A Competent Munition is a relatively new idea, brought about mostly by a scathing report written in the mid-1990s on the state of Naval Gunfire Support capabilities of the U.S. Navy. What is a Competent Munition? An excellent question. First, what is it not:

A dumb weapon is a weapon which has no guidance or navigation, relying purely on initial aim and physics to hit its target. Examples include artillery shells, unguided gravity bombs, and bombardment rockets. On the other hand, the term smart weapon has come into use to refer to a weapon that guides itself to a particular target, regardless of the target's location. These weapons use terminal guidance to actually seek or track their target object.

In between these two is the Competent Munition. This weapon is unable to seek its target, but can guide or navigate itself to a predetermined set of coordinates. It does not know or care if the target is still at those coordinates when it arrives. Typical means of providing this guidance include INS and GPS systems, or combinations of the two. The JDAM is a good example of a Competent Munition.

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