Non-kinetic Capabilities: Complementing the Kinetic Prevalence to Targeting



Targeting is used in military doctrine to describe a military operational way, using (military) means to influence a target (or addressee) in order to achieve designated political and/or military goals. The four factors italicized are used to analyse non-kinetic targeting, thereby complementing our knowledge and understanding of the prevalent kinetic targeting. Paradoxically, non-kinetic targeting is not recognized as a separate concept; kinetic and non-kinetic are intertwined facets of targeting. Kinetic targeting refers to the targeted application of military force based on the release or concentration of kinetic energy against opposing forces or objects with (primarily) lethal effects in the physical domain, whereas non-kinetic targeting describes the targeted application of (other military and non-military) capabilities against addressees to generate (additional) non-kinetic effects in the non-physical and physical domain . This chapter attempts to provide a better demarcation between kinetic and non-kinetic targeting, first by reviewing recent developments in military operations and targeting and introducing a ‘full spectrum approach ’. It then enumerates and analyses a number of typical non-kinetic capabilities : information activities, key leader engagement, lawfare, criminal legal action, security detention, assets freezes, and cyber operations. The chapter concludes that although non-kinetic targeting does not exist as a stand-alone concept, it is vitally important in contemporary military operations. It provides opportunities to engage and affect additional target audiences (including supporters) with less devastating effects (including constructive effects) by offering additional means to conduct operations, stressing the crucial role of non-kinetic elements like information, perception, cohesion, understanding, and will.


Non-kinetic targeting Non-lethal targeting Information activities Effect-based approach Evidence-based targeting Key leader engagement Cyber operations Lawfare Detention 


  1. Allied Command Operations (NATO) (2010) Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive (COPD). V1.0 Mons: Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe, 7 Dec 2010Google Scholar
  2. Andres RB (2009) Deep attack against Iraq. In: Mahnken TG, Keaney TA (eds) War in Iraq: planning and execution (strategy and history). Routledge, London, pp 69–96Google Scholar
  3. Banks WC (2011) New battlefields/old laws: critical debates on asymmetric warfare. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrett R (2012) Preventing the financing of terrorism. Case West Reserv J Int Law 44(3):719–736Google Scholar
  5. Basile M (2004) Going to the source: why al qaeda’s financial network is likely to withstand the current war on terrorist financing. Stud Confl Terror 27(3):169–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berlin SD (2010) Conviction-focused targeting: targeting violent extremists while developing rule of law capacity. Small Wars JGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks RA (2002) Santions and regime type: what works, and when? Secur Stud 11(4):1–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Caldwell WBI, Murphy DM, Menning A (2009) Learning to leverage new media: the Israelian Defense Forces in recent conflicts. Mil Rev 89(3):2–10Google Scholar
  9. Canada ND (2008) B-GL-300-001/FP-001 Land OperationsGoogle Scholar
  10. Cheng Hang T (2010) Non-kinetic warfare: the reality and the response. Point J Singap Armed Forces 36(1):45–57Google Scholar
  11. Chesney R (2011) Iraq and the military detention debate: firsthand perspectives from the other war, 2003–2010. Va J Int Law 51(3):549–636Google Scholar
  12. Cole A, Drew P, McLaughlin R, Mandsager D (eds) (2009) Rules of engagement handbook. International Institute of Humanitarian Law, San RemoGoogle Scholar
  13. Dauber C (2009) YouTube war: righting in a world of cameras in every cell phone and photoshop on every computer. Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, CarlisleGoogle Scholar
  14. Dinstein Y (2009) The international law of belligerent occupation. University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Drezner DW (2011) Sanctions sometimes smart: targeted sanctions in theory and practice. Int Stud Rev 13(1):96–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ducheine PAL (2015) The notion of cyber operations in international law. In: Tsagourias N, Buchan R (eds) Reseach handbook on international law and cyber space. Edwar Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, pp 211–232Google Scholar
  17. Ducheine PAL, Haaster Jv (2014) Fighting power, targeting and cyber operations. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, CCDCOE, Tallinn, pp 303–327Google Scholar
