Crack in the Foundation: Defense Transformation and the Underlying Assumption of Dominant Knowledge in Future War

  • November 15, 2003
  • COL Herbert R Mcmaster

The author argues that acceptance of the assumption of certainty in future war is illogical because the claimed source of certainty - technology - is unable to remove or even reduce significantly principal sources of uncertainty in war. The idea that future war will be near-certain fails to account for enemy actions, reduces the complexity of warfare to identifying and targeting things, and ignores the human and psychological dimensions of war. Instead of pursuing situational certainty, only an embrace of the ambiguity of war, and the development of balanced Joint Forces, effective joint integration, and adaptive leaders will permit the flexibility that is the true key to future victories.