From the Editor


From Parameters, Autumn 2000, pp. 2-4.

Go to Autumn issue Table of Contents.


In This Issue . . .

Don Snider and Gayle Watkins argue the need to renew and redefine professionalism in America's Army. They examine the underlying causes for the Army's failure to adapt to a significant decline in effectiveness. The authors contrast the organizational functioning of a bureaucracy with that of a profession to determine the requirement for a new professionalism.

Thomas S. Langston examines the history and the future of the "civilian military culture" in American society. He analyzes the attitudes and expectations Americans have regarding their military in an attempt to determine the appropriate responses and relationships between these two segments of society.

Paul Johnston provides an insightful view of military doctrine and how it affects the functioning of the military within society. His revealing analysis of the influence of doctrine on an army's behavior causes the reader to speculate it may well be culture, not doctrine, that determines how an army fights.

Steven Metz provides the first of three articles reexamining the revolution in military affairs (RMA) in his "next twist." The author departs from the traditional (conservative) context in which the RMA has been viewed, with its simple application of technology to operational and strategic concepts, and suggests we are entering a second, more radical, phase where concepts such as offensive information warfare may well become the norm.

Thomas K. Adams follows on the heels of the Metz article with his examination of the "real" revolution in military affairs. He postulates that the term "revolution" is much more than a simple metaphor for rapid change, that in fact a true revolution is sweeping away the manner in which armies operate. The author warns that the military must overcome its traditional slow and restrained methods of adaptation and inculcate the lessons of nature's complex adaptive systems or risk losing the benefits of the RMA.

David Tucker's analysis of the need for improved interagency coordination as a result of the RMA highlights the potential for additional challenges and strained relationships as a by-product of the "revolution." The author identifies the lack of systematic planning procedures between governmental agencies and the Defense Department to caution that if better coordination is the goal, there is an accompanying obligation for the military to explain how this improved cooperation will benefit all the parties involved.

Paul J. Smith uses the medium of transnational security threats to examine roles for the military in a rapidly evolving strategic environment. The author's analysis leads to the conundrum faced by armed forces meeting traditional threats to national security while preparing for asymmetric transnational threats. He adroitly points out that even if governments attempt to rectify this threat-force imbalance by establishing specialized agencies, the military will still have to maintain total capability across the continuum of conflict.

Paul Marks provides insight into the relationship developing between China and Cambodia in his review of Chinese national security strategy. The author contends this exercise of the instruments of national power by China to achieve strategic objectives in Cambodia is reflective of China's strategic goals for Southeast Asia.

Thomas W. Spoehr tells us "the shoe no longer fits" in his assessment of the future for the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai. The author re-looks the current forces and their roles and missions to provide a backdrop for his recommendation to adapt or terminate the US commitment to the MFO. The author's thesis is premised on the belief there will be a new role for the MFO on the Golan Heights.

Review Essays. William J. Prior takes a view beyond the Parameters norm in his article based on Saving Private Ryan. His review of the morality of war as contrasted with the morality of decency exemplified in the Spielberg film offers powerful and insightful lessons for the modern warrior. Vince Goulding provides the second of our review essays with his look back at Vietnam through the eyes of the nation and many of the principals responsible for the conduct of the war. Earl Tilford analyzes three recent books related to the future of the American military in his "Reviewing the Future." Tilford's pithy narrative captures actions and events ranging from Gary Hart's recommendation to deactivate five regular active divisions to Michael O'Hanlon's skeptical view of the future for the RMA. Dr. Tilford also examines Charles Moskos, John Williams, and David Segal's anthology reviewing the changes in the militaries of 13 nations in what is termed a postmodern paradigm.

The Book Review section presents an eclectic view of world and defense issues. Most notably General (Ret.) Gordon R. Sullivan's consideration of two books containing "pictures on the road to hell." Parameters has traditionally avoided photographic efforts in our reviews; however, these two photo anthologies of war, famine, brutality, fear, and hopelessness demand our attention. Other reviews in this issue examine topics ranging from the conduct of war to the execution of foreign policy.

Confusion in the Ranks . . .

Periodically we receive rather stern phone calls from individuals demanding to know why they are not receiving their copy of Parameters. After all, they are members of the Army War College Alumni Association or support the Army War College Foundation, Inc. Let me take this opportunity to distinguish between the three organizations and to commend their virtues and service to the college.

Parameters is provided to all graduates of the US Army War College until their retirement from active federal service, regardless of component. Following retirement, graduates may subscribe to the journal through the Government Printing Office as outlined on the inside front cover of each issue. Membership in the alumni association or support for the foundation does not convey a subscription to Parameters.

The mission of the Army War College Foundation, Inc., is to enrich the college's academic environment, enhance the institution's research activities, and encourage excellence in the faculty and student body to ensure the preparation of outstanding leaders for the armed forces of the United States and its allies by providing funds not available from appropriations. Contact information for the foundation:

Army War College Foundation, Inc.
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Telephone: (717) 243-1756
Fax: (717) 243-0859
E-mail: awc-foundation@awc.carlisle.army.mil

The US Army War College Alumni Association was established in 1967 as a nonprofit association to foster, maintain, and strengthen a sense of fraternity among alumni and to promote continued interest in and support of the Army War College. Membership is limited to students, graduates of any US Army War College course, and present or former staff and faculty. Contact information for the association:

Army War College Alumni Association
122 Forbes Avenue
Carlisle, PA 17013-5247

Telephone: (717) 243-0884
Fax: (717) 243-0159
E-mail: alumni@awc.carlisle.army.mil

Semper Fi . . .

For those associated with professional military education, its inspiration, and its analysis, a sad day is dawning. An icon in the world of professional military journals, John E. Greenwood, Colonel, USMC Ret., is retiring following 20 1/2 years at the helm of the Marine Corps Gazette. John joined the Gazette in 1980 following 30 years of active duty that included service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Those who know John understand that he brought the same professional attitude to the Gazette that he displayed during his years of active service. His innovative drive and demand for excellence were instrumental in making the Marine Corps Gazette the professional journal of all Marines. From the staff members of Parameters and the US Army War College, thank you for your years of exemplary service, John, and best wishes for the years ahead. -- RHT


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Reviewed 15 August 2000. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil