Since 1991, standing and mobilization forces made available by nations to NATO have been steadily reduced, particularly in the case of land forces. Equally important have been the structures NATO has created into which national contributions would fall on deployment. Military Committee (MC) 317, accepted by nations in 1991, provides the framework by which NATO organizes its forces. However, the author argues that, while there are arguably sufficient reaction forces to support NATO Ministerial Guidance, there are numerous weaknesses that would, and have, inhibited the efficient and effective deployment of land forces in crises. More specifically, there are insufficient deployable reaction headquarters, both at the corps and component command level, that would support a commander of a NATO Combined Joint Task Force. The continued existence of what has become atavistic practices of nations impede and inhibit the employment of multinational land forces by an Allied commander. The author observes that the NATO Force Structure Review offers nations an opportunity to review these dated structures, organizations, and practices.
Lieutenant Colonel C. William Fox, Jr., a physician who has had extensive experience in U.S. activities in Africa over the past two decades, has personally supervised operations that have considerable potential as models for future regional involvement. In this publication, he offers a rationale and vision for future DoD activities in Africa. His account also serves to remind us that substantial strategic benefits can accrue to the United States even from small, tailored teams deployed under creative, energetic leaders.
The effects of the information revolution are particularly profound in the realm of national security strategy. They are creating new opportunities for those who master them. The U.S. military, for instance, is exploring ways to seize information superiority during conflicts and thus gain decisive advantages over its opponents. But the information revolution also creates new security threats and vulnerabilities. No nation has made more effective use of the information revolution than the United States, but none is more dependent on information technology. To protect American security, then, military leaders and defense policymakers must understand the information revolution.
The essays in this volume are intended to contribute to such an understanding. They grew from a December 1999 conference co-sponsored by the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute and the University of Pittsburgh Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies. The conference brought together some of the foremost members of the academic strategic studies community with representatives of the U.S. Government and U.S. military. As could be expected when examining a topic as complex as the relationship between the information revolution and national security, the presentations and discussions were far-ranging, covering such issues as the global implications of the information revolution, the need for a national information security strategy, and the role of information in U.S. military operations. While many more questions emerged than answers, the conference did suggest some vital tasks that military leaders and defense policymakers must undertake.
The following two articles were written during and immediately after the war in Kosovo. The first is an adaptation of an earlier work written after a trip to Asia in 1998. In that essay, I suggested that foreign militaries were beginning to perceive our fixation on a firepower-centered way of war as an exploitable weakness. In fact, some states, armed with experience gained against us in real war, had already begun to evolve a doctrine to counter our superiority in precision. These potential adversaries concluded that dispersion, deception, patience and a willingness to absorb punishment offered them the means to endure precision strike long enough to outlast a technologically superior foe. Subsequent practical experience in Kosovo caused me to modify this thesis somewhat, but not much.
The "From Korea to Kosovo" article was written after a visit to Albania in May 1999. There I developed the central thesis for this essay: In wars of limited liability, success must be gained with a limited expenditure of means. A brief review of recent history tells us that we have been practically learning this lesson in real wars for half a century, beginning with Korea. The imperative to prepare for a full-scale war against the Soviets, however, has effectively impeded our ability to embed this lesson into our warfighting doctrine. Kosovo is a wake-up call. This article concludes with a maneuver warfare concept for this new era of limited liability wars in the Precision Age.
Throughout U.S. history, the American military services have had an unfortunate penchant for not being ready for the next war. Part of the problem has had to do with factors beyond their control: the American policy has been notoriously slow to respond to the challenges posed by dangerous enemies. On the other hand, American military institutions have been surprisingly optimistic in weighing their preparedness as they embarked on the nation's wars. The first battles involving American military forces hardly give reason for optimism. The initial defeats in the War of 1812, Bull Run, Belleau Woods, Savo Island, Kasserine Pass, Task Force Smith, and Landing Zone Albany hardly suggest unalloyed success by America's military in preparing for the next war. Admittedly, in each of its major wars the United States did enjoy the luxury of time to repair the deficiencies that showed up so glaringly in the country's first battles. Unfortunately, in the 21st century the United States may not have that luxury of time. Whatever approaches the American military take to innovation, war will occur. And it will provide a harsh audit. Almost certainly the next war will take the United States by surprise. U.S. military institutions may well have prepared for some other form of warfare, in some other location. To paraphrase Omar Bradley: it may well be the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. But there it will be, and the American military will have to fight that conflict on its terms rather than their own. Unfortunately, military history is replete with examples of military institutions that have refused to adapt to the real conditions of war, but rather have attempted to impose their own paradigm--no matter how irrelevant or ill-suited to the actual conditions.
If we cannot predict where the next war will occur or what form it will take, there are some things for which the American military can prepare as they enter the next millennium. Obviously, the services have to prepare the physical condition and training of soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen. But equally important, they must prepare the minds of the next generation of military leaders to handle the challenges of the battlefield. And that mental preparation will be more important than all the technological wizardry U.S. forces can bring to bear in combat. Most important in that intellectual preparation must be a recognition of what will not change: the fundamental nature of war, the fact that fog, friction, ambiguity, and uncertainty will dominate the battlefields of the future just as they have those of the past.
