From the Editor

From Parameters, Autumn 1996, pp. 2-3.

In This Issue . . .

John R. Brinkerhoff makes the case for a robust US land force strategic reserve. His analysis of current assumptions and planning reveals shortfalls that can be offset only by the Army National Guard's divisions and separate brigades.

John Hillen examines the UN's record in managing complex humanitarian emergencies, concluding that recent failures are due in part to the UN's diplomatic, rather than parliamentary, culture. He notes also that its inability to conduct real-time military operations in a hostile environment reflects the fact that certain conflict-related functions are uniquely reserved to the state.

Walter Clarke and Robert Gosende propose an alternative to the Weinberger doctrine for determining the nature and duration of US military participation in complex humanitarian emergencies.

F. M. Lorenz describes the first large-scale use of so-called "non-lethal" materiel, which occurred during the withdrawal of the last UN forces from Somalia. He identifies policy, doctrinal, and procedural issues that should be settled before the materiel is again proposed for use.

Martin N. Stanton provides an infantryman's perspective on the utility of non-lethal materiel, noting the many liabilities associated with its use by soldiers in combat. He concludes that while the materiel may be of value to police organizations, it has little to offer in force-on-force situations.

Kevin C. M. Benson and Christopher B. Thrash describe in detail the processes and techniques that produced an exit strategy for US forces in Haiti. Their article can serve as a primer for those who have wondered how the Army goes about disengaging from a commitment in which there is no victory.

Roger C. Molander, Andrew S. Riddile, and Peter A. Wilson report the results of RAND's extensive inquiry into the strategic aspects of warfare in an information age. They conclude that key national military strategy assumptions are obsolete and hence inadequate for confronting the threats posed by strategic information warfare.

Richard J. Harknett shows that deterrence models developed during the Cold War provide poor guidance for strategic thinking about warfare in an information age. The latter is better understood, he observes, in the context of offensive and defensive measures that address directly the new threats associated with what some theorists are calling the two forms of future conflict, netwar and cyberwar.

Robert J. Bunker identifies and evaluates some of the policy and doctrine implications of cyberwar, conflict between military forces. He depicts an environment in which mission accomplishment and even survival may depend on the ability to appear to have left the conventional physical battlefield while retaining the ability to strike decisively at an opponent.

Thomas J. Czerwinski discusses the concepts behind emerging battlefield information systems that will be used for command and control of US forces. He uses post-Newtonian concepts, chaos theory, and safety engineering to reach his conclusions about future forms and functions of command.

Paul T. Harig considers educational and behavioral implications of the rapid growth of high technology in military command processes. Some of the issues he identifies are also addressed by other authors in the feature.

Language Again . . .

The feature on warfare in an information age may appear distressingly non-traditional to some of our readers, in part because of the proliferation of new terms. The ubiquitous prefix "cyber," for example, can be particularly annoying because of its many variants. Not even the Oxford English Dictionary was particularly helpful in the search for meaning.

In an era when no one can determine which flow of electrons across national frontiers will constitute a hostile act, nor the identity of the perpetrators, nor an appropriate response, close attention must be paid to what we call such phenomena. Our authors devoted appreciable effort to defining the new terms they use to describe conflicts in which traditional behavior can consign a nation to second-tier status, regardless of its investment in the tools of 20th-century warfare. As one of them noted, "The term information warfare in common usage will have no more than a general meaning, one that is recognized to be inescapably dynamic . . . . [It] is at a much too early stage of development to settle on an agreed definition for the concept."

Managing the journal . . .

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A number of subscribers have reported defective bindings on the Summer 1996 issue. Unfortunately we do not publish sufficient shelf stock to replace all such copies. We regret this deficiency and have taken steps to prevent a recurrence. -- JJM

Reviewed 21 August 1996. Please send comments or corrections to