3OS Paper #1
Abstract: The shift in American commercial sector focus from industrial/material to services/information should be paralleled in a shift of combat offset strategy. This theory is reinforced by the fact that previous commercial advantages have precipitated a major change in Defense Policy to seize strategic advantage. The lack of an effective pivot since the US outsourced most mass-production precedes a major strategic flaw in effective warfighting. It will require completely reformulating maneuver doctrine away from a focus on large material, and the basis of acquisition needs to shift focus from material towards information and speed of thought.
Learning More Lessons From Pearl Harbor
American economic evolution has been the driving force behind every aspect of the American military, almost since the very beginning of the United States. This makes sense, as traditionally, economics has been the number one reason we as a nation choose to fight. True, there have been noble conflicts such as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), which saw not just $178+ billion in direct economic loss, but also 2,977 victims before the first soldier was deployed to the GWOT. But there have also been some pretty nefarious reasons troops have been deployed, like the banana republic wars or the annexation of Hawaii. In all of these, an economic driver was at least partially a catalyst for deployment of force. Yet while economics may be the reason Congress and the Executive deploy the military, the US Department of Defense (DoD) is particularly concerned with how economic evolution drives the military itself internally, regardless of deployment policy from Washington.
There are many examples of the US both succeeding and failing in adaptation. When trying to examine a US doctrine where defense has fallen behind peers, the date of December 7th, 1941 is a microcosm of countless errors across all levels of warfare, including the strategic inability to adapt doctrine, the operational inability to adapt new research & development (R&D) with effective tactics, techniques & procedures (TTP), or the tactical ability to respond to a dynamic situation. There are many documents highlighting the failure of intelligence or command & control (C2) at Pearl Harbor, some of which were flawed in an attempt at revisionism.
There have been suggestions that the lack of a common intelligence centralization apparatus, particularly for signals intelligence (SIGINT) was the reason for the lack of preparedness at Pearl Harbor. This is flawed for multiple reasons: first, it had been tried before to wider operational failure, and second, the very nature of decentralized intelligence has been continuously shown to be a superior model, so much so that it is existing doctrine in the 21st century. There has also been a large body of work regarding the inability of the US Army (USA) to properly utilize state of the art Radio Detection and Ranging (Radar) tools they had, and how that further reduced efficacy of defense on the islands. Additionally, there are veritable libraries about the rise of the US after Pearl Harbor into an industrial behemoth and the change of focus – by necessity – from a battleship oriented Navy to an aircraft carrier oriented Navy.
What you cannot find is the idea, even retroactively renaming it, for an offset strategy or a “pivot” to utilize a domestic advantage to overcome an otherwise difficult military problem. There were certainly few if any examples between the Civil War and World War II, to include the US involvement in all of World War I. During World War II it was in fact the War Department and the Department of the Navy driving the US commercial sector, not the other way around.
It was a “serendipitous coincidence” that the aircraft carriers were out of port on maneuvers when the Japanese decimated the Pacific battleship fleet. Admiral Nimitz adapted, and would take his aviation-oriented naval forces across the Pacific as the centerpiece of his strategy. Likewise, use of Radar would be improved by the Army and Navy alike and utilized throughout the remainder of the war.
Ultimately, Pearl Harbor itself was an example of failure in development of TTP, both in terms of intelligence and implementation of new R&D at all levels of warfare. What World War II did for the United States however was usher in a new era where the industrial base of the United States would become the centerpiece of not merely the American contribution to allied victory in World War II, but the very basis of all US military evolution throughout the rest of 20thcentury.
Industrialization in the United States had begun in an ad-hoc manner from prior to World War I, but the scale hadn’t truly expanded across the country prior to the Great Depression. The US was mostly an agrarian society up until World War II; on the dawn of Pearl Harbor, 22% of the US population lived on farms, whereas less than 1.5% of the US population is involved in agrarian enterprises in 2020. This shift dovetails with the known US industrial output and significant change during the war. By the end of World War II, the US was out-producing all other major belligerents, both ally and foe, combined.
The US war effort lead to changes in industry and commercial management, which in turn lead to changes in social norms. At the dawn of World War II, women were steeply restricted from most jobs in the military and were also restricted from many occupations in the workforce. Yet as the draft and combat whisked a large percentage of the American workforce away, social norms on women in the workplace shifted. This integration of women into the war effort was universal across the war’s belligerents, and mostly applied in the context of the nation’s focus. For the United States, this meant women working in factories like never before. To the Soviet Union, who had total GDP approximately 3% of the United States in 1941, it meant women on the front lines in combat.
In both cases, the changes in social norms were a reflection of resolve. The US industrial capacity was the principle tool in the US march to victory, but it was the resolve of the American people that made victory all but assured. That resolve was reflected in the willingness to modify social norms for the benefit of victory. It is also a resolve not reflected by US society in general, nor the US commercial sector as the US continually plays a role as global policeman in counter insurgencies (COIN), counter terrorism (CT), and in continual multi-domain conflict with pacing threats.
Throughout the 1950s, the US military’s growth and capabilities gains were reflections of the US commercial sector; massive industrialization and large scale growth. Domestic tax policy greatly encouraged corporate investment and the dividends for both small business and larger enterprises lead to economic growth at a violent pace. In lockstep, the military itself grew rapidly, and pushed the edges of development, often in the driver’s seat for scientific and engineering advancements. The Federal Government would lead the nation in R&D spending until the mid-1970s, and much of that spending directly impacted the world we live in today by virtue of creating the framework for the transition from agrarian society to industrialization to an informational service based economy revolving around urbanization.
The most telling example of this is a legacy from the days of nuclear weapons development, when mainframe computers controlling massive early-warning Radar systems were connected to each other without a central node. This resulted in several Universities which had close ties to military projects being connected as well, and ultimately, the University systems being interconnected to other networks. This “network to network” connectivity forced the development of Internet Protocol (IP). The follow-on to the original network, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) became the first “internetworked network,” or rather, the Internet. From the genesis of nuclear weapons defense has grown the single largest segment of the world economy in the 21st century.
History of Offsets
The history of the Manhattan Project is the subject of more than a few hit films and more books and scholarly articles than could possibly be compiled. Yet the growth of nuclear weapons after the successful conclusion of World War II isn’t a continuation of the Manhattan Project, but rather the first example of an “offset pivot.” The offset strategies are major evolutions in development of technology, tactics and doctrine at all levels of warfare from small unit tactics through National strategy to “offset” a major advantage a potential enemy may enjoy.
It is arguable that the single greatest enemy to US military superiority since 1944 has been the size of the DoD itself, as the self-feeding bureaucracy has optimized the military to continually try to fight the same war over and over again. The acquisitions frameworks that empower the vast, vast majority of all defense projects are designed around a slow and methodical attempt to make existing warfighting slightly more efficient than it was last year; paradigm shifts are next to impossible to implement from the bottom-up, and the top-down architecture is ingrained to avoid it.
This is also why there’s only been two successful implementations of an offset strategy since World War II.
The First Offset Strategy (1OS) owes its roots to the geopolitical landscape after World War II, where Warsaw Pact nations had a sizable numeric advantage over the fledgling North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was feared that an invasion from the east by Soviet or Soviet-backed forces to Western Europe could not be effectively repulsed, and communism could easily grow, particularly as encouraged by angry youth in the torn wreckage of post-war Europe struggling with unemployment, limited opportunities, and false promises from communist propaganda.
Forceful visionaries from General Curtis Lemay to Admiral Hyman Rickover would cut through a lot of bureaucracy imposed by World War II-centric leadership, and usher in the 1OS with all the things it spawned including the Strategic Air Command (SAC), nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines, nuclear armed strategic submarines, the nuclear triad, and large-scale proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the United States.
To sum up 1OS, the threat’s advantage was widespread numeric superiority, with an industrial base that could effectively nullify any raw numbers. However, the massive industrialization in the US commercial sector operated far more efficiently and effectively than collectivized nationalist industries in the Warsaw Pact nations. Coupled with growth of technical capabilities, this meant the nuclear development in the US could outpace the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) for a significant enough time for the remainder of NATO to catch up and achieve parity within the European theater.
Outright 1OS superiority wouldn’t last long; through dogged determination and a lot of espionage, the Soviet Union became a nuclear peer. Soviet nuclearization achieved parity in 1978, then, with the publishing of the Nuclear Weapons Employment Policy on July 25th, 1980, the United States effectively admitted that the 1OS no longer served as a functional advantage. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) as a doctrine was now an instrument of peace.
Following doctrine from World War II and lessons learned from the development of 1OS, the massive waste of wealth in Vietnam had been one of the origins of the Second Offset Strategy (2OS). The two basic principles of the 2OS were simple:
1. Overwhelming technological advantage of a maneuver warfighting force fueled by our Defense Industrial Base (DIB).
2. Superior training of a force of volunteer professionals using advanced technology with flexible doctrine.
Technical evolutions derived from the 2OS are central to maneuver warfighting today; invention of the global positioning system (GPS), “smart-weapons,” the development of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), first as a tool for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and ultimately as a kinetic strike platform are but a few examples. The 2OS also is the origin for the shape of our acquisition doctrine itself, with the Federal Acquisitions Regulation (FAR) and the supplement for Defense (DFARS) being designed around the application of technology into the DoD.
The origins of the 2OS as a functional pivot are multiple initiatives taking place inside the Pentagon over the course of a few years. One was the Committee on the Present Danger records, specifically Eugene V. Rostow and Paul H. Nitze, who argued that the US was falling behind the USSR in both nuclear proliferation and drastically in raw numbers. By this point in 1976, the draft had ended and the US military was already a de-facto “professional enterprise.” The US Air Force (USAF) had already begun development of precision weapons due to the nature of COIN operations in Vietnam and the relative expense to fight the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong using conventional weapons. The successful attack of Thanh Hóa bridge with early Guided Bomb Units (GBUs), all of which hit the target – after 843 previous sorties had failed to destroy the bridge – ushered in the forefront of 2OS. The “Fighter Mafia” slowly replaced the SAC leadership within the USAF and transitioned a “precision-focus” as opposed to a “total-war” focus from a doctrine and TTP perspective. This philosophy would be embraced by the US Navy (USN), US Marine Corps (USMC), and eventually the USA. The biggest difference in these evolutions were that while the 1OS and now the third offset strategy (3OS) both are “clear strategies” and revolutionary in their view on warfare in general, 2OS was more piece-meal and evolutionary, and certainly was not embraced throughout the US DoD quickly.
To the staff in the Pentagon in the 1970s, 2OS was purely idealized as the technical advantages, with an emphasis solely on material, and a nascent mention of professionalism as the draft continued until 1973. By the 2020s, the larger benefit to the military is the professionalism and training of the lower-level Officers and experienced Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), especially as multiple near peers are technologically gaining ground on the US DoD, yet still sorely lacking in aggregate professionalism at lower ranks. Company grade officers and Senior NCOs often dictate the entire spectrum of American military policy at the skirmish level of battle, completely removed from any direct control by a Lieutenant Colonel, much less a flag officer. The concept of “centralized command and decentralized execution” is a doctrine throughout the US DoD, and has a long history in all the services. For those executing the orders, what matters is less “direct control” from higher headquarters, but a clear understanding of the commander’s intent by every member of leadership from the top down.
This is not random, and like the Pearl Harbor example above, is owed to battlefield evolutions during World War II, specifically the North African air campaign. The most obvious application though was in Normandy. Armed with C2 doctrine that encouraged flexibility for execution by forces in battle so long as they stayed within the guidance of commander’s intent, and coupled with educated and empowered Senior NCOs and company grade officers, a very successful example are the oft-forgotten “Little Bands of Paratroopers” (LBP). This concept of LBPs were utilized, mostly by the 101st Airborne Division on the morning of June 6th, 1944 during Operation Overlord, more commonly remembered as “D-Day.” The initial analysis of airborne operations on D-Day was considered a failure to the point of even suggesting the abolition of the airborne. This opinion by USA leadership was due to the myriad failures by the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions to achieve specific operational goals. However, the German generals tasked with defending Normandy had a significantly different opinion of the “random” airborne divisions themselves. From compiled interviews and histories, the German command grossly overestimated the American airborne unit’s size and efficacy due to the ad-hoc C2 and decentralized execution doctrine. In hindsight, the German commanders considered the decentralized nature of the American airborne operations to result in gross errors in usage of their own reserve forces and defensive forces and were unable to mount an effective defense of the amphibious landings. The decentralized execution by the LBPs resulted in both many tactical victories and losses, but operational and strategic gains of unparalleled value in the D-Day invasion.
“One of the serious problems in planning the fight against American doctrine, is that the Americans do not read their manuals, nor do they feel any obligation to follow their doctrine.” (An apocryphal “quote” often told from the perspective of a German officer during World War II.)
The veracity of the quote is irrelevant; the German generals themselves admitted that the American ability to employ flexible doctrine and adapt faster to a combat situation was a strategic reason for their failure to defend “Fortress Europe” on D-Day. Despite the structured diagram of the observe-orient-decide-act (OODA) loop not existing in World War II, the American paratroopers were continuously operating inside the German OODA loop because of their decentralized nature while utilizing maneuver warfare concepts. Even though the Germans had some operational advantages with the preparation of the battlefield and overwhelming fire superiority, their inability to pivot as fast as the Americans was ultimately their downfall.
Unfortunately, the formal use of concepts like the OODA loop, decentralized execution, adherence to commander’s intent instead of wholly centralized C2, and a completely professional all-volunteer military wouldn’t describe actual US doctrine until the late 1980s.
Since the action to oust Manuel Noreiga in Panama through the continual CT actions across the globe in 2021, the US DoD has been in near constant conflict ranging from invasions of nations with credible military forces (Iraq in both 1991 and 2003), peacekeeping with minimal boots on the ground (Bosnia in 1995, Kosovo in 1999), to long-ongoing COIN operations, all of them employing both tenets of 2OS.
Succinctly, with the 2OS, the US was capable of utilizing the industrial growth of the US into the information age while retaining a very productive US industrial sector and the growing education and knowledge of the professional military. The acquisitions, the DIB, the doctrine, and the professional military members of the US DoD were all working faster and smarter than any opposition, bringing more lethality to bear in a faster paced military environment with more firepower precision and mass available than any potential enemy.
The US DoD has reached a zenith of conventional maneuver capabilities relative to potential enemies, and has no peers for this type of warfare contest. As an instrument of national power (Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic (DIME)), the military threat of conventional US maneuver warfare is among the strongest threats at the nation-state level ever held. The US economic engine and the accompanying economic instrument of national power are similarly powerful. And the power of any great nation-state has always been tied to those that can exercise multiple facets of DIME effectively. That the US has enjoyed superiority in both the military and economic realms for so long has been a luxury, even if there's now been several consecutive administrations which have squandered soft diplomatic power.
“The only driver stronger than an economic argument to do something is the war argument, the I-don't-want-to-die argument.”
So why the concern? If China, Russia, or any other potential foe has zero chance of winning a conventional maneuver war against the US, why would they even bother? They won’t, at least not using the same rulesets we’ve defined. And neither has any other rational actor in the last 15 years. The very nature of asymmetric warfare and the offset pivots is to bypass an enemy’s advantages and turn their strengths into weaknesses. We can define the reasons for the various other actors to be perceived as not merely threats, but timely, likely, and motivated threats. Some of them have achieved parity with the US in not only various DIME concepts, but have created their own pivots to neutralize the US DoD’s maneuver warfare advantages.
The US has effectively lost outright DIME superiority.
The amplifying information about the individual actors reaching parity on different facets – Russian superiority in informational warfare with effective use of their diplomatic and economic capabilities and their strategic military capabilities; Chinese economic instruments; the conceding of numerous tactical and strategic advantages to COIN opposition will be expanded upon in the next paper, along with the temporal and economic contexts making threats more - or less - likely in the near term.
The responsibility of the US DoD is to prepare for war by being effective enough to make a belligerent choose instead to avoid any sort of adversarial confrontation in any context of DIME with the US. If 2OS is no longer an effective pivot to prevent confrontation, something must be done to re-establish US dominance and maintain global stability.
The Need for a New Pivot
The previous two American pivots to neutralize an opponent’s threat were predicated on two facets:
1. What was the threat’s advantages?
2. What was the American capability at the national scale which could effectively neutralize that threat?
The US DoD has spent years now trying to craft the 3OS. Initially, it was defined broadly; statements like “improving conventional deterrence against adversaries with advanced battle networks” shored up a broad policy of “re-establishing a comparative defense advantage and conventional deterrent.” The problems with this broad definition are two-fold:
A. The 3OS was pitched at a time when numerous variables coincided at the Pentagon; the change in administration, a change in definition of likely belligerents, and a mix of innovators and those appealing to the status quo at various levels of authority mixing buzzwords with real-world mission concepts of operations (CONOPs).
