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/