Superterrorism and the Military Instrument of Power
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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This paper examines superterrorism as a fundamentally new threat to US national security that requires reexamination of US policy for using the Military Instrument of Power MIOP. The thesis is that examining superterrorism using contemporary war theory can provide guidance in developing a new national security strategy to counter the threat. Three assumptions are made to bound the problem set superterrorism presents a significant new threat to US national security, current US policy regarding superterrorism may not be sufficient, and MIOP application will be limited to international terrorism. After defining the nature and scope of the superterrorism problem, the focus shifts to analysis using three contemporary war theory constructs including interests and responses , enemy as a system , and Revolution in Military Affairs RMA. The war theory analysis draws three conclusions superterrorism represents a core national security interest and therefore warrants unilateral use of the MIOP, potentially using the full range of military resources superterrorism represents an RMA and must be countered with fundamental changes in doctrine and operational concept rather than just relying on technology improvements and a superterrorist can be attacked as a system provided appropriate MIOP tools are brought to the fight and there is sufficient intelligence to determine enemy centers of gravity. War theory analysis conclusions provide a framework for developing new strategy and policy for countering superterrorism. Any policy for employing the MIOP against superterrorism must start with establishing a threshold for what specific acts cross into the new paradigm. New policy must address past shortfalls in strategy, policy and procedure.
- Military Intelligence
- Unconventional Warfare