/ Published November 19, 2021
Despite vast discrepancies among airpower assets of nations, the influential airpower theories of Giulio Douhet, John Boyd, John Warden, and Robert Pape do not focus on the crucial issue of asymmetry. The Underdog’s Model (UM), a smaller-party-focused asymmetric airpower theory model, posits six factors—creativity, self-sufficiency and external support, commitment, intelligence, dispersion and concentration, and the engagement of vulnerable military targets—are essential to the airpower success of a smaller party to a conflict.
With the emergence of China as a near-peer competitor and Russia still saber rattling with advances in missile and space technologies, DOD Laboratories should recalibrate from a near-term, terrorism mindset focused on rapid transition, back to a more deliberate, threat-informed technology development that supports great power competition with China and Russia. This recalibration will require a shift in the culture and taking on more risk in leap-ahead science and technology.
The US military can no longer afford to be reactive, leaving critical cost analyses to the months and years following operations or full-scale conflicts. By leveraging cost in wargaming as part of the Joint planning process, DOD can provide Congress and the American taxpayers a range of potential costs associated with various military engagements that reflect fiscal and operational realities.
The 2019 Defense Innovation Board concluded that speed and cycle time must become the most important software metrics if the US military is to maintain its advantage over adversaries. This article proposes utilizing a cost-of-delay (CoD) framework to prioritize projects toward optimizing readiness.
Michael Pixley’s important 2005 article is one of the few works that calls for a deeper examination of the benefits of Douhet’s influence. This commentary seeks to extend Pixley’s thesis, arguing Douhet is primarily an ideologue and his true influence derives from the mythos that still accumulates around his name. This conception requires professional vigilance and the assertion of an intellectual turn to a better—and contrasting—airpower legacy.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark E. Harter’s article was the career space professional’s answer to Phillip Mellinger’s 1995 “10 Propositions Regarding Air Power.” Harter’s work provided a succinct, holistic view of the domain’s strategic value and the efforts required to achieve space superiority. The United States has made significant progress since 2006. Yet as the US Space Force celebrates its second year in 2021, the service and the country must acknowledge the national unity of effort still falls short of establishing and orchestrating a grand space strategy.
The drive to innovate lies at the heart of the greatest qualities of humanity and is particularly apparent in the speed of technological innovation within the United States. But Hain rightly recognized the dangers of overreliance on technological capability in the war-fighting domain. Failure to innovate beyond the realm of technology may result in adversaries beating the United States in a race of which it was unaware.
edited by James M. Smith and Paul J. Bolt
Reviewed by Captain Sean R. Kelly, USSF
The US-Chinese relationship has become increasingly fragile in recent years. From the tensions over Hong Kong and Taiwan to the onset of the Coronavirus, the United States and China appear to be in a new Cold War.
by Daniel Allen Butler
Reviewed by Captain Robert Marshall, USAFR
The attack on Pearl Harbor, a familiar story, can be clouded with myths and generalizations. Pearl: December 7, 1941, by Daniel Allen Butler, seeks to cut through these problems of history and ask “What happened at Pearl Harbor? What really happened?”
by Peter Fox-Penner
Reviewed by First Lieutenant Frederick Metzger, USAF
Substantial technological progress has been made in the areas of power generation and energy efficiency. Fox-Penner’s new research focuses on the challenges both to the electric grid to compensate for the inherent inconsistency in power output from renewable sources and to the electric utilities to make this transition while remaining profitable.
by Louis A. Del Monte
Reviewed by Dr. Mark T. Peters II, USAF, Retired
Modern warfare can be characterized by the compression of battlefield time and space resulting in rapid resource attrition and the need to react faster to adversary actions. War at the Speed of Light by Louis Del Monte provides a top-level survey of strategic options incorporating faster weapons, the technical capabilities for directed energy weapons, and what future wars may look like if these weapons are fielded.
by Antulio J. Echevarria II
Reviewed by Captain Matthew H. Ormsbee, USAF
War’s Logic proceeds from the basic premise that war has a logic and that by learning the “grammar” of past conflicts, one is better armed for the future. This publication is the rare resource to military professionals offering not only valuable context for military strategy but also enjoyable reading on US history.
by James H. Lebovic
Reviewed by Second Lieutenant Mark Schell, USAF
The recent collapse of the Afghan National Army and subsequent flight of US personnel from Kabul signifies the frustrating end to a once popular, even honorable, endeavor. The ensuing media firestorm over American blunders in Afghanistan and the greater Middle East articulated many compelling points, but a deeper analysis is needed to fully comprehend the essence of this tragedy.
by Timothy Heck and B. A. Friedman
Reviewed by Captain Gregory Search, USAF
Timothy Heck brings the practitioner’s experience as a former artillery officer and Friedman the theorist brings a background steeped in research. B. A. Friedman holds a master’s in security and strategic studies from the US Naval War College. Together, the editors’ detailed collection is accessible to the war fighter.
by Xiaoyu Pu
Reviewed by Dr. David A. Anderson
This book is part of a series addressing diverse contemporary security challenges in Asia. The author asserts that China projects mixed messages to its domestic and international audiences and needs to better articulate its preferred status. Pu believes that how a country crafts its preferred image is vitally important. Sending mixed or confusing status signals can lead to geopolitical friction, distrust, and deep suspicions of China’s real intent by its own people and the global community at large.
edited by Anna Ohanyan
Reviewed by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Forney, USA
Failed or fractured states have existed for as long as we have sought to define the nation-state, a type of photo negative of those qualities we assess “successful” states in the international order to possess. Ohanyan, a distinguished professor of political science at Stonehill College, believes we should concern ourselves less with how fractured states buck global trends toward interconnectedness and more with understanding the factors that drive fracture within the state.
by Oscar Jonsson
Reviewed by Captain Jayson M. Warren, USAF
While many geopolitical works superimpose (albeit often subconsciously) the assumptions of the analyst upon that which is being analyzed, The Russian Understanding of War seeks to pierce Moscow’s strategic calculus and the “nuances of the Russian language” to answer the question, “Has the Russian understanding of the nature of war changed, and if so, how?”
by Kenneth O. Preston, Michael P. Barrett, Rick D. West, James A. Roy, Denise M. Jelinski-Hall, and Charles W. “Skip” Bowen
Reviewed by Colonel Larry O. Toney, USA, Retired
Only 1 percent of the enlisted force in the US military are allowed to be an E-9. Reaching E-9 in one of the six branches of the uniformed military services is an imposing task. Breaching the Summit: Leadership Lessons from the US Military’s Best is a book about how six enlisted members reached the summit and what they took away from that experience.
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