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Shock and Awe
Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade

Page 1 of 181

Shock and Awe 

The basis for Rapid Dominance rests in the ability to affect the will,
perception, and understanding of the adversary through imposing
sufficient Shock and Awe to achieve the necessary political,
strategic, and operational goals of the conflict or crisis that led to
the use of force.  War, of course, in the broadest sense has been
characterized by Clausewitz to include substantial elements of "fog,
friction, and fear." In the Clausewitzian view, "shock and awe" were
necessary effects arising from application of military power and were
aimed at destroying the will of an adversary to resist.  Earlier and
similar observations had been made by the great Chinese military
writer Sun Tzu around 500 B.C.  Sun Tzu observed that disarming an
adversary before battle was joined was the most effective outcome a
commander could achieve.  Sun Tzu was well aware of the crucial
importance of achieving Shock and Awe prior to, during, and in ending
battle.  He also observed that "war is deception," implying that Shock
and Awe were greatly leveraged through clever, if not brilliant,
employment of force.

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