Academic journal article Military Review

From the Editor

Academic journal article Military Review

From the Editor

Article excerpt

For the US Army, the 21st century began in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. No one could predict the magnitude, pace and fundamental nature of the physical and cultural changes confronting the Army over the next eight years. The type and complexity of operations have changed. Training has changed. Doctrine has changed and is changing again.

As the 14th in a series that began in 1905-the second to be published in the post-Cold War era-the upcoming US Army Field Manual (FM) 100-5, Operations, exemplifies the Army's commitment to exploiting change. By articulating the Army's doctrine for how to conduct operations now and in the future, it establishes a comprehensive blueprint that reflects a decade's worth of lessons learned, an assessment of technological progress and time-proven fundamentals and principles. While the new FM 100-5 contains some significant changes, much remains constant.

This issue's writers explore operational doctrine's roots, evaluate changes to FM 100-5 and discuss operational art's importance. Last year's Military Review writing contest winners offer several suggestions for incorporating Force XXI lessons and evolving information-age warfare into emerging doctrine, including the need for force structure modifications that discard traditional, linear battlefield conceptualizations in favor of open-ended, multiple-perspective methods that visualize warfare and develop solutions in nonlinear terms.

Bruce W Menning provides an overview of operational art's evolution, pointing out that it first appeared during the 1920s in response to the shifting content of strategy, the changing nature of operations and the evolving character of military structures. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, these conditions were once again present, eliciting renewed interest in operational art.

In subsequent articles, authors observe that 21st-century warfare's speed, lethality and complexity require that we hone battle command skills of our best leaders now; adopt a more logical alternative to the current military decision-making process to facilitate rapid decision making; develop initiative so that subordinates can cut through combat's complexities and make decisions that support the higher commander's intent; and retain mission-focused command and control with its inherent decentralization while molding the Army's digital technology and tactical design to support how we fight. …

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