Aug. 1, 2006
Lee’s Mistake: Learning from the Decision to Order Pickett’s Charge
At the Battle of Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee made a mistake that doomed the hopes of the Confederate States of America to compel the United States to sue for peace. Why one of the great generals of his time made such a blunder continues to be a topic of research and intense debate. Lee said little at the time or afterward to justify his decision to launch what has become known as Pickett’s Charge, so analysis must be inferential and inconclusive. Our aim is to explain Lee’s fateful decision not with new facts but with new analytical methods to illuminate decisionmaking in combat.
July 1, 2006
Countering Terrorism Across the Atlantic?
Differences in strategic vision and concepts of security are central to the U.S. and European Union (EU) approaches to counterterrorism. While the United States conceives of a war against terrorism, Europe does not. As a result of different perceptions of the threat, both sides of the Atlantic take divergent approaches to homeland security. Europeans tend to favor the use of a law enforcement strategy over a warfighting approach. Meanwhile, the U.S. administration believes that a quasi-militaristic, overtly proactive, and highly vigilant stance will serve as the best deterrent to future attacks. By their own standards, Europeans are doing more to counter terrorism since September 11 and even more since the attacks in Madrid (March 11, 2004) and in London (July 7, 2005); by U.S. standards, these measures sometimes appear inadequate. As a result, there are significant transatlantic divergences on the best methods for halting the spread of terrorism.
March 1, 2006
Creating a NATO Special Operations Force
In the post-9/11 security environment, special operations forces (SOF) have proven indispensable. SOF units are light, lethal, mobile, and easily networked with other forces. While the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have extensive SOF capabilities, these forces are not formally organized to collaborate with one another. There would be much to gain if U.S. and allied SOF trained to work together: national SOF assets would be improved, obstacles to effective combined operations would be removed, and a coherent Alliance capability would be readily available for NATO. The Alliance can focus and grow its SOF capabilities by providing a selective and small combined “inner core” of NATO special operations forces for operations, while using an outer network to expand and improve SOF cooperation with interested allies.
Feb. 1, 2006
Custer in Cyberspace
The combination of abundant networked information and fluid, unfamiliar situations in the current era makes it at once possible and imperative to improve decisionmaking in combat. The key to improvement is to integrate faster reasoning and more reliable intuition into a cognitive whole to achieve battle-wisdom. Although the technologies that both demand and facilitate battle- wisdom are new, military history holds lessons on combining reasoning and intuition in conditions of urgency, danger, and uncertainty.
Oct. 1, 2005
Sweden’s Use of Commercial Information Technology for Military Applications
Sweden, a nation of only 9 million people with a political climate that has fostered a posture of nonalignment for over half a century, has nevertheless maintained highly credible, modern, and high-technology military forces. Sweden has expanded the mission of forces originally designed for the Cold War to include international peacekeeping. The focus of this study is the Swedish formula for achieving the high-technology military capabilities that successfully compensate for a small standing force. What policies and processes enabled the Swedish military to take advantage of leading-edge producers of commercial information technology (CIT)? What lessons does the Swedish model hold for the U.S. Department of Defense?
Russia and NATO: Increased Interaction in Defense Research and Technology
As a member of both the Partnership for Peace and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)–Russia Council (NRC), Russia enjoys remarkable status in an alliance formed principally to counter Soviet aggression. Active participation in one additional element of NATO—the Research and Technology Organization (RTO)—would offer unique opportunities to enhance relationships and mutual security. The RTO is the largest organization of its type in the world, has an extremely active program of work, and is eager to work with Russia.
July 1, 2005
The Changing Landscape of Defense Innovation
In a rapidly evolving business environment, many successful companies have transformed themselves by reexamining their core missions and competencies and exploiting innovation in nontraditional ways. General Electric still manufactures products but now identifies itself as a services company. Wal-Mart has become the premier retailer by capitalizing on its logistics and support systems. These two giants and other companies have realized that they can become more profitable by exploiting new regions of the business landscape.
May 1, 2005
A New Military Framework for NATO
Although Americans and Europeans do not always agree on political strategies in the Middle East, they have a compelling reason to reach an accord on the need to strengthen North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military forces for future operations in that region and elsewhere. If adequate military capabilities are lacking, the Alliance will not be able to act even when its political leaders agree on the need to do so. But if it creates such capabilities, it will be able to act either ad hoc or across the board if a common political strategy eventually were to emerge.
Dec. 1, 2004
Military Transformation and Joint Experimentation: Two Views from Above
Military transformation— “a process that shapes the changing nature of military competition and cooperation through new combinations of concepts, capabilities, people and organizations”— is on the minds and agendas of everyone dealing with the military. Many people talk about transformation; the two authors of this Defense Horizons have done something about it. In fact, they are among the few who have been responsible for shaping and implementing the concept. To get a better idea of what goes into this process, particularly the element of joint experimentation that is helping to identify and define the nature of change, Defense Horizons presents the views of two of America’s leading military officers who have been involved in the process.
Sept. 1, 2004
Needed—A NATO Stabilization and Reconstruction Force
At the Istanbul Summit in June 2004 , NATO endorsed the further transformation of military capabilities to make them “more modern, more usable, and more deployable to carry out the full range of Alliance missions.” The Istanbul Communiqué especially called for continuing progress on the NATO Response Force and the Prague Capabilities Commitments.