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Precision Strike in 21st Century Multidomain Operations

13 May 2021, 12:00 to 14 May 2021, 16:00
The conduct of 21st century campaigns will be shaped in large measure by opponents’ use of reconnaissance strike complexes to achieve effects in depth. This conference will seek to examine both the offensive and defensive aspects of a 21st century strike campaign, as well as the available avenues for offence-defence integration.

The ‘democratisation’ of access to long-range precision strike assets once thought to be components of an exclusively Western revolution in military affairs will have important ramifications for the conduct of 21st century warfare.

The introduction of novel technologies in areas such as hypersonics at one end of the cost spectrum, and the abundance of easily- proliferated loitering munitions on the other has only increased interest in conventional precision strike.  Yet in many ways, our understanding of the technical capabilities of emerging technologies has outstripped efforts to locate them within an operational and strategic framework.

This conference will attempt to bridge this gap by placing precision strike in context. Will precision strike assets serve an independent role, targeting an opponent’s vital economic infrastructure, or will they be assigned a subordinate operational role in support of manoeuvring forces? How should we assess the relative importance of precision and mass when developing targeting plans? What is the relationship between precision strike assets and tools such as special forces and proxies which can be activated deep within an opponent’s territory?  And, seen from the opposite perspective, how should defensive campaigns and missile defences be organized to meet an adversary’s prompt strike? Finally, what are the pathways towards achieving offence-defence integration?

Answering these questions, and understanding how states around the world perceive them, will be critical to identifying the role, utility, and limitations of conventional precision strike within a nation’s force structure.  

 This conference will draw on the expertise of a wide range of theorists and practitioners from across the military, industry, and the academic community. 

 RUSI Points of contact:  

 Mil Sci Lead: Dr Sidharth Kaushal (sidharthk@rusi.org)  

Project Manager: Peppi Väänänen (PeppiV@rusi.org

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