PLA Senior Colonels On Future Wars: "Unrestricted Warfare": Part II

A November 1999 report from U.S. Embassy Beijing

Summary: The two PLA Air Force senior colonels who authored "Unrestricted Warfare" see many new kinds of warfare emerging. These include trade war, financial war, terrorism in the future using new technologies, ecological warfare and news media power. The Gulf War exemplifies the change from fixed to shifting alliances. The two senior colonels draw lessons for the Chinese military from the reorganization of the U.S. military since the middle 1980s and especially since the Gulf War. The U.S. spends vast amounts on warfare but is not willing to accept many casualties. In their view, the U.S. has splendid weapons but it has not shown that it is superior to other countries in strategy and tactics. The Americans always opt for complexity in weaponry, they argue, yet war is also a contest of the heroism, wisdom and strategic thinking of soldiers. The new flexible, integrated force strategy of the U.S. may well meet the global mission that the U.S. government sets for its military. But it may also get the U.S. and its military into a quagmire. The Gulf War brought U.S. military thinkers to the threshold of a revolution in military thinking but since then they have retreated from that threshold, according to the authors of "Unrestricted Warfare".

Financial Warfare? Chinese Economists Differ

The two senior PLA colonels criticize international financiers, and in particular George Soros who they see as financial terrorists who carry out financial guerilla attacks on countries once admired as economic little tigers, throwing them back a decade over night. While there are attacks on George Soros and international financiers occasionally in the Chinese press in connection with the Asian financial crisis, this is not the mainstream view of professional Chinese economists. Indeed, a Chinese economist told ESTOFF that at a 1998 academic conference on the Asian Economic crisis held in Hong Kong, Chinese academics refuted Malaysian economists who would blame foreign investors for the economic crisis. Although a popular novel harshly critical of George Soros did appear in Chinese bookstores, several admiring biographies were also published at the same time. An American teaching English at one of Beijing's university said recently that judging from the presentations of his Economics Department students, their hero is Alan Greenspan. Thus, the views of the PLA senior colonels on financial terrorism by international financiers are not widely held in China.

PRC Press Reflects Growing High Tech Security Concerns

Articles on security threats from hackers and computer viruses have appeared regularly in the Chinese press over the past several years. A new element, since early Summer 1999, has been an increasing number of number of newspaper articles calling or the remediation of many perceived Chinese hardware and software vulnerabilities:

  • The formation of an interministerial office working on computer security backed by the Ministry of Information Industry, Public Security and the military.
  • An MII warning to PRC government agencies to redouble their computer security and not to connect sensitive computers to the Internet.
  • An MII notice warned against a security threat from an ID function in the Intel Pentium II processor. The warnings came after a Guangming Daily article raised concerns that the Pentium II ID feature and some hidden features of the Microsoft Windows 98 operating system were threats to Chinese national security.
  • The release of Red Flag Linux (a Chinese version of the freeware Linux operating system) intended to provide an alternative to Microsoft operating systems.
  • A November 8 PLA Daily article "Chinese Internet Safety Door Challenges the World" arguing that China's 99 percent dependence on network routers made by U.S. and other foreign companies is far too high. The article discussed the successful test of the SED-08A Internet router developed by Qinghua University and Sangda Dianxin. 
  • Open Sources on PRC High Tech and Chinese Military

    Many articles on these themes can be found on the websites of Chinese newspapers and computer magazines as well as (in English translation) on the FBIS online database. The rapidly growing Chinese branch of the Internet has brought many new open sources for learning about Chinese high technology and military affairs. The web, like other branches of Chinese media, is highly regulated but nonetheless still provides many useful information sources.  

