Christopher R. O’Dea

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Comrade, Can You Spare a Swine?

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Military History in the News
Friday, November 8, 2019

As the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) takeover of mainland China recede into recent history, a look at the Communists’ heritage suggests that for all its foreign-exchange reserves and tech manufacturing know-how, and despite its military hardware and far-flung infrastructure investment portfolio, China may not have come that far.

Period Military History

Lt. General William G. Pagonis (U.S. Army, Ret.), Moving Mountains: Lessons in Leadership and Logistics from the Gulf War” (1992).

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Classics of Military History
Monday, November 4, 2019

Consider the 3x5 card. In all the video and still images of the Gulf War—lines of tanks and armored personnel carriers stretching to the dusty horizon, ships unloading supplies and ordnance, aircraft delivering a weeks-long bombardment before the ground invasion—there was no sign of what the author calls the “humble little cards” that played a crucial role in the logistics operations that underpinned the planning and execution of the conflict and the post-combat redeployment.

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Marshalling The Troops: The Proliferation Of Defense Cooperation Agreements In The Age Of Alliances

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The announcement that the United States had signed a new security agreement with Greece in early October highlights the increasing use of bilateral “defense cooperation agreements,” or DCAs, during an era of multilateral security alliances covering large geographic regions and numerous countries.

Weapons & Technology

Sextus Julius Frontinus, Stratagems (after 84 A.D.) & The Aqueducts of Rome (97–98 A.D.), Loeb Classical Library 174 (Mary B. McElwain, ed.; Charles E. Bennett, trans.)

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Classics of Military History
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Roman Empire flourished in large measure because it built logistics infrastructure to support civil administration of conquered territories. Roman roads enabled commodities and other goods from interior estates to be transported to coastal ports for shipment to the capital, and also provided an efficient network for moving its legions among the growing roster of provincial seats. But those provincial cities, often in arid areas, could not have grown beyond the size of military garrisons without the water supplied by Roman aqueducts.

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October Man: Mikhail Gorbachev

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Military History in the News
Friday, October 18, 2019

October is the month for bringing in the harvest and consolidating power. According to his biography on the Gorbachev Foundation website, the last leader of the Soviet Union is proud of his ability to detect a fault in a combine harvester just by the sound of it. His acumen with agricultural machinery—learned from his father—helped the younger Gorbachev become the youngest winner of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor award for his part in bringing in the bumper crop of 1949 at the age of just seventeen. The award helped secure him a place at the Moscow State University, where he studied law.

Weapons & Technology

John E. Clark, Jr., Railroads in the Civil War: The Impact of Management on Victory and Defeat (2001)

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Classics of Military History
Monday, October 14, 2019

This short volume illustrates the importance of management practices and political culture in adapting an emerging technology to the demands of war. The author’s position is clear—Clark contends that despite having a considerable number of rail lines within its territory, the basis of the claim that the South had an advantage early in the conflict in the form of “internal lines of communication,” and the legal authority to take control of the railroads for military purposes, the Confederate leadership “proved unable” to recognize the increasing importance of logistics as the conflict wore on.

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Sputnik I—The Beeps Heard Round The World

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Military History in the News
Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Space Age opened in October 1957 when the Soviet Union’s Sputnik I became the first satellite to orbit the earth. Launched during the International Geophysical Year, Sputnik I orbited earth every 96 minutes for 21 days, traveling more than 40 million miles as it transmitted a steady beep signal that was soon recorded and broadcast to American radio listeners. The satellite itself was visible to viewers in the United States during dawn and twilight, providing directly observable evidence that the United States—for the moment at least—was trailing its chief geopolitical rival in the emerging technology that would define the balance of power in an era of nuclear stand-off.

Period Military History

Rear Admiral Worrall Reed Carter, Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil: The Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in the Pacific During WWII (1953)

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Classics of Military History
Thursday, October 10, 2019

In the introduction to this detailed history of the operations that kept his combatant forces supplied with everything from ordnance to water, Admiral Raymond A. Spruance writes, “a sound logistic plan is the foundation upon which a war operation should be based.” That might leave the impression that this is a dry treatise in logistics science, but this overlooked gem tells the story of how the U.S. Navy created mobile logistics service squadrons to support Spruance’s “island-hopping” assaults on Japan’s eastern defense perimeter in the Central Pacific.

Background EssayAnalysis and Commentary

Trade War 2.0—China Sets Sail to Import Innovation, Export Governance

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Strategika
Thursday, July 11, 2019

By agreeing to restart stalled trade talks at their meeting in Osaka last week, President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping averted a new round of punitive measures in a trade conflict that’s moving into its second year.