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The term "force multiplier" is deeply embedded in the military technologist's lexicon; it refers to the notion that modern technologies can provide combat leverage in a synergistic, multiplicative way. However, high-technology weapon systems can also compromise force quality and readiness because of application, acquisition, and maintenance problems inherent in complex systems, creating the reverse situation, which the author calls the "force divisor" effect. This paper describes the force divisor effect, and suggests that it be investigated and quantified, if possible. Such research would help establish a better balance among high-technology weapons programs and would enhance defense capabilities in times of budget constraints.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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