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Amazon logo Sapolsky, Harvey, Benjamin Friedman, and Brendan Green, eds. US Military Innovation Since the Cold War: Creation Without Destruction. New York, NY: Routledge, 2009. ISBN: 9780415777919.

This book brings the course up to date by covering a period unexamined in the existing readings and lectures.


US Military Innovation Since The Cold War: Creation Without Destruction deals directly with the theme of the course: the factors that produce military innovation. The main argument is that the US military readily adopted the technological advances embedded in the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) – stealth, UAVs, precision targeting – but did not alter its doctrine. We define innovation along Schumpeterian lines, which means creative destruction, or that something new replaces (has to destroy) something else for innovation to occur. The US after the Cold War took on new technology but did not "transform", did not change significantly its force structure or warfighting doctrine. Innovation is not just better technology, but also significant changes in the organization which usually results in a shift in internal power dominance from one warfare community to another, e.g. from surface warfare officers to aviators or submariners in the Navy.

The book explains why this type of transformation did not occur post Cold War by examining the pattern of civil/military relations, the internal politics within the various services, their relationships with one another, the level of threat the nation faced, and the trends in the defense budget. We call the post Cold War period the Second Inter-war period as there is a large literature on the so called (first) Inter-war period, the years between WWI and WWII. We explain why the first period was much more innovative than the second. Finally we examine the requirements for innovative responses to the counter-insurgencies that now engage the US military and which we argue mark the end of the second Inter-war period.

It is an edited volume drawing largely on the resources of the MIT Security Studies Program. Several of the doctoral students who contribute to the volume took 17.462, but their work is new for the volume. There are chapters on each of the US armed services, including the Special Operations Command, which is essentially a fifth service. One additional chapter examines the RMA technologies, another traces the directives of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and a third looks at how the defense industries approached the RMA and calls for transformation.

Table of Contents

1 Harvey M. Sapolsky, Benjamin H. Friedman, and Brendan Rittenhouse Green. "The Missing Transformation."
2 David Burbach, Brendan Rittenhouse Green, and Benjamin H. Friedman. "The Technology of the Revolution in Military Affairs."
3 Colin Jackson. "From Conservation to Revolutionary Intoxication: The US Army and the Second Interwar Period."
4 Benjamin H. Friedman. "The Navy After the Cold War: Progress Without Revolution."
5 Sanford L. Weiner. "Evolution in the Post-Cold War Air Force: Technology, Doctrine and Bureaucratic Politics."
6 Austin Long. "The Marine Corps: Sticking to its Guns."
7 Austin Long and Colin Jackson. "The Fifth Service: The Rise of Special Operations Command."
8 Robert R. Tomes. "Defense Strategy in the 1990s: Old Wine, New Bottles."
9 Eugene Gholz. "The RMA and the Defense Industry."
10 Harvey M. Sapolsky, Benjamin H. Friedman, and Brendan Rittenhouse Green. "The RMA and the Second Interwar Period."