From the Editor


From Parameters, Spring 1997, pp. 2-3.


In This Issue . . .

Sherman W. Garnett examines the allure that Russia's frontiers hold for its soldiers as he profiles the diverse roles Russian military forces presently are playing in key regions of the borderlands. In the course of his survey he identifies Russian military activities whose outcomes Moscow may not be able either to direct or control.

Paul H. Herbert describes the development potential of the 27 states that gained (or regained) their independence following the collapse of the USSR. His analysis of their potential parallels Sherman Garnett's discussion of inhibitors; both authors identify policy options essential to US and regional security.

David Jablonsky defines and explains the concept and elements of national power, describing how history and culture influence the concept and its application. He demonstrates that even an idea seemingly as difficult to apply as it is to define will yield to determined individual study and research. Strategists, he concludes, must master thinking inside the box before they venture outside it.

David G. Hansen makes a case for policy professionals, in and out of uniform, to reacquaint themselves with the strategic implications of geography. He encourages learning the history of various regions, the range and reach of contemporary geographers, and the importance for security policy of populations, the land they live on, and their access to fresh water resources.

Kent Hughes Butts examines the concept of water as a strategic resource, providing an overview of demand and supply and a description of water as the enabling resource for agriculture, industry, and urban life. His analysis, which covers historical cases as well as prospective scenarios, demonstrates why the study and reasoned application of history are essential to the development of strategy.

Leif Roderick Rosenberger surveys the demand and supply of food in his analysis of the strategic significance of arable land. His wide-ranging study relates a variety of regional problems to a deceptively simple proposition: who has enough food and who doesn't.

Robert G. Spulak looks at a specific aspect of national power, the possession or lack of nuclear weapons. He points out that many who focus only on the risks of possessing nuclear weapons ignore the tangible and intangible benefits to ourselves and others of US membership in the still-exclusive club of responsible owners. He suggests that those who favor US denuclearization have usually overlooked the real-world consequences of such a policy.

Dana R. Dillon describes the Cold War security structures and policies of the member nations of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and their evolution since 1989. He identifies new issues, often related to China, that have begun to challenge long-standing regional military structures, policies, and weapon procurement programs.

Frederick Kagan offers a close reading of key documents to support his contention that US Army operational doctrine has abandoned the progress made in 1986 with the concept of AirLand Battle. Army doctrine now under development, he concludes, must decide "What are the most significant problems in warfare today, and how will we solve them to attain victory?"

Anthony J. Rice inquires into the apparent decision of the United States to abandon the concept of unity of command in coalition operations. He analyzes coalitions during this century as well as published and emerging US joint and service doctrine to show how we seem to have given up that hard-won principle in favor of unity of effort.

Review Essay. The review essay by Victor Gray, "European Security Revisited," creates a context for the features on Russia and geopolitics.

Books . . .

The journal receives far more books than can possibly be reviewed; some demand a review, others simply do not justify the space. The challenge arises with those that defy either classification. This discussion covers a number of such books; more space may be devoted to their kind in subsequent issues. Bibliographical data is in the "Off the Press" section of this issue.


Reviewed 11 February 1997. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil