For those familiar with the traditional narrative of U.S. airpower history centered on the Air Corps Tactical School’s development of bomber doctrine followed by its application against Germany during World War II, Rid provides a jarring but useful counter-narrative focused on human-machine interactions.
The popular conception of World War I centers on hellish trench warfare and all its horrors. While it is undeniable that the war was won and lost on the Western Front, the lines stretching back across the Atlantic that brought men and desperately needed supplies into the theater of operations played an essential part in Allied victory.
Weinberger’s history of DARPA is an enthralling read and especially recommended for professionals in acquisition or research areas. It should appeal far beyond the defense community, it is perhaps the best institutional case study in innovation management and adaptive organizational design available.
In the Year of the Tiger still deserves serious consideration by scholars as a worthwhile book in the growing field of academic investigation into the First Indochina War. Despite shortfalls in commission and omission at points, Waddell provides a cogent and useful analysis on which others may usefully build. That should, after all, be the goal among those who seek to understand how the First Indochina War conditioned the disaster the United States chose to pursue after final French defeat in 1954.
This book reveals very little about national strategy or defense policy, or even about the effectiveness of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it is a worthwhile read for those interested in the ground-level experience of war and Americans who want to know more about the actions committed overseas in their name.
McArthur’s Operations Analysis in the United States Army Eighth Air Force in World War II is not always the easiest read, but anyone interested in operations research, the history of World War Two, strategic bombing, the United States Air Force, or improving military operations would gain value from its pages. Most importantly, future war will almost invariably involve another Great Experiment as warfighters try to implement new ideas of warfare whose vision on paper do not live up to the cruel reality of war.
Professional military education needs tools to look at the past as a guide, as a way to learn the practice of discovering solutions that meet present needs by knowing enough to ask the right questions. History supplies these military professionals with the tools to shape models of the present and visions of the future.
An unexplored aspect of structural and operational readiness is the ability for forces and capabilities to be ready for military operations below conflict, specifically in the competition space with other global powers. With respect to this level of competition, the key is to have enough force ready, but not so much so as to break the bank, or carelessly sacrifice future readiness in the present.
McFate has not written a guide to control minds and subdue people abroad. On the contrary, she tries to show that military success and the security and prospects of the people on the spot go hand-in-hand. She makes a strong case for accepting different cultures, learning about them, understanding them, and eventually integrating into them in a certain way while living there.
In theory, policy, and strategy are the product of extensive analysis, detailed cost-benefit calculations, and rational criteria for decision-making. In practice, good strategy development is also about compromise and consensus building, resolving problems, mitigating uncertainty and constraints, and steering downstream through the fluid dynamics of international and domestic politics.
To be effective at helping partner militaries establish internal defense the U.S. must become deeply involved in the partner state’s sensitive military affairs, and the role of antagonistic external actors must be mitigated. In light of the nearly twenty-year effort to create stability in Afghanistan and the ongoing instability in Iraq, this book makes a compelling argument for what is required to build partner military capacity.
Taken as a whole, this work offers a critical means to analyze coup success and introduces a layer of analysis that has been greatly needed. Above all his work underscores the need for scholars to work harder at differentiating between the motivation behind a coup and the probability of its tactical success.
Sides’ history highlights lessons from one of America’s few large-scale conventional conflicts in the post-World War II era. Sides’ story highlights the risk of miscalculating a foreign power’s intention to intervene in a conflict, the American predilection to over-rely on technology in warfare, and the enduring importance of experienced leadership in combat.
China seeks nothing less than to displace the United States as the preeminent power in the Pacific, if not the world. It intends to make a new order that expands the reach of its state-driven economic model. To achieve this vision, China's leaders have characterized the first two decades of the 21st century as a "period of strategic opportunity," during which Xi Jinping's “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation can be realized.
With Taipei’s economic and diplomatic fortunes having gone south (vis-à-vis Beijing’s) in recent decades—coupled with the rising stature of the Chinese armed forces—the story of the original party-army that ruled China proper, indubitably, has been neglected by both popular media and academe alike. In this present context, The Rise and Fall of An Officer Corps is a timely contribution to our understanding of modern China and its military history.
Civilian and military leaders have sought the ability to anticipate the nature of future conflicts and prepare for them for millennia. Robert H. Latiff gives us his vision of future war in his recent book Future War: Preparing for the New Global Battlefield. In a concise volume, he presents his assessment of where the U.S. military is now, the challenges ahead, and the way forward.
The premise of Michael Pillsbury’s controversial book is alarming yet straightforward. Western strategic thinkers have been the victims of a massive deception campaign perpetrated by a group of Chinese hardliners who have convinced the West that China’s intentions are benign, but who are, in fact, driven by one overriding goal, to overthrow the U.S. as the world’s sole superpower. If this conjures up images of a thriller from the pen of Dan Brown, it may be the intent of the author.