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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Issue 39

New Military Technologies
Background Essay
Background Essay

You Say You Want A Revolution?

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

To paraphrase the Beatles: Well, you know, you’d better free your mind instead; you may want a revolution but ought to settle for some evolution.

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

It’s Not Just The Technology: Beyond Offset Strategies

by Colonel Joseph (Joe) Felter (ret.)via Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A range of breakthrough technologies are emerging today that have the potential to radically change how we fight and deter threats across all conflict domains—air, land, sea, space, and cyber. Artificial intelligence, directed energy, robotics, and machine learning are just a few examples. 

Featured Commentary

Moving Forward: The Need For Innovations In Technology And Strategy

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two broad sets of U.S. military strategies during the second half of the twentieth century combined ideas, innovation, and technology in ways that offset Soviet conventional (and later nuclear) superiority in arms and military forces. These strategies also contributed to the overall state of cold war, as opposed to hot war, between the two superpowers. Today, the Pentagon is hard at work on a framework to achieve military dominance over a far more diverse set of adversaries. 

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Related Commentary

Preserve What We Inherited

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Strategika

There were various reasons why our grandparents sought to limit the availability of nuclear weapons in general and in particular among even our allies. I can think of three.

Related Commentary

A Clear-Eyed Assessment of ISIS

by Max Bootvia Commentary

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is certainly a growing menace–in fact the most immediate threat that we face in the Middle East.

Related Commentary

The Defense Budget vs. History

by Max Bootvia Commentary

Traditionally, military planners have operated under a worst-case scenario: i.e., what do we need to have in place to respond if nothing goes as planned? 

Related Commentary

Who Possesses Nuclear Weapons, Not the Weapons, Is the Question

by Bruce Thorntonvia Strategika

Since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have attracted an apocalyptic glamour that has confused and distorted the strategic calculations that should determine their production and deployment. The same sort of irrational response greeted the development of bombers in the 20s and 30s, when lurid scenarios of the civilization-ending power of strategic bombing––popularized in novels like H.G. Wells’ Things to Come and exploited by pacifists––convinced British military planners and politicians that they should avoid war at all costs, for as Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin famously, and erroneously, proclaimed to the “man in the street,” “There is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed,” for “the bomber will always get through.”

Related Commentary

Sunni-stan Rising

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Library of Law and Liberty

Sunni fighters from around the Muslim world, having failed to conquer all of Syria from the Assad regime’s Alewites (a branch of Shia Islam) have been pushed eastward into majority-Sunni areas.

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The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict strives to reaffirm the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. Read more.

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Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict.

Our board of scholars shares no ideological consensus other than a general acknowledgment that human nature is largely unchanging. Consequently, the study of past wars can offer us tragic guidance about present conflicts—a preferable approach to the more popular therapeutic assumption that contemporary efforts to ensure the perfectibility of mankind eventually will lead to eternal peace. New technologies, methodologies, and protocols come and go; the larger tactical and strategic assumptions that guide them remain mostly the same—a fact discernable only through the study of history.

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The opinions expressed in Strategika are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hoover Institution or Stanford University.