Strategy and the Revolution in Military Affairs: From Theory to Policy

  • June 01, 1995
  • LTC James Kievit, Dr Steven Metz

A small band of "RMA" analysts has emerged in the military and Department of Defense, in the academic strategic studies community, and in defense-related think-tanks and consulting firms. To these analysts, the Gulf War provided a vision of a potential revolution in military affairs (RMA) in which Information Age technology would be combined with appropriate doctrine and training to allow a small but very advanced U.S. military to protect national interests with unprecedented efficiency. The authors examine the open-source literature on the RMA that has resulted. They find that much of it has concentrated on defining and describing military revolutions and that, despite the efforts of some of the finest minds in the defense analytical community, it has not offered either comprehensive basic theories or broad policy choices and implications. The authors believe that in order to master a RMA rather than be dragged along by it, Americans must debate its theoretical underpinnings, strategic implications, core assumptions, and normative choices. As a step in that direction they provide a set of hypotheses regarding the configuration and process of revolutions in military affairs, and examine some of their potential policy implications.