B. In all definitions of 3OS circa 2016-2017, there was no focus on tying the advantages of a US DoD underlying strategy beyond acquisition policy to the US commercial sector economic engine. With regards to actual TTP, there were mere tangential mentioning of the Silicon Valley and innovation as catch-phrases. It was innovation tourism at best.
The result is that the entire concept of 3OS is effectively dead as of 2020. And as defined in 2016, it should be. Yet the need for a comprehensive 3OS that can provide a framework to move beyond conceptual difficulties facing the US DoD ranging from Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) and Contested/Degraded Operations (CDO) as part of Major Combat Operations (MCO), to more fundamental questions about how to leverage American strengths effectively against adversarial strengths is a clear need.
As the US economy has outsourced major sectors of manufacturing overseas, including a very significant percentage to China itself, what is the basis of the US economy still being the world powerhouse? How can this be exploited by the US DoD into a major martial advantage? As the US hegemony in 2OS forced the enemy to adapt and embrace their own pivots, it coincided with the US economy no longer enjoying the same commercial sector advantages they did during the entire 1OS and first few years of the 2OS. Likewise, one of the other strong pieces of the US DIME advantage has been in historic diplomatic partnerships; Russia knows that a fight in the Baltics for Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia means not merely facing the US, but all of NATO. Yet most all NATO members have outsourced their manufacturing capabilities. The framework for a 2OS-based leap forward is non-existent across the entire western world.
In spite of significant segments of the US economy evolving away from the properties that made the 1OS and 2OS possible, the dynamic capability of the US economy is still the most powerful single economy in the world, and this must be the basis for the 3OS. This doesn’t even require reviewing the specific economic advantages that dovetailed with the rise and success of the 1OS and 2OS, but rather just acknowledging that it happened. Examining what the US thrives at, and how to adapt US DoD doctrine to take advantage must be the core of a 3OS leap forward.
Where every aspect of the growth in the US economy overlaps, from wealth management and hedge fund automation to Just-in-Time (JIT) logistics is informational advantages in a dynamic marketplace. And this information is usually manifested through software.
“Software is eating the world.” Marc Andreessen, one of the creators of the architecture of the modern Internet, lead author of Netscape Navigator, and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital (VC) firm that funded the launches of Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Airbnb, Buzzfeed, Lyft, and Slack, among hundreds of others.
An example of this commercial sector growth is that in spite of massive government investment by China in artificial intelligence (AI), the US commercial sector is vastly superior. The reason has literally nothing to do with the US DoD, who lags not merely behind the commercial sector but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in employment of AI and development of AI-assisted TTP, but rather with the power of the free-market economy in the US to motivate sectors to invent. Knowledge is the key to wealth growth in most sectors of the US economy now, ranging from marketing to real estate to manufacturing, thus the demand cycle for software and intellectual innovation have much more monetary influence behind them than the entire US DoD budget. To exploit that advantage into a 3OS must be the basis of new American military doctrine and associated TTPs.
Former Deputy Secretary of Defense (DSD) Robert Work was quick to point out that focusing on this concept of software alone or even more specifically was wrong.
“Offset strategies are not about technology per se, so it drives me crazy when people say, ‘oh, the Third Offset is AI and autonomy.”
He was right, but he also failed to define what the success of the 1OS & 2OS were, and what the 3OS needed to be: a reflection of the successes in the US economy that could be leveraged against an enemy by adapting both acquisitions and TTP.
The new way to define and look at 3OS is going to require fundamental changes in acquisitions and doctrine. For the acquisitions community, these changes must mostly be pointed at the actual system program office (SPO) level, as the major policy changes at the Congressional level, the US DoD level and even at many of the service levels have already been completed. In spite of these changes to policy, many (but not all) SPOs remain a problem, stuck in the “frozen middle” and consistently hindering evolution by utilizing acquisition methods as defined in older regulations such as the FAR and the DFARS. This is done out of habit, in spite of specific instructions at the service, department and public law levels instructing them not to. For a 3OS to succeed, General Officers and senior leaders need to take a more directive approach in educating the SPOs or terminating those officials that refuse to modernize. More detail on acquisitions reform is in the third paper in this series.
