new brutalization of attitudes,15 a public indifference to violence – an unconcern on the part of those with money and overfamiliarity on the part of those without – and a collapse of the shared values that have provided the basis of social existence. Lest this be considered over-drawn, the massive changes of political argument and civic culture that have taken place in the last generation hardly provide cause for re-assurance. The political debate in the Eighties overwhelming concerned the state and its role: the political debate in the Nineties primarily concerns how states and societies respond to

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influences beyond their control. The global market, and particularly the global money market in which an estimated 95% of finance is speculative and adds nothing to the production of real wealth, has proved profoundly disruptive of employment patterns and social security expenditure. If the immediate impact has been registered in terms of lack of training programmes and wage freezes for the lowest-paid members of society, the longer-term impact upon conventional political wisdoms is certain to be very divisive. The Right, for example, dominated the political debate in the Eighties, but in the Nineties has been bitterly divided between the new protectionists of the Buchanan and Perot breed, the ultra-monetarists and the rump conservatives who went along with the new creed of the previous decade but who should really be liberals. In the political centre the division between pragmatism and “one-nation conservatism” or devolved “localism” has served to rob liberalism of its opportunity to assimilate part of the discarded Right, while on the Left the divisions between modernists, progressives and stakeholders, while not always obvious, has sapped traditional social democrat organizations of credibility and unity. When the fragmentation of existing political orders, and the accompanying widespread public perception of corruption, complacency and incompetence on the part of government is added to the scales, the fact that so many aspects of state policy have been rendered irreconcilable by forces over which the state has no control points to the fact that a basic redefinition of the state, society and civic culture is in hand. And this leaves aside those elements of society that, for one reason or another, has been and is excluded from what it sees as an “establishment” process. In addition, that process has never been under such strain than at the present. Over the last five years Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United States, and India, have witnessed the repudiation of governing parties by electorates on a scale and with a degree of comprehensiveness without precedence. It may very well be that in such countries as Britain, Canada, Italy and the United States there has been the first major re-alignment of political loyalties since the Second World War and the election results of these years reflect the wider changes that have taken place in those five decades. It may also be the scale of the disasters that have overwhelmed incumbent regimes reflect a electoral volatility that is more recent in origins in terms of unprecedented anticipation, and which will become a permanent feature of political existence. History does not provide assurance that this process

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of fragmentation and re-alignment should not be accomplished without violence: one cannot be unaware of a comment that may well summarize the next decades – new orders will emerge from chaos but there must be chaos first.16 What is certain is that global integration is changing both states and business and what they attempt to do, and that consequently neither the conventional economic wisdom of the Left and the Right nor the traditional political agenda of existing parties can be expected to provide solutions to problems or the basis of identity for the disadvantaged. What is equally certain is that the destruction of the broad consensus that favoured equity and social justice, which underpinned the modern industrial state in the decades following the end of the Second World War in 1945, was deliberate, with nothing put into its place other than privilege and “the quiet, and perhaps not so quiet, war between the comfortable amd the underclass.”17 As a professional historian one is instinctively wary of searching for “the lessons to be learnt” from History, and no less wary of the conformity that all societies seek to impose upon their members. But with the approach of the new millennium we have opportunity to look afresh at the event of this century, and overwhelming reason to do so. Society at any time stands on the edge of a brave new world, but we stand on the edge of a new world in which national consensus as we have experienced that concept over the last fifty years will be destroyed. The Information Revolution has eroded the common base of societies as developed over past decades, and one suspects that the effect will be the lowering and degradation of standards, not their raising. The danger that presents itself may already be here: we may well have seen the last book-reading generation: one knows from one’s own students the lack of familiarity with these events and, even worse, their lack of knowledge about how to rectify their ignorance. But the Information Revolution will force historians to make a choice, between History and a pandering to a ruthless entertainment industry that feeds upon what people want to believe and cannot question. We owe future generations the right choice. In a hundred years from now people who will be almost as far from World War II as we are from Waterloo perhaps will look to what we have written about the twentieth century as the basis of their understanding of their own time. How will we describe it? I do not know, but amidst the move away from the ideological politics that developed in the

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aftermath of the First World War, the changing role of the state and perhaps even the movement toward – God help us – “Shock and Awe,” I trust that individually and collectively we make the right choices, and develop dissenting views simply in order to frustrate those who would control us, as we seek new perspectives and a real understanding of war, the state, society and the history of the twentieth century. “Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dir le genti.”18

