Military Transformation

Authored by: Peter Dombrowski

Routledge Handbook Of Defence Studies

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138122505
eBook ISBN: 9781315650463
Adobe ISBN:


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Military transformation is a term-of-art used by defense analysts, military professionals, and national security scholars to describe a self-conscious process of reform, reorganization, and technological change. Perhaps the most influential definition can be found in then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s Transformation Planning Guidance, “a process that shapes the changing nature of military competition and cooperation through new combinations of concepts, capabilities, people and organizations that exploit our nation’s advantages and protect against our asymmetric vulnerabilities to sustain our strategic position, which helps underpin peace and stability in the world.” In the words of Andrew Krepinevich, the result should be “a dramatic increase–often an order of magnitude or greater–in the combat potential and military effectiveness of armed forces.” Transformation is believed to achieve greater combat power with greater efficiency and at lower costs. The term itself originated with the U.S. military, but has been adopted across the globe by governments, policy makers, and scholars alike. This chapter distinguishes between peacetime and wartime innovation while identifying the key issues for policy makers and scholars seeking to understand modern military transformation.

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