Interdiction and Conventional Strategy

Prevailing Perceptions

by Ian O. Lesser


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Perceptions about interdiction's role, effects, and relationship to conventional war continue to be shaped largely by images drawn from the Allied experience in Europe during World War II, but these are increasingly remote from the current and prospective environment. Destruction, delay and disruption, diversion, and demoralization do not have uniform prospects for success. The effects of interdiction are likely to be interactive, divisible, and in some instances, intangible. Broader strategic factors, including war duration, intensity, and phases, will shape the opportunities for interdiction. A war of high intensity and long duration will favor a strategy of interdiction. An environment characterized by smaller conventional forces on the one hand and unconstrained surface-to-air defenses on the other is likely to make the interdiction mission at once more important and more difficult.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.