NOTES

1 No doubt some militant and hideous harpies will protest about the use of this word, but as far as this author is concerned bugger political correctness: the real objection to this word lies with the question of singulars and plurals. 2 Leon Trotsky, “On Optimism and Pessimism, on the Twentieth Century, and on Many Other Things,” quoted in Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, Trotsky, 1879–1921, pp. 54–55. 3 Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, p. 286. 4 Keegan, The Face of Battle, p. 325–336. 5 See the article “Global Gangsters” in The Observer of 15 December 1996 and specifically the references to Transnational Organized Crime and Operation Mercury. 6 Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and The Last Man, pp. xiii-xiv. 7 The changing patterns of industry and trade of recent years invites the following observation: The need of a constantly expanding market … extends over the whole surface of the globe … and through its exploitation of the world market has given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country … It has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are destroyed by new industries … that no longer depend on indigenous resources but resources drawn from every quarter of the globe. In place of old wants, satisfied by domestic production, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant countries … Instead of old local and national exclusiveness and self-sufficiency, we have diversity and universal inter-dependence of nations. And the process does not merely involve materiel: intellectual creation is common property and from national and local literatures has arisen a new world literature. The comment was provided by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the first section of The Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848. 8 For example, in terms of real purchasing power the value of tea has declined by 97% in the course of the twentieth century and, perhaps surprisingly, in March 1998, and after a year in which its price declined by a third, oil is cheaper than it was in 1948. In this latter case, the con-

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sequences for such countries as Saudi Arabia are very serious but for such countries as Nigeria and Indonesia the consequences are disastrous. The fact that these economies have managed to ensure their present and future control of production because of a price competitiveness that North American and European economies cannot match may offset this problem. If “positive non-intervention” and authoritarian government, with very restricted demands in terms of taxation continue to provide advancing living standards for youth and those in employment – and Singapore and Hong Kong have the highest standards of living in the world other than in the United States – then their economies may well be able to afford an ageing underclass. The rise of homelessness and diseases that had been all but eradicated in the generation after the Second World War have been features of the Eighties and Nineties, and it is perhaps worth noting that whereas the life expectancy of the homeless in London in 1990 was 47 years by 1996 this had fallen to 42 years, which was male life expectancy in Britain in 1900. In very large measure the phenomenon of increasing homelessness in Britain was the result of deliberate abolition of welfare provisions in the Eighties: the problem of disease stems from the fact that antibiotics, which have saved millions of lives since World War Two, were in danger of becoming powerless to fight off new strains of super-resistant bacteria. In hospitals throughout the West, one strain – staphylococcus aureus – has already become legendary for its ability to collect resistance traits against antibacterial agents. In such cases, doctors have been able to turn to the “last resort” antibiotic called vancomycin – until recently. Another bacterium – enterococcus faecium, which causes wound and urinary tract infections – has been discovered in a form completely resistant to vancomycin. Doctors have also found that some strains of enterococcus cannot be killed by any antibiotic. In the last thirty years forty diseases have been identified for which there is no known cure. See speech of Professor Alexander Tomasz, of New York’s Rockefeller University, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, San Francisco, 19 February 1994. Margaret Thatcher, “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” Woman’s Own magazine article, 1987. And permanent, endemic warfare as has occurred in such countries as El Salvador, where the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front has been active since 1979, and Guatemala, where the American intervention in 1954 against a democratically elected government paved the way for intermittent warfare over some four decades. In Britain in 1970 the balance between productive and non-productive families – the latter being defined as families in which no member was in receipt of payment for work and which therefore includes retired people – was 5:1. In 1990 the balance had changed to 3:1 and it is projected that by 2010 the balance will be 2:1. Captain J. Welch, RN, “The International Money Market: A Weapon in Waiting?” Royal United Services Institute Journal, April 1996. Walter Laqueur, “Postmodern Terrorism,” Foreign Affairs, September–October 1996. An Amnesty International report in June 1997 indicated that in the previous reporting year torture and maltreatment resulted in deaths of people in custody in no fewer than 46 countries, while a total of 150 countries were found to have acted questionably with respect to individuals held in custody. Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra. From John Kenneth Galbraith, A Journey Through Economic Time, and the review of the same by Richard J. Barnet that appeared in Book World, 19 June 1994. Alighieri Dante, “Follow your own course and let people speak.”

Epilogue: The Transformation of the Norwegian Security and Defence Policy

Mr. Øistein Espenes (RNoAF Academy) National Defence or International Contribution The bizarre occurrence on 11 September and the American leadership’s political and military reactions to the event has caused “asymmetric warfare” to become a common term in most languages. Such attacks, which are carried out by extremists, belong to the “crime” category, but the term “war” is used in so many circumstances that the attacks against New York and Washington are also justifiably referred to as “war”. The struggle of nations to fight drug traffic and international crime is often referred to as “war” because such activities are undermining economical, social and political stability, thus constituting a threat against state security. A warning is in order, however, against designating all kind of organised violence “wars”, at least because war both as a condition and an activity is defined and regulated by international law. In a juridical context, one could easily in some respects legalise terror by calling it an act of war. For Norway, the Nato decision to activate Article 5, showing solidarity with the USA, implied that Nato’s collective defence had reached an interesting consequence: Americans were, ever since Nato’s inauguration, expected to reinforce Norway when necessary – the other way around was unthinkable throughout the Cold War period. For Norway the raison d’être for Article 5 turned 180 degrees within the decade. Norway was now expected to “export” security, as opposed to the old notion of exclusively “importing” security by receiving military reinforcement. Indeed, as late as 1998 a White Paper stated that defence against a territorial invasion should guide the structure and organisation of the Norwegian armed forces.1 More specifically: The Norwegian Defence should provide “holding time” – avoid defeat prior to Nato reinforcements.

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The Norwegian military tradition remained focused on defending the nation’s territory. Although Norway gave large contributions to UN Peacekeeping missions, this was in military circles thought of as “military tourism”, and insignificant for the real purpose, namely the defence of Norwegian soil. There was a painful and slow process towards recognising that the security environment, as well as the military paradigm, had changed. When this fact had finally been recognised, both politically and militarily, the transformation process ended up with a governmental proposal, which provoked critics to describe the new force structure as exclusively designed for international operations. In many ways this process has an historical parallel, although this is mostly forgotten. Historical Parallels In 1263, the Norwegian King, Haakon Haakonson, mobilised the Norwegian fleet to defend and maintain Norwegian control of the northwestern fringes of Scotland. The Norwegian fleet, which consisted of 160 longships, was totally ineffective as long as the Scottish King, Alexander III, refused to engage the Norwegians in a naval battle. The Norwegians, in turn, refused to engage the Scottish cavalry in a land battle. This completely asymmetric situation led to a stalemate, but it also contributed to the mutual understanding that negotiation would be the best line of action. This is actually one of the few examples of an asymmetric situation leading to a sensible decision by both parties. The lack of Norwegian success was explained by the fact that the Norwegian soldiers were reluctant to fight and complaining that their duty was confined by the law, which stated that they should not go beyond the Norwegian border. King Haakon’s successor, his son Magnus, codified in 1273 that Norwegian mobilisation forces were obligated to act in support of the King’s interests abroad, in order to establish a capacity for operations in other countries.2 This is our first parallel. When Nato in 1991 revised the strategic concept and Norway was obliged to establish Reaction Forces, the law had to be changed before the Norwegian government could order officers on duty outside Norwegian territory. During the Cold War such duty had been voluntary and confined to UN peacekeeping missions. Officers were

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committed to defend Norway and nothing else. Given Norway’s assumed strategic significance as an all-important neighbour of the Soviet Union, such tasks also contributed to Nato's benefit. The changes were significant however, and came rather sudden, which brings us to the second historical parallel. In 1299, 22 years after Magnus’ new law was implemented, the Norwegian envoy, Audun Hugleikson, pledged the participation of 300 longships and 50 000 “selected soldiers” to the French King’s disposal against England. This was far beyond Norwegian assets, but was accepted by the French King for a rather large fee.3 Whether this explains the hanging of Audun in Bergen seven years later cannot be confirmed, but one cannot help speculate. Although the establishment of a Norwegian expeditionary force for international operations some 700 years later was initially difficult, the Norwegian government in 1999 presented a White Paper defining a joint navy, army and air force contribution of 3.500 soldiers in total for operations led by Nato and the EU.4 This was far less than what Audun proposed in 1299, but still regarded by critics as a force that exceeded Norwegian assets. However, when the White Paper was presented, Norwegian fighter aircraft had already participated in Operation Allied Force and the Norwegian obligations to European security were largely accepted. At the turn of the millennium, however, few were able to imagine that Norwegian soldiers were to fight in Afghanistan less than two years later. Nor was the No Fly Zone over Oslo during the Nobel Peace ceremony in December 2002 imaginable. The present problem is whether there is a reasonable balance between our national security interests and the consequences of our international military engagement given its recent character. Furthermore: Will Norway’s Armed Forces be able to fulfil the Parliament’s goals for the task forces, and at the same time be able to fulfil its national obligations? Or are we witnessing a parallel to the Norwegian overbid of 1299?

The Norwegian Grand Strategic Estimate Let us deal with these overarching issues. First, the Norwegian security estimate assumes that a contribution to international operations promotes international security in general, thus improving the security for

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small countries such as Norway. Secondly, there exists a conception that Norwegian military contributions compensate for the lack of real political influence in Europe and Nato in the post Cold War Era. Thirdly, it is believed that such offers represent a deposit in a “security account”, which Norway supposedly can draw on in the form of allied support if needed.5 This estimate however, contains a few uncertain premises, and it is necessary to examine this argumentation closer. That the western world’s countries have common security interests has been clearly demonstrated in the 20th Century through the two World Wars, the Cold War, and the latest wars in the Balkans. War between some states will most certainly affect the others. Asymmetrical attacks, in the form of terrorism, make no exemptions. This does not mean, however, that the foreign interests of one Nato – country will always coincide with the interests of other Nato-members. For instance, the British and French colonial interests in the fifties were not identical to Norwegian interests. This is the reason why Norway opposed Nato operations “out of area” during the Cold War, and Norwegian contributions to the American war in Vietnam were inconceivable. Such reservations do not seem to be a part of Norwegian policy any more, but this cannot merely be explained by merging foreign policy interests of Norway and her allies. Norway’s increasing will to offer military forces to Nato and the EU must be seen as a means to bridge what has been perceived as a growing gap between Norwegian interests on the one hand, and interests of the EU and other Nato members on the other. Norwegian interests in relation to the EU are primarily fish, oil and gas. The referendum in 1994 proved that the majority of the Norwegian people did not want to join the EU, and this must be seen in connection with the different interests regarding how to manage these in accordance with Norway’s vital resources. On the other hand, the government fully recognises that not being a member of the EU is marginalising Norway’s political position, given the development of a common security and defence policy within the EU. The purpose of the Norwegian military contributions to the EU, therefore, is to compensate for this outsider position. The concern regarding the lack of influence in the EU is

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primarily due to the fact that this reduces the Norwegian influence within Nato as well. The Norwegian ability to fight for the preservation of Article 5 as the core of the alliance is thus reduced. Moreover, Norway has been fully aware of the fact that US military reinforcement is not, and has never been, intended to defend neither Norwegian cod quotas in the Barents Sea nor the disputed Norwegian claims in the waters surrounding the archipelago of Svalbard. Hence, the disappearance of the Russian threat against Norway proper, which determined US presence in the High North, has to be compensated somehow. Political and military support of the US may help to preserve as much as possible of the American military guarantees given to Norway during the Cold War. This explains why Norway politically supported the US in the war against al-Qa’ida, and why there are Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan and Kirgisistan. The Norwegian Defence is therefore given the task to bridge the gap between Norwegian national preferences on the one side, and allies’ motivation to stand by their military obligations towards Norway on the other. Military integration shall therefore compensate for a politically screened position.6 The fact that self-interest is motivating Norwegian military contributions in international operations can hardly be characterised as sensational. A more reasonable question is whether this policy reduces threats against Norway, and enables Norway to handle possible threats more effectively.

Possible Threats against Norway and Political Approaches The security of Norway faces at least two different challenges that can materialise into threats, and both are of an asymmetric nature. One is directly connected to Norway’s close proximity to Russia and represents in many ways an exclusively Norwegian problem. Both the quantitative and socio-political differences between the two countries constitute an asymmetric relation. The other issue is of an indirect nature and is linked to the Norwegian international engagement. Norway’s participation in the war that sealed the destiny of the Kosovo-Albanians created both an asymmetrical threat to Norway, and a tense relation with Russia.

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The Russian challenge is about disagreements with respect to the dividing of resources in the northern waters, including Svalbard. This bilateral problem possesses a permanent challenge regardless of the Russian regime’s character. Norway must therefore possess a military capacity that is able to demonstrate a will to support Norwegian interests, thus signalling that a significant force is needed to defy Norwegian interests. Our traditional ally’s point of view in such conflicts is hard to predict. Norway’s management of the resources is founded on an interpretation of international law not fully shared by her allies. Hence, it is not likely that Norway in all circumstances will be able to mobilise political, let alone military, assistance in a dispute with Russia on resource debacles. The indirect threat is connected to conflicts in the European periphery. Such conflicts are challenging because they contain an inherent risk of diversification and are a threat to the overall European stability. Hence, Norway has a self-interest in terminating such conflicts, but just as important, according to the former Defence Committee in the Norwegian Parliament, the Norwegian contributions in Peace Support Operations would:“… enhance our allies' motivation in supporting Norwegian security”.7 The Committee further argues that the capability of Norwegian Forces to operate jointly with Americans and other allies will be a precondition for maintaining the Norwegian – American bilateral reinforcement agreements. The Committee thus uses the Norwegian need for reinforcements as an argument for participation in operations far from Norwegian soil.8 Norway’s efforts to consolidate allied obligation with respect to securing Norway’s traditional interests in the High North by loyal commitments to the USA are likely to provoke a new threat against Norway. One must assume that Norway is included on the agenda of international terrorism. Hence, the Norwegian Minister of Justice urged people to obtain food and other necessary items in order to survive a potential crisis in the days following 11 September. This paradoxical situation is explained by the fact that Norway tries to combine two different perceptions on international security. The strictly national and traditional problem is defined in a triangle of power politics

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surrounding Norway, with Russia as the possible challenge and Norway gradually marginalised in relation to the other corners of the triangle between the EU, the USA and Nato. This potential challenge is regarded as sufficient to maintain Norway’s dependence on allied reinforcements. The Norwegian problem is that a different approach to security has dominated the policy of other Nato-members after the Cold War. This policy is based on the recognition that the rich western world constitutes a core where order and prosperity exist.9 The western world has its very own interest in bringing peace to a more or less chaotic periphery, thereby creating a breakthrough for western financial and political ideas. It is likely that future operations will have such aims, not least as a part of the effort to contain terrorism. The development throughout the nineties within Nato and the EU reflected this comprehension of the international system.

Conclusive Remarks The answer to the question whether this policy really fulfils its objectives depends on how valid the inherent political assumptions are. The USA is still regarded vital for Norwegian security. The problem is the declining US self-interests in Norway for strategic reasons. Norwegian policy thus has to enhance the link to the USA by other means. One result of this process is Norway’s reluctance to criticise US foreign policy and her willingness to synchronise Norwegian positions to the American ones. Furthermore, Norway’s willingness to offer military support to the USA in the fight against terrorism must be regarded not only as an act of solidarity, but as a reminder of mutual obligations. If such reminders fulfil the Norwegian expectation of reciprocal support depends on the case in question. There might be situations where political and military support to Norway is subordinated other American interests. It is therefore good reasons for questioning the Norwegian strategic estimate as valid for the nation’s security. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the Norwegian armed forces will face the following challenges: Capability to guard Norwegian interests in the northern waters, capability to participate adequately in joint UN, Nato

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or US-led operations, and finally, capability to defend Norwegian territory against asymmetric attacks. This brings us to the question whether the future Norwegian force structure is capable of handling these tasks? The reduction in size is more obvious than the change in military components and structure. The inheritance of the past seems to have determined the result to a greater extent than the changed security environment and the new military paradigm. The doctrinal alterations in the last decade are neither based on the new asymmetrical threat nor on peace support operations. The Norwegian manoeuvre warfare concept is retrospective rather than future oriented. However, the most important factor is perhaps the readjustments the armed forces have been forced to undergo. This process has supported and encouraged a more flexible way of understanding the complex nature of warfare, and such understanding is necessary for the ability to respond adequately in an uncertain environment. History has shown us that the tailoring of armed forces for one expected scenario has often been unsuccessful. A flexible military mindset does however not eliminate the problem that arises when the tasks exceed the capacity. The imbalance between the task portfolio given to the Norwegian Defence and the resources placed at its disposal, is an enduring problem. It is thus tempting to recall the destiny of the previously mentioned Audun Hugleiksson. He was executed exactly 700 years ago.

NOTES

1 St meld nr 22 Hovedretningslinjer for Forsvarets utvikling i tiden 1999–2002 2 Bjørgo/Rian/Kaartvedt, ”Selvstendighet og union” Bind 1 i Norsk utenrikspolitikks historie, Oslo 1995, p. 77 3 Olav Riste, Norway’s Foreign Relations – A history. Oslo 2001, p. 24 4 St meld nr 38 (1998–1999) 5 Ibid p. 10 6 The Norwegian Nato policy during the Cold War has been described as a combination of integration and screening. The Norwegian Nato membership included Norway in the Western

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Hemisphere, but on the other hand Norway screened herself militarily from Nato by her bases policy and other self-imposed restrains on allied military presence and activity in Norway. Norway thus remained a fragment of her previous neutrality. 7 Innst. S.nr. 342 (2000–2002) Innstilling fra forsvarskomiteen om omlegging av Forsvaret i perioden 2002–2005., p. 21 8 Ibid. 9 Goldeiger and McFaul, “A tale of two worlds: Core and Periphery in the Post – Cold War Era”, International organization, vol 46. 1992.

Biographical Notes

Dr. Mark Clodfelter is a Professor of Military History at the National War College in Washington, DC. A former Air Force officer, he served as a radar officer in South Carolina and Korea before beginning a career devoted largely to teaching. He twice taught history at the USAF Academy, and ultimately served as the Academy’s director of military history. From 1991–1994, he taught at Air University’s School of Advanced Airpower Studies (SAAS) as a Professor of Airpower History. He next became Professor of Aerospace Studies and Commander of the Air Force ROTC detachment at the University of North Carolina, where he also served as an adjunct professor of history. He began teaching at the National War College in 1997. He is the author of The Limits of Air Power: The American Bombing of North Vietnam, which Air Force Chief of Staff General Ronald Fogleman selected for the Chief ’s intermediate reading list. Colonel Peter Faber served as a professor of air power history at SAAS from 1992–1994. After completing his undergraduate work at UCLA in 1976, he went on to receive 5 graduate degrees from Yale University, the US Naval War College, the University of Alabama and the University of Arkansas. He is the author of numerous articles on air power history and theory. Most recently, he served as Chief, Strategy and Policy Division, Directorate of Strategic Planning, Headquarters USAF. He is currently serving as the USAF’s representative to the NATO Defense College, Rome, Italy. Dr. Karl Mueller (B.A., Univ. of Chicago; Ph.D., Princeton) is a political scientist and defense policy analyst at RAND in Arlington, Virginia. From 1994 to 2001 he taught international relations and air power strategy at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies (SAAS), the USAF’s elite graduate school for future strategists. He has written and lectured on

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a wide variety of national security topics, including the coercive use of military force, economic sanctions, nuclear strategy, the role of air power in future conflict, and moral considerations in U.S. foreign policy. He is currently working on projects dealing with space weaponization, counter-terrorism strategies, and the security policies of European small and middle powers. Wing Commander Shaun Clarke enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in 1981, completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree at Canterbury University and graduated from Pilots Course in 1984. He has completed various flying tours, was Aide-de-Camp to the Governor General of New Zealand in 1987, became a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) in 1988 and flew in the Middle East in support of the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group in 1990. In 1996 he attended the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Staff College, completing No. 49 Command and Staff Course and topping the course with awards including the Chief of Staff ’s Prize. He has been Director of the RNZAF Air Power Development Centre (1998-2000) and in 2001 he served for six months as a Senior Military Liaison Officer for the United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Since the inception of the new Headquarters Joint Force New Zealand in July 2001, Wing Commander Clarke has been Director of Current Operations. Dr. Alan Stephens lectures in the history and strategy of aerospace power at University College, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. He has been the RAAF Historian, based with the Air Power Studies Centre, Canberra. Before joining the APSC he was a principal research officer in the Federal parliament, specialising in foreign affairs and defence; while prior to that he was an RAAF pilot, where his postings included the command of No. 2 Squadron from 1980-1981. He is the author of numerous books and articles on defence, air power and military history. His most recent books are High Fliers: Leaders of the RAAF and The Royal Australian Air Force. He is a graduate of the RAAF Staff College, the University of New England, the Australian National University, and the University of New South Wales. Colonel (ret.) John A. Warden III (BSc, Colorado Springs; MSc: Texas Tech University) is a former fighter pilot, his service having included over

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250 combat missions, and a distinguished author, strategist and air power theorist. He has served as Commander, 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, Deputy Director for Strategy, Doctrine and Warfighting at HQ USAF, Special Assistant to the Vice President of the USA and Commandant of the Air Command and Staff College. He is best known for his seminal work on air power, The Air Campaign, and for his role as one of the architects of the Persian Gulf air war. He has given lectures all over the world, and his most recent book is Winning in FastTime. He is currently the Chairman and CEO of Venturist, Inc. Colonel (ret.) Richard Szafranski (BA cum laude, Florida State University; MA Central Michigan University) is the Managing Director of and a Partner in Toffler Associates. He retired from active service in the USAF as a colonel in July 1996. In his last assignment he was the National Military Strategy Chair at the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama and the study director for Air Force 2025. While serving, his duties included staff positions in the headquarters of Strategic Air Command, United States Space Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, and Air Force Space Command. He commanded B-52 units at the squadron and wing level, including assignment as commander of the 7th Bomb Wing, Carswell AFB, Texas, from 1991 to 1993. He was also the base commander of Peterson AFB, Colorado. Szafranski was designated a Joint Speciality Officer in 1989. He is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College and was the top graduate of his Air War College class. Lieutenant Colonel Frans Osinga is a serving officer of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. After several years as an operational fighter pilot and instructor pilot he served at the Air Staff in various offices. He was a lecturer at the Netherlands Defence College on air power doctrine before he attended a yearlong post graduate programme on strategy and air power at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies at the Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, USA. He subsequently was director of the Strategy, Doctrine and Airpower Department of the Netherlands Defence College. He is a graduate of the Advanced Staff Course. He is currently seconded to the Clingendael Institute of International Relations in The Hague as a senior research fellow.

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Dr. Christopher Coker is Reader in International Relations at the London School of Economics. He was a NATO Fellow in 1981. Until recently he was a member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and is a serving member of the Washington Strategy Seminar and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (Cambridge, Mass). He is a former editor of “The Atlantic Quarterly”, has advised several Conservative Party think-tanks including the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies and the Centre for Policy Studies, and helped to draw up the Party’s defence platform in the last European Parliamentary Elections. He is the author of a number of books including War and Illiberal Conscience, Twilight of the West, and War and the Twentieth Century: A Study of War and Modern Consciousness. Mr. William S. Lind is the Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism, at the Free Congress Research and Educational Foundation. He has previously been an advisor on military affairs to US Senator Gary Hart, president of the Military Reform Institute, and a Resident Scholar at the Institute for Government and Politics of the Free Congress Foundation. He is one of the founding fathers of the AirLand Battle doctrine, having lectured expensively for the US Marine Corps. He is the author of Maneuver Warfare Handbook, which is standard reading at most military academies. Group Captain Ian MacFarling joined the RAAF in March 1977 after serving for 12 years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. In the RNZAF he flew as a navigator on Canberra B(I)12 bombers (1966–69), Sunderland Mk 5 flying boats (for a very brief detachment in 1966), Bristol Freighters (1970–72 in Southeast Asia), and P3B Orions (1973–77). In the RAAF he flew as a tactical co-ordinator on P3B Orions in 11 Sqn, and his last flying duties were at RAAF’s Aircraft Research & Development Unit, where he completed the tour as flight commander [flight testing of slow speed aircraft]. He has a total of 5650 flying hours as a navigator. He is currently the Director of the RAAF Aerospace Centre in Canberra where he is responsible for the production of strategic level air and aerospace power doctrine, supervision of the education of both RAAF and foreign fellows, and education in air power history and theory. He also participates regularly as the interpreter in bilateral Ministerial-level meeting between Australia and Indonesia.

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Mr. Ivan Safranchuk has been the head of the Moscow office of the Center for Defense Information (CDI) since July 2001. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO). In 1997–2000 he was a researcher at the PIR-Center and the director of the Nuclear Arms Control project. He is the author of a number of research articles and reports on nuclear policy, nuclear disarmament, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) non-proliferation and Russian foreign policy. Dr. H.P. Willmott is now a freelance writer. He was a senior lecturer in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Camberley and senior research fellow with the Institute for the Study of War and Society, De Montfort University. He has been visiting professor at Temple University (1989) and University of Memphis (1989–1990), and held the Chair of Naval History with the Department of Military Strategy and Operations, National War College, Washington DC, between 1992 and 1994. He was educated at the Universities of Liverpool and London and the National Defense University, respectively obtaining a masters degree in 1971 in History, doctorate in 1991 in War Studies and a second masters degree (M.Sc.) in National Security Strategy in 1994. He served for six years in the reserve with special forces.