The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Doctrine versus Technology

In the video above, virtually none of the technology, or even the tactics techniques and procedures used to attack Iwo Jima were available seven years earlier when the Marines issued their 1938 manual on landing operations.

In the interwar years the Germans and the U.S. Marine Corps developed concepts for operations (doctrine) before they developed the enabling technology. Ultimately, the doctrine would not have been successful without the technologies that were added later. However, without the initial doctrine the technologies may not have ever been developed, or may have been utilized in a different way. Is this the right way to transform? Should doctrine always precede technology? Are there situations where technology should precede doctrine? Which comes first in the U.S. military today?

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January 24, 2013 - Posted by | H200, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. In most situations I believe that doctrine should precede technology and that it is the right way to transform. Doctrine does not tell a person what type of equipment is needed; it tells you what must be accomplished. If I am developing a new piece of equipment I would want to know what job it must be accomplished, rather than try and develop a piece of equipment and then try to figure out what job it can accomplish.
    An extreme example to help illustrate my point is: If I built a shovel and told people that it was used to cook eggs over a fire they would use it for that even though there are better ways. But, if people told me they needed to have something that would help them dig a hole and I built them a shovel it would be a much better fit that could accomplish the job.
    I cannot say that doctrine should always precede technology because I am sure there are some technological items out there that could help the military accomplish the job which we just do not know about. In which case the new technological “widget” would precede doctrine or doctrine would be created to properly use the new “widget”.
    I believe for the last decade of war technology has come first in the military today. I base my answer off of all the C-IED technology that has been developed and utilized “on the fly” until unit SOPs are created.

    Comment by Doug Serie, 11B | January 25, 2013


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