We are in
the early stages of what promises to be an extended debate about
the future of conflict and the future of our defense establishment.
Few will deny that the winds of change are blowing as never before,
driven by a radically altered geopolitical situation, an evolving
information-oriented society, advancing technology, and budgetary
constraints. How our nation responds to the challenge of change
will determine our ability to shape the future and defend ourselves
against 21st century threats. The major issue, however it may
be manifested, involves the degree of change that is required.
Advocates, all along the spectrum from a military technical revolution
to a revolution in military affairs to a revolution in security
affairs, are making their cases. Military institutions are by
their very nature somewhat conservative. History has shown that
success has often sown the seeds of future failure. We as a nation
can ill afford to follow in the footsteps of those who have rested
on their laurels and failed to stretch their imaginations.
who are the most knowledgeable and experienced about a subject
are not in the most advantageous position to understand a new
world order. Yet these same individuals are often among the most
credible voices and therefore are essential to progress. The authors
of Shock and Awe are a highly accomplished and distinguished
group with the credibility that comes from years of front line
experience. Thus, this work is important not only because of the
ideas contained within, but because of the caliber and credibility
of the authors.
to articulate and explore advanced concepts. In sponsoring this
work and in disseminating its initial results, we hope to contribute
to the ongoing dialogue about alternatives, their promises, and
their risks. As the authors note, this is a work in progress meant
not to provide definitive solutions but a proposed perspective
for considering future security needs and strategies. To the extent
that vigorous debate ensues we will be successful.
David S. Alberts
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