The theme for the U.S. Army War College's Ninth Annual Strategy Conference (April 1998) is "Challenging the United States Symmetrically and Asymmetrically: Can America Be Defeated?" Dr. Robert J. Bunker of California State University, San Bernardino, answers the question with an emphatic "yes." He expounds a scenario in which a future enemy (BlackFor) concedes that the U.S. Army's (BlueFor) superior technology, advanced weaponry, and proven record of success in recent military operations make it virtually invulnerable to conventional forms of symmetric attack. Therefore, BlackFor seeks asymmetric ways to obviate BlueFor's advantages. Dr. Bunker's scenario frontally assaults some of the premises he sees emerging from the Army After Next Project. It posits not a new peer competitor for the United States, but a new type of enemy for which, in Dr. Bunker's view, we will be ill-prepared, given our likely force development azimuths over the next two decades. It may be tempting to dismiss the possibility of an enemy possessing all the capabilities Dr. Bunker describes. Nonetheless, his paper points to potential changes in warfare that, even partially effected, must absorb our Army's professional attention as we address the challenges of the next century.
A year ago the Chief of Staff of the Army initiated the Army After Next Project (AANP) as a means of stimulating constructive thinking about the Army's future throughout the service. AANP has quickly developed into a primary vehicle for long-range planning. Under the leadership of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the AANP has conducted an ambitious program of studies, symposia and workshops, culminating in a Winter War Game and Senior Seminar held at Carlisle, January 27-February 6, 1997. A key line of initial inquiry for us has been to forecast the nature of the future security environment in which the Army will operate. That is the task Dr. Steven Metz set for himself in this monograph. In the pages that follow he propounds "currents of change" that will determine the future and sketches a series of plausible future security systems. Each system is characterized by the forms of conflict that will dominate it, the major strategic issues the United States might face, and the resulting military implications. While Dr. Metz's analysis leads to observations certain to be controversial, he illustrates quite clearly the primacy that environmental context will have in shaping our national security outlook and military strategy. Thus, Dr. Metz's observations on trends and systems warrant careful consideration as national policymakers and the Army's leaders build the military force of the future.
The current Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is taking place against the background of a larger historical watershed involving the end of the Cold War and the advent of what Alvin and Heidi Toffler have termed "the Information Age." In this essay, Dr. Earl Tilford argues that RMAs are driven by more than breakthrough technologies, and that while the technological component is important, a true revolution in the way military institutions organize, equip and train for war, and in the way war is itself conducted, depends on the confluence of political, social, and technological factors. After an overview of the dynamics of the RMA, Dr. Tilford makes the case that interservice rivalry and a reintroduction of the managerial ethos, this time under the guise of total quality management (TQM), may be the consequences of this revolution. In the final analysis, warfare is quintessentially a human endeavor. Technology and technologically sophisticated weapons are only means to an end. The U.S. Army, along with the other services, is embracing the RMA as it downsizes and restructures itself into Force XXI. Warfare, even on the digitized battlefield, is likely to remain unpredictable, bloody, and horrific. Military professionals cannot afford to be anything other than well-prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead, be it war with an Information Age peer competitor, a force of guerrillas out of the Agrarian Age, or a band of terrorists using the latest in high-tech weaponry. While Dr. Tilford is optimistic about the prospects for Force XXI, what follows is not an unqualified endorsement of the RMA or of the Army's transition to an Information Age force. By examining issues and problems that were attendant to previous RMAs, Dr. Tilford raises questions that ought to be asked by the Army as it moves toward Force XXI.
The authors concede that the revolution in military affairs holds great promise for conventional, combined-arms warfare, but conclude that its potential value in conflict short of war, whether terrorism, insurgency, or violence associated with narcotrafficking, is not so clear-cut. Given this, national leaders and strategists should proceed cautiously and only after a full exploration of the ethical, political, and social implications of their decisions. To illustrate this, the authors develop a hypothetical future scenario--a "history" of U.S. efforts in conflict short of war during the first decade of the 21st century. It is too early to offer concrete policy prescriptions for adapting many aspects of the revolution in military affairs to conflict short of war, but the authors do suggest an array of questions that should be debated. In order to decide whether to apply new technology and emerging concepts or how to employ them, the United States must first reach consensus on ultimate objectives and acceptable costs.
In April 1994, the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute held its annual Strategy Conference. This year's theme was "The Revolution in Military Affairs: Defining an Army for the 21st Century." Dr. Michael J. Mazarr argues that the current revolution in military affairs is part of a larger sociopolitical transformation. The new technologies both propelling and resulting from this transformation are having a profound impact on warfare. Dr. Mazarr urges military and civilian strategists, planners, and decisionmakers to think about armed conflict in ways so novel that those used to dealing with "the unchanging truths about war" may feel threatened. To help deal with the ambiguities and complexities presented by the RMA, Dr. Mazarr offers a framework of four principles for defense planning.