Precision Targeting: Filling the Gap
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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The U.S. Army is transitioning from a force that was sized to conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations to an agile and versatile organization prepared to operate in a wide spectrum of complex environments against a regular, irregular, or hybrid adversary. How the force chooses to employ violence in future operations will be crucial to achieving its operational and strategic goals. By examining the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, it becomes clear that the precise application of violence provides space and opportunity for the nonlethal aspects of a balanced irregular warfare campaign to take hold. Well-managed violence and balanced strategies often meant progress, while mismanagement and imbalance often resulted in lost ground. Because of political sensitivities, many conventional units abstained from operations like raids and kinetic strikes and instead relied on special operations forces to conduct targeted operations While the force has made tremendous strides in the last decade, a capability gap has developed between special operations and conventional force targeting that needs to be filled. Through education, training, and minimal organizational changes, conventional forces can better fuse intelligence and operations, manage ISR, and have a clearer understanding of the environment for all operations against an irregular or hybrid threat.
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- Unconventional Warfare