Full-spectrum dominance

Full-spectrum dominance also known as full-spectrum superiority, is a military entity's achievement of control over all dimensions of the battlespace, effectively possessing an overwhelming diversity of resources in such areas as terrestrial, aerial, maritime, subterranean, extraterrestrial, psychological, and bio- or cyber-technological warfare.

Full spectrum dominance includes the physical battlespace; air, surface and sub-surface as well as the electromagnetic spectrum and information space. Control implies that freedom of opposition force assets to exploit the battlespace is wholly constrained.

US military doctrine

The United States Department of Defense defines "full-spectrum superiority" as:

The cumulative effect of dominance in the air, land, maritime, and space domains and information environment, which includes cyberspace, that permits the conduct of joint operations without effective opposition or prohibitive interference.[1]

The United States military's doctrine has espoused a strategic intent to be capable of achieving this state in a conflict, either alone or with allies[2] by defeating any adversary and controlling any situation across the range of military operations.

The stated intent implies significant investment in a range of capabilities: dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics, and full-dimensional protection.


As early as 2005, the credibility of full-spectrum dominance as a practical strategic doctrine was dismissed by Professor Philip Taylor of the University of Leeds[3] an expert consultant to the US and UK governments on psychological operations, propaganda and diplomacy.

It's true, though rarely recognized in the control-freakery world of the military, that full spectrum dominance is impossible in the global information environment.

In culture

Critics of US Imperialism have often referred to the term as proof of the ambitions of policymakers in the USA and their alleged desire for total control. Harold Pinter referred to the term in his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as "full spectrum dominance". That is not my term, it is theirs. "Full spectrum dominance" means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.[4]

Metaphorical use

Full Spectrum Dominance is used in a number of non-military fields to describe a comprehensive tactical effort to support a strategy. In marketing, Full Spectrum Dominance can refer to an integrated campaign that takes into account reaching an audience across a wide variety of platforms and media to guarantee visibility and reinforcement. This might include simultaneous integration of online promotions with direct marketing, public relations, social media and other tactical marketing vehicles.

See also


  1. ^ Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (JP 3-0) page 96
  2. ^ Joint Vision 2020, U.S. Department of Defense
  3. ^ Jason Vest (1 December 2005). "Missed Perceptions". Government Executive.
  4. ^ Harold Pinter Nobel lecture 2005

Further reading

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