TECHNOLOGY AND FUTURE CONSTRAINTS
ON AIR OPERATIONS
The various legal and political constraints laid out above stem largely, though not entirely, from sources beyond the control of the USAF. Much attention, both inside and outside the USAF, has centered on technological solutions; some technologies, which are partially within the USAF's control, offer promise for mitigating the effects of legal and political constraints on air operations.
Key to many of the issues discussed above is the problem of collateral damage. Collateral damage itself is primarily a product of three factors: (1) information about the exact location of a military target; (2) the ability to aim at and hit a desired point; and (3) the ability to regulate the quantum of destruction a hit inflicts.1 Technological advances in precision targeting and information collection can both independently and in combination help address the first two factors. Advances in nonlethal weapons, information/electronic warfare, and limited effects munitions can help address the third.
Technological advances, by reducing the probability and extent of collateral damage, can be liberating for planners. However, technological improvements are no panacea, and these same advances can raise public expectations and even shift legal duties. Technological____________________