Operations against Enemy Leaders

Operations against Enemy Leaders

Operations against Enemy Leaders

Operations against Enemy Leaders


Examines a number of leadership attacks from World War II to the present to offer insights into various forms of attacks, their potential coercive and deterrent value, and possible unintended consequences.


A final way to remove a hostile government is to overthrow it with external military force. the target country would be invaded and occupied, the old regime and its security structure would be purged, and a new government would be set in place. the ground force component of such an external invasion could be provided by troops from a neighboring country, U.S. ground forces, or a coalition of U.S. and allied forces. Whatever the makeup of the ground force contingents, U.S. air power could be called on to prepare the battlefield for the invasion and to provide support to engaged forces.

Rationale for maintaining capabilities to take
down enemy regimes

When a Takedown May Be Mandatory

A hostile regime may damage or threaten to damage U.S. interests sufficiently to impel U.S. decisionmakers to seek its removal and replacement by external force. During World War II, U.S. forces helped bring about the takedowns of the Axis regimes in Germany, Italy, and Japan. More recently, the United States employed its armed forces to remove hostile regimes in Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989) and to force the abdication of the ruling military junta in Haiti (1994).

In the case of Grenada, the United States invaded to protect the lives of U.S. medical students and to remove a regime that was thought to be providing a base for Soviet-Cuban subversion in the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa. in Panama, the U.S. motives were to protect U.S. citizens, to restore the elected Guillermo Endara gov-

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