Gaining New Military Capability

An Experiment in Concept Development

by John Birkler, C. Richard Neu, Glenn A. Kent


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The process of modernizing U.S. military forces is the focus of this report. This process requires reinvigorating concept development efforts, thinking broadly about alternatives, and pursuing concept development before decisions are made about which services, which platforms, or which technologies are best suited for accomplishing current or new military tasks. In February and March 1996, RAND convened a concept options group (COG), which included broadly knowledgeable technologists drawn from a variety of scientific and engineering backgrounds, experienced military operators, and senior analysts and planners. By focusing on two specific military tasks, the COG considered options for using technologies that could enable U.S. forces to perform an existing military mission better, perform it differently, or gain a new capability. This report presents highlights from the COG discussions as well as some suggestions for convening future COGs.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    A Process for Modernizing Forces

  • Chapter Three

    Thinking About Military Missions

  • Chapter Four

    The Concept Options Group: a New Forum for Concept Development

  • Chapter Five

    Some Promising Concepts

  • Chapter Six


  • Appendix A

    Detailed Military Activities Considered by the Rand Cog

  • Appendix B

    Counterbattery Sensor System Concept

  • Appendix C

    Resonance Weapon Recognition

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