Precision Firepower: SMART BOMBS, DUMB STRATEGY
"You may fly over a land forever; you
may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life-but
if you desire to defend it, to protect it, and keep it for civilization,
you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by
putting your young men into the mud." -T.R. Fehrenbach 1
Ever since David slew Goliath with a stone
from his slingshot, every combatant's desire has been to defeat
his enemy from afar. Since the Industrial Revolution the question
has been asked, "Why send a soldier when a bullet will do?"
The natural desire is to limit the need to go face-to-face with
one's enemy and hence to avoid the enemy's counterblows. In 1999,
historian John Keegan said, "Now there is a new turning point
to fix on the calendar: June 3, 1999, when the capitulation of President
Milosevic proved that a war can be won by airpower alone."2
First muskets, then artillery, and now bombs and missiles have almost
eliminated the Homeric clash of heroes.
In the 21st-century Information Age, the preference for firepower
delivered by air and supported from space has reached new heights.
Weapons are now so accurate that we describe them as precision-
guided munitions (PGMs), "smart," or even "brilliant"
bombs. Unguided projectiles are merely "dumb" bombs. The
United States, using intelligence and precision weapons, can destroy
almost anything, anywhere, any time. Theorists have advanced a number
of schools of thought concerning what this capability means to military
strategy. Although these concepts differ on particular issues, they
stem from a common belief that precision weapons offer a new way
of accomplishing military strategy.
In his history of air operations in the Persian Gulf war, U.S. Air
Force (USAF) historian Richard P. Hallion triumphantly concludes,
"Simply stated, airpower won the Gulf war. In the airpower
era, neither armies nor navies can be considered the primary instrument
of securing victory in war."3 Clearly, some theorists see that,
more often than not, land or naval forces should support aerospace
power as the preeminent military arm. This is a dramatic reversal
of traditional roles.4
John A. Warden, an early advocate of precision firepower, sees enemy
systems as five interconnecting rings that precisely targeted air
strikes could destroy.5 Air strikes could "reduce capability
. . . , degrade effectiveness, [and like a living organism, make
enemy systems] susceptible to the infectious ideas we want to become
part of it."6 Warden says that the advent of PGMs makes it
possible to separate an enemy's military strength from his willpower,
destroying the former and rendering the latter irrelevant.
The U.S. Air Force coined the phrase "global reach, global
power" to describe its ability to deliver firepower with great
precision anywhere in the world on short notice. USAF doctrine defines
precision engagement as "the ability . . . to cause discriminate
strategic, operational, or tactical effects."7 Precision engagement
also "creates the opportunity for a different approach to harnessing
military power to policy objectives."8 Precision weapons enable
the concept of "strategic attack," a term that describes
"operations intended to directly achieve strategic effects
. . . and to achieve their objectives without first having to necessarily
engage the adversary's fielded military forces in extended operations
at the operational and tactical levels of war."9 Recent strategists
use the term "effects-based operations" (EBO).
EBO advocates believe technological advances make it possible "for
air attacks to create physical and psychological effects that combine
to quickly prevent a fielded land force from functioning well enough
to achieve its desired objectives."10 In the apparent race
to embrace the Information Age, strategists at the U.S. Joint Forces
Command are using the term "rapid decisive operations"
(RDO) to describe a new concept of war. RDO combines effects- based
operations "with superior knowledge and command and control
capabilities" to render an enemy incoherent, thereby forcing
him to "cease actions that are against U.S. interests or have
his capabilities defeated."11
B.H. Liddell-Hart's definition of military strategy is, "The
art of distributing and applying military means to fulfill the ends
of policy."12 I use the term "precision firepower"
to describe the theory that firepower, usually delivered from the
air with great accuracy against a discrete set of targets, can lead
directly to the defeat of the enemy and to the attainment of U.S.
The thread of continuity between the various strains of thought
is that precision firepower will revolutionize military strategy,
not just tactics and operations. The belief is that armies will
be able to quickly achieve policy objectives, and wars will be won
that will have low casualties and collateral damage and will use
few, if any, ground forces. Precision firepower is sometimes said
to blur the distinctions between the tactical, operational, and
strategic levels of war. This blurring encourages thinkers to equate
the ability to destroy something with the purpose behind destroying
it-to equate the means and ways of strategy with its ends. This
is indeed a breathtaking theory, and it offers a revolutionary route
to victory in war. If only it were so.
The Theory in Practice
Military theorists have historically overestimated
firepower's effectiveness. Precision firepower might be tactically
and operationally decisive when the military aim is negative, in
the sense of punishing an enemy for taking certain action or in
denying him certain military options, but no matter how precisely
firepower is delivered, it cannot be strategically decisive, for
short of a Carthaginian peace or an Armageddon, the policy ends
of war require something more than annihilation. Without a fundamental,
long-term change in the enemy's behavior, the victor is forced to
continually parry the enemy's operations so long as the enemy sees
fit to test the victor's means and resolve. Precision firepower
might make the job of ground forces immensely easier and less costly,
but in the end the victor must confront the vanquished face-to-face
to lay claim to the victory.
A number of technical, tactical, and political factors have bedeviled
the real-world application of precision firepower since its birth.
The following paragraphs briefly review the factors' limitations.
Technical limitations. As with any weapon system, there are technical
limits to precision firepower's effectiveness. Bad weather can obscure
the target area and distort the laser beams that guide weapons to
their targets. Guidance systems can fail and send bombs off target,
perhaps into civilian areas. Coordinating the reconnaissance, intelligence-collection,
and targeting processes is extremely complex and not foolproof.
Jungle, mountain, and urban terrain makes targeting fiendishly difficult,
even with ground spotters. Also, simple mechanical reliability is
never perfect.14 The PGMs' accuracy has improved by orders of magnitude
since their introduction late in the Vietnam war; nevertheless,
precision weapons' real-world accuracy is never quite up to the
Monetary limitations. Even with a much-increased budget for defense,
the prosaic issues of cost, production, and logistics can combine
to limit the availability of precision strike weapons. PGMs are
expensive, time-consuming to produce, and are expended rapidly.
In one admittedly extreme case in Afghanistan, an F16 fighter-bomber
and a B2 stealth bomber used several 500-pound bombs, several cluster
munitions, and sixteen 2,000-pound bombs to attack one Toyota pickup
truck containing 15 suspected Taliban fighters.15
Political considerations. Political considerations have often limited
the effectiveness of airpower at the strategic level of war. From
reluctance to indiscriminately bomb civilian targets in World War
II, to the fear of nuclear war with China and Russia in Korea, to
dÈtente-imposed restrictions on North Vietnamese targets,
to the reluctance of some NATO nations to sanction the bombing of
dual-use targets in Serbia, the U.S. has often felt the need to
limit the application of its immense technological superiority when
using firepower at the strategic level of war. The particular reasons
are different, as are the wars, but an irrefutable pattern emerges
from the historical record.16 The usual response of firepower advocates
has been that in the next war, using better technology unshackled
from political limitations, firepower will deliver on its strategic
promise. But the political object of the war will always limit the
utility of firepower, no matter how precisely applied.
Enemy considerations. Another point which we often forget is that
the enemy has a vote in determining the effectiveness of precision
firepower theory. As Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz
reminds us, "War is a contest against an animate force that
resists our efforts at every turn."17 The enemy can usually
find the means to avoid, absorb, wait out, or defeat the attack
of firepower. In a survey of post-World War II conflicts, military
historian Robert H. Scales, Jr., concludes, "To be sure, firepower
can be paralytic in its effect. But paralytic effects by fire are
always fleeting. Armies have shown time and again that they can
become inured to the paralytic effects of firepower and can even
learn creative ways to lessen its destructive effects."18
Current experience in Afghanistan suggests that the effects of precision
firepower are limited even against a primitive foe. U.S. air strikes
did not become effective until late November 2001 when they were
directed by U.S. Special Forces troops in direct support of Northern
Alliance ground forces assaulting Taliban positions.19 And, as the
battles of Tora Bora and the Shah-i-khot Valley indicate, reliance
on Afghan surrogates for ground forces comes with its own set of
limitations and disappointing results, as intended targets were
often allowed to escape. In his recently published study, Stephen
Biddle convincingly relates how quickly and effectively Taliban
and al-Qaeda forces were able to outsmart, avoid, and adapt to U.S.
Precision firepower also assumes a number of things are knowable
about the enemy when often they are not. EBO advocates offer policymakers
a menu of desired effects to impose on an enemy. EBO advocates incorrectly
assume the United States can accurately determine what assets an
enemy values most and attack them. In this sense, precision firepower
is a tool for believers in gradualism, escalation, and punishment
game theory. Precision firepower advocates can fall prey to the
fallacy of mirror-imaging the belief that the enemy will respond
to our actions in ways we ourselves would respond. Of course, the
destructive physical effects airpower delivers might or might not
affect the enemy the way we anticipate. Even if we could reduce
the enemy to a system of systems and target the enemy with great
precision, all but the most primitive, incompetent enemies will
react and adapt.21 Precision firepower alone cannot destroy the
resilience of enemy willpower or the persistence of his strategic
Reduction of military advantage. The United States does not enjoy
a permanent monopoly on the technology of precision firepower. The
inexorable cycle of weapons and counterweapons development will
sooner or later reduce our tremendous military advantages. To date,
the theory of precision fire-power has been tested only against
relatively un-sophisticated enemies. Were the United States to engage
an enemy with the resources and military might of the old Soviet
Union or tomorrow's China or Iran, we would likely find precision
firepower wanting. Many of our enemies and some of our friends will
sell sophisticated weapons to any rogue nation with money.
An enemy with limited but well-allocated, high-tech weapons of his
own could stymie key parts of our offensive arsenal, which is precisely
what Serbia was able to do in 1999. To deny NATO aircraft the signal
needed to locate and destroy them, Serb air defense operators turned
their radar off, which caused NATO planners to think twice and fly
high before directly attacking Serbian ground forces. Serbian airpower's
mere existence, not its use, kept NATO jets above 15,000 feet, which
greatly degraded their effectiveness against Serb forces. NATO was
forced to resort to bombing fixed, dual-use military and civilian
targets to bring pressure on Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
government. 22 An enemy's ability to wait out, counter, or evade
the effects of precision firepower neatly ex-poses the theory's
Moral implications. Precision firepower theory raises unique, thorny
moral dilemmas. What were the moral implications of attacking Serbian
dual-use infrastructure to avoid ground combat against Serbian paramilitaries
committing atrocities in Kosovo? How much direct and indirect harm
can the U.S. impose on civilians near such targets to limit the
risk to U.S. pilots? The international outcry against the bombing
campaign, some from within NATO itself, certainly encouraged Milosevic
to hold out in hopes of a collapse of NATO will or unity.23 The
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia briefly
contemplated indicting NATO military leaders for violating the law
of war.24 That persuasion is a game both sides can play and is a
factor precision firepower advocates often ignore.
The United States' preference for bombing instead of conducting
ground operations has caused many leaders in the developing world
to view the United States as a powerful but cowardly bully. The
United States appears willing to lob missiles and bombs at an enemy
from afar but unwilling to confront its foes "honorably."25
Our impressive technology does not seem to intimidate our enemies
into submission, but to encourage them to find new ways to resist
our strengths and to attack our weaknesses asymmetrically.
Precision Firepower Theory's Seductive
The use of precision firepower also seduces
U.S. foreign policymakers to resort quickly to the use of force
as a substitute for grand strategy. Unlike the complicated, costly
synchronization of all of the elements of power over time to achieve
foreign policy objectives, precision firepower seems to promise
a rapid, risk-free path to victory that uses limited military force.
USAF Colonel Phillip S. Meilinger argues, "Aerospace power
. . . should be our weapon of choice because it is the most discriminate,
prudent, and risk-free weapon in our arsenal."26
As with every seduction, however, the excitement of the chase soon
is replaced by discontent and even misery. The ability to destroy
fixed targets in the enemy's homeland is not a substitute for strategy.
As U.S. joint doctrine warns, "There is a delicate balance
between the desire for quick victory and termination on truly favorable
terms."27 Precision firepower tends to tip that balance toward
Precision firepower theory also encourages U.S. strategists to overreach
in achieving strategic objectives. In the late 20th century, the
United States often demanded concessions from wounded but not defeated
enemies-concessions that were far out of proportion to the military
situation on the ground. Regime punishment all too easily becomes
regime change in the overheated rhetoric that characterizes U.S.
foreign policymaking. Conversely, situations in Panama and Grenada
were quickly resolved using a combination of precision firepower
in support of landpower. It is instructive to remember what surrender
and military occupation can achieve.
In the 1999 bombing of Serbia, NATO leaders and U.S. President William
Clinton were convinced that only a few days of air strikes against
fixed Serbian targets would persuade Milosevic to end the ethnic
cleansing in Kosovo. After 78 days of bombing, immense destruction
of Serbian infrastructure, and months of intensified ethnic cleansing,
NATO and Clinton were forced to consider a ground invasion to resolve
the conflict. Some believe that air support for the Kosovo Liberation
Army's ground operations plus the threat of a ground invasion finally
convinced Milosevic to agree to an armistice. Other studies conclude
that Milosevic agreed to an armistice only when he concluded that
NATO was about to annihilate Serbia's economic and civilian infrastructure.28
Whatever the reason, 25,000 plus NATO ground troops were needed
to enforce the terms of the armistice. NATO troops are still in
Serbia, and no political solution that would allow NATO's withdrawal
is in sight. The alleged success of the bombing campaign locked
NATO into a strategic conundrum.
The United States should ensure that its strategic objectives are
commensurate with the military victories U.S. Armed Forces have
won. If the objective is merely to destroy some particular capability
of another state, then precision firepower alone might be successful.
We must not, however, expect that our relatively cheap, quick, and
easy military victories will somehow bring about long-lasting peace,
stability, and support for U.S. strategic objectives. Such grandiose
expectation will only make disappointment that much more intense.
The Problem of Ends in War
Assume that we can sweep aside all the limitations
on precision firepower's effectiveness. Assume that the United States'
weapons cupboards are over-flowing, that the terrain and weather
favor us, that the enemy is militarily incompetent, and that we
have addressed moral considerations to everyone's satisfaction.
Smart bombs and Information-Age wonder weapons prove decisive at
the tactical and operational levels of war. The fact is that even
in such an idyllic world, precision firepower will come up short
because even when the weapons work, the theory cannot deliver victory.
Precision firepower theory's critical shortcoming is that it cannot
achieve strategic objectives on its own. Precision air strikes might
persuade an enemy to sue for an armistice, but it cannot compel
him to alter his behavior once strikes cease. When attacked only
by firepower, the enemy determines whether or not to submit and
how faithfully he will adhere to proffered terms. A political resolution
to war that requires an enemy to make fundamental changes to his
foreign or domestic policies is possible only through the decisive
application of firepower and landpower. Only when the victor brings
his ground forces to bear to make even passive resistance impossible
can he impose his will on the enemy. Even when precision firepower
is decisively important in the conduct of a campaign, only ground
forces are capable of ensuring lasting victory.
The essential question regarding the use of military force is not
how to most effectively apply the military means at hand (tactics
and operations) but rather, how to use military means to "fulfill
the ends of policy."29 War by precision firepower can all too
easily become killing without purpose. There is no single-dimensional
military solution to winning the peace.
