U.S. policymakers and military strategists have been too slow to appreciate the changes going on around them. If the defense establishment fixates on building a more lethal force at the expense of investment in emerging areas of military competition, it will fail in these new domains, perhaps catastrophically.
Having squandered earlier opportunities, the United States now faces a conundrum in Afghanistan, where neither staying nor going will likely produce a favorable outcome to its Afghanistan adventure. Most likely, America will soldier on in Afghanistan, following flawed strategies until some unexpected event or developing trend—such as American retreat from global leadership—causes Washington policymakers to conclude that America has done enough.
The Revolt of the Admirals was a reaction to a perceived threat to Navy funding and missions. The Trump Administration now seeks to create yet another military service—the U.S. Space Force. In an era of declining defense budgets and falling enlistment rates, a Space Force will be seen as a threat to the resources of the existing military services. There are lessons to be learned by reflecting on what happened the last time America traveled down this road.
It is the objections independent of technological capability that are gaining prominence among opponents of lethal autonomous weapons systems. These objections include the question of whether the use of autonomous weapons might lead to a responsibility gap where humans cannot uphold their moral responsibility, whether their use would undermine the human dignity of those combatants who are targeted, and the possibility that further increasing human distance from the battlefield could make the use of violence easier or less controlled.
Future warfare will be increasingly blended with conventional and unconventional approaches. Military forces should strengthen their future unconventional warfare capability by acknowledging the changing character of warfare and the need to balance their forces as an effective strategy in an era of persistent conflict.
Of course, lasers themselves are not a new technology. Lasers have been studied and tested for military use for decades. Recently, companies such as Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon have taken this existing technology, scaled it down, and adapted it for a variety of platforms with a new purpose: to shoot down weaponized drones and small munitions. This new mission set for the tactical laser offers the military a drone-killing weapon system that could keep the U.S. ahead of the power curve on the modern battlefield, especially in the fight against non-state actors and armies increasingly using drones for combat operations.
Simply admitting that existing operational planning methodology and doctrine are not applicable for complex strategic problem sets is a crucial first step. Once we break this paradigm, military strategists will be empowered to design new and better paradigms, yielding novel methods to more appropriately meet our nation’s strategic needs.
Idealism has clearly failed to grant the United States a stronger standing in the world as it failed to accurately assess the scope and consequences of interventionism, and the strategic intent of rising powers. Great power competition and the international system’s inevitable transition to a multi-polar order calls on us to embrace the challenge with clarity. This challenge should motivate an honest reassessment of U.S. foreign policy tools and processes. Adjusting to facts and reevaluating means and methods is a sign of strength and resilience of this nation.
Kaplan has provided a window into the thoughts, struggles, fears, and triumphs of these soldiers from a century ago as they fought the Germans while mastering the most advanced technologies of their modern world. They were not much different that those who soldier on today in the face of fast-paced change and an evolving character of war. These personal reminiscences of service in the tanks illustrate the fortitude required to fight the enemy, bureaucracy, and non-believers in fielding the capabilities needed to win on the modern battlefield.
Hunt has written a book that challenges the modern strategist to process how we end our wars and how we deal with their excesses. Furthermore, Hunt challenges how we, as a whole society, commemorate these wars and their participants through the morally complicated saga of the Latvian Legion. The book’s moral weight is palpable as we attempt to answer some of those questions in the modern era.
All things considered, Israel must now prepare to rely upon a multi-faceted doctrine of nuclear deterrence. In turn, this doctrine must be rendered selectively less ambiguous and more expressly synergistic. Its operational range of application must include both rational and non-rational adversaries and both state and sub-state foes.
Tactical, operational, and strategic success requires a cultural change to reconcile institutional aversion and reluctance toward non-lethal information warfare. To dominate the information domain before, during, and after the next conflict, significant change is required in the U.S. military’s approach toward training and education of information as a warfighting function, and information operations as a discipline.
ake the works of the past and use them as the foundation for a new space theory that will receive the approval of the public and stand the test of time. If a proper unified theory emerges, it will be codified and a coherent plan for every nation can be implemented and each can posture for strategic success as they see fit. Then humanity’s great curiosity of the cosmos may be be satisfied, even if only for a moment.
The 1973 Arab-Israeli War provides an example of how even relatively inferior forces overcame similar threats from a more powerful adversary through a whole of government approach. Moreover, in an age of increasing emphasis on technological supremacy in warfare, Operation BADR proved that leveraging all elements of national power in crafting operations can yield an equally effective path to victory absent superior technology. There are, perhaps, lessons here for the U.S. and others.
The phrase data rich and information poor (DRIP) was first used in the 1983 best-selling business book, In Search of Excellence, to describe organizations rich in data, but lacking the processes to produce meaningful information and create a competitive advantage. DRIP was defeated in the private sector with wise implementation of information technology. However, government institutions have lacked the incentives to attack the disease and have instead treated the symptoms of the dilemma armed with a gross misunderstanding of the cognitive domain. In the U.S. Department of Defense, a deluge of data overwhelms analysts and provides little information that is timely and relevant to decision makers.