    Chinese Military Information on the Web: Starting Points

    A May 1999 cartoon in "Southern Weekend" warned of the security threat from nefarious foreigners who surf the web to ferret out Chinese secrets. Here are a few starting points: One of the newest of the dozens of PRC newspaper websites is People's Liberation Army Daily at PLA Daily online has much but not all of the print version. Some newspapers such as People's Daily ( are full-text searchable in Chinese online. Compendiums of thousands of news articles from newspapers throughout China at Newshoo ( and at Sinanet (, broken down by category for easy reference, are also useful. A list of military related websites is maintained on Sohu at

    Chinese search engines such as Yahoo! often turn up unexpected resources. A recent search for example, turned up a famous book banned in the PRC in full text on three websites (including the official website of a city in Anhui Province) in full text. PRC Net Info-Benefit: Full-Text Newspaper Searches , a short guide to searching the net in Chinese can be found on the U.S. Embassy Beijing website at




    What Methods and Approaches Should Be Used to Fight Wars?

    We can’t ignore the views of the Americans when looking at the methods and approaches of the wars of the future. Not just because the U.S. is the world’s hegemonic boss dragon but also because American military experts have thought more deeply on these questions than the military of other countries. Just in their classification of the types of wars into information war, precision war, joint war, and non-war military actions can be seen not only the pragmatism but rich imagination of U.S. military thinkers. Except for joint war which is the old combined operations including land/air coordination, the remaining three are all products of the new revolution in military thinking. [p. 47]

    The most imaginative view of what war will be like in the future is not limited to information war or precision war but non-war military operations. This concept arose from the American’s conception of their global interests. It is a classic instance of the U.S. attitude that "the world is my backyard". Yet we should not allow this to influence our evaluation of this approach since it is certain that peacekeeping, fighting drug smuggling, suppressing violence, military assistance, emergency relief and fighting terrorism are important questions that humanity faces in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    This U.S. concept comes close to but does not reach the breakthrough in military thinking that comes with the broader conception of unrestricted warfare that includes non-military war activities. The U.S. did not originate this concept yet it was the spread of American-style pragmatic thinking around the globe and the great advances in military technology led by the United States that made this revolution in military thinking possible. [pp. 47 – 49]

    How did activities that do not seem to be acts of war come to be considered as non-military war activities?

    Trade War -- Trade war was just a descriptive term a few decades ago but it has today become a type of non-military war activity. The Americans are especially ready to use this tool. They extended their domestic trade law to apply internationally. Trade wars can involve the raising and tearing down of tariff barriers, trade sanctions, technology embargoes, the Super 301 trade law, most favored nation trade status etc. The damage that any of these actions caused compares easily to the damage wrought by a war. The U.S. – initiated eight year old trade embargo against Iraq is the classic example of this.

    Financial War – Any Asian who lived through the Asian Financial Crisis has a clear idea of what "financial war" is. International financiers who control the flow of great amounts of capital make financial guerilla attacks on countries that were once admired as economic little tigers and shatters their economies, throws them back ten years overnight. The damage and chaos compares to a limited war but the damage made to the social fabric is still worse. The Asian Financial Crisis was the first time that a non-state organization had used non-military means to fight a weaponless war with sovereign states.

    The term financial war will likely soon enter into military dictionaries. It was not a politician or a military man but George Soros who played a leading role in fighting this financial war. Soros was not the first to use financial weapons. German Chancellor Kohl used the Mark to batter down the Berlin Wall. Lee Tenghui took advantage of the financial crisis to devalue the Taiwan NT dollar in order to attack the Hong Kong dollar. In the Albanian crisis it was plain to see how multi-national financial groups financed government opponents and controlled the media and so pushed that country into chaos. [pp. 50 – 51]

    New Terrorism – The new terrorism uses limited methods to fight an unrestricted warfare. A state that responds with the limited methods it has to fight terrorism and finds itself at a disadvantage. Using overwhelming force against terrorism is often ineffective. The Bin Laden attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania showed that a guerilla force that respects no rules is very hard for a state to fight. New terrorism does not just use the traditional terrorist methods of bombing, kidnapping, assassination, and airplane hijacking. New technologies such as the poison gas used by Ohm in Japan had a far greater terror effect than did the poison itself. Terrorists using new technologies can be called new terrorists. [p. 52]

    Ecological War -- This non-military type of war using ecological effects created by altering rainfall, watercourses, sea level, earthquakes or other environmental factors. Perhaps artificial El Ninos and El Ninas will become powerful weapons. For many countries that live on the edge of disaster in fragile environments, ecological war is a very great threat. [p. 53]

    There are many examples of non-military warfare. These include psychological warfare, net wars, drug wars to damage another country with drugs, setting technical standards that protect technological monopolies, and resource wars that loot natural resources. Other examples include foreign assistance wars that seek to use assistance as a means of control, cultural wars of assimilation, and establishing international laws that primarily benefit a certain country.

    The multiplication of the means of waging war has expanded the scope of military activities, amended the idea that "war is bloody politics" and of "war as the final means for settling disputes." The object of war is no longer just to "use military force to force the enemy to accept one’s will" but now is "use any method, including military and non-military means, lethal and non-lethal means to force the enemy to satisfy one’s own interest". [p. 55]  

    A Classic That Contradicts the Classics

    By any standard, the Gulf War was a big war. Yet victory was so overwhelming and so fast that even Uncle Sam himself has had trouble absorbing the lessons of that war. Some looked at that war and spread the myth that the U.S. is unbeatable. Others (especially generals who were not able to participate in it) said that Desert Storm was a special case and so few lessons could be drawn from it. [Note: a footnote on p. 82 quotes a U.S. Strategic and International Problems Research Center 1992 report to the effect that few lessons could be drawn from the Gulf War. The authors found the quotes in a two volume, internal distribution only Chinese study of the Gulf War published in 1992. End note].

    This is sour grapes. Naturally a war that takes places as the greatest military revolution in world history is occurring cannot be measured against earlier wars. Although I have no desire to be a propagandist for the Americans, the Gulf War is a classic of warfare in the age of globalization. [pp. 60 – 62] 

    Leaky Alliances

    The U.S. put together with difficulty and the help of its friends a broad alliance of Western nations concerned about oil supplies and Arab countries fearful that they might be Saddam’s next victim. Rapid resupply of critical microchips from Japan was one sign that even the powerful U.S. needs to rely on its allies. One hundred and ten countries participated in the embargo against Iraq and thirty countries participated militarily.

    The Gulf War is an example of the new style of military alliances: ad hoc affairs compared with the era of fixed military alliances that began with the Germany-Austria alliance of 1879. Countries are caught now in a global web of interests in which the interests of countries, international organizations and regional forces are constantly shifting. [pp. 63 – 65] 

    The Military "Reorganization Act" Came at Just the Right Time

    Those arrogant Americans often have an introspective side. This seems contradictory, but it is this quality of the Americans that frustrates those who expect to see American heedlessness getting them into trouble. The Americans derive many benefits from introspection which helps them see problems and correct them. The Americans are always looking for the key to the next action in their latest military action.

    There are rivalries among the service branches in all countries. The U.S. is no exception. During the war against Japan sixty years ago, Admiral Nimitz and General McArthur essentially fought two separate wars against the Japanese – something that President Roosevelt could do little about. During the Vietnam War, U.S. bombers were subject to commands from four independent command centers. Two hundred U.S. troops died in Beirut largely because of a problem of divided command. General Schwartzkopf, the Desert Storm commander, saw these interservice coordination problems first hand when he was vice commander of the invasion of Grenada.

    The needed reforms came when Congress mandated change with the Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 that directly addressed the problem of unity of command. General Powell and General Schwartzkopf were the first beneficiaries of new structure created by the Defense Reorganization Act. General Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was not a coordinator as the Chairman had been before. He was a boss. At the time of the Gulf War the Defense Reorganization Act was only five years old but it had been implemented very well.

