Defended By Reason: Can Theory Provide Another Approach to Transformation?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The Army as well as the other armed services began a transformation in the late 1990s in order to meet the challenges of warfare in the future. This effort is characterized by utilizing technology as the catalyst for change. The process has proceeded with fits and starts since that time and virtually nobody is certain of the outcome. A review of history demonstrates that there is a viable alternative to a technological methodology for transformation that could stimulate change across the services. The stimulant mentioned is in the form of a new theory of war. A new American theory of war could provide a different approach for navigating through the uncertainty of transformation. Theory as a logical starting point can establish the intellectual foundation for doctrine and organizations, developing new technology to support the doctrine, and the training paradigm to mature the concepts. Further, theory can drive development over a very long period of time as demonstrated by the evolution of airpower during the 20th century. By contrast, technology as a catalyst does not always provide a clear path to service reform. In the 1980s the Army formed a high technology test bed division in an attempt to utilize technology to stimulate long-term change in the force. The test bed experiment is remarkably similar to the current effort to transform. The effort largely failed due to a lack of intellectual underpinning grounded in a theory of war. This monograph examines case studies in airpower theory and the high technology test bed to demonstrate that theory is a prerequisite for long-term change expressed as transformation. Based on an analysis of the case studies this monograph recommends that in order to move transformation in the right direction over the long-term the United States military must adopt a new theory of war.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics