From the Editor


From Parameters, Summer 2000, pp. 2-3.

Go to Summer issue Table of Contents.


In This Issue . . .

Vincent J. Goulding, Jr., warns it is at our own risk that we ignore the basic tenets of warfare as codified by Clausewitz and exemplified by "Stonewall" Jackson. The author contends that commanders and others in authority must understand that mission accomplishment may entail casualties. He outlines the requirement for new doctrine, organizations, training, and equipment if the services are to successfully execute their missions in the 21st century. Goulding admonishes all military professionals to cease their philosophical gravitation to the belief that maneuver is the exclusive province of ground forces. His challenging analysis leads the reader to the conclusion that it is only by means of successful strategic maneuver that military operations, at any level, will succeed.

Mark E. Vinson presents the first of two articles outlining possibilities for force structure for the new century. The author examines the mismatch between mission requirements and forces available in determining potential approaches to restoring military readiness. Vinson suggests that it is only through the increased integration of reserve components that a more relevant and ready Army will be realized. He advocates the novel concept of creating a Smaller-Scale Contingency Corps to deploy reserve component units for follow-on rotations in extended contingencies.

George A. Bloch provides a second article examining force structure in his review of the process and structure associated with the new modular forces of the French army. The author contends that the process by which this force was achieved is perhaps more important than the actual structure. Bloch highlights the fact that it was only through the army's own initiative, and an understanding of the need for radical change, that this new force was conceived as a product of France's soldiers rather than its politicians. The analysis of this unique developmental process and resulting force structure will leave the reader pondering possible parallels for American ground forces.

P. H. Liotta investigates the process of defining national interest in the first of three articles detailing the challenges associated with making strategic decisions in an uncertain world. The author contends that the inability of Americans to agree among themselves as to what constitutes a national interest only complicates the process. He draws the reader's attention to why it is critical that we identify and define these interests, the defense of which determines the United States' relationships throughout the world. The author provides a "sliding interests matrix" and "national interest taxonomy" for the reader's consideration as aids in determining national interests. He emphasizes that complicating this entire process of determining a state's strategic interest is the fact that modern democratic states are defined as much by qualities such as respect for human rights and individual liberties as by their self-interests.

In a related article Christopher J. Fettweis presents a revisionist view of Sir Halford Mackinder's "Heartland" theory and a possible role for the world's sole remaining superpower. The author examines how geopolitics, as a grand strategy, was one of the important foundations of the West's Cold War containment policy. He continues the examination by disputing each of Mackinder's rationales for ex- pounding his "Heartland" theory--impenetrability, mobility, central position, and productivity. Using Mackinder's own qualifications he then analyzes implications for the United States. In concluding, Fettweis challenges the "timeless truths" associated with some of world's most respected geopoliticians.

The final article in the trilogy has William R. Hawkins defending the need to "put boots on the ground" in his analysis of the challenges associated with the imposition of peace following total and limited wars. His comparison of America's predicament at the end of the 20th century with that of Republican Rome in the 2d century B.C. is as enlightening as it is disturbing. The author makes a strong case for the necessity to move from a strategy of limited war (and peace) to one of "true victory" in an effort to guarantee a peaceful future. Hawkins contends it is not sufficient for the winning belligerent to simply impose peace following conflict, but he must establish a "version of peace" that negates the opponent's competing concepts. He goes on to argue that the pursuit of such a strategy will require "boots on the ground," necessitating a larger and reordered Army and Marine Corps.

George H. Franco presents the first of three articles looking at contemporary regional security issues in his hard-hitting analysis of the Colombian government's battle to overcome a major narco-insurgency. The author's expertise in the region provides the reader with new insights into the political, social, and economic realities underlying this "war." Franco looks at specific events affecting this conflict during 1999 and determines that indeed this was Colombia's "darkest hour." His analysis concludes that if current trends are not reversed there will be an ever-increasing demand for the United States and the international community to take increased military action.

David J. Richardson provides an insightful review of the security strategies of the United States and Japan in the Asia-Pacific region. He examines how this partnership, predicated on a continued bilateral security arrangement, is influencing regional stability. The author adroitly reminds the reader that the United States and Japan have been partners in a number of humanitarian, relief, and military operations throughout the world over the past decade. These precedents have persuaded the Japanese to expand their role in the Asia-Pacific region under revised Defense Guidelines. The author concludes it is these initiatives, combined with a steadfast United States presence, that offer renewed hope for continued security within the Asia-Pacific region.

Michael Robert Hickok provides our final look at regional security in this issue with his analysis of the modernization of the Turkish military in relation to regional threats. The author highlights the fact that the Turkish military is engaged in a rapid modernization program at a time when other regional and world militaries have opted to downsize. More important, the author predicts that the demand for resources to fund this massive modernization program will result in a loss of confidence in the military by the Turkish people. Hickok predicts that if the military fails to regain the confidence of the Turkish people there may well be increased domestic unrest and the possibility of a military takeover. He concludes that this obvious lack of coordination between Turkey's strategic vision and the ongoing military reforms has many of Turkey's neighbors and citizens justifiably questioning the military's short- and long-term objectives. -- RHT


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Reviewed 8 May 2000. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil