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The American Way of Warfare
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
During the past several decades, numerous authors have written on the subject of an American way of war. These include works by Russell Weigley, Max Boot, and Brian Linn. The apparent differences among these works have stimulated debate among military scholars as to what constitutes the American way of war. These debates and the accepted validity of apparently differing accounts of the American way of war highlight how difficult it is to characterize a topic as broad and inclusive as a way of war. Two challenges confront any attempt to provide a definitive list of items that characterize a way of war. The first is the broad scope of activities that the term War encompasses. The second is that each conflict contains unique circumstances and policy objectives that differentiate it from previous conflicts. Because of these challenges, some scholars claim that it is impossible to generalize a singular American way of war and that there is a difference between the concept of war and the conduct of warfare. This study concludes that, over time, aspects of Army doctrine and operational traditions have achieved a state of semi-permanence. This enduring legacy represents an identifiable American way of warfare that encourages adaptive leaders to seek decisive victories through the application of superior power, which requires the ability to project that power over vast distances. It derives from the collective perceptions of historical military experience and is influenced by the unique American experiences of geography, political philosophy, and civic culture.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE