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An Outline for System Innovation and Technological Integration

Achieving Shock and Awe is central to Rapid Dominance, and therefore must serve as the key organizing principle for any rigorous examination and exploitation of system concepts and technologies for Rapid Dominance. Understanding the interplay between technology and doctrine is not only or simply a straightforward matter of establishing operational requirements and then seeking to attain them through invention and design. It is a complex and interactive process of experimentation and discovery wherein intellect, hard work, endurance, and innovation must drive the use of technology. Rather than make changes, however significant, to modifying current capabilities or building newer, similar ones, Rapid Dominance seeks to identify and field systems specifically designed to achieve Shock and Awe—systems that may break the mold much as the Model T Ford once did years ago.

The genetic decoders in bioengineering laboratories, computer-aided design tools used by engineers, vast database management systems in place in corporate offices, computer-controlled machines enabling composite materials, and the countless academic, business, and personal computers are all evidence of the prominent and ever increasing role information technologies have assumed in modern economies. Many of the technologies underlying the Information Age are being spearheaded by U.S. small business and its entrepreneurial culture. Certainly, from the huge consumer electronics firms in Japan to software development businesses in India, the rest of the world participates and competes. But few can deny that U.S. industry provides the leadership in and is the preeminent developer of information technologies as they are most broadly defined. This leadership position, properly leveraged, provides the United States with an ever increasing military advantage over competing nations.

Leveraging technology requires more than merely incorporating it into U.S. forces; it is likely to include a significant redesign of both forces and leadership to embrace these rapidly evolving technologies. Many of the technologies that will support Rapid Dominance are already discernible. Unlike the impact of nuclear weapons, it is unlikely that a single technology or system will emerge to produce Rapid Dominance. It will only be attainable through the broadest integration of strategic concepts, doctrine, operational needs, technological advances, system design, and appropriate organization of command, control, training and education. And only a large, immensely capable country such as the U.S. may be able to achieve this.

Rapid Dominance seeks to integrate this confluence of strategy, technology, and innovation. Four core characteristics were defined earlier as crucial:

  • Complete knowledge of self, adversary, and the environment;
  • Rapidity;
  • Brilliance of execution; and
  • Control of the environment.

What follows is illustrative rather than exhaustive of how technology can be used in a broad system approach. Many of these technologies currently are being addressed within the defense community. Analysts, military strategists, acquisition planners, and even "futurists" are wrestling with the meaning and consequences of the Information Age. Our focus on systems and technologies begins with these four characteristics.

Knowledge of Self, Adversary, and Environment

In the modern threat environment, it is difficult to estimate where the next crisis may occur, let alone the next war. Even 5 years ago, who would have foreseen the significant involvement of the U.S. military in places like Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia, and the South China Sea? To which hot spots can we expect to see U.S. troops deployed over the next 5 years? Over the next 20? In this section we argue that, in addition to improving our force capabilities, the U.S. must develop an intelligence repository far more extensive than during the Cold War, covering virtually all the important regions and organizational structures throughout the world.

During the Cold War, intelligence agencies focused more on a bipolar world and built sizable organizations to collect information on "the other side." This same intelligence structure, in the main, is in place today facing a multipolar world, where any number of power structures—whether they be states, international organizations, or even small groups of individuals—must be monitored with an understanding that extends to their leadership, culture, economic direction, and military capability.

As the technologies relevant to knowing the adversary and his environment are examined, an emerging theme is the clear shift from technology developments that once resided within our government to those driven by commercial demands. For example, the information technologies used by U.S. intelligence agencies are of such complexity, importance, and expense that they are referred to as "national assets" and are developed and managed by large, dedicated organizations. Even here, commercial companies are rapidly encroaching on what once seemed to be an unassailable market position in Earth observation systems. One may already purchase synthetic aperture radar interferometry images from any number of sources, and panchromatic visual images with one meter resolution will soon be available over the counter for remarkably little cost. Indeed, the only real barrier to this burgeoning market is the understandable concerns that governments have with allowing such technology to be widely available. In areas such as encryption and data security, commercial developers are more likely to reach limits of government acceptance before those of technological capability.

With untold billions invested in communications systems, even the most modern U.S. military communication systems often compare poorly with commercial systems. While this has long been the case for fielded systems, it is becoming true for even the most sophisticated research and development programs being undertaken by defense organizations.

As a case in point, one may consider a program recently initiated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called Battlefield Awareness and Data Dissemination (BADD). At the heart of this program, large amounts of data are collected within a vast database residing on commercial computers and enterprise management systems. This information is then disseminated to the troops through the commercial Global Broadcast System (GBS) onto "set-top" boxes, an enabling technology that was developed commercially. Even with this leveraging of private industry, there is a real question as to whether DARPA will be able to field a system that would compete well with surprisingly similar commercial systems. Internet channels planned by media industry giants such as BSkyB will offer multi-megabit, interactive, digital data connections to the Net merely as an enticement for subscribers to enroll for their full digital broadcasting service (200 to 300 channels of digital video and sound). Understanding that there is much more to BADD than the little discussed here, one still almost wonders whether DARPA could simply buy a subscription and connect it to an appropriate, commercial, network management system. More to the point, if even well funded and aggressive technology development organizations such as DARPA find it difficult to remain ahead of commercial advancements, there may be a fundamental lesson to be learned regarding the management of defense-related technologies.

Knowledge and Intelligence

"Intelligence" is comprised of five categories of knowledge and understanding: a society's leadership; culture and values; the strategic, political, economic, and physical environment; military capabilities and orders of battle; and comprehensive battlefield information. Examples of technologies and system approaches of potential relevance in these areas are discussed below.

Understanding potential adversaries, coalition partners, and involved neutral countries implies an infrastructure for acquiring an in-depth knowledge about cultures, leadership values, and other driving factors that allow us, when needed and on a timely basis, to get "into their minds." Applicable technologies include automated language translators, interactive and autonomous computer simulations, advanced database systems for organizing and understanding data and transactions of individuals and institutions, and computerized educational systems for training and learning these skills.

Collecting sufficient and timely environmental information is crucial to Rapid Dominance. Logistics, demographics, and infrastructure are broad areas of collection along with geography, road/rail/ship lanes, utility sites and corridors, manufacturing, government sites, military and paramilitary facilities, population demographics, economic and financial pressure points (such as oil wells or gold mines), and major dams and bridges. Technologies used to provide environmental awareness include traditional means such as satellites that can be augmented with dynamic sensor management tools for optimizing observation routines. The vast quantities of data that reside on the world's computer networks, if properly exploited, provide another rich source of information. Data mining tools, such as Web crawlers, gatherers, brokers, and repositories that pull and organize data from public networks, will be essential to building a more complete picture of potential adversaries. Since not all databases and host computers are cooperative with these methods, offensive information warfare tools will be required to obtain specific pieces of information that are vital for national security purposes.

Once data are collected, they must be processed and disseminated and then stored for future access. Enterprise data storage and retrieval systems that are capable of working with many terrabytes (1,000 gigabytes) of information are already commonplace. Since it is impossible for humans to comprehend such vast quantities of information without some assistance, data exploitation tools (filters, fusion, automatic target recognition, image understanding, etc.) will be crucial technologies. Finally, the information, once processed, will be of little use if not disseminated to the right people in a timely fashion. "Intelligent data" dissemination and wide bandwidth communications are examples of essential technologies emerging in this area.

In addition to knowledge about regions and locations where U.S. force may be applied, it is important to maintain vigilance and up-to-date knowledge on specific "hot spots" and to have sufficient flexibility within the system to shift attention rapidly to new areas. Systems addressing this more time-sensitive set of tasks would include light, quickly deployable satellites, high altitude and endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, manned platforms, and unattended ground sensors.

As a crisis unfolds and the insertion of U.S. troops or other military action becomes more probable, information needs and the number of information consumers both increase dramatically. Information that must be collected and correlated include targeting, battle damage assessment (BDA), weather, terrain, infrastructure, tracking of special targets, logistics, position and status of our own troops, identification friend or foe (IFF), and status of material. It is vitally important that sufficient sensor systems work in all weather conditions and at night to maintain the "operations tempo" required by Rapid Dominance.

Battlefield awareness requires three information technologies: collection, fusion, and dissemination of real-time actionable information to a shooter. Rapid Dominance requires an unprecedented level of real-time information collection that will be provided by sensor systems such as space platforms, UAVs, unattended ground sensors, and advanced manned reconnaissance platforms. In addition, the entire infosphere of the adversary will be monitored not only for classic information such as operational commands but also to determine the shock effect being created by Rapid Dominance operations. Collecting data from cooperative sources such as one's own troops, allies, and friendly non-combatants is also critical. While Operation Desert Storm showed the value of self-location sensors such as GPS, the friendly fire casualties demonstrated that there is still work to be done in terms of giving each commander and soldier sufficient information to operate effectively. Much of this information, such as the physiological status of individual combatants, is not currently collected, and much of what is sensed is not properly disseminated.

It would be hard to overstate the importance of information dissemination within Rapid Dominance. Administering Shock and Awe requires a spectrum of attacks that the adversary is unable to fathom, but our own forces must operate effectively, even aggressively, within an environment that could easily lead to serious information bottlenecks and overload. Commercial technologies will be key to the U.S. developing a structure to effectively disseminate information. Already, commercial communications technologies such as global broadcast satellites and protocols like those underlying the Internet have been used as stop gaps by the U.S. military in major deployments.

Merely transmitting the right information at the right time will not be sufficient for operations enabling Rapid Dominance. Information will need to be fused to create knowledge-based displays. The technologies that will be important in this area go beyond the data fusion algorithms currently in place and should leverage heavily off of technologies in fields such as computer image generation, virtual reality, and advanced simulation.


In a technology sense, rapidity includes the speed of operational planning, determining appropriate action, deployment, and employment all focused toward minimizing response time. Three factors combine to make military planning far more difficult today than in the Cold War era. First, there is great uncertainty early on in the location of a conflict, who the adversary may be, and with whom one may be allied. Second, there is normally very little time available for planning, with the military sometimes having only weeks or days before committing troops to an unanticipated mission. Third, vastly more information is available to the planner, which is both a blessing and a curse. Several technologies that partially define Intelligent Dynamic Planning will make it easier for the commander to plan Rapid Dominance:

  • Model based planning
  • Machine intelligence
  • Dynamic planning based upon feedback and new information
  • Selectively automated decision aides (commanders associate)
  • Imbedded rehearsal and training
  • Brilliance in Execution

It is impossible to institutionalize brilliance. However, the standard can be set. The Dynamic Planning noted above is part of the capability for this characteristic as are the systems and technologies discussed below.

Technologies Critical to Achieving Brilliance in Rapid Dominance

For shock to be administered with minimum collateral damage, key targets of value must be neutralized or destroyed, and the enemy must be made to feel completely helpless and unable to consider a meaningful response. Furthermore, the enemy's confusion must be complete, adding to a general impression of impotence. Most importantly, strategic targets, military forces, leadership and key societal resources must be located, tracked, and targeted. This will require substantial sensor, computational, and communication technologies. Designated targets must be destroyed rapidly and with assurance. Finally, the status and position of friendly forces must be known at all times, and the logistics supporting them must be sufficiently flexible to allow for rapid movement, reconfiguration, and decentralization of location.

Several technologies that can help in this are discussed below, as divided into the following subsections: sensors, computational systems, communications and system integration.

Sensor Technologies

Sensor technologies are grouped into four areas: active, passive, imbedded, and processing.

Active sensors: By far, the most important of the energy-emitting sensors is radar. Among the best all-weather capabilities of any type of sensor, the role for and capabilities of radar have steadily increased since the Second World War. Radar systems are used for early warning, air defense, air asset management, air traffic control, naval fleet defense, detection and tracking of moving ground targets, missile targeting, missile terminal guidance, terrain data development, and weather prediction. For Rapid Dominance, radars and other active sensors must operate with low probability of intercept. Particularly with stealthy systems, this will present a unique challenge to military systems where one may not expect a great amount of "spin-on" from the commercial sector. It is vitally important to be able to sense the enemy under all conditions and environments. Sensors must penetrate foliage and walls and detect threats such as underground and underwater mines.

There are many other important active sensor classes, three of which are active acoustics, lidar and magnetic anomaly detectors. Broadband underwater active acoustics could address pressing needs such as shallow-water anti-submarine warfare and mine detection (both buried and silt covered). The practical application of lidar is a relatively recent development enabled by advances in laser, power management, and data processing technologies. Lidar can be used for fire control, weapon guidance, foliage penetration (vegetation is translucent in the near infrared (NIR) regime), and target imaging/recognition. Lidar detects shape directly and shape fluctuations such as vibration and motion and has proven very hard to spoof. Magnetic anomaly detectors will continue to find application in areas of anti-mine and anti-submarine warfare and in screening for weapons at security checkpoints and elsewhere.

Electronic emissions are of themselves a liability only where they create a signature of use to an enemy. The ability to emit energy, yet in ways that are less discernible, should be an attractive avenue to explore for the future. The coordinated application of many sensor platforms, some of which may be completely passive, in conjunction with emitting sensors is a potentially major area of exploration.

Passive sensors: Among the passive sensor types, the most important for U.S. forces is forward-looking infrared (FLIR). FLIR technology has allowed the U.S. to "own the night," as was handily displayed in Operation Desert Storm. Some of the significant technology advancements underway in this area include multiple wavelength sensors, very large focal planes, and the increasing performance of uncooled sensors. Particularly in the area of uncooled sensors, commercial developments are underway that promise to drastically reduce the cost of competent IR sensors.

Other passive sensor technologies of note include hyperspectral visible/NIR collection and processing and inexpensive, scatterable, unattended ground sensors (acoustic, seismic, "hot spot," etc.). Hyperspectral imaging allows target searches to be conducted in the frequency domain, as opposed to the spatial domain as is the norm today. This provides a powerful new input for automatic target recognition (ATR) systems, is useful for addressing low observables (LO), and is especially important for remote imaging assets.

Unattended ground sensors allow critical areas to be monitored continually. For example, the actual area of operations for Scuds in ODS was relatively small, but it was very difficult for then-current sensing systems to oversee. Technologies being developed in the area of microelectromechanical systems, in particular, hold promise for enabling capable and inexpensive sensor fields.

Imbedded sensors: Monitoring the position and status of Blue and friendly forces and assets is of equal importance in tracking the enemy. GPS presented a tremendous advantage to troops in ODS. This capability needs to be extended down to the individual soldier, and the status of all critical material and personnel needs to be tracked.

Sensor signal processing: Finally, the signals from modern sensors are of limited use without proper processing and presentation to the user. This area will be developed further in the computational technologies section. Technologies that are historically grouped with sensor systems include automatic target recognition, imbedded multisensor fusion and correlation, and displays.

Computational Technologies

The capabilities of the integrated circuit (IC), and in particular the microprocessor, continue to increase unabated. Certainly, physical limits must be approached at some point, but each looming barrier has so far been met by technological innovation. Nevertheless, should the march of IC improvements slow somewhat, the software and networking technologies that are being developed at an accelerating pace will permit the vision of Rapid Dominance to become of ever increasing utility.