Second, doctrine has to change remarkably. While this will be delved into at a greater level of detail in the fifth and sixth papers in this series, the underlying point to enable a 3OS pivot is that doctrine and TTP development must move even faster than they currently do. The understanding of “getting inside the enemy’s OODA loop” must continuously happen in the acquisitions realm and enable faster development of doctrine and TTP, especially as the current TTP development process in the US DoD is based on existing warfare domains and tends to apply statically across them all.
An example of this errant viewpoint can be seen inside the USAF. The Air Force Weapons School contains all 19 squadrons that teach graduate level curriculum in Weapons Instructor Courses (WICs) resulting in many of the most knowledgeable warfighters in the entire US DoD. Yet the domains of warfare and the evolution in the context of the battlefield are much more dynamic than even a six month course to create a “WIC patch” can keep up with. The principles of dogfighting in the air domain – the original point of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School, which evolved into the modern Air Force Weapons School – have changed remarkably in the last seventy years that the Air Force has been its own domain-focused service; much more so than small-unit tactics for gunfights in the land domain. For the only ground combatants in the Air Force Weapons School, the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) WIC, the most important lessons learned in the school are how to teach and how to review actions, but much of the course is also based on advanced TTP. For that TTP, the education focus is based on the electronic warfare (EW), electronic intelligence (ELINT), SIGINT, ISR, and use of the aircraft to complete their mission because their land domain combat techniques are not evolving at the rate requiring a WIC. The JTAC WIC student is carrying the same basic small arms rifle (M4 carbine, a derivative of the M-16) as their fathers or grandfathers did in Vietnam while using the same techniques for breaking contact against a larger infantry force. This parallels the real world, as infantry units facing one another date back more than a millennium, with evolutionary advancements corresponding to the slow evolution of equipment. Conversely, the aircraft itself is barely more than a century in age, with rapid innovation over the decades enabling beyond visual range (BVR) engagements and split formation tactics with coordination conducted using covert communications technologies. This is why the air domain requires a more rapid TTP evolution model. Yet with the WIC model, there is an intention to make TTP evolution match to the WIC course and Weapons & Tactics (WepTac) conference model, and this fails miserably in the context of the other domains of battle. Not only is it too fast for the land domain to even justify a WIC, it’s far too slow for other domains like cyberspace. More detail on cyberspace TTP is in the fifth paper in this series.
The New Definition
The 3OS needs to be defined as:
1. Embracing information as opposed to material as the central focus to martial victory, enabling use of American commercial informational superiority to maintain US DoD asymmetry with any opponent.
Adaptation of US DoD policy to a 3OS focused on the two above tenets will re-enable the US to achieve supremacy across the military instrument of DIME in the context of great powers. It will also allow leaders across the strategic, operational and tactical levels of war to coherently plan for more realistic scenarios in both the dreaded MCO and the endless COIN responsibilities by leveraging what will continue to make America dominant in the economic realm. It’s not so much that MD warfare isn’t important or shouldn’t be a focus of doctrinal advancement; it’s that 3OS has been misdirected towards an evolutionary advancement that was based on 2OS warfighting, doctrine, and acquisitions. Embracing a new leap forward constructed around American commercial dominance will give lasting gains and enable new capabilities relative to potential foes.
The US DoD has to operationalize concepts that a post-scarcity economy will revolve around in order to maintain superiority. This combined resurgence will also help America continue to have an advantageous diplomatic capability with global partnerships, and as an open society encouraging informational development in both the commercial and military sectors, be less susceptible to informational threats by enemies who have more effectively operationalized that domain of national power - particularly during the 2016 and 2020 election cycles.
There is no coincidence this blog was posted on December 6th 2021. On December 7th, 1941, "the day that lived in infamy," the US had their dated thinking and adherence to old TTPs exposed by an enemy utilizing their own offset strategy to mitigate our advantages in the context of the given battle. December 6th, 1941, we lived in a state of artificial bliss, clinging to a thought that our way of training, equipping, planning, and fighting was somehow adequate to prevent war with a willing enemy. And we were proven wrong the following day.
Today, December 6th, 2021, eighty years later, we again persist in the bliss of ignorance. Theoretically, the US could adapt without suffering a strategic defeat, though the lessons of 12/7/41 and 9/11/01 have taught us that when our financial markets are built upon profit from the status quo, it will probably take the blood of patriots spilled in waste to lead to true modernization.
Header image courtesy of iHLS / The Strategy Bridge.
References/works cited and assorted footnotes.
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