In the military of the United States, strikes and raids are a group of military operations that, alongside quite a number of others, come under the formal umbrella of military operations other than war (MOOTW). Ex-military authors Bonn and Baker describe them as "nothing more than the conduct of conventional combat missions on an individual or small-scale basis", and what they mean, specifically, depends on which particular branch of the military is using them. However, they do have formal, general, definitions in the United States Department of Defense's Joint Publication 1-02:
- An attack to damage or destroy an objective or a capability.
- An operation to temporarily seize an area in order to secure information, confuse an adversary, capture personnel or equipment, or to destroy a capability culminating with a planned withdrawal.
For the United States Air Force, strikes and raids are the least common types of MOOTW, there only having been eight of them in the period from 1947 to 1997, including Operation Just Cause, Operation Urgent Fury, and Operation El Dorado Canyon. For the United States Marine Corps, the latter was also a raid, and Operation Praying Mantis was a strike.
Johnson, Mueller, and Taft contrast strikes and raids, using Operations Urgent Fury, Eldorado Canyon, and Just Cause as case studies. Strikes, they say, are "extreme" military responses to political problems, usually ones "caused by a failed diplomatic strategy". They are employed when other forms of coercion have failed. Raids are punishments aimed at an adversary, and may form parts of an overall coercive strategy. Strikes, when successful, embody elements of swift decisionmaking (both political and military), overwhelming force (and a large disparity between the opposing military forces), and surprise; and employ whatever forces are the most capable of rapid operation. Raids are about "sending a message" and employ whatever forces have the lowest risks or requirements for force protection, which generally (but not always) excludes employing ground forces.
- Bonn, Keith E.; Baker, Anthony E. (2000). Guide to Military Operations Other Than War: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Stability and Support Operations : Domestic and International. Stackpole Books. ISBN 9780811729390.
- Vego, Milan N. (2009). Joint Operational Warfare Theory and Practice and V. 2, Historical Companion. U.S. Naval War College Press. ISBN 9781884733628.
- Johnson, David E.; Mueller, Karl P.; Taft, William H. (2002). Conventional Coercion Across the Spectrum of Operations: The Utility of U.S. Military Forces in the Emerging Security Environment. Rand Corporation. ISBN 9780833032201.
- Vick, Alan (1997). Preparing the U.S. Air Force for Military Operations Other Than War. Rand Corporation. ISBN 9780833024923.
- Joint Publication 1-02: DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (PDF). United States Department of Defense. JP 1—02.
- Marine Corps Operations. United States Marine Corps. 2007. ISBN 9781602060623.
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