Winning Before the Fight: An Armed Suasion Approach to Countering Near Peer Competition
Technical Report,05 Jul 2016,25 May 2017
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Near peer competitors possess both the will and capability to oppose US interests and constrict US military freedom of action. They also have strategic, often nuclear, capabilities that create options to escalate beyond conventional combat in the event of armed conflict. The risk of escalation during armed conflict reduces US options for action more options exist for countering near peer competition short of combat operations, using a coercive strategy. However, US joint doctrine currently provides little guidance on how to arrange military actions short of armed conflict in order to counter near peer competition. This monograph analyzes decades of coercive literature to identify the components and structures of coercive strategies, and several iterations of joint doctrine, in order to explore how the US Department of Defense approached this challenge in the past. This monograph hypothesizes that joint doctrine would benefit from the inclusion of a type of coercive strategy called armed suasion. This monograph proposes an armed suasion planning construct that provides military planners a way to arrange deterring, compelling, and inducing military actions short of conflict to build credibility, shape near peer competitor decision-making, and manage the risk of unintended escalation. To guide the planning construct, this monograph also proposes a tailored set of principles, separate from the principles of joint operations, which allow a planning staff to balance achieving success with managing tensions that could escalate to armed conflict. These proposals are tested against a contemporary case study on Chinese action in the South China Sea. The monograph concludes by noting that developing armed suasion planning constructs will address some of the challenges common to implementing coercive strategies, resulting in better communicated and coordinated plans for countering the aggressive actions of near peer competitors before armed conflict emerges.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics