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Revolution in Military Affairs. PPA 706 -- National Defense November 13/14, 2000. Perspectives on RMA. Revolution doesn’t exist -- future construct will look like the present The Revolution arrived -- Gulf War This is the middle of the Revolution -- “system of systems”

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Revolution in military affairs

Revolution in Military Affairs

PPA 706 -- National Defense

November 13/14, 2000

Perspectives on rma
Perspectives on RMA

  • Revolution doesn’t exist -- future construct will look like the present

  • The Revolution arrived -- Gulf War

  • This is the middle of the Revolution -- “system of systems”

  • The Micro Revolution -- info systems will dominate all other variables

  • Continuous Revolution -- technology renders all things obsolete continuously

Rma hypothesis
RMA Hypothesis

  • Capabilities are more important than geopolitics

  • “strategic pause” -- conditions have changed

  • Holding pattern....... or transformation?

  • significant adjustment in time or space assumptions can constitute an RMA

Hypothesis cont
Hypothesis (cont)

  • RMA assumed to be “synergistic”

  • positive interaction of forces/elements to produce a more desirable outcome

  • “Whigs “ and “Calvinists”

  • adaptation -- range of competence required to use new technology

  • “defining event” usually required to determine if RMA occurred

The revolution in military affairs intellectual origins
The Revolution in Military Affairs: Intellectual Origins

  • The military historians

  • Soviet writings in the late 1970’s and 1980’s -- “The Military Technical Revolution”

  • The Gulf War

  • Admiral Owens and the “System of Systems”


  • Is there a revolution?

  • What drives warfare?

  • What are the policy challenges?

  • What are the greatest threats?

Four american views
Four American Views

Owens IIThe Uncertain RevolutionaryThe Gulf War VetThe Skeptic

1 owens ii build the system of systems
#1 Owens II“Build the System of Systems”

  • a single revolution resulting from employment of information technologies

  • most of warfare has been wasted motion because of uncertainty

  • utilize the array of available systems to improve space awareness & employ forces

  • “the enemy is us” -- service parochialism and bureaucratic inertia

2 the uncertain revolutionary let a hundred flowers bloom
#2 The Uncertain Revolutionary“Let a hundred flowers bloom”

  • One in a series of revolutions

  • Revolutionary change occurs from a mixture of technology, organization, and operational concepts

  • Challenges are experimentation and innovation

  • Threats are (1) diffusion of technology; (2) peer competitor

3 the gulf war veteran been there done that
#3 The Gulf War Veteran“Been there, done that”

  • The revolution occurred in the 1980s

  • Recruitment and training make all the difference

  • Challenge is developing new technology while keeping an adequate force structure

  • Threats are asymmetric responses (terror, weapons of mass destruction)

4 the skeptic what revolution
#4 The Skeptic“What revolution?”

  • The history of warfare is a history of evolution

  • Human nature, not technology, drives warfare

  • The challenge is keeping the warrior spirit alive in the face of social change

  • The danger of being too clever


Owens II: radical cuts in force structure and organizational surgery; make the current technologies work together

Cautious Revolutionaries: experimentation; organizational and educational reform; incrementalism

Gulf War Veterans: emphasis on readiness and training & current technologies >

Skeptics: continue the current strategy and see what world changes occur