The battle for Gaza revealed an extremist strategy: hiding in cities and provoking attack to cause civilian deaths that can be blamed on the attacking forces. The U.S. and allied militaries, having no options but lethal force or no options at all, are ill-equipped to defeat this strategy. The use of lethal force in dense populations can harm and alienate the very people whose cooperation U.S. forces are trying to earn. To solve this problem, a new RAND study proposes a "continuum of force" -- a suite of capabilities that includes sound, light, lasers, cell phones, and video cameras.
In missions ranging from counterinsurgency to peacekeeping to humanitarian intervention to quelling disorder, the typical small unit of the U.S. military should and can have portable, easy-to-use, all-purpose capabilities to carry out its missions without killing or hurting civilians that may get in the way. The technologies for these capabilities are available but have not been recognized as a solution to this strategic problem and, consequently, need more high-level attention and funding.
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January 01, 2009
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