Academic journal article Parameters

Editor's Shelf

Academic journal article Parameters

Editor's Shelf

Article excerpt

Our friends at Routledge publications have provided readers with a new series on Strategy and History, edited by two of Parameters' stalwarts, Colin Gray and Williamson Murray. The series focuses on the theory and practice of strategy. It is designed as a review of historical cases that have either impacted or served as examples for the exercise of grand and military strategy. A most valuable contribution to the series is America, Technology and Strategic Culture by Brice F. Harris. This timely addition to the genre of war in the Clausewitzian tradition examines the origins, viability, and technical feasibility of the military strategy currently exercised by America. The author espouses a belief that many of the difficult military situations that America finds itself in around the globe today are a direct result of its inclination to substitute technology for strategy. This rather pricy offering is well worth the reader's investment. Anyone with a sincere interest in America's successful revision of its strategic paradigm will certainly get their money's worth from this excellent work.

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With the ever-increasing torrent of books crossing my desk I sometimes, admittedly, almost never, overlook a new entry into one of the well-managed piles. Such is the case with the edited work by Derek Reveron and Judith Hicks Stiehm, Inside Defense: Understanding the U.S. Military in the 21st Century. The editors, both with well-established reputations within the military and academic arenas--primarily based on their tenure at the Naval War College and the US Army War College, respectively--have assembled the works of scholars, policymakers, and practitioners to provide comprehensive insight regarding the emerging role for the US military in international relations. This new assertiveness is complemented by a renewed and ever-increasing relationship with domestic institutions within America and with the society at large. It was the editors' realization that the traditional military mantra of "fighting and winning the nation's wars" no longer seemed to fit the actions and missions of the US military that they saw in the media. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with humanitarian relief operations around the globe, and the civil-military operations within the continental United States, all appeared to dictate new roles and strategies for America's military. Of special interest to readers is that portion of the book examining the Department of Defense's interaction with other US governmental institutions.

Some of America's best military history finds its origin in the Secretary of Defense's Historical Office. Renowned for their work detailing the organizational changes within the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the accompanying evolution of the functions and actions of the Armed Services and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the office has once again published a superb work. Chief editor Roger R. Trask, along with co-editor John P. Glennon, has provided an invaluable addition to the history of the Office of the Secretary of Defense with The Department of Defense, 1978-2003. …

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