Rapid Dominance requires the collection, management, and fast access of enormous quantities of information. Technologies that will enable this include computational hardware advances such as increasingly powerful workstations, reduced-cost image generators, massively parallel machines, compact displays, reduced-cost memory devices (i.e., DRAM, RAID, and optical jukeboxes) client/server-specific database engines, reconfigurable simulation cells, "wearable" PCs, advanced human-computer interface (HCI) techniques (i.e., voice interfaces and those coming to define "virtual reality"), and PCMCIA technology for peripherals (i.e., digital comms boards, miniaturized hard drives, and modems).

Software advances will be even more critical for Rapid Dominance. Areas of importance include:

  • Network data engines
  • Object-oriented architectures
  • Advanced modeling and simulation
  • Machine intelligence
  • Automatic target recognition
  • Computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools

Network technologies are just now emerging but are being driven at a frenzied pace in the commercial marketplace. A variety of advanced tools beyond "hot link" browsing are being introduced daily. Data browsers, brokers, gatherers, and network repositories are being released, as demonstrated by products like Harvester and Netscape's Catalog Server. Platform independent languages such as JAVA and their associated virtual computational engines promise the same network flexibility for programs that is now enjoyed by data.

Perhaps the most important area of technology development for Rapid Dominance is the development of practical object-oriented architectures and protocols. Protocols such as CORBA, OLE, ALSP, HLA and DIS1 are changing the face of computing, making it much easier to link programs and databases, and access and correlate information that was previously "entombed" within its legacy application.

One interesting application area migrating toward an object-oriented approach is geospatial databases. In the past, geospatial data were stored as either raster-based or vector information, and significant processing was required for users to make queries regarding roads, areas, or objects such as building sites. A new approach, called a spatial database engine, creates intuitive objects from standard geospatial databases and uses commercial databases to add attributes to the objects. This is a very powerful technique that allows geospatial data, a key element of warfighting, to be managed quickly and efficiently using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software. It is particularly useful for distributed databases such as one would find on a network.

Modeling and simulation is also benefiting from object-oriented technologies. Simulations were once stand-alone codes. If one wanted to simulate a joint battle, one began with an existing model (i.e., land combat) and then modified it to include other components (i.e., aircraft and ships). Similarly, if a new technology were to be modeled, new code normally had to be written, even in cases where good, validated, stand-alone technology models existed. The obvious drawbacks to this approach are that it is costly, often produces inferior simulations for the new additions, and quickly results in extremely large codes with commensurate large code management problems. Object-oriented approaches allow models and simulations to be linked to form a richer environment for examining new technologies and joint force structures.

Linking force-on-force simulations with design tools such as computer-aided design (CAD) programs and physics-based simulations presents a new type of tool referred to as simulation-based design. Once fully realized, this capability will allow new technologies to be much more easily evaluated, introducing a source for greater efficiency into today's somewhat haphazard acquisition system.

Simulations based on object-oriented architectures also promise more flexibility that will enable scenarios and unexpected situations to be made as inputs and simulated rapidly, forming the core for a battlefield visualization system capable of modeling "what if" situations. Outputs from these simulations could be used for mission rehearsal. Even today, pilots and special operations forces often "fly through" crude, three-dimensional renderings of a mission area to familiarize themselves with information such as surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites and landmarks.

The promise of computational technologies brings with it potential vulnerabilities that must be protected against threats. In a world where information plays a vital role in warfare, information collection and processing tools will become targets. Defenses against information warfare must be developed. The threat is real and is growing especially in the commercial and private sectors. Even today, malicious hackers devise data-destroying viruses and distribute them through a plethora of electronic media; numerous sites on the Net are dedicated to the discussion and development of offensive computer viruses, with ample tools for even the novice to download and employ. Moreover, computer crimes cost the world economy billions of dollars annually. Although information warfare poses serious threats, the realm of information is where operations underlying Rapid Dominance most reside, and the enemy will find himself fully engaged should he choose to fight on our terms. Rapid Dominance is essentially information warfare on a grand scale in all dimensions of offensive, defensive and leveraging effective use of available information.

