U.S. Weapons:

The Low-Intensity Threat Is Not Necessarily a Low-Technology Threat

PEMD-90-13: Published: Mar 2, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the effectiveness of U.S. defense hardware used in recent low-intensity warfare (LIW) missions.

GAO found that: (1) U.S. defense hardware demonstrated significant limitations; (2) fully adequate, interoperable joint communications equipment was not available for use; (3) precision-guided munitions demonstrated poor success ratios; (4) unguided munitions were more effective, but demonstrated unacceptable vulnerabilities against weak opposition; (5) problems occurred with unsophisticated weapons even when U.S. forces used the newest equipment available; and (6) the variety and significance of hardware problems encountered during LIW could seriously impede future U.S. military operations.

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