Definition/Scope: (FM 3-0) Destroy means to apply lethal combat power on an enemy capability so that it can no longer perform any function and cannot be restored to a usable condition without being entirely rebuilt. The most effective way to destroy enemy capabilities is with a single, decisive attack. When the necessary combat power cannot be massed simultaneously, commanders apply it sequentially. This approach is called attrition. It defeats the enemy by maintaining the highest possible rate of destruction over time. Destruction may not force the enemy to surrender; well-disciplined forces and those able to reconstitute can often endure heavy losses without giving up. Defeat cannot be accurately measured solely in terms of destruction. This is particularly true when criteria focus on narrow metrics, such as casualties, equipment destroyed, or perceived enemy strength. Destruction is especially difficult to assess if friendly forces apply force indiscriminately.
Broader Terms:Defeat Mechanism