JOINT FORCE QUARTERLY 97
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PRISM Vol. 8, No. 3
The development of new space technologies and the falling costs of space launch have enabled the proliferation of low orbiting satellites. Commercial actors are pursuing opportunities in space, which will disrupt traditional business models for commercial satellite communications. However, the success of these endeavors will not be confined to the commercial sector. The proliferation of satellites will change future military operations in space. In order to deny space superiority to our adversaries, the US should take a whole-of-government approach to identify strategic technologies (and other systems with military value) and prevent foreign companies and governments from acquiring these technologies.
The United States is starting to confront unprecedented challenges to the military and technological superiority that it has enjoyed in recent history. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is emerging as a powerhouse across a range of emerging technologies, and Chinese leaders recognize today’s technological revolution as a critical, even historic, opportunity to achieve strategic advantage. As Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and Commander-in-Chief of the CMC Joint Operations Center, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping has highlighted the importance of military innovation to “keep pace with the times” (与时俱进) and adapt to the global revolution in military affairs.
The US military continues to make mistakes in detainee operations, which has reduced its ability to achieve national objectives. If we do not place significant emphasis on this critical aspect of planning, says the author, more mistakes will be made and the US military will lose credibility. Moreover, if we do not fix these mistakes, the nation may fail in other aspects of combat operations. This article conveys historical examples of insufficient and ineffective planning for detainee operations, and offers a new paradigm to future planners and specific recommendations to minimize errors and help achieve national and military objectives.
When a military organization undertakes a modernization program, it is intuitive to expect that existing capabilities are going to be replaced by superior capabilities. There is an implied suggestion that a necessary (though not sufficient) condition of this superiority is enhanced lethality; lethality surely constitutes a necessary condition of the strategic effectiveness of the military organization in question. At the risk of stating the obvious, military organizations around the world exist to protect the security of their respective countries: in peacetime, by deterring the adversaries of the country from waging war, and in wartime, by defeating these adversaries should they choose the war option. These two missions are not mutually exclusive: “The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one.” Nevertheless, it is possible to question the extent to which lethality subsequently connects to strategic effectiveness, which is understood here as the ability to win wars. In other words, while modernization ought to result in a military organization that is more lethal than before, this enhanced lethality does not guarantee strategic effectiveness.
Timothy S. Mallard and Nathan H. White
Håkon Lunde Saxi, Bengt Sundelius, and Brett Swaney