    To this must be attributed the respect people have for keeping agreements in the American rule-by-law society. The reorganization also had important benefits in that it reduced the layers of command. One of the byproducts of the reorganization is that combat units got greater access to battlefield information. The success of the U.S. military reorganization deserves serious thought for any military force. Reorganization is a key challenge for all militaries as they look to the next century. [pp. 65- 68] 

    More Far Reaching than Air-Ground Coordination

    The air-ground coordination concept arose originally from the plans the U.S. made to fight a war on the plains of Europe. Those plans were never implemented in Europe, but the Gulf War saw a much deeper and broader coordination than envisioned before. Coordination in the Gulf War included reconnaissance, communications, and electronic warfare – what U.S. theorists call full spectrum combat. The U.S. command issued a 300-page daily air duty order with targets for all the allied air forces. The war became very much broader with the its detailed and effective coordination among service branches and amongst allies. [pp. 68 – 70]  

    Who is the King of the Battlefield?

    The Japanese Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku made military history with his successful attack on Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto didn’t realize the important military innovation he made with his aircraft carrier based attack. The U.S. planners, as they rebuilt the U.S. Pacific Fleet, also did not draw the lesson of carrier dominance in the future. Similarly, after the Gulf War the greatest lesson of the Gulf War – the great superiority of helicopters over tanks – was not accepted well by the U.S. Army. After the war, the U.S. increased spending in other areas – but cut back on helicopters. Many insisted that the tank would still be the centerpiece in future wars.

    Tanks played important role in the Malvinas [Falkland] Islands war and in Afghanistan, but only in the Gulf War did the dramatic superiority of helicopters over armor become apparent. The U.S strategy in the Gulf War did not use helicopters to their best effect. The Americans, who are usually so creative, scattered the 1600 helicopters used in the Gulf War in many different units where they supported armored units and performed other function. The Americans repeated the mistake of the French who had scattered their tanks among many different units at the outbreak of World War II. The helicopters would have been more effective if they had been organized into helicopter units.

    Despite this organizational handicap, helicopters were clearly the kings of the battlefield. CNN, other press coverage and most analysis (with the exception of the U.S. DoD "Final Report" to Congress) highlighted the roles of the Patriot missile, the F-117 but helicopters were slighted. Twenty minutes before the air attack began, guided missiles from MH-53J and AH-64 helicopters destroyed Iraqi air defense radars in order to blast a pathway for bombers to follow. Helicopters served not just as weapons platforms but also transported supplies and carried an entire portable base 100 km deep into Iraq. America’s flying cowboys have called into question the adage the "in the end, it is the infantry that wins wars." It is only a matter of time until helicopters make tanks completely obsolete and the tanks disappear from the battlefield. [pp. 71 – 75] [Note: in footnote on p. 84 a mention of an estimate from the 2/96 Russian military journal "Solider" that the lifetime of a tank on an open battlefield is just 30 – 50 minutes but that nonetheless most countries see the tank as the heart of their ground forces. End note] 

    A Hidden Hand Behind Victory

    The coming of the information age and especially CNN coverage of the Gulf War meant that the whole world could get detailed information on the progress of the war at the same time as President Bush did. The media has become part of the war and are no longer just provide information about what is happening on the battlefield. The reports send in by the 1300 reporters covering the Gulf War were limited not only by their own points of view but also by the U.S. Department of Defense "Revised Guidelines on New Coverage of the Gulf War" which stipulated what can be reported, what cannot be reported. The U.S. military apparently learned lessons from the press coverage of the Vietnam War.

    Guidance of the journalists was very effective since all but one of the thousands of reports got clearance from the censors. The commanders successfully showed the journalists what the commanders wanted them to see and nothing else. The U.S. news media completely dropped the objectivity that it is so boastful about and followed precisely the script the military had written in a kind of military-media alliance against Iraq. The press coverage also exaggerated the effectiveness of U.S. high tech weaponry such as high precision missiles and the Patriot missile that impressed the American public and intimidating the Iraqis.

    Media power is likely to become an ever more important weapon in the wars of the future. Unlike propaganda from the warring sides, media coverage with its veneer of objectivity is very influential. The dominance of the western media nearly silenced voices from Iraq who called President Bush a "great Satan" to a near whisper. Yet media power is a two edged sword. It was later revealed that a casual remark by a spokesman for President Bush influenced the decision to end the war after just 100 hours. This decision saved Sadam Hussein and left him in power to be a regular irritation for President Clinton. The power of the media has become so great that it even influences the decision of a superpower about when to end a war. [pp. 75 – 77]

    An Apple with Many Cross-Sections

    Lessons can be found from studying any aspect of war. While President Bush was talking about the moral responsibility of the United States and the whole world for opposing the invasion of Kuwait, no economist could have predicted that the U.S. Congress would insist that their be an international sharing of the costs of the Gulf War. Even if you don’t work on Wall Street, you have to admire the business sense of the U.S. Congress. Psychological warfare played a role in the Gulf War. After a bombing, leaflets would be dropped to warn Iraqi soldiers: the next bomb might fall on you! The widely considered obsolete A-10 combined with the Apache helicopter proved to be a very effective weapon.

    The thorough reorganization of the U.S. Air Force after the Gulf War completed the breakdown in the barriers between the strategic and tactical air forces with the substitution of the seven section old organization with a new air force organization organized into combat, mobility, equipment and intelligence. If not for the Gulf War, it is hard to imagine how the colleagues of the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff would have been accepted such a major reorganization. We Chinese who did not participate in the Gulf War have even more difficulty learning the lessons of the Gulf War. Although there are many gaps and doubtful points about the Gulf War, it was a laboratory for the military revolution brought on by the new high tech weaponry. Just for that reason it has the status of a classic and should inspire us to think in very new and different ways. [pp. 79 – 81]

     Chapter Four What Do the Americans Feel As Their Blind Men Feel The Elephant

    After the Gulf War there was a flood of reports analyzing the war. The Americans as a people, and especially the military people tend to feel very good about themselves. This leads to blind spots. The analysis of the many aspects of the war became something like the story of the blind men feeling the elephant to decide just what kind of animal it is. This is something that we Chinese have to be clear about as we look at their reports but it is no reason to ignore their value. What lessons did the Americans draw from the Gulf War? [pp. 87 – 88]

    The Military Service Branches Ask for Funding

    The Defense Reorganization Act seems to have just about cured a serious flaw in the U.S. military – inter-service rivalry. The very effective cooperation during the Gulf War showed the importance of those reforms. Commanders returned home with a heightened sense of the reforms. The fall of the USSR had left them without an opponent and they felt a sense of mission in the U.S. role in the construction of a new world order.

    Yet some interservice rivalry remains. As the U.S. military learns from the Gulf War, it becomes apparent that there were three Gulf Wars that they learn from – one for each service branch. In a sense this was the last battle of the old age as well as the first battle of the new. The partial perspectives of each service as they try to feel out this great elephant of a war make it harder to see the big picture. [pp. 88 – 89]

    The Army in the Gulf War had only four days to show its stuff compared with the 38 day air war, felt an inflexible elephant leg. The Army proposed "Twenty-First Century Army" concept -- a thorough reform so that it would not lose its place in the wars of the future. The Army created a training program to create "digital combat units" to put the Army at the forefront of the digital battlefield. The Army persuaded the U.S. Congress to make the very large investments needed to for these reforms.

    The speed of weapons development is accelerating. The usual Army way of doing things is to request a weapon and then wait ten years as it goes through research, development, production and deployment. Yet computer technology operates on a much shorter 18 month cycle and computer network technology on an even shorter 60 day cycle. Yet if the organization of the "digitized combat units" is based on the technology of the moment, it will be quickly worn out by constant changes. Yet who can say – if an army comes to depend too much on the latest in high tech, could it become a kind of electronic Maginot Line? [pp. 89 – 91]

    Although Desert Storm was directed by an Army commander, the Air Force was still the big winner in the Gulf War. The ability of the Air Force to act alone in a conflict was never demonstrated as clearly as in the Gulf War. Now the Air Force, which fifty years before has emerged from a spare rib of the Army, now appeared to be the dominant service branch. The Air Force had felt the great wings on the elephant. The Air Force and Army Chiefs of Staff the two service branches had learned much in the Gulf War about the wars of the Twenty-First Century but whenever they tried to draw specific lessons from the war, tensions would arise between the Army and the Air Force.

    [Note: a footnote on p. 115 cites a 12/96 article in the U.S. magazine "Army" entitled "Land and Air Coordinated Combat" as the source for this. End note]

    The reason was very simple. Neither service wanted to yield overall command to the other. Interservice rivalry time after time poisoned discussion each time military leaders discussed joint land-air operations. It prevented them from sharing as they should have the lessons of the Gulf War. This is very plain to see in the battle outlines the Army and the Air Force released after the Gulf War. [p.92]

    U.S. Air Force actions after the Gulf War were not just inspired by interservice rivalry. The thorough reorganization of the Air Force after the war, its plan for deployment to anywhere in the world within 48 hours and its enthusiasm for electronic warfare show that. It is a shame however that the words "inter service joint combat operations" is still just a slogan. Like their Army colleagues, Air Force officers are thoroughly reforming their service. A service branch without a plan for the future would never be able to get as much as one penny from Congress. Outer space weapons system may be trump card for the Air Force in the future. Although President Reagan’s Star Wars project did not succeed, American wants an outer space offensive capability. [93 – 94]

    To carry on the elephant analogy, it seems that the U.S. Navy didn’t even get to touch the elephant. This was very difficult for the Navy. After over a year of reflection, several U.S. Navy officers wrote a White Paper "From the Sea to the Land". The White Paper proposed that the U.S. Navy of the future would focus on supporting the other services – a complete changed from the seapower doctrine of Maher author of "Sea Power and its Influence on World History" and the spiritual godfather of the U.S. Navy. The White Paper won strong support from the leaders of the U.S. Navy. This new strategy, amplified in later papers such as "The Navy in 2020" defined a role for the Navy that won it funding in Congress and support from the other services. This redefined mission gives the Navy a pivotal role in supplying the Army and Air Force and in reducing their reliance on overseas bases. This strategy has worked well. Navy funding continues to rise despite cuts elsewhere in the U.S. budget.  

    The Wild Spender Syndrome and Zero Casualties

    The U.S. military uses very expensive weapons to fight wars in order to keep its own casualties to a minimum. Only a rich country can afford to fight this kind of war. During the Gulf War U.S. aircraft costing an average of USD 25 million dollars each flew thousands of sorties against Iraq, launching guided missiles that cost as much as USD 1.3 million each. A U.S. bomber is like a flying gold mountain – it is worth more than its target. For 161 days a long supply line brought 520,000 soldiers and 8 million tons of supplies to the Gulf. [pp. 96 – 97]

    One strange aspect of all this is that Pentagon reform focuses on making the Pentagon run as efficiently as a business but the U.S military can only fight money-is-no-object wars. The answer to this lies in the character of the American people. They are willing to spend any amount of money to win victory but are very reluctant to sacrifice human life to win victory. Of the 500,000 American soldiers in the Gulf War, only 148 died and 458 were wounded. This almost achieved the goal of the "zero casualty war". Ever since the Vietnam War be it the American public or the U.S. military everyone has an almost pathological fear of casualties. Keeping casualties to a minimum and achieving combat objectives are the two fundamental objectives of the U.S. military. [pp. 98 – 99]

    The American soldier going to the battlefield has become the most expensive item of all. So expensive that people fear that it will be smashed, like a precious vase. All those who have fought the U.S. military have grasped this truth: if you can’t beat the U.S. military, kill their soldiers. The U.S. wants victory but no casualties. [p. 99]

    This approach of using a bull-slaughtering knife to kill a chicken places much higher demands on weapons than it does on strategy and tactics. U.S. strategy lags behind its weaponry so it does not realize the opportunities created by these new technologies. Except for its effective use of weapons, the U.S. has not shown on the battlefield that the new weapons have influenced its military thinking. Thus the battlefields have been displays of U.S. technology but not of outstanding use of the military arts. And so the U.S. wild spender syndrome is spreading to other countries. The Gulf War was superb publicity for U.S. weaponry which the U.S., as the leading arms vendor in the world, must have appreciated. Thinking about the high technology, the boring tactics, and the great expense of this way of fighting a war, it resembles nothing so much as a Hollywood movie with its simple, unoriginal plot but great special effects. After the Gulf War many people thought that they could never afford to fight such a war. [pp. 99 – 100]

    A poet when thinking about the American nation that had produced the genius Thomas Edison wrote, "We love machines... and are infatuated with luxury." The American have an inborn longing for the two. They want perfection in their machines even to the point of making the machine a luxury good. General Patton who loved to wear his two ivory revolvers is an example. The Americans look for technology and weapons to bring them victory. They constantly make ever better weapons so that they will not lose their position of leadership.

    Whenever the increasing complexity of weapons systems comes into conflict with the principle of simplicity on the battlefield, the Americans always come down on the side of the complicated weapons. The Americans would rather fight a war as a marathon of military technology rather than see it become a contest of the heroism, wisdom and strategizing of soldiers. Yet the Americans have forgotten that for all the high technology of war, war is not a marathon but an ever-changing ballgame. Even if all your soldiers wear Adidas and Nikes, they won’t win every battle. [pp. 100 – 101] 

    Integrating Expeditionary Forces

    What kind of organization does the U.S. Army need for the Twenty-First Century? has been the question has asked itself for the last decade. Reorganization to smaller divisions of about 5000 men has been proposed since technological advances have made smaller units the equals in firepower and mobility of larger conventional groupings. The U.S. military in its organization and in its military thinking clearly lags behind its technology.

    The military reorganization that followed the Gulf War transformed not only the internal organization but also promoted weapons development, changed tactics and deeply influenced U.S. national strategic thinking.

    Compactness, flexibility and speed are making the U.S. military not only more effective in fighting wars but also in carrying out non-combat military duties. This new flexibility has promoted a worrying and dangerous trend. The U.S. government increasingly likes to use military force and uses it more and more readily.

    This kind of interaction between the military and the government and between the military and politics from the reorganization on down through military thinking seems to be leading the United States down what is very likely a disastrous path. The integrated expeditionary force of the future planned by the U.S. Department of Defense may well be able to very quickly implement the global mission of the United States government. It is hard to predict whether it will also get the U.S. and its military into a terrible quagmire one day. [pp. 101 – 106] 

    From Joint Operations to Full Spectrum Warfare

    When we say that the U.S. military lags in military theory, that is only in relation to its advanced technology. The U.S. military compares well with other countries in military thought and certainly has a commanding lead in high tech warfare. Perhaps the only one that can challenge them in that area is the "new military revolution school" of Soviet military theory.

    The military revolution has been a slogan for all the world’s militaries, but the Americans have been the ones who have done the most to put it into practice. The main problem for the United States is closing the gap between high technology and the tactics and strategy by which that technology can be used most effectively. One weakness of the U.S. efforts on joint operations of the different service branches is that the stress has been on cooperation on the battlefield while other areas have been neglected. The idea of joint operations was never expanded so that it could encompass all the different kinds of resistance that people are capable of.

    Thus U.S. concept of "full spectrum warfare" and "non combat military operations" comes very close to a breakthrough in military thinking. Yet conservative officers in the U.S. Army strived to keep combat and non-combat military operations separate. So the broader idea of the military’s role faded until in the 1998 edition of Essentials of Combat the concept of all dimension warfare was dropped. This story seems to be a repeat of the story one can find in any country of "one step forward, two steps backwards".

    When the concept of all dimension warfare is combined with the idea of non combat military operations one is led to the space in which the military and political leaders will use their imagination in thinking about the wars of the future. The Americans with these concepts in the years after the Gulf War came very close to but did not arrive at the new revolution in military thinking. Almost as if the American hares who lead the world in military technology and thinking had stopped to catch their breath. The strenuous efforts of the American military thinkers, the hare will not be able to keep all the tortoises in the rear. Perhaps the question should be asked why didn’t a revolution occur? [pp. 106 – 113]