Communication Technologies

One of the modern communication devices being fielded within U.S. forces today is the SINGCARS radio. With a data rate of somewhat less than 10 kbps, SINGCARS is woefully inadequate for supporting Rapid Dominance. However, more appropriate technologies are emerging:

  • GBS and other satellite broadcast services
  • Wider bandwidth, digital communication protocols
  • Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switches
  • Advanced comm relay platforms (UAV, Lightsat, Iridium, etc.)

GBS, for example, figures prominently in the BADD (battlefield awareness and data dissemination) program that aims at providing close to 30 Mbps of data broadcast bandwidth. This will be supported by multi-terrabyte databases, advanced data browsers, and query managers, and will be linked to the Joint Tactical Internet.

Networking must also be supported by communications technologies. The basic problem of a battlefield network is that while some nodes may support very large data pipes, a number of nodes will be operating at SINGCARS data rates. This led to the BADD notion of one-way data broadcasting via GBS of large data files (such as UAV video and overhead imagery) and very low bandwidth data querying back to the data sources.

Modern communications will tend to be more multimedia-based, which is particularly important for Rapid Dominance, where decisions must be made quickly based upon very large quantities of data, some of which will be collected and transmitted in real time. Technologies such as digital video teleconferencing, virtual whiteboards, and even 3D virtual environments where commanders may participate in collaborative planning sessions will become important.

Finally, battlefield communications must be secure and, where feasible, non-observable to the enemy.

Control of the Environment

The actual attack of targets in order to induce Shock and Awe may, in some sense, be considered a subset of controlling the enemy's perception. It will not always be necessary to destroy numerous targets in order to induce shock. However, it would be vitally important to give the appearance that there are no safe havens from attack, and that any target may be attacked at any time with impunity and force. Furthermore, as discussed earlier, confusion must be imposed on the adversary by supplying only information which will shape the adversary's perceptions and help break his will. Finally, the enemy must be displaced from selected key positions, for if he is allowed to occupy those areas that he considers strategically important, it is difficult to imagine how his shock could be complete.

Controlling an enemy's perception of the battlespace includes manipulating his view of the threat, his own troops and status, and the environment in which he operates. This will be accomplished by selectively denying knowledge to the enemy while presenting him with information that is either misleading or serves our purposes. Sensing and feedback of an enemy leadership's perception of the situation will be critical.

Technologies of interest here include those that allow systems and entire force units to modify their signature from being very stealthy to being completely obvious. An ability to attack enemy information systems will also be critical, encompassing system technologies from laser-based counter sensor weapons to embedded computer viruses, commonly referred to as Trojan Horses. In all cases, the goal will be to deny the enemy any information that would be useful to him and to impose a construct of deception and misinformation at all levels of operations.

Clearly, technologies necessary to achieve battlefield awareness already mentioned will be crucial in allowing a "perception attack" (a form of information warfare) to be successfully carried out. The need and requirements for Battlefield Damage Assessment (BDA) will increase dramatically. It will be necessary to understand not only whether a target was killed but also how enemy leadership, troops, and society viewed this destruction.

So far, primarily information technologies have been discussed. Obviously, there will continue to be requirements for numerous other types of systems. Among the more important system technologies critical to achieving control of the environment include:

  • Weapons platforms with stealth technology
  • Weapons systems
  • Robotic systems

Weapons platforms

One of the fundamental rationales for weapons platforms is to move people and ordinance to within an effective range of the target. Centuries before smart weapons and robotic systems, this reasoning was understood intuitively. Since ordinance must still be placed on the target, weapons platforms such as described below still demand consideration.

  • Stealthy bombers and strike aircraft either land or sea platform based
  • Arsenal ships
  • Submarines with conventional cruise missiles
  • Stealthy land vehicles
  • Stealthy observation/attack helicopters

Stealth, combined with stand off, will contribute strongly to the protection of manned systems on the modern battlefield and will also be used extensively for other, high-value unmanned systems. However, protection of the force is inherent within the concept of Rapid Dominance, and it will rely upon the control of information and the enemy's perception of events, stealth being one of the elements enabling this control.

