From the Editor

From Parameters,  Winter 2004-05, pp. 2-3.

In This Issue . . .

In the thematic feature “Foundations for War” are two articles examining the strategic and philosophical underpinnings of warfare. Doron Almog explores the strategy of cumulative deterrence as exercised by Israel in its war against the Palestinian intifadas and suggests that, perhaps, this is the strategy the United States should be using in the current war on terror. General Almog, a veteran of four wars with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), argues that the classical deterrence theory that emerged following the Second World War and was practiced during the Cold War is no longer relevant in the war against terror. Almog cautions that although the military superiority of the United States may never be in doubt, it is the war of ideas that will determine the final victor in the global war on terror. Only through the implementation of a strategy based on cumulative deterrence will America and it allies hope to win the hearts and minds of those supporting Islamic terrorists. Chaplain (Colonel) Franklin Eric Wester uses the tenets of the classical Just War theory to analyze the current Administration’s redefinition of the criteria supporting preemptive and preventive war. The author concludes that even though current operations in Iraq are not in the classical Just War tradition they do signal a need to develop a new ethic for such conflicts.

Our second feature, “Science and Survivability,” is an analysis of the inherent vulnerabilities found within the present-day DOD research infrastructure and survivability questions associated with the development of the Future Force. Augustus W. Fountain warns of the inherent danger in the Department of Defense’s policies supporting basic research and the development of technology. The author draws the reader’s attention to the fact that most of the present-day research infrastructure and funding policies were developed in the Cold War era. Fountain presents a detailed analysis of the science and technology planning process and determines a critical need to restructure DOD’s laboratories and research facilities. The author calls for new approaches for the establishment of collaborative venues and centers of excellence, incorporating elements of service laboratories, industry, and university researchers in an effort to shape basic research initiatives into key warfighting technologies. Scott Boston cautions a more deliberate approach, in terms of survivability, for the design of the Future Force. The author presents a detailed analysis of the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) and the associated Units of Action to conclude that greater attention needs to be given to the traditional survivability factors of mass and firepower. While admitting that the overall survivability factor for the FCS will be higher than the current force, the author determines that over 70 percent of these survivability enhancements are achieved through improved communications and mobility. Boston predicts that the tradeoff in direct firepower and armor protection to achieve this standard of survivability will unnecessarily place the FCS at greater risk.


Philip Seib uses Samuel Huntington’s thesis regarding the “clash of civilizations” to analyze how the news media might better shape its coverage of world events. The author sees the clash theory as a means for focusing media resources following the Cold War era. The ability to have a geographic region and a “bad guy” will permit the media to be more efficient in their application of resources. The author warns, however, that Huntington’s theory may be overly simplistic and that tensions will appear in areas of the globe not characterized by the struggle between Islam and the West. Seib concludes that although Huntington’s definitions and conclusions may be challenged, they do provide a framework for policymakers and journalists to conduct educated analyses of how the world works and where resources should be applied.

Jason J. Morrissette and Douglas A. Borer evaluate “Where Oil and Water Do Mix” in their analysis of the diminishing natural resources found in the Middle East and North Africa. The authors conceptualize how environmental scarcity is linked to political unrest and then describe how such crises may result in intrastate and interstate conflict. Although oil is always a consideration when assessing the political stability of this part of the world, our authors believe it is the scarcity of water that will lead to the greatest instability and conflict. They have analyzed numerous studies and sources to predict that even though there are specific steps that could be taken to alleviate the scarcity of water in the two regions, war and conflict are still a certainty. This dire prediction is based on the authors’ belief that “economic globalization” and “political authoritarianism” are the emerging realities that will drive the regions to conflict.

Mike Denning uses the horrific death of a young Tutsi girl during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda to call for an “African Standby Force.” The United Nations released a report following the genocide which concluded a small outside force—perhaps as few as 5,000 soldiers—could have stopped the slaughter. Denning begins his article by telling the reader “why Africa matters.” He outlines a detailed plan for the organization, command and control, and support for a composite “Tier One Brigade” to be used throughout the African continent in time of crisis. The author cautions that America does not necessarily have to do all the heavy lifting, and provides examples of other nations’ involvement on the continent. Denning concludes with a vision of the international community bringing together a professional corps of African soldiers capable of rapidly responding to any African crisis.

The Book Reviews section includes Robert Killebrew’s examination of John Lewis Gaddis’s latest work, Surprise, Security and the American Experience. Martin Cook reviews Michael Walzer’s newest addition to the study of the ethics underlying warfare, Arguing About War. Cole Kingseed considers Edward “Mac” Coffman’s sequel to his classic The Old Army with his review of The Regulars: The American Army, 1898-1941. And Richard Halloran looks at China Hands, by James Lilley with Jeffrey Lilley. These headliners are joined by a banner cast of reviewers providing a rich and varied survey of new books. — RHT  

Go to Winter issue Table of Contents.

Go to Parameters home page.

Reviewed 23 November 2004. Please send comments or corrections to