The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

H101 –Viva la Revolucion!

poster_cheguevara_bigAuthors Knox and Murray, in the textbook, The Dynamics of Military Revolution, analyze the major historical changes in the nature of warfare in the modern period. They call these Military Revolutions (MR). A subset of those revolutions are smaller specific changes in the methods of warfare, they consider these smaller scale more focused changes Revolutions in Military Affairs (RMA). The major military debate coming in the next years is how to structure the American military for the 21st Century. In that debate it is important to determine if warfare currently is in the midst or has undergone an MR based on emerging and existing digital information technologies. Do you think the US Army leadership believes that an MR has occurred or is occurring? What is the evidence of that? Regardless of what you believe the US Army leadership thinks regarding MRs, what is your opinion?

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August 25, 2016 - Posted by | H100, Professional Military Education, Uncategorized | , ,

4 Comments »

  1. What’s more predictable: a Military Revolution (MR) or a revolution in military affairs (RMA)?

    It is said that after Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, he predicted that the destructive power introduced by TNT would usher in an era of world peace in which nations would be unwilling to war against each other against the assured devastation aided by new explosive weapons. Of course, Nobel’s prediction proved wildly optimistic, but his miscalculation regarding the impact of revolutionary instruments of warfare warrants an examination of which type of revolution (military revolution or revolution in military affairs) is actually more unpredictable.

    Knox and Murray describe military revolutions (MRs) as “earthquakes,” unpredictable and unstoppable in nature and capable of completely redefining warfare as a whole. By contrast revolutions in military affairs (RMAs) consist of changes in how specific components of warfare change and can not only be predicted, but offer distinct advantages for the entity that can correctly predict and apply the changes associated with RMAs. However, Knox and Murray’s distinction between MRs and RMAs based on their predictability warrants some scrutiny that applies to the current debate as to whether or not the US military is currently in a MR.

    Knox and Murray point to the introduction of Nuclear weapons as the latest MR to re-shape warfare. Yet the effects of nuclear weapons on warfare were hardly “unpredictable.” In fact, the program to develop the military capability, “The Manhattan Project,” was shrouded in secrecy because everyone involved clearly understood the implications of the destructive power. What proved “unpredictable” was how the incorporation of nuclear arsenals would affect order of battle considerations, shape the employment of traditional combat arms units. After the introduction of nuclear arms, the RMA that occurred integrating that technology and re-focusing traditional assets to focus on containment and deterrence changed the application of warfare principles in an unpredictable way characterized by the uncertain/uneasy environment that dominated the Cold War era.

    The point of this entry is not to argue that the introduction of nuclear weapons was not a MR. Rather, contrary to the definition provided by Knox and Murray, MRs are more predictable than RMAs. Nobel’s invention of dynamite as a military weapon was predictable. It’s incorporation into warfare spawned a RMA that was largely unpredictable as evidenced by Nobel’s own faulty predictions. Likewise, the fact that modern US Army leaders can debate whether or not the Information Age represents an MR negates it from being an MR according to Knox and Murray because it suggests that people are already predicting it. What can’t be predicted is how the MR will catalyze corresponding RMAs that integrate Information technology into warfare.

    Comment by Scott Harr | August 29, 2016

  2. When we look at MRs vs RMAs, I believe that the Army has had to deal with an MRA over the last 15 years. The “long war” has forced the Army to adapt their methods in order to shift to COIN operations which prior to 2001 it was not overly experienced with. However in doing so, there have been many mission areas that have been left to atrophy as a result. Now that the shift has been made back to dealing with a peer-level adversary, the Army must focus on a new RMA such as a multi-axis A2AD threat combined with the effects of cyber warfare. It is entirely possible that while dealing with this new threat, the Army must also continue to deal with the non-state actor threat that has evolved. In either case, as the Army moves forward into the future, it would be wise to recognize that it is more likely in an RMA than a MR and use this to its advantage when planning a way forward with respect to training, proficiency, and resources. Hopefully this will allow senior leaders the ability to adapt more quickly to whatever new threats emerge in the future.

    Comment by Justin Reddick | September 3, 2016

  3. great article, that gives me an opportunity to analyze more the difference between military revolution and military revaluation, or even revolution in military affairs.First, I think the US Army leadership believes that an MR has occurred and what is currently going on now is a revaluation.My evidence of that is their concentration in the history, it is very weak, and that is very obvious if you search for the military history lectures in the basic, the advanced, or even CGSC course, the lectures numbers, if it existed, is very weak. Second, I believe the US Army leadership think that MRs, is the major changes in warfare in it already happened, but my opinion, that MRs happened already but it is still can happen again, the cyber warfare, for example, could be a new MRs.

    Comment by mohamedmillataryleader | November 3, 2016

  4. Reblogged this on Site Title and commented:
    great article, that gives me an opportunity to analyze more the difference between military revolution and military revaluation, or even revolution in military affairs.First, I think the US Army leadership believes that an MR has occurred and what is currently going on now is a revaluation.My evidence of that is their concentration in the history, it is very weak, and that is very obvious if you search for the military history lectures in the basic, the advanced, or even CGSC course, the lectures numbers, if it existed, is very weak. Second, I believe the US Army leadership think that MRs, is the major changes in warfare in it already happened, but my opinion, that MRs happened already but it is still can happen again, the cyber warfare, for example, could be a new MRs.

    Comment by mohamedmillataryleader | November 3, 2016


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