Weapons systems

Smart munitions will be required on the future battlefield. Linked with information technologies, the combination will allow killing any target that can be identified. The main element Rapid Dominance requires of weapons systems is the ability to be rapidly focused on objectives as identified and targeted by commanders using the information management systems already discussed. Commanders will require the flexibility to call massive, precision strikes or to attack individual, high-priority targets with near zero CEP. This implies a mixture of weapons comprised of systems such as those mentioned below.

  • Cruise missiles
  • Zero CEP, long-range cruise missile ("President's weapon")
  • Stand-off submunition platforms
  • Smart submunitions
  • Brilliant submunitions
  • Wide area smart mines
  • Long-range and short-range surface attack missiles

Robotic systems

Robotic systems are an important area of consideration within Rapid Dominance. First, selected robotic systems will enable the force by making it more responsive in concentrating sensors and weapons. Second, they will make fighting a 24-hour battle feasible even with reduced manpower within the force structure. Third, robotic systems can provide force presence even in areas considered too dangerous for a large manned element. Finally, since the ultimate operational goal of Rapid Dominance is to create shock, one may consider the effect that fighting robotic systems may have on the enemy.

In examining the utility of robotic systems within Rapid Dominance, one must first consider that, by any measure, robotic systems have not lived up to the optimistic expectations placed on them in the past. From the overburdening of the Aquilla UAV to the massive and poorly planned investment in robotics made by General Motors in the early 1980s, robotics has been an area of unfulfilled promises. However, the reasons for a string of spectacular failures lie more with planners' faulty attempts to understand and incorporate the technology than by egregious shortcomings of the technology itself. Robots have been seen as replacements for manned systems rather than extremely complicated and capable machines suitable for a set of tightly defined tasks. Robotic systems, or taskable machines as some are beginning to refer to them, hold promise for the future simply because they represent the intersection of a myriad of fast-moving technology areas such as information technologies, communications, microelectronics, micro-electromechanical systems, simulation, and computer-aided design and manufacturing. In some sense, taskable machines are the physical embodiment of information technologies. It may well be that in the future the joke will be, "Never send a robot to do a man's job." But even so, there will be ample jobs for taskable machines and the society that learns to properly design, build, control, and integrate these systems into their force structure will gain significant advantage over any potential opponent.


The technologies and systems presented in this section are not extraordinary nor do they comprise a complete list. Indeed, entire fields such as materials, bioengineering, and microelectronics are left for future consideration, although they are of obvious and vital importance. Also not addressed here are the training, education, and organizational implications required under a regime of Rapid Dominance. Given the overriding importance of information collection and management, these will need to be addressed across the defense community as it is most broadly defined.

Rapid Dominance combines a doctrine and operational concept that challenges the current process of how new technologies invented in the commercial sector are incorporated into defense, and provides an affirmative methodology for research, development, and system integration. We must learn to exploit the potential of these technologies even though, in many cases, this development process in the private sector is profoundly independent from how we conduct the business of defense. It is this environment of innovative upheaval that any useful foundation for strategic and operational thought must address. Rapid Dominance capitalizes on, and may even require, this rapid and chaotic development of technology.

We believe that what will distinguish Rapid Dominance from other doctrines is first that it uses an intellectual construct to drive innovation and innovation to drive exploiting and integrating technology into new and perhaps somewhat differently constructed systems. Second, it is the comprehensive quality of Rapid Dominance in which strategies, doctrine, technology, systems, operations, training, organization, and education are dealt with together that may make the most significant difference. But, as the reader will discern, specific identification and design of Rapid Dominance systems is part of the next step.

1 CORBA (common object request broker architecture), OLE (object linking and embedding), ALSP (aggregate level simulation protocol), HLA (high-level architecture), DIS (Distributed Interactive Simulation). These are all protocols or the architectures defining protocols that, in part, enable disparate software and/or hardware components to be linked or otherwise share information and logical elements.

Chapter 5. Future Directions

Table of Contents


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