The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

The Innovators

Innovators are not part of the model of military change in the interwar years (see previous post) but given that they seem to be an important aspect of all of the movements to change the various militaries that we have studied in H200 (and will study), they obviously plan an important role.  Some innovators boldly challenge the status quo to the detriment of the their own careers.  Billy Mitchell is the obvious example of this but JFC Fuller in England and Douhet are also examples of innovators whose careers were curtailed by the establishment.  Other innovators, such as Adna Chaffee in the US, worked with some success within the system.    Can an innovator be too aggressive and actually damage the cause they are advocating for? 

Every important movement to change and prepare for the next war that occured in the interwar years was championed by forward thinking individuals.  These leaders wrote, lectured, experimented, and led new organizations that were breaking new doctrinal and technological ground.   Who are the forward thinking leaders of the US miltiary in the 21st Century and what are their causes?  If there are none, why aren’t there?  Should there be and what should there causes be?

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November 27, 2012 Posted by | H200, military history | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tanks for the Memories

One of the most dramatic transformation that occurred in the interwar years was the transformation of ground combat.  The attrition focused stalemate of the trenches evolved into a new dramatic form of maneuver warfare developed primarily in Germany.  When it was executed during the opening months of WWII it was popularly called blitzkrieg and military professionals and the general public alike associated the technology of the main battle tank with this new form of warfare.  Was the main battle tank the key enabling technological component of blitzkrieg or was it something else?  Was technology really the most important aspect of blitzkrieg?  How would you describe the importance of doctrine and leadership, including the idea of mission command,  to the blitzkrieg concept.    Finally, was blitzkrieg really a new way of war, or simply a better way to prosecute an old way of war?

November 27, 2012 Posted by | H200 | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Driving Transformation

A variety of factors influence transformation. Usually, however, one factor is the initiator. For example and obvious dangerous threat which has defeated a country in the past could be the factor which initiates the transformation process. Once that initiator is successful in “kick-starting” the transformation process the remaining factors interact with each other dynamically to eventually achieve the end result product of transformation. Which of the factors was the most important for starting the transformation process during the interwar years? In some countries and military services transformation did not occur, or failed to transform into a successful form. In the interwar years what factor was the most important to inabling or preventing successful transformation? The dynamics that effected transformation in the interwar years continue to effect transformation today. Which is the most important factor effecting transformation in the U.S. military today?

November 27, 2012 Posted by | H200, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Army and Intellectualism

From an article defining intellectualism:

An intellectual is a person who primarily uses intelligence in either a professional or an individual capacity. As a substantive or adjective, it refers to the work product of such persons, to the so-called “life of the mind” generally, or to an aspect of something where learning, erudition, and informed and critical thinking are the focus, as in “the intellectual level of the discourse on the matter was not high”.

The intellectual is a specific variety of the intelligent, which unlike the general property, is strictly associated with reason and thinking. Many everyday roles require the application of intelligence to skills that may have a psychomotor component, for example, in the fields of medicine, sport or the arts, but these do not necessarily involve the practitioner in the “world of ideas”. The distinctive quality of the intellectual person is that the mental skills, which he or she demonstrates, are not simply intelligent, but even more, they focus on thinking about the abstract, philosophical and esoteric aspects of human inquiry and the value of their thinking. Traditionally, the scholarly and the intellectual classes were closely identified; however, while intellectuals need not necessarily be actively involved in scholarship, they often have an academic background and will typically have an association with a profession.

Based on the above discussion of what intellectual means, particularly the phrase “an aspect of something where learning, erudition, and informed and critical thinking are the focus,” it seems to confirm that the major focus of CGSC is intellectual pursuits.  The curriculum and the history course in particular specifically highlights the learning objective of improving “critical thinking.” 

Given the emphasis at CGSC, and by implication, at SAMS and the Army War College, what are you thoughts on the two part Army magazine article the Uniformed Intellectual:

Part 1

Part 2

Note that in the above article, written in 2002, you will see many themes that have come up at different times in class.   That is purely coincidentaly, but appropriate.  This article didn’t come to my attention until about two weeks ago.

November 9, 2012 Posted by | C120, H100, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment