From the Editor


From Parameters,  Winter 2003-04, pp. 2-3.


In This Issue . . .

Richard Hooker provides an alternative, more optimistic view of US civil-military relations, countering the current trend. He challenges the prevailing assertion that a gap exists between the civilian and military sectors of American society. Hooker provides the reader with evidence that the tension between the conservative military and liberal civil society is in fact quite normal, dating back to colonial America. The author concludes that Americans need not fear challenges from the military to their constitutional norms or institutions. The founding principle of the subordination of the soldier to the state is alive and well in modern America.

Our first thematic feature in this issue is “Shaping Tomorrow’s Army.” This feature provides readers with insights into possible alternatives for America’s future military. In an era when terms like transformation and digitization seem to have taken on a life of their own, we thought it might be time to challenge some of the underlying assumptions being used to define and shape tomorrow’s military. Peter Wilson, John Gordon, and David Johnson, three of RAND’s most distinguished researchers, supply the first of three articles in the feature. “An Alternative Future Force: Building a Better Army” may well become a primer for anyone associated with preparing US ground forces for the challenges of the next several decades. The authors question many of the assumptions that are key components of the Future Force and make specific recommendations for enhancing the Army’s evolving force structure. They conclude that what the Army really needs is a realistic assessment of the current strategic environment and likely future missions. Only then will the Army be able to meet the relevant concerns that are at the heart of its transformation. The second article in this feature is Christopher Toomey’s analysis of the Army’s commitment to creating a digitized force. “Army Digitization: Making it Ready for Prime Time,” examines the state of digitization throughout the Army and its impact on transformation efforts. The author concludes that a multilayered approach is required to meet the Army’s digital shortfalls in the near to mid term. Toomey warns that given the current limitations of established networks, our restricted training base, and a growing dependence on a legion of civilian contractors, the current digital force will experience great difficulty in attempting to operate within larger Army formations or with joint or combined forces. Patrick Rayermann provides our concluding article in the feature, “Exploiting Commercial SATCOM: A Better Way.” The author explores the link between the US military’s need to maintain information superiority and the capability to pass large amounts of information between highly mobile and dispersed units. Although the military is increasing its capacity through use of organic military SATCOM systems, it relies heavily on the leasing of commercial satellite communications to meet critical shortfalls. Rayermann proposes ways that the armed forces could adopt commercial best practices to acquire the needed satellite communications more effectively and with extraordinary cost savings.

In our recurring “Regional Perspectives” feature are three assessments of events affecting the regional and global security environment. Good friends are often hard to find, especially when their friendship results in being branded “America’s lap dog.” Such is the case with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. James Wither, a Lieuten-

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ant Colonel in the British Army, has written a revealing analysis of the Prime Minister’s leadership that proved so critical to the British government’s support for US policy toward Iraq. In “British Bulldog or Bush’s Poodle? Anglo-American Relations and the Iraq War,” the author reviews the “special relationship” that exists between the United States and Britain, the habit of security cooperation between the two countries, Britain’s perception of its world role, and the Blair government’s genuine appraisal of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime—all bolstering Blair to stand firm against the outside forces (NATO and the greater Europe) which are exerting tremendous pressures on the United Kingdom and its Prime Minister. These pressures have the potential to destroy Prime Minister Blair’s vision for the United Kingdom as a pivotal player in the future of the continent and its continuing relationship with the United States. Steven Meyer draws on Lord Salisbury’s 1877 warning to explore the relevance of present-day NATO. “Carcass of Dead Policies: The Irrelevance of NATO,” uses the examples of history to show that Western policymakers often tend to rely on past realities, policies, and institutions when assessing contemporary and future challenges. The author warns that if NATO continues to operate in such a manner it risks becoming an irrelevant distraction, at best, for both the United States and Europe, and at worst toxic to their respective security needs. Thomas Kane explores China’s long-term aspirations and the role nuclear weapons play in “Dragon or Dinosaur? Nuclear Weapons in a Modernizing China.” Kane concludes that the Chinese intend to use their nuclear arsenal to influence relations with potential opponents in an ever-growing variety of global situations.

Donald Chisholm’s “The Risk of Optimism in the Conduct of War” examines the theory of Rapid Dominance in achieving military and national goals. Placing Rapid Dominance in a historical context, the author questions the claims of its advocates. Chisholm argues for more traditional strategies, such as destroying an enemy’s capability to resist, recognizing that our knowledge of the battlefield will never be complete, and leaving such optimistic philosophies as Rapid Dominance to the halls of academe.

A war in Iraq and myriad global deployments have created a challenge for US Northern Command to find adequate forces to meet homeland security and homeland defense missions. Arthur Tulak, Robert Kraft, and Don Silbaugh examine this challenge in their article “State Defense Forces and Homeland Security.” The authors describe the capabilities inherent in State Defense Forces (SDFs)—military forces created, funded, and controlled by individual states. Already integrated in emergency management and consequence management plans at the state level, SDFs are, the authors suggest, potential force-providers for homeland security operations.

In Memoriam . . .

It is indeed a sad duty to say farewell to a great friend and faithful member of our Editorial Board. Brian D. Moore, Colonel, USMC Ret., passed away on 29 August 2003.

Brian’s service at the War College began in 1982. He would later serve as the senior Marine representative until his retirement from active service in 1987. Brian returned to the War College in 1992 as Director of Force Projection Operations, a position he held until his untimely passing. A highly decorated and proud combat veteran, Brian was appropriately characterized at his memorial service by his good friend Colonel Don Boose, USA Ret.: “Brian was bigger than life . . . he was a legend. We should celebrate what a hero he was.” — RHT


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Reviewed 24 November 2003. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil