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Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Discriminate Use of Force
OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR ACQUISITION TECHNOLOGY AND LOGISTICS WASHINGTON DC
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In the terms of reference, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics directed the task force to conduct a comprehensive study of the ends and means of precision compellence, or the nuanced use of force, in concert with coalition partners, to achieve political, economic and moral change in countries affecting US interests. Real-world events have since underscored the need for such a study indeed, the U.S. military applied key elements of a measured, nuanced approach in both the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. We are pleased to note this evolution in operations and a parallel evolution in the thinking of the combatant commands and Services. Because of this evolution, it is no longer as necessary as it once was to sell the fundamental objectives of what we term here the discriminate use of force DUF. The notion of using military force in discriminate fashion goes back at least to the teachings of Sun Tzu. In the past, however, the military tools available to political and military leaders rarely supported such an approach. As recent events have shown, this situation is changing. New precision and non-lethal weapons and emerging capabilities such as information dominance now enable the discriminate use of force. These emerging capabilities exist within a political context that requires the use of discriminate force. Moreover, destructive power alone is not sufficient to reach many U.S. goals, and it must be properly applied. Efficiency is one motivation. More significant is the need for discriminate use, particularly when multiple strategic and operational objectives are in tension.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE