Through the prism of the experience of air warfare, this chapter identifies key factors that have shaped targeting. These
include technological developments, organizational structures, and processes and inter-service competition for scarce resources.
Moreover, targeting is informed by perspectives on the nature of the political mandate and objectives, by the type of war,
by intelligence on the nature of the opponent, and by assumptions that are derived from experience, doctrine, or strategic
theory. It is, of course, shaped by societal norms. Targeting’s evolutionary process is one of solving technical and informational
obstacles to finding and hitting targets. It is characterized by a trend in increased munitions accuracy and pinpoint attack
capability against objects of an ever-decreasing physical signature in ever-shortening response times, and, if necessary,
from ever-increasing distances from the target. The evolution is also a story of constant organizational learning, rediscovery,
and theorizing about and experimenting with new targeting planning tools and processes. Moreover, there is a constantly swinging
pendulum between the poles of centralized and decentralized control, with a strong tendency toward stringent political oversight.
Finally, norms play an increasing role. As this chapter will argue, contemporary targeting challenges emanate from a paradox—as
targeting accuracy has reached an unprecedented level, so too has the societal demand for risk-mitigation, precisely because
of demonstrated targeting capabilities.