- Non-kinetic capabilities: complementing the kinetic prevalence to targeting
- Amsterdam Law School Legal Studies Research Paper
- Number of pages
- Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam
- Document type
- Working paper
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL)
Targeting is used in military doctrine to describe a military operational way, using (military) means to influence a target (or addressee) in order to achieve designated political and/or military goals. The four factors italicized are used to analyse non-kinetic targeting, complementing our knowledge and understanding of the kinetic prevalence. Paradoxically, non-kinetic targeting is not recognized as a separate concept: kinetic and non-kinetic are intertwined facets of targeting.
Kinetic targeting refers to the targeted application of military force based on the release or concentration of kinetic energy against opposing forces or objects with (primarily) lethal effects in the physical domain, whereas non-kinetic targeting describes the targeted application of (other military and non-military) capabilities against addressees to generate (additional) non-kinetic effects in the non-physical and physical domain.
This chapter attempts to provide a better demarcation between kinetic and non-kinetic targeting, first by reviewing recent developments in military operations and targeting and introducing a ‘full spectrum approach’. It then enumerates and analyses a number of typical non-kinetic capabilities: information activities, key leader engagement, lawfare, criminal legal action, security detention, assets freezes and cyber operations.
The chapter concludes that although non-kinetic targeting does not exist as a stand-alone concept, it is vitally important in contemporary military operations. It provides opportunities to engage and affect additional target audiences (including supporters) with less devastating effects including constructive effects), by offering additional means to conduct operations, stressing the crucial role of non-kinetic elements like information, perception, cohesion, understanding and will.
- ACIL Research Paper 2014-26
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