VALUING COST-CONSCIOUSNESS IN TODAY’S MILITARY CULTURE

cost-consciousness is not simply about cutting spending. Rather, it is about reducing excess and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, the Department of Defense is not cost-conscious. Four years after the sequestration cuts of 2013, the Department of Defense must relearn a lesson which all frustrated dieters know well: unless desired values and […]

THE PRACTICE (AND PROBLEMS) OF MILITARY GHOSTWRITING

We need to encourage all officers to engage more directly in the generation of expert knowledge, and remove barriers to doing so based on rank or position. I have never forgotten this incident. I was a junior field-grade officer, and my boss — a senior flag officer — wanted to write an article but did […]

TRADING QUEENS

Just as a chess master with a positional advantage is willing to trade queens with his opponent, an adversary prepared to operate in a degraded electronic environment may be willing to do the same. The U.S. military’s technological advantage may also be its biggest weakness, as its reliance on technology has left it under-trained and […]

A.I. & THE ART OF (MACHINE) WAR

It is time to make the threat posed by artificial intelligence a permanent part of national security and military strategy. The “robot apocalypse,” in which a malicious artificial intelligence (AI) threatens humanity, is a common science fiction trope. The enduring appeal of AI in popular culture — from Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot book series, to […]

HUMPTY DUMPTY & THE CRACKED JOINT FORCE

As long as the U.S. military approaches the application of military forces from the fractured perspective of discrete domains, then true integration will be stunted. How do you effectively integrate military forces operating in the different “domains” (e.g., land, air, sea, etc.) of war? This question has obsessed the U.S. military for a long time, […]

RETOOLING THOR’S HAMMER: GETTING RECONSTRUCTION RIGHT

Successful international development requires the persistent, intelligent, and adaptive application of a broad set of government tools … and support from local populations. In Norse mythology, Thor’s hammer is a legendary weapon that crushes the enemies of the Aesir (the Norse pantheon), and protects Asgard. The U.S. military is a modern Thor’s hammer, able to […]

THE DODO’S PROBLEM (AND THE REASON FOR WAR ROOM)

Peacetime military thinking is often isolated from the refining forces that arise from real, immediate competition. Millions of years ago, ancient pigeons flew from their southeast-Asian home and settled on islands scattered across the Indian Ocean. Some of the birds eventually landed on Mauritius, a volcanic island east of Madagascar. For thousands of millenia, they […]