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I O Historically Speaking · April 2003 tions, institutions whose members were positivelycommitted to a common enterprise: the regiment. That did not mean literally every regiment in every army had to be a permanent fixture. Radier, the concept ofpermanence as an ideal state needed to replace die entrepreneurial mentality dominantin an earlier military era. And military permanence in turn was a function of stable state organization and the social stability it in turn fostered. The reverse side ofthat coin is the fate of organizations, from regiments to states, failing to keep pace with the innovations ofwar, the military technical revolutions, and the concepts supporting and extending them. Particularly in the modern West, characterized ifnot defined by extensive civil-military interaction and widespread transfer ofideas and research, those members of an alliance that reduce their military effectiveness in favor of, let us say, domestic social programs tend to become clients. To pick up anodier ofParker's points, had die United States during World War II restricted, for the sake of alhance compatibility, developing its technological capacities vis-à-vis Britain, the principal daylight escort fighter of 1944 might well have been some variant ofthe Spitfire. D-Daywould have been undertaken with an armored force depending on Cromwells, Grants, and perhaps a few Crusaders or Covenanters^»«*?demieux. To go backa step further, had Britain scaled its military preparation to France in 1939-^0, the language of this dialogue might well be German. Parker's related point about "singleton techniques" becoming isolated in cultures lacking a broad pattern of flexibility applies on the organizational as well as the technological side. Systems with unstable or incomplete organizations are also prone to "oneoff institutional changes that eventually atrophy for lack ofreinforcement and absence of context. This holds for the West as well as the Rest. Nazi Germany's capacity to introduce even a "revolution in military affairs" was severely limited by its failure—in good part a deliberate decision on Hider's part— comprehensively to dismande or emasculate German secondary institutions. Soviet Russia was admirably adapted to die mass, lowtech , industrial, form ofwar that culminated from 1941 to 1945. But it was unable to meet die specific military challenges of the technotronic era, much less the general ones posed by an emerginginformation/electronic age. The result was implosion: collapse not from imperial, but internal overstretch. Even "militaryrevolutions"—to saynoticing of "military technological revolutions" and "revolutions in military affairs"—are to a significant degree susceptible to organizational control. It might even be argued that such control is necessary in dieir more specifically military aspects. The armies of the French Republic were manifestations of a military revolution in an early stage. But in their "revolutionary" format, they were regularly given all they could handle and more, from the Low Countries to Italy, by their unreformed and reactionaryopponents. Only as the challenges and opportunities of the 1 790s led to the organizing ofthe new forces in durable institutions with strong roots in die past (the demi-brigades ofthe amalgame come easiest to mind) did Napoleon's breakthroughs become possible. To add examples would be to strain the framework of a general discussion. It seems worthwhile, however, to approach the subject of military revolution and its increasingly complex ramifications from a syndietic perspective , seekingto cross intellectual faultlines whereverpossible ifonlyfordie sake ofclearing a half-century's intellectual underbrush. Dennis Showalter isprofessorofhistory at Colorado College andapastpresident ofthe SocietyforMilitary History. HisTannenberg : Clash ofEmpires (Archon, 1991) won the Paul Birdsall Prize. On the Once and Future RMA Jeffrey Clarke Given Geoffrey Parker's specialization, it is not surprising that his presentation begins to lose a certain fidelityas ittransitions into die 20di century and especially into die contemporary decade. But to his credit, Parker has discovered diat die term "revolution in military affairs"—widely acronymed RMA—has great resonance with current defense decision-makers and dunkers, including many of the world's principal heads of state and dieir closest advisers. The literature on the subject is extremely rich and, aldiough generally not written by historians, makes extensive use ofhistorical analogies for both scholarly and partisan purposes. Although few oftoday's RMA exponents would admitto any similarities widi Parker's early modern European models, useful parallels certainly...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6438
Print ISSN
1941-4188
Pages
pp. 10-12
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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