The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Military History and the Future

What are the military implications of this video?  Does history, particularly military history, help understand or put these implications in context?  How?


March 8, 2010 - Posted by | Current Events, H300 | , , , , , ,


  1. Overall, this presentation provides the backdrop for the importance of situational awareness. This is not a new concept in the military, as we as field grade officers are expected to have have a firm grasp of both events political and non-political in the world. “Do You Know?” emphasizes both. If we look at the basic military premise of “knowing your enemy”, implications are clear. The emergence of a new world power is at hand, although there is no distinquished winner. Whether it may be China or India, it is yet to be seen. The bigger question is how will these emerging countries will affect the world’s economy and political arenas. That is the situational understanding that must be addressed as we continue to adapt our own military to meet the potential conventional threats of our future.

    Comment by MAJ Christopher Thompson | March 22, 2009

  2. According to the video, the future will be very dynamic and with lot of challenges, will be an era of regional and global changes. Huge changes will occur in any (maybe all) of the operational variables: political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment, and time. Therefore, these changes significantly influence political and military choices, including individuals’ decisions to support the existing order. Understand and visualize the operational environment of the future will be key for successful mission accomplishment. Future military leaders will need all available assets in order to overcome these dynamic and huge challenges. Military history will expand the knowledge, judgment, experience, education, intelligence, boldness, perception, and character of the military leaders in order to conduct an effective battle command process. Military history provides the foundations to have better situational understanding of the current and future military conflicts by looking the lesson learned that happened in similar situations and apply these, with judgment to the current and new challenges.

    Comment by MAJ Jose A. Nieves | March 23, 2009

  3. We tend to think that we can have the solution of most of our problems from the lesson learned from history. I think that history never repeats itself. Therefore our current problem has not occurred before in history. It is our nature to compare and try to find similarities between the current event and events that have occurred in the past. Without that comparison, the event will not make sense. This is the basic definition in physics of “measure”, which is “to compare”. If we fail to find similarities, we will qualify the event of “extraordinary” or “revolutionary”. History provides the elements that help us weight the event. Without any historical background, the event is senseless. Once we have a good situational understanding, we must develop a new solution and not apply a historical solution. To conclude, military history does not provide the solution, but provides us a basis or a referential critical to begin our quest for a solution.

    Comment by ydiop | March 24, 2009

  4. The video portrays a rapidly changing world in which technology and population growth “appear” to be changing the balance of power or focus in the world – possibly from the “west” to asia. In terms of military impacts, this video shows just how fast information moves, technology develops, and the number of people who are competant enough to compeate or gain an advantage in world politics. The United States will have to continue to build meaningful relationships and lead the way in the various “freedoms” (speach, rights of man, monetary, innovation, religious etc.) that make increasing technology and education valid and applicable.

    Military History does put the implications of the video in context from the standpoint that military history continues to demonstrate the changes in the balance of military, economic, and political power and the various revolutions in military affairs, and the impacts of these changes.

    Comment by MAJ Mark Libby | March 24, 2009

  5. The military over the last decade has consistently advocated the need and popularized the concept of “Transformation.” With the extremely accelarated pace of change and technological innovation occurring on a global scale (that this “Did You Know” video clearly demonstrates), the big question is: HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE U.S. MILITARY IS TRANSFORMING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?”

    The “Did You Know” video was trying to illustrate the idea that our vision of the future maybe taking place right now (or much sooner than we expected) and that perhaps just when we think we have may have found the answer, the questions may have already changed. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that the U.S. military maybe blindly committed to a practice of Military Tranformation that is completely inappropriate for what our nation requires for the future. This is further complicated by the fact that if change is occurring on rate faster than we can comprehend or accurately access, how do we know that the strategic vision that we have planned for military transformation is the correct one?

    Therefore, how can history assist with these striking implications? — Since we are human beings living in a paradoxical nature of trying to develop plans and solutions for the future that we cannot precisely foresee, the only reliable tool that we have to design and prepare for the future is past experiences. These past experiences are history. History may be the only device that we have at our disposal to develop strategies, prepare for unforseen contingencies, and build possible answers for the future. There is a risk that the trends of the past may no longer be of use. However, unless the leaders of our nation’s military are clairvoyant, what else is there to build from but history?

    Comment by MAJ Lance A. Okamura | March 25, 2009

  6. Sun Tzu said that five fundamental factors affect war, and consequently the way of waging wars: moral influence, weather, terrain, command, and doctrine. Out of these elements, probably, only doctrine can be influenced by technology. All the other factors are powerful and untouchable today as they were in the 100 B.C. when Sun Tzu completed his work.
    Considering the persistence of the above mentioned factors learning the lessons of the past is extremely important for soldiers.
    Understanding (if possible) the reasons why commanders took their decisions (I do not consider only the right ones, but, in particular, the wrong ones) can help future commanders to understand problems, and to visualize their end state.
    Technology, from my prospective, can help only to describe, direct, assess and lead troops, but understanding and visualizing are factors that rely upon commanders’ intuitive capabilities and experience. History helps to fill the gaps of individual experiences, and for this reason must be considered as a key factor in Battle Command.

    Comment by fdelfavero | March 26, 2009

  7. The video implies that we must prepare for more than just the military threat. We must also prepare for the diplomatic, informational and economic threat that China and India will pose in the future. Specifically we must emphasize their informational and economic potential or we will be playing catch-up on all the factors. Historically, we should pay attention to other great societies, such as Rome and Napoleon’s France, that overextended themselves militarily and didn’t pay attention to the other factors or we will face their same fate. Although the video also goes to show that change happens, so to quote Sarah Connor, “there is no fate, but what you make.”

    Comment by Damon LaCour | March 27, 2009

  8. In my opinion this video though it depicts some resemblance of history it does not give a full comprehension of history or tell the whole story. Everyone seems to be focusing on the massive technological advances and according to this video, say those advances are going to continue in a non-linear fashion. But anyone looking at history or the history of technology one would quickly realize that all technology initially has a huge spike and then starts to plateau and then levels off. Granted new versions of that technology may arise or be developed but as these new version are released a new chart is developed. Another point that is seems to be a fallacy is the birth rate of China and India…what the author of the video fails to also point out is the death rate and the comparison of the two. The true tall tale is whether or not a country is growing, getting smaller or if their population rate is remaining about the same. As far as a military stand point, we need to be aware and comprehensive of the technological advances, especially in those nation/states that support or could support insurgent type groups / operatives. Since they are not directly associated with a particular nation/state or country retaliatory operations will be difficult if doable at all.

    Comment by MAJ Darin E. Huss 17C | March 10, 2010

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