Rapid Decisive Operations: A Flawed Concept
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI
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This paper examines serious weaknesses with U.S. Joint Forces Commands Rapid Decisive Operations RDO concept that, unless modified, will adversely affect its chances for successful application. Overall, RDO provides a deceptively simple, single correct answer to the complex issue of responding to small-scale contingencies. That single correct answer is the employment of physical coercion, through integrated joint tactical actions, by a standing joint headquarters to rapidly achieve decisive outcomes. In addition to a flawed overall notion, the basic elements of RDO are faulty. This paper focuses on the mismatch between the key elements of RDO coercion, rapidity, and decisiveness. It will show that military outcomes are unlikely to be rapid or decisive, even when coerced. The characteristics of military operations, combined with the complexities of social and human behavior, make the nature of war too complicated to support achieving rapid results. In addition, military success on the battlefield is not sufficient for ultimate victory. Military operations can only bring the nation to a point short of victory. At that point, the military must have created the conditions that allow the other elements of power to finish the job.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics