Military forces are acquired to provide military capability, the ability to fight and prevail in combat against actual or potential opponents. This capability may be used to attack, defend, deter or maintain peace. The military capability provided by the forces depends on how they are used and what they are used for. How the forces are used involves all the military skills of leadership, strategy, tactics, training, logistics, morale and infrastructure. The elements of the infrastructure are often grouped under the heading C4ISTAR: command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. What the forces are used for involves the aims of the operation; military forces are used for a very wide range of different purposes and the different purposes have different criteria for success. The how and what interact. Forces organised and trained for war-fighting may be counter-productive when used for peacekeeping, their heavy-handed interventions provoking more conflict. The reverse can be true: a force trained and equipped for peacekeeping, with narrow rules of engagement, may not be able to deliver the required robust response to stop a conflict escalating. Casualty rates that are thought acceptable for one purpose may be unacceptable for another.
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