Accession Number : ADA486310


Title :   Dangerous Thresholds. Managing Escalation in the 21st Century


Corporate Author : RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA


Personal Author(s) : Morgan, Forrest E ; Mueller, Karl P ; Medeiros, Evan S ; Pollpeter, Kevin L ; Cliff, Roger


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a486310.pdf


Report Date : Jan 2008


Pagination or Media Count : 276


Abstract : The subject of escalation has received little attention in U.S. strategic thought since the end of the Cold War. With prospects of conflict between nuclear-armed superpowers receding in memory, few policymakers, security analysts, or military leaders have worried about the danger of wars spinning out of control or considered how to manage these risks. Yet there are important reasons to examine the dynamics of escalation in the current security environment. Although the United States retains its nuclear superiority and has demonstrated the ability to pro- project overwhelming force in most conventional conflicts, strategic conditions have changed considerably in the past 15 years, and new adversaries have emerged. These developments could find the United States in escalatory situations that its leaders, schooled in ideas developed during the Cold War, are ill equipped to anticipate or manage. Understanding escalation is particularly important to the U.S. Air Force because of its unique ability to strike deep within enemy territory and the emphasis in Air Force doctrine on rapid strategic attack to achieve shock, paralysis, and escalation dominance. The Air Force recognizes the importance of understanding and managing the risks of escalation. In 2004, Director of Air Force Strategic Planning Major General Ronald J. Bath sponsored a war game in which uncontrolled escalation occurred, surprising players and controllers alike. Because this experience was just one in a series of escalatory events occurring in major war games over the past several years, General Bath recommended to Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper that the RAND Corporation be tasked to examine the risks of escalation in the current security environment and offer recommendations on how the Air Force can best anticipate and manage those risks.


Descriptors :   *STRATEGIC ANALYSIS , *UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE , *COMBAT AREAS , SECURITY , ATTACK , ENEMY , STRATEGIC WARFARE , MILITARY COMMANDERS , MILITARY PLANNING , TERRORISM , MILITARY DOCTRINE , UNITED STATES , NUCLEAR WARFARE , COLD WAR


Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE