Toward an American Way of War

Toward an American Way of War

Toward an American Way of War

Toward an American Way of War

Excerpt

The American way of war has been much written about over the years. That literature is remarkable for its explicit and implicit consensus regarding the overriding characteristics of the American approach to warfare--aggressive, direct, and focused on achieving decisive victory. A way of war implies thinking about conflict holistically, from prewar condition-setting to the final accomplishment of one's strategic objectives. Unfortunately, American thinking about war tends to put more emphasis on coercive operations--the destruction of an opponent's regular forces on the field of battle--than on what is loosely known as war's “aftermath.” Yet, it is in the aftermath where wars are typically won.

In this monograph, Lieutenant Colonel Echevarria examines the principal characteristics and ideas associated with the American way of war, past and present. He argues that Americans do not yet have a way of war. What they have is a way of battle. Moving from a way of battle toward a way of war will require some fundamental rethinking about the roles of the grammar and logic of war, about the nature of U.S. civil-military relations, and about the practical resources necessary to translate military victory into strategic success.

DOUGLAS C. LOVELACE, JR.
Director
Strategic Studies Institute . . .

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