From the Editor

From Parameters, Winter 1997-98, pp. 2-3.

In This Issue . . .

David Jablonsky argues that the metaphors of time as arrow and time as cycle can enhance the study of international relations at the levels of the individual, the state, and the international system. His analysis demonstrates how the metaphors can be useful at each level to understand and deal with change and continuity in national security policy.

Mark J. Conversino redefines strategic air attack by uncoupling target descriptions in a theater strategic plan from the ways and means to be used to attack them. His analysis of the values and the derived assumptions which sustain concepts such as "strategic bombing" is representative of work under way in all the military services.

Yves J. Fontaine identifies and evaluates common and recurring shortcomings and deficiencies in US strategic logistics support during four post-Cold War interventions. He concludes that even if we were to correct past problems (in itself no small task) we would still need major changes in how we equip and sustain our armed forces in order to field the small, agile, and lethal forces we will need in the next century.

Scott Beaty identifies assumptions about military health care that are 50 or more years old, measures them against evolving domestic concepts of health care, and then evaluates the consequences of the attendant changes for the military. His research shows how knowledge, technology, and treatment concepts can affect combat health support, one of the three future functions of military health care.

Donald E. Schulz examines Haiti's political and socioeconomic prospects in light of intensified political and non-political violence in 1996 and 1997. Concluding that US policy remains "a qualified though very shaky success," the author identifies the substantial challenges facing the international community if Haiti is to break with tradition and move toward economic, political, and social self-reliance.

Dan Henk acknowledges the difficulties awaiting those who attempt to describe US national interests, but asserts that US policy toward Sub-Saharan Africa in several successive administrations has been noteworthy for its consistency. He then identifies and analyzes a number of the policies that appear over time to have defined US national interests in the region.

John P. J. Brooks asserts the right and willingness of Africans to assume responsibility for conflict resolution on the continent, noting that the return of South Africa to the family of nations could offer new ways and means for dealing with regional conflict. He describes possible short- and long-term strategic options that could allow South Africa to support conflict resolution in Sub-Saharan Africa.

C. William Fox, Jr., uses the backdrop of political, social, and economic conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa to describe viruses, bacteria, and parasites of "cataclysmic potential"--he calls them "phantom warriors"--whose defeat will require a sustained effort by local and guest medical personnel for the foreseeable future. Describing a series of such medical interventions undertaken by US and allied personnel, he concludes that the United States needs to acknowledge that "the prospect of pandemic diseases coming to our shores is clearly a `defense of homeland' strategic issue."

Anthony D. Marley defines and demonstrates the importance of military downsizing and demobilization in developing nations, whether undertaken voluntarily or as part of a negotiated peace settlement. He draws on personal experience in several conflict resolution missions in Sub-Saharan Africa to recommend changes to US policy that could improve the prospects for success in stabilizing the region.

Review Essays in this issue include Henry Gole's "Reflections on Courage" in the armed services of the United States and other countries, while Lawrence Kelley, in "The Soviet Soldier in World War II: `Death is But Four Steps Away,'" continues his examination of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Of particular note is our first review of electronic publishing. Frank J. Stech has set the standard for subsequent efforts with his "On CD-ROM: 20th-Century Military History."

Continuities . . .

Readers may recall the article in our Summer 1997 issue, "The Drug Threat: Getting Priorities Straight," in which authors William W. Mendel and Murl D. Munger observed, "Just as the President would not permit the Army, Navy, and Air Force to go off to war without unified direction . . . it is time to move the operational direction [of the war on drugs] out of Washington and into the hands of a single civilian field director." Most US and allied military readers will recognize the analogy: we practice and conduct joint and combined operations under the command of a single regional commander in chief.

The articles in this issue on Haiti and conflict resolution in Sub-Saharan Africa offer a range of examples, comparable to those related to the war on drugs, in which we appear to have suboptimized our investments of people, dollars, and prestige by failing to create and carry out an integrated strategy appropriate to the task at hand. Some of the authors in this issue refer to the lack of a holistic view of the problem and its possible solutions; holistic views produce joint and combined operations plans. Should the United States, as Mendel and Munger suggested, apply the key principles of joint operational planning and execution to any foreign policy issue that involves the commitment of people, dollars, and other resources by several agencies of the US government?

More than Meets the Eye . . .

Scott Beaty's article, "The Revolution in Military Medical Affairs" (pp. 60-72), suggests that in a future conflict, "focused energy" devices will be used to treat wounds using non-invasive procedures. Should that prospect seem far-fetched, consider the following item from the April 1997 issue of "Washington Update," published by the Association of the US Army. Under the title "Laser wound-closing technology receives boost," the newsletter notes: "Dr. Kenton Gregory, a researcher in Portland, Oregon, has been awarded a $4.3 million Army grant to continue his studies into using infrared lasers and an animal tissue product called elastin to `weld' wounds. Using lasers, elastin could close wounds or be fashioned into tissue replacement instantly, fusing repairs and eliminating the weeks of healing normally necessary." Can the focused energy device proposed in Beaty's article, evoking scenes from Star Trek, be far behind?

Several articles in the issue deal with contagious diseases. Definitions of the terms endemic, epidemic, and pandemic are at page 134. A map of the Sub-Saharan region of Africa is at page 94.

Finally, the Superintendent of Documents has notified us that our subscription prices have once again increased. Details are in the form on page 183. -- JJM

Reviewed 24 November 1997. Please send comments or corrections to