Role of Terrorism in Modern War Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2985 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military

¶ … Role of Terrorism in Modern War

DECISION MAKING PROCESS in the MILITARY

Introduction & Topic Overview

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In the five years that have passed since the deadly terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the role of terrorism in modern war as emerged as a discomforting topic of concern for citizens, government officials and the military branches alike. As a result, modern warfare has been transformed from what was previously defined as "low intensity conflicts typically in the form of proxy wars fought within local regional confines (Wikipedia, 2006)," to an existential threat from terrorism and the possible use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists. Terrorism has created a clear and present danger that terrorists will gain the capability to carry out catastrophic attacks on Europe and the United States using nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. The attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 have served as a catalyst for the future of war; after these events many nations called for justice and the eradication of terrorists. September 11th destroyed the ideology that the West was no longer threatened by war after the collapse of communism and the United State's victory in the Cold War. In the words of Senator Richard Lugar, "the sober reality is that the danger of Americans and Europeans being killed today at work or at home is perhaps greater than at any time in recent history (the Avalon Project, 2002). This paper will discuss how the role of terrorism has changed the direction and the future of modern war.

Term Paper on Role of Terrorism in Modern War Assignment

Wars have traditionally held various forms, from the use of muskets all the way to the current use of highly advanced technology allowing for full-scale war carrying the prospect of global annihilation. Aerial warfare is one of the most efficient ways to destroy enemy combatants with minimal risk. Modern combat aircraft are very advanced technology, usually making the use of onboard computers, including electrical targeting devices. Asymmetrical warfare describes a military situation where two opponents of unequal strength interact and take advantage of their respective strengths and weaknesses. Asymmetrical warfare describes acts of terrorism and the applied use of intelligence. Chemical warfare is also now seen by acts of terrorism, and consists of the use of the toxic properties of chemical substances to kill, injure, or incapacitate an enemy. Although there are many other forms of warfare, including electronic warfare and biological warfare, psychological warfare is perhaps the most disturbing and has been successfully implemented over and over again by terrorists. Psychological warfare is the planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives (Wikipedia, 2006). The following sections will discuss the applicability of each of these types of warfare as utilized by terrorists in current events.

Researched Materials: Three Generations of Warfare review of the available research as it relates to modern war indicates that there have been three generations of warfare, the present generation being the fourth generation and the deadliest and most feared as well. The first generation of warfare reflected the tactics of the era of the smoothbore musket, the tactics of line and column, where the line maximized firepower and rigid drill was necessary to generate a high rate of fire (Lind et.al., 1989). Second generation warfare was a response to the rifled musket, the machine gun and indirect fire. Tactics were based on fire and movement, and the defense still attempted to prevent all penetrations, and in the attack a laterally dispersed line advanced by rushes in small groups (Lind et.al., 1989). Second generation tactics remained the basis of United States doctrine until the 1980's and are still practiced by most American military units in the field. The attacks of the third generation warfare involved infiltration to bypass and collapse the enemy's combat forces rather than seeking to close with and destroy them. The defense was in-depth and often invited penetration, which set the enemy up for a counterattack (Lind et.al., 1989). Many of these previously used elements have transferred over into the fourth generation of warfare. For example, in both recent decades and ancient history, the elements of "deception planning" and "deception execution" have been noted as two of the most important factors for the enemy force, and may even constitute to the enemy an achievement of success.

The Fourth Generation of Warfare & Deception Tactics

The fourth generation of warfare, or the present generation appears to be the deadliest and is the only generation where technology will be the difference between success and failure, or life and death of a nation. Modern war can be described as the use of technological weapons of mass destruction and terrorist attacks, both of which have led to a deviation from the traditional "linear" battlefield. Any prior distinctions between civilians and soldiers have disappeared, and success will depend heavily on effectiveness in joint operations as lines between responsibility and mission become blurred. The research materials indicate that the concept of "enemy deception" was used by the terrorists in the September 11th attacks, as the terrorists trained in the United States, and entered the country with their plans largely undetected. Thus, enemy diction will play a significant role in the manner in which terrorism affects modern war. In President Bush's "War on Terror," U.S. armed forces have used deception to outwit opponents, win battles and triumph (Smith, 2002). Such "deception," if accurately predicted and planned for by the enemy force, can result in the enemy overcoming their opponent. Deception tactics are mainly used by the military for the following two reasons: 1) deception is used to protect the security of the people and country that the military branch is responsible for protecting, and 2) deception is used to decisively shift the balance of combat power in one's favor (Smith, 2002)..

Deception is used to protect the security of the people and country that the military branch is responsible for protecting. In this case, deception planning and deception execution are used so that the enemy does not acquire an unexpected advantage. If an enemy acquires an unexpected advantage, then the security of the people and country becomes breached. According to military science, security enhances freedom of action by reducing vulnerability to hostile acts, influence or surprise. This is important to the military force and the enemy because security results from the measures taken by a commander to protect his forces. Knowledge and understanding of enemy strategy, tactics, doctrine, and staff planning improve the detailed planning of adequate security measures (Wikipedia, 2006). The U.S. military has prepared for this by studying the tactics used at different points in history and by foreign opponents.

Deception planning and deception execution tactics are also used to decisively shift the balance of combat power. This is a skill which is especially important for an enemy force to be capable of. The enemy must be prepared for the possibility that they will be attacked at a time, place or manner for which they both do not expect and are unprepared for. This type of unexpected attack can result in the achievement of success well out of proportion to the effort expended, and can come in the form of surprise (Wikipedia, 2006). Deception aids in the probability of achieving surprise, which can come in many different forms; size of force, direction or location of main effort, or timing. The U.S. military has tried to predict the types of terrorism attacks, but the successful acts of terrorism in 2001 have revealed the importance of striking at enemy when he is least prepared to be a valuable deception tactic.

Management Decisions in War

In the past few years as well as historically, the elements of "operations management" and "decision making" have been noted by the Harvard Business Review as two of the most significant and controlling factors for military operations. Research has documented the distinction between management, membership and decision making behaviors required by organizations and the different sources of these behaviors. This balanced approach has allowed for the consideration of all the important operational measures at the same time. This enables management operations to view whether improvement in one area is achieved at the expense of another. Such tactics, if accurately predicted and planned for by the military, can create successful results. This approach translates vision and strategy into a tool that effectively communicates strategic intent, and motivates and tracks performance against established goals (Kaplan & Norton, 1996). For example, deception tactics are mainly used by the military to protect the security of the people and country that the military branch is responsible for protecting, and to decisively shift the balance of combat power in one's favor. Balancing measures allows management to translate the strategy into a clear set of objectives. These objectives are then further translated into a system of performance measurements that effectively communicates a powerful, forward-looking, strategic… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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