From the Editor

From Parameters,  Autumn 2007, pp. 2-3.

In This Issue . . .

This issue presents an eclectic tour de force of a number of the challenges associated with the conduct of land warfare in the twenty-first century. Our authors explore themes as diverse as nuclear proliferation and nation-building, and as consubstantial as strategic communication and freedom of speech. We are pleased to welcome back to the pages of Parameters Richard Halloran who introduces our first thematic presentation “Crafting a Global Message” with his article, “Strategic Communication.” Halloran admonishes Americans for their inability to craft national and global messages capable of articulating our security and foreign policies to friends and adversaries in an understandable and convincing manner. He concludes with seven basic principles every military member should know about dealing with the media. Our second offering on this theme is Dennis M. Murphy and James F. White’s “Propaganda: Can a Word Decide a War?” The authors explore the dilemma America faces in balancing the principles of a free, democratic society against a world of half-truths and lies. How do we maintain national credibility? They analyze the ability of the nation to fight and win this information war in an environment strongly influenced by America’s aversion to “propaganda.” Murphy and White conclude the best strategy for America’s leadership is to admit that we do want to (truthfully) influence foreign audiences and then pursue a program that actively incorporates strategic communication into the policy development process. To do anything less will abrogate the information battlespace to our adversaries.

The second of our thematic presentations “Prospects for a New Middle East” provides readers with two articles related to the future of the region. The first by William K. Mooney, Jr., “Stabilizing Lebanon: Peacekeeping or Nation-Building,” is an insightful review of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. The author adroitly identifies the mistake that Israel made in viewing Hezbollah geo-strategically, a proxy of Syria and Iran. He then details how the United States may be making the same mistake. Mooney warns that attempts to eradicate Hezbollah and its influence by military means is a strategy flawed in its design (and in Israel’s case) failed in execution. The author concludes that the current situation in Lebanon should be viewed in the context of the series of conflicts that have afflicted the nation throughout its history. He cautions that attempts by the international community to stabilize and reconstruct the country should be primarily focused on the political objective of strengthening the current Lebanese government. Christopher Hemmer provides readers with an innovative analysis of attempts by the United States to discourage Iran’s nuclear program in “Responding to a Nuclear Iran.” The author believes that America is misguided in the pursuit of any policy based on the prospect of military action or regime change. Hemmer uses the analogy of the Soviet-US rela-


tionship during the Cold War to propose a long-range policy for dealing with a nuclear-armed Iran.

The age-old debate regarding the appropriate role for America’s military is revisited in Gregory L. Cantwell’s “Nation-Building: A Joint Enterprise.” Cantwell explores the joint implications associated with stability, security, transition, and reconstruction operations to conclude that the military has a clear requirement to conduct nation-building. The real question, from the author’s perspective, is whether or not the military should be the lead agency in these operations.

Our final feature “Rules of the Game” presents two enlightening and insightful views of the rights and responsibilities associated with actions by members of the military and civilian contractors. John Loran Kiel, Jr., examines the consequences associated with the recent trend by members of the military to publicly voice their dissatisfaction with the nation’s leadership and American foreign policy. “When Soldiers Speak Out” is the author’s attempt to educate senior leaders regarding the fine line between freedom of speech and contemptuous actions. The author presents a number of seminal cases demonstrating the body of law governing free speech in the military. Kiel closes with a warning to commanders to prudently balance and preserve the right of free speech for their soldiers with their own professional command obligations. Marc Lindemann completes this thematic presentation with “Civilian Contractors under Military Law.” The author adroitly points out that although the United States has a long history of applying military law to contractors, albeit in limited circumstance, the insertion of five words into Congress’ fiscal year 2007 defense authorization act may now subject every civilian contractor operating in the war zone to the discipline of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The final article in this issue is Christopher M. Schnaubelt’s “Whither the RMA?” The author examines the contradiction between the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) attempt at transformation and (what he terms) a misguided vision of a high-tech Revolution in Military Affairs. Schnaubelt is especially critical of the DOD’s endeavors to pursue technical improvements in warfighting functions where US forces already possess overwhelming dominance. He concludes with a recommendation that the United States develop a system incorporating interagency strategies and operations with all the elements of national power. A system founded on the efforts of strategic thinkers, not tacticians, and one fully capable of understanding and integrating all the aspects of America’s power.

The Book Reviews feature again offers expert appraisals of an array of contemporary literature of interest to senior military, defense professionals, and academicians. J. Boone Bartholomees, Jr., leads the way with his review of Kimberly Kagan’s Eye of Command. Robert M. Cassidy contributes an excellent analysis of War Made New by Max Boot. These and numerous other reviews will doubtless send readers to their favorite bookstore or online outlet. — RHT

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Reviewed 30 August 2007. Please send comments or corrections to