Military capability

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Military capability is defined by the Australian Defence Force as "the ability to achieve a desired effect in a specific operating environment". [1] It is defined by three interdependent factors: combat readiness, sustainable capability and force structure.

Australian Defence Force Combined military forces of Australia

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and a number of 'tri-service' units. The ADF has a strength of just under 80,000 full-time personnel and active reservists, and is supported by the Department of Defence and several other civilian agencies.

Combat readiness

Combat readiness is a condition of the armed forces and their constituent units and formations, warships, aircraft, weapon systems or other military technology and equipment to perform during combat military operations, or functions consistent with the purpose for which they are organized or designed, or the managing of resources and personnel training in preparation for combat.

A force structure is the combat-capable part of a military organisation which describes how military personnel, and their weapons and equipment, are organised for the operations, missions and tasks expected from them by the particular doctrine of the service or demanded by the environment of the conflict.


In terms of technologies, weapons and equipment use, it represents assets, that exist to perform specific functions in relation to requirements of the statement about present or future military operations as derived from the national defence policy (strategic). A national Capabilities Development Plan seeks to provide a global understanding of capability needs, capability trends and potential capability shortfalls.

Military capability is often referred to in terms of low, medium and high, although this usually refers to the type, quantity and sophistication of technology being used in combat operations, and the severity of threat to security of the state.

Maintaining military capability requires modernisation of military technology, particularly prevalent in Europe since the Middle Ages due to the arms race that commenced with the introduction of artillery and later firearms into warfare.

Military technology application of technology for use in warfare

Military technology is the application of technology for use in warfare. It comprises the kinds of technology that are distinctly military in nature and not civilian in application, usually because they lack useful or legal civilian applications, or are dangerous to use without appropriate military training.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Arms race competition between two or more parties to have more superior armed forces

An arms race occurs when two or more nations participate in interactive or competitive increases in "persons under arms" as well as "war material". Simply defined as a competition between two or more states to have superior armed forces; a competition concerning production of weapons, the growth of a military, and the aim of superior military technology.

In the European Union, capability development is approached by the Capability Directorate focusing on three primary areas: [2]

European Union Economic and political union of European states

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

Military intelligence is a military discipline that uses information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to assist commanders in their decisions. This aim is achieved by providing an assessment of data from a range of sources, directed towards the commanders' mission requirements or responding to questions as part of operational or campaign planning. To provide an analysis, the commander's information requirements are first identified, which are then incorporated into intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination.

Existing military capability in armed forces will be employed, and only minor enhancements are possible in a short conflict. The context within which the military capabilities are used such as the geography of the area of operations, the culture and demography of the enemy, and the preparedness of the opposing forces, generally can not be altered at the start of the conflict.

In U.S. armed forces parlance, an area of operations (AO) is an operational area defined by the force commander for land, air, and naval forces conduct of combat and non-combat activities. Areas of operations do not typically encompass the entire operational area of the force commander, but should be large enough for subordinate commanders to accomplish their goals, achieve objectives and missions, and to protect their forces. Within an AO there will typically be one Main Supply Route along which vehicles, personnel and supplies will be transported.

It is a major part of military science to find methods of defeating the enemy with available capabilities using existing and new concepts. Successful use of military capability by employing these concepts and methods is reflected in the effects on the enemy ability to continue to resist, subject to Rules of Engagement (ROE) range of political, legal and ethical factors. Military capability is often tested in peacetime by using the scenario methodology to analyse performance, often as a war game. It is

The military's strategic role is to advise civilian leadership on the capability of military forces to execute specific missions. [3]

Future military capability is developed based on the analysis of experimentation and testing of existing capability performance, and future capability decisions are made based on the armed forces being able to meet the challenges of a range of possible future scenarios. This is arguably a difficult task to accomplish due to the lack of predictability about future threats, changes in defence policy, and the range of response options and their effects that a government may want as a matter of future national defence policy.

The difference between expected and deliverable military capabilities is called the military capability gap, although the same term is also sometimes used to compare capabilities of potential future belligerents.

Military capability and Sustainability

Economic growth is one of the main factors that determines the military capability. It means that wars can be one of the factors threatening the Sustainability of the Biosphere, because unlimited economic growth cause Environmental problems, that can exceed Planetary boundaries [4] [5] [6] . Economy without economic growth is generally defined as Steady-state economy. Without Global Peace and international cooperation country that will limit its economic growth achieve lower military capability, then a country that will not do it. The result may be a conquest of the first country by the second. In such conditions there is very low probability that a steady state economy can exist [7] .

See also

Citations and notes

  1. p.15, Hinge
  2. Steering Board Decision on Key Operating Rules for the R&T Operational Concept
  3. p.72, Newell
  4. Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows. Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. White River Junction, Vermont : Chelsea Green, 2004.
  5. Allan Schnaiberg. The Environment: From Surpus to Scarcity . New York: Oxford University Press.
  6. "Charter of the Global Greens" (PDF contains full charter). Global Greens. Dakar. 2012.
  7. MICHAEL BECKLEY, MICHAEL (19 Feb 2010). "Economic Development and Military Effectiveness". The Journal of Strategic Studies. 33: 43–79. doi:10.1080/01402391003603581.

Related Research Articles

Military science is the study of military processes, institutions, and behavior, along with the study of warfare, and the theory and application of organized coercive force. It is mainly focused on theory, method, and practice of producing military capability in a manner consistent with national defense policy. Military science serves to identify the strategic, political, economic, psychological, social, operational, technological, and tactical elements necessary to sustain relative advantage of military force; and to increase the likelihood and favorable outcomes of victory in peace or during a war. Military scientists include theorists, researchers, experimental scientists, applied scientists, designers, engineers, test technicians, and other military personnel.

Military doctrine is the expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.

'Economic development' is a process in which a nation is being improved in the sector of the economic, political, and social well-being of its people. The term has been used frequently by economists, politicians, and others in the 20th and 21st centuries. The concept, however, has been in existence in the West for centuries. "Modernization, "westernization", and especially "industrialization" are other terms often used while discussing economic development. Economic development has a direct relationship with the environment and environmental issues. Economic development is very often confused with industrial development, even in some academic sources.

National security defense and maintenance of a state through use of all powers at the states disposal

National security is the security of a nation state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, which is regarded as a duty of government.

Aerial warfare is the battlespace use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare. Aerial warfare includes bombers attacking enemy installations or a concentration of enemy troops or strategic targets; fighter aircraft battling for control of airspace; attack aircraft engaging in close air support against ground targets; naval aviation flying against sea and nearby land targets; gliders, helicopters and other aircraft to carry airborne forces such as paratroopers; aerial refueling tankers to extend operation time or range; and military transport aircraft to move cargo and personnel. Historically, military aircraft have included lighter-than-air balloons carrying artillery observers; lighter-than-air airships for bombing cities; various sorts of reconnaissance, surveillance and early warning aircraft carrying observers, cameras and radar equipment; torpedo bombers to attack enemy shipping; and military air-sea rescue aircraft for saving downed airmen. Modern aerial warfare includes missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Surface forces are likely to respond to enemy air activity with anti-aircraft warfare.

Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance practice that links several battlefield functions together to assist a combat force in employing its sensors and managing the information they gather

ISTAR stands for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance. In its macroscopic sense, ISTAR is a practice that links several battlefield functions together to assist a combat force in employing its sensors and managing the information they gather.

Network-centric warfare, also called network-centric operations or net-centric warfare, is a military doctrine or theory of war pioneered by the United States Department of Defense in the 1990s.

Principles of war are rules and guidelines that represent truths in the practice of war and military operations.

European Union Military Staff Directorate-General of the European External Action Service

The Military Staff of the European Union (EUMS) is the directorate-general of the European Union's (EU) External Action Service (EEAS) that contributes to the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) by providing strategic advice to the High Representative (HR/VP) and commanding operations through its Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) operational headquarters. Presently the MPCC may only run non-executive operations. By the end of 2020 the MPCC will also be capable of running executive operations of up to 2500 troops, i.e. the size of one battle group.

Battlespace is a term used to signify a unified military strategy to integrate and combine armed forces for the military theatre of operations, including air, information, land, sea, cyber and space to achieve military goals. It includes the environment, factors, and conditions that must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes enemy and friendly armed forces, infrastructure, weather, terrain, and the electromagnetic spectrum within the operational areas and areas of interest.

In organizational theory, dynamic capability is the capability of an organization to purposefully adapt an organization's resource base. The concept was defined by David Teece, Gary Pisano and Amy Shuen, in their 1997 paper Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management, as "the firm’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments".

The Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF) is the military deputy to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) of Australia, and acts as the CDF in his absence under standing acting arrangements. Vice Admiral David Johnston, the incumbent VCDF, has held the position since 5 July 2018.

Capability management is a high-level integrative management function, with particular application in the context of defense.

It is a maxim of intelligence that intelligence agencies do not make policy, but advise policymakers. Nevertheless, with an increasingly fast pace of operations, intelligence analysts may suggest choices of actions, with some projection of consequences from each. Intelligence consumers and providers still struggle with the balance of what drives information flow. Dissemination is the part of the intelligence cycle that delivers products to consumers, and Intelligence Dissemination Management refers to the process that encompasses organizing the dissemination of the finished intelligence.

An offensive is a military operation that seeks through aggressive projection of armed force to occupy territory, gain an objective or achieve some larger strategic, operational, or tactical goal. Another term for an offensive often used by the media is 'invasion', or the more general 'attack'.

A strategic military goal is used in strategic military operation plans to define the desired end-state of a war or a campaign. Usually it entails either a strategic change in an enemy's military posture, intentions or ongoing operations, or achieving a strategic victory over the enemy that ends the conflict, although the goal can be set in terms of diplomatic or economic conditions, defined by purely territorial gains, or the evidence that the enemy's will to fight has been broken. Sometimes the strategic goal can be to limit the scope of the conflict.

Capability management is the approach to the management of an organization, typically a business organization or firm, based on the "theory of the firm" as a collection of capabilities that may be exercised to earn revenues in the marketplace and compete with other firms in the industry. "Capability Management" seeks to manage the stock of capabilities within the firm to ensure its position in the industry and its ongoing profitability and survival.

Federated Mission Networking

Federated Mission Networking (FMN) is a significant initiative to help ensure interoperability and operational effectiveness of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it is a key contribution to the Connected Forces Initiative, helping Allied and Partner forces to better communicate, train and operate together. This includes the NATO Command Structure as well as the NATO Force Structure. The purpose of FMN is ultimately to support Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) and decision-making in operations by enabling a rapid instantiation of mission networks.