Academic journal article Military Review

The Victory Plan: An Intellectual Tour De Force

Academic journal article Military Review

The Victory Plan: An Intellectual Tour De Force

Article excerpt

Army downsizing planners face an intellectual challenge, as did World War II planners charged with rapid upsizing. (1) Overcoming planning challenges depends on strategic thought.

In An Unknown Future and a Doubtful Present: Writing the Victory Plan of 1941, published in 1989, historian Charles E. Kirk-patrick writes of the World War II mobilization plan developed by then Maj. Albert C. Wedemeyer: "Very few staff papers have ever had its prescience, its impact, or its far-reaching consequences," and "in only fourteen pages [The Victory Plan of 1941] lays out the strategic objectives of the United States in the event of war, states American strategic military requirements for such a war, and develops and outlines the force structure." (2) Maj. Christopher Gin points out in "Strategic Scholars: Educating Army Leaders at Foreign Staff Colleges," this issue of Military Review, that professional military study in Germany enhanced Wedemeyer's strategic perspective.

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According to Kirkpatrick, with whom Wedemeyer collaborated in the 1980s, "Quantitative issues often preoccupy modern planners who try to figure the number of divisions, types and quantities of weapons, training, and deployment ... . In fact, [these] are almost always variables that depend upon the social, political, military, and technological contexts of the day. Rather, therefore, than seeking numerical answers to constantly evolving questions, the modern planner must devise a rational approach to solving a problem that has endless and conflicting variables. ...

"The prevailing political and military conditions decisively affect the possible choices open to the planner. …

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