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Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance Hardcover – June, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-1579060305 ISBN-10: 1579060307

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Natl Defense Univ Pr (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579060307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579060305
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,746,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Harlan Ullman and James Wade Jr. work with the United States National Defense University Institute for National Strategic Studies. They are military and defense experts. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By adarkana on March 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Though this book is listed as out of print, it is evidently considered public domain and is available for perusal online at both the Department of Defense & National Defense University Press websites.
Hitler and his leaders are not credited with the creation of this military concept. However, I am not sure what "A Reader" from New Orleans means by claiming in his review the Blitzkrieg is *not* depicted by the book's authors as an example of Shock and Awe in action. Nor am I certain how anyone can read this book now without recognizing its current implications. To quote from the book itself:
"Fourth is the 'Blitzkreig' [sic] example. In real Blitzkreig [sic], Shock and Awe were not achieved through the massive application of firepower across a broad front nor through the delivery of massive levels of force. Instead, the intent was to apply precise, surgical amounts of tightly focused force to achieve maximum leverage but with total economies of scale....
"To the degree that this example of achieving Shock and Awe is directed against military targets, it requires skill if not brilliance in execution, or nearly total incompetence in the adversary. The adversary, finding front lines broken and the rear vulnerable, panics, surrenders, or both. Hitler's campaign in France and Holland and the seizure of the Dutch forts and the occupation of Crete in 1940 are obvious illustrations. The use of Special Operations forces in significant numbers is an adjunct to imposing this level of Shock and Awe.
"....The lesson for future adversaries about the Blitzkreig [sic] example and the United States is that they will face in us an opponent able to employ technically superior forces with brilliance, speed, and vast leverage in achieving Shock and Awe through the precise application of force.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ullman and Wade have written the first great book predicting how the course of 21st century warefare is likely to be conducted.
"Shock and Awe" is a strategy poorly named (as its authors have admitted), but simple in its concept; DON'T target civilians, DON'T accept high "collateral damage", DO show a high regard for civilian populations, But, MOST OF ALL...
DO use precision weapons in OVERWHELMING numbers in SHORT periods of time to demoralize the enemies civilian and military decision makers, while sending the message to the enemies footsoldiers -- "You don't stand a chance"....
This strategy worked nearly flawlessly in Iraq, keeping civilian casualties to perhaps the lowest in the history of similar sized engagments, while decapitating the leadership of Iraq, bringing about the amazingly rapid and complete collapse of the much vaunted Iraqi military in record time....(Saddam in 6 months from having 19 fabulous palaces to a hole in the dirt...pretty good "Proof of Concept.)
(Now if only the authors could come up a similar strategy for the "consolidation/rebuilding phase" of the Iraqi engagment?)...
OH, and its NOT directly related to the (...) Blitzkrieg (where civilian casualites where either irrelvant or intentional), anyone that states that either hasn't read the book and/or is pursuing an ideological agenda.
The book DOES require some familiarity with both contemporary military jargon, and current "force concepts" as used by the US military and some knowledge of post-WWII geostrategic concepts.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One cannot help but realize the "fantasy" that surrounds the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) and the operative theories used to support the institutions of war. Top level personnel have long forgotten the history and constitutional constraints placed on a democracy in using power to affect more than domestic issues.

Terms such as LRC, MRC, OOTW, and political support by the DoD to suit particular political objectives is nothing more than over reach by the Pentagon. The pentagon should be focused on constraint (last resort), relevance, and efficacy as opposed to "Shock and Awe." The authors envision a military mission that can do anything--irrespective of constitutional constraints. For example, the constitution explicitly forbids the formation of a "permanent" army. The framers of the constitution understood that standing armies where the instruments of tyrants.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
How about a review of this book that isn't clouded by ones opinions of the current war in Iraq shall we? Since the reviewer below failed to do this (I suspect he didn't read it at all), I shall try.
Firstly, Shock and Awe is NOT an endorsement of a disregard for civilian casualties. It is an offshoot of the modern US military policy to ensure overwhelming force for any campaign, a tenet of the so called Powell Doctrine. Shock and Awe extends the idea of force to include knowledge of the environment. Technology now allows us almost immediate information about all aspects of the battlefield. This should allow very rapid dominance in such a case. Rapid dominance, in concert with various psychological operations and non lethal weapons used to created confusion (E-bombs), can quickly destroy the enemies will to resist. Indeed, if the appropiate awe is achieved in the enemy very quickly, loss of life for both sides can be reduced.
Now, can it work? I don't know but I think it's very interesting. I do very much suspect that when the conditions are met, less lives will be loss as a result of such an attack. I'd rather have the will to fight completely drained from the enemy by the display of overwhelming force coming from all directions and all at once than have them dead. I certainly would rather have that than more of my own dead. The older model of slow, steady attrition is very brutal and takes a huge toll in loss of life.
Also, as the book points out, the German Blitzkrieg was not an example of shock and awe. It was not a massive offensive against a broad front but rather a narrowly, highly concentrated use of force against weak points in opposing positions.
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