  18. Ducheine PAL, Pouw EH (2012) Legitimizing the use of force: legal bases for Operation Enduring Freedom and ISAF. In: Meulen Jvd, Vogelaar A, Beeres R, Soeters J (eds) Mission Uruzgan: collaborating in multiple coalitions for Afghanistan. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, pp 33–46Google Scholar
  19. Dungan P (2008) Fighting lawfare at the special operations task force level. Spec Warf 21(2):10–15Google Scholar
  20. Dunlap CJ (2001) Law and military interventions: preserving humanitarian values in 21st conflicts. Humanitarian Challenges in Military Intervention Conference, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Washington, D.C., 29 Nov 2001Google Scholar
  21. Dunlap CJ (2008) Lawfare today: a perspective. Yale J Int Aff (Winter):146–154Google Scholar
  22. Dunlap CJ (2009) Lawfare: a decisive element of 21st century conflicts? Joint Forces Q 54:34–39Google Scholar
  23. Dunlap CJ (2010) Does lawfare need an apologia? Case West Reserv J Int Law 43:121–143Google Scholar
  24. European Commission (2013) Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council. The EU’s comprehensive approach to external conflict and crises. JOIN (2013) 30 final, Brussels, 11 Dec 2013Google Scholar
  25. European Union (2002) Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant and the Surrender Procedures Between Member States, 2002 O.J. (L 190/2) 1 (EU)Google Scholar
  26. Gill TD, Fleck D (2010) The handbook of the international law of military operations. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  27. Goldstein B (2014) What is lawfare? Accessed 15 April 2014
  28. Goldstein B, Meyer AE (2009) Legal jihad: how Islamist lawfare tactics are targeting free speech. ILSA J Int Comp Law 15:395–410Google Scholar
  29. Govern KH (2012) Warrant-based targeting: prosecution-oriented capture and detention as legal and moral alternative to targeted killing. Ariz J Int Comp Law 29(3):477–516Google Scholar
  30. Haaretz (2014) Twitter suspends account of Hamas’ military wing (14 January 2014)Google Scholar
  31. Haaster Jv (2014) Key-leader engagement in or through cyberspace. Essay, Netherlands Defence Academy (on file with the author)Google Scholar
  32. Hanson VD (1989) The western way of war—infantry battle in Classical Greece. Hodder & Stoughton, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Hanson VD (2001) Why the west has won: carnage and culture from Salamis to Vietnam. Anchor Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. Herrera P (2013) Evidence based operations: a guide for intelligence professionals to operate in conjunction with the rule of law in Afghanistan. NATO Operational Headquarters (on file with author)Google Scholar
  35. Innenriks (2004) The rules of engagement: stridsreglene. Accessed 22 April 2014
  36. Kilcullen D (2009) The accidental guerilla. University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  37. Kitzen M (2012a) Close encounters of the tribal kind: the implementation of co-option as a tool for de-escalation of conflict: the case of the Netherlands in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province. J Strateg Stud 35(5):713–734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kitzen M (2012b) Western military culture and counter-insurgency, an ambigious reality. Sci Mil S Afr J Mil Stud 40(1):123–134Google Scholar
  39. Kleffner J (2010) Operational detention and the treatment of detainees. In: Gill TD, Fleck D (eds) The handbook of the international law of military operations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 465–479Google Scholar
  40. Koelbi S (2009) Battling Afghan drug dealers: NATO High Commander issues illegitimate order to kill (28 January 2009). Der SpiegelGoogle Scholar
  41. Koninklijke Landmacht (2014) Doctrinepublicatie Landoptreden. Accessed 29 April 2014
  42. Liljas P (2014) Top U.K. defense officials accused of war crimes: International Criminal Court receives huge dossier of allegations relating to British conduct during war in Iraq (13 January 2014). Time. Accessed 16 May 2014
  43. Lynn J (2003) Battle: a history of combat and culture from ancient Greece to modern America. Westview Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  44. Matthijssen CJ (2010) Strategic communication. Mil Spect 179(10):517–531Google Scholar
  45. Ministerie van Defensie (2013) Netherlands defence doctrine. Accessed 16 March 2014
  46. Morris VR (2010) Battlefield forensics: dynamic adaptation of the company-level task force. Infantery 99(Nov/Dec):6Google Scholar
  47. Murphy DM (2009) Talking the talk: why warfighters don’t understand information operations. Issue Paper, Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War CollegeGoogle Scholar
  48. NATO (2008) Allied joint doctrine for joint targeting (AJP-3.9)Google Scholar
  49. NATO (2009) Allied joint doctrine for information operations (AJP-3.10)Google Scholar
  50. NATO (2010) NATO military concept for strategic communications (27 July), enclosure 1 to MCM-0085-2010 revised, dated 11 August 2010.
  51. Neuteboom P (2014) Beyond borders: the role of the Netherlands Army in public security during crisis management operations (diss. University of Tilburg). Wolf Legal Publishers, NijmegenGoogle Scholar
  52. Noorda H (2014) Preventive deprivations of liberty: asset freezes and travel bans. Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No 2014-20. Accessed 25 May 2014
  53. Pejic J (2005) Procedural principles and safeguards for internment/administrative detention in armed conflict and other situations of violence. Int Rev Red Cross 87(858):376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pijpers PBMJ (2014) De twitterende tegenstanders: een discours over de rol van mediaculturen in het conflict (org. Dutch). Mil Spect 183(6):300–314Google Scholar
  55. Pouw EH (2013) International human rights law and the law of armed conflict in the context of counterinsurgency—with a particular focus on targeting and operational detention (diss. UvA)Google Scholar
  56. Schmitt MN (2009) Targeting narcoinsurgents in Afghanistan: the limits of international humanitarian law. Yearb Int Humanit Law 12:301–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schmitt MN (ed) (2013) Tallinn manual on the international law applicable to cyber warfare. Cambridge University Press,Google Scholar
  58. Shirbon E (2014) Campaigners ask ICC to investigate alleged UK war crimes in Iraq (12 January 2014). ReutersGoogle Scholar
  59. Smith-Windsor B (2008) Hasten slowly: NATO’s effects based and comprehensive approach to operations. NATO Research Paper 38 (NATO Defence College)Google Scholar
  60. Smith R (2005) The utility of force. Allen Lane, LondonGoogle Scholar
  61. Sun Tzu (1994) The art of war (trans: Sawyer R). Westview Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  62. UN Human Rights Council (2012) Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya (UN Doc nr. A/HRC/19/68)Google Scholar
  63. UK House of Commons DC (2013) UK armed forces personnel and the legal framework for future operations. Twelfth Report of Session 2013-14, HC 931, Published on 2 April 2013Google Scholar
  64. UK Ministry of Defence (2009) Joint doctrine publication 3-00 (JDP 3-00), 3rd Edn. Campaign Execution. Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC). Accessed 17 March 2014
  65. US Air Force (2014) Annex 3–60 Targeting Accessed 6 April 2014
  66. US Army Center for Army Lessons Learned (2009) Commanders Guide to Money as a Weapon System. Handbook 09-27 (March)Google Scholar
  67. US Army, Center for Army Lessons Learned (2010) Forensics and Warrant-Based Targeting, pp 10–35 (March)Google Scholar
  68. US Army (2010a) Field manual (FM 3-60) the targeting process (November 2010), Department of the ArmyGoogle Scholar
  69. US Army (2010b) Site exploitation operations ATTP No. 3-90.15 (FM 3-90.15)Google Scholar
  70. US Department of Defense (2012) Joint publication information operations (JP 3-13). Joint Chiefs of Staff. Accessed 6 April 2014
  71. US Department of Defense (2013) Joint publication targeting (JP 3-60). Joint Chiefs of Staff. Accessed 6 April 2014
  72. US Joint Forces Command (2010) Commander’s handbook for strategic communication and communication strategy. U.S. Joint Warfighting Center, SuffolkGoogle Scholar
  73. Voetelink JED (2013) Evidence-based operations: how to remove the bad guys from the battlefield. J Int Law Peace Armed Confl 4:194–201Google Scholar
  74. Wilner AS (2011) Deterring the undeterrable: coercion, denial, and delegitimization in counterterrorism. J Strateg Stud 34(1):3–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wright A (2011) Lawfare: Israeli-AIPAC attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla (13 June 2011). Accessed 29 April 2014

Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Defence AcademyBredaThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations