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What it Takes to Win: Succeeding in 21st Century Battle Network Competitions

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Success or failure in war is often measured in terms of territory gained and losses imposed on the enemy. These metrics, however, may not reflect what is really most useful in winning a war or a military competition. Our research shows that it is often more cost effective to impose delay, disruptions and inefficiency on adversary battle networks than to adopt traditional attrition warfare metrics. Our insights are derived from two of the most important competitions in 20th century conflicts: one between air defenses and strike aircraft and the other between submarines and anti-submarine forces. In this study, Dr. John Stillion and Bryan Clark quantitatively examine 100 years of air and undersea competitions. Their findings provide a framework for understanding the battle network competitions of today, as well as identifying operating concepts and technologies that can enable U.S. anti-submarine, air defense, and strike forces to be successful in future conflicts.

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Slides from the "What it Takes to Win: Succeeding in 21st Century Battle Network Competitions" report release event on July 10, 2015.

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Op-ed by the authors on this topic in The National Interest.