From the Editor


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


In This Issue . . .

Ralph Peters examines the global expansion of information and its potentially destructive effects on individuals and cultures unable to master the new technologies on which it rests. He predicts that the next century will see "constant conflict" in a variety of forms, due largely to the differences between cultures that can master the new technologies and those that cannot. As a consequence, he observes, "At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe."

Robert J. Bunker suggests that the effects of new technologies on warfare may have contributed to epochal shifts in Western civilization. In an analysis that evokes Martin van Creveld and Ralph Peters, the author envisions future conflicts in which the initiative may rest with agile and ruthless outlaws. This is so, he asserts, because the rigidities inherent in mature states will tend to impede their ability to react to adversaries who will make unanticipated use of emerging technologies. That outcome could be attenuated, the author opines, if "establishment thinking" can adopt a rate of change in its concept of warfare comparable to that of the outlaws who are in some regions already challenging the forms and functions of Westphalian states.

Gordon Boezer, Ivars Gutmanis, and Joseph E. Muckerman II provide a status report on key sectors of the US defense technology and industrial base in a reprise of Dr. Gutmanis's Summer 1994 article in the journal. Their research highlights changes in six key sectors of the economy, the effects of mergers among large US defense contractors (the primes), the importance of lower tier manufacturers to the health of US defense industry, and comparable changes in European industry. They conclude with policy options designed to help government and industry complete the transition from the Cold War to a sustainable and affordable level of defense acquisition, one that will also ensure the ability to carry out our National Security Strategy.

Victor Gray continues the feature on geopolitics and national power with his examination of the national security implications of populations. He explores the post-Cold War phenomenon of frequent and violent "people wars," which he describes as "existential struggles for survival, free of the niceties of the Westphalian system." Ranging across cultures, regions, and time, the author seeks to forge "the consensus and capabilities" needed to contain and eventually resolve "the sorts of people wars that are all too common today."

Reynolds B. Peele identifies maritime chokepoints as a topic of significant concern to anyone interested in the application of national power. In the context of Mahan's theories and their use during the past century, the author identifies eight maritime regions that are of enduring interest to the United States. Explaining the characteristics of certain regional chokepoints and their significance for US national security policy, he concludes that control of maritime chokepoints can determine the outcome of initiatives such as enlargement and engagement.

David Fastabend opens the feature on "Military Aid to Civil Authorities" by portraying the context within which the Army is revising its keystone operational doctrine, FM 100-5, Operations. He describes a shift from our current doctrinal approach that categorizes conflict as "war" and "operations other than war." The author explains how and why the next version of FM 100-5 will feature a comprehensive doctrine based on a homogenous treatment of the entire spectrum of our strategic requirements.

Christopher M. Schnaubelt describes the activities of the California National Guard, local police forces, and active component forces during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles that followed the acquittal of police officers accused of violating the human rights of Rodney King. In an evenhanded analysis, he shows how and why the lack of planning and coordination within and among the three organizations led to two kinds of shortfalls. The first was the inability to take full advantage of the strengths inherent in each organization; the second suggests the opportunity costs of failing to conduct thoroughly coordinated and integrated operations in the future.

William W. Mendel and Murl D. Munger make a case for the Department of Defense to increase its support of state and federal law enforcement agencies involved in the war on drugs. After describing the wide range of support that the Defense Department provides to those agencies, the authors consider the options for improving both the forms and outcomes of individual and joint operations conducted by federal law enforcement, state National Guard personnel, and active duty forces. Among their conclusions: Concepts of "jointness" developed by the Department of Defense could be applied to all federal agencies to improve their effectiveness in the war on drugs.

Review Essays include Richard S. Friedman's "US Intelligence at the Crossroads?," Norville B. DeAtkine's "The Middle East: Back to Square One," Paul F. Braim's "The Latest on the POW/MIA Controversy," and Samuel J. Newland's "On the War's Conclusion: Recent Historiography of the Ending Phases of World War II." This is a particularly rich and diverse array of essays, prepared by experts with the intent to update anyone who has more than a passing interest in their specialties.

On Doctrine . . .

Few documents published by the US Army (or any other army, for that matter) are more important for training, organizing, equipping, and manning the force than its keystone doctrine, FM 100-5, Operations. This issue includes an important portion of the doctrinal dialogue that will shape the next version of FM 100-5. On page 85 readers will find information on how to access the on-line version of the FM 100-5 Initial Draft as well as addresses for providing comments directly to the writing team via fax, e-mail, or the Internet. As the author suggests in concluding his article, "Let the debate begin." -- JJM


Reviewed 12 May 1997. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil