From the Editor


From Parameters, Autumn 2001, pp. 2-3.

Go to Autumn issue Table of Contents.


In This Issue . . .

With this issue Parameters recognizes the US Army War College's 100 years of educating strategic leaders for service to the nation. This issue honors all those who have gone before for their wisdom, foresight, and dedication in meeting the challenge of the college's founder, Elihu Root, to maintain an institution whose guiding principle is "not to promote war but to preserve peace by the intelligent and adequate preparation to repel aggression." The inside back cover of this issue (normally reserved for "From the Archives") provides the reader a guide to the small portion of the college's history displayed on the covers.

The feature "Strategic Education for a New Century" offers perspectives on the challenges associated with providing today's officers and senior civilians with the requisite tools to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving strategic environment. The first article, by General Henry H. Shelton, examines how best to combine the synergy of the future global environment, rapid technological advances, and the military art into a pedagogy that will meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's joint strategic leaders and planners. General Shelton cautions that education is a continuing process and should not be viewed as a distraction from a soldier's duties, but rather as an investment in the future. The second article, by Colonels Jeffrey D. McCausland and Gregg F. Martin, warns that it is a rapid transition from the tactical to the strategic level for young leaders in today's volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. The authors' exhaustive research indicates that the new security environment requires a transformation of the Army's officer education system in order to meet the demands of the military's expanded professional jurisdiction.

Our final article in this feature is by Dr. Samuel J. Newland, "A Centennial History of the US Army War College." The author was commissioned (on short notice) to provide a historical perspective of the Army War College's 100 years of service. The result is a most readable and succinct history, providing the reader with greater understanding and insight into the personalities and policies that have shaped and guided the college in its transformation to the Army's preeminent educational institution.

David Jablonsky defines and explains the influence of two (Powell and Clinton) doctrines on the Army's ability to transform. He makes the reader only too painfully aware that there is a limited window of opportunity in which this transformation may successfully occur. He concludes that although both doctrines have had a positive effect on the Army in its preparation for transformation, perhaps the greatest contribution they will make is their influence on the current debate surrounding the transformation process, both within and outside the military. That the legacy of these doctrines facilitates this debate is a positive in determining the future of the Army.

The second feature in this issue offers a mostly pessimistic look at "China's Future." Thomas M. Kane and Lawrence W. Serewicz examine China's economic aspirations in terms of its ability to provide new sources of food and energy for its people. The authors see these needs being translated into demands that will place China at odds with the current world order and international system. Richard L. Russell takes a hypothetical view of the future relationship between China and Taiwan to ask, What if China attacks Taiwan? The author examines those issues and actions that might "cross China's political red line," and precipitate such an attack. He concludes that to simply sit back and assume that the status quo will continue in perpetuity is not prudent statecraft on America's part. In the third article in this feature, Roy C. Howle, Jr., looks at the specific aspects of America's relationship with China to determine where we should focus our strategic efforts. The author highlights the problems, centering on the United States' inability to define and communicate our vital interests in the rapidly changing strategic environment. The author concludes that the only way the United States can "win" in this relationship is to maintain a military and political deterrent capable of influencing China's policies in the region.

Our third feature looks at the specific aspects of the role of government in society with an examination of how best to organize for "Defense of the Homeland." Terrence Kelly posits an organizational framework upon which to build a credible defense against attack. He adroitly points out that current structure of the federal government, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, is poorly organized to counter such a threat. Kelly concludes that nothing short of a Homeland Defense Agency, built on the model of the military's combatant command structure, will suffice. Any success this agency might expect will be linked directly to resolution of the policy and legal issues associated with the role government plays in our society. Aaron Weiss provides our second article in this feature with his inquiry into who should be responsible for responding to terrorist attacks against the United States. He takes an optimistic view that the threat to America is in fact waning, and the probability of attack is not what it once was. His conclusion is that it will be local citizenry--supported by good training, planning, and equipment--who will eventually be the most capable responders to attacks on the homeland.

Our final article in this issue is by William S. Murray and examines the temptation by society to quantify every aspect of our lives. His analysis of "methods of effectiveness" provides the reader with some of the dangers associated with these attempts at quantification. The author's analysis of network-centric warfare and anti-cohesion theory will leave the reader with considerable doubt regarding the future for the "mathematics of warfare."

Book Reviews in this issue include David Jablonsky's review of the late Michael I. Handel's third, revised, and expanded edition of his classic Masters of War. Michael Handel's untimely death created a void in the intellectual defense community that will never be filled. However, this revision of perhaps his greatest work will keep this unique individual in our memory. In other reviews, Professor Charles Moskos considers Chris Van Aller's The Culture of Defense, and Bob Sorley dissects Our Vietnam: The War 1954-1975. Dr. Andrew Scobell's examination of the authenticity and value of Liang Zhang's The Tiananmen Papers, and Martin Cook's review of Thomas Ricks' latest work, A Soldier's Duty, are accompanied by a series of other superb reviews on a variety of defense and leadership issues. -- RHT


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Reviewed 15 August 2001. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil