The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

My Doctrine Right or Wrong

The results of flawed doctrine: Unescorted Daylight Strategic Bombing

The focus of H200 was an analysis of how useful doctrine developed in peace time, based on previous war experience, proved to be in the conduct of operations in World War II.

The history of interwar transformation and doctrine development process provides insights into the relationship of peacetime visions of future wars and the actual conduct of war. In World War II the German army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Army Air Force all attempted to execute doctrine developed in the years after WWI, on the battlefields of WWII.

In some cases, blitzkrieg doctrine for example, the doctrine proved remarkably effective. In other cases, the primacy of the battleship in navy doctrine for example, the doctrine failed to meet the requirements of modern war. Were there organizational characteristics that permitted a particular service (the German army) to have an accurate understanding of tactical ground warfare, and another (the U.S. navy) fail to understand the importance of key technologies?

Some observers believe that writing doctrine in peace time is a futile exercise because the lessons of history are such that the conditions of the next war will be completely different from the last war and impossible to predict. Getting doctrine right is more luck than genius. Thus only very multi-functional formations are of any use to the army of the future, and only vague, general and generic doctrine is appropriate for the current and future operating environment. Do you agree or disagree?

Are there doctrinal issues which our current military refuses to recognize because we have invested too much in organization, training, and equipment to change the doctrine at this point? If so what are they and why are they flawed?

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

1 Comment »

  1. Our doctrine has portrayed the Army as a “can do” organization. The Army and its doctrine has taken the role of conventional fighter, COIN fighter, politician, and humanitarian aid giver. The truth is we probably will not write doctrine correctly for the next war, but I believe writing doctrine for “everything” is a waste. The Army must determine what missions we want to master and stick to it. The other missions need to go away. As the Army downsizes we cannot do it all and we cannot advertise that we can do it all because we have a basic understanding of other missions than war fighting.
    With that said, if the Army does decide that we can only do “x” number of missions and “y” needs to go away we must be prepared to lose even more funding and that it something I believe we refuse to recognize.

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

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