|Rapid Dominance Strategy of War
One of the major challenges confronting the Secretary of Defense is not only planning for the future, but also making the successful transition from today's force and capability to the one needed in the new century. Experimentation will be a key element in this transition and planning process. In this context, Rapid Dominance has considerable merit.
Rapid Dominance is a construct and concept for applying force with the principal and overriding objective of affecting, influencing, and controlling the will and perception of a potential adversary through the use - or threat of use - of shock and awe. Shock and awe arises from the successful application of Rapid Dominance, a concept that has four characteristics: total knowledge, control of the environment, rapidity, and brilliance in execution.
The explicit use of shock and awe as a tool represents a singular extension of current strategic frameworks and operational concepts such as Joint Vision 2010. The basics of Rapid Dominance have previously been described in the publications, Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance, published by National Defense University in 1996, and Rapid Dominance: A Force for All Seasons, published by the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies in 1998. Most recently, a plan for further developing the Rapid Dominance concept was included in a 1999 report prepared for the Office of the Net Assessment under the Secretary of Defense. This plan is entitled, Rapid Dominance: A Strategic Roadmap for Fielding and Testing an Experimental Rapid Dominance Force.
Rapid Dominance exploits the entrepreneurial nature of America and the dynamically changing commercial-industrial technical sector from which many of the new information, computer, electronic, materials, and related technologies and systems will come. With an appropriate research and development plan, initial capabilities for this Rapid Dominance force could be fielded in perhaps five years and the full force obtained in fifteen years.
The Rapid Dominance Study Group has outlined a first cut Rapid Dominance force for fighting and winning a major regional conflict. That force design consists of roughly 250,000 personnel and would be employed in five waves. These waves can be brought to bear at any point in the peace, crisis and conflict continuum. The first wave of a Rapid Dominance capability could strike anywhere on the globe, within 30 to 40 minutes of being ordered, regardless of whether U.S. forces were already deployed in the crisis region. The subsequent waves would continue to deploy power relentlessly on the adversary to affect his will and perception through imposing a regime of
"shock and awe." The final wave could include deploying a heavy corps or expeditionary force
for physical occupation of territory.
The Rapid Dominance Study Group has prepared a roadmap for further developing the Rapid Dominance concept. The general approach of the roadmap is to generate and evaluate as many ideas as possible for effecting Rapid Dominance, turning the best of these ideas into operational concepts for use by a Rapid Dominance Force. These new concepts will involve information management, non-lethal demonstrative weapons, improved precision-delivered ordnance and more sophisticated command control capabilities. There will also be an important training and educational component of Rapid Dominance to take full advantage of the capabilities being provided. The Rapid Dominance Force developed through this process will be used for full-scale testing and experimentation, leading to ultimate integration of a Rapid Dominance capability into the President's national security tool box.
To improve the framework of understanding and to test the operative tools for affecting, influencing and controlling will and perception, the Rapid Dominance Study Group intends to conduct a series of net assessments. These assessments will involve taking five illustrative situations, applying the Desired Operational Capability (DOC) process and then evaluating the results within the Rapid Dominance framework. The DOCs selected include: Decisive Operations/Coercive Campaigns; Nodal Analysis and Attack; Precision Simultaneous Attack; Information Operations/Strategic Deception; and Seizing, Occupying or Controlling Territory. Each assessment will further explore and define how the four characteristics of Rapid Dominance are likely to affect, influence and control the adversary's will and perception on strategic/political, operational and tactical levels. Lessons will be learned concerning how to bring Rapid Dominance power to bear on an adversary.
Beyond these net assessments, the Rapid Dominance Study Group's program is geared to achieving three main goals. First, the group intends to further develop operational concepts for the Rapid Dominance Force, filling in the details of force definition, research and development objectives, doctrine and tactics. Second, the group will develop the details of the Joint Experimentation program necessary to place an experimental Rapid Dominance Force into the field. The experimentation construct would explore three variants of a Rapid Dominance Force: a stand-alone force, a joint experimental task force and a virtual force. Finally, the group will identify the planning and execution steps necessary to employ a Rapid Dominance Force in order to achieve shock and awe. Successful completion of this three-phased program will provide the necessary impetus for turning the Rapid Dominance concept into an instrument of national power.
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