War is a political act; it might have its own grammar, but it does
not have its own logic. Clausewitz reminds us that the "superiority
one has or gains in war is only the means and not the end; it must
be risked for the sake of the end."30 Current U.S. joint doctrine
agrees with Clausewitz, cautioning that "wars are fought for
political goals. Wars are successful only when political goals are
achieved and these goals endure" [emphasis in original].31
Warden has Clausewitz wrong when he says that the physical aspect
of an opponent's power to resist can be separated from his will
to resist. Both must be defeated to achieve one's ends in war. Clausewitz
is instructive here on the need to render an opponent permanently
helpless: "If our opponent is to be coerced you must put him
in a situation that is more oppressive than the sacrifice you call
on him to make. The hardship of that situation must not be of course
merely transitory -at least in appearance. Otherwise the enemy would
not give in but would wait for things to improve. . . . The worst
of all conditions in which a belligerent can find himself is to
be utterly defenseless."32
U.S. Army doctrine, in line with joint doctrine and Clausewitz,
states the following about achieving victory in war: "With
their inherent qualities of on-the-ground presence and situational
understanding, Army forces make permanent the otherwise temporary
effects of fires alone. Domination that extends from the certainty
in the minds of enemy commanders that close combat with Army forces,
backed by superlative U.S. air and naval forces, will have two outcomes:
destruction or surrender."33
Recent opponents have shown great skill at ending U.S. bombing strikes
by agreeing to a limited set of cease-fire terms, only then to flout
those terms after the attacks cease.34 Turning military successes
into lasting political settlements is the formidable challenge of
military strategy that precision fire-power theory does not answer.
Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan offers some glimpses into
this dilemma. Initially the United States announced the limited
aim of destroying the al-Qaeda organization. The Taliban had to
be destroyed only because it harbored members of al-Qaeda and refused
to turn them over to the United States. But it is clear that the
United States also desired that Afghanistan cease being a breeding
ground for terrorism and to join the community of peaceful nations.
The U.S. toppled the Taliban using air strikes in support of a large
ground army from the Northern Alliance. Still, the United States
does not control events on the ground. U.S. foreign policy leaders
are still searching for a way to prevent Afghanistan from sliding
back into anarchy.35
By using tribal groups as proxies to do ground combat's dirty work,
the United States has increased its military power and political
stature to the point that some groups are no longer reliably pliant
when it comes to implementing U.S. goals. Some groups have used
U.S. air strikes to settle grievances against old neighbors, raising
the question of exactly who is a proxy for whom. Most groups openly
opposed the regime of Afghan President Mohammed Karzai, and in fall
2002, some began launching attacks on U.S. and allied forces. The
limited military victories gained through this "new American
way of war" simply did not give us the leverage to impose our
will on post-Taliban Afghanistan.36
Not all strategists believe precision firepower is a substitute
for military strategy, although most advocates tend to gloss over
or ignore the idea. RDO advocates caution that the theory is not
designed for "long-term commitments or to resolve longstanding
disputes."37 The rapid application of precision firepower is
only a means to support strategy, not a way or an end in itself.
Precision firepower advocates would do well to heed these distinctions.
Fundamental Changes One should not deny the importance of precision
firepower and related Information-Age warfighting concepts. They
are indeed fundamentally changing the tactical and operational levels
of war. The relationship between fire and maneuver and airpower
and landpower is constantly evolving because of changes in society
and technology. The revolution in military affairs being driven
by the Information Age is yet another episode in this long process.
U.S. policymakers must grapple with these effects as they prepare
to use military force in the 21st century. They must not underestimate
its usefulness or its limitations. The debate over whether air forces,
navies, or armies are most decisive in war is an argument that obscures
the strategic question: "How do we achieve policy objectives
with military means?"
Unlike technology, the nature of politics between states changes
slowly. Over-reliance on the effectiveness of precision firepower
theory could lead the United States to conduct military operations
that fail to achieve the strategic ends for which those operations
were begun. This is the seductive, dangerous nature of precision
firepower, and it encourages sloppy thinking on two levels: that
military strategy consists primarily of targeting and destruction,
often of civilian and military infrastructure instead of military
forces, and that this destruction alone will yield results in military
and grand strategy without the need to employ ground forces.
The enemy is not a lifeless mass of fixed buildings, information
systems, or weapons platforms. Enemies do not surrender their strategic
goals using a simple cost-benefit calculation. Mere destruction
of the enemy's means of war is not the true aim of war. Victory
is achieved when the enemy's will to resist is broken, and he is
compelled to act according to his adversary's will. Like water,
the will to resist finds a path that allows it to continue, and
wars fought primarily with precision firepower tend to leave paths
open after strikes cease.
The victor is the one who renders his enemy helpless to resist and
thereby compels him to do the victor's bidding. The presence of
ground forces is required to prevent the enemy from evading the
effects of firepower, from passively resisting, or from restoring
his willpower when the destruction from above stops. This requires
the artful combination of air and naval firepower with landpower.
Precision firepower is not a technological silver bullet for every
strategic objective. We should not confuse the means of war for
its end. Smart bombs and brilliant weapons alone do not make good
1. T.R. Fehrenbeck, This Kind
of War (New York: MacMillan, 1963), 427.
2. John Keegan, London Daily Telegraph, 6 June
3. Richard P. Hallion, Storm Over Iraq: Air Power
and the Gulf War (Washing-ton, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press,
4. USAF strategist Phillip S. Meilinger suggests
that Guilio Douhet's call for a single defense arm headed by an
air arm might have been proven correct after Operation Desert Storm.
See Meilinger, "Giulio Douhet and the Origins of Airpower Theory,"
in The Paths of Heaven: The Evolution of Airpower Theory (Montgomery,
AL: Air University Press, 1997). See also Air Force Doctrine Document
(AFDD) 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine (Washington, DC: U.S. Government
Printing Office [GPO], September 1997), 12-13, 51, 61.
5. John A. Warden, "The Enemy as a System,"
Airpower Journal 9 (Spring 1995): 41-55.
7. AFDD 1, 30. See also AFDD 2, Organization and
Employment of Aerospace Power (Washington, DC: GPO, 17 February
2000), chap. 1.
8. AFDD 1, 30.
9. Ibid., 51.
10. Price T. Bingham, "Transforming Warfare
with Effects-Based Joint Operations," Aerospace Power Journal
15 (Spring 2001): 59. The Air Force has also introduced EBO as a
way to measure the dollar-cost effectiveness of weapons systems
and platforms. See Frank Wolfe, "Air Force Officials to Emphasize
Effects-Based Operations in QDR," Defense Daily 209 (18 January
11. Jeffrey J. Becker, "Rapid Decisive Operations
as Joint Operational Concept," Army 2 (February 2002): 50.
For the base RDO document, see U.S. Joint Forces Command, A Concept
for Rapid Decisive Operations (Norfolk, VA: GPO, Final Draft, 25
12. B.H. Liddell-Hart, Strategy (New York: Doubleday,
1967), 335. This is to distinguish military strategy from grand
strategy, which can be defined as synchronizing the political, economic,
information, and military instruments of power to achieve the Nation's
13. Certainly not all precision-firepower advocates
will accept this definition. There are many terms in this debate:
"precision strike," "precision engagement,"
"global at-tack," "EBO operations," and "three-dimensional
war," to cite some. Each has its own set of principles and
definitions. "Precision firepower" seems to best capture
the issue's essence. For a discussion of the whole genre, see Daniel
Goure and Christopher M. Szara, eds., Air and Space Power in the
New Millennium (Washington, DC: Center for Strategical and International
Studies (CSIS), 1997). For strategists who are somewhat less certain
of precision firepower's ability to achieve strategic results, see
Benjamin S. Lambeth, The Transformation of American Air Power: A
Rand Research Study (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000);
Robert A. Pape, Bombing to Win: Airpower and Coercion in War (Ithaca,
NY: Cornell University Press, 1996); Jeffery A. Jackson, "Glo-bal
Attack and Precision Strike," in Air and Space Power in the
New Millennium (Washington, DC: CSIS, 1997).
14. For one example of these limitations, see Grant
T. Hammond, "Myths of the Air War over Serbia," Aerospace
Power Journal 14 (Winter 2000): 78-86. Studies of PGM effectiveneness
in Afghanistan are still underway. See Hunter Keeter, "Pentagon
Downplays Preliminary Look at Weapons Accuracy in Afghanistan,"
Defense Daily, 10 April 2002, 7.
15. The truck was damaged and some of the fighters
killed, including a woman with her child. See David Wood, "Fair
Targets," Army Times, 62, 25 March 2002, 17. 16. There are
a number of works on the overestimated effectiveness of strategic
bombing. See Conrad Crane, Bombs, Cities, and Civilians: American
Airpower Strategy in World War II (Lawrence: University Press of
Kansas, 1993); and Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950-53
(Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000); Gian Gentile, How
Effective is Strategic Bombing? Lessons Learned from World War II
to Kosovo (New York University Press, 2001); Mark Clodfelter, The
Limits of Airpower; The American Bombing of North Vietnam (New York:
The Free Press, 1989).
17. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. and eds.,
Michael Howard and Peter Paret (New Jersey: Princeton University
Press, 1976), 77.
18. Robert H. Scales, Jr., "America's Army
in Transition: Preparing for War in the Precision Age," Army
Issue Paper No. 3 (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College(AWC),
Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), December 1999), 13. See also
ed., Scales, "A Sword with Two Edges: Maneuver in 21st Century
Warfare," in Future Warfare: An Anthology (Carlisle Barracks,
PA: AWC, SSI), 2001.
19. Michael E. O'Hanlon, "A Flawed Masterpiece,"
Foreign Affairs 81 (May/June 2002): 49-54.
20. Stephen Biddle, Afghanistan and the Future
of Warfare: Implications for the Army and Defense Policy (Carlisle,
PA: AWC, SSI, 20 October 2002).
21. Antulio J. Echevarria II, Rapid Decisive Operations:
An Assumptions-Based Critique (Carlise, PA: AWC, SSI, November 2001).
22. See Benjamin S. Lambeth, NATO's Air War for
Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Assessment (Santa Monica, CA:
RAND, 2001), 102-16.
23. See Wesley K. Clark, Waging Modern War; Bosnia,
Kosovo, and the Future of Combat (New York: Public Affairs, 2001).
24. The case was never formally taken up, but the
threat looms large in the future. See Henry A. Kissinger, "The
Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction," Foreign Affairs 80 (July/Au-gust
25. Victor David Hanson argues persuasively that
technological superiority, although important, has not been the
principal reason for Western military dominance over time. Instead,
he proposes that an array of political, social, and cultural institutions
is responsible for Western military supremacy. Substituting technology
for a lack of will and in place of clear strategic thinking could
be the undoing of this historical trend. See Hanson, Culture and
Carnage: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power (New York:
26. Phillip K. Meilinger, "Precision Aerospace
Power, Discrimination, and the Future of War," Aerospace Power
Journal 15 (Fall 2001): 12. 27. Joint Publication (JP) 3-0, Doctrine
for Joint Operations (Washington, DC: GPO, 10 September 2001), III-24.
28. See Stephen Hosmer, Project Air Force. The
Conflict Over Kosovo: Why Milosevic Decided to Settle When He Did
(Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2001).
30. Clausewitz, 570. See also pages 86-87 for the
distinction between theoretical war and the actual conduct of war.
31. JP 3-0, III-25.
32. Clausewitz, 77.
33. Field Manual 3-0: Operations (Washington, DC:
GPO, 14 June 2001), 1-6.
34. The North Vietnamese suffered terribly from
U.S. bombing but still conquered Saigon on 30 April 1975. The U.S.
experience in Iraq and the Balkans shows that this lesson has been
learned well by our opponents.
35. James Dao, "Bush Sets Role for U.S. in
Afghan Rebuilding," New York Times, 18 April 2002, 1. See also
Michael Zielenger, "In Afghanistan, Senators Urge U.S. to Help
Rebuild Nation," Philadelphia Inquirer, 2 April 2002.
36. Biddle examines this issue in depth and neatly
demonstrates why the "Afghan model" is not an example
of firepower determining the outcome and the dangers for U.S. foreign
policy of applying this model to future conflicts.
37. U.S. Joint Forces Command, A Concept for Rapid
Decisive Operations (Wash-ington, DC: GPO, Final Draft, 25 October
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