Short of General War: Perspectives on the Use of Military Power in the 21st Century

  • April 01, 2010
  • Dr Harry R Yarger
  • Dr Harry R Yarger

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the United States is involved in two ongoing wars, faces a significant international terrorist threat, and is witnessing an escalation of international resistance to its leadership of the global world order. Looking out to 2025, many see the potential for a prolonged period of instability as a result of competing economic models, demographics, the rise of new international actors and the resurgence old ones, climate change, and the scarcity of resources. The range of stability challenges will stretch the capabilities of any military force structure and require innovative thinking on the part of policymakers and military professionals alike on the appropriate development and use of the military element of power. In this anthology, 16 students of the U.S. Army War College Class of 2008 offer their perspectives on the use of military power across the spectrum of conflict in the 21st century, short of or following general war, and provide insights into the necessary force structure, policy, strategy, and doctrinal approaches for future success. Beyond a focus on operations short of general war, these writings share in common a worthwhile idea or set of ideas that can materially contribute to how the U.S. military can best conduct full spectrum operations. Collectively, these essays reveal the innovative thinking and diversity and depth of thought of the U.S. and foreign military and civilian agency personnel that comprise each student body at the U.S. Army War College as they prepare themselves to become senior leaders and fulfill their roles in their militaries or agencies.