On military thought

Peter the strategist struggles to answer the question “Who and Where are Today’s Military Thinkers?”:http://kotare.typepad.com/thestrategist/2008/01/new-post.html He observes that military thinkers with real military experience, practical or otherwise, seem to be losing out to “today’s military thinkers in universities and think tanks (e.g., Martin van Creveld and Willam Lind), in aid agencies and private military companies, in IT companies, or, heaven forbid, in the blogosphere.”

“My off-the-cuff take”:http://kotare.typepad.com/thestrategist/2008/01/new-post.html#comment-98249644

I think this is a great observation. The thinkers out there today like Berkowitz, Lind and Gray are likely going to come from the think tank side of things for two reasons: 1) economics, and 2) military education.

The first reason has to do with training time. Today’s soldier has a lot on his plate and does not have the time to dedicate to study sweeping issues of strategy, like an academic with a dedicated research budget and the freedom to “think.” Our militaries are focussed on tactics. This feeds into the second reason: military education is seen as a means rather than an end in itself. It is simply a box to check off for promotion. This is a sorry state of affairs. I think a closer relationship with civvie institutions will not only help to better the caliber of military education, but will also legitimize military educations in the eyes of academia. War is no longer a battlefield issue, and exposure to a wider set ideas would benefit both milthinkers and civthinkers.

I don’t want to hijack his post so head on over to “thestrategist”:http://kotare.typepad.com/thestrategist/2008/01/new-post.html to see some examples of military thinkers old and new, and put in your two yen.

_Related:_ “The strategy pendulum”:http://cominganarchy.com/2007/11/10/the-strategy-pendulum/

About Younghusband

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) was a British explorer, army officer, military-political officer, and foreign correspondent born in India who led expeditions into Manchuria, Kashgar, and Tibet. He three times tried and failed to scale Mt. Everest and journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass (alt. c.19,000 ft/5,791 m) of the Karakoram mountain range in modern day Pakistan. Convinced of Russian designs on British interests in India, Younghusband proactively engaged in the nineteenth century spying and conflict over Central Asia between the British and the Russians known as the Great Game. "Younghusband" is a Canadian who has spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between his home country and Japan. Fluent in Japanese and English with experience in numerous other languages from Spanish to Georgian, Younghusband has travelled throughout Asia. He graduated with an MA from the War Studies Department at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he focussed on the Japanese oil industry and energy security issues. He has recently returned to Canada from Japan, and is working in the technology sector.
This entry was posted in General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to On military thought

  1. dj says:

    That site left one huge thinker whose writing are still very relevant today.

    Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote Sea Power and its Influence Upon History.

    His work put the US Navy ahead of the Royal Navy in theory long before WWI. Some say that the Germans misinterpreting his writings lead to WWI.

    The US Navy’s pacific campaign in WWII was textbook Mahan and his theory is still used today.

    Some say that the Chinese PLAN build-up is them wising up to Mahanic principles.

  2. Younghusband says:

    Actually dj, Peter did mention Mahan. We have critically discussed Mahan often on this site. “Check it out”:http://cominganarchy.com/?s=mahan.

  3. Jesus Reyes says:

    It appears to me, practically speaking, they are coming from Lockheed Martin with a chinese credit card.

  4. strategist says:

    Thanks YH. I could’ve also mentioned Sir Julian Corbett, the British naval strategist – I think you’ve written about him as well as Mahan. I didn’t include Corbett because he did not serve in Royal Navy. But he was associated with the RN as a civilian – historian and strategist. Perhaps he serves as a useful model for links between military and civilian establishments. Umm, will have to look into that.