The Army’s force posture is out of balance, with a greater percentage of troops stationed in the United States than at any time since the late 1940s. This has forced an over-reliance on lengthy, continuous rotational deployments to achieve deterrence and assurance in theaters such as northeast Asia and Europe. This finding is based on a 9-month study assessing the costs and benefits of rotational deployments and forward stationing. The analysis reveals that in terms of fiscal cost, training readiness, morale and family readiness, and diplomatic factors, the United States could likely achieve deterrence and assurance objectives more efficiently and more effectively with increased forward stationing. The recommendations address what kinds of units would be best suited for forward stationing, where forward stationing would be most efficacious, and how the Department of Defense should go about rebalancing Army force posture.
Leadership receives a tremendous amount of attention, but what about the day-to-day command challenges that confront O-4s, O-5s, and O-6s in today’s war zones? What has command entailed over the past decade and a half for special operations force (SOF) commanders who have deployed to Afghanistan (and Iraq) either to lead or to work under Special Operations Task Forces (SOTFs) or Combined Joint Special Operations Task Forces (CJSOTFs)? In both theaters, officers have had to contend with various competing hierarchies and significant churn. What then might the Army and military do to obviate or mitigate these and other problems? The contours of a potential solution are described and its benefits discussed.
Clausewitz famously observed that war has an enduring nature and a changing character that evolves over time as technology, society, economics, and politics shift. This observation also applies to strategic leadership: it too has an enduring nature and a changing character.
In the wake of two extended wars, Western militaries find themselves looking to the future while confronting amorphous nonstate threats and shrinking defense budgets. The 2015 Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS) examined how robotics and autonomous systems that enhance soldier effectiveness may offer attractive investment opportunities for developing a more efficient force capable of operating effectively in the future environment. This monograph offers 3 chapters derived from the KCIS and explores the drivers influencing strategic choices associated with these technologies and offers preliminary policy recommendations geared to advance a comprehensive technology investment strategy. In addition, the publication offers insight into the ethical challenges and potential positive moral implications of using robots on the modern battlefield.
Armed robotic systems—drones and droids—now emerging on the battlefield portend new strategic realities not only for U.S. forces but also for our allies and future potential belligerents. Numerous questions of immediate warfighting importance come to mind with the fielding of these drones and droids that are viewed as still being in their experimental and entrepreneurial stage of development. By drawing upon historical weapons systems life cycles case studies, focusing on the early 9th through the mid-16th-century knight, the mid-19th through the later 20th-century battleship, and the early 20th through the early 21st-century tank, the monograph provides military historical context related to their emergence, and better allows both for questions related to warfighting to be addressed, and policy recommendations related to them to be initially provided.
Senior leaders are told in doctrine that they must lead and manage change. But apart from some popular models for the process of change, there are few how-to guides for leading change in the unique context of military organizations. Moreover, popular change management texts focus on initiating change, and less about inheriting and sustaining change efforts already happening in the unit. This how-to guide draws from a wide range of organizational literature to provide a comprehensive set of questions and guidelines that senior leaders should answer as they navigate change efforts and work to improve their organizations.
Parameters 47, no. 4 (Winter 2017–18). This article examines the potential implications of the combinations of robotics, artificial intelligence, and deep learning systems on the character and nature of war. The author employs Carl von Clausewitz’s trinity concept to discuss how autonomous weapons will impact the essential elements of war. The essay argues war’s essence, as politically directed violence fraught with friction, will remain its most enduring aspect, even if more intelligent machines are involved at every level.
There are many risks to the U.S. Army’s command and control (C2) operations and to its intelligence and information warfare (IW) capabilities. The challenges include: significant uncertainty; sudden unexpected events; high noise and clutter levels in intelligence pictures; basic and complex deceptions exercised through a variety of channels; the actions of hidden malign actors; and novel forms of attack on U.S. and allied command, control, communications, computers, information/intelligence, surveillance, targeting acquisition, and reconnaissance (C4ISTAR) systems. If the U.S. Army is to secure and maintain information dominance in all environments, it must exploit complexity and uncertainty in the battlespace and not simply seek to overcome it. Innovation requires that new ideas are considered, and that old ideas should be robustly challenged. To achieve and maintain information dominance, the U.S. Army will also require a significant injection of innovation, a robust and resilient C2 and intelligence capability, novel technologies and an accelerated information operations capability development program that is broad, deep, sustained and well-coordinated. Furthermore, once information dominance is achieved, maintaining it will demand continuous change and development.
FEATURES: Special Commentary. “The Military as Social Experiment: Challenging a Trope” by Jacqueline E. Whitt and Elizabeth A. Perazzo. Teaching Strategy. “Stuff Happens: Understanding Causation in Policy and Strategy” by Andrew A. Hill and Stephen J. Gerras. “Comparative Strategy in Professional Military Education” by Jean-Loup Samaan. Nontraditional War. “Russia’s Military and Security Privatization” by Christopher R. Spearin. “Russia’s Frozen Conflicts and the Donbas” by Erik J. Grossman. Traditional War. “Fighting Russia? Modeling the Baltic Scenarios” by Ben S. Wermeling. “The Conventionality of Russia’s Unconventional Warfare” by Patrick J. Savage.
Few if any American officers performed a wider array of strategic functions as Dwight D. Eisenhower--he was a staff planner in the War Department, wartime commander of a massive coalition force, peacetime Chief of Staff, and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. Eisenhower was directly involved in a number of major transitions including the building of the wartime American Army, its demobilization following the war, and the resuscitation of American military strength during the initial years of the cold war. This means that Eisenhower's career can provide important lessons on how a coherent strategy should and should not be built during times of strategic transition. That is what this monograph begins to do. It is not intended to be a biography in the usual sense and thus offers no new facts or insights into Eisenhower's life. Instead it uses that life as a backdrop for exploring the broader essence of strategic coherence and draws lessons from Eisenhower's career that can help guide the strategic transition which the U.S. military now faces.