The titanic struggle between Britain and France (and their respective allies) has been told many times, but the narrow focus here on Britain’s use of power is a welcome addition indeed, and Titan builds a compelling case for what made British victory possible. It will certainly prove useful to strategists and foreign policy practitioners, for while much has changed in the realm of war and diplomacy since the early nineteenth century, the need for smart power will not be ending anytime soon.
Perhaps no one expects the oratory of Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, or Ronald Reagan, but Americans should expect a reasonable amount of substance regardless of political optics. Such efforts can bridge the discussion of strategy and force the next president to think harder, deeper, and chart a clear course for America in a changing world.
Air and land power leave monuments to teach us of their authority: from the House of Commons’ bomb-scorched archway to the nation-wide wreckage of the Syrian Civil War. Sea power’s traces are washed away by its namesake — no rubble marking the battle of USS Monitor vs. CSS Virginia nor shattered remains of the convoys from the Battle of the Atlantic. The power with which the sea consumes is the same power with which sea power is imbued. Sea power’s force, persistence, and fluidity –the vast opportunities afforded by the sea — create three properties: the gravitational, phantasmal, and kinetic manifestations of its power.
Nuclear thinkers had no data-rich nuclear history to work from and so they built their theory upon deductive models. The result is a body of thought that reflects less an understanding of the worth of nuclear weapons for military practitioners than a collection of elegant models and American preferences that are confused with universal truths. In addressing the topic of nuclear weapons and strategy, we attempt to offer not a novel construct for thinking about nuclear weapons, but to highlight some of the shortcomings of the dominant approach to thinking about strategy and nuclear weapons and to suggest some guideposts to improve strategic thinking.
Earth-shaking rocket launches aside, space is the silent partner in nearly American military endeavor today. Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and the subsequent counterinsurgency operations that followed demonstrated that clearly enough. Space guides soldiers, sailors, airmen, and bombs to their targets, gives the photographs and signal intercepts to understand what enemies are planning, and provides secure, global communication in an era of global need.
Despite the historical success of joint action, many professional warriors and strategists continually debate which military function is most decisive in the termination of war. Even today, some question whether it is indeed worth the effort to work through the complications of combining competing strategies into effective joint action. My personal theory of joint action proposes an artful blend of both sequential and cumulative strategies to conduct unified operations that most effectively achieve our national objectives. Strategic effect is reduced when either cumulative or sequential strategies are parochially subordinated to the other, since there is no single, decisive function, service, or role in war.